Recently in Writing 3; Section 13 Category

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.

Rem Sleep

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


ID # 4273275

The real "Rain Man"

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

Zachary DeCou

Remember Ginkgo

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

Will Hebert
Sec 13

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

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

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

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

- George Rodriguez


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

Thuc Huynh

Erasing Memories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mirror Neurons

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


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

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


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

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

Cells That Read Minds _The New York Times

Ngoc Nguyen

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