May 2012 Archives

5 Years From Now...

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With the clutter of terms that psychology threw my way this semester, there is only a few things I will remember with decent accuracy. When I think about the year in review, learning about biological psychology will be the thing that sticks with me. I found it very interesting how every thought comes down to the firing of neurons and make me curious if there is a possibility to enhance the firing of neurons to make the brain faster/smarter. I spent a lot of time studying that chapter because I was fascinated by the different areas of the brain that preform different functions and it's evolution over millions of years. I'll be able to remember what i learned in the future because of the fact i put so much time and effort into the sections of that chapter. Every other section had different theories and hypothesis' about what could be the cause of a something, I liked biological psychology because it had straight answers and had a interesting way of finding answers to the questions. Overall it was a good year in psychology and hopefully I am able to apply the material i learned to later in life situations. If not, at least I can impress people with my knowledge of the brain.

my own experiences

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Of all the topics cover in this course so far, I think the topic most likely to stick with me is the development of language. Originally, I just figured small children learn language because they imitate their parents or society. However, in class we discovered that infants have an innate ability to detect language. The experiment that determined infants have the ability to pick up subtle changes in phonemes while adults could not tell the difference. The chapter also explained how there is a deaf community somewhere (don't remember where) that came up with their own unique language to communicate with each other. Communication of some sort, whether it be written, spoken, or just plain gestures, is necessary for a community to strive. However, it never occurred that we, as humans, are genetically born with the ability to learn language. Scientists haven't found the function of all the genes yet, so it astonishes me that a gene designated to the innate ability to communicate through language is a foreign topic to me. Hence why it will remain with me for the years to come.

I have to be greatful for this course in some ways, despite my opposition to psychology as a subject. I frequently was sick of reading about one study to the next only to read in the following paragraph that it really, probably, wasn't actually that correct and I really don't buy into a lot of the theories. In a lot of ways, I don't consider it a science (sorry) and this only fueled my distaste. However, I was interested once we got to the chapter including schizophrenia. This is one of the few psychological disorders that I can really validate in my head and relate to, it has more scientific evidence supporting it and it also affected my family. My grandmother died young, and my dad dealt with her illness for most of his adolescence. Since I never knew her, or anything about the disease other than that it meant she was the definition of "crazy" , it was interesting to learn more about what she went through and to talk to my dad about the things that he noticed about her condition. I was surprised at how much I didn't know about her. Having read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest like so many others I had always assumed that shock therapy had been a hardship for her, or that it made her worse and was just another sad case of medicinal mistreatment. To my surprise, shock therapy actually helped her condition. But unfortunately, there were no medications like Thorazine available to treat her so she still struggled quite a bit. I had also been pretty concerned about my personal risk of developing schizophrenia later on in life. My mom has always been concerned about a severe fever or something of that nature causing that gene to get expressed in my brother or me and I think her own paranoia sparked a little nervousness in me as well. Thankfully, my risk as a grandchild is only 5% for ever developing the illness and I figure there are a whole lot of awful things out there that I have a much higher chance of experiencing to be worried about. So all in all, I'm glad I got a little more insight into schizophrenia. It's taught me more about my grandmother, my dad's life, and my own future.

(But don't think I like psychology)

If you were anorexic and looking for something to explain why you're not eating, use the lemonade diet. It's the most legitimate appearing, celebrity endorsed, and "healthy" cleansing diet on the internet. In fact, even my good friends who normally would never fall prey to such an extreme get-thin quick diet nearly bought into this one (until I convinced them otherwise, of course).
Designed in 1941, it has been around for over 60 years and has even been endorsed by celebrities like Beyonce who lost 20 pounds for her role in Dream Girls on it! One of the funniest things about this endorsement is that Beyonce gained back all of that weight and more after her role in Dream Girls. During her role in that film, she was the thinnest anyone had ever seen her. Needless to say, with that endorsement, the lemonade diet is a perfect front for someone who is possibly anorexic and covering it up, or someone who is trying to lose weight too fast.
Consisting of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water the lemonade drink adds up to about 1000 calories per day. It perfectly fits the definition of a crash diet that our book cirtes. However, despite these obvious signs that it's dangerous, it still appears credible on its website. Unless you search a little further. On the front page of the website, it claims that it can alleviate chronic diseases, provide a quick and health means of effective weightloss, and eliminate toxins and indegistion. A quick click to their disclaimer page and the first sentence reads, "The Products and the claims made about specific products on or through this site have not been evaluated by or the United States Food and Drug Administration and are not intended or approved to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease." Even THEY haven't attempted to research their own product, how it works, or why it works. This completely contradicts everything they said on their first page. It's also completely devoid of scientific evidence, as shown by their disclaimer, and by the fact that the diet was created in 1941 by a dietician. Let's all imagine the expertise of a dietician from the 40's, shall we? Needless to say, this diet is a sham. Shame on those who endorse it, and feel sorry for those who fall for it.

Here's the link to check it out

In five years I would hope to remember the six principles of scientific thinking. These principles are useful in determining if an explanation is a good explanation or a bad one. I would hope to continue using the six principles to help me evaluate scientific claims. The six principles are used to overcome bias and reach an unbiased explanation. There are a large number of logical fallacies that the six principles help overcome. For example the principle of correlation vs. causation overcome the correlation-causation fallacy by reminding us that either thing could cause the other or that a third unknown variable could act upon both of them. I would prefer to remember these principle more then any other aspect of psychology because I feel that these principles are essential to rational thought. These principles can help me avoid being fooled by something that may not be true. I hope to continue to use these principles for the rest of my life and to continue to think rationally about explanations for events that ovccur.

In 5 Years

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Bystander Nonintervention.jpg

In five years, the concept of Bystander Non-intervention will stick with me more than anything else. While most people think that there is safety in numbers, the truth is that large groups of people are less likely to help somebody in need. This is due primarily to Pluralistic Ignorance (thinking that nobody else sees things as we do) and to Diffusion of Responsibility (feeling less responsibility in the presence of others). It is crazy to think that people will let something terrible happen just because there are many other people around who are doing nothing.

If there is one area of Psychology I hope and know I will still remember not only in the next 5 years, but for the rest of my life it is the 6 Thinking Principles we began talking about all the way back at the start of the semester. We have covered an incredible amount of material and it is unrealistic to think that five years down the road I would still remember most or even hardly any of the material. These Principles, however, do not only relate to Psych but to almost every career you could think of at least a little bit. My favorite and the one that is apparent the most in my life is that one thing does not necessarily cause the other. I see examples of this everywhere from the news to overhearing people on campus. I hope to go into business and within that field it is almost a guarantee that co-workers will be assuming that a stock is going up or down due to a side factor but we all know that it may not be the case. I hope that in the future many of the other side information retains within my long-term memory, but in case it doesn't I know I'll have at least taken away something very useful in this course.

mntn range.jpg


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One piece of psychology that I will remember for the rest of my life is the term Schadenfreude, a German word that means to be happy in the face of someone else's misery. My roommate, who took psych 1001 last semester talked about it all the time, but he didn't only talk about what it meant, he talked about in regards to a very dear friend of ours. This friend, we'll call him Big Bad, always loved to laugh at the misfortunes of a few specific friends of ours, it was really funny to see Big Bad get excited about these things. However Big Bad tragically passed away this past March, and I will never forget the hilariously sinister way he exemplified the word, Schadenfreude, throughout his life.

5 Years Later

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Where do I see myself in 5 years? Celebrating the 5th year anniversary of this question being asked!
But for real. One think I think will stick to me throughout the long run is operant conditioning.
I feel this form of conditioning is everywhere and so easy to do that we should start employing it more often. I know if I ever have children I will use it to reinforce good behavior. Also if I ever get a dog, good behavior will also be rewarded. Conditioning in general I've found is very profound. I have a bad habit of cracking my neck (ick I know!) but I really wanted to stop. So I proposed myself a plan that if I think about cracking my neck, if I stop myself before doing it I would reward myself with a rolo (my favorite candy). It was amazing how fast this positive reinforcement of stoping myself from cracking my neck worked. Before I knew it, I had very few urges to twist and pop my neck. I also used this technique to help a friend stop bit ing their nails.
Though psychology has taught me a lot and has opened my eyes to some of the some of the myths we have along with our use of heuristics, operant conditioning still stands out as my favorite and most memorial part of Psych 1001.cracking.jpg

Psychology: 5 Years

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The concepts that I believe I am most likely to remember from psychology are the six principals of scientific thinking. These include ruling out rival hypothesis, correlation vs causation, falsifiability, replicability, extraordinary claims, and Occam's razor. I feel this way because throughout the entire class, these six concepts applied to nearly everything we did. Some of these stand out more than the others and have more obvious applications to daily life. The correlation vs causation concept comes up all of the time in my life today and before psychology I didn't even realize it. It applies to almost every event and helps you determine how to handle different situations. Occam's razor is another that applies to daily life in a less direct way, because sometimes we overcomplicate things and overlook the easiest and most simple solution. Falsifiability is another very interesting concept that I knew little about coming into psychology class. It originally surprised me to learn that for a claim to be scientifically true it actually MUST be possible to falsify it, which makes sense, but at a glance most people would assume that it must be impossible to falsify the claim. While this doesn't often apply to daily life it is still something I will always have a better understanding of. I'm sure there are quite a few concepts from psych 1001 that I will remember for years, but these 6 core concepts definitely stand out to me. Mason Hurley

Five years from now I think the thing about psychology that I will remember is probably the Milgram experiment on authority obedience. The reason why I will remember this is because this concept really struck me as extremely interesting. The whole thing about how 62 percent of the people in his study killed the subject (if there had been one getting shocked) and how quickly they listened to the man in the lab coat really amazed me. We all think that we would never do something like that but Milgram has proven us all wrong, well 62 percent of us wrong.

Also, another reason why I will remember this is because this was one section that I really studied a lot. Not just because it intrigued me, but because it had a lot of important information about different situations and how we react to them. This section was so interesting to me that I even wrote a whole separate blog post about it!

When I was asked questions on the exam about things that were related to this section I knew them all because I had studied this section so much. I guess the book was right that the more you repetitions of something you do the easier it is to remember/perform. I'm getting at a little two for one here with the Milgram experiment and Long Term memory.

Anyways, Milgram was a super smart dude and he had a very interesting experiment.

Romance is Forever!

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I tend to remember a lot of important or interesting things, often for many years. Although in this case I will probably think most about the aspects of romance, evaluated psychologically of course.

They say that everyone is either just searching for their happiness, or want to search for their happiness. Sometimes I feel that maybe I can give them some help if they ever come my way. I am by no means a love doctor, do not misunderstand, but I may be able to tell them about things they've never thought about.

This could apply to me as well. Maybe this will help me to find my own love in the future. Blargh! I never meant to be so sappy and overly dramatic. Okay, reflection time over now. Ha ha ha...

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