February 2012 Archives

Diminishing Memories

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

alzheimer's.jpgAlzheimer's disease accounts for 50 to 60 percent of people with dementia and is the leading cause of senility (Psychology from inquiry to Understanding; p. 268). This is a disease that affects primarily older people, over the age of 65. As of now there is no evidence that suggests the precise cause of Alzheimer's disease. But there has been a correlation in patients with Alzheimer's disease and an abundance of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. This correlation does not mean that this is what is the cause of Alzheimer's disease. A primary way to treat Alzheimer's is drugs that boost the amount of acetylcholine in the brain.

It is very tough seeing someone go through Alzheimer's. I know this because my Grandma currently has Alzheimer's disease. It is not an instantaneous event where one day they remember things then the next day they don't, but instead their memory slowly begins to fade starting with their most recent memories and then working back to their earlier memories. They also become distant because it is very hard for them to follow conversations.

There are multiple ways to reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer's. All of the ways to the risk of Alzheimer's are for the most part obvious and include, healthy diet, exercise, reducing tobacco and alcohol use and engaging in intellectual activities. Hopefully someday there will be a cure to Alzheimer's but for now all you have to do is live a healthy lifestyle, that shouldn't be too hard with all the gyms around nowadays.

Talk to anyone who watched the Super Bowl and they will definitely remember the Chrysler commercial with Clint Eastwood. While the classic conditioning in this ad is not quite as obvious as in the Eminem ad, it is still there.


Who is more associated with traditional American grit and determination than Clint Eastwood, From Dirty Harry to Gran Torino, you will almost never see a movie where Clint is not using his gravely voice to intimidate anyone and everyone involved. Couple this with constant relations to football, One of the most loved sports in the nation, and pictures and videos of your stereotypical work-a-day American as well as flags and other patriotic symbols, and you got yourself a whole mess of unconditioned Stimuli that all point to one thing, Chrysler=America.feeling-lucky.png

Traditionally, America is an extremely patriotic country, whether you call it arrogance or pride, there's no denying that the vast majority of Americans love their country despite its quirks and flaws. So, the unconditioned response that Chysler is looking for is that when you see a Chrysler, you immediately think of "'Merica" and patriotism. They want you to feel like buying a Chrysler turns you into the gritty Clint Eastwood figure that will stop at nothing to power his way through the current recession.

You can argue that this ad is a little corny (especially if you've seen the SNL parody, which is hilarious), but you cant deny that maybe even subconsciously this ad is pretty effective. I may or may not have felt the urge to wear an American flag as cape everyday after seeing that commercial.

I have been an avid dog lover all my life, but I don't think I've ever met a dog as smart as this one. I viewed a documentary about dogs and did a little more research on one of the dogs they talked about. It was a 6 year old border collie named Chaser, and she new the names of over 1,000 different items! How is this possible?? Well, her owner, John Pilley, used what he calls a "successive technique" to teach Chaser the names of all the toys. He would teach Chaser one toy, and once she was able to learn that object, he would move on to the next, and repeat that process with more and more toys and objects. After teaching Chaser the names of the toys, he would put a pile of toys in another room, and call out what toy he specifically wanted. And by much surprise, Chaser would come back with the correct toy! After successfully grabbing the correct toy, he would let her play with "Blue," a small ball she would chase around. Border collies are one of the smartest breeds of dogs out there, but I had no idea they could reach this level. If you don't believe me, below is a link to a video and an ABC news article about Chaser.

I don't know about you, but I definitely underestimated how smart dogs really are.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPgZ8KHLXag&list=UU2NjUImk-ITC_LhgsNvvADg&index=2&feature=plcp

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/world-smartest-dog-nova-special-shows-border-collie/story?id=12875750

Chaser.jpg

A failing car manufacturer in a failing city can't produce luxury. When you're selling a luxury good and "failure" is the word most highly associated with your brand, things aren't looking up. The media has linked Chrysler, Detroit, and economic downturn together in the minds of the American public ever since their first bailout in 2008. So in their Super Bowl ad, Chrysler had to find an approach that would manipulate not only peoples' perceptions of their brand, but their perceptions of Detroit.

Eminem has the perfect image to use as a form of higher classical conditioning. Since it would be a stretch to directly associate Detroit with luxury, they can make an association to it indirectly through Eminem. He's a powerful rapper out of Detroit, who represents fame and fortune, but is made edgier and even cooler by his gritty history. When he says "this is the motor city, and this is what we do", both Detroit and Chrysler get to ride on the coattails of his success and status.

Anecdotal reasoning also helps to shape the viewers' perceptions. When the voiceover says "It's the hottest fires that make the hardest steel" over images of steel fists and beaten city, although the phrase itself doesn't make all that much sense, it still provokes feelings of being a tough underdog. Chrysler's new car as a result seems pretty bad-ass.

Advertisements are one sneaky way that psychology slips into our everyday lives (even though most of us don't realize it!). Somehow bigwig business men have grasped the whole idea of classical conditioning and used it to their advantage. As every good Psychology 1001 student should know, advertisers work with the tools of stimuli--primarily the "conditioned stimulus"--to get us to buy their product. The buying of their product (cigars) would lead to happiness through success, also known as the "conditioned response." Am I making sense? Probably not... How about I try to clear things up by using an example!
There are thousands of modern examples, but just for the fun of it, let's go back to an era when advertising was prime...the 1950s!
L108.jpg

Now in this ad we see a man enjoying what is probably at least his third cigar of the day (this is the 1950s after all!). At his side is a beautiful blond woman as they sail on a boat of which he is captain, and owns, no doubt, for if you scan down to the bottom of the ad you will see that Blackstone cigars are "the choice of successful men."
So what is this ad telling the viewer? If you are a successful man, you will smoke these cigars.... OR if you want to be a successful man you will smoke these cigars to hopefully get there!
In this ad the conditioned stimulus would certainly be the cigar because they want you to purchase them.
The unconditioned stimulus would be success which in turn leads to the conditioned response happiness.
Therefore, the advertisers want you to link happiness as a conditioned response with their product. In the end, they want you to believe buying their Blackstone cigars will lead to much happiness (and apparently a sexy woman at your side...).

It is amazing how this works, and we consumers don't even wholly recognize it.
So next time you find yourself flipping through a magazine, take a second look at those ads and question their reality!

Would you be enticed to believe that your consciousness plays virtually no part in your actions, or that the process behind your decision-making is really no different than that of animals? If not, behaviorism might not explain your preferred theory of psychology. Behaviorism entails a branch of psychology comprised of the notion that virtually all behavior is through conditioning.

Behaviorism has its roots in Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov's research on stimuli regarding dogs' salivary glands. This paved the way for psychologist John B. Watson to assert that our behaviors can essentially be reduced to a pattern of stimuli and responses; everything is the result of conditioning. Watson is perhaps best known for his "Little Albert experiment," by which he conditioned an eight-month-old child to cry upon viewing a white rat by striking a hammer against a steel bar upon the rat's appearance. Many have taken issue with the ethical questions of such an experiment, but Watson was always known as a radical, even earning the nickname "the animal man" for his comparison of animal behaviors to humans.

Pavlov 2.png

Other significant contributors to the behavioral field include E.L. Thorndike, who primarily studied the way animals escape from cages, and B.F. Skinner, an extremely influential psychologist for his idea of reinforcement as it relates to sustaining certain stimuli.

Generally, behaviorists are determinists; they believe that actions are predictably the result of past environmental experiences. While most would like to believe they have more control over their actions, one should think about the comic posted below. After all, I know I would stop robbing banks if someone promised me ice cream in return.

Comic chicken.png

Be aware of your surroundings

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

My sister always made the comment "that girl is so unaware of her surroundings" but I never quite understood her point. Why do we need to be aware? What makes us become aware? Consciousness refers to the relationship between our minds and experiences of the world. Something could be happening somewhere in the world and we would not know because we are so unaware of it. Our awareness levels change depending on where we are, for example sights and sounds. If I were at home watching TV I probably would not notice the number of birds that flew past my window because a.) I am not outside b.) I am watching TV and c.) I am unaware of things that do not bother me. I like to think that birds are very stupid but I do think that birds are very aware of their surroundings. Humans have put themselves above animals since the world began. Nature has made each mammal differentiate from other mammals; some perhaps could be less intelligent than others, some stronger and others weaker. I think that animals have a greater consciousness due to their experiences of making homes, hunting and fending for their babies whereas humans are usually able to choose the experiences that we have. Lucid dreaming is when the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming, after all we do spend a third of our lifetime sleeping. I have had plenty of lucid dreams, where I felt that I could change the events that occur in my dream therefore I am very conscious and aware of what is going on making the theory of consciousness real. jpg

advert.jpg

Advertisers take advantage of viewer's emotions and vulnerability when they create advertisements. People like to believe that if they use this product that they will lose weight or be as pretty as the model in the photo. Even though deep down inside we all know that it won't really change us that much and that those models in the advertisements are Photoshopped so much its impossible to look like them. Yet we still catch ourselves buying products that celebrities have endorsed just in hope of achieving their level of greatness.

In this Victoria Secret Advertisement they use the hot model to make women want to look like her, like a "Bombshell." They try to convince the consumers that if they buy a bra from their store that they will look as beautiful as the model in their advertisement.

In the Victoria Secret Advertisement above the Conditioned Stimulus is the Victoria Secret Bra. The Unconditioned Stimulus is the feeling that she looks like a "Bombshell." The Unconditioned Response is wanting to look as amazing as the Victoria Secrets Model. The Conditioned Response is wanting to look hot too when seeing Victoria Secret bras.

A common battle for your everyday college student: which caffeinated beverage should I purchase while on my weekend "Target run?"

In order to sway consumers in their favor, Coca-Cola uses innovative advertising strategies, specifically the psychological method known as classical conditioning. By definition, classical conditioning is a "form of learning in which [organisms] come to respond to a previously neutral stimulus that has been paired with another stimulus that elicits an automatic response (Lilienfeld, 234)." Advertising and marketing teams, whether they realize it or not, act primarily on a psychological basis when developing their product. By continuous pairing of their respective product with an appealing stimulus, advertising and marketing teams can increase the chances that consumers will purchase their product, as opposed to that of their competitors. Take the following advertisement for example.
View image

A common battle for your everyday college student: which caffeinated beverage should I purchase while on my weekend "Target run?"

In order to sway consumers in their favor, Coca-Cola uses innovative advertising strategies, specifically the psychological method known as classical conditioning. By definition, classical conditioning is a "form of learning in which [organisms] come to respond to a previously neutral stimulus that has been paired with another stimulus that elicits an automatic response (Lilienfeld, 234)." Advertising and marketing teams, whether they realize it or not, act primarily on a psychological basis when developing their product. By continuous pairing of their respective product with an appealing stimulus, advertising and marketing teams can increase the chances that consumers will purchase their product, as opposed to that of their competitors. Take the following advertisement for example.

Another, more recent example of Coca-Cola's attempts to manipulate their current and prospective customer emotions occurs in the following video of Coca-Cola's "happiness machine." In respects to their company mission of "[inspiring] moments of optimism and happiness," Coca-Cola went a step further in classical conditioning methods.

After innovative psychological methods such as these, Coca-Cola has greatly increased the level happiness associated with their product. So, what will you buy: Pepsi, or Coca-Cola?

Training dogs is a common activity, but have you ever heard of training a goldfish? Through searching "animals trained to do something cool" on google I came across an article written about a school for fish (no pun intended) in 2008. A father and his son started this fish school one day when they became bored. They used shape recognition, and tactics of operant conditioning to train the average gold fish to put a soccer ball in a goal, go through hoops, and even how to limbo! The father and his son used operant conditioning through rewarding the fish with food every time that they did something they were supposed to do. WATCH THE VIDEO!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5H_ChG5Rbw

The article states that most people think that a goldfish has a memory span of about three seconds, but in reality your goldfish Bubbles has a three month memory span. It is easy to see why people think that goldfish are not the brightest bulbs, however these aquatic friends are quite intelligent. I think that findings like these are extremely interesting. It is cool to be proven wrong about a concept that is commonly believed otherwise.

Website used:http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2009/10/06/teach-a-goldfish-new-tricks/

Advertising at its finest

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

In this clip of advertisement the well-known rap artist, Dr. Dre, is advertising his Beats headphones in their new color collection. There are many things I think about when seeing this advertisement. It grabs the attention of the audience by the loud music being played while people get colorful paint thrown at them. The music is crystal clear which may make the audience watching the ad think that if they buy these head phones, they could always get that nice sound when listening to music. The people in the ad are shown doing cool tricks and having fun. The audience will take that as if I listened to my music from Dr. Dre's Beats headphones then I too could be having a great time or getting ready for a good work out. This type of advertisement is around us every day. Depending on if that materialistic thing is of high importance to you, you will either become interested in the product and fall under the curse of advertisers or just simply ignore it and move on with your day. This ad is appealing to me because I listen to music on a daily basis. But to be honest, this advertisement is one that I think all can enjoy. We see people getting splattered with paint in slow motion, which is something that is not normally seen typically. People tend to draw to things that they don't see every day because it is interesting. I wonder how many times they had to film the people getting splashed with paint. However many times they did, they definitely caught my attention and made me want to buy the headphones.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktBEEsCQYLM&feature=player_embedded
(I couldn't figure out how to insert a video onto the blog so just copy and paste the URL to watch the ad!! I promise it's cool!)

In the YouTube video BBC Horizon: The Secret You, the idea of when humans become aware of self is explored. Using a mirror test to asses self-awareness, it was determined that people become self aware between the ages of 18 and 24 months. The test involved putting a red spot on the face of a toddler, placing them in front of a mirror, and observing whether or not they removed the spot after seeing their reflection. The thought behind this is that if the child realized that the person in the mirror was himself, he would remove the spot from his face. Likewise, if he did not connect the person in the mirror with himself, he would leave the spot on his face.

This is a classic test that has been used numerous times to analyze self awareness in humans and even animals. However, there is a risk that rival hypotheses have not been ruled out. Perhaps the reason that children under the age of 18 months usually leave the spot on their face is not because they aren't self aware, but because they don't realize that the spot is out of the ordinary and should be removed. To test this, a study was performed in which children were asked to remove a spot on a doll's face before being exposed to their own marked face in the mirror. Indeed, in the original test only 45% of 18-month olds were regarded as "recognizers," but in the revised test it rose to 61%.

Source:

Asendorph, Jens B. "Self-Awareness and Other-Awareness II: Mirror Self-Recognition, Social Contingency Awareness, and Synchronic Imitation." Developmental Psychology 32.2 (1996): 313-21.

Instinctive Drift!

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Instinctive drift is the tendency to return to an evolutionary selected behavior following repeated reinforcement. This can be seen in many mammals form pigeons to chickens to raccoon, pigs and many other animals that can be trained with operant conditioning. The example the book gave was of a cute little story where animal trainers Marian and Keller Breland taught animals such as a raccoon to do tricks like dropping coins into a piggy bank. What they soon found was even after conditioning the raccoon would start to rub the coins together and dip them into the piggy bank but not drop them. He had reverted back to his instinct of washing seeds in a stream to clean before eating. Another example is a pig that was taught to bring wooden disks into a piggybank that after being conditioned would spontaneously drop the disks and push them with its nose in a rooting fashion. These odd occurrences were explained by instinctive drift. The raccoon reverted back to washing the "seeds" (coins) and the pig went back to rooting (dropping and nosing the disks). This shows that our instincts can be very strong and in situations similar to our instincts we can in a way "unlearn" what has been taught to us. Not necessarily unlearn but have our instincts take over us. Instinctive drift maybe some of the reasons why some people cheat. The institution of marriage or a relationship is a learnt process where our instinct is to compete and mate with the best to procreate and therefore pass our genes down as much as possible. Murder may fall into this case as many animals fight and kill each other over territory and mates. The real question is can we blame what is in our nature?raccoon_in_stream.20112019_std.jpg

Cigarettes Are Guns?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes


smoking.jpg
This advertisement depicts a person smoking, but the shadow is that of a gun. Under it is the caption "Smoking Kills. About 106,000 people in the UK die each year due to smoking". Far from the days where guns and smoking were depicted as cool in James Bond movies, this is an anti-smoking advertisement.
smoking2.jpg
Not everyone considers cigarettes to be as dangerous as other do. (if they did, there would be no need for anti-smoking ads.) The ad applies classical conditioning to make up for this by comparing the cigarette to a gun. Like an alcoholic beverage paired with a celebrity, the pairing of the gun and the cigarette are designed to manipulate your feelings. It is supposed to make you assimilate the same emotions that you feel about guns as you do with smoking. The gun is the unconditioned stimulus (many people are afraid of guns), while fear is the unconditioned response. The cigarette is the conditioned stimulus. Fear of smoking is the conditioned response. The effectiveness of this advertisement depends on the strength of someone's particular emotions towards guns. For example, eccentric NRA supporter and rock star Ted Nugent would most likely not develop a fear of smoking when seeing a cigarette with the shadow of a beloved gun. However, anyone who is afraid of or opposed to guns would probably result in the attended feelings towards smoking. However, most people have negative feelings towards guns so the ad should be successful.

As we've been discussing in lecture and in recitation, advertisers are masters at using classical conditioning to sell their product or message. Out of the thousands of advertisements, there is one message that one could argue does the best job of selling their message. That message: Anti-smoking. These messages brilliantly associate smoking with something we're afraid of.

creative-antismoking-ads-light-up.jpg

Here we can see that this lighter clearly looks like a gun pointed at our heads. That's the conditional stimulus. The unconditional stimulus is the fear of death that is associated with the gun. From there, the unconditional response is the fear of death with smoking. Therefore, the conditional response is that smoking kills. This advertisement does a great job of tying in a very strong emotion, that being the fear of death, with the message they are trying to make.

Here is another example:

creative-antismoking-ads-heaven.jpg

Once again, these advertisers do a great job of trying to get their message across. We have the conditional stimulus ("Children of parents who smoke, get to heaven earlier"), the unconditional stimulus (Child with smoke halo over her head), the unconditional response (the fear of killing your child), and the conditional response (the fear of smoking killing your child).

These advertisements could be the most powerful advertisements out there. They capture a very strong emotion and use classical conditioning to try to stop people from smoking. The only question is, is it powerful enough to overpower a nicotine addiction?

As human beings, we take for granted our sense of being, our personality, what makes us, well, us! We don't wake up every day asking ourselves, "How did I just wake up?" "What is guiding me?" "What drives me to do the things I do?" But the BBC video with Marcus de Sautoy gave me a new, unique view on our own consciousness. Whenever we do something, our brain is acting in coordinance with our sense of self... our "consciousness." But where exactly does this consciousness come from? And who is in charge of it?
The right button/left button test that Sautoy underwent fascinated me. The fact that scientists could predict which button Sautoy pressed 6 seconds before he actually did it was astounding. It made me wonder though, how could this happen? It is kind of scary to think about this concept of how someone could consciously know what we are going to do without us being aware of it. It brought me to a much larger epistemological question of "How do we know what we think we know?" The entire video tries to answer this question, but in my mind, I don't think we will ever discover the true mysteries of our consciousness. How can we solve our own inner mechanisms, our beliefs, our desires? The very thought of all this burns out my brain and makes me want to just not think about it because it is so unbelievably mystifying.
Furthermore, the red dot test that Sautoy surveyed also led me to an interesting question. If the little girl doesn't pass the consciousness test, who is she as a person? Is she conscious? Is she aimlessly viewing the world as a completely different individual? Is there a "switch" that at some age we turn on and then we are conscious? This video led me to so many abstract questions about our internal "self." We as humans strive to solve so many problems in our external world, but have we even decoded our very own being? Do we even know who we are?consciousness.jpg

concordia.jpg
This ad is from Concordia's Child Services, and is clearly using shock to get the viewer to sympathize with the starvation epidemic. The quotation underneath the picture states "If you don't help feed them, who will?" Showing these filthy children trying to get sustenance from a pig is trying to get the viewers to realize how difficult of an issue this is, using an animal to show how feral, but necessary, food is to any animal. The advertiser here is well aware that people are psychological and genetically inclined to feel empathy towards infants and is using that to their advantage. The advertiser implies that if you, and you specifically, don't help this children will absolutely starve to death and it will be entirely your fault. This is, in my opinion, a completely understandable time to play the guilt card but often times advertisers will use that in unrelated ads.
a150_a6.jpg
In this much older ad, a baby is shown drinking Sprite, people are drawn to babies, therefore will associate their feelings of happiness towards babies with Sprite. Although the advertiser isn't exactly using guilt to sell Sprite, they are using the natural instinct that people have with babies to feel maternally or paternally towards the soda drinking infant.
Advertisers don't seem to get the credit they deserve as masters of psychology, using guilt and empathy to get you to buy things as simple as soda.

Dreams

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

This weekend I was made aware by one of my friends that they had a meaningful dream that consisted of me being the main character in the plot. Which made me wonder to what extent did the dream have to do with me. If we take Freud's theory of dreams, I would become flattered by the fact i was in the dream, because he theorized that every dream had a meaning that you had to interpret. If you are like the majority of people, you have the false sense of what dreams means. If a patient has a certain brain injury, they would not be able to sustain dreams, this along with other claims of his that have been proven false over the course of separate experiments. The activation theory would tell me my friend's dream was a consequence of the brains attempt to make sense of random and internally generated neural signals during REM. So basically it was random chance that I made an appearance. If i believe that dreams are mostly explained by the neurocognitive theory, that would mean that this person, more than likely, have dreamed about me before because dreams have a stable continuing material. Overall, knowing what this person was dreaming about at the time, I am crossing my fingers that the neurocognitive theory is more than just a theory!dreaming

Dreams

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

This weekend I was made aware by one of my friends that they had a meaningful dream that consisted of me being the main character in the plot. Which made me wonder to what extent did the dream have to do with me. If we take Freud's theory of dreams, I would become flattered by the fact i was in the dream, because he theorized that every dream had a meaning that you had to interpret. If you are like the majority of people, you have the false sense of what dreams means. If a patient has a certain brain injury, they would not be able to sustain dreams, this along with other claims of his that have been proven false over the course of separate experiments. The activation theory would tell me my friend's dream was a consequence of the brains attempt to make sense of random and internally generated neural signals during REM. So basically it was random chance that I made an appearance. If i believe that dreams are mostly explained by the neurocognitive theory, that would mean that this person, more than likely, have dreamed about me before because dreams have a stable continuing material. Overall, knowing what this person was dreaming about at the time, I am crossing my fingers that the neurocognitive theory is more than just a theory!dreaming

Size Constancy

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

0.jpg

The picture on the left just visually makes sense to us. The human visual system allows us to compensate for distances of objects. Although the size of an object may be extremely small compared with when the object is up close, we still perceive the object as being the correct size. Our brain compensate for these minor changes without us consciously realizing it. For instance, when you are sitting at home playing with your pet dog, you still recognize him as being your pet dog regardless of how far or close he is. It is almost as if our brains enlarge distant objects.

Classical Conditioning.gifClassical conditioning is a pretty basic principal in psychology. The best way to explain it is with the example from Ivan Pavlov expirament (shown in image above) using a metronome, meat powder, and dogs. Basically classical conditioning is comprised of taking an unconditioned stimuli (meat powder) and pairing it with whatever learned or conditioned stimuli (metronome) you like to get a whats called a conditioned response, in this case from the dogs. At first the dogs show no reaction to the metronome because it has yet to be conditioned, but they still react to the meat powder because naturally when a dog smells meat they begin to salivate. After presenting meat powder to the dogs with the metronome in the background repeatedly the dogs begin to salivate at the sound of the metronome whether or not the meat powder is present. Similarly, the human brain makes connections between stimuli in every day life, just like the dogs did. Which is why food advertisements are so effective at persuading us to eat. If someone enjoys eating dominoes pizza regularly, their mind will pair the sight of a pizza with the sensation of being hungry so when the person sees an ad for dominoes they become hungry and are more likely to order a pizza. Another one of my favorite examples of classical conditioning comes in a clip from The Office (link:http://vimeo.com/5371237) where an employee conditions a coworker to expect an altoid every time a certian noise is played on the computer. Classical conditioning doesn't just happen with food and hunger. It can happen with the most basic stimuli, feelings and emotions. You can be conditioned to fear the smell of laundry soap, be excited by the sight of an apple, or even to become tired at the sound of a bell. People can be conditioned to feel almost anything in response to almost any stimuli and while some of these examples may be obscure, classical conditioning plays a huge part in our everyday lives. - Mason Hurley

consciousness.jpgAs human beings, we take for granted our sense of being, our personality, what makes us, well, us! We don't wake up every day asking ourselves, "How did I just wake up?" "What is guiding me?" "What drives me to do the things I do?" But the BBC video with Marcus de Sautoy gave me a new, unique view on our own consciousness. Whenever we do something, our brain is acting in coordinance with our sense of self... our "consciousness." But where exactly does this consciousness come from? And who is in charge of it?
The right button/left button test that Sautoy underwent fascinated me. The fact that scientists could predict which button Sautoy pressed 6 seconds before he actually did it was astounding. It made me wonder though, how could this happen? It is kind of scary to think about this concept of how someone could consciously know what we are going to do without us being aware of it. It brought me to a much larger epistemological question of "How do we know what we think we know?" The entire video tries to answer this question, but in my mind, I don't think we will ever discover the true mysteries of our consciousness. How can we solve our own inner mechanisms, our beliefs, our desires? The very thought of all this burns out my brain and makes me want to just not think about it because it is so unbelievably mystifying.
Furthermore, the red dot test that Sautoy surveyed also led me to an interesting question. If the little girl doesn't pass the consciousness test, who is she as a person? Is she conscious? Is she aimlessly viewing the world as a completely different individual? Is there a "switch" that at some age we turn on and then we are conscious? This video led me to so many abstract questions about our internal "self." We as humans strive to solve so many problems in our external world, but have we even decoded our very own being? Do we even know who we are?

M.C Escher-Illusionary Genius!

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

ESCHA.jpg

For years I have been shown works of art by M.C Escher. We've all seen his image of the never-ending staircase, as well as the images of the intertwining fish. But the image I am going to focus on is his 1958 Belvedere lithograph. If one looks at this picture, the tower looks completely normal, and actually quite beautiful. But then if one looks closely, one would notice that the pillars of the tower do not connect in the right places. Actually, the tower would not be capable to stand correctly if the pillars were connected the way they are in the picture. This illusion is an example of both top-down and bottom-up processing. Our top-down processing convinces us that this tower is just an image of a beautiful tower. The reason for this is that we expect the tower to be put together the right way since it looks like a normal tower. But then we start to look at the actual pieces of this tower, and see that it is not put together correctly. This forming a perception based off of parts is our bottom-up processing. We form a perception based off of the individual parts of the image. And from examining the parts, we then come to perceive the image a certain way. And if one looks at the individual parts of the tower, one realizes that it is a nonsensical tower. And that is why M.C Escher is such an illusionary genius. He is able to create images that look perfectly normal upon first glance. For example, when I examined the image further, I realized it does not make sense. Even after realizing the image does not make sense, for some reason it still looked like a normal tower. M.C Escher was truly one of a kind!

Blind, Yet Able to See?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Have you ever wondered if it is possible for "blind" people to see anything? It has to do with the phenomenon of Blindsight, the instance in which blind people that have damaged a specific area of their cortex still have the ability of guessing correctly about their visual surroundings. blindsight man navigates obstacles.jpg

The man in the above picture has the psychological condition of Blindsight. The man started at the end of the hallway and proceeded to walk down the hallway, all the while maneuvering around placed obstacles on the ground. Also, a psychologist asked some "cortically blind" subjects to identify stimuli as either vertical stripes or horizontal stripes. These same subjects were able to answer with "better-than-chance" levels correctly, even after reporting they saw nothing at all.

But How? How are they able to do this? It is because these people have suffered damage to their primary visual cortex, stopping the route to visual association. "Coarser visual information still reaches the visual association cortex through an alternative pathway that bypasses V1. This visual information probably accounts for blindsight"(Moore et al., 1995; Stoerig & Cowey, 1997; Weiskrantz, 1986). It is this info that passes through the alternative pathways that allow for people like the man in the image to do the things they do.

Who Are You?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Consciousness can be defined as our subjective experience of the world, our bodies, and our mental perspectives. But usually no one puts such an official definition on it. When I thought about consciousness the first thing that came to mind was just the simple fact that I was awake and could think about anything that I wanted. If you really get down to it, consciousness can be thought of as something that makes us who we are. A large number of nerve cells within the brain stem send signals to the thalamus, which in turn sends out signals to the rest of the cortex. If we didn't have a brain sending signals in response to what we see and do in the world around us what would things be like?

conscious.jpg

In the BBC video, the researcher becomes very humbled by the fact that he is allowed to hold a human brain in his hands. While holding a brain you are grasping something that once housed the entire consciousness of a human being. Arguably, everything that makes someone who they are is inside the brain. This is a very strange thing to think about, that everything that we are can just be held inside something pretty small relative to our bodies. Do you believe that our consciousness is entirely limited to our brains activities, or are other factors in play that make us who we are?


Picture: http://www.instablogsimages.com/images/2008/06/03/conscious-machine_cp3hb_2263.jpg

Have you ever wondered at what age does one gain a sense of self awareness? BBC Horizon's video "The Secret You" was a very interesting and fascinating video. I found the section where they talked about humans becoming self aware to be very interesting. So...when does one become self aware? A fascinating experiment at the University of Portsmouth indicates that it is between the ages of 18-24 months that a child's brain develops to a stage when it suddenly becomes conscious of itself as an individual.
Most of the evidence given in support to children becoming self aware is from the Mirror Self Recognition Test. In this test, a child is placed in front of a mirror and is given some time to look at the figure in the mirror. Once the interaction has been established, the carer (mother, father etc.) takes the child away from the mirror and while wiping its nose, the carer surreptitiously places a red dot (sticker) in the child's face. The child is then returned to play in the mirror.
bb.jpg
In one case Owen, aged 16 months, engaged again with his image in the mirror but at no point was he particularly concerned that the image he saw had a large red dot on its face. In contrast when 22 month old Bethan saw her image in the mirror, her hand immediately shot up to her face as she explored the strange spot that she saw on her cheek. The strong reaction is an indication that Bethan recognizes the image and thinks "that's me".

Is it only humans that have a sense of "I"?
The Mirror Self Recognition Test was devised in the 70s by Professor Gordon Gallup. Originally he was looking to test consciousness not in children but animals. "One day I found found myself shaving in front of the mirror and it occurred to me: wouldn't it be interesting to see if chimpanzees could recognise themselves in mirrors". Indeed they do. So how many other animals pass this test for consciousness? It turns out that we are remarkably alone in the animal kingdom. In addition to chimpanzees only orangutans recognize themselves in the mirror. Of course if you ask most pet-owners they will probably argue vociferously that their dog, cat or hamster etc. is conscious. Failing the test does not mean that other animals are not self-aware-but a positive result is convincing evidence for a brain that has developed a sense of "me".

This video made me reflect to my childhood and think of when I became self aware. Of course I could not think of it but I am sure that I looked into plenty of mirrors thinking there was someone there.

Perception of Color

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

The opponent process theory is the theory that we perceive colors in terms of three pairs of opponent color. Those colors are red or green, blue or yellow, and black or white. The textbook gives in an example of this process in action with the American flag below. If you stare at the white dot in the center for 30 seconds, and then look at a white wall (or anything that is plain white), you will see the flag appear in the normal red, white, and blue colors of the American flag.

image002.jpg

I found this illusion and our ability to perceive color through the opponent process theory to be quite interesting. One thing I thought about when reading on the opponent process theory is how people perceive the image if they are missing cones. Would the image of the flag even appear when looking at the wall or would it appear in different colors? I also wonder how it this situation would work if a color blind person was to look at it. Maybe they would see different shades of black or white, or again nothing at all? The way we perceive color brings many questions to my mind and is something I'd like to learn more about.

drunk-driving.jpgEver since the invention of cars has overlapped with the use of alcohol, the question of how bad drinking and driving really is has loomed over society. The scientific truth is that once your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) is around .08 it's time to lose the keys and settle in for the night because driving is dangerous.

A startling 80% of car accidents are associated with binge drinking (five or more drinks at a time for males, and four or more for females). High doses of alcohol depress brain centers. This slows thinking and impairs concentration, greatly lowering your ability to react to sudden occurrences on the road such as a yellow light or another car cutting you off. Muscular coordination is also inhibited anywhere from 10-12 hours after drinking, meaning that even if you were conscious of a car suddenly braking, your leg may not necessarily be able to respond in time to hit the brake and avoid a crash. The depression of brain centers as a result of intoxication clearly shows that driving while under the influence is extremely dangerous for you and for everyone else on the road.

The fact is that driving while intoxicated impairs all of the abilities that go into operating a vehicle, so once your BAC nears .08 there is no question as to whether or not you are able to drive. Scientific fact is indisputable, so even if someone "feels fine", their brain is not functioning fully and their driving skills are greatly impaired.

Awake in your sleep?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Have you ever realized you were dreaming when you were dreaming? If you have, then you were experiencing lucid dreaming; a fascinating, yet difficult to manifest phenomena. According to some, in your conscious yet unconscious state, you have the power to control most of your dream, whether it be eating a scrumptious looking pastry or, heck, maybe even flying amidst the heavenly clouds alongside Chuck Norris.
joseph-gordon-levitt-inception2.jpg
But are you really awake in your sleep? Quite obviously, this presents a paradox that few can even attempt to dissect. Yes, you may feel that you are fully conscious in your unconscious state, but how do you begin to provide evidence for such an event? Keith Hearne (1978), of the University of Hull, first exploited the fact that not all the muscles are paralyzed. In REM(rapid eye movement) sleep, the eyes move. So perhaps a lucid dreamer could signal by moving the eyes in a predetermined pattern. Lucid dreamer Alan Worsley first managed this in Hearne's laboratory. He decided to move his eyes left and right eight times in succession whenever he became lucid. Using a polygraph, Hearne could watch the eye movements for signs of the special signal. He found it during REM sleep. Evidently, lucid dreams are real dreams and occur during REM sleep. (Blackmore 1991) You experience everything in a lucid dream as if it were real, but the reality is that it isn't. So if ever you are in need to do something daring, but the nature of your being won't allow you act upon that urge, lucid dreams are the way to go.

The Power of Suggestion

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Hypnosis, people have been fascinated by this topic for generations and have devised many uses for it from on stage entertainment to the recovery of repressed memories. But is it a legitimate form of therapy or should the practice be reserved for traveling showmen?
Answer: Yes and No.
Many people believe that hypnosis can enhance memory, aiding in the recovery of repressed childhood memories or details of crime that someone witnessed. However, the evidence shows that is probably not the case. While it does increase the amount of information we recall, much of this information is woefully inaccurate and it can lead us to have more confidence in the truth of inaccurate memories.
However, some of the other uses for hypnosis show some promise regarding the powers of suggestion. Everyone is influenced by the suggestions of others in our daily lives because we are constantly responding what other people say and do and even their body language even when we don't realize it. Hypnosis seeks to harness the power of suggestion in positive ways. Studies have shown that hypnosis can aid people in their attempts to do things like quit smoking of lose weight. The Journal of Applied Psychology from the University of Iowa claims that hypnosis is three times more effective than the nicotine patch in helping people to quit smoking and fifteen times more effective than will power alone. However, hypnosis doesn't always work on everyone; some people are just more suggestible than others.

Disney's Incorrect Slogan

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Disney - Where Dreams Come True.jpg

As children, we're inundated with Walt Disney's animated movies that usually end happily with the main character's "dreams coming true." However, our unconscious dreams are more likely to make us hope they don't occur than to wish upon a star that they do.

According to G.W. Domhoff's research on dream themes, of the top ten types of dreams, eight result in misfortune. The list includes being chased, late, falling, losing valuable possessions, being naked, and injury or illness. This study coincides greatly with the results of my own dreams, as I often wake up saying, "Well, I'm sure glad that wasn't real," or even worse, I have woken up in tears.

Unfortunately, we can't control our night-time dreams, but we can consciously dream of a Disney Prince- or Princess-like future. Our ambitions to become a doctor or fashion designer should be pursued, as our goals provide us with great motivation to do what we love. What these dreams have in contrast to our undesirable sleep-provoked ones are our state of consciousness. Therefore, Walt Disney, who has taught us many serious lessons such as the importance of inner beauty and following our hearts, may want to readjust his popular slogan to say, "Where Conscious Dreams Come True."

The nature or nurture debate has been ongoing across the world for multiple decades. The article I read brought the debate to an issue in the modern world. The "cause" of homosexuality has been a hot topic for years. The author of the article brought up the point that knowing the reason homosexuality exists is irrelevant. The author then proceeds to ask what will happen after we find the answer to why homosexuality exists. He believes that when the answer is uncovered, humanity will have two routes to choose from. One will be the acceptance of homosexuality and the other will lead to the distinguishing of homosexuality all together. I agree with the with the initial question of why the reason for homosexuality matters. Finding the answer will not change the current situation. If scientists found that the reason for homosexuality was genetic, would they try to create medication to reverse it? Another question I believe we need to ask is whether homosexuals would want to take the medication. Many gays and lesbians have learned to accept their preferences and are satisfied with their current lifestyle. Societies around the world have also begun to develop a more accepting stance on the sexual preference of people. Between the two roads, I believe that humanity will accept homosexuality. This is due to the fact that many demonstrations that have been performed across the world advocating the rights of gays and lesbians. The author may have been biased, but overall made many valid points.
Article:http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/the-guyliner/homosexuality-nature-vs-nurture-debate_b_1256602.html?ref=uk
nature_vs_nurture2.jpg

Nature versus Nurture is a pivotal, ongoing debate on whether actions and success of human beings is based off of how they are raised, their genes or both. About a week ago we read about the Bogle family and observed their family tree, which was notorious for crimes that were across a wide spectrum. The father, Dale who beat his kids and taught them to steal and commit crimes led family members in generations down the line to also follow in his footsteps. Through correlations, we noted that the main reasons for this were not primarily because of the way they were raised but actually by their genes. I believe otherwise by thinking that these "bad" genes do not exist and people are not born with these intentions. What could be the reasoning behind it, however, is the gene of addiction running in the family that caused the family to eventually become addicted to these behaviors after being in the presence of it for so long. When I witness families which treat their kids in these ways, I have always heard from people around them that it's not their fault that they became bad kids, it was just how they were brought up and taught to them over time.
boglefamilytree.gif

What can a specialized cell do for all of mankind? Scientists are continually finding answers to this question. Stem cells have acquired much attention for their potential to become a wide variety of specialized cells. These replacement cells can be used to treat brain and blood disease, therapy for cell deficiency, general scientific discovery, and perhaps the most important application, regenerate organ and body tissue. With all these life-changing uses stem cell research is exceedingly controversial for ethical reasons.

Debates that surround stem cells are concerns with the methods of extracting embryonic stem cells for research. Stem cells come from two main sources: adult tissue, and embryos formed during embryological development. Embryonic stem cells are derived from a four-day-old human embryo during the blastocyst phase of development. The fertilized eggs are not given the chance to become a fully developed human.

Some say that life begins at conception, when the egg is fertilized arguing that the embryo deserves the same status as any other full grown human. By removing the blastocyst to extract the stem cells is argued comparable to murder. The other side contends there are different points in gestational development (development of certain organs after certain time periods) that mark the beginning of life.

Since science doesn't differentiate whether research is ethical or not, it makes it difficult to answer the question "When does life begin?" Similar to debates about abortion this is the core question of this debate. Are the advancements in medicine made possible by stem cells worth the potential lives that are being killed to replenish broken cells?

Going more in-depth in the political and scientific debate of stem cells, this article from TIME advocates both ends of the spectrum and describes possible alternatives.

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,167245,00.html

The Dark Side of Ethics

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Ethics has long been a stage for debate and contestation. Ethical guidelines have to be followed closely or the results could be disastrous, as in the Tuskegee study where Syphilis was allowed to spread and 128 men died. The purpose of this study was to see what would happen is Syphilis was allowed to spread. While this study is obviously ethics.jpgunethical and would not be allowed to take place today, it raises the question of whether ethics can hinder a scientific study. The results of this study wouldn't necessarily have been found through other experiments. Even if there was a safe study that could be conducted that doesn't guarantee that there is an alternative for other unethical studies. For example, there are many studies involving fear and how people react under extremely stressful situations. It is very difficult to conduct studies that provide accurate results because most are considered immoral or unethical. I am not condoning unethical experiments and studies but simply voicing the idea that ethics can be a hindering factor in the scientific field. Some known unethical experiments such as the one conducted by Milgram have provided very useful knowledge and information. I am simply curious if a whole field of information isn't being discovered because of our ethical guidelines and principles.

nature_vs_nurture2.jpg I found an article on Science Daily that talks of a study conducted by Dr. Michael Craig and Dr. Marco Catani from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London that says sociopathy is linked to certain deficiencies in the brain. This article supports the belief that nature holds more of the responsibility for the construction of ones character as opposed to a person's environment. However Doctors Michael Craig and Marco Catani have also said that if these findings are repeated it will be hard to underestimate them. So as of right now we cannot know for sure if this study is scientifically valid. This study is interesting because it shows that people who become sociopaths were predisposed biologically to behave that way, and that traumatic experiences during childhood might not play such a large role as many people once believed.
Personally I believe that the findings of the Craig's and Catani's study will hold because they found the deficiencies using the powerful imaging technique of DT-MRI to locate the differences in the sociopathic brains, which sounds to me like a pretty reliable source for information. I do however believe that nurture can play a part. If someone who is predisposed to becoming a sociopath never experiences a traumatic event that triggers that certain part of their brain they may never become crazy, whereas someone without these odd tendencies of the brain might see something awful as a child and simply snap. While still can't know for sure the answer to this great debate the work done at King's College in London make a good case for nature.

Links:www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090804090946.htm

dexter-main.jpg
This is Dexter he is sociopathic killer, who also happens to solve crimes for the police and who grew up with a father who loves him, his brain however is compelled to kill.

A Subject Hidden In Darkness

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

A Subject Hidden In Darkness

In our recent lectures we explored a dilema for psychologists that has occured frequently with diseases explored in this field; Nature or Nurture. Is it our biological makeup that we obtain from our parents or the environment in which we are raised that causes us to act the way we do? For many behaviors, an answer has been obtained for their cause but the topic of homosexuality on the other hand is far from having a definitive answer. "...we do not even in the least know the final cause of sexuality. The whole subject is hidden in darkness." - Charles Darwin (Johnson )

The question "Is homosexuality caused by nature or nurture" has been asked since the Ancient Greeks (Johnson) and is more relevant to our society today than ever before. Psychologists are deeply conflicted on this issue as well, both having strong evidence for their arguement.

In 1990, multiple scientists did post-mortem tests on the brains of both declared heterosexual and homosexual men. These scientist did find some differences within the anatomy of the 2 groups of men, specifically regarding to the hypothalamus (Johnson ). The hypothalamus had already been determined to have a direct correlation with a being's sexual functioning. In their findings scientist discovered that areas within homosexual mens' brain tended to be larger as well as a certain section being very similar to that of a heterosexual woman. It was also concluded that social behavior and experiences could have little affect on brain developement, but rather a subject would have been born with the genetic make-up to cause these size differences.

Opposing the "Nature" arguement, social theorists have many beliefs about homosexuality. There are many theories supporing the "Nurture" arguement but each in its own way contradicts the other. However, there are records of homosexual practices being forced onto young men in cultures throughout New Guinea and Crete (Johnson ). These pressures from ones culture express that one's environment can have a direct affect on sexuality.

Personally I believe that one's sexual orientation relies on the combination of both. I grew up in a family setting that did not provide the option of homosexuality and therefor in some way was unsciously forced into a heterosexual lifestyle but it could be in my genes as well. They most common arguements for both theories I have heard have been; "Nobody would choose a lifestyle that would be so difficult" for biological routes and "God created man in his image and homosexuality is a sinful choice" for the enviromental routes.

I just want to express that If i offended anyone I am deeply sorry, I did not mean to. I believe that anyone has the right to be who they are and to be anything other than that is morally wrong.

Johnson, R. D. "Homosexuality: Nature or nurture." allpsych journal. (2003): n. page. 0.

human body discovery.jpg
You're walking alone late at night and you feel like someone is watching you. You are approaching a long stretch of road with no visible light and as soon as you step into the shadows SMACK! the sound of someone grabbing your shoulder. You're heart starts to race, you have an unbelievable amount of energy, but its just your friend scaring you. You have encountered an adrenaline rush multiple times before, but how and why?
adrenal_gland.jpg

Psychologists sometimes call the drenal glands the emergency centers of the body. As you can see above they sit just above the kidneys and produce adrenaline and cortisol. As you've probably experienced, adrenaline boosts energy production while still trying to conserve as much energy as possible while your muscles are busy smacking your friend for scaring you. Adrenaline actually does more than you would think.

Including:
-contraction of our heart muscle and constriction of our blood vessel to provide more blood to the body
-opening the tiny airways to the lungs to allow inhalation of more air
-breakdown of fat into glucose to energize our muscles
AND
-opens the pupils (dilates) of our eyes to enable better sight during emergencies!

DilatedPupil-1jc1vls.jpg
All of this together allows people to perform amazing acts of heroism in crisis situations (but are still constrained by physical limitations obviously). One mother was filled with adrenaline when her child was trapped under a heavy car, enough even to lift the end of the car some say up to four inches off the ground!

Chevy-Camaro-Bumblebee.jpg
You probably recognize this car from the movie "Transformers". Well as noted in Psychology Today a man saw one of these run over a child biking, trapping him under the nearly 3000 pound car. Tom Boyle Jr. ran to the car when it came to a stop latched his hands under the car and lifted until it was far enough off the ground for someone to pull the child out. Here is some good news though...happy things can cause adrenaline rushes too! SEE scroll down! skydiving1.jpg

This shows how impressive the human body is and how it deals with intense situations.

According to the National Institute of Aging, "Alzheimer's disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks." al1.jpg I have had first-hand experience with this disease, as my grandfather suffered from it (most likely due to his career in the National Football League in the 1950s, when the helmets were little more than leather hats).

In the section on stem cells in Chapter 3, it is mentioned that stem cell research has the potential to treat diseases such as Alzheimer's. Recent research supports this claim.
Through stem cell research, a study has replicated Alzheimer's disease neurons, which has never been done before.

While this is only a first step, it is a huge step. Already, they have found that "one of the early changes in Alzheimer's neurons thought to be an initiating event in the course of the disease turns out not to be that significant" (Fox). Further research will provide further results.

The ability to replicate functional neurons will allow researchers to study the causes and onset of Alzheimer's disease. They then can use this information to develop and test drugs and other treatments. The study of the replicated neurons will also most likely speed the entire process of finding a possible effective treatment. As this study shows, stem cell research can be beneficial in the treatment of diseases like Alzheimer's.

Links

Researchers replicate Alzheimer's disease neurons with stem cells

Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet

Growing up, physical activity and exercise are stressed a lot; it is a necessary component to ensure a healthy body. And that argument is right...to a certain extent. However, what we don't often hear is that there is such a thing as too much exercise. Wed MD argues that "exercise addicts" have a misconception that two-hours of moderate physical activity, such as run, will make them four times as healthy; however, that is simply not true. Too much exercise can have adverse health effects such as injuries, depression, and even suicide. As we learned in lecture, the adrenal gland is vital in our body's ability to function properly; but, as a result of over exercising, the amount of cortisol our adrenal gland can produce decreases significantly.

So why, with all the adverse health effects, do people continue to exhaust themselves in pursuit of a "perfect" physique? Wed MD believes it comes down to control - the results of exercise can no doubt be visibly observed and with so many aspects of our life out of our control, people with "exercise addiction" many times have an extreme desire for control. Our seemingly insatiable need to be "fit" and "thin" is no doubt stemmed from society's peer pressure to have the "ideal" body. But, to reiterate, sometimes a desirable figure comes at the expense of permanent internal damage. So, next time you reach for those running shoes, ask yourself: is this run really necessary? Am I doing more harm than good by pushing myself to exercise?

muscular_woman.jpg

Now most of the people are often sitting in the office, whether it is white-collar workers, students, or doctors. Long ago, many people think that is very comfortable to sit in office. For myself, I am a student, when I wake up in the morning, I take class sit in my classroom, after class I will sit in library do my home, when I came home after school I still sit in front of the computer desk. For my whole is probably more than half of the time sitting. I think that many people like me. But now is a sedentary lifestyle bad for people's health? A long time to sit It is easy to cervical spondylitis. The root causes of cervical spondylitis, cervical disc retrograde degeneration, the disc loose, and then oppressed the nerve root, spinal cord or vertebral artery caused by a variety of symptoms. Long-term poor posture or long stay in front of the computer, most likely to cause neck muscle fatigue caused by the neck and shoulder pain, Xiang muscle spasm, and even dizziness; the passage of time is bound to occur prematurely in adult cervical intervertebral disc degeneration , resulting in cervical spondylitis. Long in the tension state due to long-term sedentary, some sitting posture, or always fixed in one position makes the waist soft tissue, soft tissue ischemia, arising from the strain of lumbar muscles. Hundreds of millions of cells in the human body depends on the transport of blood to complete its metabolic functions, sedentary, the amount of oxygen-carrying blood allows the body to reduce the oxygen partial pressure to reduce and carrying carbon dioxide increase in blood volume, carbon dioxide partial pressure, and cause muscle soreness, stiffness, atrophy.未命名.jpg

The rush and 'high' that many people experience after indulging in a sweet treat is not just a harmless increase in energy. No, in fact the rush that people get is actually due to the reward-inducing properties that sugar has upon us. According to Princeton psychology professor Bart Hoebel, Ph.D., "Sugar stimulates to activate the same pathways that are stimulated directly by drugs such as heroin or morphine". What sugar does is it increases the extracellular dopamine (DA) in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) parts of our brains. Experiments done by Princeton psychologist show that continued intake of excess amounts of sugar leads to changed expression in DA receptors: i.e. its effects are analogous to the effects that alcohol consumers experience over a long period of time drinking; their bodies adapt so that it becomes necessary to drink more to feel the same effects.
sugar-addiction-donuts-_-iStock_000015154101XSmall.jpg
YIKES!! Theses reports are scary to say the least! Sugar is virtually unregulated in the amounts that it can be added into foods, available to all ages and seems to be added in nearly all foods, and in other words unavoidable. It seems like we are all hopelessly destined to battle a sugar addiction. To conquer this addiction, detoxing the body of all added sugar (naturally occurring ones in fruits and veggies are OK) is necessary. It takes 4-7 days to detox the body and doing so will make for a rough first 3 or so days. But the effects of the detox can result in decreased food intake, decreased food craving and actually heightened energy!

Chapter one describes mankind's pitfall; abandoning objective reasoning and falling victim to our natural tendencies to believe intuitively. Although following intuition can be invaluable to existence in many situations people come to conclusions that are false for this reason.

I want to believe.jpg

There are many reasons for this such as the motivational force of comfort also known as transcendental temptations, lack of scientific knowledge, or simply trying to make the puzzle pieces fit, which shows in finding eerie similarities or coincidences of what is seen or known like a face on a planet meaning proof of Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.

Face.gif

I believe that although these traps are hard not to fall into, I disagree that such things should be disregarded as pseudoscience in all cases. We are limited with our knowledge though it's expanded over time; there is still a universe we have yet to understand completely. A great example of this is the X-Files television series because paranormal phenomena are a central theme, but at the end of most episodes there's an explanation, that's often scientific, although not always believable. This shows possibilities are there and paranormal phenomena may be another name for a science that we don't have the knowledge to understand yet.

Out of body.jpg

imagesCA22NL7K.jpg
This morning, I read an article written by William Saletan which is talking about the causes to obesity. At first, he said that he used to think genetics are more important than environment, but later, he realized the relationship between nature and nurture is not that simple. In his article, he uses some control groups and experiments to support the ideas that although genetics take the majority percentage of the obesity, environment such as diet and lifestyle is controlling it.

I find this article is quite attractive because as a girl, keeping slim is always one of the most significant parts in life. Personally speaking, I agree with author. As for me, I admit that genetics determine what kind of physique we have, but lifestyle and eating habits can take it over. Around us, there are a lot of examples. For instance, I have 5 schoolmates who were extremely fat before, but become slim now. According to my observation, the most members of their families are as fat as them, so obese might to be blame. But why can they take over the genetics? The reasons are healthy diet and regular exercises. What I can see from the examples is that sometimes genetics are not invincible. Sometimes environmental factors can control them. Just as author said, just because something is genetically caused doesn't mean it can't be behaviorally controlled. (http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_nature/2008/02/fat_chance.2.html)
imagesCAMG9RPG.jpg
What I want to say is that when comparing nature and nurture, there is no absoluteness. Sometimes acquired disposition gains the upper hand to change what genetics want us to be, but sometimes, it can't.

Source from the website http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_nature/2008/02/fat_chance.html

I find it very interesting that while we use facial expressions to display our emotions, our facial expressions can determine our emotions. While our study in class indicated no difference in mood based on facial expressions, I feel that the experiment was no a good way to determine the correlation due to other factors.
I have heard of other studies that involved this theory before and how people with botox injections have impaired ability to feel certain emotions. Botox is typically injected into the muscles used to frown to prevent wrinkling in those areas. This impairs the person's ability to frown, and as research has shown, people with botox injections have weaker emotional responses to emotional stimuli. (http://www.dnaindia.com/scitech/report_botox-paralyses-your-emotions_1401936) I find this interesting because it seems strange that facial expressions could have effect on the emotion that they are expressing.
While the emotions cause by simply showing an expressions may not be as strong as actually feeling the emotion , they are clearly necessary for feeling the emotion fully. So smiling while you are sad will make you feel happier but making you feel less sad.

It Does What, Again?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

In the past week in our lectures and also in our book, we talked about the different parts of the brain and how each section functions. We learned that the frontal lobe aids in our memory, and that our temporal lobe also aids in memory. The frontal lobe holds more of our general memory whereas the temporal lobe holds more of the memories from our past that make up our autobiography. What I'm curious about is how each of our four lobes are affected by Alzheimer's Disease.
alzheimer_disease-300x141.jpgMy grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease many years ago, so I have had personal experience with what happens to a person effected by this disease. It's no question that they lose their memory. Watching my grandmother progress through the stages of Alzheimer's, some things still remain a mystery to me.
It's clear that with Alzheimer's the short term memory in the frontal lobe gets worse faster than anything else in the other lobes. But which goes next? Eye sight? Hearing? The ability to talk?
Alzheimer's comic.pngAs my grandmother got worse, she began to forget how to speak. She would mumble or make up words, although she thought she was talking to us like normal conversations. It makes me wonder how much of her memory from her past still remained. She couldn't communicate with us, but to her she was telling us a story.
Alzheimer's is a difficult disease to deal with, but sometimes I would wonder how much my grandma actually remembered. When she did finally remember things, what triggered her memory? Was it a word? A sound? Did my grandma ever recognize my face? They said she was happier when I was around, but that's hard to tell if it was me or just the really powerful drugs taking effect that day.

Nature or Nurture

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Recently, I found some article that is talking about "Nature or Nurture". It has been reported that the terms "nature" and "Nurture" play the roles of heritably and environment in human development. I think that a part of heritability can't change even with the environment permit. Like, eye color, skin color and hair color. That determined by specific genes encoded in each human cell and it called nature, so that can't change. But for behavioral geneticists, sometimes not only depend on gene, the environment also influences behavior a lot. Some scientists did a research for twins, although twins have similar genes, under the different environment they show the different behavior. That called "Nurture". For example, I read a paper that describes a boy brought up by wolves in the forest. When the boy grew to 8 years old, he also can't speak. He can't live like a normal person, he is good at crawling and barking. Although this boy has human genes, due to the environment he also changed a lot. This example shows that the power of environment. Psychologists have come to appreciate that genetic and environmental influences human being in many ways, like thought, feeling, and behaviors.

Why do some children grow up to be doctors, lawyers, designers, or athletes?
Whether children choose a profession because of genes or because of the nurture they get from their parents is still debated about to this day.

_47302609_dressingup466thinkstock.jpg

Psychologist George W. Holden at Southern Methodist University states his theory that "the way a child turns out can be determined in large part by the day-to-day decisions made by the parents who guide that child's growth." Holden also describes parents as being the "architect" of their children's maturation. Ultimately, parents have the potential to harm or help their children's growth.

Researchers just recently started to study the part that parents play in aiding or harming their child's growth in a specific path of development. Research on this specific topic is difficult because many other factors can come into play.

Holden has stated four vital ways that parents influence their children's development. First is that parents initiate trajectories, meaning they steer their children down a specific pathway. Second, parents endorse their child's progression through "encouragement and praise". This may include providing the access to certain activities, study materials, etc. Third, parents mediate trajectories by assisting their children in staying away from "negative trajectories". Lastly, parents "react to child-initiated trajectories". Besides these factors other possible influences on a child's developing path may be their "family's culture, their income and family resources, and the quality of the parent-child relationship".

family-of-4-199x300.jpg

It is interesting how much parents can influence their children in a positive or negative way and how they can influence their child's development over time. The article mainly discusses the aspects of nurture on children and it does not really go into detail about nature or genetic factors.


Article link:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101202124244.htm

Image 1 link:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8512576.stm

Image 2 link:
http://customhealthplans.com/blog/2010/01/add-spouse-texas-health-insurance-plan/

It is clearly obvious that the amount of exercise that we need to do in one day differs from the source that you receive the information from. No one has the same answer, so lets look at a few examples from the so called "experts."
A typical person might think that walking up and down the stairs to do laundry and walking to and from class is exercise but in reality it really is not. Well that might be a decent workout for an elderly person, for most of us it is not! Exercise refers to setting aside time to intensely move our bodies at 4 to 5 miles per hour, which is equivalent to about 60 minutes a day for the average person as stated in article 1. Article 1 link
Although article 1 states that the information is from recent scientific studies and is backed up they do not provide any information throughout the article that specifically explains about the study nor does it give specific examples.The use of language is off and personally does not sound like it contains any logic but you believe what the article says until you reach the last paragraph.Where it contains loaded language and is harsh. So is it really a reliable source? I think not, there is no logical evidence!
In article 2 the author states that about 150 minutes per week of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic active it sufficient. Overall they say to aim at 30 minutes of physical activity each day, but if you want to lose weight app it up a little bit to 300 minutes per week. Now I bet you are thinking wait the numbers don't add up correctly and you are right. They way they word this is confusing and it doesn't break down properly, in terms of mathematics. This is not easy for someone to follow. The article is from a MD, but to me he does not know how to break it down into logical pieces. He makes a better claim than article 1 and has evidence to back it up. Take a look for yourself and decide which article is logical! He seems to have the most logic out of all, although is process of doing math is inaccurate. Article 2 link
In article 3, it states to aim for 30 minutes of physical activity per day. 60 minutes to prevent weight gain and 90 minutes for overweight people. But what is physical activity. It is not defined in the article at all. The accuracy improves in the article as it continues, talking about ways to get the time in to workout.
Article 3 link
Overall I think all 3 articles lack a solid logical evidence and scientific findings to be the correct answer. All 3 have errors in grammar usage and evidence to back up their statements. None of them follow the 6 principles of scientific thinking. A study on exercise needs to be conducted by the steps, until than we never will actually know. How much exercise we need, because it appears to still be a MYSTERY!

Nature Vs. Nurture

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Nature_versus_Nurture pic.jpg

Before discussion Tuesday, we had to read about the Bogle family and how everyone throughout the several generations landed themselves in jail due to several laws being broken. In the article the author noted how the dad teaches his children to steal for him and also to fight. The question that was brought up in this article was is this aggression and habit of breaking the law the cause of a bad gene that is passed from generation to generation or is it taught over the years as one is raised. In discussion we came to conclusions that and correlated that aggression has more to do with genes but I would like to look back on this case and discuss more whether it actually had more to do with genetics. Many studies are done that show if the parents are more aggressive then the kids naturally be more aggressive due to genes but it does not mean that the kids will be committing crimes and fighting just naturally. There is more to this case than just genetics. It states that the kids always want to impress their parents. In this case the parents taught the kids not only by example but literally taught the kids and awarded them for stealing liquor for them and fighting instead of being a coward. This case proves that these actions are not just natural causes but are taught to kids over the years by example.

Nature Vs. Nurture

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Nature_versus_Nurture pic.jpg

Before discussion Tuesday, we had to read about the Bogle family and how everyone throughout the several generations landed themselves in jail due to several laws being broken. In the article the author noted how the dad teaches his children to steal for him and also to fight. The question that was brought up in this article was is this aggression and habit of breaking the law the cause of a bad gene that is passed from generation to generation or is it taught over the years as one is raised. In discussion we came to conclusions that and correlated that aggression has more to do with genes but I would like to look back on this case and discuss more whether it actually had more to do with genetics. Many studies are done that show if the parents are more aggressive then the kids naturally be more aggressive due to genes but it does not mean that the kids will be committing crimes and fighting just naturally. There is more to this case than just genetics. It states that the kids always want to impress their parents. In this case the parents taught the kids not only by example but literally taught the kids and awarded them for stealing liquor for them and fighting instead of being a coward. This case proves that these actions are not just natural causes but are taught to kids over the years by example.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2012 is the previous archive.

March 2012 is the next archive.

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