Recently in Writing 2; Section 5 Category

http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500165_162-584585.html
The above article discusses the dangers of going on the fad diet, Atkins. Like most fad diets, Atkins tries to help people lose weight without having to diet or exercise as hard as necessary. The Atkins diet does this by having people eat high amounts of protein and low amounts of carbohydrates. This diet plan has led to a distinct pattern of heart disease. Diets high in fat have been linked to increase risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. High cholesterol, low carbohydrate diets have been found to be linked with ketosis. Ketosis symptoms include thirst, headache, and weakness. While there have so far only been distinct patterns, and no scientific studies to show the dangers of being on the Atkins diet, there have also been know studies showing its effect on long term health. Users should beware the patterns of heart disease that Atkins creates, along with the complications from other fad diets and stick to the only method of weight loss that has worked traditionally: diet and exercise. Looking for the quick fix rarely works. In the case of Atkins, sure you might lose weight in the short run, but in the long run you can get heart disease.
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Unhealthy Heart

Equal or not?

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stock-photo-10234970-young-asian-boy-playing-chess.jpgChildren from ages two to seven are in what psychologists term the preoperational stage; or, the stage in Jean Piaget's theory characterized by the ability to construe mental representations of experience, but not yet perform operations on them. I was able to perform the Piaget conversation task on my little brother Thomas, who is six years of age. I showed him two glasses of equal amounts of water and proceeded to pour the contents of one glass into a tall, skinnier glass and asked him which one contained more water. He hesitated for a moment, but then told me that they were both equal. When I questioned him why, he said that the water in the tall glass was the same water that had been in the now empty glass,which, was the same size as the other glass, therefore, the amounts of water had to be the same. Of course, it took him a while to explain all this to me in a way in which both he and I could understand.
I am unsure of the age at which children in the preoperational stage should be able to correctly complete this task, but from what I have observed, I can assume that around ages six and seven, they should be able to do so. Children any younger than that, I feel, wouldn't have the sufficient mind to grasp such a complex task.

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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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.

Diminishing Memories

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Advertisements are one sneaky way that psychology slips into our everyday lives (even though most of us don't realize it!). Somehow bigwig business men have grasped the whole idea of classical conditioning and used it to their advantage. As every good Psychology 1001 student should know, advertisers work with the tools of stimuli--primarily the "conditioned stimulus"--to get us to buy their product. The buying of their product (cigars) would lead to happiness through success, also known as the "conditioned response." Am I making sense? Probably not... How about I try to clear things up by using an example!
There are thousands of modern examples, but just for the fun of it, let's go back to an era when advertising was prime...the 1950s!
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Now in this ad we see a man enjoying what is probably at least his third cigar of the day (this is the 1950s after all!). At his side is a beautiful blond woman as they sail on a boat of which he is captain, and owns, no doubt, for if you scan down to the bottom of the ad you will see that Blackstone cigars are "the choice of successful men."
So what is this ad telling the viewer? If you are a successful man, you will smoke these cigars.... OR if you want to be a successful man you will smoke these cigars to hopefully get there!
In this ad the conditioned stimulus would certainly be the cigar because they want you to purchase them.
The unconditioned stimulus would be success which in turn leads to the conditioned response happiness.
Therefore, the advertisers want you to link happiness as a conditioned response with their product. In the end, they want you to believe buying their Blackstone cigars will lead to much happiness (and apparently a sexy woman at your side...).

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

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

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

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

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

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Be aware of your surroundings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advertising at its finest

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


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

Cigarettes Are Guns?

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

Dreams

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

Size Constancy

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

Blind, Yet Able to See?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perception of Color

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

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

Awake in your sleep?

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

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