October 2011 Archives

The false belief task is a test of theory of mind. It tests children's ability to understand that someone else believes something they know to be wrong.
Photobucket
Children are given a situation like the one above. Children who succeed in expressing where the child in the story will look understand that even though they know where the marble is, the child in the story does not. Children who do not pass believe that because they know where the marble is, the child in the story does as well. Usually children do not pass this task until around age 4 or 5. It is said that if the task is arranged in more of a real life situation rather than a story then most children will pass. However, children's failure on the task may be due to parts of the task and not their misunderstanding of other's knowledge. But the task make it clear that the ability to understand other people's perspectives strengthens with age.

Rem Sleep

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Never in my wildest imagination have I ever thought that our brain function at it's best when we sleep. It was just a phenomenon experience that when we sleep we go through 4 stages. In each we represent a certain level when we fall asleep. I always thought that when we sleep we just have two phases. The phase where we lay down and just relax our muscles and the phase where we close our eyes and just sleep. Learning that we go through 4 different stages in order to go into a deep sleep was just a very amusing thought that purged into my brain. And also the Idea about lucid dream is something that I could really relate on because I have those dream on a regular basis. The idea of being able to control what's happening inside and manipulating the background of your dream. For example, last night I had a dream about my dead father who died when I was 5 years old. The night before I was thinking about him and how different would've been if he was around growing up. I was dreaming about him and I could remember that dream very clearly until now. I got to ask him all the questions that I always craved to ask since I was a little boy and he answered them. However, I am still puzzled about the idea of how is a dream enforced. Meaning, how do we dream of the things that we dream of every time we go to sleep. Do we have to drown ourselves with ideas affiliated with the category, in order to dream of what you wanna dream of, or do you have to have a similar experience that could stimulates to your situations?

Farkash

ID # 4273275

Erasing Painful Memories

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes


Have you ever wished you could wipe a day from your memory completely? To actually be able to go on living life as if nothing had ever happened? Well, in chapter 7 on page 269, this idea and the moralities of it are discussed. An experiment was conducted by Cahill and McGaugh showed that memories with strong emotional ties, deemed important by the brain are stored and recalled far more frequently than those lacking emotional connection. This is the brain's way of weeding out unimportant thoughts.
The experiment consisted of two groups of people who were both told stories. The first group was told a story lacking emotional triggers and the second group heard a more dramatic version of the story. Both groups were asked to recall the story they were told. The group that was told the more dramatic story accurately recalled more facts. This experiment proves that emotions do in fact have an effect on memory.
Following that experiment a similar one was done incorporating a drug called Propranolol. This drug inhibits the effect of Adrenaline on memory and the experiment showed that although it doesn't completely erase, it has the ability to dull the memories of traumas. With this in mind, researchers are conflicted about whether or not searching for a way to completely eliminate painful memories is a prudent venture. This may bring a whole new twist on the phrase 'forgive and forget' but it morally conflicts with ideas of learning and development.

images[7].jpg

Yesha Yismaw

The Law of Effect

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Jenny Vue vuexx256@umn.edu

Remember when you were young and you received a reward for doing something? You might have continue doing this after you began to pick up the response. It may have been chores, homework, or something that you were doing in exchange for money, food, or whatever that you and the dealer agreed on.

If this was you, then you were using the law of effect - adapting to a behavior in return of a reward, which is most likely to repeat in the future. According to some psychologists, this may be refer to as the S-R psychology, S is stimulus and R is response. Lilienfield stated that the law of effect help build up the S-R bonds since it is in our everyday life. Well, is it really in our every day life or not?

This is in our every day life. Everyone do this voluntarily. I believe this was how all living creatures learned how to behave in their own way, therefore makes the law of effect important. Take my baby brother for example. He did not know how to walk; instead he practiced and learned. Every time he took a step or two, my family and I encouraged him through applause. His steps were his behavior and the applause was his reward. As soon as he picked up the response, which doesn't take long, he began to adapt to it. However, once he was capable of walking, his behavior then changes. Now his behavior is talking, and his rewards are hugs and kisses.


In this video, the dog's behavior was to sit and wait for its owner to call for him. As a reward, the owner gave the dog a treat. This is an example of the law of effect.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjAta0Ahuzg

In this photo, the rat is trying to respond to the machine. There is a place where the food comes out, a speaker, some signal lights, a lever, and a shock generator. Sooner or later, the rat will adapt to this behavior and know what to do. This is also an example of the law of effect.
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/65/188048205_277919c9ea_o.jpg

The real "Rain Man"

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Most people have seen or heard of the movie Rain Man. It's a story of a man with infantile autism and shows the amazing side of it. The movie was based off a man named Kim Peek, who's IQ was 87. Peek memorized about 12,000 books word for word, the zip codes of every town in the United States, and the number of every highway connecting every city in the United States. He was also a calender calculator: if you gave him any past or future date, he'd give you the correct day of the week in a matter of seconds. Is he psychic? No, he is one of few people with infantile autism with astonishing memory feats. The main character in that movie, Raymond Babbitt, was modified to be an autistic savant. The story thus is that of a person who is autistic but also has savant skills grafted on to that basic autistic disorder. Watch a clip from the movie Rain Man to see more. There have been fantastic stories of savant's with extraordinary skills. Fran Peek describes his son this way: "Kim is not behaviorally autistic. He has a warm, loving personality. He truly cares for people and enjoys sharing his unique skills and knowledge capacity."

Zachary DeCou

Remember Ginkgo

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

As we get older our memories start to deplete. After a long life and full development of our sensory, short-term and long term memory the cognitive brain begins to head down hill at around the age 65. At about this age individuals start to develop or at risk of certain memory diseases like alzheimer's or dementia. These are diseases that effect the short-term memory first. The short-term meaning the memory system that retains information for limited durations. Specifically recent episodic events are the first memories to vacate the mind. Ginkgo as described in our text book is a possible homeopathic herb that is supposedly a mild preventative to memory deteriorating disease.
Our textbook by Linifield mildly acknowledges that is remarkably popular but it indeed does not show significant improvement. If ginkgo does help improve the memory it is slight or extremely small. But despite the lack of scientific evidence a large percentage of Americans still ingest ginko.
According to the following youtube link the results from ingesting ginkgo are larger than the book describes, but still basically useless for most middle aged and young people. I can see the benefits of a homeopathic memory enhancer such as ginkgo and I'm sure that the placebo effect comes into play here. With any homeopathic drug much of the success could be due to the placebo effect.
Even though the results are slim I feel that taking ginkgo at the onset of a senile memory deteriorating disease would still be helpful.



Will Hebert
Sec 13


When one first meets Abbie Girl, they would say that she looks like a typical 4 year old Australian Kelpie; except that she can para-glide, snowboard, tree & rock climb, surf, and mountain bike. Rescued from near-death, she has surpassed all odds to become one of the world's top competitive surfing dogs.

Abbie's remarkable talents may seem out of this world, but in reality it's all due to a famous psychological phenomena called shaping. Shaping is when someone (in this case, an animal trainer) conditions a target behavior by progressively reinforcing behaviors that come closer and closer to the target behavior. In other words, by constantly showing Abbie what is expected of her, she'll eventually keep the behavior as a habit. Her trainer/owner, Michael, most likely used positive reinforcement as a catalyst for learning the behaviors. In her case, one would assume she would receive a treat, encouraging words, or a friendly petting.

Shaping is an important psychological theory that is still popular today and often seen in the media with shows like Animal Planet's "The Dog Whisperer" and "Fetch Me A Beer". Developed by the University of Minnesota's own psychological department, it is a psychological theory every Gopher should be proud of. The developer of the Theory of Shaping , B.F Skinner (with colleagues Marian and Keller Breland), first used shaping with pigeons and extended to dogs, dolphins, humans and other species.

Abbie is a remarkable dog that any dog lover would be glad to call their own. However, Abbie wasn't born with those talents. She was born with the ability to learn them. Any dog, or animal, really, can learn how to "bow-wow-bunga" with the right trainer, amount of positivity, and discipline.

- George Rodriguez


Sybil.jpg

Before taking Psychology 1001, I have always believed that "mind-controlling" could not ever be possible since I have never encounter any valid evidences in my life. However, after reading chapter seven in the textbook, and attending the lectures, along with activities (recording words) from my discussion, I am partly convinced that it is possible for the experts to "control" one's mind. To be exact, I just learned that false memories could be added to our brains and I decided to find more information about false memories.
As a result, I found an article from 'The New York Times', which was about Dr. Cornelia Wilbur and her female psychological patient, Shirley Mason. After a long time working with Mason, Dr. Wilbur teamed up with Flora Schreiber to write a book about Mason. The name of this book is "Sybil", which is also the name the writer chose for Mason. In the book, Sybil was believed to have 16 personalities; since the writer stated that Sybil had a serious mental problem, and that she had "multiple-personality disorder (MPD), also known today as dissociative-identity disorder". This claim, however, is completely wrong, because according to Herbert Spiegel, who treated Mason when Dr. Wilbur was out of town, Mason "asked him if he wanted her to switch to other personalities." When he questioned her about where she got that idea from, she told him that her regular doctor wanted her to exhibit alternative selves. Therefore we can easily see that Dr. Wilbur was trying to manipulate Mason to think that she had multiple-personality disorder by forcing Mason to act like many different people.
Furthermore, in the book, the writer also stated that Sybil had a psychopath mother. In fact, during Mason's treatment, Dr. Wilbur repeatedly tried to convince Mason of that idea by suggesting many negative facts as well as ask biased questions about Mason's mother, such as "What's Mama been doing to you, dear? . . . I know she gave you the enemas. And I know she filled your bladder up with cold water, and I know she used the flashlight on you, and I know she stuck the washcloth in your mouth, cotton in your nose so you couldn't breathe. . . . What else did she do to you? It's all right to talk about it now. . . . ". Thus, it obviously shows that Dr. Wilbur "was not exploring the truth, but rather planting the truth as she wanted it to be".
In conclusion, Dr. Wilbur used Mason in order to earn financial gains, as well as reputation by planting false memories to young Mason's mind. Through all of the information I just learned, a part of me now is convinced of the possibility of "mind-controlling". Nevertheless, it is extremely important to conduct further researches about this to ensure that "mind-controlling" or planting false memories are, in fact, true.


Thuc Huynh

Do You Remember?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

You have probably experienced a time where you were about to tell a funny story to your friend, but you stopped and asked, "I don't know if I told you this story already. Did I?" Or you were in the middle of telling a hilarious story and your friend suddenly said, "Yeah, you already told me this twice!"

We experience some kind of memory loss daily whether it be losing where we put our keys, forgetting if we locked our car doors, or suddenly failing to recall what we were about to say. This phenomenon is very strange considering that our memory can be extremely powerful in certain situations. For example, Rajan Mahadevan recalled up to more than 30,000th digits of pi. Then, only after several years, Hideaki Tomoyori of Japan recited about 40,000th digits of pi. These individuals exemplify that memory can be exceptionally potential.

Then why is it that we have the capability to remember so much, but we also forget about trivial activities like remembering a person's name or who we told the funny stories to? In order to find out an answer for this problem, we need to ask ourselves this question first: do we forget the things we tell people or do those memories don't even exist in the first place. In other words, are we actually losing the memory or do we even have that memory saved into our brain? For instance, when an individual is asked what time it is, he or she looks at the clock and is able to tell the exact time. However, when asked what the brand of the clock he or she just saw, he or she cannot answer. How come the person remembers the time, but not the brand when he or she just saw the clock? The key to this question is interest. The individual's interest was merely on what time it is, not what brand the clock is. Had the question been, what brand is the clock, he or she would have been able to answer the brand, but not the exact time. So perhaps, next time we tell a story to a friend, we should "remember" to "remember" the incident of telling the story because that is the only way to "remember" if we told the story to a friend or not.

In chapter 8 of Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding, the development of human communication and nonhuman animal communication are discussed at depth. Over the past few decades, many researchers have attempted to use similarities in human and nonhuman animal communication to teach human language to chimpanzees. Unfortunately, there were many limits. The chimpanzees required thousands of trials to learn, only communicated about food or other pleasures, and never mastered syntactic rules.

While no chimpanzee is going to be giving an eloquent speech anytime soon, we can compare and contrast similarities and differences in the communication of chimpanzees vs. humans. First, humans and chimpanzees handle aggression differently. For example, chimpanzees are known for showing their aggression in a violent manner: slapping the ground and producing harsh vocalizations to convey aggression. In contrast, humans are usually more controlled in their aggression expressions. This difference leads many to believe that humans are less aggressive than chimpanzees, however Darcia Narvaez, writer for Psychology Today, may beg to differ. After studying chimpanzees for over a decade, Narvaez realized that aggression in chimpanzees were never apparent until food supply challenged survival, suggesting that humans and chimpanzees are genetically equal in aggression. Therefore, this evidence refutes the misconception that chimpanzees are genetically prone to exemplify aggression more than humans, rather the natural evolutionary process allows both chimpanzees and humans to react to situations based on our culture, societies, and necessary survival.

Secondly, chimpanzees and humans are know for their differences in mating techniques. While humans subtlety flirt when seeking a mate, chimpanzees simply spread their legs out to expose their instrument to the opposite sex. Once again, this leads many to the misconception that humans and chimpanzees are very different in their mating communication, however there are many similarities. Humans and chimpanzees both view sexuality as a pleasurable event, however the difference lies in the moral context. Humans communicate morality into their sexual society in which multiple partners and same-sex partners are less common, as compared to chimpanzees.

In conclusion, humans and chimpanzees have evolved into very different species. However, when we take a closer look, we can find many communication similarities.

Matthew Barg

chimpanzee-photo.jpg

Violent media

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

One important finding for children is that media violence increases real world aggression. The research shows that the more often children are around violent T.V. or video games the more aggressive they become. If this is true we are creating more aggressive children and therefore adults which will make life more difficult in the future. This also means that we can make this a better place by censoring these forms of entertainment.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yx0X61jT5dw
However this is much difficult to prove. Even though the studies have shown that more violent media make children more aggressive, there are many factors that affect what children view. Some factors are parents, location, and friends. All these factors affect what children see on T.V. and what they play in video games. It is interesting to note that although video games have gotten argueably more violent since 2005 the violent crime rate has gone down significantly. It has gone from about 750 violent crimes out of 100,000 to a little over 450 out of 100,000 in 2010. This rate has not been seen since the mid 70's.

Patrick Dougan

Erasing Memories

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Memories can be a crippling thing for people. They can be especially traumatizing for soldiers of war. Many victims wish that they could simply forget the atrocities that took place on the battlefield and research is being conducted to help.

There are those that wonder if erasing memories from a person is ethical. Should people never know what having a painful memory is like? Could erasing or lessening the recollection of some memories have effects on other memories? Is some emotional strain in a person's life helpful? These questions are looking to be answered by researchers through testing and trials.

The reason our memories can be set so strongly in our minds is because of the release of the hormones of adrenaline and norepinephrine when we encounter stress. These hormones stimulate then stimulate protein receptors on nerve cells. Studies have been done by some psychologists to use medication to block the effects of adrenaline on protein receptors. The drug being used is called a "beta-blocker" which is usually prescribed to people with heart disease. The hopes of the tests are to soften or even end the effects of a horrific experience. The drug interferes with the way our brain re-creates our memories and can prevent the memory from occurring. Tests have shown that the effects are only reduced, even though some have been reduced significantly. This could help post-traumatic stress disorder victims immensely and could possibly cure them of their disorder.

Ethical issues that come in to play with this drug, and its effects, are those which most say should be handled with the individual. They could say what they believe is best for themselves and take the possible side effects into consideration. The study and tests do bring hopes of better days to many struggling people and their families.

Searching your brain for that one perfect word and it seemingly being nowhere in sight has haunted most all of us at some point in time. Being able to fully describe the meaning but having ability to grasp the correct word is a common phenomenon. The "Tip-of-the-tongue Phenomenon" that we learned in chapter 7 occurs when we attempt to retrieve a piece of stored information, but just can't seem to access it. Many retain the full ability to describe the word, often even being able to say what it starts with. Oftentimes, the person will immediately be able to recognize the trapped word upon the event that someone says the word out loud. Upon coming up with the trapped word, a sense of relief is often felt due to the fact that the word being on the tip of their tongue provided much anguish. I personally often am touched by the "Tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon" while attempting to tell a story. If often results in me talking in circles as I attempt to tell my friends what it sounds like and starts with hope of coming across my desired word. The frustration that is coupled with it can agonize me forever. In watching this video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T36I8Coiz64 the professor explains that allowing a word to stay on the tip of your tongue can actually be detrimental. She says that it is much better to just look up the word than agonize over it for a while. This is due to the fact that the "tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon" can be a learned behavior, which results in it occurring more frequently in the future.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

While reading Chapter 8 I was very interested in the research findings about speed-reading classes. I see these around campus all of the time! People hand out flyers that say "Improve your test scores and reading speed in just days!" But, as the article explains, scientists have found that the speed of your reading is inversely proportional to the amount of information you comprehend; the faster you read the more you miss. Your comprehension suffers enormously when you try and speed-read. At a college level, the average student reads 200-300 words per minutes, while these classes say they will improve your reading to 1000 or 2000 words per minute; a perfect example of an extraordinary claim.

Why do I think this is so important? I believe so because hundreds of students around campus spend their valuable money on useless classes that convince you to believe that they will teach you to effectively speed-read and improve your grades. Students tend to rely on anecdotal evidence rather than finding out what really happens when you speed-read. Students need to know that any speed over 400 words per minute is unhealthy for our comprehension and as a result, our ability to learn and maintain a solid GPA.
This applies to every one of us. Just recently I was crammed for a quiz in Biology and flew through my pre-lab readings before the quiz at a rate of well over 400 words per minutes. I was unaware that speed-reading was ineffective until reading chapter 8 in my psych book. My grade on the biology quiz suffered because of my inability to comprehend the information when I was speed-reading. It is extremely useless as I have found, and I think it is important for everyone else out there to know about it so that it saves him or her money and their grades in the long run. The time it takes to read something slowly is well worth it. I would really like to know more about the statistics and how much money students spend on these classes each and every year!


mban1553l.jpg

The book defines flashbulb memory as an "emotional memory that is extraordinarily vivid and detailed." After doing some research about this certain type of memory I came across the above youtube video. This video shows how flashbulb memory explicitly works by using new brain imaging techniques. This specific study conducted at New York University interviewed people that were near ground zero during the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. In using these new brain imaging techniques the team conducting this study found that the amygdala was only active in those who were nearest to ground zero on September 11. The amygdala is the part of the brain that sends us into "fight or flight mode" when we are threatened. This revealed that the people in which the amygdala was active not only retrieved the events that happened, but part of the emotional experience as well. This video argues that this mechanism in flashbulb memory is dependent on proximity to the event. These findings are important because it helps us to better understand how flashbulb memory works in the brain and what parts of the brain help us to store this memory and retrieve this memory. I too, vividly remember where I was and what I was doing on September 11, 2001 but I don't believe that my amygdala would be active when I recount the events of that day. What I do not understand is if these memories are emotional for everyone, why does proximity affect the activity in the amygdala? I do understand that flashbulb memories are basically vivid and detailed snapshots of events that trigger an emotional reaction but I do not understand how one's proximity to the event affects the amygdala in a different way if emotions are being invoked regardless. This study has given great insight to the way flashbulb memory works and does a good job explaining the process of how this type of memory is created.

"Imagine your childhood, events such as seeing Bugs Bunny at Disney World, the time you threw up from eating hard-boiled eggs which now causes your distaste for them, or even something much worse, being sexually abused by a trusted adult in your life. Now imagine all of those memories being completely and utterly false. They seemed so real, right? You distinctly remember touching Bugs Bunny's ear, the disgusting after-taste of the egg. That is the beauty of implanting false memories. The person doing the implanting only has a little amount of work to do before the subject takes that little bit of information and spins it into something completely of their on imagination.

That is what Leonardo DiCaprio did in the movie Inception, he took a thought, the thought of a son not being good enough to his father and implanted it into the mind of Robert Fischer. Robert Fischer then spun that thought into something much bigger which is exactly what Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Cobb, wanted him to do. He wanted Robert Fischer to think his father hated him so that he would in return hate his father and sell the family empire when his father finally died. The only problem was making Fischer think selling the family empire was his own idea which is where the inception came into play. Robert Fischer never thought his father hated him until it was implanted in his mind, just like a person thinking they saw Bugs Bunny at Disney World as a kid never thought they had that memory until they were shown a fake advertisement for Disney World with Bugs Bunny on it.- "

Angela Ouyang's Response:
"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, or whatever it is that you think you remember?" -- Elizabeth Loftus
I agree with the author of the inception post. Memory is but a constant vague internal rumor more precisely the word captures an aspect of memory perfectly. When we delve backwards, moments never return in their original clarity; they return as rumours of the original event. Faces have been switched, names deleted, words edited - sometimes it's as though we weren't even there. Is it possible for a counterfeit thought to be implanted so firmly into a person's memory that he honestly believes it is real?

In the movie Inception directed by Christopher Nolan, Cyrptomnesia was a constant reoccurring theme. Cyrptomnesia is the failure to recognize that our ideas originated with someone else. ( Chapter 7, 276) The characters in the movie were using suggestive techniques on each other to ignite cyprtomnesia. As a treacherous thief Leonardo DiCaprio implants thoughts into his wife and other characters as their own therefore the character begin to register with cyrptomnesia. Adding on, the concept on planting an idea into the mind displays what the entire movie resolves around. The goal of the team is to plant the idea in convincing the heir to an international conglomerate that he has had a brilliant inspiration -- to dismantle his father's business. Then the idea must evolve on it's own. It's interesting to see how concepts of psychology are brought into pop culture . However, Elizabeth Loftus introduced this concept with the "Lost Mall" embedded into the minds of her participants that the traumatic event actually occurred. The participants responded, some vividly in great detail of the event. Planting the seed of an idea and allowing the mind to inspire and creatively create a story to finishing the memory-thus similar to a rumor.-Angela Ouyang
http://mimg.ugo.com/201007/50179/cillian-murphy-inception.jpg

perfume.jpg

At a psychology discussion, we had made our own advertisement and had learned how it works. This activity and reading let me understand why there are hot women, funny stories, or colorfulness in advertisements. To attract consumers, most advertising companies use the classical conditioning. The classical conditioning is a form of learning in which paring two stimuli repeatedly ends up having similar or the same response unconsciously. In the case of advertisement, products are conditioned stimulus, and generally attractive things are unconditioned stimulus. By repeatedly watching the products with attractive things that bring arousal or excitement, we eventually feel the same excitement or arousal by solely seeing the products, leading us to buy it.

For example, in the Coca-Cola commercial, linked below, conditioned stimulus is the coke, and unconditioned stimulus is the view of beach and hot men and women. The view and hot people make us feel excitement and refreshment, which is unconditioned response. By repeatedly showing this ad on TV, they eventually make conditioned response, which is feeling of excitement and refreshment from solely seeing the coke at markets. The Coca-Cola advertisement is using the classical conditioning to make TV watcher more likely to buy their products.

However, do all advertisements use the classical conditioning? When I was looking for proper advertisement example, I found that some advertisements are descriptive to inform us more about them. Usually local advertisements use descriptive advertisement because most people don't even know where the store is. The second link below is an example that does not use the classical conditioning much.

http://youtu.be/bg_zxsxyKyM
http://youtu.be/vayEEMLMUN8

Did that really happen?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

How could someone persuade themselves into thinking their own father raped them, became part of a Satanic cult, or even ate babies? This is what psychologist Elizabeth Loftus was confused about when she began studying implanted false memories. The distorted memories aren't always as severe as the ones I before mentioned, for example changing the color of a car or adding a building into the memory. After multiple studies, Loftus concluded that when suggestively being interrogated or read media coverage on a memory we have, our memories become distorted. What gets even trickier is when a person plants an entirely new memory in their brain where no similar event ever happened. In one study Loftus and her associate Jaqueline Pickrell were successfully able to plant a memory in the minds of the participants of being lost in a shopping mall when they were a child. In reality this never happened, but 68% of the participants recalled a memory of the false memory. Imagination seems to be the key to creating false memories. If told of an event, your imagination takes the event into its own hands and creates a memory. As time passes the memory becomes more and more familiar until specific details are filled. The more familar it becomes, the more the imagination is transferred into childhood memories. When real memories meet suggestive events, false memories are constructed. The youtube video is on Elizabeth Loftus' false memory experiment with the shopping mall. You can see the participant recalling a memory that never happened to him.

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

Source:
Loftus, Elizabeth. "Creating False Memories." UW Faculty Web Server. Web. 23 Oct. 2011. .


Do you ever wish you had control over someone's actions? Well there is a simple, yet long, process you can use to mold behavior. It is called Operant Conditioning. The basis of Operant Conditioning is "learning controlled by the consequences of an organism's behavior". Most behaviors in Operant Conditioning are controlled by Positive or Negative Reinforcement/Punishment.
Say you wanted your roommate to clean the room every day. If you were to use Positive Reinforcement you may give him/her ten dollars for every time they clean (providing a stimulus to strengthen output behavior). You could also use Negative Reinforcement by doing their homework while they clean (taking away a stimulus to strengthen output behavior). Maybe your roommate is lazy; you could use Positive Punishment by spanking him/her until he/she stopped being lazy and started cleaning (presenting a stimulus to decrease a behavior). Using Negative Punishment you could take away the remote to the television so your roommate stops being lazy and in turn starts cleaning (removing a stimulus to decrease behavior). Even though there are the words Positive and Negative it does not mean that something good or bad is happening.
Knowing this concept can be helpful in many ways. Often times Reinforcement and Punishment are used to help children learn discipline. But there are clear disadvantages depending how you use each system. You could condition a child to do wrong things by promoting what they do with Reinforcements. Even worse is how people use Punishment. Like my example above about spanking, abuse and physical harm will often raise the risk of the child becoming abusive when they are older. So if a child is rude at the table, a spanking may be counter-protective in the long run. It would be better to take away a toy or put a child in timeout until they understand what they did wrong. The main issue is how to use these techniques when trying to shape a behavior of someone or something.

Here is a clip from the television show The Big Bang Theory, they talk about using Operant Conditioning in the episode. BUT there is something wrong around minute 4:03 in the clip. There is not a clear understanding of punishment and reinforcement...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euINCrDbbD4&feature=related

Sorry about having no video! Youtube would not let me embed this video clip

Teaching babies sign language is starting to become a common trend among upcoming families. According the Lilienfeld text, sign language is a type of language developed by members of the deaf community that allows them to use visual rather than auditory communication. Unlike spoken language, sign language uses a variety of tactics such and using hands, face, and body. There are three major misconceptions about sign language and I was a believer of two of these until I was proven wrong. The first misconception is that sign language is just hand gestures for each English word. In actuality American Sign language has no resemblance to spoken English. Sign Language is a linguistic system of communication with its own grammar parts. I was fooled by this misconception when I first came to college. Being that I was in CLA and I needed to take at least one semester of a foreign language I decided to take American Sign Language because I thought it would be just be signs for English. I quickly soon discovered that I was wrong. The second misconception in sign language is that not all deaf people need to sign because they can lip read. I was fooled by this misconception as well, but I blame it on the ABC TV series switched at birth in which a deaf girl goes to school without an interpreter and she reads the lips of her teachers and classmates. However, I learned both in our text and in my American Sign Language class that only 30-35% of the spoken language is visible to the eye. The third misconception in sign language is that learning to sign slows down deaf children's ability to learn to speak. This misconception was the reason why deaf education programs tried to prevent deaf children from learning to sign because they feared that the deaf children would never learn how to verbally speak. After much research, it is known that learning sign language actually speeds up the process of learning to speak. The main question is what did I learn from this? I learned not to believe what you see on TV.

Mirror Neurons

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes


"Ouch! That's hurt!" - automatically felt and thought by you after watching the short video posted above. Do you ever wonder why you are capable of feeling the emotions that other people are going through just by observing their situations? Recently, neuroscientists have identified a potential physiological basis for this phenomenon: the mirror neurons.

Photobucket

Mirror neurons, which are cells in the prefrontal cortex that becomes activated by specific motions when an animal both performs and observes that action, was first discovered by a research with monkeys, led by Giacomo Rizzolatti - a neuroscientist at the University of Parma, Italy. Following the lead, researchers have identified a similar system of mirror neurons in humans by employing PET scanning.

No neuroscientist can really explain the reason why mirror neurons are present in our brain and what roles they play. However, studies show that when we watch a baseball player grimacing after a bruising slide into home plate, we instinctively and immediately feel his pain, "because the mirror neurons that correspond to the neurons in his motor areas are becoming activated." This fact suggests that these neurons play a crucial role in empathy.

Photobucket

In addition to allowing us to feel the emotional states of other people, mirror neurons also enable us to emulate their movements. As explained by Dr. Marco Iacoboni - a neuroscientist at UCLA, who studies mirror neurons, "when you see me perform an action - such as picking up a baseball - you automatically simulate the action in your own brain. Nevertheless, circuits in your brain, which we do not yet entirely understand, inhibit you from moving while you simulate." This detail implies that mirror neurons may also contribute to our ability of observational learning, in which we learn to do a task by simply watching others performing it.

To sum up, the reason of mirror neurons' present in our brains and its functions remain to be an enigma. In spite of that, it does not prevent us from appreciating the fact that we feel as much exhilarating as the football player, who scores a goal, because his mirror neurons and ours are lighting up simultaneously.

Cells That Read Minds _The New York Times

Ngoc Nguyen

Mnemonics

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

The majority of things in a person's every day life are not stored in memory. The storage of memory is a process that can be broken down into three steps. First a memory is encoded, then it is stored, and the last process is retrieval. Encoding is the process of transferring something to memory. Because it is not possible for someone to encode every detail of every memory, how can someone focus on encoding specific details? The use of mnemonic devices can help encode things to memory. A mnemonic can help an individual recall information by using a strategy of some sort. I think this is an important concept because it helps people remember certain things they need to know easier. An example of a mnemonic could be remembering the word "HOMES" so encoding Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior as the Great Lakes is easier. A real life example I have used before is when I was first learning guitar, my instructor gave me a simple way of remembering the string names in order. The string order goes EBGDAE, so my instructor taught me the mnemonic "Eat Bacon Go Dancing And Exercise." Although today I know the names of the strings without using this mnemonic that I learned years ago, it is still something that I have encoded and I will always remember it.

Grace Eicher

Lucid Dreaming

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Have you ever realized you were dreaming, in a dream. This concept is called lucid dreaming. This concept states that during ones dream, were able to realize were dreaming. This usually happens when we have such a bizarre dream and realize that this could never happen in real life. We have been told that this concept is rare and doesn't occur often. However, people have said it's something we can control. In a dream there are no boundaries, if we were able to control are dreams we would be able to use the full potential of our brains. People have said lucid dreams have lead to the creativity of some extraordinary things. This video gives a brief explanation on this concept of being able to control lucid dreaming.

In this video they have created a device to help let you know when your dreaming. It monitors your rapid eye movement and give a flash of night when your have enter a dream state.

Being able to control your lucid dream demonstrates one of the scientific principles. It demonstrates the extraordinary claims principle. I have not heard of anyone being able to control this concept of lucid dreaming. Extraordinary claims involves extraordinary evidence to back up the concept. Studies have found certain techniques to help induce lucid dreaming, but research shows that you can have complete control over lucid dreaming.

Spencer Overgaard

Lucid Dreaming

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Have you ever realized you were dreaming, in a dream. This concept is called lucid dreaming. This concept states that during ones dream, were able to realize were dreaming. This usually happens when we have such a bizarre dream and realize that this could never happen in real life. We have been told that this concept is rare and doesn't occur often. However, people have said it's something we can control. In a dream there are no boundaries, if we were able to control are dreams we would be able to use the full potential of our brains. People have said lucid dreams have lead to the creativity of some extraordinary things. This video gives a brief explanation on this concept of being able to control lucid dreaming.

In this video they have created a device to help let you know when your dreaming. It monitors your rapid eye movement and give a flash of night when your have enter a dream state.

Being able to control your lucid dream demonstrates one of the scientific principles. It demonstrates the extraordinary claims principle. I have not heard of anyone being able to control this concept of lucid dreaming. Extraordinary claims involves extraordinary evidence to back up the concept. Studies have found certain techniques to help induce lucid dreaming, but research shows that you can have complete control over lucid dreaming.

Lucid Dreaming

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Have you ever realized you were dreaming, in a dream. This concept is called lucid dreaming. This concept states that during ones dream, were able to realize were dreaming. This usually happens when we have such a bizarre dream and realize that this could never happen in real life. We have been told that this concept is rare and doesn't occur often. However, people have said it's something we can control. In a dream there are no boundaries, if we were able to control are dreams we would be able to use the full potential of our brains. People have said lucid dreams have lead to the creativity of some extraordinary things. This video gives a brief explanation on this concept of being able to control lucid dreaming.

In this video they have created a device to help let you know when your dreaming. It monitors your rapid eye movement and give a flash of night when your have enter a dream state.

Being able to control your lucid dream demonstrates one of the scientific principles. It demonstrates the extraordinary claims principle. I have not heard of anyone being able to control this concept of lucid dreaming. Extraordinary claims involves extraordinary evidence to back up the concept. Studies have found certain techniques to help induce lucid dreaming, but research shows that you can have complete control over lucid dreaming.

Just keep trying! Practice makes perfect. We have heard this phrase almost every week in our lives, but is this statement actually true? When in highschool playing tennis, my coach would always have me repeat a certain form i needed to master. By continuously repeating those motions I eventually became better at that specific form.
Rehersal is when extend the duration of information. There are also two types of rehersal, maintenance rehersal and elaborative rehearsal. Maintanence rehersal is when repeat something over and over again until it has been memorized. We often use maintanence rehearsal when remembering phone numbers or names. As for elaborative rehearsal it normally takes more effort because you remember it by linking other occurences or information to something.
People that often have trouble remembering information doesn't always mean that they have a bad memory, they just might have selective hearing. To contain information you often have to have interest or drive in learning new information. Short-term memory isn't always the answer to lean toward when not remembering something someone has told you.

This video shows how catchy music and repetition can be helpful for kids when learning math.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hba69Y8UJ80

Saron Theodros

How Shamu learned his tricks

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Millions of spectators go to see the amazing tricks that trainers have taught the animals at SeaWorld for years. These tricks seem extremely impressive to an outside eye, but they are really just learned traits through the psychological practice of shaping. Shaping is a step-by-step learning process where one progressively reinforces behaviors that come closer and closer to a target behavior. At SeaWorld an animal is reinforced for each successive approximation toward the final goal of the trick they wish to perform. The video below shows a trainer training dolphins and talking about positive reinforcements that are used for shaping at SeaWorld.

I find it amazing how the animals and humans are able to work so well together and how this whole idea was originally created at the University of Minnesota. The theory of shaping was first found by B.F. Skinner and his colleagues Marian and Keller Breland who started the first dolphin show in 1955 in Florida. The Breland's worked closely with Bob Bailey on many other underwater shows and then went on to work directly with the U.S. Navy in an interesting Marine Mammal Program. The Breland's success in studying shaping with animals has created much enjoyment for families and created many tight bonds between humans and animals.

Genuinely Mistaken

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

DNA testing has saved almost seventy-five percent of prisoners from being falsely identified by eyewitnesses. Today 255 prisoners have been released from prison due to their DNA not matching that of the criminal. It is difficult for an eyewitness to give a proper description unless there were good lighting conditions, the perpetrator was not wearing a disguise, or little time had passed since the crime was committed. Additionally, eyewitness testimony is believed to be less accurate if they are describing a race other than their own, when they talk to other witnesses or if the crime put them at high stress. The eyewitness lineup is thought to be faulty as well considering the victim will usually pick the person who looks the most similar to the actual criminal.

In 1984 a man broke into Jennifer Thompson's apartment and raped her. While the rape was occurring, Jennifer promised herself she would stay alert and remember a detailed imagery of the man. She was able to get free and went to the police immediately where she gave them a description of the man. Not too long after, Jennifer was asked to look at a sequential line up of half a dozen men. During this line up she identified Ronald Cotton as the man who had raped her. She claimed there was absolutely no doubt in her mind he was the one. But there was just one problem, the man who had indeed raped her, was not in the line up at all. After spending eleven years in prison, Cotton was released after a DNA testing that proved Bobby Poole was the perpetrator. Thompson was not the only one who fell victim to the sequential line up, this was common in many of the cases of the 255 prisoners who were eventually released. Can the justice system not trust eyewitnesses at all? What does this information mean in terms of the death penalty? For more information on the Thompson case watch these videos:

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5153451n&tag=contentBody;storyMediaBox
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5153459n&tag=contentBody;storyMediaBox

Michaela Doud

I found this article recently, and thought it was really interesting.

Researchers gave 33 individuals, ranging in age from 12 to 16, an IQ test in 2004. They then gave those same individuals an IQ test again 4 years later, when their ages ranged from 16 to 20. The results they found may change the way we view learning.

The IQ of the participants had changed. Some had increased their scores, and some had lower scores. Some scores changed by almost 20 points! And 20 points is a major change. If the participant had started with a score of 109 and as and ended with a score of 129, they would have changed from average intelligence, according to the Stanford-Binet scale, to a person of very superior intelligence. And that is a big change.

curve.jpg
The picture shows the curve of the intelligence scale.

Researchers aren't sure what the differences of the changes are quite yet, but they have some ideas. They believe it might have to do with what we learn, or it could have to do with some people being intellectual "late bloomers."

Whatever the case, this is big news because, before this study, people had thought that IQ remained almost constant throughout life. Now, with the findings of this study, and more research, we may find that this isn't the case. Of course one study isn't going to cause the entire psychological community to toss out the reigning idea that IQ is constant, but hopefully this can open up more research and help to see if we can really improve our IQ's.

Anterograde Amnesia

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Our textbook defines anterograde amnesia as the "inability to encode new memories from our experiences." Damage to the hippocampus is the main cause of this form of amnesia, and those who suffer from its disorder are unable to transfer concepts from the short-term memory to their long-term memory. This means that once a person is diagnosed with this form of amnesia, they are unable to gain new intelligence, such as how to play a new game because they will soon forget that they were taught the game. This interests psychologists because it demonstrates the important role the hippocampus plays in transferring short-term memories into long-term memories. the-amnesia-gene_1.jpgWhen it is damaged, the result is no long-term storage of new information. For example, in lecture we viewed a video about a Mr. Clive Wearing who suffered from anterograde amnesia. It was evident that his memory could only recollect new information for a few moments. He owned a journal and very frequently he would document what he thought was his awakening because he believed that he was asleep until that very second. Hundreds of times a day he would write down that he had just awakened, and deny that the writings prior were recorded by him. On the other hand, it was proven that his long-term memory was still intact when his wife would visit him at the institution and he would recognize her immediately, greet her, and repeatedly confess his love for her.
The concept of amnesia can commonly be found in popular movies and television shows. In the film 50 First Dates, a man would try to win the heart of the girl he loved, but every night she would fall sleep and her recollection of ever meeting him would disappear. The female character suffered from anterograde amnesia. This disorder is well established within the psychological community because the symptoms and causes for it have been replicated many times in many other cases of people who have suffered from a hippocampus injury.

What just happened?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Amnesia is a serious problem for those affected by it. It creates a state of confusion. How did I get here? What was I doing? But it also is very hard on those around someone with amnesia. It can become tiresome and difficult reminding the person of things, especially if the amnesia is severe.

One of my favorite movies from my childhood, Finding Nemo has a very good example of what sever amnesic syndromes can be like. In fact I found an article by the BBC News praising the movie for its accurate portrayal. (That article can be found here.) In the movie, a blue fish named Dory has extreme difficulty retaining information. In the article, Dr. Baxendale of the National Society for Epilepsy is quoted calling Dory's behavior "an accurate portrayal of the considerable memory difficulties faced daily by people with profound amnesiac syndromes." The clip below is from the movie.

As you can see, Dory forgets things within 20 seconds if nothing acts as a reminder to her. She can't remember Marlin (the clown fish) after swimming away for a few seconds. She becomes confused why someone would be following her. When she is reminded why she is being followed she is apologetic, feeling that her amnesia is something to be ashamed of. Meanwhile Marlin grows impatient with her, becoming frustrated by her inability to perform a simple task of giving someone directions.

On the other hand she does remember that she saw a boat earlier, indicating that some things can move into long term memory. She also remembers her family and that they have the condition too, but she cannot remember where they are or what happened to them.

Dr. Baxendale pointed out that one of the most important things about the portrayal is that Dory did not lose her personality with the amnesia. She is consistently spunky rather than changing as a person between instances of forgetfulness. Many movies depict amnesia as changing the fundamental personality of the individual, where generally this is not the case. Example of this would be the movie Overboard and the television show "Tom and Jerry."

Movies are a very large part of how people view amnesia. We generally don't see many people with a severe case in everyday life. I'm glad that Finding Nemo accurately portrays amnesiac syndromes unlike other movies and television shows that give the wrong impression to watchers.

Brandon Budnicki
Budn0019

The Stroop Effect

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes


Reading is something that becomes an automatic process; it doesn't consume our attentional resources. This means that you can easily read this blog while walking, eating something or petting an animal. A well known demonstration of this idea that reading is automatic is The Stroop Effect, which was invented by J. Ridley Stroop. The Stroop test lists the names of colors that are written in a different color. The goal is to say what color the words are written in as fast as possible.
stroop_effect.gif

This Stroop test shown above starts with words that are written in the correct color that matches the meaning of the word. However once you go down a few lines you realize that the color of the words are now not the same as the word meaning and it makes the task of identifying the color much more difficult. The interesting part of The Stroop test is that children are much better at it then adults. This is probably because children do not read as much as adults so when asked to identify the color they can focus in on the color and ignore the words.
Today The Stroop test is used on people who climb mountains to judge the effects on their brain, because the Stroop effect becomes more pronounced when a person is exhausted. This means that it is being used to help find out the ways in which different mental health issues physically affect the brain.
Overall I think that The Stroop Effect is something that will always be interesting. It is an easy test that takes less than a minute, and anyone, young or old, can try the Stroop test and will be interesting in their results. When I tried the Stroop task shown above, it took me about 32 seconds to finish.

An example of a control and test group doing the Stroop test

www.youtube.com:watch?v=usi_fL0SxRo.webloc

Anne Schneider

Sit Back and Watch

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Billions of dollars goes into the business of advertising every year. The reason for this is very simple; advertising works! Advertisements are used to sell people everything from toothpaste to cars. How does advertising work though? The answer to this question is as easy as one word, memory! Advertisers use advertisements on consumers to relay a message that the consumer will then remember when they encounter the advertised product and hopefully make them buy the product.

Although all advertisements work in this manner, not all are evaluated the same way. A good example is online advertising. Most ad companies measure the effectiveness of online advertisements by how many hits or "clicks" the ad records over a certain amount of time. A new study out claims that this is not the best way to measure the effectiveness of online ads.

Professor Yu at the University of Kentucky backs his claim with the discussion of topics of implicit and explicit memory. Implicit memory is the memory of something that we automatically can recall without even thinking about it, in other words unconscious memory. Explicit memory on the other hand is memory that we have to work hard at to keep for an extended period of time and contain memories we are all aware we posses. Explicit memory can also be called conscious memory.

Professor Yu's claims that because we use both explicit and implicit memory when we observe ads on the internet one can not judge their effectiveness purely by looking at how many hits the ad received. Consumers view online ads like all other ads they see, passively. One does not interact with a car commercial or newspaper ad for McDonalds. Consumers simply view these ads and they are seen as effective. Yu says that advertisers should take this same approach towards online ads. Internet advertisements may be just as effective as other ads whether or not anyone clicks on them. they may be effective just because someone viewed them.

Advertisements are just another form of media and, like all media, are meant to be absorbed through the senses. This does not necessarily mean that they need to be interacted with, it just means they need to be experienced. Once an ad is experienced it is remembered for memories are nothing more than a compilation of past lessons and experiences.

Ian Peters

http://www.technologyreview.com/Biztech/19275/

Narco"sleepy"lepsy

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

sleepymanG1405_468x308.jpg

What is Narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is a sleeping disorder in which episodes of sudden sleep are experienced. These episodes last from few seconds to several minutes. They can last up to an hour (less frequently). These "sleep attacks" can happen at any moment. Strong emotions- such as surprise, excitement, laughter, and even sexual intercourse- may set off a sleep episode.
Narcolepsy is tied closely with Orexin.

What is Orexin?

Orexin is a hormone that plays a vital role in Narcolepsy. Research indicates that people with Narcolepsy have abnormally FEW brain cells that produce Orexin.

F2.medium.gif
"Amino acid sequence of human orexin-A and orexin-B. The orexin-A amino acid sequence is identical in humans, sheep, pigs, rats, and mice. Human orexin-B differs from that of pigs, rats, and mice for two amino acid substitutions in 2 and 18 positions (arrows). Identical amino acids between orexin-A and orexin-B are shadowed."
Source: http://pharmrev.aspetjournals.org/content/58/1/46.full

What is Cataplexy?

Cataplexy is a complete loss of muscle tone. In healthy people, it occurs during REM sleep to prevent us from acting out our dreams (which could be very dangerous). In Narcolepsy, when experiencing Cataplexy, the person stays alert the whole time.

Narcolepsy and Everyday Life
One might ask, "Why is Narcolepsy studied in a psychology class?"
The answer to that is, Narcolepsy is a serious disorder that can be life-changing.
A person with Narcolepsy may be considered "handicapped" when it comes to life. This disorder may be career threatening, as the person with it falls asleep at random times.

At a more biological perspective: if there is a predator, it is crucial that the person can escape. But how would that be possible if the intense emotion triggers sleep?
Perhaps it is because of that reason that we don't see many animals in the wild with the disorder--survival of the fittest.

Study on Mice and Orexin

http://web.as.uky.edu/biology/faculty/ohara/Bio507spring2010/Student%20Articles/Mouse-Narcolepsy-Cell%20paper.pdf

Summary: A study done on mice to observe the neurons containing the neuropeptide orexin which send axons to regions throughout the central nervous system, helped propose that orexin regulates the sleep/wakefulness states; and "knockout" mice (mice that fall asleep suddenly; that knock out) can be a model for human narcolepsy.

An Example of A Narcoleptic Episode
Here is a video of a Narcoleptic dog named Skeeter:

Video Summary: This Doggie became sleepy from anything exciting- including food. This shows how Narcolepsy can be dangerous.

Anna Shrifteylik
Section 12

In the classic Disney film, Cinderella, the title character sings "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes." And Cindy wasn't the only German to believe so: Father of psychology Sigmund Freud, agreed too. In fact, he theorized that one's dreams reflect the internal wishes and urges of the dreamer.
If this is so why do human beings also dream things outside of the usual desire spectrum. One does not only dream in fancy cars and supermodels; our dreams also play hosts to mundane meals at all-night cafeterias that only serve floating blue food, or a replay of the previous day's events taking place on a sitcom stage, or a teddy bear covered in blood chasing you down a flight of stairs that leads to a boiling lake of acid. Do we lust after the contents of these nightly performances?
An argument against Freud's view, is the Biopsychological Approach. In this case, some scientist believe that dreams begin with biological activity of the brain. This is he foundation of the three major modern theories of dreaming (as stated in our text): *ACTIVATION-SYNTHESIS THEORY: The forebrain tries to interpret meaningless signals from the brain stem, usually the PONS. *REDUCED ACTIVITY THEORY: The idle prefontal cortex produces emotional, illogical dreams. *NEUROCOGNATIVE THEORY: Dreams depend on our COGNITIVE and VISUOSPATIAL abilities.
In lay terms, dreams are the product of random chemical changes and metabolizations in our heads.
What's your view? Do we dream to flesh out a wish list? Or do we dream just because we can?

Dopamine & Opioid

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes


When we travel overseas, we are very excited right before leaving on a trip. When we do gambling we cannot stop doing it easily. We can get a pleasure only in the anticipation of experiencing new world and hitting the jackpot. The anticipation is closely related with "dopamine" and "opioid" in our brain.
UGENWebsitepicturesTopStoriesOct2010Oct13_2010_18474187_NeuronBlueRedRotated500px_AlkermesVivitrolGetsFDAOkay2378511642.jpg
Dopamine is commonly associated with the reward system of the brain, providing feelings of enjoyment and reinforcement to motivate a person proactively to perform certain activities. Dopamine is released (particularly in areas such as the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex) by rewarding experiences such as food, sex, drugs, and neutral stimuli. An opioid is a chemical that works by binding to opioid receptors, which are found principally in the central and peripheral nervous system. Opioids have an analgesic (painkiller) effects that decrease perception of pain, decrease reaction to pain as well as increase pain tolerance.

Kent Berridge and research team at the University of Michigan did comparative experiment with rats without dopamine system and opioid system. The result was that rats with only dopamine system did not feel pleasure. Berridge proposed a distinction between desire and pleasure. The dopamine system appears to encode desire while the opioid system is closer to pleasure. It just looks like dopamine plays critical role in pleasure because it is closely related with opioid system. Sometimes we can get a pleasure only in an anticipation and a desire due to a function of dopamine and opioid.

sonam kim

inception12.jpg

Imagine your childhood, events such as seeing Bugs Bunny at Disney World, the time you threw up from eating hard-boiled eggs which now causes your distaste for them, or even something much worse, being sexually abused by a trusted adult in your life. Now imagine all of those memories being completely and utterly false. They seemed so real, right? You distinctly remember touching Bugs Bunny's ear, the disgusting after-taste of the egg. That is the beauty of implanting false memories. The person doing the implanting only has a little amount of work to do before the subject takes that little bit of information and spins it into something completely of their on imagination.

That is what Leonardo DiCaprio did in the movie Inception, he took a thought, the thought of a son not being good enough to his father and implanted it into the mind of Robert Fischer. Robert Fischer then spun that thought into something much bigger which is exactly what Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Cobb, wanted him to do. He wanted Robert Fischer to think his father hated him so that he would in return hate his father and sell the family empire when his father finally died. The only problem was making Fischer think selling the family empire was his own idea which is where the inception came into play. Robert Fischer never thought his father hated him until it was implanted in his mind, just like a person thinking they saw Bugs Bunny at Disney World as a kid never thought they had that memory until they were shown a fake advertisement for Disney World with Bugs Bunny on it.

http://www.denverpost.com/evidence/ci_6453428

While many claim to have perfect memory however in light of crime technology, the falsification of this claim is becoming more apparent all the time. Specifically speaking the issue at hand is the topic of eyewitness testimonies and DNA testing. Since the introducing DNA testing 216 prisoners have been proven innocent, including the man in the article posted above who was released due to DNA from a cigarette. These shocking results put into question many eyewitness testimonies and memories of victims. Many victims, unless seeing their assailant in perfect visual conditions such as lighting and time, don't produce a very accurate description of their attacker's appearance. Another key proponent of these errors in memory is the fact that many victims struggle to accurately remember or describe an attacker which is of a different race than their own. Also speaking to other witness has its own affect in shaping memories. When victims feel threatened, which is the case for many of these situations, they are also less likely to provide accurate interpretations of the situation as well as identification of the guilty party. The phenomenon of weapon focus is a perfect example of a case in which descriptions are distorted. In this phenomenon people tend describe assailants inaccurately when a weapon is present, as the victim generally pays much more attention to the weapon instead of the appearance of their attacker. Also to note is the tendency for people to believe the accusations of a victim over those of the accused. Many measures are being taken to limit these wrongful convictions including a different process of picking the perpetrator. Instead of doing mass line-ups where victims often subconsciously feel obligated to pick a person out of the line, they are beginning to conduct sequential line-ups where victims view a single person at a time, usually in photos. Psychologists judiciary official continue to try and produce new ways to reduce false convictions as it serves as a bad mark against our judicial system.

David Murdock

The seven sins of memory is an analogy thought up by Daniel Schacter to convey problems that can lead to a host of memory errors. Our memories generally work well and are fairly accurate however they aren't perfect.

The first sin of memory is Suggestibility. This "sin" depicts that following events, leading questions, and explicit information, misleading information and suggestions can increase our belief that something happened when it didn't.

Misattribution suggests that we can be lead to link incorrect sources to memories with suggestions. An example of this would be trying to remember an event you've done with someone and they suggest when it happened. Then you clearly remember that they're right, yet you could have misattributed that event to the time because it was suggested and become convinced that it is correct even though it may not be.

Everyone should be familiar with the next sin, bias. Bias is when you expect something to happen based on our schemas or stereotypes. These bias's can effect our memory in the fashion that we remember things that did not actually occur. As an example, do you have a friend who is clumsy? Now, if you try to remember hanging out with them at the park and they in actuality only fell down once you may have constructed memories of them falling every five minutes! Due to your stereotype of them being clumsy you misremembered them falling more than they actually did.

Transience is our memories, both short and long term, fading as we age. One good example of this is with your parents or grandparents. They obviously can't remember as much about their schooling as you do because of how long ago it was but have you ever told them something only to have them ask again twenty minutes later? That is a nice example of their short term memory fading because of transience.

Persistence can be described by a quote from William Faulkner. "The past is never dead; it's not even past." Can you think of a misfortunate event that has happened to you? Something that isn't really that big of a deal yet you can't get over it? If so this is an example of persistence. Here is an extreme example of persistence depicted by MAD TV.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdTVDrVPNEI&feature=related

Things like having your parking spot "stolen" can lead you to have persisting memories that linger in your mind for day, weeks, and can even effect your ability to sleep!
Blocking is when you suddenly forget what you had intended to say. A perfect depiction of this is the Tip of the Tonuge Phenomenon, which is as it sounds when you can't recall something as if it's on the tip of your tounge.

The last of the seven sins of memory is Absentmindedness. This is when we forget things such as appointments or important times when we are distracted or it's late at night and were tired. Have you ever been distracted either day dreaming or lost in the internet and realized your class stared ten minutes ago?! That would be an example of absentmindedness.

-Nathan Bourgeois

The seven sins of memory is an analogy thought up by Daniel Schacter to convey problems that can lead to a host of memory errors. Our memories generally work well and are fairly accurate however they aren't perfect.
The first sin of memory is Suggestibility. This "sin" depicts that following events, leading questions, and explicit information, misleading information and suggestions can increase our belief that something happened when it didn't.
Misattribution suggests that we can be lead to link incorrect sources to memories with suggestions. An example of this would be trying to remember an event you've done with someone and they suggest when it happened. Then you clearly remember that they're right, yet you could have misattributed that event to the time because it was suggested and become convinced that it is correct even though it may not be.
Everyone should be familiar with the next sin, bias. Bias is when you expect something to happen based on our schemas or stereotypes. These bias's can effect our memory in the fashion that we remember things that did not actually occur. As an example, do you have a friend who is clumsy? Now, if you try to remember hanging out with them at the park and they in actuality only fell down once you may have constructed memories of them falling every five minutes! Due to your stereotype of them being clumsy you misremembered them falling more than they actually did.
Transience is our memories, both short and long term, fading as we age. One good example of this is with your parents or grandparents. They obviously can't remember as much about their schooling as you do because of how long ago it was but have you ever told them something only to have them ask again twenty minutes later? That is a nice example of their short term memory fading because of transience.
Persistence can be described by a quote from William Faulkner. "The past is never dead; it's not even past." Can you think of a misfortunate event that has happened to you? Something that isn't really that big of a deal yet you can't get over it? If so this is an example of persistence. Here is an extreme example of persistence depicted by MAD TV.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdTVDrVPNEI&feature=related

Things like having your parking spot "stolen" can lead you to have persisting memories that linger in your mind for day, weeks, and can even effect your ability to sleep!
Blocking is when you suddenly forget what you had intended to say. A perfect depiction of this is the Tip of the Tonuge Phenomenon, which is as it sounds when you can't recall something as if it's on the tip of your tounge.
The last of the seven sins of memory is Absentmindedness. This is when we forget things such as appointments or important times when we are distracted or it's late at night and were tired. Have you ever been distracted either day dreaming or lost in the internet and realized your class stared ten minutes ago?! That would be an example of absentmindedness.

-Nathan Bourgeois

Narcolepsy

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes


Narcolepsy is a sleeping disorder characterized by the rapid and often unexpected onset of sleep. This disorder causes people to experience sleep lasting a few seconds to several minutes, and in rare cases a few hours. While it takes normal sleepers hours to enter REM sleep, narcoleptic sufferers enter REM immediately. This has caused many researchers to believe that narcolepsy is from a sleep-wake cycle that is severely thrown off.
People with this disorder are at risk of falling asleep at any given moment. They are also at risk for cataplexy which is a complete loss of muscle tone. This can lead to people falling and injuring themselves. People are most likely to endure a narcoleptic episode after they experience strong emotions or sexual intercourse.
It has been found that genetic abnormalities and traumatic brain damage lead to the development of narcolepsy.
Sufferers can take medication known as modafinil which promotes wakefulness and is effective in treating narcolepsy.
While I have never met anyone with this disorder, I have seen several examples in movies and TV shows, showing the bizarre effects of this disorder.
The clip below was taken from the movie Rat Race. One of the characters in the movie suffers from narcolepsy. This is a humorous example of the disorder.



Danielle Spizzirri

Baby Sign Language

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Sign language is a language developed by people in a deaf community for means of communicating visually instead of auditory. It has its own phonemes, syntax, words, and extralinguistic information. Sign language has its own dialect in different countries, as well. This shows there are many variations of sign language but what is baby sign language? It is a growing fad of parents teaching their hearing babies to sign to show what they want, or how they feel. Below is a picture of a baby signing that she is hungry. Baby sign language claims to have its advantage but information in our psychology book seems to point that it would have no advantage.
Photobucket
Baby sign language is becoming increasing popular among new parents. There are hundreds of books and websites teaching parents how to teach their babies to sign. Websites like The Parent Site put ideas in parents heads, but they do not provide the research behind them to back them up. It says that if you teach your hearing baby to sign it will speak earlier than non-signers, experience less frustration, develop larger vocabularies, become better readers and have a 10-12 point higher I.Q. However, our Lilienfeld text states that babies who learn to sign pass through same developmental stages at about the same age as other babies.
I think that all the advantages claimed to be achieved by signing hearing babies are extraordinary claims, and do not pass replicability. Also, if deaf babies go through developmental stages at the same age as hearing babies, how are deaf babies not learning to sign or speak their language sooner? Many sources of baby signing say that they learn to sign before they speak, so to me this means that deaf babies must learn sooner than hearing babies. I think that each baby and each case is different, so baby sign language may be effective, but it cannot be proven 100% of the time. Below is a video of an interview of a women name Charlene who is a baby sign expert.

Sources:
Youtube
The Parent Site
Lilienfeld Text

Katie Johnson

One of the most useful memory devices that we as people use are mnemonics. These aids in memorization use encoding to simplify the material attempting to be memorized. They involve rhymes, catchy phrases, and other strategies that help us to remember important information. Probably one of the most well know mnemonic devices would be ROY G. BIV which is used by elementary school students to memorize the colors of the rainbow(red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet). Mnemonmics are extremely helpful devices that can be used in any aspect of learning. As a college student, the need to memorize large amounts of information has become vital for me during my first few months at the University of Minnesota. If I am able to incorporate the usage of mnemonics into my study habits, I should be able to grasp difficult concepts in an easy and organized manner. This is an essential tool that I will try to instill into my memory from here on out. Attached is a resource I found on the internet that provides useful ideas when coming up with personal mneumonics. These include using humor, positive images, symbols, and exaggerations, all in an attempt to improve one's mnemonic capabilities. The text also provides three specific mnemonic strategies when deciding on how to use a mnemonic. They include, imagination, association, and location. Imagination allows for creative ideas to more easily remain in one's memory, association helps to relate two different concepts into one fundamental image or statement, and location helps to separate similar mnemonics by localizing their differences from each other. I am hoping to use all of these skills in my future studies.

roy g biv.jpg

What is Infantile Amnesia?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Everyone experiences infantile amnesia. You will not find one person that remembers exactly everything from their childhood. Infantile amnesia is when adults can no longer remember true and accurate memories from their childhood at an early age. Most people cannot remember anything that happened before the age of two or three. Many claim that they can recollect memories from an early age as an infant but we can assume that these memories are always a false memory.
The reason as to why infantile occurs in every human being isn't definite but there are a few theories as to why this happens. The hippocampus in our brains develops more and more as we age, therefore it is only partially developed when we are born. The hippocampus has been proven to be linked to our long-term memory. This can explain that if it is only partially developed when we are born then it would be hard for the hippocampus to capture all of our memories when we are young and turn them into long-term memories. Another lead to why infantile amnesia occurs is the fact that as a young child, we have no concept of ourselves. When infants looks into the mirror they don't see their reflection as themselves. It's not until about age 1 that an infant can fully grasp that the image in the mirror it truly them. This can explain infantile amnesia because it shows that infants at a young age can't make their memories that are stored meaningful therefore they are easily forgotten because they don't mean anything to the baby.
Infantile amnesia is important for us to know about because it explains the some of the questions that we have all wondered about. Since we all possess this infantile amnesia, most people are curious as to why this happens. Although there are theories about why Infantile amnesia happens, we still don't know the real truth as to why this for sure happens. I would be curious to know why this phenomenon happens and why some people remember more of their memories at an earlier age than other people?


Anterograde amnesia is a type of short-term memory loss. This causes an inability to encode new memories. This type of amnesia could be caused by a traumatic head injury which could cause permanent damage, or a more temporary cause would be a blackout from drinking too much alcohol. It isn't serious unless it's left untreated, this is where permanent damage can occur.
This type of amnesia differs from retrograde because it deals with the inability of creating memories after the event that caused memory loss. While retrograde deals more with the inability to remember events that happened before the event.
An example that many people would be familiar with is Dory from Finding Nemo. As seen in the video below, Dory fears she is being followed by Marlin, even though she had just told him to follow her to a boat. She suffers from this type of amnesia in a sense that she doesn't' remember meeting Marlin, when that only happened a few seconds earlier. She is constantly relearning who he is throughout the entire movie. However, one false moment in the clip is that Dory says short-term memory loss runs in the family, or at least she thinks it does. This would be an example of retrograde amnesia because it would be more in the past.

Tobacco use is indeed physically addictive; that is, it causes changes in your brain that make normal functioning difficult without adding nicotine again. But what people don't often realize is that addiction is a multi-faceted problem. You can be classically conditioned to crave tobacco in every sort of situation.

In the analysis of tobacco classical conditioning, it starts simple but gets more complex. Right away, you can see that tobacco is the unconditioned stimulus, the effects of tobacco are the unconditioned response, and pretty much anything can be the conditioned stimulus. This is a case of a compensatory response set-up. The conditioned response would be the body countering the effects of tobacco. The problem here is that this increases cravings, and make it so that you'll continue to smoke in these situations.

Then there's another level of condition. Tobacco companies pay billions of dollars every year to make sure their customers stay smoking and that new customers, (*Read: children & teens*), come in. Tobacco companies pay for their products to be front and center at convenience store registers. In addition, Big Tobacco has made it so that certain phrases and images are intricately linked with their product. Joanna Hull of The York Scholar talks about how the Marlboro man is associated with the idea of being "ruff & rugged". The unconditioned stimulus is being in a situation where you want to be cool, and the conditioned stimulus is to want to smoke Marlboro cigarettes, because they will make you "ruff & rugged". The conditioned response is to smoke Marlboros, where the unconditioned response is to do something that makes you cool.

Classical conditioning is a powerful advertising tool, and it applies to all sort of habitual activities, but few as strongly as tobacco and cigarettes.

Rob Barbeau

The York Scholoar: "Playing with Children's Minds: The Psychological Effects of Tobacco Advertisements on Children" by Joanna Hull

Flashbulb Memories

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

For my third blog I decided to discuss the concept of flashbulb memories found in the textbook. Flashbulb memories are memories charged by intense emotions which are supposedly very vivid, containing a lot of detail. It was initially believed that flashbulb memories did not change overtime or decay, but this has been disproven in a series of research studies performed by Ulric Neisser and Nicole Harsch, which proved that even flashbulb memories do indeed change and erode over time.
The concept of flashbulb memories is very interesting to me because I have many memories which I consider flashbulb memories such as: the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and watching the Vikings loose in the NFC Championship game to the Saints. The concept of flashbulb memories and the research done by Neisser and Harsch makes me wonder if these memories are indeed accurate or if they have somehow developed into something that is less than the truth.
The following video discusses another element proposed about the flashbulb memories created formed in people on 9/11. The video proposes that when flashbulb memories are recalled they come along with some emotional feelings that were attached to the event. It also proposes that concerning the events of 9/11, the people who were closer to the towers at the time of the attacks actually produced stronger flashbulb memories than those further away. This causes their memories to be more accurate and the emotions they carry with them much more intense.


Ben Sicoli

10 % of your brain

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

I have always heard myths about how people only use 10 percent of your brain. I have wanted to learn more about the myth so looked into it. One reason that the myth has lasted so long is because psychics tell their audience that in the 90 % that doesn't get used is where the unconscious powers lie. One reason that the myth doesn't hold up is because of the six principle of critical thinking. The principal of extraordinary evidences needs extraordinarily claims disproves this theory. There is no evidence that we use just 10% of our brain. There is a much larger amount of evidence against it. A good example is that if a person was shot in the 90% of the brain that they don't use would they die,? well obviously yes. One idea I have learned about in psychology is about all the different parts of the brain. Each part of the brain is used for different tasks. For example the hippocampus is used for long term memory and spatial navigation. A human might only use 10 % of the brain at one time because different areas of the brain are being used. This doesn't mean that we only use 10% of the brain. All the parts of the brain will get used for their specific tasks. It just depends on what a person is doing, The theory that humans use only 10% of their brain proves to be false. The brain may only use 10% of a brain at one time, but overall, most or all of the brain will be used.

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

Matt Gonsior

While searching the internet for study's relating to memory, I came across this article talking about a study relating memory to sleep habits. Reading it, I thought the study was interesting in the claims it made.

However, it reminded me of the early chapters of the textbook concerning news articles and how credible they may be. I think this is a good example of how news reporters can often make things sound as if they are a brand new discovery that has a ton of credibility. I searched a little bit more online and found that yes, memory is improved through good sleep habits, so the big idea behind the article is okay. The style in which it is written is misleading though. At the start of the article, it says it is the "latest study" in this field, and makes it seem as though this is a brand new, ground breaking study. This is misleading to the general audience that the article is directed to.

Although it does say that more studies on the subject need to be done to finalize the findings, the article has a strong tendency to make the reader assume that correlation equals causation. As we've learned in Psychology 1001, this is always not the case, and the article really does not make the reader aware of that. Also, the organization of the article puts the part where the author addresses that these are just claims and that there needs to be more research done on it is placed at the end of the article, making it seem like it is not that important, where really that is one of the most important things a reader should understand while reading the article. Overall, I thought the article was a good example of how readers need to be aware of what they read on the internet, and to not necessarily believe 100% what is written by journalists, not Psychologists.

The Benefit of Learning

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Everyday day we learn something new; whether it be how to solve an algebra problem, how to properly cover a cough, or a more efficient way to bike to school. Learning does not pertain solely to a classroom setting; it is a reoccurring process that our brain endures daily, even when we are not aware of it. It is the result from our everyday experiences in which we learn new behaviors and new thoughts.
The concept of learning is critical to society because without it, we would not know how to behave appropriately in public and those who want to, would not succeed. Through learning, society has become accustom to practicing common manners such as saying "please" and "thank you", holding the door open for the person walking behind you, or covering a cough with your elbow to ensure minimal spread of germs. Learning also plays a role in the prosperity of individuals, as it is the foundation for intelligence. Without learning, the majority of us would not push ourselves to our greatest ability and thus we would not acquire well paying or honorable jobs.
An example of the benefits of learning is featured in the video below. The video demonstrates the steps one should take in order prevent the spread of germs that make people sick. The audience of the film will learn how to properly cover a cough and how to properly wash their hands as they learn how to prevent the spread of disease.

Most of us have completely rational fears. I have a fear of spiders and needles. But what about those fears which seem to make a little less sense to those of us with seemingly "normal" fears? I decided to look further into these "strange" fears and found one that may sound irrational, but in theory, makes a lot of sense and is actually very common. This fear is cacophobia; the fear of ugliness and things that are ugly.

Usually, this fear, similar to most, is developed when someone experiences a traumatic even in their life. In this case, if someone is constantly told they are ugly or that they are not beautiful, this can trigger cacophobia.
Once a person in confronted about their fear, the symptoms they may experience include, but are not limited to;
1. Perspiration
2. Feeling uncomfortable or nausea
3. In extreme cases, people may feel anxiety or panic attacks.

While this fear may sound extreme, it really can be reflected in everyone's day to day life on one level or another. What are the first things girls do before school? Pick out a "cute" outfit, do our hair, put on makeup. Everything we do is strictly to impress. In some ways, this can be seen as a fear of ugliness.

What makes us think this way? How do we register these fears?
The parts of the brain associated with fear are the sensory cortex, thalamus, hypothalamus, amygdala, and the hippocampus. This fear is brought on by a stressful stimulus (in this case, it may be an image of something that someone finds "ugly") and sets off a chain reaction that ends with the release of heart racing chemicals.
The thalamus starts this reaction with the sensory organs being used. In this case the eyes are responsible. The sensory cortex then is responsible for interpreting the data. This data is then sent to the hippocampus where the harmful memories are stored and retrieved. The amygdala is next. This is where emotions are decoded. It's where our brain decides "Yepp, I'm afraid of this." And finally, the hypothalamus is stimulated. This part of our brain activates the "fight or flight" response (howstuffworks.com).

fear-4.gif

Why do people have fears?
In most cases, fears are developed to keep us from dangerous situations. In the case of cacophobia, this may not be the case. Cacophobia can become even more dangerous to those who suffer from it. It can cause people to become anorexic and bulimic and lead men and women to undergo unneeded plastic surgery. Cacophobia may be protecting from a painful experience such as teasing or abuse due to someone's looks. If a child, or even an adult, were repeatedly told they were "ugly" and this was then followed by further emotional or physical abuse, this could lead to a chain reaction where whenever someone sees something unappealing, they immediately flash back to the fear they had felt.

How is cacophobia diagnosed?
Usually, it is self-diagnosed. People realize their irrational fears and understand that there is something there.
Are there any treatments?
Yes, there are. Many people are referred to specialist who deals with irrational fears such as cacophobia. These therapists will often use hypnotherapy, exposure therapy, and traditional "talk" therapy. There are even specific support groups for those suffering from this condition. Only in severe cases, anti-anxiety medication can be prescribed.
I believe this is a fear that is so irrational; those who suffer from it may never be able to fully recover and get passed this fear. It is believed that if this fear goes undiagnosed, can develop into a debilitating condition that can interfere with not only one's personal life, but also their social life and other aspects of their life outside of their home (associatedcontent.com).

Learning Styles

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Most everyone has heard of learning styles. They might even have identified their own learning style as either "analytical", "holistic", "verbal", or "spatial" - these being some of the most commonly acknowledged learning styles. The idea of there being specific types of learners is everywhere. Most of us have been told at some point that once we've identified our learning style, learning will become much easier. But is this actually the case?

Most careful research findings lead us to believe that learning styles are not as functional as they claim to be. Much of this is probably due to the fact that most people are not purely one type of learner, but instead learn through many different methods. Researchers of cognitive science have said, in fact, that students learn better when information is presented to them multiple times in varying ways. This gives the information to students from different angles, and better enables them to make sense of it.

This information seems to contradict the idea of people having one specific way that they learn best. Although, there certainly may be some truth to the idea of people getting more sense out of information presented to them in a certain format, such as visually. Perhaps this is because it forces students to think about the meaning of the information more deeply, as the article above suggests.
There is a great amount of information available about learning styles. Some of this information may hold some truth in it, however, we must be careful when evaluating such claims. Saying that every person has one particular form of learning best leaves little room for variability, which is a large part of psychology. Either way, the idea of learning styles leaves many questions. What careers do believers in learning styles think that certain learning styles gravitate towards? Does personality have a lot to do with learning style? Can a person's learning style change over time?

Phoebe Stephan

Ranidaphobia- Fear of frogs

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

A phobia is described as the irrational and overpowering fear of a situation or object. Most people think that fear and phobia are the same thing. The difference between the two is the level of reaction when we face the situation or object. If you had a fear of something you would most likely back away slowly but if you had a phobia then you would probably freeze and may have a panic attack.

It has been identified that there are three different categories that phobias are placed into. Agoraphobia is when there is irrational anxiety about being in places from which escape might be difficult or embarrassing. A social phobia is irrational anxiety that happens when you are exposed to certain social or performance situations. The third is specific phobia. This is persistent and irrational fear in the presence of some specific stimulus which you then would avoid.

There are many different phobias that people have, some of them seem normal and others may not seem so normal to us.

Chirophobia- Fear of hands
Dipsophobia- Fear of drinking
Arachibutyrophobia- Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth
Omphalophobia- Fear of belly buttons
Ornithophobia- Fear of birds

In this video, the girl experiences a phobia of pickles. When she even thinks about them she freaks out and starts crying and then when she sees them she has a total nervous breakdown.

It is believed that phobias come to surface because of preparedness. This is the fact that we are evolutionarily predisposed to fear. There is also a possible genetic link with phobias. The culture that you grow up in may also affect you causing a phobia. In Japan, the phobia of offending or harming others in social situations is a problem for their country but not in ours.

Becky Selser

The Cure for Autism?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

hc_autism_treatment_an_autism_treatment_overview_article.jpgAfter hearing Professor Gail Peterson talking briefly about using shaping as a treatment for autistic children, I decided to watch the video posted on the website to learn more about it. I have to say, my reaction to the video was mixed, because this topic is a personal one for me. The video shows many different children with autism that have gone through the behavioral treatment, and the treatment helped all of the children in one way or another. The basis of the treatment is shaping; the therapist gives the child a treat or reinforcement of some kind after the child performs a task that the therapist is aiming for.

The video mentions the fact that children will improve as long as the treatment continues, as soon as the treatment stops, the child regresses, although not to original state before treatment. Clearly the video states that the treatment is not 100% effective, but I feel that many of the children featured in the video as benefitting the most from the treatment were children with higher functioning levels of autism to begin with, therefore making the gap they had to improve to be "indistinguishable from their peers", as the video put it, was much smaller.Autism-Spectrum-Disorder.jpg

This topic hits close to home because I have a brother with autism. He was diagnosed with very severe autism when he was 2 ½ years old, and he is now 15. He has gone through so many different therapies, one being very similar, if not exactly the same, as the shaping method described in the video. This therapy takes up so much time and effort, not only from the child, but from the family as well, and although it helped quite a bit, I'm really not sure if it was worth it in the long run. As I stated earlier, after the treatment is over, they tend to regress, which is exactly what happened.

Now, I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from trying this treatment, I just wanted to point out the fact that it seems to work better for children with a less severe case of autism. As of right now, I don't think there really is a "cure" for autism.

Amanda Blake

Photobucket

We come in a place to hang out with our group of friends. We enjoy the time laughing and socializing with them, and then suddenly as you look around the room, you notice that there is someone sitting next to you, and they start a conversation with you because you caught their attention. You either want to talk to the person or you do not want to at all because you may think that he/she is weird, scary, and vice-versa, but above all, you did not want to talk to the person because you are not interested. How do you let them know if you are interested or not interested in them?

You can say to them that you are not interested, but do words really help. Apparently, it does and body language as well. But before the person who is interested in you approached, and you saw him/her, do you remember how your body or your face reacted? Did you distance yourself from them and move closer to your friends? Did your face turn into a look of horror? Eyes widened? Did your body become stiff? Or did you fix your posture and fix yourself, such as fixing your hair, fixing your shirt and vice-verse when you saw them? Overall, these non-verbal languages or body languages are an example of extralinguistic information: it is not a part of language but it helps interpret it.

If you think the person is into you just because they told you so it doesn't necessarily mean that they like you. They could be fooling around. To understand them, we have to look at their body language to decode it. It is a vital form of communication when we interact with others. They give and receive many word signals, such as our gestures we make, the way we talk, how we stand, how much eye contact we make can send a message. The way they listen, move, look, or react tells us how they feel about you when you are around. The nonverbal signals they send out can be a sign of interest or disinterest, and sometimes misunderstanding if the body language is interpreted wrong.


Operant conditioning is defined as "learning controlled by the consequences of the organism's behavior." In other words, the organism/subject learns through a series of trial and error. The organism does a certain action because it is trying to get something it wants, whether it is food or avoiding an electrical shock. Operant conditioning is also known as "instrumental conditioning" since the organism's response serves as an instrumental function, as said in our Lilienfeld textbook.

I remember in 3rd grade when each individual in my class tried to behave like the "perfect model student" in order to receive a "brain pill" which was in reality a piece of fruity lifesaver candy. Our class had most likely experienced operant conditioning since we learned that if we behaved a certain way, we would get a reward in the end. Our responses were also voluntarily instead of elicited automatically. The "brain pill" (reward) was not given out unconditionally, instead it was given out if the desired behavior was produced. This example was operant conditioning combined with positive reinforcement, which is adding a stimuli in order to increase the likelihood of an outcome. In this example,the positive reinforcement was the piece of candy to boost up the probability of a good student behavior.
Another example of operant conditioning can be seen through this video!

As we read in our textbook, operant conditioning is used in animal training. This video shows an example of that! The dog has most likely experienced operant conditioning and positive reinforcement. We can see that the owner gives the reward, in this case, a dog treat, in some of the scenes. This makes it so that the dog will most likely have a greater resistance to extinction because as our textbooks say, only occasional reinforcement of a behavior results in slower extinction.

Section 13
Joann Khong

In The Bourne Identity, Matt Damon plays Jason Bourne, a former assassin for the U.S. government hired to eliminate a high-ranking offical named Wambosi, but his assassination attempt goes awry, and he is shot twice upon fleeing. As a result, he develops retrograde amnesia, and he is forced to embark upon a journey to rediscover who he was, while simultaneously evading the CIA and cultivating a relationship with Maria, a woman on the run who lends him a ride.

61101085BourneIdentity_800x445-thumb-497xauto-686.jpg

Bourne's retrograde amnesia is severely exaggerated in the film. He has completely lost all memories of his past. "...such generalized amnesia is exceedingly rare (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2000), although it's a favorite plot device of Hollywood moviemakers (Baxendale, 2004)." As Jason delves deeper into his past, uncovering and unraveling the mystery of his past, at one point, he vividly recollects the events succeeding his development of amnesia, but in reality, "...memory recovery from amnesia tends to occur gradually, if at all (APA, 2000)." Yet, it is unclear whether he ever fully remembers his past which is similar to a traditional amnesia case.

Overall, these two critical misconceptions involved in amnesia enacted in the film lead the representation of amnesia to be fairly innaccurate in a specific sense. Still, The Bourne Identity depicts amnesia fairly well in a general sense. It displays how retrograde amnesia prevents you from recalling past memories and the troubling experience that coincides with retrograde amnesia. The film provides a very general model of amnesia that is easy to understand and comprehend. For anyone who hasn't seen the film, I would recommend it for its educational standpoint regarding amnesia and for just being a tantalizing action-mystery film. Below is the trailer for The Bourne Identity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tqK_3mKQUw

Holding Out For a Hero

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

128.JPG

As a psychology class we have now had the ideas of classical conditioning drummed into our heads. We've read about it, we've heard lectures about it, and we've "discussed" it. So you're probably asking yourselves, "Why is this crazy girl now blogging about this repeated subject?" I assure you, my reasons are good. Read on and find out.

I'm going to make the assumption that you all have done your homework and know about B. F. Skinner, his learning principles, and the good that they've done. I intend to elaborate on one way they're applied today, training service dogs. These dogs have strict requirements that they're training must include such as behaving the client's commands at least 90% of the time, following basic domestic skills (such as laying down, sitting, and staying on command), and must be trained to perform at least three tasks to mitigate the client's disability (http://www.assistancedogsinternational.org/Standards/ServiceDogStandards.php).

These well behaved dogs are generally trained under the Skinner principles of learning. Such principles include shaping by successive approximations which means "conditioning a target behavior that come closer and closer to the target" (page 219 of our psychology books). Another principle is chaining which means to train the dog to perform linked behaviors to form one long chain. Current psychologists and trainers have worked together to elaborate on Skinner's findings and have now trained dogs that perform amazing tasks. These animals now give people hope for better lives.

I created a video of some pictures of service dogs performing they're individual tasks. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you think about what you may take for granted. We may be believe that hearing about Skinner and his findings are growing old, but the people in these pictures have much to thank him for. Thank-you Skinner.

Lynzi Daly

My Movie.wmv

50 First Dates

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes


The trailer above is for a movie about a guy who falls in love with a girl. Typical, right? No - there's a catch. According to the movie, the girl has lost her short-term memory in a car accident and cannot remember anything that happened the day before.
This movie's depiction of amnesia is fairly accurate, in general. Lucy, the girl who was in the car accident suffers from anterograde amnesia. She cannot encode any new memories from her experiences. She must have suffered an injury to her hippocampus or amygdala, since both of these brain structures are crucial for creating new memories. This is shown when Lucy spends a whole day with the guy that she's dating, and then has no idea who the guy is the next day.
There are, however, a few things that are not accurate in the movie. First, they frequently mention that Lucy lost her "short-term memory." I would argue that she has not. Short-term memory lasts for about twenty seconds, and Lucy is able to remember things for a whole day. So, she has not lost her short-term memory, she has lost her ability to encode new memories. Secondly, this movie is not accurate because it portrays Lucy being able to remember things very quickly. Every morning, Lucy's boyfriend shows her a video that he made describing their relationship and everything that's going on that she would have forgotten. After she watches it, she remembers everything about her life and is able to live as a normal human being. This myth is often portrayed in Hollywood. Victims of anterograde amnesia usually take a long time to recover old memories, if they recall them at all.
All in all, this movie has some parts that are accurate, and some details that are not. Either way, it is an entertaining movie that portrays, in general, what a retrograde amnesiac's lifestyle would be like.

Jennifer McLean

In case you are not aware, the second psychology exam is in a few short days. It snuck up on me too. So as I'm hurriedly reading through the chapter on learning, I start to wonder which learning technique works best for the general population. After a brief search online, I discovered an article from Psychology Today that says the best way to learn besides one-on-one attention is when you are completely alone. The article goes on to explain that only when you are working on a difficult problem or concept alone can you really focus on the part that you find most difficult, instead of the entire problem. For example, if you are in a group setting trying to learn about learning, you may focus equally on the differences between the abbreviations UCS, UCR, CS, and CR and fixed-ratio, fixed-interval, variable-interval, and variable-ratio schedules. However, if you already understand the differences between the abbreviations and the schedules completely baffle you, by working alone, you can devote your entire study time to the difficult material instead of having it divided. Because this makes sense to me, I have decided to devote the majority of my time preparing for the psychology exam alone in the library instead of with a group of people.

However, I do definitely agree with the article that working one-on-one with another person is most effective if you have enough time to devote to each person's problem areas because I either hear the concept re-stated and explained differently, or I am challenged to find a better way to describe it to my partner.

The Paradox of Memory

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Memory is an amazing thing. It can help us remember important equations for tests. It can also remind us that today is friday. But sometimes our memory has faults. To help remember important things we as humans have developed a memory tool called a mnemonic. I've used mnemonics since before I can remember, at first though, I was unaware that they were called this funny name. A mnemonic is a learning aid, strategy, or device that enhances recall. The first mnemonic I ever learned was "Every Good Boy Does Fine". This phrase was used to help me remember the treble-clef for playing the piano. As I got older and entered into high school mnemonics became a routine in trying to study for tests. Little did I know, there are many forms or methods of mnemonics. First, there is the Pegword Method: in which we rhyme to remember something. An example would be: one is a bun, two is a shoe. Another example would be the Alphabet song. I bet you never realized that you were using a mnemonic every time you sang that song to help you remember what letter comes after another. The second method is the Method of Loci. This mnemonic relies on imagery of places, or locations. In this method you just think of a path or location to help your memory figure out how to get somewhere. I once unknowingly used this method to get back to an entrance of a disney theme park. All you have to do is remember seeing certain shops or images that you already passed by, this will help you remember how to return. The last mnemonic method is the Keyword Method. This strategy depends on your ability to think of a keyword that reminds you of the word you are trying to remember. Mnemonics are a wonderful device to help our memory. Many people use them and don't even realize that they are actually a tool defined to help our memory! So the next time you are studying for an exam (like the one on Monday and Tuesday) use a mnemonic to help you remember some of the terms!
Here are some videos showing how people use the mnemonic method to remember things!

->This man can remember 500 cards and what order they are in by only looking at them
for 20 mins! It is quite impressive! He uses mnemonics methods of linking a location with a picture to create a story to remember the order the cards are in!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8S8V9VEFyI&feature=related

->This video shows how one girl memorizes and maintains a terrific memory. She says anyone can do it, and the video shows how!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vsYCSmBcM0

by Courtney Mueller

Anterograde Amnesia

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

As we have been studying memory, it made me wonder how well the media portrays different memory disorders. In the movie 50 First Dates, one of the main characters, Lucy Whitmore, suffers from "Goldfield Syndrome" as a result of a car accident.

"Goldfield Syndrome" occurs when someone begins each day with no memories of the previous day. They believe every day to be the same day on which they acquired the condition. In the movie, Lucy and her father got into a car accident on her father's birthday. Therefore, she wakes up every single day thinking that it is her dad's birthday.

Although "Goldfield Syndrome" is a fictional disorder, it is a form of Anterograde Amnesia. Anterograde Amnesia is a loss of the ability to create new memories after the event that caused the amnesia, leading to a partial or complete inability to recall the recent past, while long term memories from before the event remain intact. The regions of the brain involved with Anterograde Amnesia are certain cites in the temporal lobe, especially in the hippocampus.

Clive Wearing, who we saw a video of in lecture, is an example of someone who suffers Anterograde Amnesia. There are obvious similarities between him and Lucy Whitmore from 50 First Dates.

Sarah Benthein

So You Think You Can Shape?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes


During class we learned the significance of Skinner's discovery of shaping. Shaping is commonly defined as the reinforcement of gradual steps towards desired behavior which is applied to operant conditioning. This is very important in improving the learning process for animals and humans. The process itself is very simple though it may take a substantial amount of time to achieve the behavior desired, depending on how complex the behavior is. For example, Skinner provides the example of training a dove to turn in a circle--he reinforces every little motion in the direction of turning with positive reinforcement, food. Once the dove figures out what is going on, it is turning circles in no time at all.

This idea may even be applied to humans in developing therapies for autistic children as we learned in lecture. Lovaas furthered the idea of shaping by creating his own therapy known as Applied Behavior Analysis which uses the basic ideas of operant conditioning's shaping techniques--autistic children are rewarded when they use correct language or social behaviors, and as a result, autism has been proven to be 'curable.' This effective technique may be seen in this video:

I find this most interesting as I have been apart of a group that interacts with autistic kids in my high school. The program called Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) helps autistic and other kids with disabilities interact with the public through various activities and events. I have seen first hand how important positive reinforcement is in helping these individuals learn appropriate behavior. I have also seen how it does not always work which leads me to wonder if maybe this idea of shaping can be tweaked even more to be the achieve the most efficiency with bringing the autistic individuals into our society.

Ashli Carlson

Although not focused on largely in our text, when I came across the section talking about "twin talk" or cryptophasia, I was very intrigued. I had friends that were identical twins and their parents had said that they would engage in some "secret language" with each other as babies and would have conversations that no one else could understand until they were around one year old and their language became more developed.
According to research, about forty percent of twins, generally identical twins, will develop some form of autonomous language. They use nicknames, gestures, abbreviations or terminology that they will only use with each other. While parents and siblings can often determine the meaning, the twins generally don't use the terms with others.

twin girls.jpg
The_Pink_Twins_09.jpg

The phenomenon is attributable to baby twins mimicking each other's efforts at language, often incorrectly. All babies babble incoherent sounds; it's their way of practicing vocalization and making the connections in their brain that lead to language development. However, twins may give the appearance that they actually understand each other's babbling, thus the perception that they share a "secret language".

There are a number of theories as to why this happens. For one, delayed speech in general is related to low birth weight and premature births. Statistics indicate that nearly 60 percent of twins and over 90 percent of multiples are born premature. Twins are especially likely to maintain an invented language because they spend so much time together and are on the same developmental schedule. They imitate and reinforce each other's early inventions. On average, twins spend less time communicating with parents and other adults than nontwins do because they always have a ready playmate and because their parents are especially busy with the two of them.

These 17 month old twin boys, Sam and Ren, are having a pretty engaged conversation about who knows what.. Where is Sam's other sock? What's for lunch?..

Sources:
http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/genetic/twin7.htm
http://www.slate.com/articles/life/twins/2011/08/dugon_haus_you_dinikin_duah.html
http://multiples.about.com/od/twintoddlers/a/twintalk.htm


Nina Carney

As we learned with classical conditioning. Pavlov conditioned his dogs to salivate with just the ticking of a metronome. He did this by pairing the ticking of the metronome (conditioned stimulus) with the presence of the meat powder (unconditioned stimulus). When the dog was presented with the meat powder, he/she salivated (unconditioned response). After many trials of conditioning, the dogs eventually salivated at the sound of the metronome only. This salivation was now the conditioned response. This same aspect can be applied in factor one of the two-factor learning theory to how people acquire drug tolerance. The concept is called Shepard Siegal's Pavlovian theory of drug tolerance. The conditioned stimulus is the pre-drug event, the unconditioned stimulus is the drug itself and the unconditioned response is the drug effect. The conditioned response is then a compensatory response, which produces opposite effects of what the drug does and reduces the strength of the drug effect. Then, if the CS appears alone without the UCS, the CR occurs all alone. This is factor two of the two-factor learning theory, operant conditioning of the avoidance response. Just the drug associated event can lead to withdrawal symptoms (compensatory response) and then drug taking to escape withdrawal is maintained by negative reinforcement.

*Spoilers for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind present in this blog*
When I read the section in chapter 7 on erasing painful memories, the only thing I could think about was the 2004 movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". The whole concept of the movie is based around a specific kind of retrograde amnesia referred to as lacuna amnesia. Lacunar amnesia is different from retrograde amnesia in the fact that it doesn't erase all of one's past memories but instead just a specific event, for example in the movie it erases Joel Barish's (played by Jim Carey) entire memory of a two year relationship. Joel Barish goes through an incredibly painful break up with his former girlfriend Clementine Kruczynski, and after finding out she hired a company called Lacuna Inc. to erase her memories of him, he goes on to do the same. The catch is, he must replay all these memories of her in his brain as they are erased while he is asleep, and he relives all his memories of her backwards from the last time he saw her to the first time he met her.
The text book talks about the morality of erasing suffering and whether or not it is an essential part of human life, and the film does a great job answering this question by showing how much pain it causes Joel to realize all his memories of Clementine are fading (he is lucid dreaming throughout the whole process of reliving his memories and knows that when he wakes up she will be out of his mind). It gives an obvious opinion on this topic, which is that it is better to remember our memories, no matter how painful they may be, than to erase them and lose a part of our humanity we can never get back. Our text book also has other valid points that relate to this movie, "As we've learned, emotional memories can persist, even if they often become distorted over time." (Lilienfeld 267) This is evident in the movie as well because at the end of the movie Joel and Clementine realize they have this irresistible pull to each other even though they know nothing about one another, as well as post-Clementine-memory-Joel being constantly drawn towards spots he's visited with Clementine. Overall, besides the idea of a company that is able to erase the memory of someone out of your head, this movie does a fairly accurate job of portraying retrograde amnesia and it's after effects. Beyond that fact, it is also an incredibly good film and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Jim Carey's more serious roles.


The scene below is the final part of Joel reliving his memory of Clementine with the day the first met. It is also the climax of the movie because Joel knows it is the last time he will ever be able to see Clementine before she is erased for good.


Bryce Quesnel

Problem Solving

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Every day we use problem solving in multiple situations that are both complex and simple. Problem solving is the cognitive strategy to accomplish a goal. The Lilienfeld text provides three different types of problem solving that hinder our ability to find a solution. One being, the salience of surface similarities. This can affect our problem solving because it becomes difficult to ignore the surface features of a problem. Instead of focusing on the reasoning needed to solve a problem, we only notice the attention grabbing details. Another issue that tends to pop up with problem solving is a mental set. Mental sets can certainly help with solving problems in one particular way. However, a mental set can cause trouble thinking "outside of the box." Instead of finding new and improved ways to solve a problem, we are stuck with the usual way to solve a problem. Lastly, functional fixedness can inhibit us to solve a tricky problem. Functional fixedness is defined as the difficulty realizing an object has more than one purpose. With this type of hamper, we focus on what an objects original use is and don't regard other ways in which it can be used.

Problem solving is extremely important in our every day life. If we didn't use problem solving, we probably wouldn't get very far. Whether it be used on an exam, relationship, or even a minor decision like what to wear everyday, we use problem solving to overcome each challenge.

Each type of problem solving can be used in real life. The salience of surface similarities can be applied to looking at a math problem, perhaps. Some math problems are filled with tons of extra information or stories when really we only need to notice if we need to divide or multiple. A mental set can pertain to picking a speech topic for a class. A lot of times we choose speech topics that have already been discussed in class rather than picking a topic "outside of the box." Functional fixedness can be related to a text book. If we don't have a hammer at immediate use, a text book might suffice.

Sure, it's easy to see how problem solving is critical to solving a challenge. But what are some other types of problem solving that can interfere with finding a solution? What part of the brain does problem solving occur and at what age is problem solving fully matured?


candleprob2.jpg

Above is another example of functional fixedness explained in our textbook including a candle, matches, and tacks.

Lindsay Snider

Mastering Chronic Pain

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

A friend of mine recently told me about a lecture she had attended. One of the speakers, Vilayanur Ramachandran, spoke about how he can sometimes stop phantom limb pain in individuals who have a missing hand by the use of a mirror box (a link to the video is below and is slightly detailed at timepoint 4:41 and extensively detailed starting at 22:10). This started me thinking about how we might help address those individuals who experience chronic pain with no underlying medical reason for the pain. Could it be possible to "trick" the brain with carefully cultivated video images into thinking that movement was easy and painless in the same way that we can use the misinformation effect to foster the memory of events that never took place? I'm not suggesting simply taking photographs and using Photoshop to alter them. I'm suggesting using green-screen technology and computer-guided imaging to take dimensional images of the subject to create motion-picture quality believable videos.

Imagine this scenario: a woman who has undergone several neck surgeries has recently had a metal rod placed down her spine. She is experiencing near constant pain and still walks with a cane even though over a year has passed since her spinal surgery. There is no medical explanation for her pain: there is no hardware that is protruding or malfunctioning. She has been through several rounds of physical therapy to help strengthen her neck and back muscles to help improve her movement abilities. Would it be beneficial to video tape the woman at her physical therapy sessions showing her limited range of motion, her inability to turn her neck very far and her inability to bend over and touch her toes? Then show her altered videos of her with nearly normal ranges of motion, such as moving her neck, touching her toes, doing some basic yoga poses. If you showed both images to the woman and entered into a conversation about how far she has come since she first started physical therapy, could her chronic pain subside and her movement abilities improve?

It seems that, although expensive, the cost might easily be absorbed by insurance companies to help protect against the cost of managing chronic pain, the cost of medications to treat chronic pain, the additional doctor appointments and the potential drug rehabilitation therapy that might occur when pain relieving medications become an addiction.

Lisa Hostetler
Section 13

You know that time when you're in class, and your teacher, or a quiz you're taking, asks you for the correct name or term of a something? And you cannot for the life of you "spit it out"? But you know that you know it?

Or when you're with your friends and you're all thinking of a song, but you can't think of the name of it, although you can practically sing the song no problem?

These two situations are due to the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon. This phenomenon is an experience of knowing we know something but are unable to access or say it. "It's on the tip of my tongue!" is a common phrase said while experiencing this. Hints, however, help with the event and allow for us to access information easier when we are experiencing it. TOT is significant because it demonstrates that there is a distinction between something we have forgotten because it didn't get stored in our memory and something that's in there that we cannot somewhat retrieve.

The two situations I first talked about have been actual occurrences in my life, but I have experienced tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon numerous other times. One I can recall was when I was with a friend at the mall. As we were walking, we ran into this guy we both knew; he was our mutual friend's ex-boyfriend but after he had walked past us, we both weren't able think of his name. We both knew it started with an "A" but could not retrieve it from our memory. "I know it! I know what it is!" is all we kept saying, followed by several numerous names. We were so frustrated with TOT that we had to call our mutual friend and ask. Andrew! It was Andrew. "I totally knew it!"

I could relate to this topic from Chapter 7 the most, simply because I experience it so often in my everyday life, but it raises my curiosity if there is a correlation between how often TOT happens to someone and their memory loss. For some reason, I think that because this happens to me so often, is my memory getting bad? I sure hope not, but I'll have to do more research to be sure.

Here is a YouTube video of random people on the streets of New York experiencing TOT when being asked random trivia questions:

Deja Vu

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

The tendency of feeling that you lived past through that moment and going through the same experience is something that I struggle with everyday. Usually, it's a feeling that I get that I said thing before, or I have done this thing before. One day, I had a math exam and the night before I was dreaming that I was taking the exam, so I could remember all the questions very clearly. When I woke up and REALLY went to do my exam I saw some of the questions that was on my dream. I was really freaked out about the Idea that I knew the questions before even seeing them. It is a very interesting phenomena to witness and withhold such an amazing theory and to be the lab rat of that experiment.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3qVqNPDnD8

So far I've seen two posts on Lucid dreaming, or the feeling of knowing you're in a dream, or possibly controlling the dream. Lucid dreaming is a favorite topic of mine, since I have had very vivid dreams frequently since I was young. As Anna Shrifteylik discussed in her post, brain patterns are easily measured, but what your brain is interpreting this activity as is harder to tell. Even harder still is verifying claims of lucidity, as I know I have second-guessed whether or not a dream of mine was lucid - that is, no one has ruled out the possibility that ideas of lucidity can invade the memory of a dream. Once you start questioning that, the whole validity of lucid dreaming can come into question; you have to look at rival hypotheses for the phenomenon.
I've tried for myself to increase the chances of having a lucid dream. The site, Dreamviews, is one I've used as a resource. One of the first steps they mention is the need to improve dream recall; if you cannot remember a dream, how are you supposed to know if you were lucid or not? They strongly suggest you keep a dream journal, and keep it well. Once you have established a dream journal, you can look for so-called dream-signs, or recurring events, objects, people, etc. that only occur in a dream. Once you've narrowed down some dream-signs, you can use your knowledge to try to trigger a lucid dream.
This has yet to work for me.
I've been keeping a dream journal for the past four years, and although I've thought I had something, some dream-sign, they're vague and don't last more than three months. As of today I have not been able to induce a lucid dream. The last lucid dream I had occurred right after I started looking at dreamviews.com for the first time. This leads me to think that lucid dreaming is nothing but a mindset one can be focused on, focused enough that it invades your waking thoughts.

This leads me to wonder whether or not there are better, more effective ways to induce a lucid dream. And again, is lucid dreaming nothing but a mindset one has after you wake? Studies should be done on the phenomenon of lucid dreaming; I'm picturing something where those who claim to dream lucidly at will are compared against themselves dreaming lucidly and not, and against those who claim to be unable to lucid dream, and those who know little to nothing of lucid dreaming. And of course, a study like this would be easily replicable.


-Rob Barbeau
http://www.dreamviews.com/content/introduction-6/

Sleep Deprivation

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

In modern society, time is limited and making the most of it is very important. As a result, people today aren't getting nearly enough sleep. Studies show that to be fully functional, teens need an average of 8-9 hours of sleep; children need 9 or more and that adults need 7-8 hours of sleep. Despite this knowledge, only one in five adults today get the recommended amount of sleep.
Although there are many factors that can play into sleep deprivation, insomnia is one of them. Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is classified by difficulties falling and staying asleep. Sleep deprivation and Insomnia results in excessive daytime sleepiness. Symptoms are classified under different categories.
People suffering from insomnia may notice changes in their mood including symptoms of Irritability, symptoms of depression, anxiety, and a lack of motivation. Changes in performance also occur in people with sleep deprivation including, lack of concentration, poor decisions, lack of coordination, and forgetfulness. Finally, sleep deprivation has plenty of negative effects including an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and obesity.
According to research, sleep deprivation can also have negative effects on cognitive function. MRI results comparing activity in subjects dealing with sleep deprivation versus their well-rested counterparts shows that there is more activity in the well-rested subjects. This is because during sleep the brain uses that time to replenish chemical/neurotransmitter levels and repair brain cell damage. Information like this makes a student wonder whether pulling that all-nighter to cram before the test may be doing more harm than good. It may just be a better decision to get the full nights rest and take the test on a fully functional brain.

http://www.google.com/imgres?q=sleep+deprivation&um=1&hl=en&sa=N&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7TSND&biw=1366&bih=566&tbm=isch&tbnid=A-hbrUJjhved0M:&imgrefurl=http://xenophilius.wordpress.com/2009/10/26/fighting-sleep-penn-researchers-reverse-the-cognitive-impairment-caused-by-sleep-deprivation-university-of-pennsylvania/&docid=mfZ6hQ701WM55M&w=400&h=299&ei=18iTTubeAeHj0QHt883LBw&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=576&vpy=251&dur=639&hovh=194&hovw=260&tx=57&ty=212&page=1&tbnh=155&tbnw=252&start=0&ndsp=11&ved=1t:429,r:8,s:0

Yesha Yismaw

I think I'm an unusual case when it comes to Déjà vu. I'm sure my friends are sick of hearing me say, "whoa, déjà vu!" I remember events that seemingly never happened before, at least once a day. To me it's an eerie feeling, it's like I'm watching a video for the second time, but little things are different. My mind plays through the old video but the new video takes a different course. These strange events last for about a minute compared to the 10-30 seconds that the Lilienfeld text states. I have been extremely puzzled by these odd occurrences so I decided to look deeper into the matter.

Keanu Reeves sums it up nicely...

Déjà vu is French for "already seen". (Lilienfeld text) There are three types of Déjà vu coined by Arthur Funkhouser that you may not know of, déjà vecu (already experienced), déjà senti (already felt) and déjà visité (already visited). They are fairly self-explanatory. Even though definitions are to the point it doesn't mean that stating why or how déjà vu happens is as easy. No one can pin point how déjà vu works but one example from the Lilienfeld text says that "an excess of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the temporal lobes may play a role in déjà vu." Another example I like to use, to make my friends and peers really ponder, is that déjà vu is random quick glimpses of memories from our past life. Once we die we would automatically go to the point in time where we were born, our life would just circulate and circulate... forever. And just like deleting files from a computer there is always a small trace of what you deleted, and our déjà vu events act like that small trace of data that snuck through. Déjà vu may be important to remember past events that have been faded over time or it may be the portal to the future; I guess it's really how one perceives it. I wish there was a solid answer to why déjà vu messes with our conscious but then again would I really want to know?

Here is a link I used to find out more about déjà vu, it's very interesting!

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1682">

Senses and Memory

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

I've always wondered why I have such strong association between scents and different memories - why lavender always reminds me of the lavender bushes I used to pass on my walk home from elementary school, mothballs bring me back to hiding from my brother in the crawl space adjacent to an old bedroom, or saw dust reminds me of building my first birdhouse with my grandfather. I've heard numerous times that smell causes the most vivid memory recollection, so I assumed there must be some mind-blowing association between our olfactory senses and memory. Unfortunately, Psych 1001 failed to even mention the connection, but I still wanted to know for sure, so I figured I'd write a blog post on it!

Unfortunately, when I searched for "smell and memory" in Google, there weren't thousands of journal articles confirming my belief. However, I did find one article from Baylor College of Medicine that did indicate that scents might really be the hardest of the senses to forget. Instead of discovering the absolute proof I was hoping for, I was really surprised while reading the article to find out that images remain in our memories for one a brief period while scents can remain for up to a year, which in turn made me wonder how exactly photographic memories work (but I'll save that for another blog entry). Because I've always been jealous of people with photographic memory when it comes to exam-time, I think it would be interesting to try to associate complex processes that I need to know on tests with different, distinct smells and determine if that association would promote better recall and therefore better test results.

Deja Vu

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Jenny Vue vuexx256@umn.edu

Remember the last time you feel like you've done that or seen that before even though you have not been there? If your answer is yes, then you have experienced déjà vu before. As Lilienfeld had stated, déjà vu is a French word meaning "already seen". It is define as the feeling of familiarity toward something new. It is like a movie that is replaying a scene from your memory to your present life; and in addition, I believe this is important. Déjà vu's ability to relive the memory is important because I believe it's like a future machine that shows you what is going to happen. For example, I remember talking with my little cousin at a birthday party and I have a familiar feeling inside of me. As I turned around to grab my drink and turned back, I took a look at the room and everything blurs for a few seconds then went back to normal. Right at that moment, my memories attacked me and I remember dreaming of this party.
I don't know how déjà vu can occur, but I think it is really a great way of telling the future. On the other hand, a problem about déjà vu is the ability to remember the action or scene. Why couldn't our memory remember the action or scene without hiding it?

This is a video of déjà vu:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3qVqNPDnD8

Addiction

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

When the topic of drugs is brought up, alcohol is not normally what would first come to mind. However, alcohol is in fact a depressant drug, meaning it decreases effects of the central nervous system. Alcohol is the most abused drug throughout the world. Almost 67 percent of men claimed to have used alcohol in the past month and 39 percent claimed of eighth graders claimed they had tried alcohol. It is believed that this drug has been around for about 10,000 years. Alcohol dependency levels vary from country to country. Egypt has an alcohol dependency rate of only .02 percent, while Poland has an 11.2 percent dependency rate. These numbers are expected to triple in seniors by 2020. The following article gives more information:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/05/drug-addiction-seniors-_n_996390.html

But what makes some people more vulnerable to growing a dependency on alcohol or other types of drugs? Can people have addictive personalities? These are all things that I have questioned before. Researchers now agree that there is no such thing as an addictive personality. However, different characteristics such as hostility, sociability, or impulsivity can prompt different addictions. Drinking to relieve nerves is very common. Alcohol affects the levels of dopamine in the brain, which aides in motor function and reward. Additionally, through twin and adoption studies researchers know that genetics probably are involved in someone's susceptibility to alcoholism. However, what genes cause this is unknown.

Michaela Doud

All-Nighters

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

all-nighter-main_full.jpg

Sleep. It's one of the most important things we can do to take care of our body, yet many students aren't getting enough of it. We all have busy schedules and with school, work, and trying to fit a social life in there too, it's easy to accumulate sleep debt. When students feel the need to do well on a test and aren't prepared, it's common to pull an all-nighter to study. This is usually aided with massive amounts of caffeine and/or other commonly abused stimulants such as Adderall (amphetamines). I think we all accept that this is unhealthy, but many think that it's still helpful. I believe it's possible that this isn't the case. Last week I stayed up multiple nights in order to study for midterms and finish homework. I did get good grades and accomplished what I needed to get done, but as I became more sleep deprived I noticed exactly what was said in the book. I had a much more difficult time paying attention, memorizing information, and just felt like I was slowed down in general.(168) This is completely counterproductive to learning. Research suggests that sleep plays an important role in memory consolidation, so even if you memorize things in your short term memory for a test, it's not as likely that it will stick with you than if you were learning while getting adequate amounts of sleep. Using a lot of stimulants to stay awake can have negative health effects and even result in dependency if used habitually. Your social life might have to take some sacrifices, but if learning is your goal, a good nights rest will definitely give you the most benefits.

Andrea Gredvig

REM Sleep-Hannah Weiger

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

REM sleep is the 5th stage of sleep. In this stage, heart rate and blood pressure increase and people experience rapid, irregular breathing. The eyes also dart around under closed eyelids. On an electroencephalograph we would see high frequency, low amplitude waves when someone enters REM sleep. These waves are similar to the ones we would see when a person is awake. REM sleep usually lasts for about 20 minutes before we return to stage 2 sleep and go through the cycle once again. Although, the time spent in REM sleep increases with every cycle. People tend to dream more in REM sleep. The dreams usually are illogical and confusing with emotional ties and abrupt changes of plot.
Photobucket
Surprisingly, research has found that REM sleep is biologically important. In 1998, the National Institute on Alcohol Use and Alcoholism found that depriving rats of REM sleep eventually led to their death in a few weeks. If a human is deprived of REM sleep, they will experience REM rebound. This is when REM sleep becomes longer and more intense. I have definitely experienced this. Most weekends in the summer I worked and had cheerleading so I would get home late and have to wake up early everyday of the weekend. When Sunday night finally rolled around, of course I slept like a baby, but my dreams were crazy and I remembered them better than ever. Some believe that REM sleep's key function is tied to memory. Further research will have to be done to prove this. REM sleep is sometimes known as paradoxical sleep because our brains are functioning at full speed and our bodies are paralyzed. Because of this people are not allowed to act on their dreams. However, some people have a rare condition called REM behavior disorder DO act on their dreams. This condition usually occurs in men over 50 years of age and effects about 1 in 200 people.In one particular case, Mahowald and Schenck found that for years a 77 year old minister would act out violent dreams and occasionally injure his wife. I find it fascinating that this disorder exists. In conclusion, REM sleep is the 5th stage of sleep and has importance in our biological function (which is not known). REM sleep is also associated with erratic, confusing and illogical dreams.

Bullying affects countless children across the United States and around the world. Our parents had to deal with it; our grandparents had to deal with it; heck, even our great-grandparents had to deal with the school yard bully. But what is so different now? What about bullying in the current generation causes so many children to become so mentally disturbed by it that they could hurt, or even kill, themselves or others?
This spring I was greatly affected by how strongly bullying and suicide are correlated. Two young girls from a neighboring school committed suicide together on April 16th, 2011. Paige and Haylee were only 14 years old and were both suffering from the effects of bullying on their self esteem. Although the school administration failed to acknowledge that bullying was a part of the suicide, I was, at the time, mentoring other young girls who were close with Paige and Haylee and said that they were bullied insistently and had very low self-worth.
What happened with Paige and Haylee wasn't an isolated incident, either. Jared High committed suicide after being bullied on September 29th, 1998. Eric Mohat also committed suicide after a bout of bullying in his high school.
This is a problem we can fix. Let's prevent bullying to help prevent suicide and not lose any more beautiful children to suicide.
20060524153535-bullying1.gif

Sleep Paralysis

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

The video above is for a documentary on the lasting effects of sleep paralysis in on every day people. While there are a number of different sleeping disorders but one of the more thought provoking of them all is this idea of sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis a sleep disorder in the sleeper is unable to fall asleep or just before waking up and can often be linked with sleep apnea. It occurs when the sleep cycle is interrupted and in the conscious mind it causes feelings of anxiousness and even overwhelming fear, which can be observed by interviews in the video. People often have the sensation of a large immovable object on their chest, in which they lack the ability to move it off. It is extremely common in college students and one in five people will experience sleep paralysis. Until more modern times sleep paralysis was an unexplainable phenomenon, but in recent years studies have shown some light on understanding it. People of different cultures over the years have associated sleep paralysis with different forms of mythical creatures or evil entities as the phenomenon sometimes is associated with different sensations such as vibrations, or the presence of someone else. Encounters with things such as witches, demons, ghosts and aliens have all been attributed to encounters with sleep paralysis. While sleep paralysis does not usual require cause for concern it can be a very scarring experience and many people become afraid to sleep because they don't want have the experience recur. While there seems to be no "treatment" for sleep paralysis there are several tips that can be used to reduce the risk of it occurring, such as eating healthy, deep breathing or finding things which trigger your sleep paralysis.
--David Murdock

in-a-british-study-smokers-who-received-motivational-text-messages-were-twice-as-likely-to-quit-as.jpg

Smoking has been a bad habit for many people in the United States that there are about twenty percents of the population smoke. There are many factors making people consume tobacco, such as they need something to help them release stress or just to be "cool" in front of other people. However, after a period of smoking, a great number of smokers want to quit due to the concern of their health as well as the health of people around them. Obviously, quitting smoking is not easy because it has became their daily routine for a long time. For this reason, in order to help smokers all over the world, a group of researchers from United Kingdom did an experimental study on quitting smoking by sending encouraging text messages.

There are 11,914 smokers volunteered for this program, and 2,915 smokers of the experimental group were chosen randomly by computers. This group received five texts per day in first five weeks and only three per week for following six months. 2,885 participants in the control group also received texts but these were all "placebo ones". According to the article, the result was "More than 10 percent of the text-message-aided smokers were still nicotine-free six months after "quit day," while only 4.9 percent of the control group were still off of cigarettes six months later". Even though this research appeared to be promising, but we still need carefully evaluate it by employing the principles of scientific thinking.

First of all, applying principle #1 of scientific thinking: "ruling out rival hypotheses", we can see that these British researchers did not mention other possible hypotheses, which could explain the success of people in the experimental group. For examples, the success of these people might due to the impact of the "placebo effect" that they successfully quitted smoking because they expected the result all along; or in the experimental duration, they might receive other treatments from different places.

Secondly, if we involve the scientific thinking principle of "correlation vs. causation", this trial might be mistaken. To be specific, even the researchers of this study had to admit that the text messages might not cause the smokers' quitting, because "for some, the messages were counterproductive, as they reminded them of smoking, which triggered cravings".

Finally, based on the fourth scientific thinking principle: "Replicability", we come up with a question that "can the result be duplicated in other studies?" The answer would be "we are not sure", since these UK researchers did not point out any related researches that produce similar results. Furthermore, the leader of this trial, Dr Caroline Free also stated "no one program will work for everyone" that suggested this test may not work on other people.

In conclusion, although this research achieved some significant result, however there are still many unclear points that need to be clarified in order to improve the study. For examples, they should explain more about the effect of the texts to support their hypotheses.

http://theweek.com/article/index/216885/quit-smoking-by-texting

Thuc Huynh

Asleep or Awake?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Lucid Dream.jpg
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-3MLly8VfGgM/Tj1-hqM0kAI/AAAAAAAABGQ/ilFm-ZCHEWE/s1600/Lucid-Dreaming1.jpg

Lucid Dreaming is "the experience of being aware that one is dreaming" (Lilenfeld).

Some people say that not only are they aware they are dreaming (lucid dreaming), but they can control what they dream as well! This sounds like an interesting idea to explore. If there was a certain thing that reality would not permit you to do, wouldn't you want to find a loophole and dream away?

http://www.wikihow.com/Lucid-Dream
The following link provides a "How To" step by step to lucid dreaming.

When we sleep, our brain functions can be monitored in a laboratory. However, controlling dreams may be a step towards pseudoscience. That is when we need to keep the Scientific Thinking Principals in mind.

Replicability and Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence
-Can the results be duplicated? Is the evidence as strong as the claim?

Asking a group of people to follow a step by step guide to lucid dreaming may be a difficult task. The data collection would be a challenge. If people do not remember all of their dreams, how we be sure that the data is accurate?

Although hard to control, lucid dreaming is a wonderful experience (unless it is a nightmare..literally). It is even possible that it lets our minds reach their full potential on levels that are not possible while we are awake. So next time you find yourself lucid dreaming, enjoy it.



Anna Shrifteylik
Section 12

I came across the article "Report on Gene for Depression Is Now Faulted" by Benedict Carey on the New York Times website. The article acknowledges the fact that a once praised scientific finding in 2003 about the connection between genes and depression, does not satisfy the scientific thinking principles. Scientists who conducted the original study concluded through their observations that people who fell into depression after a stressful life experience did so because their brain obtained a unique gene in its serotonin process. When this discovery was announced to the public, ordinary people and psychologists were greatly influenced: psychologists conducted their studies and analyzed their data in a new manner while people being treated for depression took the news as a comforting excuse for their condition. This gene and depression connection was so sensational because it brought forth the first understanding of why some people react to stressful life experiences by going into depression and why others do not.

When the original experiment was questioned six years later by new researchers, it was concluded that it was not a gene variation that increased the risk of depression; it was a specific life experience itself. The way in which these new researchers came to this conclusion was by following the six scientific thinking principles. For example, they used Principle #2: Correlation Isn't Causation- the explanation that all experiments have three variables, not two, and they all must be considered- to acknowledge the fact that just because it was discovered that there is a correlation between genes and depression, it cannot be concluded that they are connected. The third variable must also be considered. Principle #3: Falsifiability- in order for a theory to be meaningful it must be apt to be disproved; it must be testable- was used by the new researchers as they tested the original theory of 2003 to find whether or not the results of similar studies were consistent to the first study. Another scientific principle used was Principle #4: Replicability- the duplication of an original study's findings. The studies that the new researchers conducted did have similar data as the original study, however the analyzing of the data differed. This resulted in a new conclusion: depression is caused by life experiences themselves, not a gene variation.

Link to article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/17/science/17depress.html

Kaya Allen
Section 13

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

The above article argues whether or not placing a penny on train tracks can derail a train. For this claim we will evaluate two of the six principles of scientific thinking.

Firstly, we will evaluate the "extraordinary claims" principle. Is the evidence as strong as the claim? In this case there has been no such evidence to support this claim and no experiments have actually tested this claim. Basically one person said it has occurred in the past and people started to believe it. Tragically, people have died trying to set pennies on tracks to either "flatten pennies" or "derail the train".

The second principle we will evaluate is that of replicability. In this case, the results would easily be duplicated if a proper experiment was set up. To date, no other scientific studies have reported the same findings as this "urban legend".

An alternate explanation that a penny derailed a train could be that of the age of the railroad track. A person could have laid a penny on a set of tracks that happened to be old or not functioning properly. After, finding out that a train had been derailed on that certain track the person could have claimed that it was solely due to the penny that had been placed there. This does not take into account the reliability of the train tracks nor the fact that user error by the conductor could have played a part in the derailing of the train.

The principle most useful for evaluating this claim would be replicability. One could formulate an experiment to be conducted to test this claim. We could pick 10 sets of train tracks at random and place pennies along the tracks. Then we would have trains running at the same speed down the tracks all for the same distance. Based on how many trains got derailed we could test this claim and see if it is indeed true or false.

Whenever I hear the word "hallucinations" I think back to 7th grade health class, where my class had to watch boring videos about the effects of drugs. Most drugs had one thing in common, and that was giving the user hallucinations. Hallucinations are defined as "realistic perceptual experiences in the absence of any external stimuli." This means that if a person is experiencing a hallucination, they are experiencing something that isn't really there. While many people believe that hallucinations are only part of hearing and seeing, it actually can occur in any sensory modality. Up to about 39% of the general population report at least one hallucination a day. Visual hallucinations can be a result of oxygen or sensory deprivation.

I used to believe that hallucinations only occurred in drug users, however, after reading the Lilienfeld textbook, I realized how inaccurate I was. Hallucinations can occur in anyone, not people who are drug users, and not just psychologically ill individuals. People who have fantasized a great deal of time and done imaginative activities since childhood are more prone to hallucinations. This is called the "fantasy-prone person."

In addition, not all cultures believe that hallucinating is bad. Some cultures in Africa actually value these illusions and believe they were gifts from Gods. People who are a part of these societies sometimes go out of their way to induce hallucinations by fasting or using hallucinogenic drugs. So while Americans have a more negative view of hallucinations, we cannot forget that there are other cultures out there that honor this vision.

To better get a feel of what it is like to hallucinate, I provided a video about new technology that allows people (usually cops) to better understand the world of a person who is hallucinating.

Virtual Hallucination Video

Hallucinations are as real as real, or as real as fake gets.

Joann Khong
Section 13

McGurk Effect

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Part of understanding and processing spoken language is the cooperation of the visual and hearing sensations. In this phenomenon our brains calculate the most probable sound given the information from the two sources. In lecture we were shown a video in which an audio track was played of a man saying "ba" while simultaneously a video track was played showing a man saying "ga." When these happen at the same time, we perceive a different third sound of "da." In this experience our brain puts these two sensations together to form it's "best guess" of what was just played. This is important in everyday life to quickly understand people and to have fluid conversations. We can easily process a sentence that may have been otherwise difficult to understand in a phone conversation, because of lack of visual perceptions. After studying this concept, I began to realize that during phone conversations, people mistake words for other words a lot more often than in a face to face interaction. You are only made available the auditory portion of the language so your brain has a wider variety of vocabulary to "choose the best word." To look more in depth of the five senses I realized that auditory and visual fields go pretty much hand in hand due to the McGurk Effect, but also the olfactory and gustatory fields seem to go hand in hand as well. Is it coincidence or is there some sort of reasoning behind these cooperation of senses? It seems interesting to me that the senses seemed to have grouped together to make overall perceptions easier and quicker for the brain.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFPtc8BVdJk

Sleepwalking, No Big Deal

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

About thirty to fifty percent of people report having some sort of sleeping disorder. The sleeping disorder that I personally have witnessed is sleepwalking. Sleepwalking is walking while fully asleep. When a person sleepwalks, they act pretty much like a person who is fully awake; however, they tend to be a little clumsy. Sleepwalking typically occurs in non REM stage of sleep. There no found reason on why people sleep walk, but you are more likely to sleep walk if you are sleep deprived, have an irregular sleep schedule, or are on certain medications. About 15-20% kids and 4-5% of adults sleepwalk, and my friend Ashley was one of those kids.
When I was younger, I remember having sleepovers almost every weekend. However, one of my really close friends Ashley was never able to spend the night. Ashley's mom would always come over and pick her up when we were ready for bed. I started to wonder why, so I asked Ashley one day why she never was able to sleep over. She told me that it was because she sleepwalks. I did not see what the big deal was, but her mom would still always come and pick her up. About a year later, Ashley finally invited me to spend the night at her house. That night before bed, I remember her mom yelling up the stairs, "Don't forget to turn on your alarm." I watched Ashley as she went over to her door and flipped a switch on the inside of her door. I was confused and asked what that was for, she said it was just in case she sleepwalked out of the room then the alarm would go off and wake her parents up. She then proceeded to tell me all of her stories of when she sleepwalked. It was almost scary. She told me about how she has cooked, walked to the neighbors, scared her sister, fell down the stairs, and been found wondering around town. Some of these I laughed at, but others I found scary. Something bad could have happened to her, which is when I realized that this was a big deal.
Because of my friend Ashley's story, the topic of sleepwalking hits home. What if one day Ashley one night walked in front of a car? She would seriously have been hurt. Even though sleepwalking does not seem like that big of deal, it can have serious risks, so I think it is important for psychiatrists and psychologists to help these families in order for them to sleep more peaceful at night.

Morgan Dobberstein
Section 13

Lucid Dreaming

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

A concept that I find particularly interesting is lucid dreaming. The idea of dreaming and knowing that you're dreaming in the middle of it is mind-boggling. It usually happens when the dreamer realizes that something is very improbable, but it can occur without there being a particular clue. According to a survey, 72 percent of lucid dreamers felt that they could control what was happening in their dreams. There are different levels of lucidity; with low-level lucidity the dreamer may be aware that a certain element is not real. With high-level lucidity, the dreamer is aware that everything in the dream is not reality.
I have had many personal experiences with lucid dreaming. I often wake up with the knowledge that I knew I was dreaming the whole time. I know while I am dreaming that I am. I also have learned how to control what I am dreaming. I can control my dreams in two ways. The first way, if I wake up in the middle of a dream, I can control if when I fall back asleep if I want to go back into that dream or begin a new one. The other way I can control it is while I am dreaming, I can decide which way I want the dream to go, I can control basically where the story is going to go. Also, when I am falling asleep I can decide where I want my dreams to go for that night and can often chose if I want to dream about certain people.
I continue to wonder how the brain allows for us to have such control while we are supposedly so out of control while we sleep. It is very interesting to me.
The link below is a video that outlines the process of lucid dreaming and dream controlling even more.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASf55cov5F8

-Taylor Obetz

Deja Vu Occurrences

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Deja Vu experiences have effected more than two thirds of people at least once. It gives us the sense of having "been there, done that." Specifically speaking, deja vu makes us believe we've already lived through a certain incident. Psychologists have hypothesized numerous means to explain deja vu. One proposition describes deja vu as a memory from a past life. However, this is unfalsifiable and does not justify a theory for deja vu. A more accepted theory is that people who undergo deja vu suffer from small seizures in the right temporal lobe. Throughout these seizures dopamine plays a key role to trigger the feeling of familiarity.

Consciousness and unusual experiences can be puzzling concepts for psychologists. It's important to have an understanding of how the brain works and how unusual experiences are generated. Deja vu is a common occurrence for many people which is why it is so crucial to comprehend.

I myself have experienced deja vu. Whether it be while I'm driving, watching television, or relaxing with friends deja vu always seems to be a random phenomenon. Although deja vu appears to be uncontrollable and unplanned, in reality it is controlled and produced by an early experience which might have originated in childhood or a much earlier stage of life.

Even though psychologists have found ways to explain deja vu, there are still questions that have yet to be answered. How come the illusions only last for a brief 10-30 seconds? Which types of deja vu experiences arise the most? If one were to suffer from damage to the right temporal lobe would deja vu be eliminated from that person completely?

http://youtu.be/VJF2bbQzuBY


Lindsay Snider

Operant Conditioning.

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

For my blog I decided to learn a little bit more about Operant Conditioning. My group, The Thundercats, incorporated this definition when defining the crime ridden family a couple weeks ago. We decided that the children faced operant conditioning from their father because they faced punishment had they not committed an act of crime. The Official definition of Operant Conditioning is simply when something learns a specific stimulus from a certain action. For example, when a dog hears a stimulus of a bell ringing, then it will connect that with the predetermined meal time. (my dog). This concept was developed my B.F. Skinner, a famous behavior psychologist. The opposite of operant conditioning is aversive stimuli. That is where the stimulus occurs to decrease the frequency of behavior. Another example of that is say a dog barks a lot, an owner may decide to give him a shock collar. And for every time that the dog barks, it gets shocked, and eventually links barking with that pain and will decrease it's behavior. (thank goodness!-also with my dog:P). One good human example for operant conditioning is that whenever I completed my homework as a child, I received on piece of candy. The learned behavior: finishing my homework, the stimulus: the piece of candy.

I am really sorry but I am having the hardest time converting the link into a tagged word. Can you show us how to do it in discussion on wednesday? But of course I will send you the link! And show us how to embed a video!
http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/skinner.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_9ZZaPDtPk&feature=related

Sleep Paralysis

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/08/sleep_paralysis/

Sleep paralysis is defined by Linfeild as a state of being unable to move just after falling asleep or right before waking up. It is a state in between consciousness of waking life and dreaming life. Other studies such as this link to an article in Wired magazine see sleep paralysis of being wake after falling into REM or Rapid Eye Movement dream state. REM is defined as a period of darting of the eyes underneath close eyelids during sleep. In REM dream hallucinations are possible. Subjects undergoing dream paralysis are awake, sometimes hallucinating and unable to move or speak.
During sleep paralysis subejcts cannot move or speak. Check out this youtube video of a woman undergoing sleep paralysis. In the video the woman is making noises trying to speak and her eyes appear open. The man on other end of the camera sounds worried and concerned.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omzsLqbgRaU&feature=related
Different cultures have traditional beliefs on sleep paralysis. In Thailand, sleep paralysis is said to be a ghost inhabiting your dreams and entering your life in an altered state. Similar in Canada's Newfoundland the phenomenomia is tied to a tale of an old hag. An old hag is an elderly witch that sits on your chest and could steal your soul. This out of body encounter has also been connected to alien sightings and abduction.
While there are strong cultural ties to these sleep paralysis stories I feel it is just sleep condition we do not fully understand. When we awaken in REM sleep this is a strange feeling that can bring out the fear in us. I can see how it could be confused with a ghost or some other horse tail. But there is a scientific explanation for sleep paralysis. I feel more research should be dedicated to it so people such as the woman in this video can receive medical help.

Sleep Walking

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

mbcn915l-1.jpg

To me, sleep is the resting of your mind, body, and soul. It is not uncommon however, to sleepwalk, which is walking while fully asleep. I took a specific interest in this because as a child I was known to sleepwalk around house. Some 15 to 30 percent of children and 4 to 5 percent of adults sleepwalk. There is not an exact reason as to why someone sleepwalks but if you have a lack of sleep, irregular sleep schedules, fever or are on certain medications you have a higher risk of sleepwalking. According to the book, sleepwalking almost always occurs during non-REM sleep, which means that sleepwalkers are not acting out their dreams.
An extremely rare case of sleepwalking occurred in 2004 when a woman was treated for having sex with strangers while sleepwalking. This woman would leave her house during the night and have sex with strangers, unable to remember anything about what had happened that night. Doctors believe that her specific case of sleepwalking may have been triggered by stress. After psychiatric counseling she no longer did the same nightly activities.
The most unbelievable sleepwalking story I heard was about Kenneth Parks who, while sleepwalking, got in his car and drove 23 kilometers to his in-laws home where he stabbed his mother-in-law to death and attempted to kill his father-in-law by strangulation. In court he pleaded not guilty saying he did not know what he was doing. The jury of his case acquitted him after hearing testimonies from several sleep specialists. Personally I feel like this decision is wrong. Even though he may not have meant to kill them, he still did and it is still a crime. It should have least been considered manslaughter in my opinion.
Overall I think sleepwalking is so interesting because I have done it many times. I have been sleepwalking and gotten completely ready for school, or I have gone into the kitchen and made breakfast. Sleepwalking should be looked at carefully though because it can be dangerous, as seen in the story about Kenneth Parks.

(cute video of a dog running in its sleep. sleepwalking for dogs!)
www.youtube.com:watch?v=z2BgjH_CtIA.webloc

Anne Schneider

As the world becomes more hectic and stressful, people are looking for a safe haven for comfort. And some have successfully found a way to do so by lucid dreaming. Lucid dream is an experience of becoming aware of one's dream. So what can we possibly do if we are aware of our dreams? The answer is limitless: we can do literally anything and everything by controlling our dreams, such as changing the outcome of our dreams. For example, the poorest man on earth could become the richest man alive in his dream. A weak boy can become a kung fu master in his dream.

Recently, some lucid dreamers stated that a person's self-consciousness and personality can improve significantly by lucid dreaming. A shy person can practice public speaking by speaking in front of a crowd in his or her lucid dream. However, does imagining us flying make us able to fly? Certainly not. There is no good evidence that changing our dreams can help us to overcome depression, anxiety and other.

What lucid dreamers claim these days are even more extraordinary. They say when we reach a certain level of lucid dreaming, we can do what they call "dream walking," walking into dreams of others and interacting with them in their sleep. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but numbers of dreamers testify to this strange and unbelievable phenomenon.

What is more surprising is that, these more experienced lucid dreamers have seen This Man who frequently visits their dreams, but is uncontrollable by their will. ThisMan.org, the troublesome website that describes This Man gained a lot of hype in the past, claiming that "every night throughout the world, hundreds of people dream about this face." However, even with the unusual claim, this website was criticized because of lack of evidence. Skeptics of this website researched deeply into the truth regarding the website's validity and found out that the website was most likely a product of some marketing organization. However, the whole issue regarding whether This Man is real or not is plainly ludicrous. People's gullibility of this phenomenon once again exemplifies that we are always looking for logical sense out of nonsense and explains why we need to focus on scientific thinking, such as "extraordinary claims."

This Man.jpg
(The portrait of "This Man")

Source:
http://www.thisman.org/theories.htm
http://www.jawbone.tv/articles/item/49-ever-dream-this-man?-urban-myth-viral-hoax-or-terrifying-boogeyman?.html

Never wake up a sleep walker, they are loose cannons and you never know what they are capable of doing. That is a statement that many of us are familiar with, but is this statement accurate? A sleepwalker, also known as a "somnambulist" is someone who acts awake, but innactuality is asleep. They can open the fridge, walk down stairs, and even have sexual intercourse while sleepwalking. But does sleepwalking give people the excuse for criminal acts?
According to Fox News, there was an incident that occured involving an attempted murder case by a husband. He claimed to be unaware of the act due to the fact that he was "sleepwalking". But how could anyone possibly believe that? It turns out a woman named Alyson Kaplan woke up and saw her husband, Mark Kaplan, choking her with a string from the hood of a sweatshirt. After this horrible occurance she reported the incident to the police. A couple days later the family went to the police with the assumption that the reason why it had occurred was because Mark had a sleep disorder and was sleepwalking. Trying to make sleepwalking an excuse for a criminal act is very tricky when it comes to dismissing a claim that tremendous.

This video clip shows two men overexaggerating occurances when people sleepwalk.

View;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jIYBatQyCM

Article;
http://digitaljournal.com/article/268976

Saron Theodros

Olfactory versus Gustatory

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes


Why can't we taste without smell? A concept that really caught my attention in Chapter 4 was the question of how taste and smell effect each other. In this section, they start out by talking about taste and what an important role it plays in our everyday lives. But they go on to talk about something even more important- smell. As humans, we only have 5 or 6 taste receptors, but if so, how do we taste such a wide variety of flavors? The secret: our taste perception is strongly biased by our sense of smell. If you've ever had a common cold, or even just plugged your nose while eating, you know exactly what I am talking about. When you have a cold, your sense of taste is nearly depleted, forcing you to constantly blow your nose just to get a taste of what you are eating. We tend to find food much less tasty when struck with a cold. This is due to our strong sense of smell, which is much more sensitive in proportion to taste.
I believe this concept is very important simply because of how many people get a common cold each year. It is also very important because we rely on our sense of smell and taste every day of our lives. Every human being has experienced this at some point in his or her life through some form of cold or congestion. It's a very interesting fact! But, this bias of smell and taste aslo has a chance to be dangerous, because without smell and taste working together, the ability to pick up on a "disgusting" or "unhealthy" taste could be disabled, resulting in some negative consequences to our body or our health.
I can apply this to myself every time I get a cold. I can never taste the food I am eating due to a completely plugged nose and congested system. But, to find out how true this really is, I got a bag of jellybeans and ate them while plugging my nose. When my nose is plugged, I cannot identify the taste of each individual colored jellybean. But, after unplugging my nose, I could immediately identify the flavor of the jellybean.
This shows the importance of smell when it comes to eating, and even breathing. If it wasn't for our sense of smell, our sensation and perception of food would be rather boring- and even dangerous at times.
What I would like to know about this furthermore is how serious the negative effects can be. Are there any serious disorders that involve a loss of taste or smell? Is it caused by anything other than a cold, such as old age or genetics?

Here is a very interesting link that dives further into the reliance of taste on smell, and the biology behind it.

SMELLING AND TASTING.mp4

By Connor Chapman

judgement day is not true

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Mao Xiong Judgment day sect. 13
There are so many unbelievable things in the world; from the extinction of the dinosaurs to human evolution from apes. But, one of the most ridiculous beliefs is the idea of Judgment day on May 21, 2011. Judgment day is a day believed to be the end of the world, which was predicted by priests using the text from the bible. The world will get hit by a large meteorite and the world/ everything will be burned away. Therefore, one will either go to hell or heaven (decided by god).
This is an extraordinary claim because the end of the world is hard to believe. How can there be a Judgment day when not everyone believes in god, no one could even prove if there is even a god and not everyone believes in god. This claim was proven to be falsifiable because today's date is 10/9/11 and the world did not die from fire. Judgment day was proven to be false; it was also proven false again when a priest changed the date to October 21, 2010. Don't forget that there was also another similar prediction in 2000 called Y2K. This kind of prediction is not healthy to the public and causes many people to commit felonies and suicides. According to the Fox9 news, there was a case where an elderly man beat up his wife to death with a bible because of his belief of the end of the world. Occam's rule is simple; the end of the world is hard to believe because the earth has been burning for millions and billions of years. In additional, scientists say that the earth will not die until the sun stops burning and there is no meteorite detected.

(I remember in 2000 my mom had my little brother and she was so scared of the rapture day; Y2K. I had no clue what it was, but I remembered my mom prepared and stored a lot of food in the house, while we waited. Now that i though about it, it is sad that she did no understood english or the bible, but she knew about the idea of a rapture.)

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/05/19/rapture-movement-predicts-end-world-saturday/

Weber's law is very interesting to me. It was covered in class just a few lectures ago. In class, it was basically explained as such: When more mass is added, you notice a variation in that mass less. The example in lecture was stones in a person's hand. So, can this apply to other things? I think that it absolutely can and does. It applies to far more than just mass, or at least in my opinion it can.
When I look at a simple drawing, it only has one color. I immediately sense the lines and markings, then I perceive a drawing or figure. It has simple markings and few colors. But suddenly when a simple drawing becomes an elaborate artistic painting, I don't think that I would immediately acknowledge all the different colors. I would perceive the same thing, whatever the picture may be, but I would not immediately sense each component of the picture. Each color and paint stroke would mesh together, and the additional strokes that the artist added at the end in bright colors than all the rest would blend in. I don't think I would notice them.
The same situation could also be applied to a group of people in a room, buildings in a city skyline, or any other situation. There are too many situations to list in which Weber's law could apply. But, I like that. It gives me a new way to look at things I see each day.


David Iverson
Section 12

Why is Sleep so Important?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Like most college kids I don't get the full seven to 10 hours of sleep that is needed every night. This then leads to hard days of sitting and doing homework or trying to stay awake during lectures. Along with not only getting to bed early enough and sleeping for the right amount of time about 25% of Americans suffer from insomnia.

Insomnia is defined as difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep, or having nonrefreshing sleep. It can occur at any age from a baby to seniors. Most people would think that having insomnia only costs people their sleep, but it can cost them much more than just that. For each individual person it can cost them about 11 days off of work and over $2,000 in wages every year. This totals to over $63 billion for the entire United States. Americans are still going to work when the have insomnia but it is that fact that they are being less productive while being there. Insomnia can also be caused by stress, depression, medications and illnesses.

Because so many people do suffer from insomnia people try to find a way around this by taking prescription, the most known one probably being Ambien. Ambien helps to slow down activity in the brain making it easier to sleep. As many people probably know Ambien does work to help people sleep but it can have some very weird side effects too as shown in this video:

One famous case of Insomnia is the case of Michael Jackson. He suffered from major insomnia which then led, to some, his death. They say that his insomnia was so bad because of his withdrawal from Demerol. His addiction then contributed to his insomnia as I mentioned medications can. They claimed that he could not sleep without Propfol, which a sedative. This then killed Jackson showing that insomnia can lead to death with or without medications because it can cause all kinds of accidents.

Becky Selser

PSY 1001

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Psychology to me is very interesting. It makes my mind intrigued about all the ideas and theories that has to present. Sometimes it would make my head start spinning around circles with all the complexity of its definitions to certain term. However, I find it more and more interesting as the time passes by. It brings up very interesting ideas to the individual attention for example, such as the4 naive realism. We would think that we know what we know, and we are very sure of it just because we saw it with our own eyes, or as the book would put it, " Is seeing believing?". There is a famous saying that goes, " Tell a human that there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he'll believe you. Tell a human there is a wet paint on that bench and he would have to touch it to make sure." And I think that this famous saying kind of have the same message as the naive realism.

Can This Really Happen?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

One concept in psychology that puzzles my mind is the concept of an out-of-body experience. This concept deals with the sense of our consciousness leaving our own body and sometimes observes our own body from another perspective. According to our psychology book, these OBE's are the result of a disruption of our experience of our physical body and our similar to near-death experiences. The book gives an example of a police officer's account having this experience. While pursing a suspect with three other officers, she seemed to exit her body and watch the officers take the subject into custody from above the scene.

I just couldn't grasp this concept, it just seems so unreal to me. I did a little research on this topic and found a video that tries to test these out-of-body experiences. The test involves exposing a subject's temporal lobe to magnetic fields. After the test, the subject said he felt his conscious try and leave his body, but he wouldn't let it happen.

Another video I found shows an example of a reported out-of-body experience on the discovery channel. A woman, who has been blind her entire life claims to have had an out-of-body experience while she was dead. This woman was in a severe car accident and was reported dead for 4 minutes. During these 4 minutes, the woman claims to have been watching the whole revival procedure from the celling. She explained it as being foreign, due to the fact she has never been able to see her whole entire life. This example proves that an out-of-body experience is likely to happen when you have a near-death experience. Although there are many reports of these out-of-body experiences, I am still having trouble grasping this concept.

Test

Example

-Spencer Overgaard

Hypnosis uses techniques to determine how suggestible people are by changing their behaviors, thoughts and feelings. Most hypnotists use a method called induction. Induction uses certain suggestions to help people become more calm and overall relaxed. Hypnosis can be useful for all sorts of things such as treating pain, medical disorders and can even increase the effectiveness of certain therapies.

With hypnosis comes many misconceptions and myths that people believe in but aren't actually true. There are six known misconceptions of hypnosis. The first misconception of hypnosis is that during hypnosis people are put into a trance that ultimately makes "amazing" things happen. People believe in this misconception due to stage hypnosis shows where hypnotists seem to hypnotize people into performing certain tasks and ridiculous commands. This misconception was proven to be false stating that being hypnotized does not actually impact a person's suggestibility and it cannot cause people to obey the hypnotists every command. The second misconception is that hypnosis is the only way that someone can experience hypnotic phenomena. Many of the same phenomena seen with hypnosis can also be performed without hypnosis even being involved. The third misconception is that hypnosis produces a sleep like state. This is false due to brain scans which show that peoples brain waves while sleeping compared to peoples brain waves while hypnotized are not at all similar. The fourth misconception is that people are unaware of their surrounding while in a hypnotic state. People being hypnotized are completely aware of their surroundings and can even remember every detail of their hypnotic state after they are done being hypnotized which also disproves the fifth misconception which states that people forget everything that happened during hypnosis. The sixth misconception is that hypnosis increases a person's memory. This can be a huge misconception because although hypnosis does increase the amount of information that people can remember, most of the information that people recall is not correct.

I believe this concept is important because there are so many misconceptions about hypnosis that people don't truly know what it is. At my senior party last year we brought in a stage hypnotist in and he selected a group of people to hypnotize. After being hypnotized the people in my class experienced many of these misconceptions and believed that they were true. It was really eye opening for me to finally learn about what hypnosis really is and the misconceptions that go along with it. There is still a lot to learn about hypnosis. I am curious to know how hypnosis helps in therapies dealing with obesity.

Why are you doing that?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

There are quite a few things that we have been conditioned to do even though we may not know it. When you see the color green while driving, what do you do? How about red or yellow? During class, when you hear the noise of papers rustling what do you think? If you've been conditioned like most of us you would answer, go, stop, slow down, and that class is almost over. Without realizing it, we have been slightly conditioned to respond to seemingly normal things.

Pavlovian conditioning (Classical conditioning) is a form of learning in which animals come to respond to a previously neutral stimulus that has been paired with another stimulus that elicits an automatic response. The Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov conducted an experiment where he would feed dogs and measure the amount they would salivate. Then, every time the dog would be feed he introduced a neutral stimulus be it a chiming bell or a metronome. By adding the neutral stimulus, he was conditioning the dogs to respond to that stimulus in the same fashion as the food, the unconditioned stimulus. After a while when the dogs heard the bell or metronome they would begin to salivate as though there was food in their mouths, or because of the expectation of the food to come.

http://www.spike.com/video-clips/0jnov0/the-office-the-jim-trains-dwight

In this video of The Office, you can see that Jim is using Pavlov's classical conditioning on Dwight. In actuality if someone were unaware, they could be conditioned in a similar way though the effects might not be as dramatic, it can be done. Don't believe me? Try reading the first few sentences; we have been conditioned because we have been unaware of the effectiveness of classical conditioning!

-Nathan Bourgeois

Why are you doing that?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

There are quite a few things that we have been conditioned to do even though we may not know it. When you see the color green while driving, what do you do? How about red or yellow? During class, when you hear the noise of papers rustling what do you think? If you've been conditioned like most of us you would answer, go, stop, slow down, and that class is almost over. Without realizing it, we have been slightly conditioned to respond to seemingly normal things.
Pavlovian conditioning (Classical conditioning) is a form of learning in which animals come to respond to a previously neutral stimulus that has been paired with another stimulus that elicits an automatic response. The Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov conducted an experiment where he would feed dogs and measure the amount they would salivate. Then, every time the dog would be feed he introduced a neutral stimulus be it a chiming bell or a metronome. By adding the neutral stimulus, he was conditioning the dogs to respond to that stimulus in the same fashion as the food, the unconditioned stimulus. After a while when the dogs heard the bell or metronome they would begin to salivate as though there was food in their mouths, or because of the expectation of the food to come.
http://www.spike.com/video-clips/0jnov0/the-office-the-jim-trains-dwight
In this video of The Office, you can see that Jim is using Pavlov's classical conditioning on Dwight. In actuality if someone were unaware, they could be conditioned in a similar way though the effects might not be as dramatic, it can be done. Don't believe me? Try reading the first few sentences; we have been conditioned because we have been unaware of the effectiveness of classical conditioning!

-Nathan Bourgeois

Signal Detection Theory

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes


For our second blog entry, I decided to talk about the signal detection theory. This theory was developed by David Green and John Swets around 1966 to explain how people react to stimuli under uncertain circumstances. The image below shows the possible outcomes to a stimuli, a true positive, a false negative, a false positive or a true negative.


psych.gif


When a true positive is observed a subject is exposed to a stimulus and expresses that they were aware of it. A true positive is often referred to as a "hit".
When a false negative is observed a subject denies a stimulus, although it was present. Scientists often record this as a "miss".
When a false positive is observed, a subject reports stimuli that was not present; this is often called a false alarm.
When a true negative is observed a subject denies stimulus that was not present; this is known as a correct rejection.

Many people can utilize the signal detection theory in the real world. For example, the use of cell phones. When there is a poor connection people often find they are uncertain of what is being communicated to them. This is where the theory comes into play.
If you are on the phone and can correctly identify what is being said to you are exhibiting a true positive.
If you don't hear or respond to something that is said, and the person on the other line has indeed said something, you are exhibiting a false negative.
If you report hearing a sound although there was none, you are exhibiting a false positive.
If you don't hear anything over the phone and there is in fact no speaking, you are exhibiting a true negative.

can you hear me now.gif

Danielle Spizzirri

Memory and New information

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes


The first exam has been finished. Good score would depend on how well we can memorize and store what we studied at the hippocampus. The hippocampus belongs to the limbic system and plays important roles in the consolidation of information from short-term memory to long-term memory and spatial navigation. I have learned that the posterior hippocampi of taxi drivers are significantly larger relative to those who do not drive taxis in London. The posterior hippocampus stores a spatial representation of the environment. It is not surprising, considering that London taxi drivers should memorize almost all the names of street and building within 10km of Charing cross station to get a taxi driver's license. 25000 street names, 1000 hotels and 13000 buildings are within 10km of central London.

However, there is another report on London taxi drivers. Maguire research team751a94c629537aad8eea23ee754aecef.png compared London taxi drivers with London bus drivers in 2006 research. They found that taxi drivers had greater posterior hippocampi but less anterior hippocampi than bus drivers. The anterior hippocampus involves in new information processing. In other words, an ability to acquire new information or creative knowledge could be irrelevant to memorizing capacity. The result of this research seems like contradictory to
Hebb's law, "Neurons that fire together wire together". I could guess that the function of the anterior and the posterior in Hippocampus could develop simultaneously according to Hebb's law. But my guess is not right. Maguire research team concluded that a complex spatial representation, which facilitates expert navigation and is associated with greater posterior hippocampal gray matter volume, might come at a cost to new spatial memories. Then opposite, if we become more sensative to the new information, our memorizing capacity would decrease. We are now living in an age of so called Tablet PC, which makes us so sensitive to the new information. How about our memory? Decreasing?


sonam kim

Brandon Budnicki
tag cloud.png

Is all that time you spend on Facebook and reading blog posts causing your memory to erode? Do you ever feel that you do not remember something because you have easy access to information? According to a study conducted at Columbia University and Harvard University, our easy access to information has made us more forgetful.

The study names this loss of memory "the Google effect." It describes a phenomenon in which the easy access to information we have at our fingertips is causing us to forget. If information can quickly and easily be found, why does someone need to remember it? If you want to know who the 23 president of the United States was, it is easy to quickly type it into Google (Benjamin Harrison). If you actually do that search, Google will actually make a best guess at the answer so you don't even need to click a link.

23 pres.png

I find myself influenced by the Google effect constantly. Between email, and online calendars I do not spend time trying to remember what my assignments were, I just look them up. It lets me focus on the task at hand without worrying about whether or not I forgot something.

What some outside the study claim is that this effect is a natural adaptation we have been using millions of year. Alva Noë wrote an article (here) illustrating examples of our use of this cognitive strategy outside of technology. A prime example would be our reliance on colanders and lists to remember what needs to be done throughout the day.

One of the issues that arise through our reliance on technology is the fact that we cannot always rely on it. Email's get deleted, the wifi in cuts out, Facebook crashes. At those times you can be left not knowing what to do. I think the key it to learn how to balance our reliance on technology to be more productive and still be able to live without it when it fails.

The report can be found at http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6043776.full/

Brandon Budnicki Budn0019

Weber's Law

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

For my second blog I decided to explore a concept talked about by professor He in our lectures and found in chapter four. This concept is called Weber's law. Weber's law is the idea that our ability to detect the just noticeable difference between objects is proportional to the masses of the objects.
This idea is found constantly in everyday life, although we usually accept it as a natural law of nature. Weber's law gives us a conclusion on why this occurs. Without this concept it we would not be able to fully understand why we are often able to feel changes in weights in some situations but not others.
I experience Weber's law every day with my backpack. If I pack my backpack with hardly anything in it and then add my psychology textbook, I am able to tell this difference very easily and feel the strain on my back. On the other hand, when I have many other textbooks and my laptop in my backpack and then add my psychology textbook it is not as easy to notice the additional weight. This is a perfect example of Weber's Law because when my backpack is full I already have so much strain on my back that the little bit of extra weight is not noticeable.
This concept brings some interesting thoughts to my mind. First of all it would be interesting to delve into why this concept occurs. Is it because I already have so much strain on my shoulders as in the second backpack example? Second, does this concept apply to other things other than weight? For example, could we call it Weber's Law when we are shown many images and don't notice a new image compared to when we are showed few images and then we are able to notice a new image? The images below demonstrate the question that I am posing. There is an extra dot in the set on the right compared to that on the left. This is difficult to notice however because of the large amount of dots in the set. Could you consider this to be an example of Weber's Law?

Weber's Law.png

Thumbnail image for Weber's Law.png

(I think the images and their locations may have been messed up a bit in uploading)
.
Written by: Ben Sicoli

Weber's Law

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

For my second blog I decided to explore a concept talked about by professor He in our lectures and found in chapter four. This concept is called Weber's law. Weber's law is the idea that our ability to detect the just noticeable difference between objects is proportional to the masses of the objects.
This idea is found constantly in everyday life, although we usually accept it as a natural law of nature. Weber's law gives us a conclusion on why this occurs. Without this concept it we would not be able to fully understand why we are often able to feel changes in weights in some situations but not others.
I experience Weber's law every day with my backpack. If I pack my backpack with hardly anything in it and then add my psychology textbook, I am able to tell this difference very easily and feel the strain on my back. On the other hand, when I have many other textbooks and my laptop in my backpack and then add my psychology textbook it is not as easy to notice the additional weight. This is a perfect example of Weber's Law because when my backpack is full I already have so much strain on my back that the little bit of extra weight is not noticeable.
This concept brings some interesting thoughts to my mind. First of all it would be interesting to delve into why this concept occurs. Is it because I already have so much strain on my shoulders as in the second backpack example? Second, does this concept apply to other things other than weight? For example, could we call it Weber's Law when we are shown many images and don't notice a new image compared to when we are showed few images and then we are able to notice a new image? The images below demonstrate the question that I am posing. There is an extra dot in the set on the right compared to that on the left. This is difficult to notice however because of the large amount of dots in the set. Could you consider this to be an example of Weber's Law?

Weber's Law.png

Thumbnail image for Weber's Law.png

(I think the images and their locations may have been messed up a bit in uploading)
.
Written by: Ben Sicoli

Gestalt principles are laws describing how we perceive objects as one entity in their environment. There are three Gestalt principles: proximity, similarity, continuity, closure, symmetry, and figure-ground. Similarity is when objects are closely related, they are perceived as a whole. Proximity is when objects are close together, they are perceived as a whole. Continuity is shown when, because of previous understanding and experiences, we perceive objects as a whole even if another object is blocking their perceived path. Closure happens when an object has missing spaces in it and our brain fills in the missing information. Symmetry takes place when we perceive objects in a symmetrical pattern as whole more often than those not in a symmetrical pattern. Figure-ground occurs when we can perceive an arrangement of objects in two distinct ways, as either the foreground or background. This concept is crucial in our everyday life because it provides an explanation for how we perceive the world around us. Understanding the Gestalt principles provides us with a greater self-awareness.

This concept applies to countless things we see in our everyday life that we take for granted, such as the IBM logo which exhibits the Gestalt principle of closure. We see the blue lines as a whole forming an I, B, and an M. Without the execution of closure, we would just see many blue lines.

Take this mash-up of logos of the MTV music awards in Europe as another example of a Gestalt principle, which exhibits the law of proximity. Because the many logos are placed closely together, we perceive them as one object, instead of four individual logos.
gestalt_law_of_symmetry_and_of_proximity.gif

Both of the images I presented are from an insightful article I found on Gestalt principles.
You can view it from this link. http://www.interaction-design.org/encyclopedia/gestalt_principles_of_form_perception.html
As I finish my journal entry, I find myself pondering what takes place in the brain that causes us to perceive many objects as a whole when they are, in fact, not a whole, but rather individual figures.

Deja Vu

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

dejavu.jpg
Sometimes, when we have a new situation, we feel like we have been through the same situation before. Some says that they saw this situation in a dream, and others say that they actually have experienced the same situation before. This phenomenon is called déjà vu, defined by Lilienfeld as "the feeling of reliving an experience that's new." I found it interesting because there are lots of explanations over this phenomenon but none is accepted universally, such as excess of dopamine, resemblance of past and new experience, and memory from the past life.
I frequently experience the déjà vu. For example, when I first came to the airport in Minneapolis, I felt so sure that I had been there long ago. I acted as if I knew where to go to get a taxi. Then, of course, I got lost for a half hour. After reading of the possible explanations for the déjà vu, I think I felt so because the Minneapolis airport looked a lot similar to the airport in Florida, where I visited three years ago. Another example is described in link below. Art Markman visited Europe for the first time but he felt as if he had been there before. This link also gives good possible explanation for the déjà vu.
As I researched about déjà vu, one question arouse to me. Many explanations seem to imply that people can notice that they are experiencing déjà vu after happened. However, people sometimes don't just feel 'as if' they have been in the same situation, but they are actually so 'sure' about that. How can this assurance be explained?

Jongeun Jang (Jeff)

*I wrote this last week, but was unable to upload it.

Achluophobia is a morbid fear of darkness. But if we really fear the dark, why is it that we watch movies in a dark room? Why is it that we eat with a dim light on to have a romantic atmosphere? And why is it that we sleep with the lights off?

I began to wonder about the cause of this fear. Perhaps we are not scared of the darkness itself, but the possible or imagined thoughts that are created by darkness. Although there is no one reason why people are scared of the dark, I thought that pareidolia could be one plausible cause of this phobia.

Our brains tend to make order out of disorder and find sense in nonsense. And this tendency to seek out patterns can sometimes lead us to experience pareidolia, seeing meaningful images in meaningless objects or visual stimuli.

Most of us probably have experienced a time when we woke up in the middle of the night to get a cup of water and were surprised by the ghost-looking object sitting on our chairs, only to find out that ghost was actually a jacket hanging on the chair. That is exactly what pareidolia is.

I had considered pareidolia to be the only cause of achluophobia. But I remembered from my reading that almost all actions are multiply determined. Thus, I began to look for more possible causes of achluophoiba and came across reading about top-down and bottom-up processing. These two important concepts basically explained how we perceive an object. In bottom-up processing, we construct a whole from its parts while in top-down processing, we construct whole from our expectations. So then, I concluded that, maybe it isn't just our brains' tendency to seek out order out of disorder, but also our expectations of scary things and objects that cause us to experience pareidolia, which ultimately leads us to have a fear of darkness.

Been there, done that

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

20061204_deja.jpgMany of us have experienced the phenomena of déjà vu at least once in our lives, but what is déjà vu? Déjà vu is the feeling that you have experienced or seen something before that is completely new. Some speculate that déjà vu occurs because we are seeing events that have happened to us in past lives, which is not only highly unlikely, but is also not falsifiable, so it cannot be tested. Déjà vu may seem strange and somewhat mystical, but there is a simpler explanation for it. This feeling of reliving an event is most likely attributed to an event from our past (not past life) that may be similar to our déjà vu experience. I have personally experienced déjà vu several times, and it really is a strange feeling; you feel completely convinced that the current situation you're in has happened, in the exact same way, in the past. Although I have an idea of what happens during an episode of déjà vu, I still wonder what exactly is happening in the brain that would make you think you have experienced an event exactly as it is happening. I think it greatly has to do with perception, because the mind recalls a similar situation that you may not be consciously aware of, and the brain overlaps the past event with the current event, so to speak. Once again, the point that sensation and perception are two completely different concepts has been emphasized.

Post by Amanda Blake

beforeafter_main_anj.jpg

Does it sound wonderful that you can "reverse the clock" on life at the price of only 4 bucks? Yes, it does. However, ladies and gentlemen, before popping your bottles of champagne to celebrate, I humbly ask of you to sit tight and ponder for a few minutes: How many percentage of truth does this claim contain? Probably not much! In fact, upon careful investigation, you may be able to spot numerous warning signs of pseudoscience in this claim and the accompanied article.

The first warning sign of pseudoscience we can easily recognize is that the article accompanied this claim is reliant heavily on the anecdote of Mary, a mom of three children. According to the article, most of the wrinkles on Mary's face and neck were erased after she utilized a 14-day trial of the products offered by OVVIO Firm & Kollagen Intensiv. Nevertheless, a mere anecdote doesn't tell us anything about cause and effect. The fact that we are not informed whether during this same period, Mary used any other product, or whether she developed another skin care routine that may be beneficial to her, implies that the so-called improvement in her skin may not be directly contributed, if any, by the products of OVVIO Firm & Kollagen Intensiv.

Another warning sign of pseudoscience in this article is that Mary's testimony repeatedly mentioned about some clinical studies that had verified the effectiveness of OVVIO Firm's & Kollagen Intensiv's products. All the same, she neither actually named those clinical studies, nor provided any insight about the procedures in which these studies were conducted. Therefore, there is a good chance that the clinical studies she related to have never existed at all. The absence of connectivity to well-known researches makes her statement seem to be no more than just an exaggerated claim that is not sufficiently supported by evidences.

The third warning sign of pseudoscience in this article is that instead of providing sufficient evidence, it cites before-and-after pictures of women, who were supposed to have been using the products, as proofs. Yet, we do not know for sure whether these women did actually try the products. Furthermore, the article states that the photos are "actual unretouched photos", yet there is practically no way for us to test whether the photos are actually not manipulated. Therefore, the credibility of these photos is open to question.

These are, but only, few warning signs of pseudoscience in the article. Yet, they are sufficient enough to dissuade anybody from signing up for the suspicious 14-day trial promoted by the article.

http://popularlifestylejournal.com/health/skincare/c/index.html

Ngoc Nguyen

Smiling and Frowning

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

People have always said turn that frown upside down, it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. Through the years, people have heard that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. Depending on what you've heard, there are many different ratios of muscles it takes to smile than to frown. No one necessarily knows what to believe but according to scientist, it takes 41 muscles to frown and 17 muscles to smile. It is true that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile, but there is no way of knowing which muscles are harder to work and take more energy. Therefore it takes more muscles to frown but they just don't know to what extent. Because people have always heard that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile, they also believe that it is harder. Based on availability heuristics, people tend to go off of what they already know. They believe that it takes more energy to frown than to smile but that is actually unknown and has yet to be proven. Since it has yet to be proven which takes more energy, it can't be replicated. It must be replicated if the theory wants to be proven true. One thing that has been proven is that it is beneficial to smile. Smiling actually makes you feel happier. Some advice is that if you are feeling blue, show a little smile to cheer you up for a moment. Frowning takes more muscles than smiling, but it has yet to be proven which takes more energy.

http://snopes.com/science/smile.asp

Matt Gonsior

Photobucket


We may have nightmares that made us unable to move our body, inability to speak or shout, and having the feeling of fear taking over us while we are asleep. It is called sleep paralysis. According to Lilienfield, "A strange experience of being unable to move just after falling asleep or immediately upon awakening." It is when the body cannot move during the state of sleep. For this case, I have known a person who had this experience. She was a girl my age who is my guy cousin's girlfriend. Her parents warned her not to go out late in the woods to see their flower garden because of the spirits that lurks in the woods. We Hmong have a superstition that spirits love nightfall because humans are vulnerable to fear around that time. They target on humans, scaring them, appearing and disappearing within their sight, or haunting them in their dreams. However, since majority of Hmong are in America, we do not believe in these superstitions (especially the younger generations). So, she did not believe in it. She walked to the woods at night to see the flower garden and by the time she came back to her house, she fell asleep.

She dreamt that she was at the garden and she saw a black shadowed figure with a long tongue coming towards her. She could not move. She could not speak. She was stuck and she was frightened as the figure approached her. It came and grabbed her body. She twitched on the bed, as what her little sister had witnessed. By the time she woke up, she felt the spirit's presence around her room. Furthermore, I believe this to be true and as crazy as it sound, I believe that sleep paralysis is caused by a benevolent spirit. Although it cannot be proven scientifically since there is no evidence of science that links to spirituality, we can either believe in it or not, based on our personal beliefs.

Sources:
• Lilienfield, Scot. Psychology:From Inquiry to Understanding. Pearson Education, Inc, 2010.
• Photobucket. Sleep Paralysis. October 7, 2011.

Pavlov created an experiment that studied the use of classical conditioning. He used dogs for his experiments but the example I would like to use is the one from the TV show "The Office"

In this experiment its clear what was going on but identifying each part is pretty tricky. The four variables on a classical conditioning experiment are the Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS), the Unconditioned Response (UCR), the Conditioned Response (CR), and the Conditioned Stimulus (CS). The UCS in this experiment would be the mint because Dwight would want this mint either way, even if the computer sound wasn't on. The UCR would be a feeling of bad breath by Dwight when he is offered the mint because that is his response to getting a mint. The CS would be sound the computer makes when Jim reboots it because normally that wouldn't make Dwight want a mint but since a mint is offered after that noise Dwight starts to make an association. Finally, the CR would be Dwight putting his hand out expecting a mint from the computer sound and having bad breath and a dry mouth because normally that sound wouldn't cause any type of reaction. From this Jim classically conditioned Dwight to need and expect a mint every time he rebooted his computer, causing a sound.
This experiment is very similar to Pavlov's, the only major difference was that he used dogs with food, but they both had the same results.

Jacob Patnode

Narcolepsy

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Narcolepsy as defined in the Lilienfeld Textbook, is a dramatic disorder in which people experience episodes of sudden sleep lasting anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes and, less frequently, as long as an hour. This concept of instant periods of sleeping is difficult to comprehend in my opinion. Though to picture someone just falling asleep at random intervals is a little bizarre to me, it is an important concept because it is interesting to learn the extent of what stress or overwhelming experiences can do to some people. Narcolepsy can be triggered by strong emotions, from sexual pleasure to laughing at a joke. It has been proven to lead to cataplexy, a complete loss of muscle tone, meaning they lose control of their muscles (actions). In healthy people, cataplexy occurs during REM sleep, our highest frequency sleep stage, while narcoleptics can slip into REM sleep at anytime. Narcolepsy can be caused by genetic abnormalities or developing it after an accident that causes brain damage. Recently, Chinese scientists have been researching the sudden surge of narcolepsy throughout China. At first they believed that this was caused by the swine flu outrage in 2009, but recently they have found that the narcolepsy has been caused by the common flu. Narcolepsy is caused by the destruction of brain cells that create hypocretin, which regulate sleep. These cells are commonly destroyed by autoimmune reactions caused by the common flu or strep throat, therefore causing the outburst in narcolepsy. This was studied in China due to the "double boost' of swine flu vaccination given to children in Sweden and Finland and was thought to have caused the narcolepsy in China as well. There is not much I can relate to in my personal life, but it would be interesting to experience a narcoleptic and see what they literally act like. I am still partially confused about what narcolepsy is exactly caused by and why it happens, but so far it is an interesting concept.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/23/health/23global.html?_r=1

Anne Tran

Who Is Conditioning Who?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

As an infant, so my mother tells me, I started to walk but preferred to crawl. Perhaps it was just that I did not like feeling unsteady on my feet. Whatever the reason may have been, my grandfather decided that he would entice me to walk rather than crawl.

He did this by sitting across the room from me and holding out a chocolate bar and asking me to walk towards him. A classic Thorndike set-up: If a response (my walking across a room) in the presence of a stimulus (chocolate) is followed by a satisfying state of affairs (the ability to eat the chocolate), the bond between walking and eating chocolate will be strengthened. At first, this enticement did not seem to work too well. I was hesitant to walk or crawl towards him. Eventually, I would start to walk towards him and when I realized I was walking (or more likely, when too many cheers came from my family about my attempt to walk), I would sit down and crawl the remainder of the distance.

My grandfather would give me the chocolate anyway, despite the fact that I did not walk the entire distance across the room. Which leads me to think that perhaps I was the one who was conditioning him: I was conditioning him to pay attention to me by rewarding him with a brief visit. So, perhaps personal relationships and love bias our ability to carry out an operant conditioning experiment such as this one. To this day, I still blame my grandfather for my love of chocolate.

Lisa Hostetler

Can This Really Happen?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

One concept in psychology that puzzles my mind is the concept of an out-of-body experience. This concept deals with the sense of our consciousness leaving our own body and sometimes observes our own body from another perspective. According to our psychology book, these OBE's are the result of a disruption of our experience of our physical body and our similar to near-death experiences. The book gives an example of a police officer's account having this experience. While pursing a suspect with three other officers, she seemed to exit her body and watch the officers take the subject into custody from above the scene.

I just couldn't grasp this concept, it just seems so unreal to me. I did a little research on this topic and found a video that tries to test these out-of-body experiences located here. The test involves exposing a subject's temporal lobe to magnetic fields. After the test, the subject said he felt his conscious try and leave his body, but he wouldn't let it happen.

Another video I found shows an example of a reported out-of-body experience on the discovery channel. A woman, who has been blind her entire life claims to have had an out-of-body experience while she was dead. This woman was in a severe car accident and was reported dead for 4 minutes. During these 4 minutes, the woman claims to have been watching the whole revival procedure from the celling. She explained it as being foreign, due to the fact she has never been able to see her whole entire life. This example proves that an out-of-body experience is likely to happen when you have a near-death experience. Although there are many reports of these out-of-body experiences, I am still having trouble grasping this concept

Creative REM

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Besides re-energizing the body, what other purpose could REM have for humans? In this article found at PsychologyToday.com (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insomniac/201002/the-power-and-purpose-dreams), Gayle Green, a professor at Scripps College, poses the idea that REM is one of the central drivers to human being's ability to be creative. Since the brain dreams most intensely during the REM stage of sleep, it is possible that REM helps people with their creative element. In this author's article, she states that people who are woken up during the REM stage of sleep often describe things more creatively. She also referenced a study on film makers, which claimed that these creative individuals often have more intense dreams which could contribute to their ability to think up such elaborate and creative movies. This article interested me quite a bit. The notion that waking up after only six hour of sleep or so, before we have had our full dose of REM, could be a possibility for why individuals who get the full eight hours of sleep tend to be more able to learn and reason. I can see this in my own life: when I get more sleep, I am able to focus and think of things in more creative ways. I also thought of a way to relate this to the idea of functionalism. It could be that REM and sleep were adapted by humans when creativity became a necessary part of living. One question I thought about while reading through was why REM waits until the last part of sleep if it is the most important aspect of sleeping. It would make more sense to have REM be first, so we are not negatively impacted by the effects of being sleep deprived, but that is a question I don't think can be answered easily, if at all.

Blue Ribbon Posts

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

This is where I'll post links to some of the best posts of the week. Good posts should be visually interesting, engaging, and scientifically sound. They should also make connections beyond what was covered in class by discussing additional research in the field, relating the material to real-life situations, etc. As we progress, the standard for excellent posts will rise, so feel free to use these posts as a model but also strive to go above and beyond them.

Writing 1

Lisa Hostetler

Matthew Barg

Lynzi Daly

Writing 2

Hannah Weiger

Brandon Budnicki

Connor Chapman

Writing 3

Anna Shrifteylik

Lisa Hostetler

Ngoc Nguyen

Deja Vu All Over Again

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

You have probably read about deja vu before, which may invoke the exact feeling that deja vu describes, while not actually being a case of said phenomenon. Deja vu is french for "already seen". It describes the phenomenon of experiencing something new, but for a brief moment thinking that you have experienced this new thing, whether it be a sight, smell, or sound, once or many times before. Deja vu is nothing new and is quite harmless, yet researchers are still not sure why it occurs.

Research has proven that the number of deja vu experiences one has and their mental health can be linked. This is to say that some mental disorders lead to greater and more frequent feelings of deja vu. It has also been found that intoxicating substances such as alcohol increase one's likelihood of experiencing deja vu.

While these links have been found, there is no true biological evidence that has been found as to why deja vu occurs in the first place. One theory is that deja vu is caused by a delayed firing of neurons in the brain. This delayed firing causes you to perceive something new twice in row, thus causing you to feel like you've had this truly new experience before.

A related theory is that when one is having a case of deja vu they are having a small, harmless epileptic seizure in the temporal lobe of their brain. This random firing of synapses causes your brain to be stuck on repeat for a few milliseconds thus causing you to relive what you just experienced right before the seizure.

"Reliving" describes the experience of deja vu quite well. We may not know exactly why deja vu occurs, but we know it is one of the great harmless phenomenons of the human brain and that more than likely you will experience it all over again.

Ian Peters

http://isaacmmcphee.suite101.com/the-many-forms-of-dj-vu-a43654

http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/extrasensory-perceptions/question657.htm

Deja Vu All Over Again

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

You have probably read about deja vu before, which may invoke the exact feeling that deja vu describes, while not actually being a case of said phenomenon. Deja vu is french for "already seen". It describes the phenomenon of experiencing something new, but for a brief moment thinking that you have experienced this new thing, whether it be a sight, smell, or sound, once or many times before. Deja vu is nothing new and is quite harmless, yet researchers are still not sure why it occurs.

Research has proven that the number of deja vu experiences one has and their mental health can be linked. This is to say that some mental disorders lead to greater and more frequent feelings of deja vu. It has also been found that intoxicating substances such as alcohol increase one's likelihood of experiencing deja vu.

While these links have been found, there is no true biological evidence that has been found as to why deja vu occurs in the first place. One theory is that deja vu is caused by a delayed firing of neurons in the brain. This delayed firing causes you to perceive something new twice in row, thus causing you to feel like you've had this truly new experience before.

A related theory is that when one is having a case of deja vu they are having a small, harmless epileptic seizure in the temporal lobe of their brain. This random firing of synapses causes your brain to be stuck on repeat for a few milliseconds thus causing you to relive what you just experienced right before the seizure.

"Reliving" describes the experience of deja vu quite well. We may not know exactly why deja vu occurs, but we know it is one of the great harmless phenomenons of the human brain and that more than likely you will experience it all over again.

Ian Peters

http://isaacmmcphee.suite101.com/the-many-forms-of-dj-vu-a43654

http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/extrasensory-perceptions/question657.htm

The Cat in the Box

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

In the last lecture, Professor Peterson discussed a few concepts of learning; the one I found particularly interesting was Thorndike's Instrumental Conditioning. He studied learning from the relationship between behavior and its consequence, also known as response-consequence learning. To study this, he devised the cat puzzle box, or what Professor Peterson called the problem box.



As you can see from the video above, the cat must figure out the response needed to get out of the box to receive the treat waiting on the other side. Thorndike found that after repeated trails, the trials after the first always went quicker because the cat learned how to adapt its response to get out from the box. Also, he concluded that because the reward, the actions needed to get the reward become engraved in the mind; thus the greater the reward or punishment, the greater strengthening or weakening of the mind engraving. This all summarizes his Law of Effect--behavior changes due to the effects or consequences of that particular behavior.

I found this particularly interesting because I plan to go into the field of occupational therapy where the objective is to teach people how to perform basic functions after some sort of ailment not allowing them to perform such basic functions. I have had some experience with this two summers ago when I was caring for an elderly woman suffering from severe dementia--one of my duties was to help her with her physical therapy exercises and to exercise her memory by playing games that engaged her mentally. I have seen first hand that people do learn how to adapt their responses to receive the greatest reward and avoid the consequences. I am not necessarily proud of having to flaunt a chocolate milkshake or an ice cream bar in front of the lady's nose to get her to do her exercises, but it got the job done. I did find that the lady caught on to my scheme--she would do the exercises as prompted, but she would do them too fast and sloppy for me to know that the exercises were effective. I would then have to say no to the request for the chocolate milkshake or ice cream bar until she completed the exercises in a satisfactory manner. This would at first made the poor woman cry, (she always employed this as a way for her family and I to let her off the hook) but after staying firm with her in the midst of the water works, she learned that that particular response was not going to work, and she complied with doing the exercises correctly in the future.

I really found Thorndike's Instrumental Conditioning beneficial to the understanding of the learning process--without this study, I feel that we would never be able to explain why people respond better to rewards than to punishment. I personally feel my actions of feeding an elderly woman junk food as a reward justified. Though I do wonder one thing about the cat puzzle box--what do the animal rights activists say to this treatment of cats?

-Ashli Carlson

In last week's lecture, we discussed Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov's investigation on classical conditioning. Pavlov discovered that the scent of food served as an unconditioned stimulus, in which the unconditioned response of that stimulus was hunger. Secondly, Pavlov associated a noise with the food, in which the noise became a conditioned stimulus, leading to the conditioned response of hunger. This experiment proved the power of classical conditioning, and how associated stimulus can influence feelings and behaviors.

Haven't we seen this before? Advertisements frequently use classical conditioning to influence the choices we make. In one example, Pepsi has used American pictures, icons and sayings to advertise their product. We can see how classical conditioning is used to associate Pepsi-Cola with American traditions and values. The Pepsi-Cola is the unconditioned stimulus that triggers our unconditioned response of thirst for Pepsi. However, if the Pepsi doesn't trigger an unconditioned response of thirst for Pepsi, this advertisement hopes to associate an American tradition conditioned stimulus. In this, the marketers hope that the next instance one considers America, their conditioned response becomes a thirst for Pepsi.

In one other example, classical conditioning is used to influence consumer's choices of restaurants. Culver's recently began using advertisements with iconic Wisconsin symbols such as farmers, cows, and cheese. The advertisements are motivated to influence consumers to associate Wisconsin tradition with Culver's restaurants, in such a way that consumers will consider Culver's the next time they think of Wisconsin. This is just one other example of the many ways classical conditioning has been used to influence others.

-Matthew Barg

Narcolepsy

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

In chapter 5, we learned about different sleep disorders, including narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that causes people to to experience uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the daytime. These people experience daytime sleepiness, and the attacks may occur at any time. REM sleep occurs almost immediately after they fall asleep. Narcolepsy usually begins between the ages of 15 and 25. It is often undiagnosed and untreated. The causes of narcolepsy are unknown, but scientists are working to identify the genes associated with the disorder. These genes control chemicals in the brain that may signal sleep and awake cycles. Some experts think a deficiency in the production of the chemical hypocretin may cause narcolepsy. It is likely that narcolepsy involves multiple factors that interact to cause neurological dysfunction and REM sleep disturbances.

Symptoms of narcolepsy include excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy (sudden loss of muscle tone that leads to the feeling of weakness and a loss of voluntary muscle control), hallucinations, and sleep paralysis. Narcolepsy is diagnosed by a physical exam and exhaustive medical history. Several specialized tests which are usually done in a sleep disorder lab or clinic are also required for diagnosis. The polysomnogram (PSG) and the multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) and some of the common tests used.

Here is a link for the WebMD site about narcolepsy:
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/narcolepsy

Sarah Benthein

Did that just happen?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Hypnosis has fascinated scientists and clinical practitioners for more than two centuries, yet the basic methods for inducing hypnosis have changed little over the years. Hypnosis is a set of techniques that provides people with suggestions for alterations in their perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. To increase people's suggestibility, most hypnotists use an induction method, which typically includes suggestions for relaxation and calmness.
I decided to blog about hypnosis because I was recently hypnotized at the University of Minnesota's welcome week. The hypnotist said that a half-hour of hypnosis is equivalent to eight hours of sleep. When I first heard that, I thought, "Why ever sleep when you can just keep hypnotizing yourself?" I wanted to find out more about hypnosis and chapter five helped me out with that. It goes over the myths and misconceptions about hypnosis.
The myth that stuck out to me was that hypnosis enhances memory. There have been stories about criminals hypnotizing witnesses to create a false memory. Scientific studies generally reveal that hypnosis doesn't improve memory, but it does increase the amount of information we recall.

"Turns dreams into reality" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVq90wypbz0&feature=pyv&ad=6641431994&kw=hypnosis

Zach DeCou

Phantom Limb Syndrome

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

phantom-limb-syndrome.jpgThe eerie phenomenon of sensations, pain, or discomfort in a amputated limb is known as phantom limb syndrome. This condition causes patients to experience an amputated limb as if it were still attached to there body because the brain continues to get messages from nerves that once carried signals from the missing limb.


The exact causes of phantom limb syndrome are unknown, but many psychologists believe that it could be caused by the brain adjusting and reorganizing itself after such a drastic body change. Others believe that the brain memory of pain is still there after the limb is gone, which causes the sporadic feeling of pain and discomfort. I agree more with the first idea because it is more widely accepted and due to the idea of Occam's razor, that the simplest explanation accounts for the data. One other idea that I thought about was that patients could be coping with the stress of loosing a limb by imagining the amputated limb as still apart of their body, however I did not find any evidence reinforcing this. NYU Langone Medical Center has done extensive research on phantom limb syndrome and believes that some possible factors that can increase ones risk for phantom limb syndrome are pre-amputation pain, a blood clot in the limb, infection in the limb before amputation, and pain in adults more likely than in children. This illusion is especially prevalent right now in our country due to the injuries to American soldiers from the war in Iraq.

While their is no way to guarantee phantom limb syndrome going away for sure, their are some possible treatment options for patients. One such option is taking any of a variety of pain killers. Another option is using mirror therapy. This is where a patient goes through a series of therapy sessions using a mirror so that it appears that the limb is still intact. A third option is receiving electrical nerve stimulation. Some patients feel that massage therapy and acupuncture work well at reliving pain as well. A final option is receiving surgery that will block nerve impulses from limb to the brain. In most cases however phantom limb syndrome is fairly brief and infrequent so most patients don't need to worry to much about it.

Deja Vu

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

After reading chapter 5 this week, I was really intrigued by the section on déjà vu. I frequently experience random flashes of déjà vu where I feel as though I have previously been in the same place, had the same conversation and with the same people. I wanted to learn a little more as to why we experience this phenomenon and what factors make it stronger in certain people.

There are two ways that you can recognize that you are in a familiar situation. One is to retrieve the previous situation from memory. For example, you might visit your hometown. When you go to the school you went to, you might remember a class you took and know that you had been there before.
But, you can also just get a feeling that you have been somewhere before. This feeling of knowing is related to knowledge about the source of a memory. So, when returning to your hometown, you might pass the library and feel that it is familiar without remembering ever going there.

A paper by Anne Cleary and a couple of her associates published in the December, 2009 issue of Psychonomic Bulletin and Review suggests one factor that leads to the experience of déjà vu. They had people study a number of drawings of scenes. Later, they were shown a number of new scenes and were asked whether they had seen them before. Some of those new scenes had a similar configuration to ones they had studied earlier, but all of the objects were different. For example, during the first phase of the experiment, people might have seen an alley between a fence and a building. Later, they might have seen an alley between a train station and a train. In this case, people often felt that the new scene was familiar, and participants often reported a strong feeling that they had seen the new scene before.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

Several psychoanalysts attribute déjà vu to simple fantasy or wish fulfillment, while some psychiatrists ascribe it to a mismatching in the brain that causes the brain to mistake the present for the past. Many parapsychologists believe it is related to a past-life experience. According to our Lilienfeld text, it is especially likely for people to experience deja vu if they are someone who remembers their dreams, travel frequently, are young, have liberal political and religious beliefs, are college education, and earn a high income.

science.howstuffworks.com
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081118122146.htm

Nina Carney

We have all been told at some point in our life that we need to get a good nights sleep because we have something important the next day. I personally enjoy sleep and try to get as much as I can while keeping my grades up. But for those of us that do not enjoy sleeping or feel like the act of sleeping is to time consuming, there is a solution to your problem. The polyphasic sleep method is a technique that allows you to be a fully functioning human on two to three hours of sleep a day.

Unless you already practice a polyphasic sleep method, you most likly use the traditional eight hours straight monophasic sleep method. This is how we are brought up and is the social "norm," but this is not the only way to rest our bodies and brain. Futurist Richard Buckminster Fuller came up with the method of sleep that allows the body to be fully functional on two hours of sleep per day. How does one do this? Frequent naps that last roughly thirty minutes, four times daily. Fuller called this method the dymaxion sleep method.

It is safe to use but not necessarily safe to start. In order for the method to work your brain must be trained to instantly begin REM sleep upon falling asleep. To train your brain one must first deprive the brain of sleep for roughly two to three days and then sleep only for thirty minutes at a time. It can take up to a few weeks to change your circadian rhythms, this period is very hard on the brain and rest of the body and most subjects who start using a polyphasic sleep patterns show signs of severe sleep depravation when starting out. After a while studies have shown that the sleep patterns do increase productivity. Below I have some links if you would like to read further into the subject.

http://www.livescience.com/7449-cheat-sleep-dreams.html (article)

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02678378908256879 (case study)

Kevin Cunningham

Night Terrors

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Do you find yourself suddenly awaking from your sleep? Or an inability to explain what happened or unable to recall "bad dreams" or nightmares? You may be suffering from night terrors. People are often misdiagnosed and instead diagnosed with PTSD or are said to just be experiencing anothe nightmare. But, those who suffer from night terrors know that it extends beyond that. They also suffer from persistant fear or terror, they awake at night screaming, sweating, and in a state of confusion. Those suffering may also experience a rapid heart rate, see spiders, snakes, animals, or even people in their room. It's a terrifying condition that may even effect those around them. People experiencing night terrors have been known to "fight back", resulting in them hitting, kicking, and even strangling those who may be near them at the time of a terror.
What's the difference between a nightmare and a night terror? Nightmares will usually occur during REM sleep, the dream phase of sleep. This REM sleep occurs after 90 minutes of sleep. Night terrors occur within the first hour of one falling asleep, the deeper phase of sleep, stage 4. During night terrors, which usually last from five to twenty minutes, the sleeper is able to open their eyes while still being asleep. When they awaken, they usually do not have any recollection of the terror. They do, however, experience a sense of fear. In some cases, patients were able to remember their whole episode, but this is not a common occurance. Nightmares are often remembered wholely and almost as a movie.
Night terrors are most common among children between the ages of three and five. However, they can occur anytime in a person's life span.
Night terrors are often brought about by stress, medications that have affect on the brain, eating a heavy meal before sleep, or even just being too tired. This doesn't cause the terrors directly, but put your body and mind into the state where one can occur.

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

Here's Alfie, a four year old, who often experienced nightmares. His mother found him unresponsive to anything she said or did. His eyes remained closed through the whole terror. He woke up twenty minutes after filming and was unable to recall any of the events.

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

More examples of those who experience night terrors.

Narcolepsy

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder when sleep just suddenly hits people. People with narcolepsy find that they fall asleep at random times of the day, lasting anywhere from a couple of seconds to a couple of minutes, and in a few rare cases it can last for an hour or so. This triggers the person to fall directly into the REM sleep cycle, and if they experience surprise, elation or other strong emotions they can have cataplexy happen to them. Cataplexy is when the person has a complete loss of muscle tone, so they cannot move. I think this is important because it cannot be easy to suffer from narcolepsy. What happens when you are taking an important exam, or performing your job and you just fall asleep? It can't be easy to deal with. The cartoon below is supposed to be funny, but it is a serious issue. The man fell asleep at a job interview in the cartoon. It can't be easy to get a job, because I would imagine that not many people want to hire someone that could fall asleep with no control over it.

Photobucket

Another issue that relates to all of us with Narcolepsy is that it is dangerous when not taken into account. The news article linked below is about a man who suffers from Narcolepsy. His doctor told him he was not allowed to drive, but he did it anyways. He fell asleep at the wheel, and his car ran into a tree. His fiancé was with him, and she was killed in the accident. I think it's important for scientists to find a cure to Narcolepsy, because he could have killed more than just his fiancé in that accident. It says in the article that he was prescribed the drug dexamphetamine, and our Lilienfeld text says that scientists are still looking for a cure, and that the best option now is Modafinil, which "promotes wakefulness and is quite effective in treating narcolepsy." So I was curious about treatment, and what really helps.

Narcolepsy Sufferer Crashes into Tree

The video below is about a man who suffers from Narcolepsy. He tells you about narcolepsy and his life. The section from 1:50 to 2:30 was interesting to me.

Sources:
Lilienfeld Textbook
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/narcolepsy-sufferer-crashed-car-into-tree-killing-his-fiancee-after-nodding-off-at-wheel/story-e6freoof-1226135654100

Katie Johnson

We've all had the feeling of having been somewhere or done something before, even though it might be a completely new experience with no possibility of having had the experience before. We refer to this feeling as deja vu. Deja vu is defined as a feeling of reliving an experience that's new. This can be an eerie experience at times, which this video humorously capitalizes on:

These episodes tend to last anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds, and interestingly enough, are reported more frequently by people who are young, remember their dreams, have liberal political views and religious beliefs, have a high income, and travel frequently.
Scientists believe that deja vu may be caused by an surplus of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the temporal lobes of the brain. Researchers also believe that deja vu might arise from an experience resembling a previous experience. The familiar feeling might arise because we don't consciously remember the experience. This would account for why a "new" experience would seem familiar to us.
I find the concept of deja vu very fascinating. It's interesting to learn about little things, such as deja vu, that we experience but have never really understood why we do. As I've learned about it, I continue to wonder what exactly triggers deja vu episodes, as well as if it has anything to do with what kind of an experience you are having at the time.

Phoebe Stephan

Some individuals in our world suffer from a condition known as Epilepsy. This condition causes neurons in the brain to misfire, trigger seizures. Some cases are more serious than others and the seizure occur up to multiple times in one day. When these extremes are reached the patient will undergo split-brain surgery. During this surgery a section of the brain, the Corpus Callosum, is severed. The Corpus Callosum is a strip of calloused nerves that allow the two sides of the brain to communicate.

After this surgery has been performed the patient appears to have "two brains" (1). The patient appears 'normal' in everyday life experiences. The difference is that when the brain is split the left and right sides can no longer communicate. In lectures we have learned that our speech areas of the brain, the Wernicke's and the Broca's area, exist only on the left side of the brain. These two areas are the exceptions to our brains being bilaterally symmetrical. Trials were done to see how this would affect patients behavior. One trial is performed by having the patient sit in from of a screen. An image is flashed that can only be seen by the right side of the visual field. The patient cannot describe what was seen because they lack the ability to talk about it. They are able to draw the object or point the object out if asked.

This surgery demonstrates once again the incredible abilities of the brain. It can be severed in half and still function nearly 100 percent. We have come so far in our understanding of this complicated organ and have saved many lives. Split-brain surgery alone has given people a new chance. Individuals previously confined to their homes, unable to participate in the everyday activities we take for granted, were given lives and freedom. I have included a video of such a case.

1) http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro00/web1/Vasiliadis.html

Lynzi Daly

I did WHAT last night?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Night Terrors and Sleepwalking

We've all seen sleepwalking in movies or in our households, but not many of us have any experience with night terrors. Night terrors take on a much more violent fashion than sleepwalking and can be either disturbing or comical to watch, based on the situation. Night terrors, by definition, are episodes that occur while someone is asleep. Often times they include sweating, thrashing of limbs, screaming, and confusion. After the episode, the victim will return back to a deep sleep and have no recollection of the occurrence. A few examples of these episodes are illustrated in the following video:

Sleepwalking is a less severe form of a night terror where victims walk or do other normal activities while asleep. Sleepwalking is harmless, unless the victim starts leaving the house, driving, or doing some other dangerous activity while asleep.

In my house, my sister is the big sleepwalker. On one occasion, she got up, took a shower and got ready for school, all in the middle of the night while she was sleeping. We haven't run into any dangerous episodes, yet. For now, sleepwalking in my house is another funny story to tell in the morning.

Sleepwalking and night terrors are both comical and intriguing. I would like to know more about why people have night terrors. People with a lack of sleep are more likely to experience night terrors, but are there other factors can affect night terrors? Could there be a hereditary link? Could there be certain characteristics about a person that make them more susceptible to night terrors? I look forward to learning more about these as psychological research continues regarding night terrors and sleepwalking.

Jennifer McLean

Sleepwalking

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

The topic of sleepwalking has always been interesting to society. We see examples of the typical sleepwalking behavior in movies and television shows. For instance, in the movie Step Brothers, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly portray two brothers who are full grown but still have the tendency to sleep walk. neverwakeasleepwalker_528x297.bmpThe classic image of sleepwalking is viewed because they walk around with their arms in the air like zombies and they mumble words. When the father character tries to wake them, they react sporadically and in a panic. Contrary to popular belief, it is proven that it is possible to wake a sleep walker without any angry, aggressive reactions. In reality, a sleepwalker "acts like a fully awake person, although a sleepwalker may be somewhat clumsier" (Lilienfeld, 2010). Remarkably, sleep walkers function enough to be able to do regular daytime things like drive cars and turn on computers (Lilienfeld, 2010). But this raises the question: are sleep walkers responsible for their actions even if they don't know they are consciously doing it? In this article, the defense argued that the man was sleep walking and therefore unconsciously strangled his wife during a dream about fight off intruders. Was he responsible for his actions even though he was unaware? This is one controversial issue that may never be resolved.

Erika North

Have you ever been somewhere new and suddenly have the feeling that you have experienced it before? If so, you are part of the more than 2/3 population that has experience deja vu. Deja vu is a French word meaning "already seen". It is said to mean a present experience resembling an earlier one. This feeling happens because we often don't recall the previous experience. This experience could have originated in childhood, or later in life. People who generally report having deja vu are: people who remember their dreams, travel frequently, are young, have liberal political and religious beliefs, have a college education, and a high income. Scientists believe that excess of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the temporal lobes play a role in deja vu. Some people also believe that deja vu experience is a memory from a past life, this explanation is unfalsifiable and therefore outside the boundaries of science.

Deja vu is so common among people that celebrities have even written songs about having it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ9BWndKEgs&ob=av2e- Deja Vu- Beyonce ft. Jay-Z

Here is a link to a video from a talk show on Deja Vu.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJF2bbQzuBY&feature=related

And this is pretty cute, an 8 year old comes up with a theory on deja vu.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lE2dcBDxbw

Out of Body Experience

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

An out of body experience is a common event where a person seems to observe the world from a location outside of their physical body. People feel as if their consciousness departs from them, allowing for observation of the world from a point of view other than from the body. There are findings though, that appear to falsify the claim that people actually emerge from their bodies, but it seems that way to people that are prone to OBEs. Our brains integrate sensory information from different pathways into a unified experience, which may cause the feeling of emergence from the body. H. Henrik Ehrsson had participants wear goggles with cameras that made it seem like they were being touched in locations outside of their physical bodies when he would also touch the visual image. People reported to feeling the sensation, as well. Laboratories are also recreating this performance as a from of therapy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oF8sQvnTlM

This finding is important because it demonstrates and reminds us that the brain can make bizarre connections when visual sensory information combines with physical sensations, and of its capability to incorporate sensory information from various paths into one combined experience.

- Judy Pathammavong

Hey all, I've read a lot of interesting blogs so far and it has made me eager to jump in with my own contributions. Since I'm not being graded, I'll eschew the requirement for links and pictures and focus on content for now.

One post I found particularly interesting was Brad's post on the facial feedback study. Since I'd like to see some of you start responding to one another's posts, I'll start off with a response of my own. Brad raised the issue that perhaps the study was not as valid as it seemed, because a lot of people might simply laugh at anything. This actually raises a very fundamental question in experimental research: How can we tell if differences between groups are due to our manipulation rather than pre-existing differences between individuals? Put differently, what if one group (the smiling condition) was simply stacked with people who will laugh at anything, leading us to falsely conclude that they were laughing because of their facial muscles?

To solve this, experimenters must use statistical methods that compare variance within groups to variance between groups (in addition to random assignment). If people are all over the board on their humor ratings and we only observe a tiny difference between groups, then it is quite likely that the observed difference is due to random chance. On the other hand, if people within each group have fairly similar scores but there is a huge difference between the scores of different groups, then we can be more comfortable saying the experimental manipulation (in this case, the pens in participants' mouths) had something to do with it. The larger our sample, the more power we have to conclude that what we observed was a real effect of the manipulation. Small samples, such as those we had in class, are more prone to chance error.

Although we did not employ the statistical methods necessary to determine the significance of our results, those of you who take Research Methods will learn how to. In the meantime, thanks to Brad for critically examining some research we are all familiar with. I hope this post is an adequate explanation of how we could overcome the problem you raised. :)

P.S., For next time, everyone try to embed your links like I did above. The code can be found in the step-by-step guide posted in the Blog Instructions category.

Lucid Dreaming

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Lucid dreaming seems like it has the possibility to open up a world of endless possibilities. It really is the stuff of fantasies, having your own world you can manipulate in any way you want when you dream. A lucid dream is defined as a dream in which one is aware that they are dreaming, and often times when you lucid dream you have the power to control your dreams. Lucid dreaming is divided into two categories: dream initiated lucid dreams and wake initiated lucid dreams. A dream initiated lucid dream is the logical one people tend to have, you find yourself experiencing a dream and suddenly you realize that it is in a dream (often by something illogical happening and then the person concluding they are having a lucid dream). The other kind, wake initiated lucid dreams are when a person goes directly from being conscious to a state of REM sleep, without losing consciousness. There are numerous ways to achieve this, that range from breathe control to visually imaging themselves in a dream, and a variety of other self hypnotizing ways. This finding is very important because it opens up a lot of possibilities in the ways of dream research. If you are self aware in a dream, you are more likely to be able to help scientists study dreams because you will have more memory and control in the dream. The question that occurs to me next, logically, is how can I achieve this state of lucid dreaming? Also, how often do people who have lucid dreams have them? Is it an everynight ordeal? I will definitly have to do more research on lucid dreaming.

I have attached a clip from the movie inception, partially because it is awesome, and partially because the concept of a "totem" (the term they use in the movie), or reality testing object, is a real thing that lucid dreamers use to figure out whether or not they are dreaming.


I think that one of the most important findings in Psychology, that we have learned so far, is the finding that Prefrontal Lobotomies actually do more harm than good. "When scientists finally performed controlled studies on the effectiveness of prefrontal lobotomy, they found it to be virtually useless. The operation certainly produced radical changes in behavior, but it didn't target the specific behaviors associated with severe mental illness. Moreover, it created a host of other problems, including extreme apathy" (Lilienfeld, Lynn, Namy, Woolf). I think that this was an important finding because it saved a lot of lives and a lot of money. Lobotomies were expensive surgeries and the effect of them could be devastating. It often completely changes the person. They would take on a new personality.

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

This example comes from the classic movie, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest. Pre-lobotomy, McMurphy was the rebellious character, standing up for his friends, going against the nurse, lively, and always cracking jokes. After his surgery, he was a completely different person.
I wonder why anyone would have thought this to be a good idea in the first place. Who thinks that cutting into someone's brain, the map in charge of controlling everything in their body, would be a good idea? It just doesn't make any sense to me. I'm so glad that we now live in a time where that sort of surgery is seen as barbaric.

The link below is my analysis of psychologist, Dr. James Dobson, and his hypothesis pertaining to several social and behavioral issues.
JamesD(11).pdf

Hey everyone, a couple more things to note before you start blogging. I will be sorting through a large volume of posts coming in at different times, but luckily Kate Briggs has come up with a clever way to organize this process. Since you are making six posts in total, I've created categories (Writing 1-Writing 6) to which you can add your posts*. So if you're doing your third post and you're in Section 12, add it to Writing 3; Section 12 before you post it. The category option appears right below where you type in the body of the post.

I will do grading based on these categories, so if you don't assign your post a category it most likely will not be graded. Also, it doesn't look like you can go back and assign the category after posting, so I would recommend doing it right away so you don't forget. I appreciate your help with this, as it will make things a lot easier for all of us.

One more thing: please add your full name to the end of all posts. Otherwise, all I see is your UMN username.

*I've also decided to divide the categories into sections 12 and 13 for all subsequent writings. Section 12 meets at 2:30 and Section 13 meets at 3:35.

For those who are struggling with posting, including the insertion of images, URLs, etc., a very helpful student in another section has put together a guide with screenshots. Please use this excellent resource if you have any issues.

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/wlas0006/1001a/2011/10/blog-help-from-a-fellow-student.html

Testing, testing...

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Screen shot 2011-10-02 at 11.00.26 PM.png
A student has reported that she was unable to post on this blog, and I'm just testing to see if I also have trouble.

The pretty scene is from the UM Arboretum this afternoon.

Life is but a dream?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

In class lately we've been discussing how we sense and perceive the outside world. As we go about our daily lives, our bodies send signals to the brain allowing us to see, hear, taste, smell and touch the physical world around us. But what if that physical world wasn't actually there? While searching for information about perception, I came across a YouTube video that explores that possibility. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqnEGu8VF8Y)

It starts off explaining some of the things we learned about how light and sounds are converted into electrical signals into our brains and that's what makes up our vision and hearing. That all was pretty solid science and went a long with what I've learned in this class and biology. It then went on to say that since everything we experience is actually happening inside our heads, it could all just essentially be an illusion created by electrical signals going into our brains from another source. It reminded me a lot of the matrix. However instead of bodies trapped in a pod, we're only souls and all physical matter is an illusion much like a television program being continuously streamed into our consciousness.

It's a very interesting concept and fun to think about, but I don't completely buy it. It deals with the metaphysical, so it can't be scientifically tested and doesn't explain some things. If physical matter doesn't exist, what is the point of pain? Why do bodies need fuel? I do think that we can take some things from this though. It reminded me of how little of the world I perceive. Other animals have better senses than humans do and there are parts of this world that we cannot experience through the bodies that we have. It reminded me of my limitations and that what I know of the world may not be all that there is. However with such an extraordinary claim as the physical world is nonexistent, there needs to be a way to test and falsify it in order for me to believe.

We are all going to die in the year 2012. This statement sounds very familiar. Probably because just a year ago people were making predictions about the world coming to an end on May 21, 2011, and yet we still live. This is an example of an extraordinary claim. But extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and which this claim does not contain. Harold Camping, one of the many men that predicted the world would end on May 21, 2011 didn't have extraordinary evidence besides unnamed sources that claim titles such as psychologist, and IT consultants. These sources aren't reliable enough to support this extraordinary claim. Harold Camping also predicted the end of the world once before, in September 4, 1994. By being wrong within your claim once before, finding more evidence and supporting ideas for the next claim should be encouraged. By making a claim that could affect the whole world you might want to be sure that your evidence is reliable and research has been done, in order to have you claim taken seriously.
A movie called "The Day After Tomorrow" which was released in 2004, claiming that the world would end due to global warming. This movie played with Harold Camping's idea, but also added scientific facts about global warming and how it could happen. This extraordinary claim in the movie didn't have the strong support needed, but it was a step closer than Harold's evidence. Could Harold's claim be right this time around? Are scientists taking these claims seriously and researching the possibilities? Should I even worry about pursuing my college education at the University of Minnesota if I'm going to be dead in 2 months?


Saron Theodros

Weight Loss is SO Easy...?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Being an expert on "Weight-loss-blues", I can tell you that weight loss pills are to be met with caution before purchasing them. Claims that "IT'S CLINICALY PROVEN!" or that "Test subjects experienced significant weight-loss results...in 8- and 12-week studies!" are quite extreme. Let's think for a minute: Is it really that easy to lose weight by just popping a pill two times a day?

Let's look at a prime example of a glorified weight loss supplement!

Hydroxycut (http://www.hydroxycut.com/index.shtml) An amazing supplement that's been "proven" to get you on the right track! Well, unfortunately, Hydroxycut's key advertisements show quite the amount of pseudoscience.

PSEUDOSCIENCE #1: Exaggerated Claims.
"Increase Energy for Your Busy Lifestyle!"

PSEUDOSCIENCE #2: Talk of "Proof" instead of "Evidence".
"Clinicaly Proven Key Ingredients"

PSEUDOSCIENCE # 3: Overreliance on Anecdotes
"I LOST 42 POUNDS WITH HYDROXYCUT! IT REALLY WORKS!"

The more signs of pseudoscience we see, the more skeptical of the claims we should be. Honestly, Hydroxycut's advertisements sound very appealing. It's no wonder I purchased them in hope of a great fix to my weight problems. Yet, at the same time, I was unaware of a simple psychological effect: the Placebo Effect. The Placebo Effect is when improvement results from the mere expectation of improvement. I lost weight merely because I wanted to lose weight.

There is really no proof for this product, as well. Just a few claims about how they used a placebo-based experiment. What they fail to mention is whether or not they had the same diet and exercise pattern. Is it possible the group given Hydroxycut exercised more rigorously then the Placebo group? We don't know because they won't tell us!
Also, they give a few true life stories of how people lost up to 40 lbs in a short amount of time. This is possible, but was it the pills? Is it possible they just exercised and ate healthy? They also knew they were taking Hydroxycut, so it's possible the Placebo Effect was engaged.

All in all, be careful on what you believe. Not everything is backed up like they say it is.

Yesha Yismaw
10/02/2011
Neural Plasticity: Stem Cells a solution?
An important concept from the Lilienfeld text is Neural Plasticity particularly following injury and degeneration. As it was discussed in chapter 3, we learn that neural plasticity is the ability of the nervous system and brain to make changes. These changes are critical for development and efficiency in the ease at which neurons send messages. While the brain is still developing, from birth to early adulthood, the brain has heightened neural plasticity. Later in life however, the ease at which the brain and nervous changes can adjust drops drastically. Plasticity in adulthood is mainly limited to learning, which can pose problems when injury and degeneration occur in the brain and spinal cord.
Currently, researchers are searching for ways to stimulate and enable the brain and nervous system to heal itself. Leading research is looking at stem cells; cells coming from embryos that have the ability to develop into different more specialized cells. The idea behind stem cells is that they would be implanted into a patient's nervous system, induced to grow, and then would replace damaged cells. Another way stem cells can potentially aid regeneration and healing in the nervous system is by gene therapy where stem cells can become genetically engineered replacements.
Although a controversial hot button issue, stem cells and stem cell research is an important concept. It has the potential to open many doors in the medical field and has many applications in medicine. Stem cells are cutting edge in treatment options and if they become more widely accepted, diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's will not be the only ones that will be seeing cures in the near future.
This concept may not be applicable to me at this very moment, but at some point in my life I may be faced with an injury or a disease that stem cells may pose the only solution too. A real life example could be a car accident victim who may have spinal cord damage and be faced with partial or full paralysis. Stem cell research would provide them with the only hope they have to regain control. Something I have been wondering while learning more about stem cell research is how many applications it may have in medicine and how many diseases it may be beneficial to. Another thing I was curious about is how stem cell research can be regulated to make sure that these scientific capabilities won't be getting in the wrong hands. Like most scientific discoveries we need to safeguard our knowledge to prevent it from being abused.


stem_cells[2].jpg

Jenny Vue vuexx256@umn.edu

Naïve realism is someone's belief from their perspective of the world. It is an everyday thing that people use. In other words, naïve realism is: what we see, we believe; it is similar to our common sense. For example, if you are playing a game of dodge ball, you would either be running around like crazy or standing there like a statue. However, once the balls begin heading for you, you would either doge the ball, like how the game was supposed to be played, or stand there and get smack with the balls. Furthermore, you may react to the balls as they hit you - like scream, turn away, or block - which you occasionally perform. Our perspective may be right at times, but it can be wrong.
It does not mean that naïve realism is bad, but in some cases our common sense can lead us to the wrong idea. For instance, a triangle and a square are displayed in front of you. It would be difficult to determine if their sizes are identical or not. On the other hand, when you measure them with a ruler, they are similar in size to one another. In this case, your common sense has misinterpreted the triangle and square's sizes. Although naïve realism can be risky sometimes, its precision is also incredibly effective.

This is a website that contains a brief summary of naive realism:
http://www.theoryofknowledge.info/naiverealism.html

I found this photo really amusing and easily interpret naive realism because each of them have their own aspect when thunder A and B strike.
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_0WforrCTJJ4/SeauACa7mhI/AAAAAAAAApc/GXvcmOw2B4s/s1600-h/relativity.png

Have you encountered someone you thought was overly superstitious? It turns out that superstitious tendencies are a natural occurrence, not just in Humans but other animals as well.

In 1947 B. F Skinner conducted an experiment studying the behavior of pigeons. A system was set up in which the hungry birds were given food at timed intervals. As the pigeons waited they would interact with their environment when eventually the food would be given to them. Whatever actions they were doing at that moment were positively reinforced by the food. If this action coincided with the food again, they would learn that that action was a means for being fed. There was no correlation between their actions and receiving food, but they detected a pattern when there was none.

Instances where the pigeon was doing a specific action at the time of feeding were particular memorable, but if the pigeon was doing something different each time, it was not memorable. This is called an illusory correlation, finding a statistical relationship where none exists. Illusory correlation is part of nature, as indicated by this study. This is similar to the person sitting at the blackjack table with a lucky shirt. There is no correlation between the shirt and the cards dealt but after receiving a few 21's by chance the actions were reinforced. Next time you go to the casino, you will know why everyone acts so crazy.

The Manuscript of the original study can be found
here.

Brandon Budnicki
Budn0019@Umn.edu

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

The above article claims that it takes more facial muscles to frown than it does to smile. As one reads further down in the article there are many claims from doctors and others stating exactly how many muscles are necessary to produce a smile or a frown.

The above claim has been ruled undetermined and I believe this is due to two of the six principles of critical thinking (replicability and extraordinary claims). Firstly, I believe one could design a study that would take people chosen at random and ask them to smile or frown. We could use cameras and other visual devices to count the number of muscles used while each person smiles and frowns. The sample population would consist of different genders, ages, ethnic backgrounds and environments because subjects would be chosen randomly from a bank of applicants that wanted to participate in the study. With this type of study replicability could be achieved by repeating the study with a new bank of applicants. This would be beneficial because each person frowns and smiles differently so it is very possible that each person uses a different amount of muscles during a smile or frown (this would be analyzed and recorded using the cameras). Also, the doctor conducting the study could demonstrate how he/she wants the person to smile or frown to make the action a more constant variable.

Secondly I believe, this claim falls under the category of extraordinary claims. According to the Lilienfeld textbook (pg. 22, figure 1.7), the "extraordinary claim requires more rigorous evidence than a less remarkable claim" or in other words is the evidence that frowning takes more facial muscles than smiling strong? In this case no. A study in 2002, performed in Sweden asked subjects to look at facial expressions and then respond with facial expression of their own. The expressions the subjects were asked to look at consisted of frowns and smiles. The study concluded that people had an easier time making a "smile" instead of a "frown". However, the study did not specifically take into account the number of muscles each person used to create their own unique facial expression. This falls under the category of extraordinary claims because the evidence is not strong enough to support the claim, just because it appeared easier for one to smile than frown does not mean that more muscles are used to frown.

In conclusion, I would prepare a case study to evaluate this claim. I would carry out the procedure as a study to achieve replicability. I explained above (see paragraph two) the way in which I would design the test and have the data analyzed.


Weight Loss- Ot

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

First of all, being an expert on "Weight-loss-blues", I can tell you for a fact that weight loss pills are to be met with caution before purchasing them.

Ouch

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

During the winter as a child I would notice that I get static shocks much more often. Because the air is dryer in the winter than it is in the summer I generate more static electricity. For example, I would sit in a classroom chair. When i got up I would be charged with static. I would then touch the door handle to leave the classroom. I would always receive a shock. Very rarely was it painful, but it always surprised me. By the end of the winter I try to avoid touching any metal because I now associate touching metal with getting a shock. This demonstrates classical conditioning. The neutral stimulus was the metal. I would have no positive or negative reaction to metal. The negative stimulus was the shock. Both were then presented at the same time, when I touched the door handle. Then I would get these shocks for three months. By having the two stimuli happen for a long period of time I begin to associate the metal with surprise and pain. After the winter though, the air would become more humid and less able to carry a charge. I would begin to get fewer shocks and they become less startling. At this point the relationship would begin to deteriorate. I would finally stop associating metal with pain sometime in late spring.
Patrick Dougan
Section 12

One of the concepts talked about in the text is the idea of heuristics, or shortcuts, that our brains use to make sense of everyday life. Heuristics are the brain's was of conserving energy and simplifying a matter without taking the time and energy to contemplate a certain problem. The example the book uses is the San Diego-Reno question. Because the vast majority of California is west of Reno, Nevada, our brain uses a heuristic to assume that San Diego is west of Reno, when in reality, Reno is farther west than some of southern California, including San Diego. I find this idea a fascinating part of psychological studies and, it is important because our brains can often mislead us into thinking something that isn't actually true, as is the case with the San Diego-Reno example. It is important to train our brains to know when a heuristic is helping us simplify a problem, or if it is misguiding our thinking in a certain way. I can apply this concept to my life when I meet a new person. I, and presumably everyone else, instinctively judge a person based off of their physical, personal, and social traits, and place them in a category solely off of this experience. For example, if I meet a kid wearing a sports jersey, my representative heuristic makes me assume that this person enjoys sports, when in reality they may dislike sports but are wearing the jersey for another reason. This is the idea of heuristics at work, and it is essential to not become too invested in certain heuristics as they may misguide us.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOzAxhu6w2s

This is a link that talks about a type of availability heuristic(our perceived chance of something happening) in which it is assumed that increased road rage will lead to increased accidents when in reality accidents aren't increasing.

We may have seen ads that claim to be miracles, curing our pain instantly when we applied on the ointment, consuming a tonic that gets rid of any heart problems, etc. Yes, in fact we see it all, for instance, the Orbit gum commercial. Can a piece of Orbit gum really clean our teeth when we get it really dirty? No. Do most of ads that seem to be a miracle works? No. They target on us for money by claiming that it works. Some provide us with scientific evidence, having people using their products and giving out reviews to the audience, and they sound very excited of how much the product works. Therefore, the viewers, us, will want to buy it and we will end up victims of falsehood. There is not enough science evidence that prove that it works. It is pseudoscience, an imposter of science. It lacks confirmation bias, evidence that supports the hypotheses, and belief perseverance, sticking to one belief even though there is another belief that contradicts it.
Why do we fall for it? Pseudoscience ads target our attention by exaggerated claims, such as one simple step can change your life forever. It makes us want to believe that it works and it will change our life by using ad hoc immunizing hypothesis to defend its theory from being disproven, and it makes us want to believe that there is proof, instead of evidence. They do not provide evidence to prove that it will happen, but they use the word proof or other words that shifts our attention to believe in the products. And what can we do to prevent this from happening? We avoid it, no matter how good it sounds.

Feeling Better Already?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Have you ever wondered why the common household medications such as Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and Advil help you get rid of your headaches so quickly? Yes, these medications are all anti-inflammatory and are clinically proven to help; however, the placebo effect has a big a big impact on feeling better as well. The Placebo effect is a psychology theory that because one has the expectation of feeling better or having a positive improvement, one feels better or improves. In other words someone may not have gotten better because of the medication they took, but merely the fact that they received a drug. I myself have been a victim of the placebo effect on several occasions. Two of these occasions were after I had my appendix taken out, and also taking the household medication Ibuprofen.
The first time I fell victim was after my appendectomy, my doctors put me on Vicodin. I had to take the medication three times a day for three weeks to ease the pain in my abdomen. The hour before I would take the Vicodin, I would count down minute by minute until I could take it because I was in so much pain. Immediately after taking it I would feel the pain subsiding. Little did I know that because my Vicodin is a drug that can become addictive very easily, and because of that my doctor slowly was replacing the Vicodin with vitamin capsules that looked the same. The second time I fell victim was about a year ago and I had a headache and I went to go take some Ibuprofen out of our medicine cabinet to make it go away; however, I accidentally grabbed a cold medicine tablet instead without noticing. In about fifteen minutes my headache had disappeared. I then walked back into the kitchen and noticed the cold medicine bottle on the table. Both times I had fell victim to the placebo effect I had taken something that I thought was something else, and my symptoms went away because I expected them to. Because of my personal experience I believe the placebo effect to be a truthful theory. The Placebo effect effects people daily for the better; however the question still remains whether you feel better because of the medication, or the placebo effect.

Morgan Dobberstein
Section 13

Feeling Better Already?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Have you ever wondered why the common household medications such as Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and Advil help you get rid of your headaches so quickly? Yes, these medications are all anti-inflammatory and are clinically proven to help; however, the placebo effect has a big a big impact on feeling better as well. The Placebo effect is a psychology theory that because one has the expectation of feeling better or having a positive improvement, one feels better or improves. In other words someone may not have gotten better because of the medication they took, but merely the fact that they received a drug. I myself have been a victim of the placebo effect on several occasions. Two of these occasions were after I had my appendix taken out, and also taking the household medication Ibuprofen.
The first time I fell victim was after my appendectomy, my doctors put me on Vicodin. I had to take the medication three times a day for three weeks to ease the pain in my abdomen. The hour before I would take the Vicodin, I would count down minute by minute until I could take it because I was in so much pain. Immediately after taking it I would feel the pain subsiding. Little did I know that because my Vicodin is a drug that can become addictive very easily, and because of that my doctor slowly was replacing the Vicodin with vitamin capsules that looked the same. The second time I fell victim was about a year ago and I had a headache and I went to go take some Ibuprofen out of our medicine cabinet to make it go away; however, I accidentally grabbed a cold medicine tablet instead without noticing. In about fifteen minutes my headache had disappeared. I then walked back into the kitchen and noticed the cold medicine bottle on the table. Both times I had fell victim to the placebo effect I had taken something that I thought was something else, and my symptoms went away because I expected them to. Because of my personal experience I believe the placebo effect to be a truthful theory. The Placebo effect effects people daily for the better; however the question still remains whether you feel better because of the medication, or the placebo effect.

Hey, we have had a lot of problems with people being unable to post on the blog. One thing we've found is that you can't post if you use a direct link to the blogs. If you are having this problem, login by going to:

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/uthink/

In chapter four of the Lilienfeld textbook, the concept of 'parallel processing' is described as a human being's ability to pay attention to multiple sense modalities at the same time. There are two critical ideas that are involved in parallel processing; the first is 'bottom-up processing'. This idea can be explained as the process in which human beings perceive an object through looking at all of its parts. The second critical idea involved in parallel processing is 'top-down processing', which refers to the manner in which beliefs and expectancies influence how humans perceive objects. I find parallel processing to be a relevant concept in my everyday life as it allows me to understand my surroundings (i.e. it allows me to comprehend what it is that I am looking at).

Several times a week I drive my car from my house to my place of work. I am able to drive to work safely because I understand how to read traffic signs and traffic lights. Before learning about the parallel processing concept, I thought I understood how to follow street rules because I learned from a driving instructor and because I know how to read. However, I now know that there are several more factors that explain why I am able to follow traffic sign/light rules while driving (parallel processing). For example, when I see a red, hexagonal shaped stop sign on the corner of a street, I know to stop because of the sign's shape (hexagon), color (red), and text written on it (the word 'stop'). My brain understands to perceive the sign as a traffic sign that must be obeyed due to bottom-up processing; I perceive the object through looking at all of its parts. If I were to only perceive the stop sign as a hexagon on a pole I would not understand the object, thus I would not stop and would continue driving and risk crashing into another moving vehicle. Thanks to parallel processing, I perceive the stop sign in its entirety and am able to understand its function and meaning and am able to avoid a possible car collision.

Here is a BBC special that goes in depth about the parallel process that occurs in our brain. It explains how when there is a malfunction/damage to the brain, the process does not work entirely.

Towards the end of part 1 of the special, at 9:00, explains how parallel processing works in the brain.

Part 2 of the video, beginning at 2:10, explains how the recognition system of the human brain turns seeing into understanding. At 3:35 the video begins to provide an example of how brain injury can alter the recognition system with the story of a man named Lincoln Homes.

Kaya Allen

Mao Xiong xiong871@umn.edu #3902897

Claim: Tapping the side of a soda can will prevent its contents from foaming over when you open it. Status: FALSE Common sense: After reading this claim, the claim is proven to be false, so it did not pass the falsifiability test. With this claim, there were many experiments conducted, there was a control group (the can was shook and opened right away), a dependent group (the can is left to sit a little longer and then opened) and an independent group (the can being tapped).Even after man trials of shaking different pop cans, the pop can still foams over the top when opened. Tapping the can seem to help the pop can foam less, but the real reason why it had foam less was because the pop can was left untouched longer, so it foam less (Replicability). As a result in the experimental trial, all the pop cans still overflowed with foam when opened, regardless of the tapping, so tapping the can does not prevent foaming. To relate this to Occam’s razor, the simple explanation to this claim is a shook pop can will burst out foam because of the mixture of carbon dioxide, water and pressure in the can. To prevent the shook pop can from bursting out foam, the can should just be left alone until the can deduces pressure inside. In a way, I think that this claim is already a no brain-er because most people who had experiences drinking from a can know not to shake it and to open it right away. After each experience it should be a common sense to not repeat these steps again, so, there is no use of taping the side of a pop can. http://www.snopes.com/science/sodacan.asp

(an ad) http://lyfelist.com/2011/07/02/soda-can/ (youtube video on shaking pop can and tapping it) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-P2ky7lbayI

Diet. It sure sounds scientific -
Dieting sounds easy but the reality is much more difficult. In modern society the media commonly displays images of beautiful slender women to portray success and beauty. As a result the average Joe/Josie is likelier to try a diet, one that is simple and effective. The problem continues as advertisers taunt superficial and extraordinary claims to fix one's image. However, these claims are impossible to fulfill and therefore should be rejected by responsible advertising outlets. Yet another solution may be to recognize the red flags as a consumer in society. Deceptive weight loss often advertises claims such as, "Eat whatever you want and still lose substantial weight". There is no evidence that currently supports this biological mal-absorption of fat. In reality, there is no such truth. Many factors can be associated with either gaining or losing weight and so it's not conclusive to claim things as "simple" without encountering numerous problems or variables. http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=52355
http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/PhonyAds/weightlossfraud.html
In addition, rival hypotheses are another way of scientifically approaching the certain weight loss programs and scams. "Can we know that this subject reason for weight loss was strictly due to a specific diet plan?" In evaluating all claims in open- minded fashion one can begin to think critically. Thinking critically and approaching claims can tip the advantage scale back to consumers. In reading and thinking critically it can found that there is often another explanation for the data. The explanation for why the data came out the way it did, one must ask , was this only possibility?

http://www.google.com/imgres?q=diet&um=1&hl=en&sa=N&biw=667&bih=556&tbm=isch&tbnid=mm0fJYsX-Pr3pM:&imgrefurl=http://fitnessanddefense.com/juice-diet/&docid=1GNMksQfIpl_dM&w=300&h=300&ei=nAaJTrHiPNKisQKM1_TTDw&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=270&vpy=210&dur=77&hovh=225&hovw=225&tx=169&ty=121&page=2&tbnh=164&tbnw=164&start=6&ndsp=6&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:6

Angela Ouyang

Dieting sounds easy but the reality is much more difficult. In modern society the media commonly displays images of beautiful slender women to portray success and beauty. As a result the average Joe/Josie is likelier to try a diet, one that is simple and effective. The problem continues as advertisers taunt superficial and extraordinary claims to fix one's image. However, these claims are impossible to fulfill and therefore should be rejected by responsible advertising outlets. Yet another solution may be to recognize the red flags as a consumer in society. Deceptive weight loss often advertises claims such as, "Eat whatever you want and still lose substantial weight". There is no evidence that currently supports this biological mal-absorption of fat. In reality, there is no such truth. Many factors can be associated with either gaining or losing weight and so it's not conclusive to claim things as "simple" without encountering numerous problems or variables.

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=52355
http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/PhonyAds/weightlossfraud.html

In addition, rival hypotheses are another way of scientifically approaching the certain weight loss programs and scams. "Can we know that this subject reason for weight loss was strictly due to a specific diet plan?" In evaluating all claims in open- minded fashion one can begin to think critically. Thinking critically and approaching claims can tip the advantage scale back to consumers. In reading and thinking critically it can found that there is often another explanation for the data. The explanation for why the data came out the way it did, one must ask , was this only possibility?

Angela Ouyang
Section 13

There are six scientific principles for evaluating claims. Ruling Out Rival Hypothesis: can the opponent hypothesis be disproved and replaced by our hypothesis? Correlation vs. Causation: does A cause B or B cause A? Occam's Razor: does a simpler explanation than our current one fit the data better? Replicability: have the results been duplicated by other similar studies? Falsifiability: can the claim be disproved? Extraordinary Claims: is the evidence for the claim as strong as the claim itself? These six principles for evaluating scientific claims are imperative in the field of research for Psychology and any scientific subject. They allow us to determine whether or not a claim and the research behind is valid.
This is essential for making decisions based on research in our expanding society today.

Suppose a soap was designed that claimed to clean your hands more effectively than other soap. Naturally, everyone would want to buy this new soap. It is later found out that this soap causes harmful infections. Because the claim was never evaluated scientifically, great harm was caused to many people. Or even consider daily newspaper articles claiming all sorts of things. The claim doesn't have to be extraordinary to be false and/or evaluated. So, in applying these six scientific principles, we can prevent ourselves from harm, incorrect thinking, and create a greater self-awareness. While typing this entry, I was pondering whether or not there will be new scientific principles in the future as our society grows and what past scientific principles there were, if any, that were replaced by the ones today. What new scientific principles do you think should added to our critical thinking process to increase the validity of claims?

Adoption studies

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

According to the Lilienfeld textbook, adoption studies is defined as the extent to which children adopted into new homes resemble their adoptive as opposed to their biological parents. If the adopted child resembles their biological parents more, one can assume that behavior is genetically influenced. This has long been a psychological debate. One verdict founded was selective placement, where children are placed in homes similar to those of their biological parents, which can lead to misinterpretation between the psychological characteristics of the biological vs. the adoptive parents. One example of this study is one done by Dr. Harold Manville Skeels of the University of Iowa. He found that a specific orphanage placed children born from mundane biological parents into families that consisted of high intelligence. This resulted in the intelligence level of the child being well over average - meaning that psychological characteristics were influenced by environmental factors. Many researchers debated that intelligence was not consistent and was therefore a result of both hereditary and environmental influences. Many studies have shown that genetics influence environmental factors, or intersect each other in complex ways. A person's thoughts and feelings may influence the type of environment they want to be in or prefer to act like. Certain people with similar genetic aspects may prefer to be in environments opposite of each other. I personally believe that psychological traits are influenced by both factors, but mostly by environmental. I have compared the behaviors of adoptive Asian children and those of biological. i have found that those of adoptive parents are more Americanized and act differently than those of Asian children who were raised by Asian parents. I believe that this is due to the environment that they live in and how they were raised. Therefore I believe that psychological behaviors are influenced mostly by environmental factors.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,789690,00.html

Anne Tran

During our everyday lives our senses pick up many different things. If our brain were to comprehend every single sense that our body has picked up we would end up having a brain overload. It acts somewhat as a filtering system. The brain chooses to filter out what our brain deems as unimportant at the time. That is why our brain can choose certain things to focus on while shutting out the rest of the senses. Our psychology book describes it like a TV set. Lets say there's a TV that has every single channel playing. We wouldn't be able to comprehend what's happening because of an overload of all the channels. Selective attention allows us to turn the TV to one channel while blocking out the channels, which makes it much easier to comprehend what's going on. Our brain does this without us knowing it.

There have been many tests to prove this theory. Donald Broadbent's test, which was called dichotic listening, involves someone hearing two different messages in both ears. The subject was told to ignore one of the messages and focus on the other. When asked to repeat what the message was that was ignored the subject had little or no clue what the messages were about. Although this was done in 1957, there have been present day tests including the famous test by Simons and Chabris. The test can be viewed at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo
This test shows that when we focus on certain things, our brain filters out other things, even if there obvious observations.

-Spencer Overgaard


A Case of the Yawns

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Have you ever seen someone yawning and involuntarily followed their lead? I happens to all of us. The question is why does it happen and is it psychologically based. In order to form some theories one must understand why we yawn in the first place.

There is no solid evidence that confirms why we yawn, but there are theories. The first is that we yawn when we have a low level of oxygen in our lungs. When we are resting we do not breathe heavily, and therefore have little oxygen entering our lungs. When there is too little oxygen our body tells us to yawn and open our mouth for a large gasp of air. This theory feels quite sound, until we look at other evidence. Doctor's who have performed ultrasounds on pregnant women have claimed to see babies making yawning motions. Baby's do not breathe through their mouths while in the womb, so this would seem to debunk the theory that we yawn in order to receive more oxygen. Other doctors who have seen the phenomenon of babies yawning claim that while it looks like the baby is yawning, it is just a similar motion and not the exact same as an adult yawning. Another reason we may yawn is to transition our body from alert to relaxed or vice versa. People yawn in the morning after waking up from a long nights sleep as well as yawning before they go to sleep. These daily life experiences would seem to suggest this theory of mental transitioning.

The disputed reasoning for why we yawn mimics that of why we yawn after seeing others do it. Some researchers claim the reason we yawn is due to our ability to empathize with others. We are able to read someone's body language very accurately with our ability to empathize and then we mimic it. Researchers tested their theory on a control group and a group of schizophrenics, people who lack the ability to empathize. They found more often than not that those with schizophrenia did not yawn after seeing multiple other subjects do the same.

Another theory for why we yawn is because of evolution. Animals will sometimes yawn, and when they do so they make a point of showing their teeth. This teeth-showing is to assert their dominance among others of their species. We as humans may yawn due to a similar primitive, subconscious reason. Someone yawns in a class and you subconsciously feel like yawning now because you want to also assert your dominance.

A reason for why we yawn is not known, but it could be due to biology or psychology. Why yawning spreads may not be known as well, but we do know the spreading is a purely psychological phenomenon.

Ian Peters

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1912
http://www.msnbc.com/news/205574.asp?cp1=1

vaccine2.jpg
http://www.helpyourautisticchildblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/vaccine2.jpg

Although there is evidence against the link between vaccines and autism, parents of autistic children are furious and refuse to believe that the cause of the developmental disability could be anything other than vaccination.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1003673,00.html

Let us examine the validity of such a strong claim using the Scientific Thinking Principles:

Correlation Is Not Causation! and Ruling Out Rival Hypotheses
Despite there NOT being enough data to support a positive correlation between vaccination and autism, parents continue to believe that the two are linked. Let's call vaccines variable A, and autism variable B. According to the statements some parents make, A causes B. However, what if variable C existed? Parents often disregard the notion that there are other factors to a child's life. There are many things that influence the health of a child; varying from the type of food the child eats and the clarity of water the child drinks, to the amount of pollution in the air that child breaths. Those who claim that vaccines cause autism are quick to judge; there are other possible explanations.

Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence
The claim of "vaccination causes autism" is a very extraordinary claim that lacks support; there is very minimal evidence that demonstrates this. Also, the claim contradicts the purpose of vaccine usage! Initially, vaccines were developed in order to improve the health of people, not counteract against it. So, the claim that vaccines do the opposite, would need to be extensively supported before the public can go back on what they already believe to be true.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=223o0pliEMs

Anna Shrifteylik

"New drug for type 2 diabetes help with weight loss"
"Quit smoking by texting"
"Missing key genes may be cause for lack of resolve to exercise, researchers find"

These days, attention-grabbing claims like those listed above are prevalent in the media as well as the Internet. As a matter of fact, an average American adult are exposed to an absurdly high dose of psychological findings on a daily basis; hence, it is impossible for anybody to evaluate the credibility of every single claim.

Facing with such problem, some people attempt to remember as much information as they can, while many others simply regard all the findings as insignificant to remember. Either way will ultimately deprive those people of the real knowledge of science. Therefore, in order to distinguish scientific claims from pseudoscientific claims, one must first master his/her critical thinking.

Critical thinking is a set of skills for evaluating all claims in an open-minded and careful fashion. With that in mind, when presented with new psychological finding, one should put their skeptical hat on, then scrutinize every aspect of that study by asking questions such as whether the study excludes any rival hypotheses, whether causation relationship can be inferred from the study, whether this study can be falsified in the future, whether this study has been replicated by any other group of researchers, whether the evidences provided are as extraordinary as the claim, and whether the explanation provided in the claim is the simplest one. Unless all of the questions had been answered sufficiently, a critical thinking person would never regard the claim as a scientific one.

In short, critical thinking is an important concept not only in Psychology, but also in the real world. Armed with critical thinking, one will not be easily deceived by the multifarious pseudoscientific claims.

Ngoc Nguyen

NLP: Illusion or Science

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Neuro linguistic programing (NLP) is a psychotherapy that studies behaviors in a person's pre-programmed subconscious thought and mannerism. Created in the 80's NLP is a pseudoscience used to improve mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, or dyslexia also it has been marketed as a tool for salesmen, politicians and the self-help field. In the scientific community there is skepticism toward NLP because of lack of consistent empirical evidence. While NLP has improved people's lives and impressed many others it is not viewed as a hard science.
In the following links British TV star and illusionist Derren Brown demonstrates several techniques taught by NLP including mirroring, reading body language, and planting a foreign thought in another person's head and convincing them it is there own.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1a-gBGcgRh0
In mirroring Brown is attempting to sync up two subjects subconscious thoughts through a process of having them copy each others body language. The subjects are paying selective attention to each others body language and at the end of the experiment both have the same feelings. Brown has used this technique as a way to take control of an argument or debate.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=befugtgikMg
Similar to mirroring Brown uses another illusionary mind control process in the next link convincing a subjecting that he wanted a BMX bike for his birthday when in fact it was not what he requested. Brown uses subtle word play during his conversation to implant the idea in the mans head. At the end of the experiment the subject is convinced he wanted a BMX but is shocked when he discovers he requested a leather jacket.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi2cvop3vbM&feature=fvwp&NR=1
In the final link here Brown debunks the lies of three car salesmen by again paying selective attention to each of their body languages as they each tell 3 facts and a lie about the cars they are trying to sell. Without hesitation Brown is able to pinpoint each of their lies spot on.
These are well crafted illusions by Dennis Brown and examples of NLP psychotherapy. While NLP is not hard science there are many first hand accounts of similar tactics being beneficial in the self help psychology world.

Will Hebert

NLP:

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

The Halo Effect

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

The Lilienfeld textbook defines the Halo Effect as "the tendency of ratings of one positive characteristic to 'spill over' to influence the ratings of other positive characteristics," meaning that someone's positive opinions to someone else will influence them to think of them in a good light in other categorizes. We can find examples of such a phenomena in our everyday lives.
MUGSHOTLOHAN.jpg One example in our society is how we perceive celebrities. They are beautiful people, and so we associate that they are also kind-hearted, intellectual, and maintain good judgment.The Halo Effect can also be found in the workplave for instance, a boss may believe that his employee shows excellent skill when it concerns organization and decides to promote her, without considering whether her abilities with communication and teamwork are sufficient for the higher position. So as one reflects on the examples shown above, one may debate whether the Halo Effect can ever be viewed in a positive light. I believe that the concept of the Halo Effect is important to the field of psychology because it can be seen and BOTH a positive phenomenon and a negative as well.
glowing_halo.jpg
Obviously, it can be portrayed as negative because celebrities and sports football stars show how society views them as role models up on a pedestal but who also succumb to the sins of being human, just like the rest of us. On the other hand, it can be viewed as a positive because if someone sees the good aspects in one of your abilities, they may give you the opportunity to display your abilities to excel in other areas, like in the workplace.

Erika North

One of the important concepts from the textbook is the that MRIs and other brain scans can help identify brain damage. The three machines used are CT, MRI, and PET scans. CT stands for computer technology, MRI for magnetic resonance imaging, and PET for positron emission tomography. Through the use of computers and heavy machinery, a scan of the brain is possible, and can be very helpful in saving lives.
brain.jpgThis image was taken of a women who had a terrible case of the flu in which the sneezing and coughing caused a violent whiplash in which damaged half of her brain, the white half. Without the MRI, know one would have know what was wrong with her but since she was able to have one, she was able to live longer than any of the doctors thought possible. Her whole story is at http://www.henrywm.com/story.p
These three machines, look generally alike, the one to the left is an MRI machine. There are a few differences to these three machines. A CT scan uses multiple X-Rays, an MRI using magnetic fields, and a PET uses the injection of radioactive glucose-like molecules. The difference between them are the CT and MRI scans allow us to see the brain's structure and activity while a PET only show the structure and no activity. mri-image.jpg
One of the biggest questions for me that surrounds brain scans is how did they come to exist. These machines seem complex and high-tech. I can't begin to understand how difficult these must have been not only to think up the idea but also put the machines together. If you're like me, maybe this video with help get you to understand MRI machines more.

Jacob Patnode

Wednesday is the Color Red

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Imagine that every time you see a word it is a certain color. People who suffer from the condition Synesthesia deal with this on a daily basis. Synesthesia is when one sense is perceived to be a different sense. This can be tasting words, smelling sounds, and smelling touches. The most common form of Synesthesia is seeing numbers and letters as different colors.

This video shows the lives of some people that suffer from Synesthesia and what it is like for them having their senses intermingle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1R_A4tUMOtI&feature=related

Scientists believe that Synesthesia occurs because of some "crossed wires" in the brain. It is believed that the neurons and synapses that are supposed to link to one sense are then linked to a different sense altogether. Scientists also believe that everyone is born with these kinds of connections but most people lose these connections and the ones that don't then develop Synesthesia. It is unclear as to where exactly in the brain Synesthesia occurs but researchers are working on trying to figure out where it happens.

It has taken much time but after much research it has been found that about every 1 in 23 people suffer from some sort of Synesthesia. Also it looks as though it is usually passed on from other generations in the family. They have also discovered that it is about a 1:1 ratio of men and women that suffer from the condition.


Becky Selser

"Facial Feedback" feedback

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes


In past week's discussion session we partook in a run off of the study- "Facial Feedback Hypothesis". The people who participated in the study were asked to do one of three different actions while reading a set of comics. First off there was the control which simply read the comic as is; the second randomly assigned group was to bite down on a pen or pencil while reading the same set of comics; the last group was to place the pen or pencil behind the upper lip and read the comics. The goal was to see how facial features can affect ones emotional state, in this case finding things funny. As you may have guessed the biting down on the pen or pencil was to resemble smiling and behind the lip was to resemble frowning. The study showed that most people find things funnier when they were biting on the pencil because the face muscles, zygomaticus major and risorius major, are partially in the position of a smile. Because they are in this position messages are sent to the brain, and because this position is associated with happiness the brain will "think" something is funnier.

charakteregalleryludo.jpg



I can't really say how important this study is or how it has related to me in my life because I have one major concern about how the study was run... that's why I am blogging about this subject. When experiments and studies are randomly assigned most have a sound result at the finish. This study has a result that is not sound and is lacking a deeper look into the matter. In my opinion you can't directly correlate muscle position to emotional state; even though it may partially play a role there should be other variables to consider. My biggest issue is the fact that different people find different things funny. I'm sure people will bring up how it was randomly assigned and that will erase that effect. BUT there could be a large majority that was unaccounted for that think fart jokes are funny and no matter how their face is positioned would laugh either way when a fart joke came up. I hope what I am saying is making sense. What I'm getting at is they may have randomly assigned people but they possibly did not randomly assign personality traits and emotions. With what I read I didn't see this key issue being dealt with. If anybody has a good answer to how they made this a sound, reliable study I would love to hear it!
Brad Tuominen

Many animals with poor eyesight use echolocation to navigate through their environment. Bats, dolphins and whales all emit sound waves that contact objects and reverberate to the source. These animals are then able to make various distinctions about their environment, based on the nature of the returning sound waves. Emitted sounds that are slow to return to their source suggest that an object is farther away, while sounds that are quick to echo suggest that an object is much closer. This form of navigation by auditory perception allows many animals to decipher the size, shape and distance of an object.

In a similar way, many blind humans have replicated the echolocation of animals in an effective way, revolutionizing our ideas about auditory and visual perception. Ben Underwood was an example of a blind child that used clicking sounds with his tongue to be able to play sports and video games. This phenomenon bears the question, "How does the loss of visual perception impact auditory perception?", and "How much can our brain adapt to sensation loss?"

So how does the loss of vision impact one's auditory perception? First, echolocation has proved to be an effective navigation technique due to the complexity of the auditory cortex. Therefore when vision is lost, the auditory cortex must use pitch perception and localization of sound to evaluate the environment. High pitched tones excite the hair cells along the base of the basilar membrane, while low pitched tones excite the cells along the top. Since echolocation relies heavily on interpreting the pitch of the sound waves to determine the size and shape, the auditory cortex must use pitch perception. Secondly, localization of sound is another crucial aspect in echolocation. The auditory cortex locates sound by using binaural cue, which compares the difference between the two sound sources of each ear to determine the sound location.

Although we have discussed how the auditory cortex compensates for the loss of vision. One recent study suggests that our brain reorganizes and dramatically adapts to the sensation loss through cross-modal activity. The University of Western Ontario examined two echolocation experts as they were given objects and asked to evaluate the shape and distance. During the study, the brain activity of the two experts was recorded. The study found that the echos did not activate the auditory cortex, but the visual cortex; which suggests that the visual cortex interprets spatial information and memory from the sounds.

IAs we continue to study echolocation, we will have a greater understanding of the cross-modal effects of sensation loss between auditory and visual perception.

Psychology and Advertising

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

It is very fascinating to see how often commercial advertisement makers use psychology knowledge to make their advertisement powerful; the outcomes are always interesting.As the saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words", people normally find it makes more sense to look at a picture than staring at paragraphs for hours.

A bitten apple. a man made of tires. Almost every advertisement is accompanied by a visual image. The total information provided by both visual and verbal elements will be delivered to the customers. It is certain that the perceiving process in our brain made us to connect the dots between the visual elements and some ideas in our brain.

wal-ad.jpg
for example, this advertisement is a perfect example for an wide angle lens.

in this picture, the man is holding a camera pointing to the right. and there are to girls lying on the beach. Man always like pretty girls, like the ones shown above. At this point, people will start connecting the dots, which is the process of trying to solve the question: how can he photograph the girls while he is pointing right. verbally, it explains "ultra-wide lens" having the advertisement start making sense. people will say "Oh! This is an ultra-wide lens, that's why this man can photograph those girls while he is pointing away." almost instantly, people thinks this function is cool and they want it, therefore trigger them to buy it.

This advertisement tricked the way people normally would perceive things and the way people would normally form a logic, while tricked it in an very interesting way to make the advertisement entertaining to watch and to be thought about.

Some good practice will make the advertisement more efficient and impressive.

Dylan Zhang

The Placebo Effect

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

One of the main pitfalls in experimental design, is the placebo effect. This is when a patient's condition improves merely because he or she expects it to. For example, in an experiment testing a new drug, the members of the control group may not be administered anything, while the members of the experimental group may be administered the actual experimental drug. The members of the experimental group might show a larger improvement than the members of the control group. This could be due to the effectiveness of the drug, or it could be because the experimental group knew that they were receiving the drug and expected to improve. This would demonstrate the placebo effect. Here is a real life experiment involving the placebo effect:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8558295832641895552

I believe that the placebo effect is an important concept in psychology and research because it has been shown to have the same effects as real drugs. This is also what I find most fascinating about the placebo effect, that a person's mere expectation of improvement can actually cause physical improvement.
It's very important for researchers to guard against the placebo effect in their experiments, because it can have such a strong effect. They do this by not letting patients know whether they're in the control or experimental group, or making them "blind". This evens out patients' expectations of improvement.
The placebo effect is an important and intriguing concept in psychology. It continues to bring up many interesting questions, such as how the mind can have such a powerful effect on a patient's condition, or if it's ethical to use placebos in treatment.

Phoebe Stephan

Cold reading is one of the tricks so called "psychics" use to tell people things they couldn't possibly know about themselves or their dead relatives. Quite a few people can be tricked by cold reading due to human nature to look for meaning even if it isn't there, that's how cold reading can really work. Cold readings are a good example of our human perception of the world. How we try to make sense of everything and make connections of stimuli. Now I'm not saying that cold readings are wrong, however they tend to be more general and if you're looking to much into them you could be fooled into believing someone can actually read minds or predict the future.

Here is a video link to an example of cold reading:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btP_vy5cQq4

In the video the man dressed as a clown is "reading" the other mans past by telling him he likes to stay fit and was thinner as a child. If we pause for a minute, think about what he said. Most people like to stay fit and were also smaller as a child than they are now. With those few general "predictions" he has the other man looking into his own past, searching for meanings that would connect with what he had said. The clown goes onto say he sees the man in a panic, at some time in summer, with other people, in water, towards the north of England, that the panic is of him drowning. Look at what he has said again, summer- when people swim, with friends, north of England- where there is water. For all of these statements the man is agreeing, so what would you guess his panic would be if it was during summer with friends in water? I also listened to what the clown had said and applied it to myself (excluding being in England). I too remember an experience when I was younger of feeling like I was drowning during summer with some of my friends. Now that I think about it, that's a very common experience for allot of people. Have you ever felt as though you were in a panic sometime with friends while swimming? If you think for a while you can probably come up with something that would fit the description.

Have you ever read a horoscope online or read things that deal with astrology? When you read about your personality or a daily horoscope, have they ever been pretty close? If you step back and think about what it said have you ever realized you were kind of reaching for connections? I know I have. I've read several horoscopes on my personality and seen the statements like "you like things organized", and I do but then I think a little. Who doesn't like things to be organized? I remember sentences such as "you are financially happy today" while by coincidence realizing I get my paycheck that day or "you've been stressed lately and might splurge on something you've wanted" again I had just got a new video game for myself a couple days back. So most cold reading can be right if you search for a meaning or something that you could connect with what whoever's saying, such as the second part of the video (Link above). How the participants looked into what was written and were able to think of how it described themselves relatively accurate.

It just goes to show you, with the few examples in the video, that people look for meaning in just about everything. That cold reading is almost only able to work because of our nature. Cold reading is a neat trick that people use on others for entertainment but "we tend to read into the cold reading at least as much as the cold reader is reading into us" * If you look for meaning in something, you'll generally find it and how our nature of reasoning and making sense of our world can be manipulated.


Sources: Psychology from Inquiry to Understanding - Lilienfeld *

-Nathan Bourgeois

Pseudoscience.

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

It is extremely hard for normal people, who are not scientists, to identify whether a set of claims is scientific or not; and the accurate tern for this common misunderstanding action is "pseudoscience".
For more information, pseudoscience can be defined as a theory or belief that sound like scientific but they are not. In pseudoscience, the theories are usually described by fancy vocabulary of science as well as using selective evidences to support the ideas. However these claims are meaningless due to the fact that they do not use real science methods or experiences and come up with many falsifiable predictions. From these reasons above, people, who are not experts in this field, will easily fall into the traps of pseudoscience.
Fortunately, pseudoscience is not impossible to recognize if we understand clearly about its typical signs. According to the table of signs on page 13 of our course textbook, there are six common signs, which are very helpful to ovoid pseudoscience. For example, "exaggerated claims", the overstated claims that are often used in business to persuaded customers. The next ones are "absence of connectivity to other research", "lack of review by other scholars or replication by independent labs" and "lack of self-correction when contrary evidence is published" suggesting that hypotheses in pseudoscience are not realizable, because they seem more like personal ideas. Plus, pseudoscience can provide valid evidences as a result it usually "talk of proof instead of evidence".
In conclusion, pseudoscience is existed everywhere in our world, because it is covered by true science external and not everyone has strong knowledge to perceive pseudoscience principles. Nevertheless, if people take time to learn about pseudoscience characteristics along with signs, they will be able to define it, which can help them make better decisions.

Thuc Huynh

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from October 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2011 is the previous archive.

November 2011 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.