Recently in Writing 5; Section 13 Category

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

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.


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 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

Saying Goodbye Sucks

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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


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

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

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.

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
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.

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