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5 Years From Now...

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With the clutter of terms that psychology threw my way this semester, there is only a few things I will remember with decent accuracy. When I think about the year in review, learning about biological psychology will be the thing that sticks with me. I found it very interesting how every thought comes down to the firing of neurons and make me curious if there is a possibility to enhance the firing of neurons to make the brain faster/smarter. I spent a lot of time studying that chapter because I was fascinated by the different areas of the brain that preform different functions and it's evolution over millions of years. I'll be able to remember what i learned in the future because of the fact i put so much time and effort into the sections of that chapter. Every other section had different theories and hypothesis' about what could be the cause of a something, I liked biological psychology because it had straight answers and had a interesting way of finding answers to the questions. Overall it was a good year in psychology and hopefully I am able to apply the material i learned to later in life situations. If not, at least I can impress people with my knowledge of the brain.
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I have to be greatful for this course in some ways, despite my opposition to psychology as a subject. I frequently was sick of reading about one study to the next only to read in the following paragraph that it really, probably, wasn't actually that correct and I really don't buy into a lot of the theories. In a lot of ways, I don't consider it a science (sorry) and this only fueled my distaste. However, I was interested once we got to the chapter including schizophrenia. This is one of the few psychological disorders that I can really validate in my head and relate to, it has more scientific evidence supporting it and it also affected my family. My grandmother died young, and my dad dealt with her illness for most of his adolescence. Since I never knew her, or anything about the disease other than that it meant she was the definition of "crazy" , it was interesting to learn more about what she went through and to talk to my dad about the things that he noticed about her condition. I was surprised at how much I didn't know about her. Having read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest like so many others I had always assumed that shock therapy had been a hardship for her, or that it made her worse and was just another sad case of medicinal mistreatment. To my surprise, shock therapy actually helped her condition. But unfortunately, there were no medications like Thorazine available to treat her so she still struggled quite a bit. I had also been pretty concerned about my personal risk of developing schizophrenia later on in life. My mom has always been concerned about a severe fever or something of that nature causing that gene to get expressed in my brother or me and I think her own paranoia sparked a little nervousness in me as well. Thankfully, my risk as a grandchild is only 5% for ever developing the illness and I figure there are a whole lot of awful things out there that I have a much higher chance of experiencing to be worried about. So all in all, I'm glad I got a little more insight into schizophrenia. It's taught me more about my grandmother, my dad's life, and my own future.

(But don't think I like psychology)

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

In 5 Years

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

Schadenfreude

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

5 Years Later

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

Psychology: 5 Years

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

Romance is Forever!

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

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

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

Five Year Impressions

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If there is one thing that I will take away from this course, and retain over the next five years, i would remember that correlation doesn't mean causation.

correltaion vs causation cartoon

There have already been many circumstances that I've personally brought this up in conversation, but usually because it is in an debate scenario. An outstanding example of this are the (generally) opposite views on motorcycles! My parents consistently hear about motorcycle accidents on the news, radio, and so on, but when was the last time anyone heard a news story that Timmy made it safely back home on his bike?
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More likely than not, this one sided view promotes the correlation versus causation fallacy. My favorite is "Motorcyclists get into more crashes and thus are less responsible drivers": on the contrary, there are many more things that a cyclist needs to account for, so this correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation. Has anyone else used the correlation versus causation fallacy? (some awesome bikes below :D)
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It's hard to pick one concept from psych that I believe will stick with me in 5 years. I find all the theories, ideas, terminology we've learned in Psych 1001 intertwine in some way. What I have come to highlight the most are the 6 principals of scientific thinking. Once clear, the ease to understand the rest comes a lot quicker.

What I can say unquestionably that I take with me is a new perspective, a renaissance of my state of mind. Psychology has defined some of my thoughts that always went unanswered.

It helped diminish ignorance on issues I use to see in only black and white. One topic that I would use for this validation is individual differences. From our DNA, to our brain chemistry, we perceive and learn in diverse ways and this undeniably affects how we carry out our lives. Judgments and inaccurate conclusions are things I'll try to no longer jump to. I have learned that understanding the deeper meaning relies on more than what meets the eye.

I've never planned to pursue a career in psychology or claim it as a major but I will continue to build on the knowledge this course has laid out for me. One way I plan to do this is through reading. There are so many websites, journals, articles, books, and blogs out there that I plan to take advantage of. One for instance is the website for the articles they posted for this blog assignment.
http://bps-research-digest.blogspot.com/

Another excellent site is www.psychologytoday.com where they have a variety of topics.

Blogs by licensed psychologists also offer interesting information from a counseling point of view. One that I find thought provoking is by a local clinical psychologist from St. Paul. This blog has posts on issues that we all can relate to some degree, like relationships and stress.

http://www.loveworkplay.org/

If you're like me and found your first psychology experience to be inspiring, keep reading and learning about it. Because being familiar with the basis of human mind and behavior can be helpful in any aspect of life.

Is Conformity Always Bad?

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The concept of psychology that I found most interesting throughout the semester, and the one I will likely remember for years to come, is the controversial issue of conformity. Obviously there are strong arguments for both sides, while watching the experiments presented in discussion, I found myself wondering: is conformity always a bad thing? Upon doing some research, I decided the answer to this question is no. An article published on Helium.com, suggests that conformity allows individuals to more easily accomplish goals. Furthermore, many groups that have been founded on the idea of uniformity have moved toward positive actions and tend to be very protective of its group members. That isn't to say individualism shouldn't be valued, but at some point, everyone needs to conform. For example, upon graduation, I hope to land a good job at a well-respected company. While I may think of it as unique to arrive at the interview with neon green hair, it is likely that I will not be offered the job as many people could see my appearance as a distraction. A certain amount of conformity is necessary to succeed in most professional settings. So, next time you wish to "stand out" and be unique, think about the future and the impact non-conformity could have on your future.

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Find Sense in Nonsense

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I'd have to say that the concept of science and pseudoscience will stay with me all of my life because it has always been an integral part of my thought process and since I am seeking a major in physics, it will continue to be incredibly relevant. However, it goes beyond just my major and potential careers. I have always been very concerned with other people's perspectives and how they develop such perspectives. I've been known as a very hard-hitting debater and always seek to learn how other people have come to their conclusions and I always test their reasoning against what I believe to be true. That being said, the concept of science vs. pseudoscience is a powerful tool to know to keep one's self as objective as humanly possible.

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The world often does not make sense, especially with all of the people in the world with their own unique interpretation of existence. This combination makes understanding to be even more abstract and hard to grasp requiring people to keep a scientific mind to better themselves and the world around them to hopefully find consensus with one another on as many topics as possible in order to progress as a whole and individually. Just imagine how far the United States would get if politicians could come to consensus on their topics...it's almost a scary thought, but exciting too!

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Personality is a defining factor in our everyday lives. It affects how we interact with others and how we understand ourselves. In five years I will remember the big five personality traits. The big five personality traits are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. By knowing and understanding a person's score on the big five personality traits you can learn a lot about who they are and what they are likely friendship.jpgto enjoy. Being aware of someone's personality traits can help you interact with them better and promote a relationship. I will not only remember the big five personality traits in the future but also use them to help get along with others. For example if someone scores low on openness to experience then maybe they would prefer to do something that they have done before and is therefore in their comfort zone rather than try something new. Knowing the big five can also help explain why some people don't get along and just can't seem to be friends. Their personality traits could be on opposite sides which means they probably enjoy very different things and act very differently from one another. The big five personality traits can also give insight into someone's fears and desires. Someone who scores low in extraversion will probably be uncomfortable and possibly afraid of being forced to talk to and be around large groups of people for an extended amount of time.

The Big Five In My Future

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Five years from now, I hope to be in a business-related field and there is one concept we touched on this year in psychology that will without a doubt help me in my career. The Big Five personality assessment is the concept that will definitely play a part in my future. It could come into play in making hiring decisions and how to arrange employees to work better together. The main business field that would utilize the Big Five is obviously human resources. They distinguish who gets hired based on various tests, including the Big Five, and numerous interviews. This is not the only field that could use the Big Five, but it will play a role regardless of what career I choose to pursue.
I can think of a real world example that uses a system much like this. I read an article about IBM in which they describe an extensive system that allows them to dictate who works better together and place them into distinct groups. The large database that holds all the information on employees factors in tests, such as the Big Five, but also looks into workplace relationships between employees and even more specific ideas like musical taste and family structure. I remember that this system was controversial because it factored in a lot of person's home life and very nosey. However, it does show the effectiveness of performing the Big Five test and others like it to put employees together to help create a better product.

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The fact that dozens of people saw and heard Kitty Genovesse get stabbed to death over a half hour span in Kew Gardens, New York and did nothing blows my mind. Another situation that blew my mind was the girl in California who was gang raped for over two hours outside a school dance, and nobody else bothered to call the police. Because of these situations, it will be easy for me to remember the bystander effect and diffusion of responsibility, which is how we tell ourselves that we don't have to do anything because someone else will, for at least the next five years and most likely for the rest of my life. I find it appalling that nobody there did anything to save that girls life or stop that girl from being raped. These situations, our lectures, and the textbook made it clear that because of the rationalization we have in our thought process, we should just do our natural instinct and help people who are need of help.

Starting to Get Sleepy

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In five years if I am thinking about that psychology class from freshman year, I hope that something will have stuck with me. As of now the thing that I think I will remember is the effect that sleep can have on our brains. I had always heard the stories that a person needs so much sleep otherwise they won't function as well as possible. But it wasn't until this class that I learned the types of things that could come from lack of sleep, as well as the symptoms of sleep disorders. Chapter Five's information made me think about how much sleep I was getting and the things I was doing before going to bed that might make it harder to fall asleep. Since reading the chapter I've started to make a conscious effort to try and get the sleep I need, as well as attempted to increase my odds at lucid dreaming.
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Once I began noticing how much better it was to have a healthy amount of sleep throughout weeks of classes and studying, there was no way to forget about it. That is part of the reason I'm thinking that the topic of sleep in psychology will stick with me for at least five years.

Picture: http://www.sleepawareness.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/how-to-lucid-dreaming.jpg

All semester I have been anxiously awaiting the Abnormal Psychology chapter. Things such as Disassociative Identity Disorder and Schizophrenia have always fascinated me, but the most interesting topic of all, and the one that I'll remember in five years, is about psychopathic personalities.

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My senior year of high school I dated an extremely charming boy on and off throughout most of the school year. Around the spring time, however, I noticed a lack of empathy or guilt regarding anything emotionally whatsoever. I started to notice how frequently he lied and that every thing seemed to be about him. You would think that I would've ended the relationship far sooner than I had, but his charm always had a way of bringing me back in. It isn't until taking this class that I realized why something was never quite right about him: he has a psychopathic personality.

Reading chapter 15 has helped me develop a deeper understanding of how people with this disorder function, and how to spot them. Although some people may possess one of the many characteristics of PP, this course has taught me how to spot those that contain the majority of them and to raise concern for those that do.

Whether it is five, ten, or fifteen years in the future I think the thing that I will remember from this psychology course will be how our memory systems work. This was so interesting because memory is something that is used in our everyday lives. For example, simply writing this post is accessing my long-term memory of the topics discussed in chapter 7! The thing that was much different from my previous idea of how memory worked was that I never realized how short our short-term memory truly was. In the book and lecture is states that the average time things are in short term memory are only about 15-20 seconds and then they are either put into long-term memory or lost. So while short-term memory may be good for taking notes, it is the long-term memory that carries everything we need to know. Additionally, understanding how memory works allows us to change how we study in order to best remember information. Finally, one thing in the book that struck me as amazing was that our memories can hold as much information as up to 500 complete sets of Encyclopedia Britannica!

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So if you going to choose one thing to remember from this course, it may as well be how you remember!

Throughout the semester I found Baumrind's parenting styles to be very interesting and helpful to those who are intending on having a family with children. There are 3 different styles in which he explains being permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative. Permissive parents tend to be too lenient with their children allowing too much freedom, causing very little discipline. Authoritarian parents tend to be too strict giving children little opportunity for free play and are punished when not responding appropriately to demands. But, Baumrind said that the best parenting style is authoritative which simply combines the best features of permissive and authoritarian worlds. Parents tend to be supportive with their kids but set clear and firm limits.
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Finding the picture above connected with me very well as I have friends that clearly show that this diagram is correct. While learning about Baumrind and his theory on parenting styles I thought about my central group of friends and connected their life to how their parents raised them. Majority correlated perfectly with what the diagram says and of course there are the few who are outliers but this you will find with any experiment. It makes me wonder what parent wouldn't want to use the authoritative parenting style, all in all results show your kid will end up on the best path.

Treating Autism

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Five years from now, I think I will still remember learning about how autism symptoms can be completely eliminated from children through the use of operant conditioning. The concept of operant conditioning seems very basic and intuitive, but the fact that it can be used to transform severely autistic children into normally functioning children is amazing. The treatment works like this: normal behaviors, such as talking, sitting still, making eye contact, and grooming oneself are reinforced with a reward in the form of something the child likes. Behaviors characteristic of autism, such as throwing tantrums, self-stimulation, and repetitive movements are ignored and not rewarded, eventually leading to their extinguishment.

This kind of treatment, pioneered by Ivar Lovaas in 1987, is called applied behavior analysis (ABA). In the original study, a group of children received 40 hours of intense ABA therapy per week and were followed up years later when they were in high school. The children were indistinguishable from their peers, and some of them were even in advanced classes and were planning on attending college. This most likely would not have been possible had they not gone through the treatment program. The fact that ABA is still used today as a form of therapy shows how successful the treatment has been. Here are just a few companies that advertise ABA treatment: AIM, Maximum Potential Kids, and Maxim Healthcare Services.

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