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More Is Not Always Better

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On January 21, 2006 Ilan Halimi was kidnapped in Paris by at least 20 Moroccan's and tortured for 24 days. Many people in the apartment complex that he had been taken to had heard the commotion and many came to watch the gruesome torture. No one ever called the police and Halimi died on February 13, 2006. This is a violent example of the bystander effect. Halimi's life could have easily been saved if any one of the neighbor's in the apartment had called the cops.
bystander effect.jpg
One explanation for the bystander effect is that people feel the "need to behave in correct and socially acceptable ways." What this means is that when people see that nobody else is reacting to the situation, they feel that it may be inappropriate to do something about the situation. Another explanation for the bystander effect is "diffusion of responsibility." This just means that the more people that are witnessing an event, the less likely an individual feels that it is their responsibility to act because the responsibility is shared among all those present. All of the neighbors in Halimi's case heard all of the commotion but did not call the police because they thought probably thought that somebody else will call the police and it is not their responsibility. The bystander effect is a terrible thing especially if someone's life could be saved if someone would just take action and help them.

A year ago, I met someone in China, he is a 20 year-old male. We met each other in a informal party. As the Chinese habits, we get used to shaking hands with someone who can make friend with us. I just shock my hand with him, but he stepped back and showing a feeling of disgusting. I was shocked, since I am so friendly to him, why he was like that? Then I just saw him using the napkin to clean everything on the table, like the fork, the knife or the spoon. I suddenly realized that he might have Mysophobia.
Mysophobia is a term used to describe a pathological fear of contamination and germs. Someone who has such a fear is referred to as a mysophobe. Mysophobia is a common symptom of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), an anxiety disorder that results in unwanted thoughts and excessive or compulsive actions. Mysophobia may also be related to hypocondriasis, an intense fear of contracting an illness. In some cases, mysophobia may be regarded a type of specific phobia. Even if the people who got Mysophobia shows abnormal actions, we should still see them as normal friends and try to make friends with them, understand them. Because those abnormal people will be easier to feel lonely, and we should pay more attention to take care of them.


Many years ago, Stanley Milgram, a graduate student under Solomon Asch, wanted to conduct a study on the sources of destructive obedience. He played around with different scenarios to conduct his study. He finally found one that worked which involved a test subject being told by a man in a white lab coat to ask questions to an actor (unknown to the test subject) and give them an electric shock for a wrong answer. During this study, Milgram and his associates predicted that only .1% would administer the "450 Volts" shock; this shock would indeed kill you. After finishing his study, Milgram was dumbfounded by his results that a whopping 62% of participants in the study administered the 450 Volt shock.

Now you may think that his results are complete nonsense because who in their right mind would kill someone just because they are being told to by a man in a white lab coat? I thought the same thing but this shows that a majority of us fall prey to people in authority and peer pressure. This man in the lab coat looks totally official and we wouldn't want to disappoint him and ruin the study, right? Of course not, we want to give him the results he wants and fit in because we are afraid of discrimination or consequences for not following orders.


Many years ago, Stanley Milgram, a graduate student under Solomon Asch, wanted to conduct a study on the sources of destructive obedience. He played around with different scenarios to conduct his study. He finally found one that worked which involved a test subject being told by a man in a white lab coat to ask questions to an actor (unknown to the test subject) and give them an electric shock for a wrong answer. During this study, Milgram and his associates predicted that only .1% would administer the "450 Volts" shock; this shock would indeed kill you. After finishing his study, Milgram was dumbfounded by his results that a whopping 62% of participants in the study administered the 450 Volt shock.

Now you may think that his results are complete nonsense because who in their right mind would kill someone just because they are being told to by a man in a white lab coat? I thought the same thing but this shows that a majority of us fall prey to people in authority and peer pressure. This man in the lab coat looks totally official and we wouldn't want to disappoint him and ruin the study, right? Of course not, we want to give him the results he wants and fit in because we are afraid of discrimination or consequences for not following orders.

Conforming to Society

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One of the dominant themes of social psychology is how our behavior is affected by certain situations. Often times we find ourselves in situations usually with many other people, and thus our behavior is affected by the presence of others. This change in behavior is due to conformity. Conformity refers to the tendency of people to alter their behavior as a result of group pressure. This tendency takes place at all different ages and at all different types of social gatherings. It is a natural human tendency to WANT to be like everyone else, and the result of being like everyone else is that people will accept you. Being accepted by other people is a huge desire by most people in the world. A social psychologist by the name of Solomon Asch conducted the classic study of conformity in the 1950s. His experiment would test to see how a subject would respond to a question after all of their peers had purposefully given the wrong answers. The tendency to give the wrong answers was very high when all of the other participants gave the wrong answer. Thus showing that more often than not, an individual will prefer to conform to give the same answer to a question, even if the rest of the group's response was incorrect, and the subject knew of the inaccuracy. Below is a great video showing the Asch experiment, as well as some variations to it, and how those variations affect conformity in groups.


Not to be sexist but...

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I have always wondered if girls were smarter than boys, I usually panicked when the class was split into gender groups when we played games like jeopardy. The boys always won. But then again that was in grade school. while boys were always on the math team or chess club, the girls always excelled in Spelling Bees. Chapter 9 was all about intelligence, Women tend to do better that mean on some verbal tasks, like writing, spelling and pronouncing words (Feingold, 1988.) The book also said that women are also better with understanding the emotions of others. But why is that? I think that it might have to do with gender roles in society. We usually are consumed with assumptions that women are better with children than men, and should stay at home while men work. If roles were reversed do we still see these definitions of intelligence to be true? Would men still be better spatial learners if they stayed home instead of going to work? Overall I do agree with what the book has mentioned about the different areas of intelligence in genders, but I have always wondered about what it would be like the roles were reversed. Man_In_A_Dress.jpg

cal lightman.jpg"Let there be Lightman". Anyone who is an avid fan would recognize this as the narcissistic line Dr. Cal Lightman from "Lie to Me" wanted to use to start his book on facial reading. While people tend to view Lightman as a simple lie detector, he may have reason to boast about his exploits. . He is consistently able to dissect lies and determine the truth simply by interpreting emotional and facial responses. What Lightman is demonstrating is an extremely high level of creative thinking and interpersonal intelligence.

Consider this typical scenario from a scene in "Lie to Me". Lightman sits someone down and asks him or her a question about the potentially false story a person has been telling. The person responds to the question and Lightman has to identify all facial cues or body language and determine which one does not fit the reaction of an honest person. For example, he sees shame in a response in which a person claims to have done nothing wrong. Using these cues, Lightman has to utilize divergent thinking to come up with plausible scenarios that account for the present emotions. Then, using convergent thinking, he selects the one that best fits and is most logical. He does all of this in a matter of seconds before he tells the lying person exactly what it is that actually occurred. Not only does this demonstrate high creativity, but also a high level of what Gardner termed interpersonal intelligence.

Granted Lightman is simply a TV show character, I believe this analysis is a good indicator of the different skills that one needs to measure when considering jobs. For example, say a potential replacement for Lightman was extremely gifted at reading emotions, but lacked in creative thinking and people skills. He would be able to read the emotions of the liars, but would he be able to interpret the emotional responses and decipher the truth?

Take a minute to stop and think for once in your life. Put down your pen, your textbooks and highlighter. Are you currently in a relationship? Have you been in a relationship in the past? What characteristics do you look for when selecting someone to date? What characteristics serve as "turn offs?" Maybe you're not in a relationship right now because you know exactly what you're looking for, but just haven't been able to find 'that person' yet. What would that person be like? Would they share the same interests as you? Maybe they're quite your opposite. Specifically think about what it is that makes you happy in life when interacting with others in the world.
Psychologists have spent much time researching what makes individuals happy. They have shown us that many commonly believed myths are not correlated to happiness; money "can't buy long-term happiness," although it is "a bit related happiness." Psychology research also disproves the myth of happiness declining with old age. Not only does research show us what does not relate to our levels of happiness, but it has also found a few variables which are shown to be correlated to happiness:
1. Marriage
2. Friendships
3. College
4. Religion
5. Political Affiliation
6. Exercise
7. Gratitude
8. Flow

Watch the following video and see if you can pick up on any of the above mentioned eight variables.

First impressions? The bride-to-be in this clip is clearly happy. She is about to be married (first variable) and surrounds herself with her many friends (second variable) when selecting her dress. She doesn't spend much time elaborating on exactly why she has decided to marry Chad Gaudin, a Yankee pitcher. Perhaps one of the major reasons is due to Chad's personal level of happiness. Being a professional baseball player, Chad obviously spends quite a bit of his time exercising; according to psychology, people who "exercise regularly tend to be happier and less depressed than people who don't."
Although this bride does not mention it in her interview, many brides on the hit TV series Say Yes to The Dress often speak of how they are about to marry their best friend. They elaborate on memories which their significant other in which the two display a close friendship, expressing a great deal of gratitude (variable seven). Another important variable is often key to a happy relationship: similar religious upbringing (variable four). Many brides-to-be mention falling in love with not only the person, but also the person's beliefs and morals.
So ladies, when it comes time to having to either pass or 'say yes to the dress,' remember this: you not only say yes to the dress, but also to the individual you will marry and your prospective level of happiness in your future years.


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In the movie The Note book, there is a lot of romance going on. The girl falls in love with the boy in her town right away in the movie. Which demonstrates the proximity theory. Which states that if two people live in close distance they are more appealing as a mate. This gets backed up again when she moves to college and finds a man who is in the same area as her.

Then she moves to go to college where she gets a fiance. This fiance is rich and very well educated which demonstrates the Social Role Theory, which says that women are more likely to want a mate that can provide for her and has a good education. Even though in the end she goes back to her first love and brakes it off with the rich guy. It took her forever to decide what to do, which shows that money and stability did matter to her.

In the movie she falls in love with two men. Both are very attractive males, which shows that the physical attraction theory is true, we do judge books by their cover.

Even though this was a fiction love story, it is backed up by some very factual psychology.

While searching for universal concepts of human beauty is a challenging business, it seems most cultures find common ground when it comes to causes of attraction. An internet search on the subject confirms that physical attractiveness is generally more important to males than females. We also tend to value symmetrical faces more highly than asymmetrical ones, so there may be some truth to the textbook's assertion that people are more inclined to "average"-looking faces.

One of the most fascinating findings to me is the notion that people are generally attracted to those with similar features as themselves. This may also shed light on the "proximity" principle on guiding interpersonal attraction discussed in the text. By looking in the mirror often, perhaps we create a certain "proximity" to our own image that makes us naturally inclined to our own looks. So maybe people are more confident in themselves than they would like to lead on (or maybe they are already vocal about their smug narcissism).

At the same time, beauty is far from being perceived as the "same" across all cultures. Masai women of Kenya, for example, are known to shave their heads and remove two of their lower middle teeth to attain such radiant beauty.

Beauty is, overall, impossible to define completely. If beauty is anything like pornography, however, perhaps most people would apply the same definition to beauty that former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart did to pornography: "I know it when I see it."



The True Love Story

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When the Twilight series came out a few years ago, the love story of Edward Cullen and Bella Swan became famous. The series was broken into four books along with the movies, which entailed the different views of their relation ship. In the text pages 443-447, Lilienfeld describes the three principles that guide relationship formation, which are proximity, similarity, and reciprocity. These three variables can easily be seen through the Twilight love story of Edward and Bella.


To start with proximity, Bella is the new girl in the small town of Forks, Washington. She moved in with her dad, who is one of the policemen of the town, from her mom, who lived in Arizona. Bella and Edward started to attend the same high school because of this move, which gave them closer proximity to each other. The two soon become attracted to each other because Edward is interested in how she is the only person whose mind he can't read. After they start dating and the series is coming to a close, similarity comes into play. Edward ends up turning Bella into a vampire. This drastic change gives the two a commitment to each other that will last a lifetime in their situation. The last principle is reciprocity. You can see this in their relationship when Bella picks Edward over her friendship with Jacob. Since Jacob and Edward aren't on the best of terms over the four series it is a big deal that Bella picks Edward's side on many issues, ultimately making their relationship stronger. I think these principles of relationship formation are extremely true. When I think of my relationships that I have had with a significant other, I look back at past events that lead me to like that person. Those three variables count in seeing if the relationship will form to be a good one for the future.

Love is Love

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Being gay or being a lesbian is viewed to be wrong in some places in the States. The biggest issue that is happening right now in the U.S is gay marriage. The debate is if they should allow people of the same sex to marry each other. The reasons why there shouldn't be gay marriage is because the Bible says that marriage should be between a man and women and that homosexual people can't raise children as well as heterosexual parents. The reasons why they should allow gay marriage is because marriage is between two people that love each other and not just between a man and women.

When it comes to raising children, people say that gay parents can't raise children like straight parents. Homosexual parents can give the child the exact same environment and parenthood just like any other parent could. They could provide support to the children like a parent should and do what parents supposed to do, love them.


I have always supported the gay marriage rights. Who are we to deny another person's choice in love? Even though the Bible says that marriage should between a man and women, it doesn't mean that it shouldn't be allowed. The Constitution states that the people can have the freedom of religion. Having the freedom of religion means that you can choose to be whoever you want. Not having to abide by what the Bible says is a choice. So to say that homosexuals can't marry is like saying that they don't have the freedom to be who they want.

While eating at a relatively popular restaurant recently (I won't say their name, but I will say that they are known for their chicken wings ;-] ), I made an interesting observation. There wasn't a single worker there who was the least bit unattractive. Then I thought back to my experiences with this same restaurant in different locations, and came upon the realization that just about every single person that worked for that chain was decently good looking.


Using this as a backdrop, I looked more into this idea of physical appearance and hiring. While doing so I happened upon an interesting article that talked about the "what is beautiful is good" stereotype. It would seem that our society leads us to believe that more attractive people are happier, more social, and altogether more successful. Therefore, this one characteristic can, in some instances, influence the hiring process. There is a very heavy bias that exists. In one experiment, it was discovered that looks had a huge effect on the ratings of potential in applicants. But why is this so when there is no true support behind the ideal? Somehow the human brain, especially in the western world, is programmed to create a correlation between performance and looks that is not actually there. I believe that this says a lot about our society.

Article Referenced:

Body image and self esteem are two important issues facing many teens today. Almost every girl want to look like a Victorias secret model, and almost every guy wants to be as muscular as the men in magazines.

Many teenagers have a hard time recognizing changes that are happening to them in these teen years. As a teenagers body changes their self esteem changes as well. Some people begin to feel " not skinny enough", "not pretty enough", and generally not good enough. I think it is really important to stress true beauty in young people. Inner or true beauty is something that cannot be obtained from being thinner or prettier, but from having a positive outlook on life. Personally, I think it is a parents responsibility to help their child realize what true beauty is, and where it comes from. In an article from 2002, I read that there is a strong correlation between body image and interpersonal relationship. The study concluded positive correlation between self esteem and the following things:high reading and math achievement, small family size,early ordinal position in the family, and high parental warmth. Of theses variable, the one that we can control for future generations is parental warmth. What are your opinions on this topic? What variable do you think has the largest impact on the self esteem of a child? This study was done on college females, so do you think the study would be different if i were a different gender or age?

Crystal, D Paul.A correlation study of body image and perceived parental nurturance in college females. April 27 and 28 2002

Have you ever been scrolling through the channels of your television and can't find anything good on to watch? Well when this happens to me I usually get caught up watching The Maury Show and watching couple after couple getting back the test results of polygraphs their partner took.


Most of the people that are found to be guilty on the show argue that it "wasn't possible" and that they were innocent. Many of them even ask to retake the test, but I always seemed to convey guilt to me as the viewer. I believed this until I came across a topic in our textbook that would change my perspective in an interesting way. The topic concerns the Modern Polygraph Test and Evaluating the Polygraph Test: What's the Truth?. Through these two sections of the book, in chapter 11, I learned that the commonly used lie detector test that is given in the United States isn't as reliable as I believed. Actually, it is even referred to as being "biased against the innocent" and "yields a high rate of false positives, being those who the test incorrectly deems as guilty."(Iacono & Patrick, 2006; National Research Council, 2003). The test measures a person's physiological signals like changes in blood pressure, a person's breathing and even a person's skin for sweat!

A midlife crisis is a phase of adulthood characterized by emotional distress about the aging process and an attempt to regain youth. This occurs more often in men than in women around forty-fifty years old. In chapter 10 of our textbook, they briefly describe the midlife crisis and say that studies have not been replicated to prove that this occurs. Research has shown that there isn't enough evidence to prove that a midlife crisis occurs.
Believe or not, I have not reached a midlife crisis quite yet. Although, both of my parents are in the age range of forty-fifty years old in which a midlife crisis would be most common to occur. I am almost 100 percent sure that neither of my parents has experienced a midlife crisis. Because they have not experienced a midlife crisis, I tend to agree with our textbook that a midlife crisis is essentially a myth. Because my sample size is limited to just two middle-aged people, I don't have much evidence to back up my thoughts on a midlife crisis. So I am not completely sold whether a midlife crisis occurs or not. This raises the fact or fiction dilemma: a midlife crisis occurs among middle-aged adults.

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Blog 3 pic 2.jpg

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

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

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