November 2011 Archives

My mother didn't lead a "typical" life. Not that anyone really has a "typical" life, but my mother's was more unusual than most.

My mother and her sister were given up for adoption and placed into separate homes when my mother was three. My mother had a stable life until she was seven when her adoptive mother died. Her adoptive father was a traveling salesman who had little family support to help him with raising a child. My mother went to live with an adoptive aunt in exchange for my mother's services working at one of the businesses she owned.

My mother said little about her childhood while I was growing up, not much more than I just described. I figured out that she said little to help disguise her uneasiness with her younger years. But as a result of her upbringing she was a rather anxious individual. Nervous when my father was out of town on business or not at home, anxious riding in automobiles, and especially anxious about getting lost...and she had a pretty bad sense of direction. My mother tried hard not to allow her childhood scars to infiltrate her adult life or negatively impact mine. Once when I pressed her about how she made parenting decisions when she had no real role model, she replied that she just thought about what her adoptive aunt would have done, and then did the opposite.

At one point when I was a teenager, my mother and I had a disagreement. I can't recall what it was we were fighting over; likely something trivial blown out of proportion by a hormonally- challenged teenager. My mother ended the fight by telling me "Just because I'm your mother doesn't mean that I have to love you." The words stung.

I did not appreciate the weight of those words until a few years ago. On two separate occasions in her youth, my mother had it demonstrated to her that love sometimes is not enough to keep a family together. As a result my mother believed that family and love were two separate things that did not necessarily intersect. That statement was one of the few times my mother showed me the pain that she had experienced in her life and how it had permanently damaged her. When those words were spoken I was too stubborn to perceive it as anything but a hurtful statement and too obtuse to realize that she was telling me that no matter how difficult our relationship was that I should appreciate the fact that she never gave up on trying to make those two items intersect.

From November 29, 2011

Lisa Hostetler
Section 13

Most people do not know that coronary heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. It accounts for one in every two and half deaths each year. This disease develops when cholesterol collects on the walls of the arteries. This narrows and blocks the coronary arteries, known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is accompanied by an inflammatory response in the arteries and can lead to a heart attack.
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Stress can sometimes be one of the factors leading to this disease. Certain stress hormones lead to disruption of heart rhythm and then to heart death. However, the correlational arrow can be reversed. People with CHD are often have poor diets and lack exercise which increase the likelihood of everyday stressors. So CHD may be the cause of the stressors these people experience on a day to day basis. Others whoa are most at risk tend to be those with type A personality. These people are hard drive, competitive and impatient. The risks for CHD also increase in males over 50 who smoke, have high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
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Hearing this worries me, because my dad is definitely a type A person. He also chews tobacco and has high blood pressure. I guess the only ways to reduce the chances are helping hime to try and eat healthier, exercise more, quit chewing tobacco and encourage him to monitor his heart.

Correlation vs. Causation

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Out of everything I have learned this year is Psychology, one of the things I think I will remember most is the principle of correlation vs. causation. Even though we learned this at the very beginning of the semester, it has remained one of the most important concepts throughout the class. In every experiment we learned about, researchers have to be conscious of the fact that correlation between two variables does not automatically imply that one causes the other.

Not only is correlation vs. causation important in our psychology class, but also in every day life. One of the most common errors we find in the press is the confusion between correlation and causation. The media often concludes a casual relationship among correlated observances when causality was not even considered by the study. We must always remember that just because two things occur together does not mean that one caused the other one, even if it seems to make perfect sense.

Sarah Benthein

What Determines Relationships

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Throughout this psychology course, I have learned tons of new things. One of which I know I will always remember... How we determine our relationships. Some say "opposites attract" but others say, "birds of a feather flock together." Before this course I wouldn't be able to tell which one was true, yet after this course I know it's the latter. When we pick and choose which relationships we partake in, we consider three things: similarity, proximity, and reciprocity. Although some would argue opposite attract, psychologists would argue that we tend to gravitate towards those that are like us. We find people attractive if they are interested in the things we like to do, amongst other similarities. We also commonly start relationships with people whom are close to us. It's hard to keep a long distance relationship going. So in order to have a successful relationship, we normally find people within our proximity. Lastly, we need a give and take aspect in the relationship. It's important to us to like those who enjoy our company as well. A relationship would not work out if one party is madly in love with the other but the other wants nothing to do with the madly in love party. Many say relationships are complicated and are determined from various factors, this is partially true. But by taking this course in psychology I realized relationships are not nearly as complicated as people make them. A successful relationship often is comprised of similarity, proximity, and reciprocity.

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Lindsay Snider

Facial Expressions

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In lecture we learned about facial expressions and emotion. We learned that their were six basic emotions. These emotions are happiness, sadness, anger fear, disgust, and surprise. We learned that most people can tell what a person is feeling by their facial expression. expressions.jpg

It has been said that people are able to detect lies through facial expressions as well. In fact, there is a tv show that involves a man being able to tell if a person is lying by watching their facial expressions.

For this extraordinary claim, this must be some extraordinary evidence to support this. Evidence has shown that most people can't. A facial expression that is expressed when someone is lying will usually last a fraction of a second. Most people will never notice this expression. Although, Paul Ekman believes it is possible to train people to notice these fraction of a second expressions. Paul Ekman is a leading authority on the interpertation of facial expressions and is the scientific advisor for a show called Lie to Me. In this show people are able to read these fraction of second facial expressions. Is this true or just hollywood at it's best? We will find out when more research is done on the concept.

-Spencer Overgaard

http://www.naturalnews.com/029484_smoking_IQ.html

David Iverson section 12

This article is about smoking and intelligence. The individuals performing this test state that smoking makes people dumber. They tested roughly 20,000 soldiers from the Israeli military. They came from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. According to their results, smokers on average had a lower IQ than non-smokers. Also the heavier the smoker was, the lower his IQ generally was. They state in the title of the article: "It's Official: Smoking Makes You Stupid". They seemed to be very adamant that smoking caused people to have lower IQ, though they do very briefly mention that the study could not explain whether smoking caused a lower IQ or having a lower IQ predisposed people to smoke - immediately after which they went back to saying that smoking definitely causes lower IQ.
Correlation versus Causation. Need I say more? Let's think about this logically. People with lower IQs would generally be expected to make poorer health decisions than those people with higher IQs would make. They did not perform an IQ test on these men before they began smoking and then again after they had been smoking for an extended period of time. In relation to my own life, my mom is a smoker, and she is known by her siblings as the smartest of them all (She has 9 siblings). They were all raised in the same environment, shouldn't she be the dumbest? While I definitely detest smoke and dislike the idea that people smoke tobacco, this article is almost laughable.

Defense Mechanisms

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Sigmund Freud, a well known psychoanalytic psychologist, generated a theory considering the ID, Ego, and Superego. He believed these were the three important parts of an individuals personality. Along with these aspects, he added to his theory that all individuals have certain defense mechanisms. These defense mechanisms include repression, denial, regression, reaction formation, projection, displacement, rationalization, sublimation, and identification with the aggressor. Repression involves motivated forgetting of emotionally threatening memories or impulses. Denial is explained as motivated forgetting of distressing experiences. Regression is known as returning psychologically to a younger and safer time. Reaction Formation is transforming an anxiety producing experience into its opposite. Projection is known as an unconscious attribution of our negative qualities onto others. Displacement involves directing an impulse from a socially unacceptable target onto a more acceptable one. Rationalization is explained as reasonable sounding explanations for unreasonable behaviors or failures. Sublimation is transforming a socially unacceptable impulse into an admired and socially valued goal. Lastly, Identification with the aggressor is explained as adopting psychological characteristics of people we find threatening.

According to Freud we all use defense mechanisms in our every day life. They are important aspects because they can help us cope with conflicts and issues. For example, if one has experienced terrible abuse, he or she might repress the memories in order to forget the tragic experience. One might use displacement after a hard day at work while he or she yells at his or her spouse instead of taking it out on the cruel boss. Another example involves denial, if a married couple is withstanding the divorce process, one spouse might believe that it won't actually follow through since he or she might think there is a low divorce rate. We use defense mechanisms daily. They are ways to manage problems and issues we would otherwise not be able to handle. Although some psychologists question Freud's three aspects to personality, psychologists have a hard time questioning Freud's theory concerning defense mechanisms.

The following is a video that shows each defense mechanism, what it is, and how it relates to popular movies.

http://youtu.be/FnRBAU6Yg2A

SAT Flaws

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOLwDBcgSjs&feature=player_detailpage

As shown by this youtube video, some standardized tests claim to determine a person's future. These tests are not as frequently used as the standardized tests taken by high school seniors. Tests like the ACT or SAT are used by all colleges. In terms of my opinion, I dont believe these tests are valid enough to be the sole predictor of a college student's performance or to tell anyone what he or she should do for the rest of his or her life.

There is a correlation between test scores and college students grades, but this does not necessarily mean that the people who are more intelligent are earning better grades. There are many variable that play into it, such as test taking ability and the professor you receive. Since most college classes are centralized around exams, an intelligent student may not be getting the best grades and would not do as well on a standardized test.

I am one of the people that did not do as well on the ACT as I wanted/expected to. After getting a 26 on the ACT, I was very worried about getting into the University of Minnesota due to how competitive it has become. I know that colleges need something to base their decisions off of, but basing it off of one standardized test has the potential to hurt both the school and student. I believe that one test, such as the ACT, may have nothing to do with prediction how well someone is going to do at the University of Minnesota, or another prestigious University.

I know that there is a great possibility that I am doing better academically than a lot of people who did better than me on their ACT. This would prove that there are many exceptions to the correlation between standardized test scores and grades, as well as lifelong success. With so many exceptions, I dont find it fair that some kids' college career is a hit or miss scenario, simply due to one standardized test.

Deciding whether someone should get accepted into a college is a huge, important decision and should be taken very seriously. That decision will affect the applicant for the rest of their lives. Due to the fact that the decision is so important, i believe that it would be best not to base the decision off of one test, but more off of overall performance and experience instead.

Polygraph Testing

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The topic of polygraph tests have been a long debated and controversial topic in the world of criminal investigations since its creation, and for good reason. For years the validity of these tests has been question and the reliability of their results have been off much of the time. Lie detector tests monitor things such as blood pressure and heart rate, as well as the moisture of your skin. These tests are not accepted in the United States court of law because they can often be cheated and tricked with proper training and control of your body as talked about in the video included with this post. Simple tricks such as clenching muscles and or being in the right state of mind can control these vitals in the human body. These methods can be taught in short matters of time to regular everyday people, making this test extremely unreliable especially when talking about sentencing people to crimes in which could put people away for years at a time. In fact, so many are against the use of these tests that there are organizations and hundreds of websites which protest against them completely. Never the less many places which still require polygraph testing such as some jobs and organizations such as the FBI and that require a high level of security measures. While the debate on polygraph tests will continue there are more reasons why not to rely on these tests than why to rely on them and until they can be perfected I believe it would be smart to continue to use other measures of lie detecting.

David Murdock

Personality structure is one of the most complex studies in all of psychology, however mass amounts of research has agreed that openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. While the "Big Five" has a lot of differentiation depending on specific people, but are there any deeper cultural influences in these five characteristics? In Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding, research data from Peter Rentfrow, Samuel Gosling, and Jeff Potter (2008) suggested that different states had different levels of extraversion. The correlation was suggested that it is possible that living in relatively isolated states such as: Idaho, Alaska, or Hawaii, contributes to higher levels of extraversion. The opposite correlation was suggested that it is possible that introverts are drawn to living in isolated areas. This is just one example of the intricate study of personality structure.

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There are also many cultural influences to neuroticism. Studies have shown that there are higher rates of neuroticism in states such as: New York, New Jersey, West Virginia, and Mississippi (eastern states), while states such as: Colorado, Utah, South Dakota, Arizona, and Oregon (western states), have much lower rates of neuroticism. It should be noted that these eastern states have higher rates of heart disease and lower life expectancy. This could mean there is a correlation in that, neuroticism increases ones chance of heart disease and an earlier death. While on the contrary, there could be increased anxiety and neuroticism because there is more disease and early deaths.

Geography is only one indicator when examining influences on personality structures. For example, agreeableness is the tendency to be sociable and easy to get along with, and there are many studies that identify the media as a crucial factor in how social one may be. There have been many studies that have seen a change in the behavior of children based on the media they absorb. The correlations drawn from some of theses studies suggest that media may have a beneficial or adverse effect on human agreeableness.

Finally, another major influence in personality structure is the family and friends one is surrounded around. This relates to the nature vs. nurture debate, but it cannot be denied that there is at least some substantial evidence to suggest that the family has influence over the behaviors of their children. Therefore, personality traits such as openness and conscientiousness may be taught or learned towards children. These are just a few of the infinite examples of how psychologists can study the influences of personality structures.

Matthew Barg

Grace Eicher Writing #5

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How is it possible for an individual's personality to be measured by a model? The method with the best research, known as the Big Five, is made up of five traits often occur in factor analysis of personality measures. The lexical approach was used to discover the Big Five. This means that the most important characteristics of a person's personality are found in their speech. There is a good chance that if a characteristic has importance, it is brought up significantly. The five dimensions of the Big Five consist of openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. The Big Five is an important concept in psychology because it helps describe all types of people including those with psychological disorders. Every individual falls somewhere on the spectrum for each of the 5 characteristics and depending on the person, the characteristics can vary from low, average, to high. A real life example of how the Big Five is used would be the dating website eHarmony. They use the Big Five to create the best possible matches, but research evidence does not support that this will work. The Big Five is also used to estimate how a person will behave in the real world. Based on my characteristics in the Big Five, I am considered to be "artistic". I would agree with this term. An example of my personality trait that I find to be very accurate would be my rating in "extraversion" because I am definitely an introvert and less social than the majority of people.

Grace Eicher

For blog post five I decided to write about a topic that I found very interesting in chapter 14 of our textbook; Freud's model of personality structure, focused around the id, ego, and the superego. Freud believed that the differences in people's personalities were based on the strength of each category. The id focuses on the most basic human instincts and desires, the ego is in charge of the ultimate decisions, and the superego focuses on our sense of morality.

Although many modern psychologists do not agree with Freud's conclusions, and aspects of his personality structure are controversial, it can still be a useful tool in understanding how our personalities work and how we make decisions. For example if we are aware of these three aspects we may be able to help strengthen one aspect of our personality that we may feel is week or not satisfactory. If someone perceives that they have been making immoral decisions and doing things that they are not proud of they may try to suppress their id and focus their attention on their superego. Someone might be able to do this by increasing their spirituality by going to church, avoiding immoral imagery like violence or sex, or by improving morale by watching motivational speeches or reading inspiring stories. Regardless of how a person deals with the situation, just realizing that there is a force persuading you in a negative direction may help motivate you to stay focused in a positive way.

In our book there is a very helpful model of an iceberg that helped me to better understand how Freud's personality structure is set up. The below picture is another visual that really helped me to remember the differences between the three aspects of the model.

Ben Sicoli

http://blogasarea.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/id-ego-superego.jpg

Are IQ tests culturally biased?

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Many people have issues with the ways intelligence is tested currently. Most of people's concerns have to do with cultural biases some believe these tests have. This is a big concern with both administrators of the tests and people that rely on these tests for insight on individual's intelligence. The IQ test in the present day is well known as an accurate measure of intelligence for all people but some argue that it may not be as accurate as we think.

Studies have shown that IQ tests have shown to have differences between minority groups. To many, this implies a cultural bias for the tests in favor of some groups over others. Psychologists argue that this is merely an accurate representation that shows poorer educational learning and does not imply a bias at all. It also is somewhat represented by a financial deficit in the group as it has been shown that, on average, poverty has a negative correlation with increasing intelligence. Psychologists also combat this view by offering the tests in simple forms that do not necessarily require cultural understanding and for instruction the tests are offered in multiple languages.

A major point on to which these thoughts of biases arise is from data that has been found. Some of the data seems controversial and some believe it does not make rational sense as to why scores vary between races, but they certainly do exist. There are even some religious groups that score higher on IQ tests than others. The fact is that these findings are true and even though it may be troubling that such a trivial thing could make a difference in a measure of intelligence, it still occurs.

-Andrew Wegner

"Superbabies": possible or not?

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People usually say that babies are the greatest gifts for parents; because these adorable little ones are not only the offspring to their parents, but also the connection between them, as well as the proof of their love. Hence, all parents want their kids to become outstanding and to be able to achieve success later. In order to turn their kids into little geniuses, parents are willing to spend a lot of money in products, which are believed as intelligence boosters. The question here is: "Do these costly products really work?" In this blog post, I will compose discuss about the possibility of making "superbabies".

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Planning is easy, but making plans come true is extremely difficult and in this case, the majority of parents tend to believe in advertisers on TV or Internet about the magical effects of these "intelligence boosters". The most popular product seems to be the CDs of Mozart's music, since a huge number of people trust it without doubt. In fact, in 1998, Zell Miller, a Georgia Governor, spent $105,000 from state budget to give every infant in Georgia a free Mozart CD or cassette. According to chapter 10 in our textbook, the reason for this nonsensical belief was started in 1993, when an experiment is conducted about the Mozart Effect, on two groups of college students. The result showed that students in the group listened to Mozart's music performed better on reasoning tasks, than those in the other group. From that moment, people started to think of Mozart's music as an "intelligence booster", even though the original experiment did not conclude anything about making babies smarter, nor did they mention anything about the Mozart Effect in the long term. Therefore, listening to Mozart's music to become smarter is a misunderstanding, and obviously, people should not spend money on this type of product for the purpose of turning their children into geniuses.

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Beside Mozart's music, "intelligence booster" toys are a different type of products that can be found easily online and stores. If you go to google.com and search for 'smart toy for kids', you will receive approximately 5,650,000 results. However, how many percentages of these toys actually improve children's brain? Based on the textbook, until now, there is not any valid evidence that can verify the reliability of these toys. Thus, we can see that advertisements of those toys are not accurate.

In conclusion, making "superbabies" by listening to Mozart's music or playing smart toys appears to be impossible because there is not sufficient evidence to support the claim. Therefore, people should apply critical thinking and make their decisions logically to avoid being tricked by the misleading advertisements.

Thuc Huynh

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After reading Chapter 10 on human development I found the section on midlife crises to be interesting. According to the book, a midlife crisis is defined as: "A supposed phase of adulthood characterized by emotional distress about the aging process and an attempt to regain youth." After reading many arguments from different psychologists, I found that there are many definitions of a "midlife crisis". According to, psychologist Elliot Jaques, a midlife crisis is: "A time in which an adult realizes their own mortality and how much time they may have left in their lives." Other psychologists like Carl Jung, believe that it is not a midlife "crisis", but instead a midlife "transition". This midlife "transition" is defined as: "A natural stage that happens to many of us at some point (20-60 years of age)". I do agree that it is a natural cycle in many peoples' lives, however I do not completely agree with the fact that a midlife crisis is when people realize their mortality. In some cases yes, but I believe the majority of people who endure a midlife crisis are trying to figure out what else they want to do with their lives, because they may not be as busy as they used to be. Having said that, I believe that it is a cycle that is very prevalent in today's society. I believe it is an important concept because as we age, a high majority of people who are my age now will go through this transition phase in their lives. It is important to know this concept because we can begin to understand how different people react to their place in life between these ages; we can witness it in our parents of today. The more we can see and understand how people progress through this stage it can help us find a way to undergo our midlife "transition" more smoothly. This pertains to my life because I can see that both my parents have picked up new hobbies and have been trying new things the last two years. My mother is in two book clubs, and my father has started road biking frequently. They have used this newfound time to do new things and most importantly spend more time together. The times in which these midlife crises are most evident in people's lives are: after college graduation (transitioning into the real world), when parents no longer have children in the house, and before or after many people retire. The only questions I have about this topic are: :Will I experience a midlife crisis, and if so, what will it be like?

Saying Goodbye Sucks

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Autophobia.
Fear of being alone.

Humans have a natural urge of being surrounded by other people. Our need to establish relationships drives us to live day by day. This claim is supported by the theory of Attachment. The Attachment Theory describes the dynamics of long-term relationships between humans. Established by Psychologist John Bowlby, he went n describing the idea of attachment as a "lasting psychological connectedness between human beings". Bowlby claimed that attachment develops right away from birth, where the bonding between a caregiver and their child establishes longing impressions throughout that child's life. Also, Bowlby believes attachment gives children a sense of security.

There are three key components of attachment:

-Safe Haven: When the child feel threatened or afraid, he or she can return to the caregiver for comfort and soothing.

-Secure Base: The caregiver provides a secure and dependable base for the child to explore the world.

-Proximity Maintenance: The child strives to stay near the caregiver, thus keeping the child safe.

When separated from the caregiver, the child will become upset and distressed. Essentially, the way we are raised shines a light into what kind of person we'll be when it comes to relationships. One who's given much attention and care will react differently to people than those who grew up without much attention or security from their caregiver. I believe this is an essential root of all psychological phenomena. The connection between a parent and their child is quite remarkable. It's only natural that what happens during the first few moments of life can make the whole difference in the future.

George Rodriguez
Section 13 8-2

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In discussion section this past week, we discussed the big five model of personality through a group activity that was based on each of our Berkeley Personality Profile test results. At the end of the activity, each group learned what category of the big five model they fell under; I was part of the high extraverted and high conscientious group. An extraverted person is someone who is very outgoing and very stimulating. A conscientious person is someone who is responsible and cautious with actions/decisions. Through our group activity I found that the test results were accurate for all of my group members, including myself, as it was evident that the decisions we made for our assignment were a result of each of us being sociable, talkative and assertive (extraversion) as well as organized, diligent, disciplined and dependable (conscientiousness).

I find that the big five model of personality is an important idea because it provides an understanding for the actions, decisions, and attitudes that people have. It also provides clarity for how peoples' personality relates to their way of living and how they interact with others. During our group assignment I found that every single group member participated and made small talk with one another. Though some members took the initiative to be more like leaders of the group, it was evident that my group members are extraverted people because they were quite sociable. My group was the first to finish completing the assignment, which shows that we all are highly conscientious (we completed the task as a team-effort in a timely manner because we were focused, driven, and coordinated).

The big five model of personality can be observed on a day-to-day basis through our daily interactions with other people. An example of the personality of an extraverted person and an introverted person is given in the cartoon clip below. One character is quite talkative and outgoing (extraverted) while the other character keeps to himself, and gets uncomfortable when he is talked to be the other character (who is a stranger).

Kaya Allen
Section 13
Writing #5

From chapter 14 on pages 572 and 573, a topic that was of great interest to me was graphology, the study and analysis of writing tied with psychology. Graphology claims that many personality characteristics of an individual can be found in their handwriting and has many notable figures as examples. Everyone from presidential candidates to numerous celebrities have been the subject of these studies, but it turns out to have a lot of flaws in its ideology.
An example of flaws found in this theory can be seen in its biggest application. Graphology was/is often used by employers to try and predict the success of potential employees while also weeding out those that, according to their handwriting may possess undesirable traits for the work place. The problem is that the handwriting analyzed also happened to be from a handwritten explanation on their previous experience. This content of the paragraphs analyzed confounds the correlation, making it invalid. Another problem with this theory is that it relies mainly on heuristics, especially the representative heuristic. This means it generalizes conclusions about people based off of similar writing styles, therefore resulting in inaccurate results.
These inaccurate results may have caused a lot of misjudgments in the workplace or in many other applications such as historical analyses of philosophers in the past. While we can't rely on graphology it is a fascinating concept and there is plenty of literature that claims to have picked apart many prominent individuals' handwriting in a way that is almost hard not to believe.

Yesha Yismaw

Throughout history, the question as to what makes people truly happy has been a highly debated topic. Some seem to believe that money and good looks will make someone live a happier life, while others disregard such opinions. This topic is of great interest to me, and it was intriguing to find out what our text had to say about true happiness. The book's reasons included marriage, friendships, a college education, religious faith, exercise, and giving. All of these aspects serve a valuable function in making people happy for their own obvious reasons. However, the book maintained the opinion that wealth does not necessarily make us happier. This conflicts with a Reader's Digest article I found regarding happiness which stated that monetary freedom is actually a factor into one's happiness. The article is tagged below. It believes that money works to meet one's basic needs, while providing happiness along the way. Unlike the book's information though, the article states that wealthier people are typically happier in life, which is only true for up to about 50,000 dollars. I find this interesting because I have always believed that with more money comes greater freedom, which in turn increases one's happiness. According to both sources, this is and isn't the case. There seems to be many more factors that play a role in one's happiness, as described by the text and article. Having close personal relationships with friends and family, a faith on which to give their trust, a healthy life style, and love provide valuable alternatives to simply money when it comes to increasing the amount of happiness that someone has.

Have you ever done something that you really have no explanation on why you did so? Have you been asked the question why you did something? Were you then forced to come up with a plausible explanation on why you did so? If you answered yes to these three questions, then you more than likely have used the defense mechanism rationalization. Rationalization is providing a reasonable-sounding explanation for doing unreasonable behaviors or failures. I can admit that I have used this defense mechanism myself. My two younger brothers have used this defense mechanism as well. I can remember two instances in which both of them came up with amusing explanations that provided reasonable sounding explanations for doing unreasonable behavior.

I have two younger brothers Jacob (9) and Zach (6). Being that they are young boys, they do some things that are not so rational. One instance that I can remember was when my mom and I walked into the bathroom and Zach was running his tooth brush under the faucet and then splashing water on to the mirror. The mirror was full of splatter marks. When we asked Zach what he was doing, he seemed startled, because he was not expecting us to be in the bathroom. He then started paused for a minute and told us that there was a bug that he was trying to kill by making it fall into the sink and drown. My mom and I both laughed a little and after a little bit of questioning he finally gave in and stated the truth that he was bored and had no reason for doing it at all. My other brother Jacob actually used the defense mechanism rationalization this weekend. On Saturday morning, my mom, brothers, and I were sitting down for breakfast, when I noticed that Jacobs's hair looked a little funny. I then chuckled and asked Jacob if he cut his hair. He turned a little red and said yes. I then asked him why, and he proceeded to tell me that some of it just fell off and that he cut it to make it straight again. My mom and I both laughed because we both knew that he just came up with that on spot trying to find a rational explanation that we would believe.

These are two examples about my brothers using Rationalization as a defense mechanism for rationally explaining why they did something. I am sure that mostly everyone has used this defense mechanism at least once in their life; however, if there is anyone out there that thinks they have not, I am pretty confident I can prove them wrong. How? By telling them to ask their mom.

Morgan Dobberstein
Section 13

"A-Merry-Can" Dream

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The American Dream is, indeed, every American's dream. It promises the possibility of prosperity and success. Regardless of social classes or birth circumstances, the American Dream guarantees that "all men are created equal" and that everyone can achieve great wealth and success if he or she sincerely tries his or her best. In other words, we can all become the next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Warren Buffett, someone who is not only innovative and revolutionary, but also extremely opulent and accomplished if we really want to.

However, is the American Dream real? We certainly hope and dream for it, but it may actually be a mere fantasy, a fruitless pursuit of ours. The American Dream promises success to all men regardless of the circumstances. But financial, social, emotional and intellectual conditions cannot be ignored in predicting success. I mean, what are the chances of a poor individual to receive a proper education given to all rich children? What are the chances of a mentally challenged individual to learn proper knowledge and skills that are easily taught to all normally intelligent people? The chances are, frankly and unfortunately, extremely low.

Psychologists agree that development depends on both nature and nurture. However, the prenatal development plays a huge role in development of children. Children who receive little nourishment, who are exposed to tobacco, alcohol or other teratogens tend to have many negative brain problems. And according to Garcia Coll and McCormick, there is a correlation between low-birth-weight babies and poor family. Poor families tend to give birth to poor nourished and low-weight babies, who will ultimately have many disadvantages to normal infants who will have positive developments. Therefore, rich babies who receive good nourishment and appropriate doctor cares are the ones that will ultimately be the future doctors, lawyers, and professors. Yes, there are exceptions of course, but most of the time, the American Dream applies only to those who are well off in the first place. Perhaps, American Dream is "A-Merry-Can" Dream after all because only those who are merry can achieve their dreams.

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We have come to realize that our IQ's have surpassed those of others in generations before us. We've noticed that, over time the average IQ of the population was rising at a rate of around three points every ten years. This Phenomenon is known as the Flynn effect. This phenomenon suggests that our IQs are a full ten to fifteen points higher than that of our grandparents. Most researchers suggest that this effect is a result of environmental factors because it's unlikely that genetic changes would account for such a rapid increase in IQ over a relatively short period of time. Psychologists have proposed at least four explanations.

Increased test sophistication is an explanation that people aren't getting smarter but that we are becoming more experienced at taking tests. Simply due to the fact that we know how to preform and take tests better than those in previous generations could explain the rise in IQ scores.

Another explanation for this rise is an increase in complexity of the modern world. We are now being forced to process more information far more quickly than our elders ever had to due to television, e-mail, cell phones etc. Here is an example of older people trying to use a webcam, something most of us can do with ease now a days.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcN08Tg3PWw

Better nutrition is a possible account for our increasing IQs over time. There's good evidence that nutrition can affect IQ. People are better fed than ever before and severe malnutrition in many parts of the world is declining.

The fourth and final explanation I will cover for the Flynn effect is the changes at home and at school. In the United States, families have decreased in size, allowing parents to devote more time to their children. Parents also have more access to intellectual resources than decades before. Children and adolescents spend more years in school as well. That wraps up four explanations psychologists have to describe the Flynn effect.

Personality Assessments

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In chapter 14, we learned a lot about personality and how there are many different personality tests out there, many of them controversial due to their interpretations. We've all fallen prey to the confirmation bias when it comes to personality and personality tests, only seeking out information that supports who we are. When it comes to personality tests, we don't think of much scientific information behind it, and we take it for granted. We also don't think about the results due to the fact that the words describe us so well, so therefor it has to be correct right?

Right and Wrong! According to the P.T Barnum effect, we are more likely to believe what is offered as a result because the results contain many words/descriptions that are pretty much applicable to anyone. For example, before taking psych 1001, I was clueless when it came to personality tests. I would take a quiz for fun on facebook and after receiving the results back, I would nod my head and be amazed at how good it was at predicting my personality in just 15 questions or less! The results, I now know can be applied to pretty much anyone. Even though the results of the test may have fit us extremely well, the results may not have been valid. I think another reason why people believe in personality tests is due to the positive results. Most personality tests have positive results, and who doesn't like to be complimented?

Although personality tests may not be accurate, but they are sure fun to take!

Here is the link to a "Big Five" personality test! (For those who are finding a distraction from homework!)

Joann Khong
khong010
Section 13

Unhealthy Perfectionism

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Having a high IQ can be very beneficial in many facets of life. However, a common trait found amongst people with high IQ's is the need to perfect everything. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, as aiming for perfect scores on tests is a good goal, it can have tendency to eventually turn unhealthy in these individuals. Perfectionism in gifted individuals is common due to the fact that those individuals are very successful in a lot of the things they do. If this need to be perfect gets out of hand, the gifted individual with a high IQ can develop issues that are unhealthy. One is that in the course of trying to perfect everything, they will eventually run into trouble in that no one, or thing is completely perfect. This will mean that the individual will never be successful if they search for a "perfect relationship". These individuals also have problems setting realistic goals for themselves later in life. If a child easily gets 100%'s on his/her school work, it will be harder for them to set realistic goals in the workplace later in life.

Related to the feelings associated with the inability to achieve perfection is depression. It is possible that the prevalence of depression in gifted people with high IQ is related to this unhealthy perfectionism. I think that maybe if these gifted people are taught early in life that things don't have to be perfect all the time, and that goals should be set reasonably, that maybe the level of depression in gifted individuals could decrease, since they will not be as disappointed in themselves and in the fact that the world is full of imperfections out of their control.

My information for this was found Here and Here

Christian Abbey

After reading the section in our book on sexuality and noticing that most of the research for the biological basis of homosexuality was from 2003 or earlier, I was interested to know if there was any more recent research on the subject. A 2007 article from Science Daily was by far the most interesting that I came across.

The Research
In a study conducted at University of Illinois in Chicago, researchers found a gene, which they termed "genderblind" or GB, that influenced homosexual behavior in male fruit flies; male flies with a GB mutation went so far as attempting to mate with other male flies. The GB gene was found to influence levels of glutamate, a neurotransmitter we learned about in Chapter 3, that affects cell-signaling strength. Specifically, the researchers hypothesized that homosexual behavior might be a result of increases signaling strength of GB synapses. The most surprising part of the article was the ability of researchers to "change" sexual orientation by altering the synapse strength.

My Response
When I was reading this article, I actually became rather apprehensive about the research. In a society where homosexuality is still viewed as "wrong" by a majority of the population, I worry about what might happen if researchers discover a similar GB gene in humans. There are already "doctors" who claim they can cure homosexuality; the implications of finding a mutation that can influence sexuality and being able to turn that gene on and off could lead to even more stigma against homosexual and bisexual individuals. However, I do not believe that the GB gene could be the sole determinant of sexuality based on the numerous biological factors discussed in our book, but it does appear to be an important aspect for flies.

Similarly, in our book it mentions that another neurotransmitter, serotonin, might influence sexual orientation as well. The book stated that decreased serotonin may lead to increased sexual desire, and women with a high sex drive also tend to seek out male and female sexual partners (although this is not true for men). As a pharmacy technician, this makes me wonder if eventually there will be drugs that affect glutamate or serotonin with the sole purpose to inhibit homosexual behavior and emotions. I know that there are already medications to increase serotonin levels that have the side effect of decreased libido. It would be interesting to study whether or not bisexual women taking these medications have a decreased level of attraction towards women as well, or if there were physicians out there who had already tried prescribing serotonin-elevating medications as a "treatment" for bisexuality in women.

The Structure of Personality

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Sigmund Freud was a very influential psychologist, especially when it came to examining peoples personalities and why they act the way they. Freud developed a structure of personality which consisted of three components: id, ego and superego. These three components interact as one most of the time creating our personality. Strengths in the different components of the structure explained differences in peoples personalities, Freud believed. Our overall personality as a whole was based off of how these three components effected one another.
The id is where are impulses take place. In the id our desires are the force that influences us and causes much of our behavior. Freud believed that the id was completely unconscious. This means we never actually knew that our desires were influencing our behavior and that our impulses happened due to our desires. The pleasure principle is what the id is governed by, which strives for quick gratification. This means that the id does not like the word no, the id would much rather always hear yes in order to obtain gratification.
The ego is the decision maker of the personality, acting as the boss of the other personalities. The ego interacts with the real world and determines how to make both the other personalities by making a compromise between the two. The reality principle is what the ego is operated by, which strives to not allow gratification to occur until it has found an acceptable and appropriate outlet for the gratification to happen.
The superego is the part of the personality that possesses our morality. It has our sense of right and wrong which we have developed from being in society settings. We particularly develop our morals from our parents and learn what they say is right and wrong.
I feel that Freud's structure of personality is important because it explains why people act the way they do and why people have different personalities from one another. Although Freud's outlook on personality isn't the only theory there is, it is sure the most popular one. I know I can apply Freud's three components of personality to my own personality. There are always things that I wish I could do but my ego stops me from doing them. I am still curious to know why Freud believe the id is completely unconscious? Can't it be conscious some of the time?
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Ever catch yourself feeling sad and gloomy, but when good news comes your way all of a sudden it seems as if the sun came out? Our levels of happiness and unhappiness aren't static quantities. Everyone has their own set point happiness level, genetically figured before we're even born. Now that level in no way shape or form is staying the same for a long period of time. As you go up and down through life's good and bads, so does your happiness levels. Say you get a promotion at your job, undoubtedly your become excited and happy for yourself so your happiness level says ciao to that set point and shoots up. Now this "happiness high" can last for days even weeks. Until maybe that new promotion has you working long hours with more responsibilities. Now that high might not be feeling so high anymore and starts moving towards that set point, or even lower to a point where you are unhappy. Don't fret! This is how the system works, life will take through ups and downs taking your happiness levels with it. You're only running on the psychological treadmill called the hedonic treadmill. Not quite the same you'll find at the gym, but more of the kind that plays with your emotions, literally. Just the other day I was on this hedonic treadmill when I was in class and we were returned our midterms from the previous week. I had gotten a good score that I was very proud of myself for. The rest of the day I was a happy girl because that good exam score boosted my happiness level. It was only until the following day that I had become victim to the treadmill. I had become overcome with the amount of homework I had to finish that night. When I realized it was going to be a late night that high from the previous day slowly began to drop and drop until I soon became an unhappy camper. The happiness can only last so long until another event in life comes through to change up the pace. This cyclical track of emotional ups and downs never ends and is always right there with you as you experience happy and unhappy events to keep you level. If a very large emotional event occurs sometimes our set point can change with it according to how it affects us. If someone is going through a divorce, sometimes a lengthy process, a perpetual unhappiness may set in, in which it takes more to make you happy. We can thank Philip Brickman and Donald Campbell for this incite to our happiness.

Standardized Testing

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When I went to take the ACT in high school, it was just another of a battery of standardized tests I had become accustomed to taking. For years the state had been administering the MCA, and I never took it all that seriously. Knowing what I know now about standardized tests I believe that they should be abolished. There is little correlation between a high ACT or SAT score and the ability to succeed in collage. It acts purely as a means to quickly narrow large pools of applicants in a manner that requires almost no effort on the part of the administration.

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We learned that in class the tests tend to be culturally biased towards Caucasians. They also tend to be biased towards the wealthy. The benchmark for collage readiness for the ACT is 21. When I took the ACT my junior year in high school I scored much higher than that. Do you think as a junior in high school I was ready for collage? I was not. The tests are arbitrary and biased.

In 2005 MIT did a study involving the writing portion of the SAT. They found that there was high correlation between length of response and score achieved. In the article Testing, testing Les Perelman a director of undergraduate writing at MIT stated, "If you just looked at length and nothing else, you could be right in predicting the score over 90 percent of the time." This seem like a really poor indicator of collage success to me.

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There has been a movement starting with the University of California to stop requiring standardized testing as an admission requirement. This has yet to gain serious momentum among colleges. I know the University of Minnesota requires either the SAT or ACT for admission, I just do not understand why when it is so flawed.

The ACT and SAT websites can be found respectively at:
www.collegeboard.org/
www.act.org

Personality Tests

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At some point in your life you have probably taken some sort of personality test. There are a few different types of personality tests. The first is a structured personality test which is a paper and pencil test consisting of questions that respondents answer in fixed ways. Projective tests are tests that consist of ambiguous stimuli that respondents must interpret or make sense of on their own.

One common structured personality test is the MMPI, which is a widely used test that designed to assess symptoms of mental disorders. This test is used all over the world not just in Minnesota, where is was developed.

Another famous personality test that many people have probably taken is the Myers-Briggs test, this test is based off of the information and thoughts of Carl Jung. This test was invented in 1943 and has been improved many times from the development of research within the test. This test had four main areas, there are two possible options in each are giving a possibility of 16 different outcomes. The categories are:

Favorite world: Introversion(I) or Extroversion(E)
Information: Sensing(S) or Intuition(N)
Decisions: Thinking(T) or Feeling(F)
Structure: Judging(J) or Perceiving(P)

Below is the link that you can go to so you can take the Myers-Briggs to find out what personality type you are. I am an ISFJ, but there are 15 other different possibilities.

Myers-Briggs Test

This is a chart of all the personalities with a short description of each.
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Another popular test is the Rorschach inkblot test. This test a projective test that consists of 10 symmetrical inkblots. There are four common scores:

Pair response: Self-centeredness
Unusual detail response: Obsessive-compulsive tendencies
Space response: Rebelliousness, anger
Human movement response: Impulse control, inhibition


Becky Selser

Not the type of treadmill you

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Ever catch yourself feeling sad and gloomy, but when good news comes your way all of a sudden it seems as if the sun came out? Our levels of happiness and unhappiness aren't static quantities. Everyone has their own set point happiness level, genetically figured before we're even born. Now that level in no way shape or form is staying the same for a long period of time. As you go up and down through life's good and bads, so does your happiness levels. Say you get a promotion at your job, undoubtedly your become excited and happy for yourself so your happiness level says ciao to that set point and shoots up. Now this "happiness high" can last for days even weeks. Until maybe that new promotion has you working long hours with more responsibilities. Now that high might not be feeling so high anymore and starts moving towards that set point, or even lower to a point where you are unhappy. Don't fret! This is how the system works, life will take through ups and downs taking your happiness levels with it. You're only running on the psychological treadmill called the hedonic treadmill. Not quite the same you'll find at the gym, but more of the kind that plays with your emotions, literally. Just the other day I was on this hedonic treadmill when I was in class and we were returned our midterms from the previous week. I had gotten a good score that I was very proud of myself for. The rest of the day I was a happy girl because that good exam score boosted my happiness level. It was only until the following day that I had become victim to the treadmill. I had become overcome with the amount of homework I had to finish that night. When I realized it was going to be a late night that high from the previous day slowly began to drop and drop until I soon became an unhappy camper. The happiness can only last so long until another event in life comes through to change up the pace.

The Downside of High IQ

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As we've discussed in lectures on Intelligence, there are many advantages of having high IQ; such as the ability to reason logically, the high efficiency in mental processing, and the swift reaction in many circumstances, etc... Nevertheless, there are also many drawbacks for people with high IQ. Although this part wasn't mentioned in class, a section in our textbook is dedicated to it, so that we can have a thorough comprehension of two sides of high IQ.

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Many drawbacks of high IQ are associated with the ideological immune system, which is defined as our psychological defenses against evidence that contradicts our views. To be exact, extraordinarily high IQ is correlated positively with the capability to protect one's opinion effectively, but negatively with the ability to consider alternative positions. As a result, people with high IQ have the tendency to endorse beliefs, for which there are insufficient evidences. Case in point, chemist Linus Pauling, who has won the Nobel Prize twice, maintained that high levels of vitamin C could effectively cure cancer, in spite of immense evidences to the contrary.

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In addition, people with high IQ are also plagued by the sense of omniscience - knowing everything. Since highly intelligent people know a lot of things, they often fallaciously harbor the belief that they know everything. Subsequently, when faced with an extraordinary claim that is not supported by sufficient evidence, people with high IQ often defend the claim, because they are proficient at finding plausible-sounding reasons to support their view. By ways of illustration, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - author of the Stories of Sherlock Holmes, was fooled by the Cottingley Fairies hoax in 1917, in which two girls claimed that they had met dancing fairies and provided photos as proofs. Despite public skepticism, Conan Doyle was a strong proponent of the claim, and subsequently wrote an entire book to support the girls. To Conan Doyle's dismay, the girls eventually confessed that they had fabricated the whole scenario.

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To sum up, people with high IQ are very efficient at processing information; however, it doesn't necessarily mean that they can think scientifically. In fact, highly intelligent people' s ideological immune system and sense of omniscience often allow them to neglect the safeguards offered by the scientific methods; as a result, they are extremely vulnerable to errors in thinking.

Ngoc Nguyen

http://www.petapixel.com/2010/11/01/the-cottingley-fairies-a-famous-photo-hoax-from-1917/
http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/11-01-26/#feature

An Altered Personality

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Seven percent of adults in America take anti-depressant pills. Studies have shown that these medications can produce certain mood alterations exceeding simply helping with sadness. Anti-depressants, like Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft, have shown to increase extroversion and decrease neuroticism. The medications have shown to produce the effects in those without depression as well. Researchers find this discovery very interesting because it has long been believed that personality traits change little over time. However, the amount of time that these changes in personality last is unknown. It is believed that people with the largest personality change were less likely to relapse.
In a trial to test the theories of anti-depressants, 240 adults with moderate to severe depression were involved. Randomly, 120 were given the anti-depressant, Paxil, 60 received therapy with no medication, and the last 60 were given a placebo. Researchers then followed the patients, who claimed their depression had improved, for one year. Those who received Paxil showed greater decreases in depression symptoms than those from the other research groups. Additionally, in eight weeks these patients decreased their neuroticism twice as much as most adults do throughout their life. Patients given the placebo claimed their depression had decreased but had no changes in their extraversion or neurotic personality traits and their depression symptoms usually returned. However, it is believed that more studies need to be done to replicate these findings. For further information watch this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW2dBjb9IGc

Michaela Doud

Additional sources:
http://articles.latimes.com/2009/dec/08/science/la-sci-antidepressants8-2009dec08

Criminal Profiling

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How did profiling begin?
Criminal Profiling was first used by law enforcement in 1956 when psychiatrist James Brussel gave New York police an accurate detailed description of how there 16 year long "mad bomber" would act and some of his characteristics. However, informal profiling dates back much later than this, to as early as the 1800s.

How does profiling work?
FBI agents use four classifications to determine a criminal profile. They look at the antecedent, method and behavior, body disposal, and the post-offense behavior of the crime. While criminal profilers claim to have unique expertise in profiling, the psychological evidence does not always quite agree.

Is criminal profiling scientifically accurate?
Even though many of us have seen shows and movies where the profilers always come up with a perfect description of a criminal, that is not always the case in real life. Some pyschological studies have shown that criminal profiling is no more accurate than a college students untrained profile. Also, the P.T. Barnum effect can play an effect in criminal profiling by leading people to accept descriptions of criminals that apply to a large group of people that is very broad. This causes profilers to be seen as accurate, when in reality any normal person could have come up with a similar profile.
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Brain-Writing

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1348871.stm
Article Summary: This article explains how some fonts, when used in writing an email, are significant when it comes to the type of person you are; your personality.

Graphology: the psychological interpretation of handwriting.

Graphology and Personality: How Closely Tied Are They?

A very popular idea nowadays is that our handwriting can be traced back to our personality. Professional graphologists claim that we write the way our brain tells us to; therefore, handwriting could be examined to uncover personality.

To some extent, that could be true. If we place a pencil between out toes, we would still try to write letters with way our brain tells us to!

How True Are Claims?
It sounds very extreme--and as we know, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence--that a little thing such as handwriting could tell a lot about a person. One must remember to keep scientific skepticism in mind.

Lewis Goldberg led a study in which he presented professional graphologists with one person's handwriting and told that the handwriting was of different people. As a result, the graphologists' interpretations of handwriting changed as they believed it belonged to different people (Lilenfield).

Another example is that a certain graphologist claimed that downward loops indicated a stressful life. This was presented with Marilyn Monroe's signature:
Monroe, Marilyn signature.jpg
Confirmation Bias: the tendency to seek out evidence that supports out hypotheses and deny, dismiss, or distort evidence that contradicts them.

This is an excellent example of confirmation bias. The graphologist was looking for evidence that would support her claim. It is very likely that the graphologist knew of Marilyn Monroe's stressful life and used that information (might not have been conscious of doings/ unaware) as support.

Other Languages

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In graphology, loops may indicate one thing while the sharpness of the letters another. But does this still apply to languages where the letters are completely different from the English Alphabet?

Some languages have very "loop"-like letters, (Russian handwriting), while other languages have a more "sharp"-like quality (Japanese characters).
Also, unlike English, some languages read from right to left, (Hebrew), and some even from top to bottom in columns (Chinese; East Asian scripts).

For claims to be true, can it be inferred that language shapes personality?
Replicability limitations show that graphology might not be valid!

Video Summary: This video shows a graphologist examining Jennifer Aniston's changing handwriting, stating that the messier it got, so did Aniston's life as she was gong through divorce...confirmation bias? I think so!

Anna Shrifteylik

The Big Five

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When hearing about the Big Five traits, I wanted to see if they really worked and how much they actually resembled me. Most times I see the trait evaluations I do not really think of it as anything. What the "Big Five" is, is the five broad domains or dimensions of a personality which are then used to describe a person's personality. The five different personality traits are, openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. An acronym to remember the big five traits is OCEAN or CANOE. When looking further into what each trait means, I could actually see how my score on each made sense to me. When looking at openness, it made sense to me that I was low on the scale. I'm not a very creative guy and l prefers obvious things. Another one of the Big Five that fit me well was the extraversion trait. I scored low on the extraversion trait which means I am an introvert. Being an introvert fits me well because I am a very quiet guy. I am not going to be the life of the party and enjoy being with small groups. I would rather spend time alone with myself than with a very big group. One last example from the chart that fit me well was agreeableness. I scored somewhat high on this. This trait fits me well because I am a very soft person who is interested in people and there feeling. I am able to talk to others about meaningful things and care for them. Based on how well I fit into the Big Five traits, I can clearly see how this can classify people. There are so many different combinations of traits that can create so many different type of people.

http://psychology.about.com/od/personalitydevelopment/a/bigfive.htm

Matt Gonsior

The Usual Suspsects

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To read a Sherlock Holmes novel is to read about a master working his craft. He is a master of deduction and uses it in every novel he stars in as means to create a criminal profile. Criminal profiling a is a relatively new area of psychology not truly being recognized as its own area of study until the 1970s. Criminal profiling is a behavioral and investigative tool used to help investigators profile unknown criminal subjects or offenders.

There are three main goals that criminal profiling tries to accomplish. The first goal is to provide law enforcement with a social and psychological profile of the unknown offender. The second goal is to provide law enforcement with a psychological evaluation of the offenders possessions or instruments when found. The third and final goal is to give law enforcement suggestions and strategies for questioning process when the possible offender is identified. Criminal profiling is also considered the third wave of the investigative process of a crime. The first two waves are identifying and searching the crime scene and study of the crime itself. These two steps are followed by trying to profile the possible offender with all of the information collected thus far from the other two waves.

The FBI uses criminal profiling in almost all of its investigations. The problem is they do not have many field psychologists and rely on field agents to gather evidence for the purpose of profiling. While this is better than not collecting any evidence at all, the problem lies in with the fact that most of these field agents are the ones also making the criminal profiles. Field agents claim their investigative experience is what allows them to create accurate profiles, but some psychologists disagree with the quality of these profiles. Psychologists that are employed by the FBI have recently conducted studies on recent cases and have found that many of the profiles do not follow the scientific method. While most of these profiles made by the FBI field agents are correct, the method they used leaves more room for error than the psychological method used by trained forensic psychologists.

I believe that both field agents along with forensic psychologists should be present when recording evidence for criminal profiling. The experience of a field officer would help to identify previous situations in which the type of crime took place. A forensic psychologist could then take this past data into account when recording the evidence from the scene and putting together a profile. If they both work together they could help prevent faulty profiles from being made thus ensuring the correct suspect is being tracked down for questioning.

Ian Peters

http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug04/criminal.aspx

Something that has recently sparked my curiosity is the theory on personality. While reading the textbook, Freud's thoughts on the structure of personality really intrigued me. The assumption that all psychological events have a cause is the idea of psychic determinism. The concept that our personality consists of three components, id, ego, and superego is Freud's idea. Id is unconscious and impulsive, it seeks pleasure without thinking about consequences, it wants what it wants right away. Ego is considered the primary component of personality because it is rational and tries to balance out the irrationality of the Id by practicing the reality principle. The reality principle is practiced on a daily basis for many as they stop their urge to snap at annoying people. Next is the superego, sets our moral standards by helping to determine what is right and wrong. The author talks about how often times, Id, ego, and superego act together but sometimes there is conflict between the three. Sometimes the wills of each will collide. The below video explains the basis of each personality component.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfP9AIJA72E

Graphology

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When I was young, my mom used to scold me for having bad handwriting. She used to say that handwriting represent one's personality, so I have to have a good handwriting to give a good impression to people. Graphology, also known as handwriting analysis, widely used technique to interpret people's handwriting, supports my mom's claim. Graphologists interpret people's handwriting to identify their personalities. For example, if one writes a letter "h" with long head, one is prone to be proud and ambitious. Also, according to graphologists, splashing comma represent a possible temper. The video linked below shows the example of the interpretation of Michael Jackson's handwriting.
http://youtu.be/y0r6KjkG934

Although many other researches opposed this study for having low reliability and low validity, I still believe that handwriting implies some aspect of people' personalities. For my personal example, I have two brothers whose handwriting is a lot different from each other's. As you can imagine, their personalities are a lot different too. The first brother usually writes in fast pace like sweeping while my second brother write in slow but organized style. Relatively, my first brother is more impatient and less organized than my second brother.

Then, I became wondered how different language affects the interpretation. Because different countries use different symbols, should graphologists learn each language to fully interpret their personality? The interpretation may vary along with language. However, according to the link below, professional graphologists seems to understand different handwriting styles across different language. It implies that graphologists rely on physical fact of handwriting rather than a meaning of symbol to interpret people's personalities.
http://www.businessballs.com/graphologyhandwritinganalysis.htm

Originally By thoof012 on November 20, 2011 4:28 PM 0 0 0
Think of the sweetest person you know. Now think of their diet. Do they have a monster sweet tooth?! Well researchers at North Dakota State University and Gettysburg College have found a correlation between the two. They gave a survey asking on preferences on different tastes, followed by an agreeableness scale survey. They found that people who enjoy more sweets scored higher on the agreeableness scale. I thought this might just mean that people who eat sweets think they are nicer than they really are, but the researchers measured it one more time. Following the surveys, they asked participants if they could help with another study that would not compensate them, and the sweets lovers agreed to do the study more often than the lovers of other flavors.

This makes the researchers wonder though. Does liking sweets make you sweeter, or does being sweet make you like sweets, or are they simply only related by the word?

No matter the cause, I'm going to continue to eat my favorite forms of sugary sweets and keep a smile on my face.

In response,
The findings, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, show that people who like sweets are also more likely to be agreeable, friendly and compassionate than people who prefer other tastes, like bitter or spicy foods. Although the correlation between sweets and agreeableness seem to be consistent , we as scientific skeptic must ask about rival hypothesis/factors in which create a correlation as well.

In the area of correlation personality, I agree with the thoof012. The concept agreeable facet of Altruism is measured by candy-lovers/ non candy lovers compassion towards others . Altruistic people find helping other people genuinely rewarding. Consequently, they are generally willing to assist those who are in need. Altruistic people find that doing things for others is a form of self-fulfilment rather than self-sacrifice. Low scorers on this scale do not particularly like helping those in need. Requests for help feel like an imposition rather than an opportunity for self-fulfilment. Does candy have anything to do with it afterall?

Our results suggest there is a robust link between sweet tastes and pro-social behavior," study researcher Michael D. Robinson, of North Dakota State University, told EHS Today. "Such findings reveal that metaphors can lead to unique and provocative predictions about people's behaviors and personality traits."

Here is also a video which illustrates the concept of sweet tooth personality.

Although the evidence for answering the claim of sweet tooth personality isn't concrete ,we gain insight in how everyday things may affect our behavior.

Work cited: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/13/candy-personality-sweets_n_1009512.html

http://www.redorbit.com/news/video/science_2/1112422337/sweet_tooth_personality/index.html

Angela Ouyang
Section 13, Writing #5

Motherese

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Mothers change their way of speaking when they speak to infants. The motherese includes the use of a higher pitch, simple but broad pitch contours and longer pauses between utterances. Nonvocal characteristics include exaggerated facial expressions, postural adjustments and rhythmical body movements. Will English-learning infants show an attentional and affective preference for infant-directed speech in foreign language?

Werker et al. (1994) raised two questions: (1) whether infants other than English-learning infants prefer infant directed (ID) speech to adult directed (AD) speech in their native language and (2) whether infants show a preference for ID over AD speech in a non-native language. They made a comparative study by analyzing Cantonese- and English-learning infants' preference for ID over AD speech in Cantonese. The subjects consisted of 20 English-learning and 20 Cantonese-learning infants. Researchers used both facial and vocal modifications as the experimental stimuli. They made audio-video recordings of a female native Cantonese speaker talking to her own 4-month-old infant and to an Cantonese speaking adult. Each infant was exposed to ID displays twice and to AD displays twice alternatively. A front view of the infant was filmed with a video camera during experimenting to measure the preference of infants. Researchers assessed the preference of infants by quantifying the attentional and affective responses of 40 infants. Two trained coders analyzed video tapes and attentional responses were assessed by the proportion of time the infant looked at the monitor to the trial duration.

The following were findings of Werker et al.: Cantonese-learning infants showed the preference for ID over AD speech in their native language and English-learning infants showed the preference for Cantonese ID over AD. In attentional responsiveness, the younger subjects looked at both ID and AD displays longer than older subjects. Infants prefer ID over AD speech irrespective of the particular language. Furthermore, ID speech might function to attract and maintain infant's attention and to facilitate affective exchanges even in a nonnative language.

One of the weaknesses in the study is the small number of subjects. The preference of only 20 English-learning infants for ID over AD in Cantonese could not substantiate their conclusion. Another weakness is that they experimented with only one nonnative language. They didn't experiment on the preference of Cantonese-learning infants for ID over AD speech in English. They cannot rule out the possibility that they can get different results from the preference of English-learning infants without the additional experiment. In order to solidify their research, they need to enlarge the infant subjects and make a comparative study on the preference of infants for ID over AD speech in various non-native languages. In the future, it would be an interesting research topic to see whether young children prefer ID over AD speech in non-native languages. Young children speaking their native languages could respond differently to ID speech in non-native languages compared to infants less than a year after birth.

Werker_et_al_1994.pdf

sonam kim

Graphology

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Graphology is a projective technique for finding a person's personality with low reliability, but still it is very interesting. It is when a trained graphologist studies a person's handwriting, and can judge their personality by look at the manner in which they write their words. They look at loops, how the i is dotted, how the t is crossed, ending strokes, height and slants of the letters. Below, for example, is a video that shows different kinds of handwriting, and how they were analyzed (excuse the cheesy music).

Graphology is used for a variety of reasons today. One of the most popular reasons it is used is to find out a person's personality in respects to how well they will do on a job, or how compatible they are with that job. This has never been proved to be a fully effective method. Graphology is used today in psychology to study psychological disorders, and it has been said that by changing a person's handwriting their psychological disorder can be cured. Another way that graphology is used is through forensic sciences and capturing criminals. They can get a feel for the criminal's personality by looking at their handwriting, helping them in their case.

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I believe that graphology is a very intriguing subject, but I agree with the Lilienfeld text that it is not a reliable test for one's personality. The style in which a person writes can be correlated with a personality, but there is no causal or experimental factor. It has never been proved that making a huge loop on one's "y's" portrays a bubbly personality 100 percent of the time. Indeed it could half of the time, but not all the time. I believe is can be discriminating to use when hiring someone for a job, as well. Just because a person dots their "i's" a certain way doesn't mean they cannot be successful on a certain job. It is a common belief that doctors have the sloppiest handwriting, but doctors have to be extremely smart and personable to be successful at their job. Graphology was also intriguing to me because it was cool to learn about it in depth after seeing it on shows like CSI.

Sources:
Lilienfeld Text
Purdue University Psychology Department

Katie Johnson

Defense Mechanisms

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According to Sigmund Freud defense mechanisms are a principal function of the ego to contend with threats from the outside world. When we become anxious our bodies naturally engage in defense mechanisms. Human defense mechanisms range from corrective action to altering our perceptions.


There are ten different defense mechanisms that Freud highlighted.

1. Denial- motivated forgetting of distressing external experiences
2. Displacement- directing an impulse from a socially unacceptable target to a more socially acceptable target
3. Identification w/ the aggressor- adopting characteristics of individuals we find threatening
4. Intellectualization- avoiding emotions associated with anxiety provoking experiences by focusing on abstract and impersonal thoughts
5. Projection- unconscious projection of our negative qualities onto others
6. Rationalization- providing reasonable sounding explanations to unreasonable behaviors or failures
7. Reaction-formation- changing an anxiety producing experience into its opposite
8. Regression- psychologically returning to a younger and "safer" time
9. Repression-forgetting of emotionally threatening memories and impulses
10. Sublimation- changing a socially unacceptable impulse into an admired or valued goal

Freud insisted that defense mechanisms were important in maintaining psychological health. While he believes it is healthy to utilize defense mechanisms in avoidance of an uncontrollable amount of anxiety, it is important that humans do not rely only on these mechanisms. Freud suggested those who relied on mechanisms were pathological.

There are plenty of real life examples of defense mechanisms.
Below is a picture of the Chicago Cubs Carlos Zambrano breaking his bat. He is displaying an example of displacement. Rather than taking his frustration from striking out on the pitcher who just struck him out, he takes his anger out on his bat. He was upset and chose to take his anger out on something socially acceptable.

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Danielle Spizzirri

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Wishing is a big part of everyone's lives. The words "I wish..." enter our vocabulary on a daily basis. The idea of wishing has developed first from superstitions. We've now advanced enough to know that the majority of these superstitions are false and have other explanations. We continue to wish due to some of the fallacies discussed in chapter one of our psychology books.

Some of our wishing habits may be linked to superstitious behavior. The book defines superstitious behavior as "actions linked to reinforcement by sheer coincidence." 'Once upon a time' we may have made a wish, let say on a birthday candle, and the next day that wish came true. In the future we're more likely to wish on candles. The coincidence of our wish coming true so soon after blowing out that flame reinforces our desire to wish once more.

Other reasons we wish may include the bandwagon fallacy and the argument from antiquity fallacy. The bandwagon fallacy is defined as "error of assuming that a claim is correct just because many people believe it." (psychology book, pg. 18) There are so many avid wish believers that we may be tempted to wish because they do. If we see our friends and families site a nursery rhyme and wish on a star we're tempted to do the same. The argument from antiquity fallacy is defined as "error of assuming that a belief must be valid just because it's been around for a long time" (psychology book, pg. 18). Wishing on a shooting star has been estimated to go back as far as 127-151 AD (http://worldofpopculture.com/2011/11/the-mystery-and-history-of-wishing), so why shouldn't we continue to keep it going?

Many of us love the idea of wishing. It gives us something to hope for twice a day at 11:11. It's fun to make some crazy ritual such as spinning around three times, turning your back to a fountain, and throwing in a penny. When we have loved ones that have fallen seriously ill and we feel helpless wishing on the first star we see that night can relieve our suffering. Wishes can be a fun part of our daily lives as long as we don't depend on sitting on our keisters wishing like crazy on a dandelion. In closing I wish the reader of this blog a happy Thanksgiving and now I must proceed to fight my mother tooth and nail for the long end of that turkey wish bone.

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Lynzi Daly


Psychology of Sweet

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Think of the sweetest person you know. Now think of their diet. Do they have a monster sweet tooth?! Well researchers at North Dakota State University and Gettysburg College have found a correlation between the two. They gave a survey asking on preferences on different tastes, followed by an agreeableness scale survey. They found that people who enjoy more sweets scored higher on the agreeableness scale. I thought this might just mean that people who eat sweets think they are nicer than they really are, but the researchers measured it one more time. Following the surveys, they asked participants if they could help with another study that would not compensate them, and the sweets lovers agreed to do the study more often than the lovers of other flavors.
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This makes the researchers wonder though. Does liking sweets make you sweeter, or does being sweet make you like sweets, or are they simply only related by the word?

No matter the cause, I'm going to continue to eat my favorite forms of sugary sweets and keep a smile on my face.

It is often said that in same-sex relationships that one partner often has a more masculine role and the other has a more feminine role. However, this is a common stereotype because only few couples actually go by this. It often shows that the person who is more noticeable homosexual is shown as the feminine role in guys, and in girls the masculine role. This stereotype is portrayed in the media when a gay couple is present, or so it seems. The first thing I think of when I hear this is the show Modern Family.

This can be shown in the television show Modern Family because it is said that Cam is more of a "mom" than Mitchell. This is playing off that stereotype for some humor. However, in this example it is only Mitchell who is conforming to the stereotype because Cam doesn't see himself as being more of a "mom" and as a result that is why he becomes so defensive when the kid asks him if he could throw him the ball.
Overall, this stereotype is just that, a stereotype. Most same-sex relationships don't define themselves by these different roles, even though the media most always chooses to portray them as such

Jacob Patnode

It is often said that in same-sex relationships that one partner often has a more masculine role and the other has a more feminine role. However, this is a common stereotype because only few couples actually go by this. It often shows that the person who is more noticeable homosexual is shown as the feminine role in guys, and in girls the masculine role. This stereotype is portrayed in the media when a gay couple is present, or so it seems. The first thing I think of when I hear this is the show Modern Family.

http://youtu.be/QH8-_IF7vX8

This can be shown in the television show Modern Family because it is said that Cam is more of a "mom" than Mitchell. This is playing off that stereotype for some humor. However, in this example it is only Mitchell who is conforming to the stereotype because Cam doesn't see himself as being more of a "mom" and as a result that is why he becomes so defensive when the kid asks him if he could throw him the ball.
Overall, this stereotype is just that, a stereotype. Most same-sex relationships don't define themselves by these different roles, even though the media most always chooses to portray them as such

Jacob Patnode

The polygraph machine, invented in 1921 by a Berkley medical student, is a machine that measures various biological functions in the body with the hope that the biofeedback will change when a subject is trying to deceive a questioner. The machine measures blood pressure, pulse, skin conductivity, and respiration. The scientific community has wavering views as to whether the tests are accurate at measuring deception. Manufactures and technicians believe that the machines are about ninety-five percent accurate; whereas many unbiased opinions believe that number is closer to the mid-sixties. Knowing whether or not these machines are credible is immensely important due to their use in everything from military interrogations to television shows. These machines need to be proven accurate or not used.
One of the main functions of a polygraph test is to provide evidence for one side of a court case. In this scenario it is vitally important that the test be definitive because people's lives and livelihoods are at stake. Sadly, these test are not without fault and at times they are completely wrong. In the court case of U.S. v. Shaffer, the polygraph test showed that there was no deception when the respondent said that he had never consumed drugs during his tenure in the armed forces, yet his urine tested positive for methamphetamine[1]. In other cases the tests can say that there is deception when none exists.
Willian Iacono, a University of Minnesota professor, was quoted saying that polygraph tests "may be useful as an investigative aid and tool to induce confession, it does not pass muster as a scientifically credible test[2]." In conclusion the use of these tests in everything from court, to interrogations, to television must be conducted by the most skilled operators and the results must be viewed as aids but not definitive answers.

1. http://www.law.berkeley.edu/faculty/sklansky/evidence/evidence/cases/Cases%20for%20TOA/Scheffer,%20United%20States%20v.htm

2. http://www.psych.umn.edu/faculty/iacono/2001%20forensic%20lie%20detection%20-%20procedures%20without%20scientific.pdf

Eugenics

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Is it wrong to want a superior/ fit race? Farmers do it with cattle, chicken, corn and wheat. So why can't we do that with humans? Eugenics is the applied science to improve a population's genetic stock by means of matching good genes with good genes. Conceptually it makes sense but when applied it seems to go very wrong.

When we buy our groceries we normally buy something that has been genetically modified (assuming you don't buy organic or are vegan, etc.). The grains, fruit, vegetables and meat we buy would not taste as good or have the nutritional value that they do now without Eugenics. It is for the benefit of the consumer. Eugenics on the farm isn't offensive and usually harmless when it comes to the rights for animals. This is strange because when it comes to humans, it often becomes inhumane and unconstitutional. Charles Fremont Dight established the Minnesota Eugenics Society in 1923. Minnesota passed a law based off of Dight's campaign to sterilize "feeble minded" people in 1925. The "feeble minded" were largely schizophrenic and mentally retarded females, Dight encouraged to branch out to the general public but the proposal never went through. Most Eugenicist movements do not blossom because of how cruel they can get. I'm sure you have heard of the Holocaust. It was awful and cruel but if you look past the mass genocide and cruelty, Hilter didn't have that bad of an idea. The idea of bettering our society through gene selection is actually a good concept. By weeding out bad genes we could have a physically stronger and more mentally capable set of people. I feel people would be more productive and efficient. Hopefully because of these similar genes the world would be more civil. Hitler took Eugenics about a hundred steps too far and used his views to ruin the lives of many. He was an extreme narcissist more than a eugenicist. That's why conceptually Eugenics works well but when applied to reality it becomes very flawed.

-Brad Tuominen

Midlife Crisis

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A midlife crisis, as quoted in our text, is described as "emotional distress about the aging process and an attempt to regain their youth." Usually, people will experience this phenomenon between the ages of 40 and 60 years. Many feelings come with this transitional stage. Those who have troubles may experience:


  1. Unhappiness with life and their current lifestyle

  2. Boredom with people and things that may have interested them previous

  3. Feeling a need for adventure and change

  4. Questioning previous choices

  5. Confusion about who you are and what you're doing with your life

  6. Anger towards their spouse

  7. Indecisive

  8. Resentment over their marriage

  9. Desire for a new and passionate, intimate relationship

These emotions can cause severe problems within a relationship and can often lead to separation. While the internal problems can cause severe friction, the external problems are just great. The external factors can often be the root cause in someone developing a midlife crisis. These factors may include:


  1. Debt

  2. Significant loss of a loved one

  3. Avoidant personality

Someone who has an avoidant personality have a tendency to avoid conflict in their personal relationships, suffer from feelings of inadequacy, are emotionally distant, or may suffer from low self esteem. Those who suffer from this type of personality have a deep fear of feeling fear and rejection. This personality can end in divorce among marriages.
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Carl Jung identified the 5 stages of midlife:

  1. Accommodation: Meeting other's expectations

  2. Separation:Rejecting the accommodated self

  3. Liminality: A period of uncertainty, where life seems directionless and meanders

  4. Reintegration: Working out 'who am I' and becoming comfortable with that identity

  5. Individualization:Facing up to and accepting the undesirable aspects of our own character


The most important thing for those going through this transition to remember, would be for those experiencing this must be willing to accept that their life IS changing. They must realize that they are, in fact, getting older. Painful moments of your past have to be embraced in order for you to move on. Those who are suffering must learn to just move on. Just because this person is changing, doesn't mean that the world around them is. They should focus their energy on fixing themselves, not trying to fix the world.

The Big Five Personality Traits were described and explained to us in chapter 14. They are used to predict real-world behaviors such as job performance or social interactions. They include openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. This concept is important because it analyzes personality in a deeper meaning. It shows us how cultures differ in these traits and how they were likely influenced and caused by. Studies have been found to show that Americans are more likely to focus on themselves and personal goals rather than their relations with others as people in Asia are most likely to do. I find that true in my personal life as well. I grew up in a stereotypical Asian family and my brothers and I were taught to think of others before ourselves; to treat them equally and as we would want to be treated. As I started school with my American friends, I saw that compared to my family, they seemed more focused on individual matters. I'm not saying that one is better than the other, it is simply an observation. The Big Five Personality Traits also gave me proof that I was more introverted and more conscientious than some people, which I had already known, but it amazes me how it can tell me that by simply answering some questions. This topic was especially interesting to me because it was personal and it could relate to everyone. I learned more about myself through this unit.
http://www.workingresources.com/professionaleffectivenessarticles/article.nhtml?uid=10047

Anne Tran

Looking at the Big Five personality assessment and even the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, the area of extroversion versus introversion plays a large role in determining personality types. Most personality tests have some sort of focus on extroversion and introversion, but what do these two words even mean? The concept of what introversion is and what extroversion is seems to be up for debate; some categorize introverts as being shy and not enjoying socialization or people in general, and some categorize extroversion as being sociable and lively. Although, on the outside it may appear to be this way, I believe that there is something that is not being said in regards to what it means to be and introvert and what it means to be an extrovert.

introvert.jpgThere seems to be a misconception that introverts dislike people, as depicted in this cartoon, but I would have to disagree with this idea. A better way of explaining what it is to be and introvert or extrovert is where their energy is directed and what is stimulating for them. As quoted from this website, which I think defines extroversion and introversion quite nicely, "The energy of extroverts is outwards, toward people and things. They need a lot of stimulation and often express emotions. [...] The energy of introverts is inward toward concepts and ideas. They need little external stimulation - and in fact they can easily be over-stimulated."
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I feel that introversion is often viewed negatively, and some members of society think that introverts should conform to society's norm of extroversion, when neither extroversion nor introversion is better; they are both equally acceptable.

Although this video is somewhat strange, it's interesting if you just listed to the words themselves; it provides even more concepts as to what it means to be introverted. As they said in this video, "there's nothing wrong with being an introvert, just like there's nothing wrong with being an extrovert." Either one should be viewed for its positives, and neither one should be viewed as superior to the other.
Amanda Blake

Each year millions of dollars are spent on early intervention programs in the hopes of being able to help disadvantaged children catch up to others intellectually. But do they actually work? Are these programs really able to give disadvantaged children the "boost" that they need?
Much accumulated evidence seems to show that most early intervention programs don't produce as good of results as they claim to. Studies show that these programs typically produce a short-term increase in IQ, but this increase doesn't last after the program ends. Early intervention programs aren't all bad though. Some studies have indicated that early intervention programs lead to lower high school dropout rates, as well as higher levels of early literacy and understanding of others' emotions.
Some researchers believe that early intervention programs can indeed be very helpful, but the degree of effectiveness depends on certain features of the program. This is detailed in the following article about early intervention programs:

Effectiveness of Early Educational Intervention

Although many studies indicate that there is not much long term usefulness in early intervention programs, it seems to me that there must be some benefits to exposing children to stimulating learning environments at an early age. At the very least, they would learn what's to be expected of them during their formal education, in addition to learning how to respectfully interact with other children. However, I still wonder if these slight advantages outweigh the cost of running early intervention programs.

Phoebe Stephan


Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality breaks down personality into three categories or levels. The three categories are the Id, Ego, and Superego. The Id is the pleasure-seeking side of our personality that consists of our deepest desires and impulses. It is often depicted as the devil on your shoulder, whereas the Superego is depicted as the angel on your shoulder. The Superego is your sense of morality, meaning your conceptualization of right and wrong based society, experience, etc. Lastly, the Ego ultimately controls our personality, consisting of aspects of the Superego and Id. The decisions of the Ego are based on the Reality Principle. The Reality Principle is the inclination of your Ego to delay pleasure until there is an appropiate opportunity to fulfill your desire.

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This concept is important in the field of Psychology because, although widely-criticized, this theory still has many useful and essential ideas and aspects. You can apply this concept to every decision you have made in your life; for example, when deciding to do this assignment, my Id urges me to play Halo instead of doing this writing assignment, my Superego advises me to do this assignment as soon as possible, and my Ego recommends doing this assignment, and once I finish the blog entry, I can play Halo, which is the Reality Principle.

As I reflect on my writing and Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality, I wonder how often everybody succumbs to their Id, instead of following their Ego or Superego. Considering how often you succumb to your Id might aid you in something as simple as avoiding procrastination when doing homework, or maybe help you with something even more significant, such as incarceration because you can't control the desires of your Id.

Truth Serum: Give me the Truth

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In the realm of Hollywood there is a of this powerful substance called truth serum. A drug which is administered to the main character in order to have him or her spill the beans on the information the villains' need. In the following link Wonderwoman and her crew use truth serum to recover information about the missing Dr. Bizzaro. At first the woman is reluctant, but with little to no effort gives the information dropping the classic line the password is alphabet soup.



The creators of this film make obtaining the truth seem simple. But does a magical substance called truth serum really exist? Well maybe. In 2008, Indian authorities used a form of "truth serum" on gunman terrorists of Mumbai. While the results didn't produce answer as easy as alphabet soup. The serum they gave the terrorist did force him to loosen up.

Here is a url to the article about the Mumbai terrorist and the Indian's governments use of truth Serum:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=what-is-truth-serum

Modern truth serum is a drug that has extremely high doses of barbiturates it is a benzodiazepine drug that releases a feeling of extreme comfort and ease. The serum gets the patient so high that feel comfortable sharing any or all information. But in the end it is still possible to lie while under the influence of truth serum. It is impossible to have a drug that forces absolute truth, but barbiturates come real close. While truth serum can produce the truth it is not a fail safe.


Will Hebert
Heber104

If you travel across the world, you might not be able to speak the languages, but you can always read people's emotions. Happiness tends to be the most easily recognized emotion; Americans can identify the emotion 90 percent of the time. On the other hand, negative emotions are more difficult to recognize; many people confuse disgust with anger, anger with fear, and fear with surprise. defusing-angry-cust.jpg People across widely different cultures don't always agree on which facial expressions go with which emotions, they often agree enough to provide support for discrete emotions theory. Primary emotions don't tell the whole story of our feelings. Our brains create an enormous array of secondary emotions from a small number of primary emotions. I agree 100 percent with all of this information. I could travel to China, and be able to tell if someone was happy just by a smile. Realizing someone is sad is a little bit harder because you need to know their personality. Cultures also differ in display rules, which are societal guidelines for how and when to express emotions. We often teach boys to be tough, and girls to show their emotions. Americans can be startled when someone from Europe kisses them on the cheek as a greeting. I would be surprised at first, but then I would just realize that it's what they do in their culture and I can accept that.

Birth Order and Personality

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While reading chapter 14 on personality, I stumbled upon a paragraph discussing how children's birth order can effect their personality. In high school I gave a speech on birth order and how it can effect each person, so I decided it would be a great topic to discuss more in depth.
As the book states, "One long-time candidate for a non shared environmental factor has been birth order. Many popular books claim that firstborns tend toward achievement, middle-borns toward diplomacy, and later-borns toward risk taking." These claims have failed to be consistently associated between birth order and personality, but some instances you can't help but say are similar.
First, in the 'Scientific American Mind magazine's January 2010 issue' it states that personality traits on birth order can not be clear unless we look at the family size. "A child from a two-kid family has a 50 percent chance of being a firstborn, whereas a child from a five-kid family has only a 20 percent chance of being a firstborn." Once we have looked at a persons family size we can then start digging into where they fit in the family area.
For the purpose of this article we are going to look at a family with three children. First borns, this is generally the children born first. They are common the leaders or ones driven to be the best. They are the "practice" child for many parents and usually strive to be the best. The second child, or in this case middle child is generally the trouble maker in the family. Many middle children are classified as the "moody" ones. They often strive to be diplomatic and aggressive. Finally we have the last born, or "baby" of the family. Generally these children are the most outgoing and easygoing. Last borns tend to take risks more often than the others. Also, the oldest, or first born is known as the protector in these families. They generally protect the youngest from the wrath of the middle child. The middle children are often said to be the ones left out because the oldest and youngest gang up on it or protect each other.
Here are a couple of videos depicting birth order.
->this man discusses how birth order effects children and personality

->this is an awesome video that explains every aspect of birth order.

Courtney Mueller

Criminal Profiling

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Anne Schneider
Criminal profiling is a behavioral and investigative tool that is intended to help investigators to profile unknown criminals. Today there are many movies and television shows that depict criminal profiling, including The Silence of the Lambs, Criminal Minds, and Law and Order: Criminal Intent. According to Holmes and Holmes (2008) there are three main goals of criminal profiling: 1) to provide law enforcement with a social and psychological assessment of the offender, 2) to provide law enforcement with a "psychological evaluation of belongings found in the possession of the offender", and 3) to give suggestions for the interviewing process.

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Although there is research that some profilers sometime perform better than untrained individuals in identifying criminal suspects, others have found that professional profilers are no more accurate in gauging the personality feature of murders than are college students with no training in criminology. It is important for people to know that there is no persuasive evidence that criminal profilers do better than statistical formulas that take into account the psychological traits of known murders.

www.youtube.com:watch?v=LPNvATtE3vA.webloc

As of 2008, there were 11 countries including the United States that used this method to find and profile criminals. This was only beginning because through those 11 countries there were only 242 cases of criminal profiling used. Since then there have been many more cases that used criminal profiling. The belief of criminal profiling is effective remains today and it can be seen as FBI and other crime organizations remain in full-time business of training criminal profilers.

A Match Made in Heaven

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Professor Simpson lectured on the three different structures of attachment that was originally observed in children with their mothers. But it has been found that these structures may also be applied to romantic relationships as well. This is significant in the way psychologists may understand how certain individuals keep failing at relationships and devise therapy techniques to address and help fix this problem.
The three structures follow thus:
1. Secure: the individual will trust that others will provide love and support just as the individual will do so for his/her significant other.
2. Avoidant: Though these individuals seem tough and self reliant, they tend to distance themselves from significant others when stressed.
3. Anxious-ambivalent: the individual fears abandonment and that their needs might not be met.
It has been found that a child who follows the secure structure will more likely form a secure structure in a romantic relationship. The mentality of the secure individual is 'I can depend on others,' and this is displayed in the comforting and supportive actions the individual shows to his or her partner.

This type of scene portrays a secure type of individual--though the woman is upset about how the man messed up, she allows herself to be comforted by the man and moves on with her life (happily ever after).
It has also been found that individuals who are classified under the avoidant structure maintain that structure with their romantic relationships later in life. The mentality of the avoidant individual is ' I cannot depend on others,' and this is displayed in how the individual will push away a significant other offering comfort in a time of stress.


*I apologize that this is a long clip, but I couldn't find a shorter one

This type of scene shows how though the woman is clearly in love with the very attractive man, she pushes him away because of her own fear of the man rejecting her once more as he did previously. So instead of allowing him to make amends, she pushes the man away and ruins her chance at happiness (or so she thinks).
Finally, individuals who display an anxious-ambivalent structure in childhood carry this structure on into their romantic relationships. The mentality of this individual is 'I might be able to depend on others,' and this is portrayed in their manner of clinging to his or her significant other.


As one may see in this video, this type of structure is associated with people who are described as 'clingy.' They are often insecure and need constant reassurance from their significant other.
I found this lecture interesting on account of my being a young woman, I have had my own experience with individuals who could be found following one of these structures. While I feel confident in my ability to maintain a healthy relationship, I also think it took time for my getting to this point--I would have definitely classed myself in a different structure a few years back. I would like to find out if this is normal. I try to look back at my childhood to see what kind of parenting style my parents assumed in raising me, but alas, my memory does not serve me well in this area. I like to think they did a good job as I turned out okay as I am very comfortable with depending on others and vice versa.
-Ashli Carlson

Yerkes-Dodson Law

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Everyone has aspirations and goals. Behind them is a drive or motivational force pushing us to pursue that aspiration or goal. However arousal ca get in the way of our drives. The Yerkes-Dodson Law states that there is an inverted relationship between arousal and mood and performance. This can be shown by the graph below.
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As you can see, the graph shows that people tend to perform best and are in the best mood when they experience an intermediate level of arousal. For instance, if someone about to play in a big basketball game is too aroused, they cannot concentrate on what they need to do to perform well. But if they are not aroused at all, it may be hard for them to "get into" the game, this is when we experience "stimulus hunger which may be satisfied by listening to music, socializing with friends or fantasizing of a successful performance. So, one must be aroused enough to be pumped up but not so much that they are not able to concentrate on the skills they must be performing. I have experienced this myself at cheerleading practices and competitions. You have to be excited, bot not TOO excited or else you forget your technique and the whole performance goes down the drain.

When Eugenics Goes Wrong

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In class we recently discussed Eugenics, which was a new term for me. I had never heard of the Eugenics movement before: the belief that people with good genes should reproduce only with similar individuals and which discouraged people with 'bad genes' from reproduction. During lecture it was brought up that a lot of fascist countries were strong supporters of the Eugenics movement. I had recently completed the novel 'In The Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin' by Erik Larson. It is a depiction of the United States Ambassador to Germany, William Dodd, and his families' experiences of the German government and culture during Hitler's reign. The book focuses primarily on the changing attitude of Dodd's adult daughter Martha's experiences. I do not recall the book referring to the Eugenics movement as one of the reasons why the United States did little in the early years to speak out or apply pressure to Germany to change its ways. But if the book used such a term, I did nothing to research the term to gain a better understanding of what the book was trying to tell me. The book did, however, talk about how the United States felt that it really had no basis for telling Germany what to do with people that the German government deemed 'inadequate.' The United States felt that it could not speak out against Hitler's government as the United States government itself was turning its own blind eye to the events that were so prevalent in the south: doing little to enforce the 15th Amendment and allowing the southern states to adapt the Jim Crow laws that led to inferior economic, social and educational opportunities for the "separate but equal" African American.

So when, exactly, does Eugenics start to go too far and how? I do not think there is an easy answer to that question. However, when one starts seeing propaganda that starts to depict an individual as being somehow sub-human or animal-like, we have a huge problem. When that propaganda is being generated by a government, like the video below, we had better start to question what we are seeing.

Lisa Hostetler
Section 13

Lie to Me

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An area that I have always found pretty interesting is the subject of lie detection. Everyone has heard of the polygraph or "lie detectors" that have been used to determine if people are telling the truth or not by hooking them up to a polygraph machine and asking them a series of questions and then analyzing their responses on the machine.
When a person takes a polygraph test, four to six sensors are attached to them. A polygraph is a machine in which the multiple ("poly") signals from the sensors are recorded on a single strip of moving paper ("graph"). The sensors usually record the person's breathing rate, pulse, blood pressure, and perspiration. Sometimes a polygraph will also record things like arm and leg movement.
When the polygraph test starts, the questioner asks three or four simple questions to establish the norms for the person's signals. Then the real questions being tested by the polygraph are asked. Throughout questioning, all of the person's signals are recorded on the moving paper.
Both during and after the test, a polygraph examiner can look at the graphs and can see whether the vital signs changed significantly on any of the questions. In general, a significant change (such as a faster heart rate, higher blood pressure, increased perspiration) indicates that the person is lying.
This method isn't always foolproof though because someone who is very good at lying or knows how to avoid becoming stressed over telling a lie can skew the data being recorded.
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There is another way of telling whether or not someone is lying just by picking up on some body language clues they display. When most normal people are lying they show signs of stress in their posture, movements and facial expressions. They also delay a few seconds longer when answering a question with an answer that is not truthful. Truthful answers come sooner then untrue answers. There are a few things to watch for when a person is lying to you face-to-face.
• Voice is higher pitched.
• Hand-to-face touching increased, especially nose rubbing and mouth covering.
• Nostrils may open wider ('flare').
• Breathing deeper and maybe audible.
• Lips become thinner and tighter.
• Shoulders pulled up and elbows pulled in to sides more. Body takes up less space.
• Forehead tightens up a little in area between eyebrows.
• Eye contact breaks away from you and eyes may squint or close.
• Heart rate increases.
• Palms of hand turned down or closed, and not revealed to you.

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It wouldn't let me embed the video I wanted, but here is the link to one describing what to look for when face to face with a liar.

http://youtu.be/E3PAW7zjgPw


http://science.howstuffworks.com/question123.htm
http://www.learnbodylanguage.org/body_language_lying.html

Standardized Tests

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In chapter 9, we learned about IQ tests and standardized tests. Standardized tests are designed so that the questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent and are administered and scored in a predetermined, standard way.

One standardized test that many of us are familiar with is the ACT, which consists of 4 subjects: english, math, reading, scientific reasoning, and also an optional writing portion. ACT states that its scores provide an indicator of "college readiness." Another popular standardized test for college admission is the SAT, which measures literacy and writing skills that are needed for academic success in college.

The ACT and SAT are good for comparing students and determining college readiness, but people have also found some problems with these standardized tests. The ACT focuses on concrete content rather than more abstract skills. Therefore, you need to know the specific information it is asking you instead of having more broad-based critical thinking skills. You also only have a certain amount of time to complete the ACT, so the results could be more indicative of your ability to answer questions fast, rather than your ability in general. The ACT also encourages you to guess at answers you do not know, which could lead to students who are better at guessing receiving better scores.

Sarah Benthein

Cat People vs. Dog People

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We all know that most people are either cat people, dog people, or neither. But what causes this? Recent studies have shown that assessments of the Big 5 personality traits can predict whether people are cat people or dog people.

I am undoubtedly a cat person. At home, I have three cats, Ruby, Lexie, and Lucy and they are probably one of the most talked about things in my family. Since me and my family are cat people, what does this say about us? This article provided a lot of research about personality traits of Cat people vs. Dog people:

Article about Cat/Dog People

This article centers around research done by Sam Gosling at the University of Texas. He and his colleagues administered a test to more than 4500 people that asked them whether they were cat people or dog people and evaluated their personality using the big 5.

Here are some of the results: Cat people tended to be more neurotic and have a higher openness to experience. Dog people tended to be more extroverted, agreeable, and conscientious.

As I learned today from evaluating my personality profile, I seem to fit the mold of a cat person. I am neurotic (I do not handle stress well) and have an average openness to experience. However, I also ranked very highly in conscientiousness, which contradicts this claim. Maybe this means I could be both a cat person and a dog person. All in all, there is an interesting correlation between cat people and dog people and their respective personality traits.

Here is a helpful slideshow regarding the differences between cat people and dog people in relation to the big 5 personality traits:

Slideshow

Jennifer McLean

Criminal profiling is a technique used by law enforcement agencies around the world (most notably the FBI) profile in the hopes of identifying unknown criminals. The profiler examines clues from the crimes committed by the criminal and draws conclusions about his or her personality and characteristics from them. But is it really an effective method of identifying criminals? A lot of generalities can be guessed to an extent by almost anyone. For example, if you were to look at a famous serial killer like John Wayne Gacy (the clown killer in Wisconsin in 1970s), it would be easy for a criminal profiler to assume that he is a male who has a previous record of criminal behavior. This is easy because the majority of criminals are male and if someone has a record of past criminal behavior, they are more likely than someone who does not to commit crimes. However, the criminal profiler would have virtually no chance of figuring out he was a part time clown just by looking at evidence from the cases or that he was an avid volunteer. This makes it seem that in a lot of cases, the profilers can just apply stereotypes to the criminal and hope their accurate, while pin pointing accurate and more detailed information can be a lot more difficult. In a study done on college students and investigators, it was even found that the profilers did no better a job at identifying criminals that average college students with no training in criminology. Although this does not mean that all criminal profiling is ineffective, you can assume that law enforcement should not rely heavily on it to catch criminals.


In this video from the thriller movie Silence of the Lambs, Clarice (and FBI criminal profiler in training) attempts to get famous psychologist and serial killer Hannibal Lector to help her profile a serial killer she's trying to catch called Buffalo Bill, but meanwhile Hannibal is trying to psychologically break down Clarice to get what he wants from her.

In our text, they introduce Sigmund Freud as the "founder of psychoanalysis and he concluded that many mental disorders were produced by psychological rather than physiological factors." The three core assumptions of Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory are:


  1. Psychic Determinism, which is the assumption that all psychological events have a cause.

  2. Symbolic Meaning, which is the idea that every action has a meaning.

  3. Unconscious Motivation, which is part of our personality of which we're entirely unaware.


Let's focus on the psychic determinism aspect of the theory. Freud claimed that "we aren't free to choose our actions because we're at the mercy of powerful inner forces that lie outside of our awareness" (Lilienfeld, 2010). When referring to psychic determinism, we must also look at Freud's Structure of Personality which involves the id, ego, and superego. The id refers to "our most primitive impulses that provide the driving force of our behavior" (Lilienfeld, 2010). This basically states that we never are in total control of our decisions. argument.jpgSo if you happen to go through a tough break up with lots of arguing and the other can't explain why they chose to be single rather than with you, maybe they really don't know the reason. Modern theories argue this theory because it is difficult to falsify, but it is still an important aspect of psychology because Freud was the first expert to propose that our actions may be an effect of inner reasons that we are unaware of.

Summer Vacation Effect

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Warm sunshine. Sun-kissed skin. Swimming. Beaches. No school. There's nothing like Summer vacation and it's what most children in school look forward to when the weather cycles from the frigid, long, freezing days to blooming, warm, pretty days. As Spring goes by, and knowing Summer is just around the corner, it's definitely tantalizing. With no schooling or education over the three months of education, though, does that affect children's IQs at all?

Schooling exerts a causal influence on IQ; during Summer vacation, children's IQs tend to decline notably. This an example of an environmental influence on IQ. Lack of schooling during the Summer months contributes to lower IQ scores and low academic achievement test scores. This finding is important because it shows that consistent learning and education is key to maintaining a high IQ score and efficiently performing on academic achievement tests.

I've personally have had an impact on this very effect. The first time I took the ACT test, a college admissions standardized test, was in October of 2009 at the beginning of my junior year in high school. I wasn't satisfied with my score, so I retook the test again at the end of my junior year in May 2010. I did better and was satisfied with it. Evidently, I was sort of still in the "Summer vacation mindset" when I took the ACT my first time because I found that I had forgotten to do many of the problems that were asked. After being in school for several months, I retook it and did significantly better.

It's important for students to somehow continue their education during the months of June, July, and August when school is not in session. Parents should enforce this for their children, especially when it is when high school students are looking at colleges, and preparing to take a college admissions test. The only thing that I am curious about is about my personal experience with the Summer vacation effect. I wonder if I would have taken the test again in the middle of the two times that I did, if I would have scored somewhere in the middle between the two scores.

- Judy Pathammavong, Section 12

A concept that sparked my interest was the debate on Self Esteem. Some say that happiness and a high-self esteem have a very slight correlation to one another, meaning that happiness or even grades do not suffer as a result of having a low self-esteem. On the other hand, many forms of anger and aggression are linked to low-self esteem, and many also state that having a low self-esteem makes it hard to be outgoing and happy. There may be some truth to both sides, but I strongly believe that the topic of self-esteem is a major variable in the life of a college student. I think this is one of the most important aspects of psychology that determine how outgoing and happy a person is. In my life, during unhappy times, whether it be a breakup or a bad grade, my self-esteem is lowered and as a result I am unhappy. With a low self-esteem during my middle school years I found it very hard to make friends and be outgoing. As I've grown it makes me realize what important role self-esteem plays in a persons life, as well as the steps necessary to maintain a high self-esteem. Every college student has had a problem with self-esteem at one point or another, whether it is physically or socially related. I would really like to know how various people define self-esteem across campus, and to hear how it affects everyone in their past or their present. It would be interesting to find out more about whether or not people think self-esteem and overall happiness are related. I say this because college is a time of stress and obstacles, and I believe self-esteem plays a tremendous role in how smooth or bumpy the ride will be.

By Connor Chapman

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The smell of attraction

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Most women have heard of pheromones, the body scents that are "scientifically proven" to increase your attractiveness to the opposite sex. You just spray them on and you automatically become an instant man magnet. Men, also, use this trick. Spray on a few sprits of your favorite cologne on before you go out, and the ladies will be all over you. This article from Psychology Today discusses the effects of scent and attraction.
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Well, it's really not the scent that gets you the date. It's the confidence that the scent gives you. In a study, women found men who were wearing cologne more attractive than men who weren't. But the women never smelled the men. They saw a 15 second video of the men, and found the scented men more attractive because they had more confidence. Women also admitted to feeling more confident when wearing a fragrance they really liked.

Scents are a problem for our biological attraction though. We use other's scents to draw a figure of a person's immune system. We use this map of the other's immune system to determine what mate would be most likely to give us happy, healthy children. But people don't think to distinguish between natural body-odor and masking colognes.
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So colognes are both good and bad for our attraction levels. It can increase our confidence, and therefore increase our chance of getting a mate, but it also masks the scents that help us pick an ideal partner for reproduction of healthy children.

The debate on whether or not aggressive behavior is influenced by violent video games or violence seen on T.V. was discussed in past lectures, reading assignments and discussion section. I did a bit of research and have concluded in believing that violent video games do contribute to aggressive behaviors that are present in today's society. There is much evidence that proves this to be true. In a 2010 entry on Art Markman's (Ph.D) online science-based blog on the Psychology Today website, he discovers through researching several studies focused on the correlation between aggression and video games, that "there are two different mechanisms" to explaining why aggressive behavior exists in frequent video gamers. Markman explains that both short term and long term studies prove how people become aggressive through playing video games in two distinct manners.

He explains that "playing a violent video game for a short period of time seems to activate or prime the idea of violence. It also increases people's overall level of energy or arousal. So a short amount of time playing a violent video game is generally related to a higher level of aggression immediately afterwards." Markman found that overall longitudinal studies showed that "people who play violent video games for a long period of time are more aggressive overall... In addition... playing violent video games repeatedly makes people less sensitive to the negative aspects of violence."

Markman used several studies to support his position on the controversy where as other researchers used only one. Markman's research article is more convincing because his sources show replicability. His article convinced me to agree with the argument that repetitive playing of violent video games increases aggressiveness in these particular video gamers. I suspect that I found his research article most convincing because the studies he used as sources supported the thoughts I already had on the issue: that violent video games have a negative effect on the players. However it is apparent that confirmation bias is strongly affecting my position on the issue and my decision of what study is most convincing.

Here is the link to Markman's article:

-Kaya Allen
Section 13

During class, we have been discussing language development and how it is affected in individuals who suffer from intermittent hearing loss, blindness, Down's syndrome, and autism. Although we touched on some aspects deafness during class, I have grown to love the deaf community during the time I have spent volunteering at a camp for children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing (HOH) and I wanted to learn more about language development in children who suffer from these types of hearing impairments. Due to the sake of not wanting to write a book on the subject, I will limit my discussion on language development to individuals who have been deaf since birth.

Infant Signing 'Mom'


Deafness and Hard-of-Hearing: What's the Difference?

According to Mirriam Webster Medical Dictionary, individuals who are "hard of hearing" or have a "hearing impairment" have a defective, but functional, sense of hearing, while those who are considered "deaf" are lacking or deficient in the sense of hearing. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act further explains that individuals with hearing impairments can often detect and respond to auditory stimuli, such as speech, while those who are considered deaf are unable to perceive sound stimuli in any form.

While the difference may seem insignificant to the hearing community, there is a huge difference between the two in the deaf community and it would take more than a short blog entry to adequately describe the difference.


What Causes Deafness?

There are two categories that describe what can cause an individual to become deaf. "Acquired" deafness is caused by illness or injury and can affect language development in a multitude of ways, which is why I will focus primarily on "congenital" deafness.

"Congenital" deafness was present at birth and in 50% of cases is due to genetic factors. Congenital deafness can be a result of family history (one or both parents being deaf or carrying a gene that causes deafness), infections during pregnancy, and complications during pregnancy. Unfortunately, there is little data that describes congenital deafness, but the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association says it appears that between 4 and 11 children per 10,000 births suffers from profound hearing loss from birth.


How Does Deafness Affect Language Development?

Many people assume that because deaf people do not always communicate verbally, that they do not develop language like we do. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Different forms of sign language exist throughout the world, which utilize a combination of different hand gestures to indicate letters, words, and phrases, as well as distinct syntactic rules, to communicate. Many studies have also indicated that deaf individuals use the same brain regions to process sign language as we do when hearing spoken English. Because of the vast differences in how and when deaf children are exposed to sign language, it is difficult to compare the very early stages of language development.

First word/sign: in deaf children who have been exposed to sign language, their first use of a gesture to indicate a word normally occurs around the same age as a hearing child speaks their first word. Similar to hearing children, the deaf child's first word is normally of extreme importance as well, such as 'mom', 'dad', 'milk', etc. Unfortunately, in deaf children, vocabulary development is extremely delayed. Although they begin signing around the same time, even children exposed to sign language during infancy develop vocabulary at a slower rate than hearing children. For deaf children not exposed to sign language, their vocabulary comprehension rates are typically between and two and four years behind those of their hearing peers.

Combining two words/signs: Similar to when infants depict their first word, the combination of two words occurs at similar times in those children who have been exposed to sign language and hearing children - around two years of age. However, for children not exposed to sign language, they may not have produced their first word at this point.

Syntactic Competence: Unlike in hearing children, most deaf children do not generalize syntactic rules they have learned (such as "I runned fast"). Instead, deaf children learn rules individually and often take much longer to develop proper syntactic competence.

Fingerspelling: One event that does occur in deaf children but that does not have an equivalent in spoken language is fingerspelling, or using individual letters to spell out words. Fingerspelling is a natural part of communication for deaf children and often occurs long before the child can recognize the printed letters. For many children, they recognize the combination of hand shapes used to depict a word, instead of the individual letters used. This principle of recognizing overall shapes is the main reason programs such as "Baby Can Read" have been so successful.


Summary

Based on this information, it is clear that the developmental deficits normally associated with the deaf population are strongly influenced by when the child is introduced to sign language and how often it is used in their presence. In my experience, children suffering from congenital deafness who are born into families where parents or older siblings are also deaf have few deficits in language acquisition. On the contrary, in recent years, many programs have come out that utilize sign language in infants to help accelerate language learning because infants are normally able to control their motor functions, such as hand motions, sooner than they are able to control the muscles involved in vocalization. It is my hope that as hearing screenings for infants become more common, the differences observed in language development between deaf and hearing children will eventually disappear.

Bobby Fischer

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In chapter 9 I read about how smart people can still believe strange things. The small section said that because they have a large intelligence the risk of people having strange beliefs is higher because they are able to defend their opinion and disregard other opinions. This relates to me because I have just started playing chess and one of the best chess players of all time was Bobby Fischer. This section reminded me of him because he seemed to become more mentally unstable as he aged and began to have some strange beliefs. Towards his end he actually wrote Osama Bin Laden about how he agreed with Osama's hatred of Israel. When I learned this I was disappointed that someone who was so great at chess could harbor such strange ideals. Especially since his mother was a Jew herself. After reading this it makes me feel somewhat better knowing that it wasn't completely his fault and that he was susceptible to this because he was a genius.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Fischer#Anti-American_and_anti-Israel_statements
Patrick Dougan

Bobby Fischer

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In chapter 9 I read about how smart people can still believe strange things. The small section said that because they have a large intelligence the risk of people having strange beliefs is higher because they are able to defend their opinion and disregard other opinions. This relates to me because I have just started playing chess and one of the best chess players of all time was Bobby Fischer. This section reminded me of him because he seemed to become more mentally unstable as he aged and began to have some strange beliefs. Towards his end he actually wrote Osama Bin Laden about how he agreed with Osama's hatred of Israel. When I learned this I was disappointed that someone who was so great at chess could harbor such strange ideals. Especially since his mother was a Jew herself. After reading this it makes me feel somewhat better knowing that it wasn't completely his fault and that he was susceptible to this because he was a genius.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Fischer#Anti-American_and_anti-Israel_statements

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/11/9/focus/2489952&sec=focus

In the article posted it is brought to the reader attention the increasing numbers of children born with learning disabilities and disorders such as Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, or Dyslexia. What is the cause of this increase? One argument involves the idea that there is greater awareness and understanding of these disorders, such as signs and systems which allows people in modern day to better recognize these unfortunate developments. In this case there wouldn't be more cases just better recognition of them. Another possible answer to this problem is that there are an increasing number teratogens or environmental factors that serve as a negative impact towards prenatal development. An increase in drug use over the last 50 years and changes in social media and culture may play a big role in the developments of children. In many cases these faults in the environment occur before mothers even know that they are pregnant and in many cases harmful substances are readily available in the world around us. Not all of these environmental hazards are based on the discretion of the mother, illnesses such as chicken pox or psychologically issues such as depression can also cause problems in prenatal beings. As many are beginning to ask questions about this issue it is yet to be determined whether it is an increase in awareness or if teratogens have in fact increased an caused a spike in these disruptions of development. The exact causes for this increase are yet to be determined but many scientists are ready at work, trying to shine some light on this troubling subject.

Similarities Attract

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Despite the popular claim that opposites attract, it seems that the opposite of that is actually true. People that are similar are more likely to work out than couples with significant differences. The idea of similarities attract actually makes perfect sense when truly thought of. People often choose to surround themselves with people who share many similarities. Location is an initial factor in relationships. Our relationships are often with people physically close to us. With that said, I think strong relationships can hold up against distance. For example, all of my best friends are attending college in different states. However, when we are together despite how long it has been, we act as if we have never been separated. It is our other similarities that keep us fully together. As stated in the article below, best friends and spouses were found to be about as similar to each other as pairs of fraternal twins.
Similarities range from social class to physical appearance to interests. It is important to seek relationships with people who share similarities. However, just because someone shares a similarity does not mean that the relationship will last. Sometimes too many similarities result in people butting heads. Similarities should be present, but there should also be differences that compliment each other. When someone is too much like oneself, it is more common for issues to arise simply because one gets annoyed with the other.
Overall, the idea of success in similarities applies to all relationships. People who surround themselves with people much like themselves are guaranteed to have healthier and stronger relationships.

http://www.sciencenetlinks.net/sci_update.php?DocID=280

Body Language

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The study of body language started in the 1940s by psychological researchers to determine how well our emotions can be conveyed through posture and facial features. Studies have shown that only 7% of human communication lies within speech, while the remaining 93% is made up of body language and the pitch and intonation of speech with the majority being body language (55% consists of body language).

As important as speech is in conveying the way we feel in certain situations, our body language can be much more influential, and sometimes necessary, when trying to get a point across in conversation. It is sometimes clear to see when walking past people on a busy street sitting on a bench just how they are feeling based on the positioning of their body and facial cues. Just by the way someone may be positioning themselves; it is possible to tell what emotions they may be having even with no idea of what may have triggered that emotion.

When a person is "closing" their body (by crossing their arms and/or legs or looking down and away) it can give us insight as to why they are behaving this way. This person could be in a defensive state, hiding, be cold, or possibly relaxing. When a person is "opening" their body (by not crossing their arms and/or legs or looking around or at the other person) it gives us clues to a few feelings as well. This person could be in an aggressive state, feel accepting, or be relaxing. Notice that relaxing shows up in both closed and open body language, this is usually because when relaxing in closed body language people are either cold or have no place to put their limbs.

Emotions that are the most easily conveyed and understood through body language are the easily detectible emotions, such as: anger, fear, sadness, embarrassment, surprise, and happiness. These emotions are easy to spot because of how commonly they occur throughout everyday life. These emotions can even be seen without visible facial expressions.

In my country - Vietnam, video games, especially violent ones, have been widespread since I was a little boy in the late 1990s and early 2000s. At that time, numerous people from every age play that kind of game all day long without feeling bored. I used to think that only Asian people love playing these games; however, I totally changed my mind due to the articles from the Internet as well as my observation here in the United States of America. In fact, people from other continents are also addicted to video games. After I watched the video about how violent movies affect small children in my discussion section, a question comes to my mind:

"How do violent games affect young people minds?"

For this reason, I did a research on this topic and I was shocked by the results. "Oh my God!" these three worlds were the very first thing that I yelled aloud when I read this article by Reverend Danger. I did not dare to believe that people could kill themselves and the others just because of video games. The moment I finished the last page of this article, I assumed that these people should have some lunatic problems.

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In this review, the reporter selected and posted the most famous deaths by games in order to warn people about the bad influence of video games. Ten cases were picked from many countries over the world, which showed this is a global problem. A remarkable point is that most of the killers were young people, who were considered as the nation leaders in the future. In this blog entry, I will focus on the first case of the article, which was about 18-year-old Devin Moore; who was "inspired" by the killing actions in Grand Theft Auto (GTA), a famous and extremely violent game. According to the article, "he was charged in the shooting of three local policemen after he was arrested for stealing a car." When caught, Moore allegedly said, "Life's like a video game. You've got to die sometime." Therefore we can see that Moore was hugely influenced by the fighting and shootings from the game, so he decided to treat real people the same as the ways he did to the virtual characters in GTA.

This article provided me plenty of new horrible facts about the deaths relating to video games. I finally comprehended the worst facet of playing violent games too much, which is that several people are so immersed with violent games that they can't distinguish between game environment and reality. This useful lesson provides me a better understanding about the negative impacts of violent games on young people. It is also a warning for all of us to be careful about our living style or environment, because our brain is adapting continuously to our surroundings until the day we die.

http://www.spike.com/blog/10-deaths-caused-by/74056

Thuc Huynh

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Getting to know someone from the inside is one lesson that we learn to love someone for whom they are, regardless of their outside. However, we all judged people by their appearances, especially when it comes to relationships and infatuations. Majority of people prefer the outside than the inside. Most of us would choose the best looking person over the unattractive one if we were given the choice to pick either of them. If I were in a situation like this I would pick the attractive one.

I grew up with parents who were indeed attractive when they were young. Therefore, they tell their children when it comes to choosing a significant other, looks matters. My parents believed that a handsome man and a beautiful woman make attractive offspring or make a perfect combination in a relationship, so I grew up believing that looks is important. My friends would try to get me talk to guys whom they thought would be a great match for me. In return, I would not mind talking to them but I always go for the looks. If they were not attractive, I have second thoughts, but if they were decent or handsome, it would be an automatic yes. In fact, most people would do the same.

I often wonder why humans tend to go for looks. Not in infatuation, but in everyday lives, such as job promotions. "Good looks can have a real impact on workers' bank accounts," according to research by Daniel Hamermesh and Jeff Biddle published in the Journal of Labor Economics. Also in the media, we see beautiful and handsome people modeling the campaign, which makes us envious or dream to find someone as handsome or beautiful to be our ideal dream partner. Part of this is being human, we were taught long ago and learned that beauty is the eyes of the beholder. Looks is important when choosing to be with a significant other. Other people want to have a physically attractive person next to them to boost their self-confidence, to have physically attractive offspring, or to be someone who is not ugly and vice-versa.


Source

Morsch, Laura. "Looks Matter in the Workplace." http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/Careers/02/28/cb.pretty/index.html.

What Do You Mean?

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"I went to the Halloween Party and it was so much fun."

How does that sentence sound to you? You probably think that I did really have fun at the party, but honestly, how do you know if I was being sarcastic? How do you know if I was joking around? The answer is, you just don't know.

Now you might be wondering why you can never know what I truly mean by just reading a sentence. It is because nonverbal expression of emotion is critical in communicating. Body languages and gestures are not only important to fully express what we mean, but also essential. For example, when a student describes how to get to Coffman Union from Middlebrook Hall, he or she may have to point at the Washington Avenue Bridge and say, "You have to cross that bridge and then..." Likewise, as spoken languages differ in different cultures, body languages vary. For instance, the American "OK sign" which is used widely over the world now is actually an offensive insult.

But the real reason why we must understand the importance of these nonverbal expressions is because our society is turning into a more technologically dependent one. This means that maybe later in the future, we will converse regularly through computer monitors, in which we will not be able to tell whether the person is smiling or frowning. Yes, we do have smiley faces like :), :(, and :|. So it is possible to show emotions while conversing online. However, this also means that people will easily hide their feelings behind the computers. In real life, we would know whether someone is lying about their emotions or not, but simply through smiley faces, we will lose touch of the reality of their feelings. Therefore, it is our job to embrace those non-spoken expressions while they last.

I'm the first to admit that at certain points in my life that money would solve all my problems and make me happy. But does making a large some of money really make people happy? Sure receiving a large sum of money would make life temporarily more convenient and simple. Would the ease of not having to worry about financial constraints be enough to fulfill a person and make them genuinely happy? In the media we see rap stars and pop divas relish in this idea. Rapper 50 cent represents this idea in the song "In Da Club."
http://youtu.be/5qm8PH4xAss
While 50 and other rappers feel as if make money can fulfill the need of happiness both Lilienfeld and several other pop stars disagree. According to Lilienfield quite the opposite is true. Earning a large sum of money or making a huge salary requires quite a bit of work. Which eliminates our free time, drains our energy and can make people unpleasant. But generally the activities of gratitude and giving both correlate high with happy people. Both of these activities are require little to no cash.
On the opposite end of the hip-hop spectrum rappers Russel Simmons and Rev Run felt that more money simply created more problems to deal with. These two turned toward the Christian religion as an alternative. Religion is another activity that Lilienfeld correlates with high levels of happiness. Run and Simmons express their point of view in this short 20/20 clip.

Will Hebert
http://youtu.be/YTx5_8B3kiw
I have to agree with the Rev that the amount of problems that show up with large amounts of money are not worth the cash. In short more money creates more problems. I would take free time over cash any day.

I'm the first to admit that at certain points in my life that money would solve all my problems and make me happy. But does making a large some of money really make people happy? Sure receiving a large sum of money would make life temporarily more convenient and simple. Would the ease of not having to worry about financial constraints be enough to fulfill a person and make them genuinely happy? In the media we see rap stars and pop divas relish in this idea. Rapper 50 cent represents this idea in the song "In Da Club."
http://youtu.be/5qm8PH4xAss
While 50 and other rappers feel as if make money can fulfill the need of happiness both Lilienfeld and several other pop stars disagree. According to Lilienfield quite the opposite is true. Earning a large sum of money or making a huge salary requires quite a bit of work. Which eliminates our free time, drains our energy and can make people unpleasant. But generally the activities of gratitude and giving both correlate high with happy people. Both of these activities are require little to no cash.
On the opposite end of the hip-hop spectrum rappers Russel Simmons and Rev Run felt that more money simply created more problems to deal with. These two turned toward the Christian religion as an alternative. Religion is another activity that Lilienfeld correlates with high levels of happiness. Run and Simmons express their point of view in this short 20/20 clip.
http://youtu.be/YTx5_8B3kiw
I have to agree with the Rev that the amount of problems that show up with large amounts of money are not worth the cash. In short more money creates more problems. I would take free time over cash any day.

Micro-Expressions

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Popularized by the former Fox drama Lie to Me, the micro-expression is an actual phenomenon. In the show, the character Cal Lightman, played by Tim Roth, used his keen eye to read people's micro-expressions to see if they were lying. Although some aspects of the show seemed quite farfetched the main points were truthful. Micro-expressions are brief, involuntary facial expressions according to emotions experienced. Although this definition sounds quite similar to the definition to a normal facial expression, the key word is involuntary. These expressions are next to impossible to fake.

Paul Ekman, a leader in the field of facial expressions, defied the long standing belief that expressions are cultural. His theory states that there are eleven universal expressions that all humans display in similar ways. They are as follows: amusement, contempt, contentment, embarrassment, excitement, guilt, pride, relief, satisfaction, pleasure, and shame. Each of theses expressions has a specific corresponding micro expression.

These methods of analyzing facial expressions have been used by many government agencies including the Transportation Security Administration. The Screening Passengers by Observational Techniques (SPOT) program has been implemented at over 161 airports in the USA alone. Although alot of training is required to be come licensed SPOT officer, there have still been quite a few cases of blatant officer profiling as opposed to science based analysis. This has raised some concerns that the methods of Dr. Ekman are pseudoscience not fact based science. Ekman, of course, has defended his methods after all of the accusations of skeptics. Simply put his opinion is not the science that is at fault, but the person is looking for the wrong cues due to poor training and laziness.

Article about Ekman and the TSA
http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100526/full/465412a.html

Further reading on Ekman's work and implementation in the real world
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2002/09/16/MN241376.DTL&type=science

You're In My Bubble

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Personal Space.jpg

Proxemics: What Is It?
The study of personal space!

According to Edward Hall, personal distance is directly correlated with emotional distance. In other words, we may stand closer to a person with which we share a special connection, as opposed to a person we don't know.

As evidence, Hall's research indicates four levels of personal space:
1. Public Distance: Used for public speaking (12 or more feet).
2. Social Distance: Conversations with people that we do not know well (4 to 12 feet).
3. Personal Distance: Conversations between friends or people we are attracted to (1.5 to 4 feet).
4. Intimate Distance: Kissing, hugging, whispering, and affectionate touching (0 to 1.5 feet).
*As the levels of intimacy between people increase, the distance decreases. *

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However, we know that correlation does NOT always mean causation and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence!

Evidence against Hall's claims are exceptions such as the observation that we tend to get closer to a person we are trying to intimidate. Perhaps, that is simply biological and a part of our nature, (trying to scare away the predator by trying to appear larger, as dogs and cats do by raising their tails).

Cultural Differences:
Studies suggest that different countries with their own sets of customs view personal space differently. For example, Asian and European countries value personal spaces at a greater distance than Latin and Middle Eastern countries. How could this be? Perhaps different countries and cultures vary in salutations/greetings, which could require more or less space. The article summary below explains that in Asian cultures, people bow 3 times. This requires more space than a handshake.

http://www.getcustoms.com/2004XE/Articles/iw0100.html

Article Summary: The article talks about the differences in the promexics in North America compared to Asian. It suggests that in Asian countries, personal space is greater than in North America, and that the reason for that could be the customs in Asian countries to bow 3 times before each other in order to show respect- this requires more space.



Video Summary: In this video, a guy tries to sit too close to people, and they keep moving away from him.This social experiment demonstrates how strangers prefer to be further from each other.

Anna Shrifteylik
Section 12

Binge. Purge. Starve. These are all words used to describe the eating disorder known as Bulimia. About 95% to 98% of people with bulimia tend to be female, but this disorder can also be found in males. Bulimia is when someone eats something and then end up vomiting what they just ate. This routine is supposed to give people the satisfaction of eating, but then by throwing up the contents your not actually gaining the weight. This results in rapid weight lose and unhealthy conditions later occuring down the road.
One interesting fact that many bulimics' don't know about is a thing called "ox hunger". This is caused by binging and can give you a feeling that makes you want to keep eating, instead of eliminating that hunger. "Ox hunger" can lead to purging which can then lead to abusing laxatives and diet pills. Bulimia is a never ending cycle that can get very intense within a matter of days.
Bulimia can cause horrible health problems internally, some that can't be undone. Very survere cases of Bulimia have resulted in death. This eating disorder goes hand and hand with Anorexia another eating disorder that strictly revolves around starving yourself completely.

Here is a video that shows the horrible images of a girl caused by eating disorders such as Bulimia and Anorexia.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXyMlD5vygE&feature=related


Saron Theodros

Parenting Styles

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As I was growing up, I always thought that I grew up in an authoritarian household because it seemed as though I always had strict guidelines to follow and I felt as though sometimes my parents were unsupportive. However, as I reflect back on it, I feel horrible for even thinking that! My parents have always been there for me, and although their expectations are a bit higher than most, they show me a lot of affection. I also was never punished strongly, just being grounded for a week at most.
Different cultures respect different parenting styles. Not only that, but it can cause great conflict within a family if one parent wants to raise a kid one way and the other wants to raise the kid another way. The development of a child can also be impacted through the parents' choice of parenting style.
According to our psychology textbook, there are four distinct parenting styles: permissive, authoritarian, authoritative or uninvolved.
A permissive approach is where the parent(s) are super lenient. This is also known as the indulgent parenting style, since the parents allow the children a considerable amount of freedom inside and outside the household. Parents who are raise children using this approach are very laid back and generally have low expectations for self-control. Most of the time, they do not discipline their children and make few demands. According to Baumrind, permissive parents are more response than demanding and also very nontraditional. They do not require mature behavior from their kids.
The authoritarian style is known to be very strict with little time for free play. The Authoritarian style involves strong punishment with very little affection towards kids. This style is usually common in collectivists' cultures, which can be seen in Japan, where the parenting style is usually authoritarian.
Another style, the one to aim for most (in my opinion) is the authoritative style. This parenting technique is defined by being supportive of children but also being clear on what the limits are and keeping the limits firm. Most families in America, in my opinion aim to exhibit this style.
The last parenting style is being uninvolved in the child's life. The child is ignored completely. This parenting style has negative impact on a child's development.

Here's a video discussing parenting tips: click here for video!

Joann Khong
Section 13

When it comes to relationships, whether it is with friends or a romantic partner, there is a common phrase that is a huge misconception. This phrase is that opposites attract. According to the Lilienfeld "likes attract likes" text, people who are opposites might find it difficult to establish a personal connection because of the lack of things they have in common. Support that disproves that opposites attract is all around us. Take a moment and reflect on your close friends or significant other, you will most likely discover that you have a lot in common with your close friends. Having things in common can be anything from having the same taste in music, coming from a like background, having the same political views, or sharing negative impressions about others, organizations, concepts, or about any other things. According to the lilenfeld text, one of the main things that binds friendships together in the beginning is sharing negative impressions about others. When I reflected on my own friendships I found that in all of my relationships, both friends and romantic ones, we are very similar and I really do not connect very well with people who share different likes and views.

One of my relationships that supports that "likes attract likes", is my current romantic relationship. My boyfriend dean and I have been together for eight months, and we come from the same social class, share the same interests like enjoying the outdoors, being competitive, being family orientated, having the same interest in music and various other things. Another one of my relationships that clearly supports that "likes attract likes" is the one with my best friend Karlee. It almost seems as if we have one mind, people call us twins all the time because we are always together and we have the same views on everything. We love the same movies, music, clothing, boys, subjects, shoes, purses, books, brands and many other things as well. We both grew up in family orientated, religious, republican household. We both love sports, and participated in them in high school. We have grown up together and we are as similar as two people can get, and as we both have gone off to college we continue to stay close. We intend on being "Best Friends Forever" The other friendships that supports that "likes attract likes" are my two close friends that I have made in college. All three of us share the same political views and also like to bash democrats. This supports the fact that in early stages of friendships, sharing negative impressions about others (in our case democrats), helps bind friendships together.

In my personal experience, opposites do not really attract. I want to have things in common with my friends and significant others, so we can build personal relationships, and also have a lot more fun.

Morgan Dobberstein
dobb0076

We have all seen and heard about the polygraph test. They are used to try and detect lies. The device measures blood pressure, respiration, and skin conductance, and a measure of palm sweating. This device was created in 1915. Someone would think that a device created back then would have been perfected by now. The polygraph test has failed to be perfected. It still has a high rate of false positives, or saying that innocent individuals whom are tested are labeled as lying.

Were going to analyze this by using the extraordinary claims scientific principle. This principle calls for extraordinary evidence to support this extraordinary claim of being able to detect a lie. As a matter of fact, most scientists have found that the polygraph test has no scientific basis. Evidence has shown that one of the most prolific serial killers in U.S history passed the polygraph test and killed again. People have found ways to beat this test. Because of all this evidence against the polygraph test, the test isn't admissible in most U.S courts.

So as you can see, the extraordinary claim of the polygraph test doesn't have extraordinary evidence to back it up. In this video clip, a tv show demonstrates some ways to beat the polygraph test.


Source:

-Spencer Overgaard

Happiness & Mental Muscle

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There are important factors in achieving happiness: Ability, health and good relationships. No wonder a financial ability can make life stable and we cannot develop any ability without health. A good relationship is also a core element in happy life because people should depend upon each other to survive in a society.

According to Gerge Vaillant, who studied 268 lives for 42 years, found adaptation as a key to happiness. People who can adjust themselves successfully to a life full of ups and downs are happy, while people who fail to adapt to life are not happy.

What do we need to adjust ourselves well to the kaleidoscope of life? Probably we need both physical and mental power to overcome difficulties when we walk through a life. There is mental muscle, which is willpower. Willpower can grow like a muscle. In psychological studies, even something as simple as using your nondominant hand to brush your teeth for two weeks can increase willpower capacity. People who stick to an exercise program for two months report reducing their impulsive spending, junk food intake, alcohol use and smoking. Willpower seems to become stronger with use. It must come with some biological changes in the brain. Perhaps neurons in the frontal cortex, which is responsible for planning behavior, or in the anterior cingulate cortex, which is associated with cognitive control or maybe one of the chemical messengers that neurons use to communicate with one another is produced in larger quantities after it has been used up repeatedly, thereby improving the brain's willpower capacity. In order to maintain healthy life and adapt smoothly to kaleidoscope life, we need to exercise both physical and mental muscle.

sonam kim

Though some may contend that violence in the media does not affect childhood aggression, I must maintain the opinion that it does have an influence. Being that I was a young child once, and not a very aggressive one at that, I know that I have felt personally more aggressive after watching a form of media violence versus that of a peaceful one. I recall, even during this last discussion section, being more prone to engage in the acts seen, such as that of the Power Rangers episode. A University of Michigan study backs up this statement. Even though there have been many studies done over the years, few have sided with the finding that media violence does not have an affect. The University of Michigan study is particularly reliable in that it was conducted over a 15 year period. It found that violent childhood behavior from the media can extend into adulthood, as seen through the finding in the study that boys engaged in media violence as children were more likely to commit violent crimes than those who did not view media violence as frequently. Opponents would probably support their case by saying that peer influence might be a cause of the aggression, as seen through the peaceful young girl starting to engage in violence after watching Power Rangers, as we saw in class. This may have some validity. However, I can't help but feel that an overwhelming amount of evidence supports that fact that media violence does influence childhood, and adult, aggression. Studies will continue to find evidence for both sides of the debate, but being that I was a child once, I feel that the question over the affect of media violence on children should side with the affirmative.

A Safe Haven

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Are violent video games bad? Do they cause aggression, or help vent stress in an way in which nobody is harmed? Growing up brings on a slew of emotions and stress that young teenagers have to learn to cope with. The argument states this very interesting point, that violence in video games helps children deal with certain emotions that could be harmful to others if they were dealt with in other ways. Think of a child who is angry at a fellow classmate. Wouldn't it be better if he/she deals with this anger by playing a game in a virtual world were the emotion is released on a virtual character, rather than engaging in a physical fight with the classmate? In this scenario, both parties win and nobody is hurt.

The counter point to this argument that is brought up is the fact that children who do not posses violent behaviors can pick them up through video games and then engage in real life violence. While this could be possible in some, I personally think that it is more beneficial to let the children who already have the emotions of anger or violence take it out in a way that does not harm anyone, rather than focus on the few children who cannot differentiate reality versus video games.

Another interesting point brought up in this panel is the idea that children not only are able to deal with the emotion, but learn to vent it and become a master of it. Think of growing up in the middle school and high school years. There are many things being learned, and how to deal with emotion is one of them. By finding ways to positively express these new and powerful emotions, the child masters it and has ways to deal with them in the future. I believe that is a very positive thing that is not considered much in the debate on violent video games. If one is able to master a way to deal with anger by sitting down and playing video games, then the child is not participating in other negative activities that can lead to even more negative activities in the future. By learning to deal with sadness and down days by playing video games, the child is avoiding self destructive behavior that could occur as they get older such as smoking cigarettes and taking it out on other people.

There may be other ways that children can learn how to deal with emotions, but I feel like video games are a good way for some children to take out emotions in a positive or neutral way. Everyone has their own stance on the subject and may feel like these ideas are only selective to only a portion of those who play video games, but there is no right answer to this debate as everyone differs in the way they react to violence in video games.

A Safe Haven

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Are violent video games bad? Do they cause aggression, or help vent stress in an way in which nobody is harmed? Growing up brings on a slew of emotions and stress that young teenagers have to learn to cope with. The argument states this very interesting point, that violence in video games helps children deal with certain emotions that could be harmful to others if they were dealt with in other ways. Think of a child who is angry at a fellow classmate. Wouldn't it be better if he/she deals with this anger by playing a game in a virtual world were the emotion is released on a virtual character, rather than engaging in a physical fight with the classmate? In this scenario, both parties win and nobody is hurt.

The counter point to this argument that is brought up is the fact that children who do not posses violent behaviors can pick them up through video games and then engage in real life violence. While this could be possible in some, I personally think that it is more beneficial to let the children who already have the emotions of anger or violence take it out in a way that does not harm anyone, rather than focus on the few children who cannot differentiate reality versus video games.

Another interesting point brought up in this panel is the idea that children not only are able to deal with the emotion, but learn to vent it and become a master of it. Think of growing up in the middle school and high school years. There are many things being learned, and how to deal with emotion is one of them. By finding ways to positively express these new and powerful emotions, the child masters it and has ways to deal with them in the future. I believe that is a very positive thing that is not considered much in the debate on violent video games. If one is able to master a way to deal with anger by sitting down and playing video games, then the child is not participating in other negative activities that can lead to even more negative activities in the future. By learning to deal with sadness and down days by playing video games, the child is avoiding self destructive behavior that could occur as they get older such as smoking cigarettes and taking it out on other people.

There may be other ways that children can learn how to deal with emotions, but I feel like video games are a good way for some children to take out emotions in a positive or neutral way. Everyone has their own stance on the subject and may feel like these ideas are only selective to only a portion of those who play video games, but there is no right answer to this debate as everyone differs in the way they react to violence in video games.

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This week in psychology we debated and researched the effects of violent video games. I became interested in researching some positive lessons that video games have to teach, if any. I find myself surrounded by so called "gamers" in my daily life. From close friends to overheard conversation in the hall it's a highly discussed topic. I've observed that most of these "gamers" don't display many violent tendencies and often say they have learned some quality lessons from their selected games.

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One quote favored by a friend of mine is from the game World of Warcraft by the character Thrall. He states that "The beginning of wisdom is the statement I do not know." This quote can be interpreted as by saying "I do not know" you realize a lack of knowledge. Then you have the chance to pursue this knowledge, thus beginning wisdom. It may not be Shakespeare, but if you search you can find other meanings to this quote. Another lesson from some video games is learning to play the hero. Many video games have a character who is giving this hero a "pep-talk" so to speak. These pep-talks teach the hero to never give up and to always do what is right. Avid gamers take these lessons to heart. They pay attention to them and learn from them.

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Video games are just like every new thing introduced into society. Those of us, like me, who aren't interested in them may misunderstand them. We may be letting our own biases get in the way of our opinions. We don't understand the rush felt from completing a game and wanting to feel that more often, thus striving to meet goals set in the real world. We only know what we catch in our glimpses of others playing, the sword fighting and bloodshed. I'm not advocating living, breathing, and dreaming video games; everything in moderation of course. Perhaps we should not be so quick to say that video games are all bad influences and are bad for the youth. Like everything else in the world, they deserve a "fighting" chance.

Lynzi Daly

Below is a link to a web site listing some benefits to video games.

http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/10_Benefits_Of_Video_Games.html

Language Development

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Learning language is an interesting process that has seen study, but not much serious lab study. In this particular study, a scientist from MIT set up a series of cameras in each and every room of his house in order to study his child learning language. He did it for the first 90,000 hours of his child's life. According to my calculations, this comes out to roughly the first 18 months - nonstop video/audio recording of his child. While it may seem strange, it has been incredibly interesting. It revealed that infants in fact shape the way that their caregivers teach them to speak. Of course, others things were learned, but that was among the most interesting to me. All in all, this was an interesting study that absolutely deserves massive amounts of attention.

The only flaw I can see in this study is replicability. While it is completely possible to replicate this study, there are very few people that would be willing to allow cameras in their household. But, it was mentioned that they have been working on recording devices that are strictly audio, which is slightly less intrusive. But still, it seems unlikely that people would be open to constant recording within their household in every room that a group of colleagues will surely be intently studying.

http://www.fastcompany.com/1733627/mit-scientist-captures-his-sons-first-90000-hours-on-video

David Iverson

In our reading of Chapter 9 I found one particular explanation of intelligence very interesting to consider. This was the theory of "general intelligence" and "specific intelligence" hypothesized by Charles Spearman. General intelligence is the measure of the brain's routine function, telling wether one's intellect is above-average, average, or below average. It's possible to compare this to the quality of a vehicle's engine. Specific intelligence on the other hand is one's ability to excel in a certain subject; this can be coupled with the previously mentioned analogy. The specific intelligence is the type of vehicle the engine is running in i.e. Sedan, SUV, etc.

Usually, general intelligence is represented by the letter "g" while specific intelligence is represented by "s". As one of the few people who enjoyed Algebra in high school, i automatically imagined "g" and "s" as variables in an algebraic function. I believed the most appropriate function to model from was the equation for slope y=mx+b (aka a line is the rise/run plus the y-intercept). Going from this equation, we can measure intelligence (represented by "y") as y=sx+g.

Now here's the question I put to you. Would y=sx+g be used to measure a subjects intellect in several areas; where each of the subjects scores are averaged? Or, would this be a type of inverse deduction where several "smart" subjects (with the same "g") are tested on the same exam and their "s" is figured out and the highest most "s"-scores are considered to be the top percentile? I would love to hear an opinion from all of you.

The Mozart effect states that by listening to Mozart your spatial ability will increase. This effect was originally popularized in the 90's. I remember hearing about the effect when I was 8 or so years old and I wondered why my parents hadn't used it on me.

This effect has sense been debunked because the results can't be replicated. This reminds me of a concept we learned about earlier in the year- Sleep learning also know as Hypnopaedia. Both of these ideas were highly popularized after initial research came out.

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I have actually tried sleep learning. When I was in Spanish in high school I tried the technique as a means to learn the vocabulary. At the time I felt that it helped me learn the material, but after reading the research I believe that I suffered from a confirmation bias. I wanted it to help me learn Spanish, so I thought it did when i took the test.

At the end of the day everyone wants to succeed, and to have their children succeed. The truth of the matter is that there is no quick fix to becoming a genius or learning vast amounts of information. Exposing your babies to Mozart will not make your baby smarter, so let them play with toys or watch Sesame Street (I loved that as a kid). Having a tape recording repeat something over and over will not let you magically learn things. It is all about the hard work and determination you put in, and what you focus on in life.

For more information on Hypnopaedia and the Mozart effect visit:
http://www.sleepdex.org/hypnopaedia.htm
http://www.nytimes.com/1999/08/03/science/mozart-for-baby-some-say-maybe-not.html

Daylight Savings

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While reading through different snopes articles, I found an article about day light savings time and how it came to origin. This caught my interest because this weekend the clocks were switched back an hour and Daylight savings was ended. Daylight savings is when the clocks are switched forward and hour in March and switched back an hour in November. While reading the article, it explained how Daylight savings time began. Daylights savings was said to be requested by Benjamin Franklin in a 1784 essay titled, "An Economical Project." The United Stated adopted it in 1917 but was unlinked and discounted only a year later in 1919. Daylight savings made occurrences back and forth throughout the next century. Today, Daylight savings is a set time and date in the United States. Daylight Savings begins at two Eastern on the second Sunday in March and Ends at two Eastern on the first Sunday of November. It was hard to figure out which principal of critical thinking to use to evaluate this article. I used the claim of Occam's Razor because the origin of Day Light Savings time is very simple and doesn't need much to explain it. It was made up to give people more daylight in hours that they will be awake and doing things. The claim is that daylight savings helps reduces traffic accidents and cuts electricity usage in the evening. I feel the Occam's Razor of the six principals of critical thinking works because Daylight savings is a very simple event and there isn't much to it.

http://snopes.com/science/daylight.asp
Matt Gonsior

Closeness

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How close are you to your secret crush, best friend or lover? Before you answer this, being 'close' to someone has a couple of different meanings... The first "closeness" would be in the literal sense, or proximity. We are more likely to become attracted or befriend someone who is in close proximity to us in our daily lives. That is why students often have more friends or are more attracted to other students who sit next to them in class. The second "closeness" is how close someone's ideas and beliefs are to another, or similarity. You may have heard that opposites attract but in most cases, "birds of a feather flock together." Studies show marriages between couples with more things in common tend to last longer than dissimilar couples. The third and final "closeness" is the emotional aspect, or the rule of give and take, reciprocity. If someone is told they are liked they tend to start liking the person who likes them. They also tend to disclose information to people who are more open with them. Proximity, similarity, and reciprocity are major predictions in attraction.

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Knowing these ideas can be extremely helpful when it comes to finding a partner. Many dating services like eHarmony and Zoosk use these three ideas to find a match. Similarity seems to be the main idea used in dating services; whereas reciprocity and proximity are initiated by the people after meeting. Maybe there is no need for dating services though. By combining all these ideas the chance of getting a date rises tremendously. All you need to do is find someone you are around a lot, someone who has similar interests and you may possibly leak information that you find them attractive. Looking back at past relationships I can see that my girlfriends were in at least one of my classes, we were very similar and a few girls didn't like me until they found out I liked them. So it does seem that these ideas really work!

-Brad Tuominen

The book defines empty nest syndrome as an "alleged period of depression in mothers following the departure of their grown children from the home." After doing further research on this syndrome, I discovered the above YouTube video. According to Dr. Catherine Birndorf of New York's Presbyterian Hospital, "empty nest syndrome is not a psychiatric disorder or a depression, it is a constellation of symptoms such as sadness, grief, and sense of loss that can happen at a time of transition particularly when kids leave the home after having been there for many, many years." Birndorf also states that up to 75% of parents suffer some form of empty nest syndrome. There are many self-help books that are published to help parents overcome the feeling of empty nest syndrome but according to recent studies, empty nest syndrome can be fulfilled and fulfilling in new ways. Parents can reestablish their hobbies, and strengthen relationships and friendships. Not only can parents regain a piece of themselves but also find out new things about themselves and engage in different things that they haven't had the time for in the past. I believe that this concept is important because many college students do not understand to the full extent of what our parents are going through. An interesting concept is that the book defines empty nest syndrome as a form of depression, while Dr. Birndorf states that it is not. The book also says that it affects mothers and says nothing about the effect on the father, but in reality it has effects on fathers as well. It is easy to tell that empty nest syndrome does occur because my parents are still going through this stage in their lives even though I'm a junior. My mother has picked up golf as a new hobby and my father has began to road bike, a lot. One question I still have regarding this topic is, "Is it really a type of depression, or is it simply a syndrome that simply requires replacement?" For example once the child is "replaced" by a new hobby or pet do the effects of empty nest syndrome decrease? Also, another question I have is, "How does one determine if a syndrome is a type of depression, what parts of the brain are being affected by empty nest syndrome?" I believe tests could be done to verify the theory that it is a form of depression, but I believe evidence can also show that it can be disproven (falsifiability). I believe this is an important concept because I think kids in today's world take what their parents have provided them for granted and really don't understand what it is like from a parent's perspective. This video shows how some parents cope with this syndrome.

The Mozart Effect

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One concept I found particularly interesting and personal was the Mozart Effect. It is believed by some in the psychological community that when children listen to Mozart and other types of classical music, doing so will improve their mental development. This concept is very important because if the ability to make kids more intelligent and increasing their developmental rate is achievable by listening to classical music, then soon a whole new industry would emerge with CD entitled as "Songs to Make Kids Smarter," or "Little Mozart in the Making Music." asian_kid_headphones.jpg For example, in popular psychology, some companies and websites attempt to produce and sell products that swear that it the Mozart effect will benefit life by "...Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit." But as demonstrated by the scientific principle, extraordinary claims must be met with extraordinary evidence in order to be proven. In the case of the Mozart effect, there have been no concrete findings that listening to classical music will improve a child's mental development. I have experienced sensations of the Mozart effect personally because when I was in elementary school through junior high, my teachers would put on classical music during "study time." If anything, the music made me focus more on my worksheets and math assignments. So in my personal opinion, I believe that the music made my brain active so that I could work more productively on my homework. Although I may not have improved my mental development, it definitely helped me focus on working during class time.

Violence in Video Games

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Video games have many times been blamed for violent tendencies in youth. In my experience, video games have not been a method of increasing violent tendencies, but rather it is a harmless release of aggressive tendencies. Violence is an integral part of many aspects of life and releasing natural aggressiveness via a harmless video game seems to be a much better option then actually using that aggressiveness in the real world.

However, much of the debate about violence in video games has been centered on its effect on children who are exposed to it. In my opinion, this issue can be different for children of a younger age because they do not have as strong a grasp on the separation of reality and make believe. For children, seeing violence in video games does not necessarily process as being make believe and therefore could lead to different behavior in real life.

"Where Danger Lives"

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The movie "Where Danger Lives" is a 1950s film noir about a man who is tricked into loving a married woman, gets involved with the murder of her husband, and flees with her to Mexico. It provides an excellent example of Borderline Personality Disorder.

Doctor Jeff Cameron is working a late shift when a stunningly beautiful woman is brought into the emergency room by a man who refuses to give his name and leaves before getting questioned any further; he says only that the lady had tried to kill herself. She immediately grabs on to him, and says she'll do anything she can to thank him. The woman gives a fake name and leaves in the middle of the night. Before leaving, she leaves Dr Cameron a note, telling him to meet her, Margo, at her home.

They quickly, almost too quickly fall in love. Doctor Cameron receives a call at the hospital from his fiance from earlier in the movie, and he says goodbye quite coldly, showing how he has abandoned his past love. Cameron, after having too much to drink one night, goes to Margo's house, where it is revealed that Margo is married to an older man. The drunk Cameron and Mr. Margo end up fighting, with Cameron knocking Mr. Margo out cold. Margo grabs onto this situation, and while Cameron is out of the room, kills her husband. She blames his death on Cameron, and demands they flee the country.

At every turn, Margo is making the situation more dire: they see cops, Margo says the cops are after them; they see a roadblock, Margo says it's there to stop them from going any further. Any time Cameron is able to think clearly, Margo turns his words around on him and declares that he is trying to leave her.

As they are driving through the desert, Cameron falls asleep at the wheel and swerves off the road. Neither of them are hurt but Margo wakes up screaming, claiming Cameron was trying to kill her. She uses his guilt and poor condition to get him to agree that she will make the decisions from now on. When they are miles away from the border, and Cameron decides he does not want to go with her to Mexico, she waits for him to collapse from exhaustion to smother him to death, like she did her husband. Cameron does not die, however, and learns the truth about Margo over a radio announcement; the two best psychiatrists in the nation could not treat her.

Margo displays all of the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder. She becomes desperate at the barest imagined notion of abandonment; she has gone from man to man, ruining relationship after relationship, while married the entire time; she is incredibly manipulative and uses guilt and fear to get what she wants out of Doctor Cameron; she does not give the same name twice in the whole movie, besides Margo; she came into the hospital after a suicide attempt; she ranges from being incredibly needy of Cameron to claiming he tried to kill her; she is highly paranoid at the wrong times, and has been filled with anger to have attempted two murders within the course of the 91 minute movie.

I'm aware the diagnosis of BPD is a difficult one, but one can lean everything they need to about the disorder by watching this movie.

Language Development

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Learning language is an interesting process that has seen study, but not much serious lab study. In this particular study, a scientist from MIT set up a series of cameras in each and every room of his house in order to study his child learning language. He did it for the first 90,000 hours of his child's life. According to my calculations, this comes out to roughly the first 18 months - nonstop video/audio recording of his child. While it may seem strange, it has been incredibly interesting. It revealed that infants in fact shape the way that their caregivers teach them to speak. Of course, others things were learned, but that was among the most interesting to me. All in all, this was an interesting study that absolutely deserves massive amounts of attention.

The only flaw I can see in this study is replicability. While it is completely possible to replicate this study, there are very few people that would be willing to allow cameras in their household. But, it was mentioned that they have been working on recording devices that are strictly audio, which is slightly less intrusive. But still, it seems unlikely that people would be open to constant recording within their household in every room that a group of colleagues will surely be intently studying.


David Iverson

Starving for Help

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Anorexia nervosa is a major mental illness that is associated with extreme weight loss and a skewed perception of one's body. This illness is diagnosed when someone refuses to keep their body weight at an average weight for his or her age and height. In addition to excessive weight loss, other characteristics of anorexia include irregular menstrual periods, thin hair, hypersensitivity to cold, and skin that appears yellow. Continuous dieting is also typically coupled with obsessional exercise.
There are multiple factors that can lead to eating disorders. Different family related influences have been shown to provoke eating disorders. People who have relatives with anorexia are eight times more likely to have the disorder as well. Researchers believe anorexia may be linked to certain chromosomes. Another explanation for the disorder being genetically related is that twins often experience the same eating disorders. Although the media is believed to play a role in people's eating disorders, these illnesses around found all over the world and can be seen throughout history.
The most common cause of death in people with anorexia is heart disease. Pregnant women with anorexia are more likely to have miscarriages or give birth to a child with low birth weight or different birth defects. 90% of women with this disorder have osteopenia and 40% have osteoporosis due to low estrogen levels. Nerve damage can occur in those who suffer from severe anorexia and things such as seizures, disordered thinking, and numbness occurs.
There is no treatment for anorexia that is believed to be one hundred percent effective. People recover at a rate of about 4 to 27 percent. This recovery process takes about five to six years under strict medical supervision.


Michaela Doud

Additional sources:
http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/how_serious_anorexia_nervosa_000049_5.htm
http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/what_causes_eating_disorders_000049_3.htm

Exposure Therapy

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For my fourth blog post I decided to explore the idea of exposure therapy, which is discussed in our text book and Dr. Gewirtz lectured to us about. Exposure therapy is the most effective treatment for anxiety orders such as phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Exposure therapy works by slowly exposing the patient to different levels of the stimulant that causes their anxiety until they can finally be exposed to the full stimulant with no or reduced anxiety. Depending on what is being treated exposure therapy can be performed using models, real stimulants, or even virtual models.

Exposure therapy is very important in the world today and is becoming increasingly important because of the number of people suffering from anxiety disorders. There are millions of people in the United States alone who suffer from anxiety disorders that can be treated using exposure therapy. As wars continue to be fought the amount of people suffering from anxiety disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder will continue to increase and the need for exposure therapy will also increase. Without this treatment it would be very difficult for people who suffer from these disorders to be able to live normal lives, because of the severity of these disorders and the lack of other affective treatments available.

When exploring exposure therapy it is very interesting to think about how the treatment actually works. In the following video I discovered that exposure therapy works to change the neurochemistry in the brain, helping to make it such an effective treatment. The video also gives an example of a woman with OCD who conquered her fear of crossing busy streets after undergoing exposure therapy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-qtnCiX5b4

Ben Sicoli


Self-esteem, as defined in our textbook, is the evaluation of our worth. Psychologists generally acknowledge that those who possess a reasonable amount of self-esteem are generally happier and more satisfactory with their lives than those that are lack of self-esteem. Nevertheless, as popular wisdom holds, too much is not always a good thing. Indeed, people that harbor an excessive self-esteem are more likely to suffer from a personality dysfunction called Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

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Narcissism is a word derived from a Greek mythology, in which a statuesque youth name Narcissus was doomed to fall in love with his own reflection in the water, as a result of his outright rejection to the desperate advances of the nymph Echo. Like Narcissus, people who suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, are self-centered as well as self-absorbed, and most importantly, oblivious of others' emotions. In addition, narcissistic individuals also have a potent sense of entitlement and overconfidence. These characteristics often lead narcissists to do things without considering the toxic aftermaths that their actions may inflict on others. Let's consider an example from the article Narcissism Epidemic: Why There Are So Many Narcissists Now:

Narcissism contributed to the economic crisis. Many people had narcissistic overconfidence [when they said], "Yeah, I can afford that million-dollar house," and lenders said, "Sure, I know you'll pay off that loan," and, well, fantasy collided with reality, and the consequences have been worse for the economy than anything since the Great Depression. Obviously, there were lots of causes for that, but I think an unrecognized cause is that narcissistic overconfidence.- explained by psychologist Jean Twenge of San Diego State University
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What are the causes of narcissism? No psychologist is able to answer that question thoroughly; nevertheless, Jean Twenge offers a potential explanation. According to Twenge, four factors that may contribute to the manifestation of narcissism in an individual are indulging parenting style, exposure to narcissistic celebrity culture, media and the Internet, as well as easy credit which gives people a sense of entitlement by allowing them to purchase things that they, in reality, cannot afford.

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Narcissism is not only present in Western countries, but also in Oriental countries. Case in point, in China, there is the Little Emperor Syndrome. As a result, it is imperative to find the treatment for NPD. One possible way to cure this disorder, as proposed by Twenge, is to promote empathy, because with the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, people will be more responsible with their own actions.

Narcissism Epidemic: Why There Are So Many Narcissists Now

Ngoc Nguyen

The Healing Touch

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Originally it was believed that children become attached to their mothers because of the nourishment provided through milk and food. While this fit with the belief that reinforcement is the primary shaping influence on our behavior, psychologists now believe that attachment can be due to other circumstances. In our psychology book one of the attachment bonds, Contact Comfort, is referred to as "The Healing Touch". Contact Comfort is the phenomenon of the positive emotions that come along due to touch.

The world was shown a first hand example of what can happen to a child who is not exposed to Contact Comfort in the 1990's due to the fall of communism in Romania. Under Nicolae Ceausescu Romanian orphanages became overcrowded due to the banning of birth control and the extreme poverty. The overcrowding led to thousands of neglected children who were only given the basic needs of food, and who were left alone most of the day. Because of this the children had extreme psychological problems that were in many cases irreversible. The following video shows these problems from the inside of the orphanages.

A study done by Harry Harlow can explain some of these findings. He conducted studies using baby rhesus monkeys that showed the monkeys desire for food verses touch. Harlow put the monkeys in a room with two "monkeys", one just wire with nourishment connected to it, and the other a soft warm stand with no food. He observed that the monkeys spent most of their time with the soft warm monkey and only went to the wire monkey when needed. This shows that it is vital for young to experience affection rather than just be given food and water.
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Emotional Rollercoaster

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Last week, Professor Gewirtz lectured on the evolutionary view on emotion. I found this most interesting on account I believe the various and complex emotions of humans are rather underappreciated.
Gewirtz lectured that Darwin believed that emotion promotes the survival of species--the emotional responses are instinctive and universal rather than learned and culture specific. This is incredibly important to understanding how humans have developed and thrive as such a complex species.
Emotion has an adaptive value to it as some emotions, such as fear, allow humans to survive in certain situations on account of heightened senses.

As one can see in this video, the scary music makes the watcher more attentive, activating a defensive emotional state that screams for the lady NOT to go in that room. Unfortunately for blondie, she fails at listening to that fear which should have enhanced her chance of survival brought on by years of evolution. So luckily for the human race, we are able to adapt from emotions which in turn allow us to thrive. (Well, excluding those in horror movies.)
Emotion is also innate in the human brain--for example, the facial expressions we express to one another allow quick judgment of who is naughty, and who is nice.

This video clearly portrays a threatening expression, which in turn allows one to know to get away from this guy. This innate ability allows humans to be able to survive amongst each other, bad and good alike, in relative success.
This may seem simply basic, but one must understand the basics before moving onto more complex matters which is why I think this is important for beginning psych students to understand. Understanding how emotions have evolved may give insight to developing new therapies in helping individuals who might need some help in the field of emotions (I.e. psychopaths, schizophrenics). After a few months of a regular metro bus commuter, I have seen many a strange individual, from drooling homeless men making lewd comments to transgender ladies sharing life stories. These experiences just make me all the more curious as to how some individuals can be so far from what our society considers 'emotionally stable.' I am curious as to how the rejection these individuals must face affect that stability, or lack of stability.
-Ashli Carlson

Maslow: Then and Now

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Abraham Maslow first introduced his theory of the hierarchy of needs in 1943 in his paper "A Theory of Human Motivation". The hierarchy of needs contains five different levels. A person starts at the bottom of the pyramid and works their way up. It is impossible to move to the next level if the current level is not fulfilled.
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The first level is physiological needs, this includes the most basic needs that any human needs. Food, water, air, and sleep are included in this. Maslow believed that all other needs became secondary until these needs were met. The second step is safety and security. This includes a safe place to live, steady employment, and even insurance. The third level of the pyramid is social needs or the feeling of belonging. Everyone needs to feel that they are loved and cared for and that they have someone that they can turn to. The fourth level is esteem needs. A person needs to believe in themselves and realize that they are worth something and that they can accomplish things. The final level is self-actualization. People who reach this level are self-aware and are not as concerned with the opinions of others.

The hierarchy of needs is a good point to start but it is not necessarily something that has to be followed exactly. There are some needs that are more important than others but it is also possible to reach higher levels without fulfilling some of the lower levels.

Though Maslow was the first to come up with the hierarchy of needs many people have made changes in the past couple of decades. There have been levels added to the pyramid. maslows hierarchy of needs.jpg

In my opinion some of the new levels were good additions to the pyramid. I think that the cognitive needs was the best addition because you need to have knowledge in your life though it is not necessary to have to survive but it does allow you to live a better life.

Here is a fun video relating the movie "UP" with the hierarchy of needs. You will have to click on the link because unfortunately this video is unable to be embedded because of a request by the person who posted it. You will need to open it in another tab.
UP Video


Becky Selser

Nature-Nurture Debate

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Early on in psych 1001 we learned about the differences between nature and nurture.
Nature - our genetic makeup Nurture - our environmental background

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After taking a closer look at the nature-nurture debate, I have discovered there is often no clear cut boundary separating nature and nurture. In fact, nature and nurture have many instances where they over lap and cannot be clearly deciphered from one to the other.
One example of the intersection between nature and nurture is the gene-environment interaction. In this example, the impact of genes on behavior depends on the environment in which the behavior was developed.
In one experiment is is suggested that there is a gene linked to children growing up to become violent. In this experiment a child who has committed violent acts and a child who has not share the same gene. The activation of this gene depended on the environment in which each child grew up in. So the nature aspect is the gene found in the child. The nurture aspect is the specific environment that triggers the gene.

Real life examples of nature vs. nurture and their closely knit relationship are twin studies. The results from these studies have shown that we are basically influenced evenly by both nature and nurture. The link below goes into further details about twin studies.
Nature vs. Nurture

Danielle Spizzirri

Emoticons :)

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Emoticons were relatively unknown until the past decade when they became extremely important in talking online. When talking online, it becomes very difficult to get your emotion across clearly, and to do this emoticons are used. Not all of them are used, most commonly are happy :) and sad :(. With these symbols, people would not be able to clearly display their emotions online or in text because emotion can be misinterpreted often in text.

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There are literally hundreds of different emoticons. Because of these symbols you can use hatred, surprise, or even crying in messages when normally this would not be possible. The symbols have become extremely important because everything takes place online or in text, that as this evolves it provides a way for our emotions to evolve with it. Had emoticons never been created, emotion would be completely absent form this major portion of peoples' lives.
I can say from experience that emoticons are important. People rarely have a conservation through text, or another similar form, without using at least one of these sideways faces because people want to share there emotions and this allows them too. People love to show there emotions, and in this "world" were it's all but impossible, people find a way, though emoticons.

Jacob Patnode

expressions.jpgWords can only convey so much information, and without nonverbal cues, body language, and gestures, we may not be able to interpret many of what is said to us properly. Mere facial expressions can say a lot in themselves, words aren't even needed in some situations, so when we are robbed of the ability to communicate through nonverbal expressions, the perfect example being e-mails and texting, many things can get misinterpreted and this can lead to difficult situations, whether they be with friends or with your boss at work.

We use body language and facial expressions to convey emotion whereas words are used to convey details; nonverbal expressions are like the music and words are the lyrics, without the music the song is not complete. As humans, we can easily pick up on underlying meanings just by looking at a person's stance or facial expressions (we may cross our arms to take a defensive stance, or we may widen our eyes to convey surprise).

There has been many times where I have been confused as to what someone else is trying to say in e-mails or text messages, I may think that a person is angry in their message when they were really being sarcastic or making a joke. Sarcasm and jokes are especially difficult to pick up on in messages because they both require a certain tone of voice or some sort of facial expression to go along with them, which messages can't always convey effectively.

One example of how e-mail or texts can be deceptive is the fact that some people consider all capital letters to be a good way to emphasize a point whereas others think of it as yelling. One of my father's coworkers sent an e-mail once that had several statements in all capitals to emphasize a point, but some others thought that he was basically yelling at them; there were definitely tensions that arose from that situation. So, we always have to be careful when we communicate through messages because much communication is lost without nonverbal cues.

Amanda Blake

Prematurity

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Anne Schneider

A premature infant is one who is born at fewer than 36 weeks' gestation. A premature baby can typically survive on its own if it is born around 25 weeks or after. However, there are cases where babies are born before 25 weeks and can still survive. A recent example of this just happened with the worlds most premature baby, born at 21 weeks and five days, went home with its parents. The dangers of having a premature baby are that they can have developmental disorders, cerebral palsy, and seizures. Basically, the longer the baby is inside the mother, the odds of fetal survival increase and the odds of developmental disorders decrease.

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The exact cause of premature birth is unsolved but there are things that can be done to decrease your chances of having a premature baby. Research suggests that those with chronic high blood pressure, those who smoke and drink all having higher chances of delivering their baby premature. It is encouraged to lower you blood pressure, and avoid smoking and drinking when pregnant. There is also research that shows the older you are the higher chance you have of having a premature baby.

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According to March of Dimes, one in eight babies in the United States are born preterm. This is a very large statistic and I think that it is important to reduce this number. Although I don't have any personal experience with premature babies I think the research is important for people of the future so that they can continue to grow their baby as long as possible inside of them. This keeps the baby protected and does not over stimulate it. Research would help pregnant woman feel more secure when worrying about their baby and the possible things that could go wrong. With an average of 340 births per minute, research on premature babies is very important.


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Watch and Let Them Learn

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One of my best friends attends Mizzou down in Columbia, Missouri. He graduated third in our high school class, went to state in Golf and Tennis, and entered college his freshman year already accepted to medical school. Despite all of these accolades he has recently been seeing a therapist because he feels depressed. When I've asked him why he feels this way he has no real response. He himself is in the dark. He told me that his therapist had a few ideas. The therapist seems to think that my friend's parents were so concerned with his happiness at an early age and through out his life at home that they may have actually made him unhappy in the long run.

Hearing this from my close friend as well as having just read the chapter in our textbook about child development had me thinking about this topic this past week. Can parents try so hard to make their child happy that they manage to stunt their happiness in later years?

I found an article by Lori Gottlieb in the Atlantic entitled "How to Land Your Kid in Therapy". Gottlieb interviews multiple elementary school teachers and psychologists that seem to provide an answer to my question. Parenting is all about teaching your child lessons that will lead them to becoming a well rounded, functioning adult. With that goal in mind, many parents then think overall happiness leads to functionality in the adult world. This type of relationship between the two concepts has parents trying to please their children at every turn. They think if their child has the happiest childhood they can that they will then grow up to be happy. Many psychologist have found that this relationship is indeed backwards and that being a functional adult in society has a better chance of making one happy in the long run.

This means that parents should be focusing on teaching their children lessons about how the world works rather than trying to constantly please them. An example used in the article is a parent's ability to say no to their child. If a child asks for ice cream one afternoon the parent may respond with a stern "no". The child may try to get the parent to budge with whining or promises of being good. The parent then thinks that if they reach middle ground with their child they are honoring their child's opinion and are behaving as a "good parent". What they really did was teach their child that when given the response "no", they can easily work around that to get what they want. If they learn this at an early age they will try to get their way in the adult world in relatively the same fashion. They will be met with the truth when punished for this sort of behavior and be left feeling sad and confused. "How did my behavior warrant such a harsh punishment? My ways had always gotten me what I had wanted before."

Parents need to take a page from the Rolling Stones and realize that kids need to learn "you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need". Children must learn that there are others in the world just like them and sometimes these people's opinion matters more than their own. They need to learn there are rules that cannot be weaved around no matter what. These lessons may lead to tears, whining, and just an overall cranky kid, but that child's frustrated state of mind serves as a lesson to them. They have now learned a valuable lesson about adversity and that sometimes you just have to live with what you've got.

It is these types of lessons that children need to be taught early on rather than being constantly pleased in order to become happy adults. What may create an angry child one day may create a happy adult who knows how to deal with life's problems for a lifetime.

Ian Peters

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/07/how-to-land-your-kid-in-therapy/8555/1/

Imprinting

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In many cartoons or photography, we could see cute ducklings or goslings walking behind their mom in a line. "Imprinting," first discovered by Konrad Lorenz, refers to the phenomenon where goslings make a strong bond with and follow the first large and moving object. However, human beings are not the same with goslings when making the bonds with a mom. Human beings don't have exclusive period of imprinting and don't make a strong bond with anything big and moving.
Unlike goslings, human can make strong bonds with multiple people, including mom, dad, and sometimes foster parents. This concept interested me a lot because I had a friend who did know that she was adopted child until she graduate from a high school. I believe that this happened because she, who was adopted early, broke her bond with her biological parents and "imprinted" to her foster parents more strongly. For other examples, the first link below illustrates four cases where people realized their adoption long time later, even 60 years old.
When I was researching about this, a question arose on me; does human beings only imprint to human beings? Before, I assumed that people only make a strong bond to human because humans are smart enough to recognize difference between themselves and other things like animals. However, I was shocked to learn about the case of Oxana Malaya. When she was three, she crawled into a hovel where her families kept dogs. After five years of being raised by dogs, surprisingly, she acted like a dog like barking or eating raw meat. you and watch her behavior in the video I linked below. I believe it demonstrate a possibility that human can imprint to others than human like a dog and learn to act like them.


1.four case of realizing adopting in old age
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jan/02/adoption-children-family
2.Ukranian Girl Raised by Dogs
http://youtu.be/UkX47t2QaRs

Jongeun Jang

There's a saying that there is a fine line between love and hate, but what is it exactly that separates the two?
According to Robert Steinberg's triangular theory of love, there are three components of love: intimacy, passion, and commitment. Each of these elements can then be combined to form different forms and varying degrees of love. Steinberg also created a theory of hate based off of his triangular theory of love. Consisting with his triangular theory of love, there are three elements of hate: negation of intimacy, passion, and commitment. These two theories seem to support the saying that there is a fine line between love and hate, since the two consist of the same basic elements.
So what causes hate to flourish instead of love? According to Steinberg, what fuels hate is propaganda displayed to the public by groups and governments. Some people also believe that the feeling of disgust plays a large role in building hatred towards something or someone. When we feel hate towards someone, we often feel disgust - that that person is somehow less than human, and worthy of horrible consequences. This is shown in the following article about a hate crime that occurred in Atlanta, Georgia.

Hate Crime in Atlanta

The young men in the story charged with murder and committing a hate crime grew up in an area that was already highly polarized racially. This type of intolerant environment probably strengthened their feelings of dislike towards African Americans, because it was what they had grown up in. This disturbing incidence demonstrates that hate is a serious problem in our world today, which brings us to wonder if there is anything we can do to eradicate hate. It is believed that if we can learn hate, then we can probably unlearn hate. This has to do with helping individuals overcome their confirmation biases, by looking past the negative attributes of people or groups they dislike. This seems to be an important step in overcoming hate and its repercussions, but is it enough?
If people are taught from a young age to be open minded to all beliefs, cultures, races, and life styles, will they be more tolerant as adults? Are people taught to hate others because of their negative attributes, or do others have negative attributes because people show hate and disgust towards them? Many questions about hate and what we can do to eliminate it still remain. One thing is for certain, we all have positive and negative sides to us, and it would do well to remember that when faced with hateful information about people.

Phoebe Stephan

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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As defined by PubMed Health, fetal alcohol syndrome is "growith, mental, and physical problems that may occur in a baby when a mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy." It wasn't until fairly recently that the effects of alcohol on the fetus were discovered. Women had always though it to be acceptable to drink during their pregnancy. This is no longer the case. These problems and effects are caused when a women consumes alcohol and the alcohol is then passed accross teh placenta to the unborn child. Even the smallest amount of alcohol is considered a risk to the fetus. "No 'safe' level of alcohol use during pregnancy has been established" (PubMed Health). For obvious reasons (more alcohol consumed is equal to increased problems), binge drinking during pregnancy is much more harmful than consuming smaller amounts of alcohol. But, once again, any alcohol consumed during pregnancy is harmful. When the mother chooses to consume has aslo proved to be of importance. Drinking during the first three months of pregnancy has been proven to be most harmful because this is when the fetus is beginning to develop.

There are many symptoms used to detect fetal alcohol syndrome in infants and children (PubMed Health):


  1. Poor growth while the baby is in and outside of the womb

  2. Decreased muscle tone and poor circulation

  3. Delayed development in the areas of:


    • thinking

    • speech

    • movement

    • social skills

    • areas of the brain effected by alcohol:

    Mattson50.gif

  4. Heart defects:


    • Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD): "an abnormal opening in the septum dividing the ventricles allows blood to pass directly from the left to the right ventricle; large openings may cause congestive heart failure" (princeton.edu)

    • Atrial Septal Defect (ASD): "an abnormal opening between the left and right atria of the heart" (princeton.edu)


  5. Problems with the face:


    • Narrow, small eyes with large epicanthal folds (the skin fold of the upper eyelid)

    • Small head

    • Small upper jaw

    • Smooth groove in upper lip

    • Smooth and thin upper lip


    afp20050715p279-f2.jpg

    There are ways to detect fetal alcohol syndrome while the fetus is still in the womb. The easiest way is to detect problems with the growth of the baby by using a pregnancy ultrasound. Ultrasounds work by creating an image of the fetus by using and measuring the vibrations of the high-frequency sound waves which the ultrasound device emits (MedicineNet.com)

    Unfortunately, there is no treatment for this disease. It can only be prevented by the mother choosing not to consume alcohol during her pregnancy or while she may be trying to become pregnant.

    Drinking alcohol during pregnancy may effect the birth of the child. Some expecting mothers have experienced miscarriages and stillbirths (the birth of an infant that has died in the womb after having survived at least the first 28 weeks of pregnancy (medterms.com)) as well as premature deliveries. Complications may also appear in the infant. These include (PubMed Health):

    • Abnormal heart structure
    • Behavior problems
    • Infant death
    • Mental retardation
    • Problems in the structure of the head, eyes, nose, or mouth
    • Poor growth before birth
    • Poor growth and poor coordination after birth

    Since the discovery of fetal alcohol syndrome, many women have learned to avoid alcohol during their pregnancy. The best chance a mother has to avoid these symptoms and complications is by not consuming alcohol during pregnancy.

How Babies Get Going

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Motor behaviors of infants begin to develop in the womb, even before the infant is born. Babies come born with initial reflexes that they don't need to learn. These reflexes, such as the sucking and rooting, are crucial for the survival of babies. If babies were expected to use trial and error in order to learn these reflexes some would die of starvation, having not learned how to eat. Right when infants are born, they start to learn how to move their bodies and develop their coordination. These developmental motor skills are learned through trial and error and aren't preprogrammed in the womb. The major motor skills and milestones that infants need to master while developing are sitting up, crawling, standing unsupported and walking. Although almost all babies master these major milestones, the speed and age at which they successfully reach these skills differs. Some children may master the skills at a much earlier age than other children. This difference in rate can be explained in different ways. One reason that a child may reach their milestones quicker than another child, when referring to their physical maturation, has to do with the infants weight. If a baby is heavier they tend to reach their milestone more gradually because they need to build their muscles in order to support their extra weight. Another reason why babies might reach their milestones at different times has to do with the parenting and culture of the baby. Parents in China and Peru wrap their babies tightly in blankets therefore preventing much movement of the arms and legs of the baby which can result in a baby developing their motor skills at a later age.
I believe these research findings are important because the overall development of babies is something a parent worries about. If a parent is worried that their child is not developing correctly they can look at the milestones and reasons why this might be. This may help a parent detect a problem in development and diagnose it earlier which could lead to more promising and positive results when it comes to fixing the problem. This was a worry even my own parents had because my sister walked much sooner than I did. If my parents had known this important developmental information they could have concluded that my sister developed faster because she was born premature, therefore being much lighter than I was as a child. I am still curious to know why some babies skip the crawling stage all together? And why the stages seem to be developed in the same order if the skills don't necessarily build on one another due to the fact that some babies skip crawling?

Haley Slater

Love and Hate Triangle

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Robert Sternberg believes that the two types of love model is too simple to describe love. He developed a theory of a love triangle which proposed three major elements of love; Intimacy, Passion, and Commitment. These three elements of love can be described as follows. Intimacy is "I feel really close to this person", Passion is "I am crazy about this person", and Commitment is "I really want to stay with this person". In addition to these three types of love if you combine them you end up with a total of seven varieties of love. The previous three can be described as Infatuation, Liking, and Empty love respectively. With passion and intimacy combined you arrive at romantic love. Intimacy and commitment leads to companionate love. Passion and commitment leads to fatuous love. The final combination of the elements of love is all three, intimacy + passion + commitment leading to consummate love or "true love".

This is a short clip of consummate love triangle:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKJNBAozav8

Similarly, Sternberg used his three sides of live triangle to depict the opposite, hate. The three elements are the same as love passion, commitment and the negation of intimacy. Passion is "I absolutely and positively despise these people", commitment is "I'm determined to stop or harm these people", and the negation of intimacy is "I would never want to get close to these people". Just as the theory of love, this theory of hate has combinations of the three elements which make more elements with "burning hate" the most severe as it's a combination of all three.

Teratogens

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Teratogens are defined in our psych book as "an environmental factor that can exert a negative impact on prenatal development". In simpler terms teratogens are something a pregnant woman can do or a disease she can get that affects the health of her fetus. They often alter the fetus's physiological and chemical environment. Some examples of teratogens are drugs, chicken pox, X-rays, anxiety and depression. There are a large number of drugs that are known or suspected teratogens that you can find on this list. The two of the most well-known teratogens are smoking cigarettes and alcohol.

Photobucket

Smoking cigarettes or marijuana during pregnancy makes it extremely more probable that the mother will deliver the baby at 5 and a half pounds or less. When a full term baby (carried all 9 months), or any baby, weighs that amount there are great risks for death and development disorders.

Fetal alcohol syndrome is cause when the pregnant woman takes in high levels of alcohol. It causes learning disabilities, physical growth retardation, facial malformations, and behavioral disorders. The story of the boy named Iyal above is a really touching one. He has some of the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome including learning disabilities and behavioral disorders, but you wouldn't know he had the syndrome just by looking at him. It bothers me how the mother talks in this video, knowing that her intake of alcohol is what caused him to be this way. I'm glad she's speaking out against it, but I believe that most teratogens can be avoided in the first place if pregnant women take responsibility. Our book emphasizes how important fetal development is to a human, and there are ways to make sure of that. One example would be community websites like the one linked here. They provide assistance to pregnant women, and information like what not to do during pregnancy.

Sources:
Purdue University
Lilienfeld Textbook

Katie Johnson

As we learned in Chapter 11 there are many mysteries to love. Why do people fall in love? Who are people most attractive to? Here are some answers to these questions.
First, let's start with the discovery of love. When did people decide to start loving one an other? Since love is an emotion and we can't actually prove the exact time period that people started loving each other we aren't exactly positive on this answer. But as shown in the reading, "The origins of love are remarkably old, even ancient. In 2007, archaeologists unearthed these skeletons of a male and female couple in Italy frozen in an embrace over 5,000 years ago."
So how can two people meet in this huge world of over seven billion people and become lovers? Attraction is the initial stage but to fall in love we also need to feel a sparkle of chemistry with someone before deciding if we are compatible with them. As the book states, "Scientists suggest that friendship, dating, and mate choices aren't random and that three principles guide attraction and relationship formation: proximity, similarity, and reciprocity." Also it shows that people are most attractive to "average" looking individuals compared do really unique looking ones. So no worries for all of us "average" people out there!
After a relationship is formed there are three different sides of love. Robert Sternberg created a triangular theory of love with three major elements: intimacy-or feeling really close to a person, passion- i'm crazy about this person, and commitment- i really want to stay with this person. These three can form up to seven different types of love combinations including: companionate, liking, romantic love, infatuation, fatuous love, empty love, and consummate love which is said to be the most complete type of love.
Love is a strange and desired thing. No matter what type of love we all have in our lives it is proven that love can do many wonderful things. It is also proven that people in relationships are happier and healthier than others not in relationships.
Here is my favorite quote about love. "I might not know as much about love as i say i do, but now i know why everyone wants it, because it's the closest thing we have to magic in this world."
->Here are a couple videos about love.
This video is about the biochemistry of being/falling in love.

This video discuss why we love so much and the part of the brain that controls it.

Here is a fun video for you on love! People write songs about it because they love it so much! =)

By Courtney Mueller

Parenting Styles

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The role of parenting can be challenging for some adults. It can cause conflicts between family members, or it can lead to a great development of a child. A good parenting technique is crucial for the development of a child. Many parents worry they aren't doing enough or are doing to much to assist their child. Nonetheless, parenting styles can lead to strong heart felt relationships or they can lead to resentment.

According to Baumrid, each parent has their own parenting style whether it be permissive, authoritarian, authoritative, or uninvolved. A permissive parenting style is lenient. It allows considerable freedom for the child inside and outside the household with little to no discipline techniques. The authoritarian style is strict with little opportunity for free play. It involves strong punishment and little affection towards children. Another style is authoritative. This style is supportive, but clear and firm limits with children. You could say it's the best of both worlds (permissive and authoritarian). Lastly, the unfortunate parenting style is uninvolved. This is a neglectful technique that ignores the child completely.

Everyday we witness parenting styles whether we notice them or not. We've all seen a whining child and a parent in a supermarket, mall, etc. A permissive style would grant the whining child any wish they desired just to make them stop crying. On the other hand, an authoritarian style would punish the child for crying, giving them nothing to soothe their anger. However, an authoritative style would both discipline the child for having a tantrum, but explain that crying is not a superior way to get what you want. Lastly, an uninvolved parent wouldn't even notice the crying child.

All parent styles have consequences both negative and positive. Yet, there's still debate that an environment does not have a sole purpose in the development of a child. Some believe the nature side affects a child more than the nurture side. Maybe a child's genes causes the wild tantrums instead of a parent style. How could we find which side of the argument (nature or nurture) is more responsible for a child's development?

Above, is a video that talks about authoritative parenting. This video explains how authoritative parenting is a preferred parenting style amongst some psychologists

Lindsay Snider

Teratogens

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Teratogens are defined in our psych book as "an environmental factor that can exert a negative impact on prenatal development". In simpler terms teratogens are something a pregnant woman can do or a disease she can get that affects the health of her fetus. They often alter the fetus's physiological and chemical environment. Some examples of teratogens are drugs, chicken pox, X-rays, anxiety and depression. There are a large number of drugs that are known or suspected teratogens that you can find on this list. The two of the most well-known teratogens are smoking cigarettes and alcohol.

Photobucket

Smoking cigarettes or marijuana during pregnancy makes it extremely more probable that the mother will deliver the baby at 5 and a half pounds or less. When a full term baby (carried all 9 months), or any baby, weighs that amount there are great risks for death and development disorders.

Fetal alcohol syndrome is cause when the pregnant woman takes in high levels of alcohol. It causes learning disabilities, physical growth retardation, facial malformations, and behavioral disorders. The story of the boy named Iyal above is a really touching one. He has some of the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome including learning disabilities and behavioral disorders, but you wouldn't know he had the syndrome just by looking at him. It bothers me how the mother talks in this video, knowing that her intake of alcohol is what caused him to be this way. I'm glad she's speaking out against it, but I believe that most teratogens can be avoided in the first place if pregnant women take responsibility. Our book emphasizes how important fetal development is to a human, and there are ways to make sure of that. One example would be community websites like the one linked here. They provide assistance to pregnant women, and information like what not to do during pregnancy.

Sources:
Purdue University
Lilienfeld Textbook

Katie Johnson

The Mere Exposure Effect

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The mere exposure effect is our tendency to become more comfortable with something the more we see it or experience it. In other words, when we see something many times, we tend to like it more.

There are many examples of this in the real world, one the most common is in music. When we first hear something new on the radio, we think "oh, ok, it's a pretty good song" but most of the time we have no strong feelings for it. However, over time, as the song is played repeatedly on the radio, we tend to like it more. One recent example is the music of Adele. Her song "Rolling in the Deep" is easily one of the most played songs on the radio, and it has led to her extreme success and popularity as a musician. Exposing the world to Adele's music has allowed her to become very well-liked.

In my opinion, the mere exposure effect can also be applied to fashion. When we see a new style, we may not like it or think it very attractive, but after seeing it on other people over and over again, we begin to like it. That happened to me with Ugg boots. I used to think they were "Ugg-ly." However, after seeing them on so many other people, I began to like them. Now I have two pairs - they are so warm in the winter!

ugg

uggs

The mere exposure effect is very useful in advertising. The whole aim of advertisements is to increase our exposure to new products. If we see a new product many times, we are more likely to feel more comfortable and happy about it, and therefore are more willing to purchase that product.

All in all, the mere exposure can be applied to many areas of life, including music, fashion, and advertising.

Jennifer McLean

There's that age-old saying "Opposites Attract". Sure, we sometimes like people who unlike us because we feel that they "complete" us, they make up for what we lack, or for any other reasons out there. Scientists, however, found this to be false. We are attracted to people who are similar to us.

Similarity is the extent to which we have things in common with others and it is a predictor of attraction. We are more likely to befriend, date, and marry people who we are compatible with. Not only is similarity a predictor of attraction right away, but it also pays off in the long run. Couples who are married are more likely to stay together when they are similar than dissimilar couples.

Similarity influences social interaction for three reasons:
1) The basis of a relationship is paved for mutual understanding when people have the same interests and attitudes.
2) We suppose we'll be accepted and liked by people who we see eye-to-eye with.
3) People who have similar likes and dislikes with us offer support to us and help us feel good about ourselves.

Personally, when my ex-boyfriend and I were together, I strongly believed in the saying "Opposites Attract" because I realized that we were totally opposite; we had different views on every subject and did not like the same things, but I thought we were practically soul mates and that we completed each other in aspects that each of us lacked. I was soon disappointed though to find that the same thing that attracted us, being opposite, was the reason why we were not working out. We could never agree on things and saw things from different perspectives and that took a toll on our relationship. I do believe that sometimes, opposites can attract, but I don't think they work out and endure in the long run.

I believe similarity is important in any relationship because between two people, if they have the same interests, likes, dislikes, and share the same view on subjects, there won't be much fighting or debating on subjects. Also, the fact that people are similar helps people feel good about themselves because their partner who is similar provides validation. That is important in any relationship--having your partner make you feel good about yourself.

Here is a video of Dr. Diana Kirschner from a website called lovein90days.com that provides advice on dating, love, and sex. She answers the question "Do opposites really attract and can it work?" submitted by a reader and follower of the website:

- Judy Pathammavong, Section 12

Eating Disorders

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In chapter 11, we learned about different eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia. Anorexia nervosa is associated with excessive weight loss and the irrational perception that one is overweight. It usually begins in adolescence, and is much more common in girls than boys. It is commonly fueled by sociocultural pressures to be thin. People with anorexia become obsessed in their relentless pursuit of thinness, and have a distorted perception of their body size.

Bulimia nervosa is associated with a pattern of bingeing (eating large amounts of food in a short period of time) and purging (vomiting or other means of weight loss, such as frantic exercise or extreme dieting) in an effort to lose or maintain weight. Bulimia is the most common eating disorder, affecting 1-3 percent of the population. Most of the people diagnosed are women. They often have high levels of body dissatisfaction and see themselves as obese when they are of normal weight.

Some studies show a relationship between fashion magazine reading/television viewing and body dissatisfaction leading to eating disorders. A study done at a large Midwestern university showed that women who frequently read fitness magazines displayed greater signs of eating disorders than women who did not read them at all. Researchers believe that the drive for thinness is a learned behavior that sources, such as magazines, explain how to achieve.

Sarah Benthein

Eating Disorders

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In chapter 11, we learned about different eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia. Anorexia nervosa is associated with excessive weight loss and the irrational perception that one is overweight. It usually begins in adolescence, and is much more common in girls than boys. It is commonly fueled by sociocultural pressures to be thin. People with anorexia become obsessed in their relentless pursuit of thinness, and have a distorted perception of their body size.

Bulimia nervosa is associated with a pattern of bingeing (eating large amounts of food in a short period of time) and purging (vomiting or other means of weight loss, such as frantic exercise or extreme dieting) in an effort to lose or maintain weight. Bulimia is the most common eating disorder, affecting 1-3 percent of the population. Most of the people diagnosed are women. They often have high levels of body dissatisfaction and see themselves as obese when they are of normal weight.

Some studies show a relationship between fashion magazine reading/television viewing and body dissatisfaction leading to eating disorders. A study done at a large Midwestern university showed that women who frequently read fitness magazines displayed greater signs of eating disorders than women who did not read them at all. Researchers believe that the drive for thinness is a learned behavior that sources, such as magazines, explain how to achieve.

Sarah Benthein

In the 1970s, psychologist Mary Ainsworth devised a procedure, called A Strange Situation, to observe attachment relationships between a caregiver and child. Research has shown that there are individual differences in attachment quality, each of which result in one of four different reactions exerted by the children.

The procedure of the Strange Situation experiment is broken into two different "episodes".
1. Parent and infant are introduced to the experimental room.
2. Parent and infant are alone. Parent does not participate while infant explores.
3. Stranger enters, converses with parent, then approaches infant. Parent leaves inconspicuously.
4. First separation episode: Stranger's behaviour is geared to that of infant.
5. First reunion episode: Parent greets and comforts infant, then leaves again.
6. Second separation episode: Infant is alone.
7. Continuation of second separation episode: Stranger enters and gears behaviour to that of infant.
8. Second reunion episode: Parent enters, greets infant, and picks up infant; stranger leaves inconspicuously.

Ainsworth's set of observational studies revealed three distinct forms of attachment ('attachment styles'): a secure attachment style and two types of insecure attachments. Ainsworth's colleague, Mary Main, added a fourth category considered the disorganized attachment style.

1. Secure attachment- infant reacts to parent's departure by becoming upset, but greets her return with joy
2. Insecure-avoidant attachment- infant reacts to parent's departure with indifference and shows little reaction on her return
3. Insecure-anxious attachment- infant reacts to parent's departure with panic. He then shows a mixed emotional reaction on her return simultaneously reaching for her yet squirming to get away after she picks him up
4. Disorganized attachment- infants react to parent's departure and return with inconsistent and confused set of responses. They may appear dazed when reunited with their parent.
images.jpeg

There are several explanations as to why the infants are reacting in these ways.

Research suggests that infant's behavior is determined by the behavior of the primary caregiver. For example, securely attached infants are associated with sensitive & responsive primary care. Insecure Resistant attached infants are associated with inconsistent primary care. Sometimes the child's needs and met and sometime they are ignored by the mother. Insecure Avoidant infants are associated with unresponsive primary care. The child comes to believe that communication of needs has no influence on the mother.

The way their mothers respond to the infants can also tell us a little about what the children feel about themselves.

For example, securely attached children develop a positive working model of themselves and have mental representations of others as being helpful while viewing themselves as worthy of respect. Avoidant children think themselves unworthy and unacceptable, caused by a rejecting primary caregiver. Resistant children have negative self-image and exaggerate their emotional responses as a way to gain attention.


http://www.simplypsychology.org/mary-ainsworth.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Ainsworth
Lilienfeld Text: Psychology From Inquiry to Understanding

I had the privilege of working for a general thoracic surgeon here at the University of Minnesota. What struck me about this individual was that he was quite different from the other surgeons that I had worked for: he was a bit rough around the edges, he always spoke his mind and said words that were "improper" for today's workplace. There were telltale signs that he was a surgeon, too, such as his strict attention to detail and his ego. After working with him for sometime, a clearer picture of why he was this way emerged. My boss had a childhood that was rather atypical from a surgeon: rather than an advantaged childhood with a solid family and a good education, he was a juvenile delinquent (arrested 24 times before he turned 18), had little home support and was the child of an alcoholic who dropped out of high school and joined the Navy. Eventually he met someone who encouraged him to change his life. His story was chronicled in the PBS Series 'This Emotional Life' and so I feel that it is okay to discuss his story. The link to the portion of the PBS series that details his life can be found 1:37:40 in the following video:

What strikes me about Dr. Maddaus' interview for the PBS series is that he has made the connection that his life started to unravel after his grandmother died. Since his grandmother was his primary care giver (his mother worked several jobs to support their family), I believe that part of the reason that he ultimately turned to a non-traditional life was that the scaffold that children become accustomed to and which is removed gradually in childhood was suddenly absent: his mother was still working to support them and he was left alone to fend for himself. He went searching for a substitute, and found comfort in friends who then became his source of support. When his mother did marry, it was to a man who was an alcoholic and his mother quickly succumbed to alcoholism as well. So, what could have been a complete family unit with some zone of proximal development or average expectable environment never materialized. Mike spent his time on the streets with his friends and in and out of reform school. It was not until he was out of the Navy and was afraid he was doomed to return to a life on the streets that he happened to encounter someone who turned his life around. He met a pediatric surgeon who simply spent time and talked with him. Nothing special. It was a connection that changed Mike's life. He received his G.E.D. and then went to college and to medical school. While on rotation in medical school he discovered surgery and felt that the adrenaline from participating in a high risk situation in the operating room was comparable to the adrenaline he used to get stealing cars and living a hard life. Those two small things were all that he needed to leave a life of drinking, drugs and crime behind forever. His story is a constant reminder to me of how any person can change as long as they desire it badly enough. Dr. Maddaus has taught me many life lessons: that no matter where you came from, you can be what you want to be; never let anyone tell you that you have no worth; and that you are in charge of your own destiny. He has made a large impact on my life and I owe him a great deal.

Lisa Hostetler
Section 13

Baby Geniuses?

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How amazing would it be if there was a way to increase your babies' intelligence just by pressing a button? Since 1993, a good portion of parents have believed that by playing Mozart music to their babies, their intelligence increased. This assumption came from a study on college students that showed that apparently when they listen to Mozart they can spatially reason better than students who did not listen to the Mozart. There were several problems with this study that broke the six principles of critical thinking. First off, the study did not say anything about long term intelligence, only that it increased the spatially reasoning of college students (not babies) performing tasks directly after listening to the Mozart. Also, the study turned out to be a rather hard to replicate, with other scientists having trouble coming up with the same findings in similar studies. Beyond that, it was easy to falsify because scientists later found out it was not just Mozart that inspired this momentary increase in intelligence, but instead anything that increases the alertness of a subject has the result of improved performance on intelligence related tasks. This also falls under Occam's Razor because that response is way simpler explanation that that Mozart somehow raises your IQ. Overall though, the principle of critical thinking that evaluates this claim is replicability because a single study in a series of several that has evidence that none of the other studies show, then that is just an outlier and should not be taken as a serious result. Mozart may be great music, but it does not make genius babies.

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

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