September 2011 Archives

"You must do well in math and with numbers, because you're left-handed."
How many people have heard of this? I've heard it my whole life because I'm left handed.
Being left-handed, I've always been told that my brain is "wired" differently than most people. However, after reading chapter three in the Lilienfeld text, I realized that there is no such thing as "left/right-brained" people. This is simply because there is no difference! The two hemispheres work closely together and is connected by the corpus callosum which provides communication between the two parts but each one serves different functions. While many functions may rely on the left side of the brain, there are also many that rely on the right. This process is called lateralization.
So no, left-handed people aren't "wired" differently than right-handed people. I believe this is an important concept because so many people just assume that only one side of the brain does the job. One way to gain more insight to this is by observing patients who have had split-brain surgery. Split-brain surgery is a procedure where the corpus callosum is split, so that the two hemispheres are not able to communicate between one another.
Patients usually undergo this type of surgery to control seizures. Although the seizures are controlled, it comes with a big sacrifice.

Here is a video to what results due to the severing of the corpus callosum.

Here is an article on split-brain behavior.
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro00/web1/Vasiliadis.html

It amazes me to see how people with split-brain behavior are able to draw an object out once they've closed their eyes, and then be able to say it. Another interesting point to me is the example from our text on page 111, last paragraph. When the split-brain patient was asked as to why he chose the shovel but said chicken, he answered with a somewhat reasonable answer.
The brain is a very complex organ that does wonders and bewilders scientists.

Joann Khong

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In high school, I took a psychology course, and in that course we briefly talked about nature vs. nurture and its effect on gender roles. Are you born as a "girl" or "boy", or are you trained to be a "girl" or "boy"?

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Nature vs. nurture explores where our personality traits come from. The traits we express that show our gender identity involve the clothes we wear, the way we talk, and the things we like to do. But are we born with these traits or do we learn them? Was that love of football that your brother has taught to him when he was in the back yard throwing the pig skin with dad, or was he born and his brain just told him to love sports? Was your sister born with the dire need to put on dresses and dance until the sun came up, or did she learn that she should like those things form all the dance recitals your mom put her in?

I believe that it is a little of both. We usually buy dolls for girls, but they instinctively know to nurture and protect the doll, where as a young boy will play more roughly with the doll. A woman explains what she has witnessed with her twins on her blog.

Nature vs. Nurture is an interesting debate, and I'm sure some people will never fully decide which is the main cause of our personality traits.

Selective Attention

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Selective Attention is what allows human beings to focus on one specific thing when our senses are picking up multiple things. Our senses pick up so many different aspects of the environment surrounding us that we would go insane with sensory overload without selective attention. The active regions of the brain, the reticular activating system and the forebrain, act as a filter to some of the senses we are taking in. Our brains does not entire block out all stimuli as it can minimize some so it is easier to focus on what we choose to. Our Lilienfeld text talks about the filter theory of attention on page 129. This theory was created by Donald Broadbent, and he tested his theory by using dichotic listening.This is where a person hears a different message in each ear, and they are asked to ignore one of the messages. After this experiment had been replicated and adjusted many times it was discovered that information that seemed to be filtered out was still found in an unconscious level of the brain. This experiment was repeated many times so it passed replicability.

The video below is an example of selective attention, and it will test your selective attention. The boy hides a ball under one of three cups and the viewer has to pay attention to just the one cup that the ball is under. The brain has to focus its attention on following that one cup, even though it can be distracted by the other cups looking the same and passing in front of one another.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsUJqEXdpHA&feature=related

I find selective attention to be important, because without it I feel like nothing would get accomplished. People would be confused by all of the things they see, feel, taste, smell and hear and be overwhelmed by all of it. I think it is very cool how our brain still takes in the stimuli we are not focused on, and we can remember it or note in on some level of our brain that we are not consciously thinking about. Selective attention really relates to me as a college student, because without it I do not know how I would study or do well in class. I would be distracted by way too many things, so I consider selective attention a blessing.

Katie Johnson

The illusory correlation is the perception of thinking we see a correlation between two different things when really none exists. This is something we, as human beings do naturally and it is an inescapable fact of everyday life. In our text on page 58 and 59, we are given several examples of illusory correlations, such as the baseball player Wade Boggs who ate chicken before every game he played believing that it would make him a more successful hitter. Another example was the illusory correlation between nights where there were full moons and increased crime activity. A full moon doesn't necessarily cause crime rates to increase, people just are more prone to recognize it when they have something to relate it too, such as the moon being full. Crime happens just as often on non full moon nights and there are plenty of full moons that go by where crime doesn't happen as much.

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Superstitions also have a lot to do with illusory correlation. A belief in superstitions gives people an illusion of control in an uncertain world. Many superstitions originated at a time when little was known about how the physical world functions. Human beings will always seek to understand their surroundings and will interpret life by that understanding. There are several well known superstitions about luck, health, and fortune. It is said that is lucky to find a four leaf clover or to carry a rabbit's foot with you. On the other hand, it is unlucky to walk under a ladder or to pick up a coin that isn't heads up.

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Finally, the illusory correlation comes into play when dealing with stereotypes as well. Stereotypes are generalizations, or assumptions, that people make about the characteristics of all members of a group, based on an image about what people in that group are like. People are constantly stereotyping. We make these stereotypes based on preconceived ideas we have on different races of people, gender, age, cultures, anything. We just put things into already formed categories in our minds so quickly, we don't really give new people or ideas a chance to prove they aren't like the rest or like that idea we have in our heads. Stereotyping is unfair and wrong because of the fact it doesn't give people a chance to make a true name for themselves or prove preconceived thoughts of them or their group wrong. Here are several well known stereotypes....

Nina Carney


"Better to be without logic than without feeling".(Charlotte Bronte 1816-1855)

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Scientific theories and critical thinking are based on logic. Ironically, there are a host of loopholes in logic. The result of scientific logic would depend on whether the specific variable should be considered or not. However, a "feeling" might be the result from integrating processes of all the variables that we cannot consider consciously.

We usually regard the rational approach as superior to the emotional one. But in the course of living, there are moments when a "feeling" is more logical and reasonable in a certain aspect than rational decision. With going further, presumably, a "feeling" should be one of the fundamental factors by which we could decide our behavior or thought.

In reality, when people say "I'm really sorry", if the behavior and the way of speaking are not in consonance with that apology, it could not deliver a genuine feeling of "sorry". A "feeling" as a part of cognitive function can serve a critical role in judging the genuineness.

Whenever we spend days agonizing over small stuff or future decisions, we are often told "follow your heart"

sonam kim

Myth of Sneezing

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When evaluating the claim that sneezing more than seven times in a row gives you an orgasm, it proved to be false. Since the 1990's, people have been wondering if sneezing a specific number of times produces a physical sensation comparable to a sexual climax or triggers an orgasm. Everyone had different ideas of what would give someone an orgasm. It could range from six, seven, eight, nine, or even ten times. If this was true, people would be sneezing as much as they could to feel the sensations. People with allergies would be lucky and feeling an orgasm every time they go on a sneezing spree. The claim that sneezing a certain number of times proved to be false due to critical thinking. The principal that extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence proves that this claim is false. There is no evidence to prove that sneezing is like an orgasm There needs to be evidence to support a claim as largely as this. If there was an experiment done to prove that such an extraordinary claim exists, there would need to be extraordinary evidence for it. Sneezing and orgasm are somewhat comparable to each other though. This might be one reason why people get confused that an orgasm is like a sneeze. Both sneezing, and orgasms are both powerful bodily functions. Neither of them can be controlled, they just happen. Both orgasms and sneezes are just reflexes. That is saying that they are just involuntary actions. Due to critical thinking and the principal that extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence, sneezing a certain number of times proved to be false in producing an orgasm.

http://snopes.com/science/stats/sneeze.asp

http://cheezburger.com/xxSweetTangerinexx/lolz/View/1907539712

Matt Gonsior

Myth of Sneezing

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Milgram Experiment:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6GxIuljT3w

The Milgram Experiment was a series of experiments in social psychology experiments conducted at Yale University by psychologist Stanley Milgram. He studied the willingness of participants to obey an authority figure. The instructor told the participants to "shock" a person in a room which they cannot see. These acts conflicted with the participants' personal conscience. This is how the experiment went: There was a "teacher" and a "learner" in seperate rooms. The "teacher" was given an electric shock as a sample of the shock that the "learner" would supposedly get during the experiment. So the "teacher" would ask the "learner" questions, and the "learner" would press a button to indicate his response. If the answer was wrong the teacher would pull a lever to administrate a shock to the learner. Each wrong answer, the voltage would go up 15 volts. The subjects believed that for every wrong answer, the learner would receive a shock. Really, there were no shocks. The learner's receiving the "shock" would pretend to yell in pain and ask them to stop. At the end it sounded like they were dead. This experiment really stood out to me when I first saw it.I questioned how people could actually harm another human being just because they were told too. Even though they weren't actually being harmed it goes to show that humans are very obedient creatures. There will always be superiors in life and all we want to do is please them. I think this experiement captured this idea perfectly. The subjects that were administering the shocks didn't know the other person, and didn't care. Some subjects went all the way to the top voltage with no problem, which is kind of scary. I'm still wondering how Stanley Milgram came up with this idea, and also how could people actually harm others from orders.

Zach DeCou

I was hoping that there would have been a more in-depth discussion about the effects of placebos in our Psych 1001 course. While seemingly everyone knows about a "placebo" effect, a perceived benefit when in fact no test article was given, the use of placebo-controlled trials is looked upon as being much more important in the United States than it is in the European Union and in other countries throughout the world; at least when it applies to medical research, including research on psychological conditions such as depression.

Studies recently have reported that there is staggering little control over what is often described as a sugar pill, an inert pill or a pill with no medicine in it. It is suspected that, at times, the inert ingredients in a placebo may in fact sway the results of a study. In psychological research, and in other important medical research, such as a clinical trial with cancer patients, is it really ever ethical to give a placebo? Most individuals argue that as long as the use of a placebo is being disclosed to research participants and that a physician makes certain that s/he always acts in the best interest of the research subject that the use of a placebo is acceptable. Other individuals argue that placebo-controlled trials are unnecessary as they only test significant differences from the placebo not an improvement over the baseline medical symptomatology.

My office recently was asked to work on a clinical trial where subjects with advanced cancer who have expended conventional treatments would be randomized to a treatment with a new drug or to a placebo. The argument was that this was ethical simply because the cancer was slow to advance and that the subject could be offered treatment with the study drug once disease progression was formally documented by scans. I would argue that this goes against the Hippocratic Oath to "first, do no harm" and that withholding a potential treatment until further disease progression is noted goes against the Declaration of Helsinki, which states "In any medical study, every patient--including those of a control group, if any- should be assured of the best proven diagnostic and therapeutic method."

It appears to me that perhaps there should be some additional guidelines put in place by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about the use of placebos. Perhaps a simple disclosure of what the placebo is composed of should be taken into consideration when determining if the drug data shows efficacy and a more rigorous definition on when placebos should not be used should be put into place. We live in a time where new findings in research move so fast that government regulation simply cannot keep up; but the United States should really reconsider the conditions of when the use of a placebo is acceptable.

http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2010/10/18/when-is-a-placebo-not-really-a-placebo-maybe-more-often-than-you-think/

http://www.annals.org/content/153/8/532.abstract?sid=4382fe6f-afc0-4bb5-b6f4-e80add5acb99

Lisa Hostetler

Placebo Effect

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Reading chapter 2, I found a concept called placebo effect very interesting. Under this effect, people who just expect improvement actually get improvement. When researchers prescribed mere sugar pills called placebo to patients with a mental problem, the patients actually got better in their mental status. It was simply because the patients expected improvement from the treatment. Researchers need to be aware of this effect carefully because it can make results unreliable. If researchers ignore placebo effect, they may believe that there is a positive effect on the medicine they are testing when there is actually none. However, placebo effect can also be helpful and be a good treatment especially to people with strong belief.

My experience of sudden stomachache is a great example of the placebo effect. When I was young, I ate a slightly rotten egg and got a seriously bad stomachache. My mother laid me down and gently rubbed my stomach saying 'this is a secret treatment that can make you feel better." I strongly trusted my mom and after a while, indeed, I felt no stomachache anymore. An article linked below also present a great example of the placebo effect. "Mr. Wright" with a cancer strongly believed in his new treatment more than other patients and could be discharged from hospital in two weeks.

The Placebo effect arouses me a question if doctors can legally use this effect for their patient. No one can assure that patients truly believe in the doctors' treatments, so it is not a guaranteed treatment. However, at the same time, placebo effect is a excellent treatment for mental illnesses. If doctors can use it, I also wonder to what extent doctors can use this effect.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=placebo-effect-a-cure-in-the-mind

Post by Jongeun Jang (Jeff)

Subliminal Messages

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The human brain is constantly processing information, and sometimes we are completely unaware of it. Subliminal perception occurs when the brain processes sensory information that we are not consciously aware of. Subliminal perception can come in the form of a picture, a word, or some other sort of sensory input that is flashed in front of a subject so that they will not consciously be aware of, but their subconscious will be. The concept of subliminal processing is important because, without it, we would constantly have to focus on every miniscule sensory input that filters through our brain.

Take a look at this video.

The woman in this video had no idea that the entire story that Darren has in his mind is also simply right in front of her. Her subconscious mind processed the story on the paper in front of her, and Darren also gave her some cues within his questions.

Here's another video that shows the effects of subliminal perception.

http://youtu.be/FEpdTZGfxCQ

Darren provides the man with numerous subliminal cues that the man then subconsciously picked up, which caused him to answer Darren's final question with "a BMX bike".

Thinking of an example where I have seen of subliminal perception at work in my own life, I think of something my mother told me about. She said that when she was younger, she would occasionally go to see a movie in the theaters and during those movies there would be images of a certain drink, like a soda of some sort, or a food item, like a hamburger, would be flashed during the movie several times. She claimed that she also had cravings for the items flashed on the screen shortly after. This example is also similar to what the textbook discussed as well.

I still wonder: why is it that subliminal perception almost always works, but subliminal persuasion rarely does? I suppose that it is harder to change actual behaviors rather than simple thoughts by flashing an image or a word to a person, so this would make it difficult to effectively use subliminal persuasion.

Post by Amanda Blake

Hippocampus

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In lecture last week we discussed how London taxi-drivers have a larger hippocampus then other people. I found this interesting so I looked more in depth into the topic. The hippocampus plays a crucial role in memory. When we make mental maps of how to get from place to place(spatial memory) we are using our hippocampus. This fact alone may explain why the hippocampus is large in London taxi-drivers than non taxi-drivers. Because roads and driving in London is more complex than any other city, it requires great memory and attention. Because our hippocampus is connected to memory, scientists wonder if it becomes larger over time as our memory grows (like in taxi-drivers) or if people are born with larger hippocampi and seek jobs that revolve around using it. Here are a couple of videos that discuss the enlarged hippocampus in taxi-drivers.
-> this video is long, but proves how much drivers must memorize!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_0eNQl6SNI
-> this video talks more in depth about the hippocampus!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9JPkUE2IJw&feature=related
Also the hippocampus can become smaller. Scientists have found that the hippocampus in depressed people, or people with depression, is smaller than the average person. This finding like that of the taxi-driver hasn't been tested before the people get depression though. In the future, scientists hope to test both theories. But for now we know that the hippocampus is enlarged in drivers and may grow as we require it to obtain more spatial memories.

According to Goodhart's Law "the act of measuring something changes it". Just like adding a hot thermometer to a cold solution raises the temperature slightly. Inserting a psychologist into a foreign environment has the potential to change everything and anything in that environment. Naturalistic observation is defined as watching behavior in the real-world without trying to manipulate the situation. This is a good start but it is time scientists agree that simply the act of studying a group or single subject changes the output slightly.
The Jane Goodall chimpanzee studies are a great example of the flaws that inevitably come with naturalistic observation. Although Goodall's work is brilliant and ground breaking in many fields, psychology included, her presence was know by the subject. Although her subjects were chimps and unaware of what she was doing, Goodall was foreign to the world of the chimps and her presence had to change the chimps behavior slightly. There are picture of Goodall playing with the chimps and they use her like a children's playground. Although she is not manipulating anything in the scenario, her presence in the jungle changes the chimps behavior because they are exploring something new and strange.
The goal of all Naturalistic studies is to gather information in the purest way possible, without any impact. Sadly this is unattainable I am in no way saying that naturalistic studies should all be thrown out; what I am saying is that they are certain degree is error in each study, because according to Goodhart's law it is impossible to measure something without changing it. It is for this reason that I believe that psychologists must use caution when preforming naturalistic studies to minimize the impact their presence may have on a situation.

Kevin Cunningham

Nature v. Nurture

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The concept of nature vs. nurture has been the concept that interests me the most. Nature vs. nurture is the argument that one's environment along with one's genetic makeup determines what traits the individual expresses. Many studies have been done to test whether the environment determines differences in people through the use of twin studies. In twin studies, psychologists can see whether the environment in which two genetically identical twins are brought up in influence their traits. This concept interests me because I have two cousins, Connor and Jordan, who are identical twins. They both were brought up in the same household and as young children; they had very similar personalities and looked identical. However, once they grew older and had begun school, their personalities changed noticeably: Connor was a social butterfly and very loud while Jordan took on a very shy personality. It makes me think that nurture definitely contributes to peoples traits. It makes sense to me as well, since if nurture made no difference in our individual traits then the factor of a parent's involvement in a child's life would not have much effect on the traits expressed by the individual. I believe that our genes play a role in who we are as a individuals, but I also think that the environment one is raised in has an even larger role. I would like to know more about specific studies done, and how exactly the personality related genes come into play during early childhood; whether certain actions taken by parents activate and deactivate certain personality genes in the child. I found this video (http://www.5min.com/Video/The-Nature-vs-Nurture-Argument-175265999) to be interesting, as they touch a little bit on the subject of genes being triggered by outside environments.

Anne Schneider
Psychology Section #12

Eye disorders are when your vision or what you perceive visually is damaged. A few examples of eye disorders are motion blindness, visual agnosia, blindness, and blindsight. When you have an eye disorder you are constantly in a greater danger than others, whether it is because you cannot see at all, or because you cannot see motion. In these cases you put yourself in danger by walking into the street and not knowing it, or walking down a pier and falling off. Research on these disorders is important because vision is, in my opinion, one of the most important senses we have. I have a personal connection to eye disorders because glaucoma has had a big impact on my family. My grandfather has glaucoma, and they believe my mother may have it as well. Glaucoma can be caused due to eye pressure, or it can be inherited and shows up in adults around the age of 40. I hope that by the time I reach that age there will have been more research conducted in case I am to get it. Also glaucoma is the cause of blindness for 12.3% of all blind people in the world.

The image below is of a woman who was blind in one eye. Looking at the picture her blind eye (the one on the left) changed color after become blind.

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Below is an image of an eye with glaucoma, and as you can see it is disgusting looking.

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I also found a link on youtube to a video of a man who has blindsight. The man is blind but is still able to walk through an obstacle course without problems.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwGmWqX0MnM


The Placebo and Nocebo effects

The placebo effect can afflict all of us, even if we are aware of it. Have you ever had a paper cut, and then you feel that you really need a band-aid? Then, when you get that band-aid, does it instantly feels a million times better? The instant healing power of the band-aid partly comes from the placebo effect. Think about it, what does the band-aid really do other than cover up the wound? The placebo effect is when we feel improvement just because we expect it. Our condition may not get any better, but because we think we are supposed to get better, that is what we end up feeling.

This video does a good job of explaining the placebo effect in greater detail. It also examines the possibilities of using the placebo effect in medicine today and the ethical implications that come with that.

Perhaps one of the most prevalent examples of this effect in my life takes on the opposite form. I am extremely susceptible to the nocebo effect, which is where the patient feels pain or harm because that is what they expect. I hate going to the doctor. It seems like every time I go there, I have to get a shot. I have this idea in my mind that shots hurt more than anything else in life, and therefore, I am deathly afraid of them. If I really think about it, I realize that shots do not hurt that much. But then I go back to my original fear of shots because every time, they seem to hurt a lot. The nocebo effect is shown in my incessant fear of shots. Even though I know that they actually do not hurt that much, I am still afraid. Maybe next time, the doctor should put on a special placebo cream before giving me the shot and then it will not hurt at all...

Jennifer McLean

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"The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes..." (Audrey Hepburn)

Perhaps Ms. Hepburn knows what she's talking about. Page 137 of our psychology text books states that "The dilation (expansion) of the pupil also has a psychological significance." Psychologists have discovered that the pupil dilates when we find somebody physically attractive.

The book hypothesizes that people with larger pupils are found more attractive. This could be because we are attracted to those who are attracted to us (http://www.sosuave.com/articles/lookinto.htm). So ladies, if you find a guy attractive don't hide your eyes, show them off, it could work to your advantage.

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I was intrigued by these claims and wanted to find more, being a student of the 21st century, I hopped on Google. I was surprised to discover how much our eyes really do convey. I found out the following things on a psychology today website (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you-illuminated/201007/beauty-is-in-the-eye). Our eyes say a lot about our emotions, such as happy or sad. When we're happy our eyes also tend to dilate, but when we're sad they contract. Furthermore, when we see a sad face our pupils will contract as well, revealing compassion.

Fear can also make our eyes dilate. Big-Eyes-animal-humor-4515746-1280-800.jpg

Pupils also have to do with our memory. The website above states that when we learn something new our eyes dilate while we're storing it into our memories. When we draw information from memories already stored our eyes dilate once again.

While our eye may not be "windows to our soul" per se, they do reveal a lot. So for you dark and mysterious types out there you may want to grab a pair of dark Oakley's. Those of you looking for a friend, keep your eyes "wide open" and don't be afraid of a little eye contact.

Lynzi Daly

The Halo Effect

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We have all fallen prey to the halo effect at least once in our lives. This phenomenon, the halo effect, happens when a person is influenced by something or someone's physical appearance, strengths, weaknesses, or any other single factor and creates a bias from that. The halo effect is significant because the biases formed prior affect our evaluation of the person or thing.

The halo effect has affected job settings. For example, a hiring manager may hire someone due to their likeableness or physical appearance and make the assumption that they are a better and more efficient employee in comparison to others due to those reasons.

http://ts-si.org/workplace/2767-halo-effect-the-influence-of-beauty-on-hiring-practices

Not only does the halo effect have an affect on people, but even on brand name products on the market. Take the iPod for example, consumers that have had great experiences with the music/video player created a bias on the brand iPod and Apple, that they now have broadened their computer and mobile phone horizons and considered Macs and the iPhone. Consumers have this preconception that because the iPod has given them a good experience, that anything with the brand Apple on it has to be trusted, as well.

A personal example where I had witnessed the halo effect occur was in high school. A good friend of mine had a boyfriend who everyone in her life, including her family and friends, questioned why she was with him. He treated her terribly, was never faithful to her, and always lied, but she had never realized the negative in him because she was blinded by one positive quality--the fact that he was a charmer. This topic, in terms of relationships, raises my curiosity about how many people are "blinded" by first impressions or a single factor when first meeting someone, and whether or not that has influenced their decisions to get to know the person.

Here is the link to a YouTube video titled "The Halo Effect - Science of Attraction" that does an experiment on how the halo effect affects the first impressions of someone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuometYfMTk&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL7AAEB42D092624B1

-- Judy Pathammavong

The Halo Effect

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We have all fallen prey to the halo effect at least once in our lives. This phenomenon, the halo effect, happens when a person is influenced by something or someone's physical appearance, strengths, weaknesses, or any other single factor and creates a bias from that. The halo effect is significant because the biases formed prior affect our evaluation of the person or thing.

The halo effect has affected job settings. For example, a hiring manager may hire someone due to their likableness or physical appearance and make the assumption that they are a better and more efficient employee in comparison to others due to those reasons.

http://ts-si.org/workplace/2767-halo-effect-the-influence-of-beauty-on-hiring-practices

Not only does the halo effect have an affect on people, but even on brand name products on the market. Take the iPod for example, consumers that have had great experiences with the music/video player created a bias on the brand iPod and Apple, that they now have broadened their computer and mobile phone horizons and considered Macs and the iPhone. Consumers have this preconception that because the iPod has given them a good experience, that anything with the brand Apple on it has to be trusted, as well.

A personal example where I had witnessed the halo effect occur was in high school. A good friend of mine had a boyfriend who everyone in her life, including her family and friends, questioned why she was with him. He treated her terribly, was never faithful to her, and always lied, but she had never realized the negative in him because she was blinded by one positive quality--the fact that he was a charmer. This topic, in terms of relationships, raises my curiosity about how many people are "blinded" by first impressions or a single factor when first meeting someone, and whether or not that has influenced their decisions to get to know the person.

Here is the link to a YouTube video titled "The Halo Effect - Science of Attraction" that does an experiment on how the halo effect affects the first impressions of someone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuometYfMTk&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL7AAEB42D092624B1

One theory that I found was very interesting was the Opponent Process Theory. This theory describes how we perceive three pairs of opposing colors and when we stare at one color for too long then our mind is tricked into seeing the opponent color. For example, if one were to stare at green for a long time then when they looked away they would see red instead. This phenomenon of when you stare at one color for a long time, and then look away and you continue to see that color and shape in another spot is called an afterimage. This occurs from our brain processing the image using our rods and cones. I think that this theory is interesting because we have all seen the tricks where you are supposed to stare at one thing for a while and then it ends up tricking our minds, but I never understood why it happened.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4oURqnIJGI

This idea is used by magicians in magic shows. One trick that uses the Opponent Process Theory in is the "Great Tomsoni's Dress Trick." This trick uses spot lights and the lingering red color caused by an afterimage to make a clearly white dress appear to be red for long enough that a model is able to slip off the white dress and show an actual red dress underneath. This just shows us how some bits and pieces of a magic show might work and why it is so important to use scientific knowledge to make sense of an extraordinary claim.

http://www.google.com/imgres?q=great+tomsoni+colored+dress+trick&um=1&hl=en&sa=N&biw=1366&bih=664&tbm=isch&tbnid=64r05qEA-jtFVM:&imgrefurl=http://www.lawrenceandpriscilla.com/allstar.html&docid=NJUZQZ4cdAzGxM&w=150&h=225&ei=KNCDTt2-I8WFsgL6upHtDg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=1138&vpy=159&dur=2647&hovh=180&hovw=120&tx=86&ty=19&page=1&tbnh=140&tbnw=99&start=0&ndsp=23&ved=1t:429,r:6,s:0

I still do not completely understand how the Opponent Process Theory works however. I am still wondering how our brain could trick us like that and why our visual cortex has not learned to fix this problem.

Megan Anderson

Nature vs. Nurture Continued

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yTCShemS_0

Here is a perfect video that goes along with the Nature vs. Nurture debate focusing on the Twin Studies!

Haley Slater

Nature vs. Nurture

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There is a widely spread debate throughout psychology that has no true, right or wrong answer, it's more based on opinion. This debate is called the Nature vs. Nurture debate, which has proven to be controversial and raises many questions about a person's overall behavior.
Psychologists believe that traits such as a person's personality, intelligence, and interests can all be connected to either a person's genes or the environment they were raised in. The idea that genes of a person is related to their overall makeup is the nature side of the argument. On the other hand, the environment of one's upbringing is more the nurture side. To determine which side of the argument psychologists deem more important when, psychologists performed three studies that show both sides of the argument. In my opinion, the Twin Studies have the most influential study to determine which side of the argument is more valid.
Due to the fact that there are two types of twins, fraternal and identical, psychologists studied the two separately in the "Twin Studies". They determined that identical twins makeup is more genetically similar than fraternal. Psychologists then went on to study twins that had been separated at birth and placed into different homes. By doing so, Psychologists can see how alike the twins are as they grow and mature, and determine how big of a factor the environment really was. If the twins turn out to be very similar even though they were raised in different households then it improves the validity of the nature side of the argument but if the twins were less alike than normal identical twins raised in the same home then it helps the nurture side.
I have an older sister who has the complete opposite personality than me even though we were raised in the same household. This is why I believe the nature side of the argument is more substantial, although, there is still a lot more to learn about the Nature vs. Nurture debate. I am curious to know whether people who are born from criminal parents are therefore more prone to become a criminal themselves, therefore reinforcing the nature side of the argument.

Illusions

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An illusion by definition considers a stimuli with a deceptive appearance or impression. The stimuli enters our sensation, is processed throughout transmission, and altered from its true original stimuli through perception. In other words, when our perception deceives us, we arrive at an illusion. Illusions happen in our lives every day. Sometimes, it's hard to identify, while other times there is no doubt our brains have undergone an illusion.

Understanding illusions is extremely important for psychology. The best way to understand how something works is to see how it doesn't work, or how it works under certain circumstances. Illusions portray stimuli in a different light than how the stimuli actually is. Most crucially, if the brain is not able to notice an illusion, it's nearly impossible for it to notice the stimuli.

Our Lilienfeld text lists multiple examples that can apply to real life: moon illusion, Ames room illusion, Muller-Lyer illusion, Ponzo illusion, and Ebbinghaus-Titchener illusion.

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A moon illusion occurs when the moon appears larger when it's near the horizon than when it's higher in the sky (yet we still are aware that the moon is always the same distance away from the earth at all times).

The Ames room illusion takes place in a trapezoidal room which then distorts two images of the same height to have one larger than the other.
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The Muller-Lyer illusion is described as two lines of identical length but one appears longer than the other due to a set of arrowheads pointing inward rather than outward.

The Ponzo illusion occurs when two converging lines enclose two identical sized object but cause the illusion of one object appearing larger than the other.

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Lastly, the Ebbinghaus-Titchener illusion is when we perceive a circle to be larger when surrounded by smaller circles compared to when it's surrounded by larger circles.
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Although the book illustrates a large amount of illusions, I'd like to uncover more. It's extremely interesting to think of all the illusions we must see everyday. I'd also like to know, do illusions stimulate our brain more than original stimuli do?


Lindsay Snider

The Minnesota Twin Family Study

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In chapter 3 of the Lilienfeld text, we learned about twin studies, which examine the differences between identical and fraternal twins in traits. Identical twins share exactly the same genes, making them genetic clones of each other. Fraternal twins share only half of the same genes, and are no more alike than ordinary siblings. If identical twins are also more alike on a psychological characteristic than fraternal twins, it can be said that this characteristic is genetically influenced. Environmental influence on the characteristic must be the same in identical and fraternal twins as well.

In 1989, the Minnesota Twin Family Study (MTFS) began when 1,400 pairs of identical and same-sex fraternal twins and their families were enrolled. These twins were all from the upper midwest and identified by birth records. They were asked to participate in a full day intake assessment with their parents. Twins were either age 11 or 17 when they were assessed. In 2000, an additional 500 pairs of twins were enrolled. The MTFS hopes to follow these twins as they enter adolescence and adulthood. They want to measure mental, physical, and social changes.

As the study continues, twins are asked to return to the University for more assessments every few years. Each participant is interviewed and asked questions regarding life events, friends, dating, marriage, parenting, and behavior. They also spend time in a psychophysiology lab. The goal of the MTFS is to paint a picture of normal development in twins between the ages of 11-29, and show some of the difficulties during this period.

Here is a link to the MTFS website:
http://mctfr.psych.umn.edu/twinstudy/

-Sarah Benthein

Nature vs. Nurture

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The concept of nature vs. nurture has intrigued me for some time now. The debate as to if we are products of our genes or our environments still continues on. John Locke likened the human mind at birth to white paper that hadn't been written on. However, for much of the 20th century, psychologists believed that humans were solely products of their environment. Nowadays, many, along with myself believe that it is a mixture of both and it takes one for the other to occur.
We are who we are as a result of genes and environment. Through twin studies, researches have learned that people are born with certain traits, but being in certain environments can cultivate many, or in other words turn some on or some off. Is my leadership trait a result of my environment and being the first-born child or is it solely a trait I was born with? It could be a mixture of both. I could have natural leadership tendencies that were cultivated through my role as the first-born child, or I could have been born with them.
These traits could go way past harmless personality traits. For example, people with criminal backgrounds become a key example in this debate. Are they criminals because their parents were and they were born with predisposed tendencies to break the law or are they a result of their environment? Were they raised in rough neighborhoods with crime surrounding them? Is it a combination of both or is one a front-runner? This question continues to intrigue me, but like what the article below states, traits are not solely a result of environment or genetics. The video below the article also goes more in depth into the topic of people having predisposed traits, but the environment cultivating them even more.

http://genealogy.about.com/cs/geneticgenealogy/a/nature_nurture.htm

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xeaj4e_laurence-steinberg-on-the-nature-vs_tech

Taylor Obetz

Nature vs. Nurture

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The concept of nature vs. nurture has intrigued me for some time now. The debate as to if we are products of our genes or our environments still continues on. John Locke likened the human mind at birth to white paper that hadn't been written on. However, for much of the 20th century, psychologists believed that humans were solely products of their environment. Nowadays, many, along with myself believe that it is a mixture of both and it takes one for the other to occur.
We are who we are as a result of genes and environment. Through twin studies, researches have learned that people are born with certain traits, but being in certain environments can cultivate many, or in other words turn some on or some off. Is my leadership trait a result of my environment and being the first-born child or is it solely a trait I was born with? It could be a mixture of both. I could have natural leadership tendencies that were cultivated through my role as the first-born child, or I could have been born with them.
These traits could go way past harmless personality traits. For example, people with criminal backgrounds become a key example in this debate. Are they criminals because their parents were and they were born with predisposed tendencies to break the law or are they a result of their environment? Were they raised in rough neighborhoods with crime surrounding them? Is it a combination of both or is one a front-runner? This question continues to intrigue me, but like what the article below states, traits are not solely a result of environment or genetics. The video below the article also goes more in depth into the topic of people having predisposed traits, but the environment cultivating them even more.

http://genealogy.about.com/cs/geneticgenealogy/a/nature_nurture.htm

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xeaj4e_laurence-steinberg-on-the-nature-vs_tech

Taylor Obetz

Spatial Attention

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For my first blog I am discussing the concept of spatial attention which Professor Gewirtz spoke with us about last Monday. Spatial attention is when we quickly analyze things in our peripheral vision before we can even produce eye movement. This idea goes along with the concept of life motion, this is the ability of our visual system to easily recognize and detect the natural movements of other living things. In this lecture we were also presented with hypotheses from Professor He. He's hypotheses stated, 1. "Spatial attention system can detect and respond to individual components of life motion" and 2. "This function depends on the parietal cortex". The results of tests done by Professor He supported both of his hypotheses.
The concept of spatial attention and He's hypotheses are very important to everyday life. Without being able to detect motion, almost subliminally, people would be put in harm's way on a daily basis. One example of this is when I was walking to psychology class the other day. I was walking at a quick pace and passing people on the bridge. I had my head down and was listening to music when I quickly had to jump out of the way. I had almost walked into someone running the opposite way on the, who also was clearly not paying attention. My spatial attention helped me to see the man's arms in time to get out of his way and avoid a collision. Another great example of this concept is seen in football. Players frequently somehow avoid getting hit and it seems as if it is instinct. The video below illustrates this point.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XTESLrOqHU

This example brought up a question for me. He's hypotheses deals with moving parts of humans and animals but mentions nothing about other things we deal with every day. I wonder if our spatial attention and use of the parietal cortex could just as successfully identify the moving wheel of a bike, because as anyone who walks to class knows, bikes can pose as a serious threat for any walker.
--- Ben Sicoli

Last Friday, Professor Gewirtz lectured on the importance of the hippocampus--the area in which the brain has the ability to understand where it is and to be able to orient its surroundings--for Spatial Memory. Gewirtz provides the example of the Morris Water Maze test, and how it proves the role the hippocampus plays in navigation. The conclusion of the test is that the lab animal is able to find the submerged pool faster than the first trial because it stores the landmarks (i.e. a table, desk, or picture that is placed in the experiment room) in the hippocampus--the hippocampus lets off nerve impulses that signals when the animal is in a certain area, thus allowing the animal to understand where it is. Further tests involving animals with lesions to the hippocampus or other parts of the brain not having anything to do with the hippocampus and even animals with enhanced hippocampuses prove that it is the hippocampus which plays such an important role in spatial memory.
I find this most important because of how this study correlates with Long-term Potentiation--new abilities in enhancing the hippocampus lead to new inquiries of how LTP can be further increased in humans. The problem of losing one's memory as one grows older is a natural process which we all fear, but it is unnecessary if science can use the knowledge of the hippocampus to procure a method of slowing or even eliminating the age old dilemma. This is an area of special interest to me as I worked with individuals in the Alzheimer's unit of a nursing home--I have seen what losing one's memory does, and the pain and humiliation it brings to the individual and relatives alike. While I understand scientists must first work with rats before humans, it makes me wonder about the progress being made in this field--does one really need to make a rat with a super hippocampus? Time is of the essence here with Alzheimer's and dementia on the rise--why not try it with humans? After all, the human brain is significantly more complex than the rats', maybe this will be beneficial in studies. Regardless of the issue I raised, I do believe that the hippocampus discovery is only the first step in understanding the complexities of memory.
--Ashli Carlson

The Healing Power of Water

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4tZhMED-4M

The video begins, "Dr. Emote exposed music, words spoken, words typed, pictures and video to Water. After it was crystallized. The Water's Response was truly Majestic." What follows is a three minute slideshow accompanied with soothing music. Words such as "Love", "Happiness", and "Truth" are followed by pictures of snow flakes that have crystallized with few imperfections. Flakes that follow things like "You Make Me Sick. I Will Kill You" are distorted, on a brown background, and don't resemble the classic image of a snow flake. The video ends with the claim, "If Thoughts Can Do That To Water. Imagine What our Thoughts can Do To US - Up to 60% of our body is Water -".

The claim that thoughts, actions, and music can influence the crystallization of water, implying that the nature of water not crystallized is influenced similarly, is quite an extraordinary claim. There is no way to find out the force acting on the water. There is no verification of the experimental process, no control, no wide selection sample, and most certainly no hypothesis generated after observation that is supported after testing. The pictures are supposed to give all the information necessary, but the information given isn't enough. On top of it all, the viewer is not shown multiple photos for each word, phrase, or action. Since we're only given one example, we can't rule out that the experimenter chose those photos that agree with his hypothesis.

In addition, the claims of human mental influence on water does nothing to rule out rival hypotheses. Perhaps the water used in the positive examples was more pure to begin with, or was kept in better conditions than the water used in the negative examples. Again, since we're presented with only one photo from each word, thought, or action, it's likely that the photo chosen to exemplify the word, thought, or action is one where the water was intentionally (or unintentionally) manipulated to give the expected result.

Another experiment used to justify these claims is the rice experiment. Freshly cooked rice is divided among many jars. The jars are then labelled, and the experimenter says what is on the label to the jar every day for thirty days. After thirty days, the rice is examined. Comparing a few videos, the results are mixed (as one would expect on youtube). Videos in support of the concept confirm the results. (e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTz-cYk9Wu4&feature=related) Videos criticizing the experiment reach results that show that the words have little influence, and provide alternative explanations for the results (e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooZBxeKf6yc&feature=related). Since the set up of this experiment is easily replicable, lots of data can be generated.
The videos with strong controls and multiple jars are those that most follow the scientific method, and these videos seem to debunk the claims of the effect thoughts and actions have on water.

This is a perfect example of pseudoscience, thanks to its extraordinary claims, poor experimental procedures, and difficulty to falsify.

-Robert Barbeau

Atom Balm

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For my first blog I decided to look up an article about an infamous claim that has been made. I used the site provided to us by Kathy and was really interested in the article, "Atom Balm".

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

The claim is that a blind girl "saw" the flash of the first atomic bomb test. This urban legend is perfect to pick apart using the the scientific thinking principles we learned in chapter one.
The first scientific principle that came to mind as I read the article was extraordinary claim, because clearly any blind person suggesting to see is quite extraordinary. Georgia Green, the blind girl, is the only person who can be asked to validate this claim. Since this claim is remarkable, it requires a lot of convincing evidence to become believable. With Georgia as the only evidence it becomes a stretch to side with her claim.
This leads into another scientific principle, ruling out rival hypotheses. While Georgia's claim is to have seen the explosion, maybe other factors such as noise and feeling contributed to her sense of "seeing" an atomic bomb. As other articles support, the strength of an atomic bomb is incredible, "these bombs were responsible for burning over 41.5 square miles of Tokyo by the United States in March 1945." Something of this strength could cause anyone to experience a sensation like never before.

http://www.trumanlibrary.org/teacher/abomb.htm

The Snopes site that posted the story about the blind girl ended up crediting the article with multiple truth values. They did not give the story a true or false rating and I would have to agree with them. There is not enough evidence either way to support or disprove this claim. I have a feeling that this story can and will be debated for a long time.

Blog Post by Danielle Spizzirri

Dihydrogen Monoxide

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First, if you have not read about the severe effects of dihydrogen monoxide, please read the FAQs here: http://dhmo.org/facts.html .

For my first blog, I have chosen to write about dihydrogen monoxide, which is believed by many to be a serious chemical compound that is wreaking havoc on our bodies and the environment. This website, in a very specific manner, warns readers about the hazardous nature of dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO) in very eloquent, scientific jargon, and even I believed what I was reading when my high school biology teacher first introduced it to me. What I did not realize at the time was that DHMO's chemical structure contains two hydrogens and one oxygen... better known as water. If I had been a well-informed Psych 1001 student at that time, I would have used my awesome knowledge of the six principles of critical thinking to determine whether or not this 'hoax' (although all of the information presented on the website is accurate) was credible.
The first principle that casts doubt on the website is 'Extraordinary Claims'. If DHMO really is destroying our environment, causing cancer, and all of the other things the website claims, how could we not have ever heard of it? A lot of people may not know exactly what acid rain is, but we all know it is definitely not benefiting our planet. Based on how sensationalized our media is, if DHMO was really as bad as they claim, we would definitely have heard about it.
The second principle that would have caused me to doubt these claims is 'Ruling Out Rival Hypothesis'. My only logical thought about why more people are not concerned about DHMO is this: the benefits must outweigh the risks. As I stated before, everything stated on the website is a true effect of DHMO, but the benefits of DHMO (life, for example) are obviously much more important than a mudslide.
Another aspect about the DHMO website I wanted to briefly point out was how easily many people believe this website. Similar to what I have read in the book, our first impressions (such as believing DHMO should be eliminated) are often incorrect and it is important to think critically about everything we read.

War of the Worlds Radio Hoax

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For my first blog, I decided to scientifically evaluate one of the most well-known hoaxes in American History, the War of The Worlds radio hoax that took place on October 30, 1938. Although not originally intended to be a hoax, estimates are that the hoax 6 million people heard the broadcast, and 1.7 million believed it, with many of them panicking. People blame the mass belief in the hoax on the fact that they only mentioned it was a radio play being read to sound like a newscast at the beginning, but if people would have followed some principles of scientific thinking they would have never even guessed it to be a hoax. The main scientific principle that applies to this is extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence. To believe that aliens have flown down from the sky and are decimating the country side with poisonous gas and heat rays is quite an extraordinary claim, and the only evidence backing it up was a single radio broadcast. If there was some better evidence, such as an earthquake to explain the alien ship crash or fog across the country side that could pass for the poisonous gas this hoax would have been way more believable. Although things may have been different back in the 1930s, today I would consider it unreasonable to put all my trust in one source, especially if that single source was mainstream media. Ruling out rival hypothesizes would have worked to show that there could be other explanations, such as a radio play or a Halloween prank, that you should make sure they are not true before you completely and utterly put all faith in the only explanation you have.


http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/archive/permalink/the_war_of_the_worlds/
http://history1900s.about.com/od/1930s/a/warofworlds.htm
http://www.war-ofthe-worlds.co.uk/

Pareidoli

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One of the research findings in the textbook is the disproving of the "face on Mars." Mars Viking Orbiter in 1976 took several photos of the surface of Mars and some of the pictures look like that of a human face. Some people believed that the "face on Mars" was proof that life existed on the planet. Then in 2001, Mars Global Surveyor decided to take a closer look at this "face." These photos were taken closer up and directly at the location of the "face." The new pictures proved there was no resemblance of a face at all, it was just an illusion. This is an example of pareidolia: seeing meaningful images in meaningless visual stimuli. I believe this concept is important because it displays our tendency to find patterns. It also shows that there is not only one way of looking at the world.
I can relate to this phenomena because I have experienced it myself. When I was little I always used to look at the moon off of my deck. I would see the "man on the moon" every time and I thought it was the most amazing thing. Still to this day when I look at the moon I can see the "face" even though now I know it isn't actually there. Though the question I have is, if it looks like a face, isn't it a face? People today don't mistake the face for proof that life exists on the moon. Is it because from multiple perspectives it does't look like a face? But all people's views are usually from planet Earth (unless in a spaceship) so why can't it be a face?

The "Hot Hand" Is Not So Hot

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One of the research findings from the book that comes to my mind is the "Hot Hand: Reality or Illusion?" Thomas Gilovich and his colleagues conducted the study, wanting to find out if the "hot hand" was a coincidence in sports, or if players actually do go on hot streaks, making multiple shots in a row. Coaches get mad at teammates for not giving the ball to the teammate who has the "hot hand," or players who have made multiple consecutive shots. I strongly believe that this is an important study because of the influence that sports have on today's society! Sports, or basketball in this case, draw millions of viewers each and every week. This applies to my real life because I have played basketball my whole life, and I find it to be a great sport. The question about the hot hand really makes me wonder if people really get the "hot hand." Do they? It has happened to everyone that has played basketball at some point in his or her lives, when one may shout out "I'm feelin' it." Sometimes you make 6 straight shots, and sometimes you miss 6 straight shots. I would like to know what it is that causes this phenomenon? Is it a state of mind, or mentality? Does it have something to do with interneurons or a complex part of the brain, or is it straight coincidence of muscle form and skill? The study done by Gilovich shows that it is a coincidence, and all of the data that shows the whole 76ers team displaying rather "a cold hand" and decreased accuracy over time. But, regardless of the scientific data shown to their coach, he displayed a prime example of belief perseverance and responded, "Who is this guy? So he makes a study. I couldn't care less." I would like to know what causes this phenomenon, coincidence or not, and how Lebron James and other athletes can make consecutive shots in important games.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JwDEQdUqnw

As shown in this link, the "hot hand" can give players the chance to make shots that seem impossible, back-to-back to back.

By Connor Chapman

Introduction to Blogging

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Hey everyone, it's time to start blogging this week. The first entry is now due on October 2 instead of September 25. Here's a link to Kate Briggs' blog, where you'll find important instructions:

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/khbriggs/myblogforpsy1001/

Also, here is the section of the syllabus about blogs. Please review this before blogging, as it includes the grading criteria you are responsible for following.

WRITING ACTIVITIES--worth 6 points each
In addition, we have a writing component for discussion sections. Each section leader will create a UThink blog for their students. You will post on this blog as a contributor six times during the semester, and read posts by your classmates. Posts are due no later than 11:59 PM on the following dates. Late posts will penalized 2 points per day.

Post #1: Sunday, Oct 2.
Post #2: Sunday, Oct 9
Post #3: Sunday, Oct 23
Post #4: Sunday, Nov 6
Post #5: Sunday, Nov 20
Post #6: Sunday, Dec 4

While you can definitely write your posts anytime and post more than one post, cluster posting will not be accepted. That is, you can't write six posts before Sept 25, and figure you are done with that for the semester. Only one post will be graded per fortnight, so you should plan to pace your posts.
Length: Posts should be ~250 - 350 words long. If you can answer the prompts in less than 350 words, great, you don't need to pad, "Brevity is the soul of wit." But neither should your post be deficient, too short to do justice to the questions.

What to write about:
A blog post is a specific form of writing, but one that is easily adapted to other settings. A good post starts with some prompt--an idea, a claim, an article, an experience--and the post responds to this prompt by providing evidence to support or rebut the prompt, in writing that is brief, focused and interesting. One of our goals in Psy 1001 is to help you develop critical thinking skills and a blog post is an excellent way to practice critical thinking as you write. Behaviorally, writing that reflects critical thinking has these features: the author a) asks questions and is willing to wonder; b) defines problems clearly; c) examines evidence; d) analyzes assumptions and biases; e) avoids emotional reasoning; f) avoids oversimplification; g) considers alternative interpretations; h) tolerates uncertainty. (from Wade, C. (1995). Using writing to develop and assess critical thinking. Teaching of Psychology, 22. 24-28.) I would add to this list, i) takes the perspective of others.

Generic prompts:
We have several general topics that can be used for any of your posts, 1-6. In addition, we will provide articles, questions and readings on the discussion page on the website to which you can respond if one of these don't work for you.

1) Identify one important concept, research finding, theory or idea from Psy 1001 lectures or the Lilienfeld text from the past two weeks. Summarize the concept in your own words and explain why you believe this concept research finding, theory or idea is important. Apply this to some aspect of your life (real life example are an excellent way to learn. Photos, You-tube videos, etc. are encouraged.) As you reflect on this concept, research finding, theory or other idea, what other questions occur to you? What are you still wondering about?

2) Provide a link to an article, hoax or claim that has been made in the media and evaluate the claim using one or more of the six principles of critical thinking. Apply a concept, research finding, theory or idea that you have learned about in Psychology to provide an alternative explanation. Which principle is most useful for evaluating this particular claim? Remember to cite your sources.

3) If you can think of a different explanation or want to support something one of your classmates has posted, you can respond with a post of your own. Be sure to provide evidence to support your response.

Grading criteria: Each post is worth up to six points.
Concepts, 0-3 points: Have you followed instructions? Have you provided a relevant concept or prompt? How well have you summarized the psychological concept or applied the six principles of critical thinking? Are you thinking "beyond" the example, that is, making inference and forming connections? Have you provided an original insight? Have you provided evidence to support your claims? Is this post worth reading? Are you demonstrating behaviorally that you are thinking critically? (See above.)

Mechanics: 0-1.5 points. Have you used paragraphs to divide your thoughts? Is your post visually interesting? Have you used correct grammar, spelling, and standard speech (not slang, not jargon)? Is your post easy to read? Have you cited your sources or provided links?

Clarity of writing, 0-1.5 points: Is your writing crisp? Clear? Engaging? Are you using words precisely? Do you have words that are unnecessary or filler words? Are you on-topic? Have you provided clear transitions and a clear flow of logic?

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