March 2012 Archives

My Little Cousin Colin

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I've had the pleasure to witness my little cousin, Colin Beckman grow from the first day being born. Sadly I am not able to see the little guy as frequently because I am attending college, but I was in attendance for the first 8 years of his life. Now with learning about different theories and studies on recently born babies into their early childhood, it gave me a chance to make some comparisons with my cousin. Piaget recorded from observations that children go through certain stages while they are in their early years that resemble the same timeline as others in the same development. But thinking back to the days when he was wearing a diaper and scooting on the rug with his bum, there are some inconsistencies with his timeline. I love my cousin Colin but he was a little slower to develop and was just slower than the average kid to walk, talk, among other things. But in other ways he was more advanced than other babies. By 8 years old Colin would give me advice on different things i would tell him, granted most of the times wrong. He would answer the question as if he knew my point of view. This contrasts with Piaget because he claims it isn't until around 11 that children are able to experience this attribute, while my cousin was doing it with understanding at 8. colin.jpg

That's my cousin on the far right, what a cutie.

Business Practices

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We've learned about how culture can influence language and understanding, but there is also a distinct difference in how different countries conduct business. One major difference is how companies in different parts of the world make decisions. The Psychology Department at the University of Texas at Austin has conducted a study to determine how distinct these differences are. They found that Western cultures are highly individualistic, meaning there is more focus on the individual and personal achievement; in contrast, decision making in Eastern cultures is collectivist - they tend to make decisions based upon what is best for the group. Also, Western cultures, like the United States, seek one solution to a problem whereas Eastern cultures, like many Asian countries, tend to seek understanding of the problem and thus create more than one solution. Lastly, companies in Western cultures tend to be more risk averse, meaning they do not like uncertainty; however, Eastern cultures will tend to take more risks, and thus frequently receive a larger return on their investments.

Knowing all of this information will be helpful to anyone in business because it will allow people to determine which kind of company they want to work for. While people choose companies based on their business practices, culture, and ethics, companies also choose candidates based on how well their beliefs and morals fit into the company.


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Target is a company with headquarters in the United States of America (Western culture) and the Bank of China is headquartered in China (Eastern culture).

Last week, when I was preparing my psychology midterm, my roommate asked me a mathematic problem which was from GMT. To be honest, at the first sight of it, I did not think that it is difficult because it seemed familiar to me. However, when I started tackling with it, I realized that it is way difficult than I thought it would be. Because the methods I used to use for these kinds of problems did not work this time. I felt not only upset, but also afflictive as I nearly reached the correct answer. At first, I thought that maybe I make some miscalculation, so I cannot work out the correct answer, but after recalculating it for several times using the same method, I realized that the method I use maybe wrong. I think what I met with that day was mental sets. It is apparently that I was stuck in a specific problem-solving strategy and could not come up with a new one. As a matter of fact, I was stuck in the same phenomenon for many times when I was at middle school and high school. And I believe that everyone had met with it in their lifetime, too. Sometimes, it is a little difficult for our brain to get rid of the pattern that we assumed already. But once we try to think in another angle, it would be easier for us to solve the problems in our daily life.
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True life: Daddy Day Care

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Growing up I always preferred spending time with my father over my mother. My father always insisted this was because he was the "fun parent." Turns out he may have been right all along. When reading the psychology chapter on the role of the father figure I found it interesting that even though fathers are less affectionate and spend less time father daughter.jpgwith their children than mothers their kids usually prefer to play with the father. This struck me because I realized just how true it is. My father spent less time with me than my mother yet I always preferred playing with him. This made me think that maybe why some children prefer their father to their mother is because they associate their father with fun and play. If children prefer their father as a playmate then they might grow up to associate fun and happiness with time spent with their father. In the psychology chapter it also mentions that fathers interact with more physical play. This could also be a reason that children might prefer their father. According to Harlow and his comfort contact theory, simple touch can be extremely reassuring. While his theory gave us insight into why children prefer their own parents it could also be why children sometimes favor their father.

Divorce, which has gone from an occurrence that rarely happened during our parents generation to something that now happens in almost 50% of all marriages in the US. According to an article in Time Magazine the long-term damage of kids living with divorced parents has led to difficulties in establishing career goals and stable relationships. This makes me question whether the results have been by chance, the stress factor, missing out on input from a parent of each sex or a mixture of a lot of things. The thing I found most surprising in the section was that when parents experienced just mild conflict before being divorced, the effects from them were actually worse on the kids than if they were severe. This makes it sound like the change from a child living in a two-parent bad environment to only one parent actually helped them and lacked the difficulties that otherwise arose. I personally have not witnessed too much change in personality from friends and acquaintances in the short term but that is not to say it will not happen in the future. Because of the correlation-causation effects of how children may have been treated prior, however, there really is no way to be sure of how children really are affected at this point in time and reactions to the topic are brought about mostly by divorce experience.

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Lawrence Kholberg devised a theory of how moral development changes over a person's lifespan. His theory divided morality into three levels that contain sublevels. People are placed into certain levels based on their reasons for certain actions and not on the actions themselves. People in the first level tend to focus on the immediate consequences and how the individual is affected. People in the second level tend to focus on social rules and how society is affected. People in the third stage view people as separate from society and feel that exceptions can be made to societies rules.
One major criticism of Kholberg's stages is from Carol Gilligan, who argued that it was biased against women due to the differences in approaches to moral problems by each gender. Kholberg's model found males to be more morally advanced then females, which Gilligan argued was because women viewed morality using different terms then men. A problem with Gilligan's argument is that, when corrected for education, women scored the same as men on Kholberg's scale. Even with this problem, Gilligan's criticism may be accurate, because moral development may be different based on gender.
Another criticism is that Kholberg's stags is that it is culturally biased. While each culture appears to progress through the stages in the same order, different cultures progressed though at different rates and reached different levels. This criticism may have merit because Kholberg's stages are based on Western cultures and may not match the morality of non-Western cultures. Other cultures may split from Kholberg's stages at the point that they appear to stop at.
I feel that Kholberg's theory is a theory that may have some flaws but can be applicable in many situations. I agree with it's progression from a self based reasoning, to a societal based reasoning, to a reasoning that transcends social rules. Even with it's flaws it is useful as long as you remain aware of it's possible shortcomings.

I wish my parents were bilingual. As a German minor, I wish my parents could have taught me a second language as a young child, particularly German. MULTIRACIAL.jpgThis wish was reinforced by Psychology 1001 when we learned about the benefits from learning a second language in young children. To further the research in this area, researchers are turning to the brains of infants to find out how they distinguish between languages as they are developing.

Neurological activity in an infant's brain shows how an infant distinguishes between languages. Researchers at the University of Washington highlighted the differences between monolingual and bilingual infants when it comes to distinguishing languages.

At six months, monolingual infants could discriminate between phonetic sounds, whether they were said in the infants' primary language or another language. By 10 to 12 months, the infants were only detecting sounds in their primary language.
In contrast, the bilingual infants' results showed that at six to nine months, the infants were not able to distinguish between phonetic sounds in languages. At 10 to 12 months, however, they were able to distinguish between sounds in both.

According to Dr. Patricia Kul, co-director of the Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, "What the study demonstrates is that the variability in bilingual babies' experience keeps them open. They do not show the perceptual narrowing as soon as monolingual babies do" (Klass). Early learning of multiple languages can only benefit an infant. Parents should capitalize on this opportunity.

Klass, Perri. "Hearing Bilingual: How Babies Sort Out Languages." New York Times. New
York Times, 10 Oct. 2011. Web. 24 Mar. 2012 health/views/11klass.html>.


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Although English is the most widely used language in the world, in America, England, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, where people speak English as a first language, learn second language or third language is also important. In addition to old standbys 1615-110GG63S59.jpglike Spanish, German and French, more and more students are opting for Eastern European and Asian languages, such as Chinese. Did you notice that Chinese students think it is very hard to learn English and American students think Chinese is the most difficult to learn. The learner of a second language has many obstacles to overcome. But why, if a child's parents come from different countries say different languages, the child is east to speak two kinds of languages? A child born their brain's weight is 350 g. One year old, 950 g; six years old, 1200 g, close to 1400 g adult's quality. One-year-old to six years, this period is the period of the fastest growing children's brain development, but also to accept the best period of the language. Specifically, you want the children are real but one language, you should start early, from the age of two, this period can allow children to accept the dual mother tongue language education. How to help parents to motivate their children to learn a second language? First, to see what to say. Second, use scenes of life to learn. Third, to learn language in the games. In a bilingual Environment, cross-language references makes the students' thinking more sophisticated.11111.jpg

Are you an outlier?

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Do you consider yourself to be an "expert" in a certain area? If so, could you easily say that you've practiced this skill for more than 10,000 hours? Our textbook has only touched on this subject, but once I saw the magic number (10,000) when reading about IQ, I knew that the mind behind the quote was Malcolm Gladwell.

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In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Gladwell writes about how one simply becomes just that: an outlier. For most, simply being average doesn't cut it. Most people like to feel indispensible and unique, so in effect, they strive to be an outlier.

This book, which is a must read, explains that being a "genius" isn't solely inherited. What we believe are geniuses today in their respective fields, such as Bill Gates and The Beatles, really started out in the same position as everyone else, just average. Sure, they have natural talent, but what set them above everyone else is their dedication and diligence. I don't want to spoil the book for anyone who wants to read this amazing story of success, but what did Bill Gates and The Beatles do to become masters of their domain? They worked and worked at it for more than 10,000 hours.

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As Professor Melissa Koenig discussed the language development of infants and children is astonishing, due to the abilities that they possess without any preexisting knowledge or experience of how language works at a very young age. If when we were young had those same abilities to recognize and detect all speech sounds, would we have chosen to learn a second language or third language than? My response to that would be of course, I would have wanted to learn another language than my native language than, because I already had the tools to detect speech sounds from every language. If I have the tools that adults didn't with language when I was an infant, I would have wanted to capitalize on that, since I now know how hard it is to detect language sounds from a language different than my own as an adult. Although this is very unlikely for infants to learn a second or third language for besides there native language due to their environment they are exposed to. I believe that it mainly depends on what their parents or caretakers expose them to while they are infants. Infants could easily learn the basics to multiple languages if they are exposed to learning situations that keep on repeating the words and meanings from a different language or two. Than the words would need to be maintained by continuous use by both parent and infant, in an infant directed social interaction. I only think that this is possible if the parents begin the process of teaching their infant languages at 4 to 6 months of age, even if they cannot talk yet because eventually they will imitate or mimic and we know by 12 months of age they start to lose touch with language sounds that they do not hear from their parents or the outside environment. If you were to have kids would you start to incorporate another language than yours, into your infants language capabilities before they were gone?

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Although there are multiple ways to measure intelligence, what type of intelligence is being tested? If you were like me I thought there was just one "intelligence". Well let me shed some light on the subject and maybe you'll find which type you are!

Linguistic Intelligence:
Speak and write well
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Logicomathmatical Intelligence:
use logic and mathematical skills to solve problems, such as scientific qustions
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Spatial Intelligence:
Think and reason about objects in three-dimensional space
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Musical intelligence:
Perform, understand, and enjoy music
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Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence:
manipulate the body in sports, dance, or other physical endeavors
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Interpersonal intelligence:
Understand and interact effectively with others
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AND FINALLY Naturalistic Intelligence:
Recognize, identify, and understand animals, plants, and other living things
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I never knew that there were this many types of intelligence let alone that you can view an individuals intelligence by how these different types act as a whole. Personally i think that my strongest intelligence types are Logicomathematical, Bodily-kinesthetic, and Interpersonal intelligence because of my activity in sports, math skills, and (at least i hope) my ability to effectively communicate with others. So now my question is which are you?

A Problem Solving Society

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Creative problem solving is considered to be one of the most important skills in the job market and in life in general. When it comes to the brain, humans have developed ways to help ensure that problem solving can be done with complex problems by a variety of methods such as generalizing a problem with salience of surface similarities, creating a mindset which provides a reinforced method of solving problems, and embedding information about each object's functions so that you can figure out the correct object to fill whichever need is required.

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However, these concepts can also work to our disadvantage with the fact that we can sometimes miss out on important details in such surface similarities, or get so caught in a mindset or function that we lose the ability to take a step back and see alternative solutions, which is where creative problem solving becomes a skill to develop.

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I find this very important because I'm a physics major and creative problem solving is one of the most fundamental aspects of the field of research. It allows society to develop in directions that nobody could foresee with technological innovations that wouldn't have been invented if not for the ability to break out of the natural tendency to generalize solutions and functions. Knowing how to take advantage of your basic problem solving functions and when to break free from them is essential to making the most out of life from the social to technological applications in society.

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In Chapter 10 there was a short side note about Lee Malvo who was seventeen when he participated in the Washington, DC, sniper killings in October 2002 and other various killings that resulted in 42 shootings. He was the accomplice of his mentor John A. Muhammad. Some argued that for his wrong doings Malvo should be sent to death row because the United States does permit the execution of juveniles as young as 16 years old. On the other hand, some felt that because he was only seventeen he should get a less severe punishment.

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An article about Lee Malvo called "Less Guilty by Reason of Adolescence" states that, "emerging knowledge about cognitive, psychosocial, and neurobiological development in adolescence supports the conclusion that juveniles should not be held to the same standards of criminal responsibility as adults" (1010). Teenagers are more vulnerable to the influence of others and their identity is still forming. The article also points out that teenager's attitude towards risk is different from adults in that teenagers are more likely to take bigger risks. Despite these arguments, it has also been argued that teenager's cognitive capacities are actually closer to adults than was previously thought.

Ultimately Malvo receive a sentence of life in prison while John A. Muhammad received the death penalty. Along with the argued reasons for treating adolescents less severely than adults, another possible reason why Malvo did not receive the death penalty could have been because his sentencing occurred two days before Christmas. This could have possibly caused the jury to feel more willing to spare the life of murderer. It has been argued that if the sentencing had taken place two days after Christmas Malvo would be sitting on death row.

So the question is: do adolescents deserve less punishment because they are not adults?

http://faculty.vassar.edu/abbaird/PreviousSite/juvJustice/steinberg.pdf

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/john_lee_malvo/index.html

http://www.examiner.com/crime-in-norfolk/will-d-c-sniper-lee-malvo-get-the-death-penalty-after-all

Children of Soldiers

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Many of us have experienced a friend, brother, sister, mom, dad, or close relative get sent overseas to fight a war. For our generation it is the War on Terror in the Middle East and for past generations it has been World War One, World War Two, and many other battles that have taken the lives of many and caused many psychological problems such as post- traumatic stress for others. Many times this damages families in ways that cannot be reversed. One may ask how children are affected by family members not being present in highly critical stages of development for children. Many of us have different relationships with our parents but for me I know that my dad could not teach me some things that my mom did and vice versa. There are critical times that parents should be present in a child's life not saying they shouldn't always be present. A child is most impressionable from the sensorimotor stage till the formal operation's stage. This is a time in which parents need to be there and active with their kids. It is very hard for young children to not have a mom or dad for a year. Many times soldiers do not see their family for a year or more which is way too long. It is inevitable to be deployed if you are enlisted in the armed forces but there should be a change on how long deployments are or the addition of time where a soldier can fly home not just for the child's mental health but also the soldier's.

About half of the children living in the United States will see their parents go through divorce. I am part of that population growing up with a split household, my father and mother split when I was born and then currently my mother and step father are divorcing. Blog 3 pic 1.jpg How do divorces affect the children of the couple? I looked at a paper published by the University of New Hampshire that dove into this issue.

Impacts on children from divorce depend on the age of the child when divorced, gender, amount of conflict between parents, and their support system. The affects are most prominent from pre-school aged to adolescents. For all ages, depression, aggressiveness, grief, fault, resentment, and loneliness are typical effects. Preschoolers believe they have caused the divorce and may show baby-like behavior as a coping method. School aged children take it harder, possibly because they may understand the conflict. They tend to hope they reunite and feel rejected. Teenagers feel pushed into adulthood, may take over or control family to fill in shoes, doubt their own relationships, feel pressured to choose a parent, fault one, and understanding the issue may interfere with their coping ability.

Additionally, the gender of the child and which parent raises them can have some repercussions. Generally, it's best for the same sex parent to raise the child. With this model, boys show less aggression and have less emotional problems and girls can become more responsible and mature.

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Hopefully one day there can be less divorces and happier children worldwide.

Temke, Mary. "The Affects of Divorce on Children." University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, May 2006. Web. 19 Mar. 2012. .

In a time where the Chinese economy is booming and there are more and more multinational businesses with both Western and Chinese management, there needs to be an understanding of decision making processes of both cultures. In the Western culture, they have a value of making quick decisions. This goes against the more analytical process the Chinese take. The Chinese focus on the complexity of an issue. They will take their time to review every angle of the problem and go back to the beginning to make sure every step was looked at. In addition, their collectivist outlook requires them to have a consensus before moving forward. Their slow and steady approach is looked as inefficient to the Western culture who takes a individualistic approach. Chinese see this approach as overly aggressive and dangerous. They think that a safer decision or no decision is better than forcing a decision on someone.
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One interesting tactic to solve these conflicts is a Jue ce hui: a type of meeting in China that indicates that a decision must be reached. This meeting makes sure there is a pai ban, a final decision, either by consensus or a voted leader. This is very good information to hold on to for the future. All of this information is eye-opening, because I am a typical Western thinker, a very quick decision maker. I believe that action is what drives results and that if there is not decisions being made then a group is failing. I can use this information that I have acquired in my steps to run my own company someday. In addition to information on China, I would like to know other ways decisions are made in different countries like the UK.

The Addiction Solution

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Drugs and its role in brain chemistry have helped science better understand why they produce certain behaviors, and recently, the treatment for addiction. "The Addiction Solution" by David Kipper and Steven Whitney explain the true origin of addition and how to successfully diminish it. In recent years doctors and neuroscientists have been putting together the pieces of the addiction puzzle. What was previously mistaken for a behavior problem, addiction has been proven to be a chronic disease. Like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, doctors can now better manage treatments that can put an end to this problem. Imaging techniques, as we've learned about in Lilienfeld, allow us to go beyond external behaviors and glimpse the areas of the brain responsible for certain behaviors. Functional MRIs can help patients see their brain heal through the progressive stages of recovery helping them maintain their commitment to therapy. The new paradigm of "The Addiction Solution" breaks down addiction as such:
1. An inherited genetic flaw causes...
2. Specific imbalances in brain chemistry that, when...
3. Impacted by stress, create...
4. Biochemical "wants," or needs, that show themselves as...
5. Bad feelings, uncharacteristic behaviors known as addiction
6. This can be medically treated by pharmaceutical medications that first regain and stabilize the biochemical balance.

In a nutshell...
ADDICTION:
Originates in brain chemistry,
Is determined by genetics
And is triggered by stress.

Due to imbalance of certain neurotransmitters (particularly dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine) specific neurotransmitter imbalance signals a wanting for a specific substance to regain balance (homeostasis). While some people acquire addiction through self-medicating or experimentation it is no more their choice for a specific drug as it is for a diabetic to need insulin.
From what we've learned in lecture the two-factor model can also explain addiction in by thinking of a drug the same way we do unconditioned stimuli.

CS Environment, Paraphernalia --> ( UCS Drug --> UCR Decreased Temperature ) --> CR Compensatory Response

Everyone is born with certain chemical imbalances. It is the severity of the imbalance and the impact of the triggers that cause some people to be prone to addiction.

Triggers (Stress) --> ( Imbalance of brain chemistry --> Biochemical need to regain Homeostasis ) --> Drug

Neglect of treating the chemical imbalance is why most treatment fails. So, is this breakthrough treatment the solution for all addiction? In a perfect world, maybe. With a success rate of 90%, failures occur in nearly 1 to 10 patients and discovering the reason for each failure leads to better practices for success. We must not fall prey to fallacies; everyone has the opportunity to overcome addiction.

Kipper, David and Whitney, Steven. The Addiction Solution. New York: Rodale, 2010. Print.

Multilingualism

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Language.jpgPolyglots are people who are able to speak multiple languages with a high degree of proficiency. Within the category of polyglot are people who are bilingual, trilingual, and multilingual. There even exist hyperpolyglots, people who can speak six or more languages fluently. As far as learning multiple languages, it may be easier to pick up certain languages that are structurally and stylistically similar to others. For example, French, Spanish, and Italian, are all "romance languages" and have common Latin roots. It may also be easier to learn certain languages when they have similar dialects, in the instance of the many Spanish dialects that comprise the tongues of Spain.
I personally am fortunate to be proficient in Spanish (besides being fluent in English). In the language -learning process, I believe it is important to build up gradually to a level of proficiency. To be proficient and later fluent in another language, one must be skilled in listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in that language. I think what helped me learn a second language was a combination of vocabulary/grammar drills, different speaking, reading, writing, and listening exercises, and the gradual build-up of new material.

The Bourne Memory

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I have always been a huge fan of the Bourne series with the main character, Jason Bourne, portrayed as an agent for the United States gone rogue in a search to discover his lost memories of the past. If I remember correctly he lost his memory while on a mission and was shot. The form of memory loss that Jason has is amnesia. This essentially means that he has forgotten many aspects of his life, including his real name, and where he came from, but he retains kinetic reflexes, hence his ability to use all of his fighting skills he acquired during his training program. The training program also severely altered his state of mind and as a result made him into a completely new person. I always found it fascinating that it was possible for him to lose the part of his memory that would be most important to one's mind, but instead he retained all of his physical capabilities. However, if this is the case, then how is it that Jason could remember all the other languages he had learned? And know essentially everything else about his past except for his real name, what he is, and where he came from? The retrograde amnesia that impairs Jason's memory should have also made him incapable of retaining all those languages, along with his name and past.
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Not one, but two?

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Language is a system of communication that combines symbols, such as words or gestural signs, in rule-based ways to create meaning. Language serves several crucial functions such as the transmission of information and the ability to express our thoughts about social interactions. It is also one of the few documented cases in which children are more efficient learners than adults. We, as humans, spend much of our conversational time establishing or maintaining our relationships with others, which, in turn, creates a bond between two people
One commonly held belief is that this special "bond" enables twins to invent their own secret language that only they can understand. This phenomenon, known as cryptophasia, is natural to expect when two people have been together from the moment of conception. However, this notion is not as truthful as it may seem. Cases of cryptophasia among twins turn out to be a result of phonological impairment and other types of language delay that are more prevalent among twins. The twins are simply attempting to use their native language, but with poor articulation and significant pronunciation errors. The reason they make it look like they have their own "language" is because twin pairs tend to make similar kinds of phonological errors, making their speech more understandable to each other that to their parents or nonrelated children.

Video of two twins talking in their "own" language.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JmA2ClUvUY

Our memories...

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False memory phenomena, also known as false memory syndrome, recovered memory, pseudomemory or memory distortion is the belief that certain events, usually traumatic events, have occurred when they actually have not. Traumatic events would usually be acts of abuse or violence during childhood. In the Paul Ingram case, Paul's daughters Ericka and Julie accuses him of sexually assaulting them and even though their stories were not consistent, Paul confessed that he did commit this crime. He first made himself believe that he did such a thing, which came from the idea that the police told him to do called "experimental confession." Experimental confession is the idea that if you confess of something you did then eventually you will remember what really happened. This caused Paul to believe to the end and it cost him 20 years in prison.

In a less traumatic study, people were convinced that they saw a demonic possession some time during their childhood. Some were given false feedback and others would not. As a result, those who were given feedback were more confident that they did see a demonic possession as a child.

I find it striking how easy false memories can be planted in our minds and change what we remember or believe to be true just from a suggestion someone else recalls. False memory phenomenon also makes me think of the times when I try to recall a memory and suggestions from other people or false memories that might have been created from our imagination convinces me that something occurred when it really did not or it is more of an extracted truth because of the false memories planted. Not that this occurs a lot but I always doubt memories that are more vivid. Yet, studies say that some of the memories we are more confident about can still be false memories...

Animal Language

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As we know, we human has our own ways to communicate with each other, and the most important one is language. Human has lot of languages. People from different countries and different races might speak different languages. And those languages only known by themselves. So what about animals? From my point of view, different kind of animals also have different kind of ways to communicate with each other, but do they have languages? As we know, birds sing to each other to communicate with each other, some mammals like bears and lions also can communicate with each other by voice. So I do think animals have their own language. Although their brain were not smart than human beings, they can still create their own language.lion communication .jpg

Do you remember what you were doing the moment you heard that the World Trade Center had been hit on September 11, 2001? Many people do and the memory is usually very easy to remember. What is being described here is a flashbulb memory, which according to the textbook, is an emotional memory that is extremely vivid and detailed. The memories are often related to a traumatic experience as well. Like the awful day of September 11th, people have flashbulb memories of the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated and the Challenger Space Shuttle explosion.

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While it was often thought that these memories could last for an extremely long time and sometimes forever, psychologists are now saying that these memories do lose some details and change some of the story as time goes on. Psychology in Action published an article on their website describing an experiment that was conducted at the University of California- San Diego concerning flashbulb memories and the O.J. Simpson verdict. Three days after the verdict, students were asked to remember where they were and how they had heard about the verdict. After this they were selected to come back 15 months or 32 months later. The students then had to describe the same situation again and then the researchers evaluated the distortions in the stories. The stories in the 15-month follow-up had far fewer distortions then those in the 32-month follow-up. Equally interesting is the fact that 80 percent of the peoples' memories were flashbulb memories, but 40 percent of those memories had distortions in them. What this study showed is that flashbulb memories do exist, but they do seem to lose some detail and validity over time.

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Psychology in Action Article:
http://www.psychologyinaction.org/2011/09/16/flashbulb-memories-traumatic-events-and-the-details-we-remember/

Additional Article:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200203/hot-the-trail-flashbulb-memory

Alzheimers disease is made up by a basic build-up of proteins in the brain. The build-up is caused by plagues, deposits of protein that develop in spaces between nerve cells, and tangles, deposits of protein that develop inside these cells. Scientists have yet to find out why some people tend to form this excessive build up of proteins, but have made some basic assumptions on how to help prevent it. Some factors they seem to list include staying away from serious head injury, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet, avoiding tobacco, and being engaged in intellectually stimulating activities.
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I was very interested in how someone who has developed Alzheimer's deals with the disease in an active household? I found a very touching article posted by someone suffering from the disease (http://www.alz.org/living_with_alzheimers_10304.asp). A lady by the name of Eileen abused alcohol and other drugs by age 11. She took over 100 pills a day, and suffered from being an alcoholic. She now has a family in which she cares very much about and loves with her life. But, after noticing small amounts of memory loss she was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer's in her late 40's. Eileen had to retire from her job, as she and her family suffer greatly everyday. There are days where she physically cannot get out of bed, and the others she "fights like hell" to get out even though she felt horrible. She explains how many close friends have become unrecognizable, and her speech is only going downhill. Will we ever find a cure to such a serious disease?

Slowly Losing Your Life

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Once people reach the age of 65, they begin to experience memory problems, most of which is caused by Alzheimer's disease. This is a terrible disease that causes patients to loss memory, starting with recent events and slowly taking away more of their memory from longer ago. This means that AD patients have a hard time remember what they did earlier this week, but they do remember important events from years ago, until the disease progresses and starts taking away those memories.alzheimers_0821.jpg
This disease is caused by senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, which cause a loss of synapses and the death of cells in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex which are important to memory and intellectual ability. Unfortunately there are no treatments or cures that slows down or reverses Alzheirmer's effects, there are only proposed theories as to what can help, yet they have not been proved by research. One of these theories that has been studied showed that being physically fit, with a good diet and a strong social network can help decrease ones chances of Alzheimer's, but it's hard to determine the correlation in the study. Because of the difficulty to treat Alzheimer's, people who have the disease gradually lose their memories until they pass away.

Forgetting Loved Ones

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Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurological disease of the brain leading to the irreversible loss of neurons and the loss of intellectual abilities, including memory and reasoning. The disease is caused by a build-up of proteins in the brain. The buildup occurs in two main ways, Plaques and tangles. Plaques are deposits of the protein beta-amyloid that accumulate in the spaces between nerve cells and tangles are deposits of the protein tau that accumulate inside of nerve cells. Scientists are still studying how plaques and tangles are related to Alzheimer's disease. One theory is that they block nerve cells' ability to communicate with each other, making it difficult for the cells to survive.

A more intricate explanation about how the disease occurs can be seen in this video:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Wv9jrk-gXc


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Treatment for Alzheimer's usually involves the use of Cholinesterase inhibitors. These inhibitors curb the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical in the brain important for memory and learning. These types of medications help increase the levels of acetylcholine in the brain, thus help with memory retention.

People with Alzheimer's experience the disease in 3 main phases. In the first phase of the disease the patient is noticeably slower with brain functions and begins having trouble with memory. The second stage is similar to the first and usually accompanied by a behavioral change. And the final stage is most noticeable as the patients abilities severely decline and a move into a nursing home may be necessary.

Alzheimer's is an unfortunate disease and can be one of the hardest for family members to deal with because their loved one simply cannot remember them.

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Linguistic Relativity

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Initially proposed independently by Benjamin Lee Whorf and Edward Sapir, the idea that language influences thought may initially seem counterintuitive. Clearly language and thought are related, we formulate and communicate thoughts using language, but it may seem that language merely expresses what is already there. While thought may not be wholly dependent on language as some have proposed, there is evidence to show that language does influence it.

One experiment which demonstrates such a connection between language and thought makes use of the grammatical concept of gender present in languages such as German and Spanish. These languages require that speakers refer to objects using the grammatical constructs of a certain gender. A believer of linguistic relativity might infer from this that the grammatical gender of an object influences perception of that object. To test this, speakers of Spanish and German were asked to describe the features of certain objects. When describing a key (which is feminine in Spanish and masculine in German), German speakers more frequently used words with masculine connotations such as jagged, hard, and heavy while Spanish speakers more frequently used words such as intricate, lovely, and shiny.

Linguistic relativity is also apparent in constructed languages such as computer programming languages. One example commonly used to illustrate this is Blub, a hypothetical programming language. Based on the availability of certain functions in programming languages, one might order them in terms of so called power. Blub is considered to be of intermediate power. A Blub programmer looking down the hierarchy at less powerful languages can see the functions missing from them and understands how Blub is more powerful. Looking up the continuum however, the Blub programmer is unable to see that he is looking up. Thinking in Blub much as one would think in a natural language, he would only perceive a language with seemingly bizarre constructs. For this reason, many programmers have advocated learning to use languages such as Lisp to become better programmers by broadening the way people can think about programs.

While these examples do not support the idea that language gives rise to thought, they do show that language influences thought in more subtle ways. The inherent properties of words can influence perception and even the understanding of concepts.

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Everyone remember this great man right? Yeah, he is Elvis Presley! The superstar singer in the past. Everyone attracted by his songs and his voice. Why we like elvis, because we were affected by him through his songs. This is a kind of different way to communicate with others. Human have many different way to communicate, so do animals! Whales used to be think as the Elvis in the animals, cause whales can sing beautiful songs, this is called whale songs.
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Whale sounds are the sounds made by whales and which are used for different kinds of communication. Mostly, the whales use the beautiful sounds for the sexual selection. Still have some whales use the sounds to detect the size and nature of objects by using echolocation. And the whale doesn't have a good sense of smell like sharks, it also has the poor visibility, so they can only use the sound to detect what is around them. For the whale, the "whale song" is not only for communication, but also will help them to live and survive in the water. But you may ask, is it a kind of language? Since it can be a way to do the sexual selection. With the research, I found out the results shows that the whale song still constitutes an indication of the existence of grammar within the songs, which means it can be think as a language since it has some of the factor of the language. But it is still a indeterminate problems waiting for us to tell.

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