Recently in Writing 4; Section 12 Category

"A-Merry-Can" Dream

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

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.

End-Of-The-American-Dream.jpg

Cat People vs. Dog People

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

DSC02368.jpg

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

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

self-esteem-quotes.jpg

The smell of attraction

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

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.
physical-attraction.jpg
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.
8.6 Applying the right amount of Cologne.jpg
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.

Bobby Fischer

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

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

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

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

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

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

What Do You Mean?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

"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.

Micro-Expressions

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

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

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Writing 4; Section 12 category.

Writing 3; Section 13 is the previous category.

Writing 4; Section 13 is the next category.

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