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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.

SAT Flaws

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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

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


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?

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.

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?
4 id ego superego.jpg

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.

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