Writing 1; Section 4: January 2012 Archives

In chapter 10, I can see that how experience, especially early experience, and gene affect the growth and development of children. The chapter describes the procedure a child grows up and how his/her brain comes to be maturer.
Because of the fast growing of children in their childhood, experiences have important influences than later experiences in shaping them as adults. What interested me is that the what is the causation bewteen experiences and personality. Like what Lilienfeld mentioned in the book that suffered highly fearful tend to seek out environments that protect them from their anxieties. However, those children could take more anxious when they grow up than those who grow up in safe environments. That is, the danger environment one grows up in, the safer environment she/he would seek out as he/she grows older. We can see how experiences affect rest of people's life.
I can relate this with my friend's experience. She growed up in a family full of fights, her father and mother quarreled with each other everyday and in the end they got a divorce. With this experience, she is afraid of marrage after grown up and does not trust men whatsoever. This is a tragedy of her and I can see that how important that the influences of early experiences are.

Forecasting Happiness

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I had to read chapter 11 of the textbook, and this chapter had to do with "emotions and motivation." The thing that I found most interesting in this chapter is the section of forecasting happiness. According to this section, we are all fairly poor at predicting our happiness. According to the theory of forecasting happiness, we tend to overestimate the impact of events on our moods long-term (Lilienfeld, 426). The most remarkable thing about this section, is that ther have been studies that show when people become paraplegic, their baseline level of happiness return to normal after a few months. Adversely, when someone wins the jackpot for the lottery, their happiness shoots sky high immediately after they win. But then a couple months later, their baseline happiness returns to normal, as well. This all relates to the "hedonic treadmill" hypothesis (Lilienfeld, 427). This is the idea that we all adjust to our baseline level of happiness and unhappiness. So, in the end, this section of the chapter talked about how one cannot accurately forecast happiness, and that our baseline levels of happiness and unhappiness can adjust very quickly. Lottery.jpg

Chapter 9 IQ test storm

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The chapter 9 is talking about intelligence and IQ testing which is divided into 5 small topics. At first, the book gives us the definition and then talks about intelligence testing, external factors' and group influence on IQ and other dimensions. (Chapter 9 Page 316)

It struck me when I get to know that the simple word intelligence has so many different definitions and comprehensions according to different psychologists. The concept becomes more and more accurate and complete after the hypothesis and research raised by psychologists in different generations. When I saw the new words fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence, I am so excited because they are quite new to me. Then, I realized that the friends around me who are easier to learn new knowledge and learn faster are better in fluid intelligence. On the contrary, the friends who can remember words and history dynasty quicker are good in crystalized intelligence. The distinction of two concepts helps me understand my friends and myself better.

The content attracts me the most is the way to calculate IQ. To be honest, I am really curious about my IQ and did some so-called authoritative tests before. But when I was doing the test, I felt something might be wrong although I always got high scores at end. Besides, I think there are a lot of knowledge and statistics in calculating IQ. According to the book, the way to calculate IQ for children and adult are different. Because once we are 16, our performance on IQ test items doesn't increase too much. (Page 327, 3rd paragraph) Besides, in order to compare our IQ to others, the system of IQ testing needs a set of dorms. That is what Terman contributed to us. As a matter of fact, nowadays, IQ testing has been misused which cause big damage to the society. They are used in business rather than helping schoolchildren who need special help. (Page 327)

Read it and Weep

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Chapter 16 focuses mainly on psychological and biological treatments. Psychotherapy is a psychological intervention designed to help people resolve emotional, behavioral, and interpersonal problems and improve the quality of their lives. A poll found that about 20 percent of Americans have received psychological treatment at some point in their life; however, some people choose to do "personal psychological treatment" as well. Every year Americans spend over $650 million on over 3,500 new published self-help books that promise everything from happiness, to wealth, to weightless, and more. Researchers refer to this as "bibliotherapy," (the effects of reading self-help books).


Only a small number of studies have been conducted to suggest that bibliotherapy can actually lead to improvements. In fact, the majority of self-help books are untested and they usually only address everyday minor problems. Often times self-help books promise unrealistic or far stretched solutions, which in return cause readers to feel like they "failed." Because of this Hal Arkowitz and Scott Lilienfeld offered the following recommendations about selecting self-help books...
- Use books based on valid principles of change and that have research support.
- Evaluate the author's credentials.
- Be wary of books that make far-fetched promises.
- Beware of books that rely on a "one size fits all" approach.
- Seek professional help rather then self-help alone when it comes to more serious problems
Self-help books and bibliotherapy should not be disregarded completely, but rather, people should be cautious about how much they can actually help with problems. Although bibliotherapy is better than no treatment at all, psychotherapy is best for dealing with more serious issues.


More than Words

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"60% of all human communication is nonverbal body language; 30% is your tone, so that means 90% of what you're saying ain't coming out of your mouth." - Alex "Hitch" Hitchens from "Hitch"

(Statistics above may or may not be correct, examples used are for qualitative purposes only in order to demonstrate a point, actual figures may vary.)

Chapter 8 begins with the unrealized complexities of communication such as word and sentence composition, dialects, physical gestures, volumes, tones, and expressions. It then talks about learning languages as either your first or additional languages.

What particularly struck out to me was extralinguistic information. This says that, although language is thought to be self-explanatory, there are many things involved in communication that is completely separate from the actual words used.

This reinforces a topic I often rant about; texting. I'm not saying that these should be eliminated because it has its time and place and has benefitted me greatly over there years. However, such forms of communication can turn simple sarcasm or jokes into a potential nightmare.

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So much of communication is eliminated in such a format. Smiles, chuckles, rolling eyes, and obvious joy is stripped from the words leaving plain text which is far too little information for interpretation of what is actually meant. This leaves these methods to require careful treading if relationships are to be maintained. So next time a serious conversation begins, let it be in person and don't underestimate the power of body language for it just may save the day from heartbreak.

Good Communication = Happy Relationship

The first half of chapter three begins talking about the nerve cells. The biology and chemistry of how nerves communicate with each other as well as how the brain has plastic properties, meaning it can change. The chapter continues on by introducing both nervous systems; the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. Next, section three describes the endocrine system and what hormones are along with how they affect behavior. Lastly, section four covers techniques on brain simulating, recording, and imaging.

Upon glancing over the chapter, the part that stuck out the most to me was the left-brained vs. right-brained people. The misconception states that left-brained people are logical, scholarly, and analytical. While right-brained people are artistic, creative, and emotional. However, both sides work together in a complimentary way. The corpus callosum connects the two hemispheres to ensure they work together.

Chapter 15 begins with an overview of abnormal psychology, addressing the history of views of mental illness and discusses the complicated issue of defining mental illness. In so doing, it introduces the concept of a "family resemblance view" rather than a strict definition. This seems to be a very useful view as it works well with the fact that mental disorders may have several similar features rather than any defining characteristic common to all of them. From there it summarizes specific mental disorders such as anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, mood disorders, and culturally specific disorders.

In its discussion of defining a concept of mental illness, the book touches on many misconceptions held by the general public. As a subject which is difficult to define and classify for experts, it makes sense that the rest of the population would hold many erroneous beliefs about mental illness; however, many of these seem to stem from much simpler misconceptions such as those discussed at the beginning of the textbook. People may see pop psychology labels or "dueling expert witnesses" and conclude that diagnoses are meaningless. Some also deny the existence of mental illness entirely perhaps because of a belief that the mind exists in a magical realm entirely outside the brain similar to historical beliefs about the spiritual nature of mental illness.

Stress, the strain of change

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Chapter 12 is about stress, coping and health. Stress is a response to an event that is difficult to cope with. Not all stress originates from negative events and not all stress is a bad, but it is generally a good idea to have lower levels of stress. How stressful an event is varies from person to person, but major changes in someone's life will always cause stress to some degree.

High amounts of stress can be problematic because they tend to increase the risk of health problems. Several studies have shown that higher levels of stress increase the chance of catching a cold or heart disease. While stress itself may not be the direct cause of these problems, it could cause other activities that weaken the body and make the body more susceptible to disease.

Coping with stress is important because it determines how we react to the stress we are under. There are many ways to cope with stress and choosing the best way for each situation is the best way to reduce stress. Not all methods of coping may be useful in every situation. If a coping method is ineffective it may cause more stress stemming from an inability to reduce stress.

Stress is a part of everyone's life, and how people deal with stress is important because it has an effect on the mental and physical health of the person.

Whoops! Freshman year...

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It seems to be a time when a lot of people lose their way.


The phenomenon of freshman year was the first thing that came to my mind when reading about deindividuation- the tendency of people to engage in atypical behavior when stripped of their usual identities (Lilienfeld, p. 502). To some degree, we are all displaced our first year at college. Freshman year forces kids to go through the exact process of deindividuation. Nobody knows who we are, and we have lost our reputations completely. It makes sense that someone like the football team captain from high school could feel displaced going to college where his reputation no longer holds any weight. And the quiet girl, who is just as anonymous as any other freshman at college, can be equally as vulnerable to college social influences like drinking and partying as the girls who used to blow off their studies in high school.

A lot of people admit to making mistakes their freshman year, even warning you about what's to come. So often we hear people say, "I had to work really hard to make up for my freshman year" and "Don't make the same mistakes I did freshman year". Entire books and websites are dedicated to helping freshman survive their first year.
We generally boil it down to the transition; having to make all new friends, living somewhere completely different and not necessarily nicer, and a huge work load. These can all be causes of deindividuation. Think it's happening to you? Not to worry, check out this website and get some advice on how not to lose your mind freshman year.


chapter 6,learning,

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Hi everyone, my name is Meng. It is my first time to learn psychology. In the entire book to see the brief contents I am very interesting in "learning". Whether human or animal, get learning or trained the result is not the same; dogs in circus know how to successful dump ring of fire; breeder taught dolphin how to applaud, they know how to listen to arrange to do some action. When I was a child, I heard a story. The nature of the wolf is eating sheep but someone put Lithium oxide in lamb burgers Will produce a very disgusting taste. They put lithium oxide in the sheep. Let sheep walk in wolf's place, A miracle happened, the wolf is close to the sheep, but the attack did not happen. Why? So amazing! What has changed is the nature of the wolf?
Through the five parts of this chapter let us know. What is learning; Classical conditioning; operant conditioning and cognitive-social theory. The Definition of learning is learning refers to any enduring change in the way an organism responds based on its experience. The Pavlovian conditioning is a form of learning in which animals come to respond to a previously neutral stimulus that had been paired with another stimulus that elicits an automatic response. The organism learns to associate CS with UCS, we should remember what is UCS, UCR, CR and CS. For example dog is NS; jump is UCR. What has changed is the nature of the wolf. That's the chapter 6 interesting thing.

Has this statement ever crossed your mind during finals week? For me personally, this is one of my worst fears come test time. But why is it that we always seem to be under the weather during the most important week of our college careers? Well according to our Psychology book, it states that "Many people believe they're more likely to get a cold when they're really stressed out-and they're right." So it is very plausible for us humans to get a cold due to the large amounts of stress we're handed a few nights before the big exam.

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There is a definite scientific explanation for sickness, but stressors do happen to play a part of the process. These illnesses are given a rather long term, psychophysiological. This is defined as illnesses such as asthma and ulcers in which emotions and stress contribute to, maintain, or aggravate the physical condition. So although a small amount of stress may be good for us, constant stress could possibly have damaging effects on our bodies, especially the heart. According to scientists, coronary heart disease (CHD), which is the complete or partial blockage of the arteries that provide oxygen to the heart, is directly correlated with psychological factors including stress (Lilienfeld, 467).

All this talk on stress and illness can be depressing, but good news is that positive emotions and social support can fortify our immune systems (Esterling, Kiecolt-Glaser, and Glaser, 1996; Kennedy, Kiecolt-Glaser, and Glaser, 1990). So it's very important to learn to cope with our stress effectively so we can all be happy and healthy!

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Bystander Nonintervention

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A topic I found interesting was Bystander Nonintervention. This is the name given to situations in which there is an emergency or something that requires help, and the more people that are present means it is less likely that one of those people will help with the situation. This phenomenon is due primarily to two different reasons. The first is called Pluralistic Ignorance, which is the feeling that if everybody else does not mind something, I should not mind it either. The second reason is Diffusion of responsibility. Because there are more people present, each person feels less guilty about the situation because everybody else could have helped too.
I found this very surprising and interesting because it is very ironic and goes against what most people would think. It is surprising to think that when more people are present at an emergency, the less likely the people are to help.

Chapter 13 focuses on social psychology. Lilienfeld opens the chapter with the story of Orson Welles famous War of the Worlds radio broadcast that sent our nation into a frenzy. This is an intriguing bit of history to begin the chapter because it is a great example of the way our species can be so easily deceived by such comically false information delivered through a socially accepted medium.
Throughout the chapter the author talks of the many different ways in which an individuals' behavior is influenced by the social setting in which they are placed. I found the section on social facilitation interesting because both humans and cockroaches completed a race faster when they were watched by a group of their peers. Another section that caught my attention were the Asch Studies on conformity. These studies showed that when the confederates of a group gave the wrong answer to a question the participant is likely to conform to the answers of the confederates even if they think the answer is wrong. This study intrigued me because as a student I have responded the same way when given a question in a group setting. It is scary to think how different social settings can have such a big impact on the way we choose to act and I am excited to learn more about the reasons behind these phenomena.

Writing 1, Section 4

Chapter 11 delves into the mysteries of human emotion and motivation. This chapter begins with the story of a man who had a brain tumor removed, and part of his brain. This resulted in him losing his ability to feel any sort of emotion. The next portion of the chapter demonstrates how important it is to have both emotion and rationality. The rest of the chapter breaks down the theories on why emotion is important and the reason why we have it. The chapter talks about verbal and nonverbal cues, and how both are essential to effectively communicating our emotions. Happiness and self-esteem are also touched on in this chapter, showing how much those two subjects influence our everyday life. Later we find out what are our motivators, and why. Lastly the tricky topic of love is discussed and we find out different styles of love and attraction.
What stuck out the most for me in this chapter was the section on what triggers emotions. The debates on what causes our psychological responses versus physical responses were fascinating. Similarly the debates on what comes first, psychological responses or physical responses were equally as interesting. This interests me because I enjoy finding out what triggers emotional responses and this chapter definitely gave me a better insight- especially with the extensive bear-based scenarios.

chapter 15

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Chapter 15 is going to cover knowledge about psychological disorders. It contains 6 main points: Conception of Mental Illness, Anxiety Disorders, Mood Disorders and Suicide, Personality and Dissociative Disorders, the Enigma of Schizophrenia, and Childhood Disorders.
I'm interested in the "anxiety disorders" part when I saw the sentence "Explanations for Anxiety Disorders: The roots of pathological worry and fear." in the text book. As for the reason, it's acknowledged that psychological health is as important as physical health because sometimes mental illness even has large impact on society. Everyone lives in the society is facing challenges of pressures everyday. The pathological fear of pressure or on the other hand we can say the fear of the real life results in some mental illness like tristimania and schizophrenia. While diseases like these always ruin the society because we all know the fact that a criminal who has mental illness could escape from punishment. In my view, most of the psychological disorders result from our daily lives. Such as pressures, bad mood, unhappy experience in childhood, etc. I think the key to get rid of psychological problem is to relax and to face the fears bravely.

Pinocchio Response

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lie detector.jpg In reading chapter eleven I thought one of the more interesting sections was the one dealing with the Pinocchio response, and polygraph testing. The Pinocchio response is defined as a perfect psysiological or behavioral indicator of lying. I was surprised to read that some polygraph organizations claim to yeild 98% accurate results, I would be interested to hear the actual stats behind their clam and what the truth is but I am skeptical about their 98% claim. I was looking at a few articles online about what situations a polygraph may be used in and found out that they are regularly given to people during the interview proccess for government jobs such as law enforcement. That fact makes me a little bit uncomfortable because I have found multpile sources saying the test yields a high rate of false positives, and I would hate to see someone denied a government job after a false positive test when they were actually telling the truth. I looked a little further and found out how the polygraph can be used in court. In some states it is completely disallowed, but states like California and Florida have different rules. In California they are allowed to use a polygraph test as evidence but it is presented to the jury and made clear that there are no guarantees to the results and the jury must decide how to use the information on their own. In Florida they actually require some sex offenders to submit polygraph tests, but they can not be used in court in any way. Those are a few interesting things I was able to find on polygraph testing and the Pinocchio Response.

The Danger in Numbers

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Chapter 13 explains social psychology as the study of how the behavior of other people affects our own behavior, beliefs, and attitudes. Humans are naturally social and tend to gravitate toward each other (Lilienfeld 495). Consequently, it is inevitable that we observe and react to others' behavior in social situations.

According to the University of Minnesota's website, "An aware and watchful community is one of the strongest deterrents against crime. We all must do our part and Stand Up. Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for each other" (http://standup.umn.edu/). Contrary to this statement, however, an observant group of people may be detrimental to our safety.


Although individuals tend to feel safer when there are many people around, studies show that people are less likely to help someone in distress in the presence of others. This is called bystander nonintervention. One major cause of bystander nonintervention is assuming a certain situation isn't an emergency based on the fact that nobody else is reacting to it. The presence of others also makes each individual feel less responsible to help (Lilienfeld 514).

Therefore, next time you see someone at risk, follow your instincts and help them out. Chances are, if you initiate the help, others will follow your lead due to our instinctive tendency to conform to one another.

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Everyone has a different personality, but just what are some of those central influences that make us who we really are? Can something as simple as birth order really change who we become?
Chapter 14 covers personality which can be defined by a persons way of thinking, behaving, and feeling. It goes on to say that psychologists have came up with three basic influences that help make up someone's personality, these being their genetic factors, shared environmental factors, and non shared environmental factors. Parenting is said to have an influence on the shared environmental factors. If parents want their kids to be more outgoing, they will give the kids this attention needed in order to do so therefore succeeding in such a shared environmental factor.

In Rome Neal's article "Personality Traits Linked to Birth Order", it helped me better understand the concept of a non-shared environmental factor. In this article it explains how firstborns tend to be natural leaders, very reliable, and not too fond of surprises. The child, who is born in the middle, usually will feel some sense that the world pays less attention to him/her. This results in a personality that is more secretive and in a way stubborn to share. The last-born tend to be more social and outgoing. Shockingly, those who are born last in the family usually end up being more financially irresponsible. Neal then proceeds to say that the last-born "just want to have a good time".

A common compliment that is given and received by a large amount of people is, "You have a great personality". What Chapter 14 of the textbook tries to do is determine where the personality comes from through various theories such as Freud's id, ego, and superego theory and how biological and environmental factors may play a role in personality development. What struck me as most interesting in the chapter is the discussion of twin separation and the meaning of birth order. The example given is that of Jack and Oskar who were separated at birth by Thomas Bouchard, who was a professor at the University of Minnesota. The twins grew up in two complete different situations and with far different political views. The biggest contradiction comes from the fact that Jack grew up Jewish, while Oskar grew up a Nazi and was a member of the Hitler Youth Movement. What came of the study was that although the two men grew up in such opposite environments, researchers determined that they had similar personalities by conducting personality tests. This produced numerous questions about how the twins were able to grow up with similar personalities despite their opposing views.

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In terms of birth order, the author calls into question the commonly thought ideas, such as independence and rebellious nature, about what birth order means. Being the oldest sibling of three, I was interested to find that there is no true consensus that birth order may affect an individuals personality because the main experiments of birth order have not always bee n replicated.


Countless factors come in to play when talking about human development. Chapter ten goes into depth about these factors as well as many situations in which they occur. The chapter begins by describing a very interesting study about the Genain quadruplets. Each of the quadruplet sisters all developed a case of schizophrenia. From the study, important findings about the idea of nature vs. nurture were made. In this case the mother of the sisters treated each daughter differently while they were young which correlates with the expression of the disease in their lives.


While reading this chapter there were a few concepts that I had heard of in previous high school courses, but most of the concepts were brand new to me. It was pretty eye-opening reading about how children develop and change the way they see the world since not too long ago that was my age. A Swiss psychologist, Jean Piaget, explained his theory on how children construct their worlds caught my attention. He explained that children see the world differently than adults, but what they see is rational with their small experience with the world. Interesting studies like this help illustrate human development throughout chapter ten.


Coping With Stress

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We all cope with stress in different ways, some anger, others talk it out with friends. What chapter 12 covers is "Stress, Coping and Heath" in which coping with stress is the section which seemed very interesting to me and I think every other college kid in the world. stress.jpgThe other parts of this chapter address how we adapt, react and cope with stress along with promoting good health with less stress. Gaining control of stress seemed to strike me as we all would love to manage such a feat. I never knew there were a variety of ways to control stress. Behavior, cognitive, decision, informational, and emotional are ways in the book of coping. I found the study of emotional behavior to pertain to college students. the researchers had a group of college students write about their deepest thoughts and feelings for 20 minutes for 4 days in a journal compared to a group who wrote about superficial thoughts. Not surprisingly, the group who opened up in their journals had fewer visits to the health center and showed signs of improved immune functions. The replication of this experiment shows the science of psychology which we have been learning about the first week as studies showing the same results have been repeated all around the world. So start your journals ladies and gents, and hopefully the stress of a new semester will melt away, if not, there are plenty more interesting stress controls in chapter 12!

The Mozart Effect

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Chapter 10 primarily covers all areas of human development-whether this be physical and motor development, development of the mind, or social and moral development. We as humans go through many significant changes throughout our lifetime; we learn to embrace the environment around us and in our early years we rapidly acquire new information. Some of these things will stick with us until the day that we die.
One thing that I found interesting in Chapter 10 was the section about "The Mozart Effect, Baby Einstein, and Creating Superbabies." I have heard about this new fad of surrounding one's newborn with Mozart piano sonatas and how it will boost the child's intelligence, and I always thought that these studies held true. I mean, it seems right, doesn't it? That's why I was surprised to discover that this study had some flaws. First of all, this experiment was only conducted on college students. The students listened to Mozart for ten minutes, and after they showed a "significant improvement on a spatial reasoning task compared with a group of students who listened to a relaxation tape." But the finding didn't say anything about enhancement of intelligence in the long run. It applied to a task given almost immediately after listening to the music. This begs the question though... Will parents keep surrounding their newborns with Mozart, despite the negative findings?


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Chapter 8 of the textbook covers communication and language and the importance that it plays in our everyday lives. I was especially interested in a small excerpt called psycho mythology that talked about how twins appear to have their own language when young. This topic is especially interesting for me because I am a twin. The textbook states that Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for twins.jpgtwins are actually using such underdeveloped language that only they are able to comprehend it. While twins do not develop their own language it is in essence a secret language because only they can understand it. The textbook mentions that other children are also not able to understand the communication which leads me to wonder if this is a factor in why twins have a stronger bond. Over the years I have realized that I can understand my sister without her speaking. I know that this is because I can read her body language and facial expressions effectively. I started wondering if infant twins are also able to understand each other because they can read each other's body language. After previewing the chapter I am excited to learn more about the different aspects of psychology.

Chapter 1

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Chapter 1 began by explaining that psychology is often misinterpreted to be a set of assumptions and based off common sense. Psychology is actually a science and not at all based off common sense. An interesting example of this was on page 7, when the upside down pictures of Obama looked identical, but when turned upside down were very different. I thought this was a strong example of how common senses can be deceiving. The chapter went on to describe the boundaries of science and how it applied to psychology, the dangers of pseudoscience, a basic framework of scientific thinking, and finally the evolution of psychology. I also found the most important scientific thinking principle to be replicability because when several people are able to produce the same results, the likelihood that it is correct is very high.

Stress. It happens to everyone, but not everyone deals with it in the same way. Chapter 12 discusses the different stressors that one faces and how individuals deal with them. Everyone has their own way that they deal with stress, but there are some responses we can't help but having. The chapter gives examples of stressors in three different ways: as stimuli, transaction, and as a response. Stress is subjective, so each person will react differently. Some may choose to find the positives in a situation, while others may seek support to help them get through.
The chapter also discusses the physical repercussions that stress can cause and the importance of staying healthy as a way to help manage your stress. The text discusses how stress can be measured, and one of the scales that are used is the Hassles scale. It ranges from little, bothersome tasks to major daily problems. This scale seemed particularly relevant to what we deal with as college students. Not all of us will deal with stress in the same way, it's important to make sure that you manage stress properly and don't start to let all the little things add up.

In Chapter 8, Lilienfeld argues that seemingly simple functions, such as speaking and thinking, are more complex than we perceive them to be. Specifically, he argues that the interpretation of language is based on the context in which it used. For example, the phrase "shut up" can be interpreted as a command to stop talking or an exclamation of astonishment.

The section about extralinguistic information, or nonverbal cues (such as facial expression and tone of voice), struck me as most intriguing; How we say something is just as, if not more, important than what we say. The tone of voice and/or facial expression we use when speaking can convey a more powerful message than our actual words. I found this section most interesting because of the truth behind this message: more often than not, I pay more attention to visual cues and fluctuation in tone of voice than what is actually being said. Furthermore, nonverbal cues can often foreshadow conversation, and it is crucial that we are able to read people's body language and facial expressions so that we can react accordingly. Failure to recognize this extralinguistic information can result in serious misunderstandings and bring about conflict.


Why is it that some people are more aggressive than others? Why some people can control their emotions better than others? Or why some people are more anxious than others?
Psychologists have wondered what contributes to peoples' personality and how they act around others. Most people believe it is from the environment they grew up in, such as their location or how their parents raised them. The University of Minnesota investigated these thoughts by constructing a twin study involving twins that grew up in the same environment and twins that were separated at birth. After two decades of researching personality traits among twins, the U of M found the correlations of personality traits of twins living together and presented it in a table. The U of M then showed the correlation of personalities of twins living separately on the table next to the twins raised together. The correlations of personalities were very similar. This finding hints that the environments in which kids are raised in has little or no affect on peoples' personalities.

People have always wondered why one person is as intelligent as they are. Scientists ask the question of whether or not it has to do with the brain size. This chapter is all about intelligence. Many interesting questions were asked in this chapter pertaining to how intelligence affects you as a person and studies show and prove different answers to these questions. One questioned asked was whether a person with higher intelligence has a faster reaction time or slower reaction time than a person with less intelligence. It was proven that a person with higher intelligence had a faster reaction time. Intelligence can be measured by the IQ tests that are proven to be valid. What I found most fluid_intelligence.jpginteresting was the section Genetic and Environmental Influences on IQ. It has been proven that IQ runs in a family. An interesting study was done to see if adoptive children have a similar IQ of their biological parents or their adoptive parents. Proven by research a adopted child is like their adoptive parents until the child reaches adolescence. An overview of this chapter from my point of view after reading the text would be that intelligence is affected by numerous aspects and has a very large impact on the way a person is going to turn out either for the better or the worse.

We all have seen the classic cartoons, movies, and television shows where a man or woman lay on a couch in front of a therapist to solve some of their problems. But with all the fictional ideas that Hollywood creates, we need to ask ourselves some questions. Do people actually do this, and if they do, who does this? Who practices this so called therapy (or psychotherapy as the book calls it)? How is this practiced? What are some consequences? And most importantly, is psychotherapy actually effective? Chapter 16: Psychological and Biological Treatments explores all of these questions, and the results are quiet fascinating.
It turns out that for once, and most likely only once, Hollywood has projected an appropriate image of psychotherapy for Americans. According to a 2006 Newsweek poll, close to twenty percent of Americans have received some sort of psychological treatment during some point in their lives (Lilienfeld 632). In fact, the "it all began when I was a child..." phrase may happen more often than we know it. Chapter sixteen shows that there are three approaches and beliefs that psychodynamic therapists share and use to form a base to their approach.

These three are:

1. Causes of abnormal behavior can come from traumatic childhood events.
2. They strive to analyze.
3. If a client achieves insight into a past unconscious matter, the causes become clear and often cause the symptoms to disappear.
(Lilienfeld 636)

This blog only covers a fraction of what chapter sixteen is about, but you'll be surprised at how much of this you can connect to from what Hollywood has already created.

Chapter 1

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Chapter 1 talks about what pschology is and how to tell the difference between science and psodoscience. The most interesting part of the chapter was when it talked about confirmation bias and naive realism. It is interesting to learn about times that our common sence is wrong. The list of common proverbs was also interesting. You would never realize how contradictory these sayings are without seeing them all together. Confirmation bias is also really interesting to learn about, everyone thinks that they are completely impartial and its everyone else who is twisting the facts but in reality, everyone has biases and everyone succumbs to them. This relates to another important part of the chapter which explains that overcomming and protecting against the influence of biases is one of the most important reasons that phycologists use the scientific meathod.

Chapter 11 is all about those tricky little things that dictate our lives: emotions. I was interested in the section discussing how to discern the emotions of others based upon their facial expressions. There are seven primary emotions (happiness, disgust, sadness, fear, surprise, contempt, and anger) that come across the faces of society in the same general manner. For example: Blog jpg

So, based off of the idea that emotions manifest themselves in the same general fashion, it should be easy to detect when people are lying, right? Unfortunately, no. Studies show that most people detect lies at barely over the accuracy of chance. There are, however, some tips for how to increase your chances of catching a liar. Listen to what they are saying, as opposed to how they are saying it. Contradictory to common thought, verbal cues are often more valid than non-verbal cues. Also, beware of those who are confident in their abilities, there is little or no correlation between someone's confidence to catch a liar and their actual ability.

Emotions are the centerfold of our lives, and are extraordinarily important to understand. Most of the time we can hardly understand our own, but with the aid of chapter eleven we can begin to understand not only ours, but those of the people surrounding us.

The Eye for the Tiger

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All eyes are not created equal, especially when talking about how an image is perceived.

Prowler, Bengal Tiger.jpg

In the text, we are taught five challenges we face when studying psychology with one being that people's behavior is often shaped by culture. To exemplify this obstacle, the text describes a study done by Richard Nisbett. To study the differences among cultures, he used a simple picture of a tiger surrounded by rocks and trees to observe the eye movements of his subjects. He found that European Americans were drawn to the center of the photograph where the tiger was perched. On the contrary, though, the Asian Americans focused their attention on the scenery around the tiger. Despite grabbing my interest, I found his results to be in accordance with a concept I learned in Contemporary Management last semester.

During our topic on International Management, my professor addressed the need to respect the cultural differences that exist in society. In agreement with Nisbett's results, we learned that the European cultures tend to be very assertive in business negotiations. In connection to the photo of the tiger, the European Americans stared right at the tiger, signifying their audacity to "stare it straight in the eyes." On the other hand, Asian cultures are very collectivist, meaning they view themselves as one large society. This holds true with Nisbett's results such that the Asian Americans were looking around the perimeter of the picture, as to make sure that every part of the picture was just as important as the forefront.

No matter if we're talking about a picture of a tiger or doing a business deal, we should always remember to respect the cultural differences across societies.

Chapter 9

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Are older siblings wiser? Does schooling make us smarter? Can you boost your IQ 200 points in a matter of days?

All these questions and more are answered in Chapter 9: Intelligence and IQ testing. Analyzing the controversy and consensus among the various mysteries of intelligence is the primary focus in this chapter. Chapter 9 explores the different meanings of intelligence based on culture and theories. For example, do people with greater sense of hearing or smell have a higher level of intelligence as Sir Francis Galton tested? Or are people just strong in different types of intelligence as Robert Sternberg's Triarchic model shows.

Administered IQ tests date back to the 1920s when U.S. Congress passed laws that restricted immigration from other countries that were considered "low intelligence" (Lilienfeld 328) . Unlike these tests which were purposely designed for the non-English speakers who took them to fail, anyone can type "IQ Test" into the Google search bar and find a test that will declare them "genius." IQ tests administer different tests that asses various mental abilities. This includes facts, comprehension, arithmetic, vocab, symbols or visual puzzles like the one shown below.


Correlations between a person's environment and their IQ have also been explored by psychologists. Mysteries of why an older sibling has a higher IQ than the younger sibling and if twins separated at birth produce different levels of intelligence have been tested.
Whether IQ tests accurately calculate one's intelligence or not they stand as one of psychology's best-known and controversial accomplishments.

A brief overview of Chapter 9: Intelligence and IQ Testing

Overall the chapter defines in great detail what exactly intelligence is, what intelligence testing is, what it measures and how it has evolved, the influences that can effect the results of an IQ test and other dimensions that affect our intelligence by varying it. What strikes me as most interesting in the text is how intelligence varies greatly. Intelligence can vary from abstract thinking, to general thinking and all the way down to specific abilities. The capacity of intelligence that a person has to fulfill specific abilities, depends on how we can narrow our overall general intelligence that we have gathered over a period of time down to a task that requires a certain kind of intelligence that we have gathered that is specifically relevant to the task. Such as our ability to problem solve (general intelligence) and examine the location of objects in physical space (specific abilities), allows us to have a specific ability of intelligence for varying things. For example a specific ability would be determining how many L-shaped figures we could fit into a square. The L-shaped figures and the square would be separate of each other but right next to each other. That will allow for the brain to use problem solving while thinking through the problem of how many L-shaped figures can effectively fit into the square, in addition to that we use specific abilities of intelligence to determine the amount of physical space of the two items. Intelligence is compiled of several different aspects and is more complex than what meets the eye.

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This page is an archive of entries in the Writing 1; Section 4 category from January 2012.

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