Writing 3; Section 4: April 2012 Archives

Someone just got hit by a car, what do you do? Do you decide to sit back and watch simply because everyone else who is around will handle the situation? This is what many tend to do resulting in the bystander effect. This social psychological effect is described when an individual doesn't offer any help in an emergency when others are present. This problem is inversely related to the number of bystanders which simply means the greater number of bystanders, the less likely that anyone will act and help.

bystander jpg
I found an article on CNN which explained that two years ago a fifteen year old girl from California was gang raped, which preceded to her getting beat outside the homecoming dance at the school. Hundreds of students gathered in the gymnasium at the school for the dance and in a dim lit alley outside the victim was being raped. The title of the article was called "Gang rape raises questions about bystanders' role", which is easily getting at the bystander effect. Some witnesses took photos, but others preceded to laugh. As more and more people found out about this event, people came to see and some even began to participate. Other than such a disturbing event such as this one, people need to come to realize that doing something simply like dialing for the police can help out any given situation by a ton.

What would you do?

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Have you ever been in a situation where you're driving along in your car and somewhere out of the corner of your eye you see someone fall off bike, sprain an ankle, or get in a car crash? Odds are that at one point most of us have, but the question which is interesting to investigate is, "Would you stop to help?" According to the idea that the bystander effect presents our willingness to the help the person would depend on how many other people we saw near the situation. So if we were driving past a park full of people, when we saw this person hurt themselves, odds are that the majority of us would not help them. The reason this happens is because many people have the idea in there head that, "Oh someone else is here, therefore they will be able to help him and I won't." However because everyone thinks this at the same time sometimes the person who is in need of help often does not receive any!

Another real life situation of the bystander effect was a time a young girl was abducted and because there were many people around no one chose to help. This can be viewed in the following video:

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


Overall, it is scary to think that if we were experiencing an emergency in an area with 10 people instead or by 1 person alone, we would less likely be helped in the situation with 10.


What would you do?
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As a truly dynamic character in the Star Wars book and movie universe, Obi-Wan Kenobi exhibits all components of the Big Five. In regard to conscientiousness, Obi-wan was always very careful when on dangerous missions. He also took pains to hide Luke and Leia as infants from Anakin and the Emperor. Obi-Wan was usually agreeable with his friends, cooperating with other characters as long as he or others he was with were not in danger. He was calm and focused in tense situations, and his low neuroticism score correlates with leadership, as we learned in class. In terms of Openness to Experience, Obi-Wan was always intellectually curious and creative in finding solutions to problems that arose. He frequently took on challenges such as sneaking through the Death Star alone. The extraversion dimension of Obi-Wan's personality varies, fitting nicely into the Person/Situation debate. In the first half of the saga, Obi-Wan was fairly outgoing and talkative as a padawan and Jedi master. He conversed with many humans and alien species and hardly was hardly ever lacking in confidence. However, at the end of the third movie, Obi-Wan goes into hiding to watch over Luke, and we learn in the fourth movie that he had basically become a hermit, living by himself in the desert, probably never coming into contact with anyone. Looking back over the first four episodes, the claim can be made that Obi-Wan was only as extraverted as the situation demanded him to be. obiwan.jpg

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play professional sports? Sure it would be nice to make potentially millions playing a game you love, but how would you face the pressure of the fans and the media? Professional athletes face this dilemma in two ways, the first is using that pressure to make them perform better, which is known as social facilitation. Tim Tebow has been upfront about the media pressure he faced, such as not being good enough to play in the NFL, and he made a video out of it that showed how reacted to it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leApAawSvkI
For some athletes, they can't face this pressure which makes them perform worse, and maybe makes them lose their job. A good example of this is former NFL QB Todd Marinovich. He was the center of attention in football for a while, since he was raised by his father to be the most "superior" athlete. In his situation, he was expected to be one of the best players in the NFL, and it caused him to not perform at what he was capable of, which lead to a whole bunch of other issues.
For both of these athletes, these different situations caused them to act a certain way, which lead to very different results in their legacies. Most potential professional athletes face situations very similar to both of these, which brings me back to my original question. How do you think you would you react to the media?

On March 13, 1964, Catherine Genovese was stabbed repeatedly and killed by a man and it all could have been avoided had the numerous amounts of neighbors, from half a dozen to 30 people, reported the act to the police. The idea that is exhibited in this example is know as the bystander effect. It was once thought that people do not intervene in horrible acts because people were less caring. John Darley and Bibb Latane later said it was due to a feeling frozen in a certain situation. One contribution to this feeling is pluralistic ignorance, which believes that people are not seeing things as we do. This could be in a situation where we understand that there is a need to help someone, while others do not. The second factor that contributes to the "freezing" feeling is diffusion of responsibility. This states that people feel responsible when they are with more people.

kitty_genovese-kitty-outside-l.jpeg
Picture of Catherine Genovese

One example that comes to mind is when my family and I traveled to Los Angeles for spring break. We walked down to Venice Beach and along the way we saw a little boy crying and looking around for his family. I watched as numerous people walked by and I also felt "frozen" and did not intervene. However, my brother was willing to ask the boy and his family was near by. An additional example was in the news not to long ago. The video shows a young girl walking on the street in China when a vehicle strikes her and then the driver drives away. Numerous people walk past and do not stop to help the girl as she lies in the street. The bystander effect is sad to me in the sense that people find it difficult to help someone that might be in need and I am curious to why people feel challenged to intervene in maters such as these.

tumblr_lr2kjvMKn21qew99q.jpg

Video for Bystander Effect in China
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UQGOle_ap0&feature=related

On March 13, 1964, Catherine Genovese was stabbed repeatedly and killed by a man and it all could have been avoided had the numerous amounts of neighbors, from half a dozen to 30 people, reported the act to the police. The idea that is exhibited in this example is know as the bystander effect. It was once thought that people do not intervene in horrible acts because people were less caring. John Darley and Bibb Latane later said it was due to a feeling frozen in a certain situation. One contribution to this feeling is pluralistic ignorance, which believes that people are not seeing things as we do. This could be in a situation where we understand that there is a need to help someone, while others do not. The second factor that contributes to the "freezing" feeling is diffusion of responsibility. This states that people feel responsible when they are with more people.

http://riverdaughter.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/kitty_genovese-kitty-outside-l.jpg?w=468&h=520
Picture of Catherine Genovese

One example that comes to mind is when my family and I traveled to Los Angeles for spring break. We walked down to Venice Beach and along the way we saw a little boy crying and looking around for his family. I watched as numerous people walked by and I also felt "frozen" and did not intervene. However, my brother was willing to ask the boy and his family was near by. An additional example was in the news not to long ago. The video shows a young girl walking on the street in China when a vehicle strikes her and then the driver drives away. Numerous people walk past and do not stop to help the girl as she lies in the street. The bystander effect is sad to me in the sense that people find it difficult to help someone that might be in need and I am curious to why people feel challenged to intervene in maters such as these.

http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lr2kjvMKn21qew99q.jpg

Video for Bystander Effect in China
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UQGOle_ap0&feature=related

A Critique of the IAT

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After taking several IAT's, I found myself consistently receiving scores that indicated a small automatic association consistent with the more common cultural prejudices (associating women with liberal arts and men with science for example). While this may reflect something about my unconscious thought, I was also somewhat skeptical since the tests always presented these pairings before the other pairings. This seemed to favor the associations presented first, perhaps due to the primacy effect.

Correlation, however, does not imply causation, so using open source versions of the IAT found online I attempted to test this hypothesis. In order to assess the IAT rather than my own subconscious associations, I tried to measure associations between unrelated artificial concepts such as even or odd numbers with consonants or vowels. Given that I am no more likely to associate 2 with Q and 3 with A rather than the opposite, any associations "revealed" by the test are merely a product of an error in the test (either systematic or random). I repeated this procedure with several artificial associations and consistently found that the test reported a slight automatic association consistent with the pairing presented first. This indicates a small systematic bias in IAT.

I certainly don't claim that this invalidates the test though. It only indicates a small systematic error: a moderate or greater preference as reported by the test scores is unlikely to be caused by such a bias in the test. There were also a number of shortcomings in my method. The sample size was extremely small: a single person. Additionally, my own participation may have made the results susceptible to the experimenter expectancy effect.

In 1993, the supposed enhancement in intelligence after listening to classical music became very popular. Known as the Mozart Effect, a paper reported that college students who listened to about 10 minutes of Mozart showed significant improvements on spatial reasoning tasks. However, the finding didn't say anything about long-term enhancement of spatial ability or of intelligence in general. Yet, later researchers suggested that listening to Mozart rather than other composers might have produced greater emotional arousal, causing the effect. They also found that listening to a passage from a scary story produced similar spatial ability. These findings suggest that the Mozart Effect is a short-term arousal and anything that boosts alertness is likely to increase performance on mentally demanding tasks.

babymozart.jpg

Even with research suggesting otherwise, toy companies and popular press still took advantage of the Mozart Effect and ran with it. They marketed Mozart Effect CD's/cassettes and claimed that listening to that music would boost infant intelligence. It worked so well because parents are always looking for ways to easily educate and enhance their child's' intellect. However, despite trying to create miniature geniuses, the Mozart Effect is unlikely to produce long-term effects on spatial ability or overall intelligence.

Getting ready for finals? Here's a little Mozart music to help you prepare:)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=df-eLzao63I

forgetting_sarah_marshall_2008_627_poster.jpgThe three major principles that guide relationship formation can be applied to many situations, and are even featured in American popular culture. Romance is a component of many movie plots, including the 2008 romantic comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The two characters that fall in love, Peter and Rachel, display all three major principles. First, the two are in close proximity because Rachel works at the front desk of the hotel that Peter is staying at, so they see each other every day while Peter is in Hawaii. Second, Rachel and Peter display similarity and have things in common. They were both in serious relationships and got cheated on, and they both are at transition points in their lives. Third, they display reciprocity towards each other in the form of favors to maintain equity in their relationship. Rachel allows Peter to stay in a very expensive suite at the hotel free of charge, and Peter removes an embarrassing picture of Rachel from the men's bathroom at a bar, even though the bartender brutally beats him up for taking it down.

forgettingsarahmarshallpic9.jpg

The three principles, proximity, similarity, and reciprocity, show that falling in love with someone is far from random. Although physical attractiveness may play a role in the probability of two people wanting to get to know each other, there's probably no such thing as love at first sight. In order for a relationship to develop successfully, the three major principles need to be acted upon to some degree.

In Chapter 11 of our textbook sources say they found that physical attractiveness is a huge selling point for men all over the world. Women on the other hand, prefer a man who can provide for them, although physical attractiveness is still a factor.
What is interesting, however, is how beauty is perceived in other cultures, men may rely on physical attractiveness, but what do they find attractive?
In Burma, women are perceived as being beautiful based on the length of their neck. Starting at the young age of five women of the Kayan tribe begin to wear metal rings around their neck. The rings push down on the collarbones and compressing the ribs, after time more rings are added.
burma.jpg
In Ethiopia the Suri tribe measure's a woman's beauty is measured by the size of the "lip plate" in her bottom lip. Once a girl reaches puberty her bottom teeth are removed to make way for a piercing in the bottom lip. Once the piercing is put into place the lip is stretched around clay plate, girls with bigger plates signify a more desirable woman.
SuriWoman.jpg
Finally, in Mauritania (Northwest Africa), women are considered beautiful if they are extremely obese. Girls as young as four begin to be fattened up, drinking 14 gallons of camel's milk a day. The reason this is considered attractive is because Mauritania is frequently wracked by drought and weight is a sign of wealth.
mauritania-woman_5106.jpg
What I find especially interesting about this image of beauty is that is all stems from ancient traditions that may have made sense at the time, but in this present day are simply for aesthetics. Do you think this carries over in all other cultures?

My mom is a twin, and ever since I was born it was hard to tell her and my aunt apart. Now it is a little easier since they got older but I've always wondered, how identical are they? Only a couple years ago I learned (on CSI) that identical twins had the same exact DNA. This made me wonder, since they have the same DNA shouldn't they become the same person? The twin studies done here at the U of M and other universities have pioneered this road to discover that very question.
I was surprised at how simple and ingenious the method of answering this question was. Compare monozygotic twins who had the same DNA and upbringing compared to dizygotic twins who have half the DNA but still the same upbringing to see how much DNA really effects outcome. Then have a control of adopted children who have no DNA similarities but same upbringing. As if that was not enough, researchers compared identical twins who where separated at birth and then brought them back together to have 100% shared DNA but different environments. Just like the slides in class showed and the book says, there was .7 correlation between identical twin IQ where only .3 to .4 in fraternal twins. This held true for identical twins who were separated at birth also. As seen in class, adopted children IQ is only slightly correlated.
This help answer my question how much is nurture and how much is truly nature. I still wonder though how many other things like preference and attitudes are genetic compared to environmental. Twin studies are a great way of seeing how simple, logical steps can lead to conclusions of some of life's questions. (my mom and her sister in the picture)janice and janell.JPG

What is True Beauty?

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People often say, "beauty is in the eyes of the beholder," which I also find quite true. Here in the United States, people might find men that are tall, dark, and handsome or women with blue eyes and blonde hair and a curvy figure attractive, but that may not be true somewhere else in the world. After doing more research on attractiveness, I have found out that what people generally think is attractive is very different around the world, and has changed through the years. As early as the 15th century, people that were fat and pale were believed to be beautiful because that meant they made enough money to eat and stayed out of the sun. Now, thin models and models with plenty of muscle are attractive and are all over advertisements. Around the world, levels of attractiveness vary even more. Women in Thailand wear brass rings around their necks to show elegance. Maori men and women in New Zealand get sacred tattoos on their faces. Who knows what will be the definition of beauty in the future!

neck ring.jpg

As we look back on history, we've seen many good presidents, many great presidents, and a couple not so great presidents (although everyone's opinion is a little different on who fits into each category). But what's even more shocking is the correlation between the IQ of a president and the predicted quality of leadership. "...one researcher even found that presidents' estimated IQ predicted the quality of leadership among U.S. presidents, with correlations in the .3 to .4 range..." (Psychology textbook p. 333). We know that correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation, but the correlation is at the very least notable. In fact, there may be a relationship between how Americans view the success of a president and that presidents IQ. By taking the estimated presidential IQ from the textbook and the approval ratings of Americans from a Gallup Poll, I found there is a .324 correlation between the two. That correlation is very similar to the quality of leadership that the textbook gives. Once again, correlation may not be causation, but this correlation is notable.

Presidential IQ and Percent Approval Data.png

Presidential IQ and Percent Approval.png

Does this mean we can say that the quality of leadership is related to approval ratings? Chances are it is, but we need the data, and there's always the pesky correlation versus causation hanging over our heads. I'll take my chances on saying they are related based on my own opinions, but that wouldn't be very scientific, would it?

Chapter 10 has a section on Infant Motor Development, and the section on their reflexes particularly intrigued me. This part proved interesting because my cousin had twins during the last week of January, so I have spent the past two months observing their growth and development.

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The book talks about their sucking and rooting reflexes. Both of these serve one extraordinarily important purpose: eating. The sucking reflex is the automatic response to oral stimulation. Meaning that if you put something, such as a bottle or pacifier, into an infant's mouth they will begin sucking. This is the more well known of the two reflexes, most people would probably tell you that they knew that. The rooting reflex, however, is much less well known. This reflex means that if you stroke an infant's cheek they will automatically turn their head and search for a bottle to suck.

The rooting reflex has taken affect in my life, but until I had to pacify a crying newborn I had no idea what it was. My cousin uses the rooting technique on a daily basis when trying to figure out the reason for her newborn's crying. The result is almost instantaneous from both of the twins; their heads turn very quickly in search of the food source.

The development of infants is fascinating, and I would venture to say that even as a newborn their reflexes are extremely impressive. The babies know what they want, and their reflexes are fine tuned to get it.

Presidential Morality

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In chapter 10, Lawrence Kohlberg's findings on how morality unfolds across the life span are explored. His research judged participants on what kind of reasoning process they used to decide what was right or wrong in moral dilemmas. What he came up with was that morality develops in three different stages. The first is preconventional morality, which focuses on punishment and reward. Second deals with conventional morality, or the impact of societal values of morality. And the third is postconventional morality which is about whether or not something goes with or against fundamental human rights and values.

CNN+YouTube+Host+GOP+Presidential+Debate+5o0Cq8_hOLQl.jpg

One place in popular culture that I thought this particularly applied to was the US presidential elections. Each candidate has to take a stance on very important societal issues, which could be seen as moral dilemmas. In order to choose where they stand they must analyze each on at least one of the levels that Kohlberg spoke of. In particular, the second level seems like it plays a pretty big role on their decisions. This level is a focus on societal values. What is right is what society agrees with, and what is wrong would be something that society believes is wrong. But, in the US, society is split on essentially all of these issues. So, do they go with something that may contradict their own opinion to conform to society, or might they try and think about things in different terms?


http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/aHV7U6TlYFj/CNN+YouTube+Host+GOP+Presidential+Debate/5o0Cq8_hOLQ/Ron+Paul

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