Writing 4; Section 5: April 2012 Archives

Five Years Time

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It's hard to say what I'll remember from this class five years from now. It's hard to say where I'll be even a year from now. Although in a year I'll most likely still be at school here at the U. I know I'll forget many things between now and five years from now. To be quite honest I've forgotten some things already.
FORGETFULNESS-1jpg.jpgHowever there will be some things that I'm sure will stick with me. Our memory capacity for one. I know I don't keep information all that easily, but I start to think about the psychological reasons now as opposed to it being just genetics (I blame a lot of my forgetfulness on my mother).
personality1.bmpI'm sure I'll also remember some things about personality and abnormal psych. One reason is because I'm taking those classes next semester, so that might be cheating in this case. However in this general psych class I also believe that I learned a few more things about personality and abnormal psych that I didn't know before. I always thought I had a general idea of what abnormal psych was, but now I know that abnormal psych is a much more controversial topic than I had initially thought.
It's really hard to say what I'll even remember next week, let alone in five years from this class. But I like to believe that I'll remember a few of the things that I mentioned. However, try as I might, I'm always going to be thinking about the psychological reasons behind what I do. I might not have all the answers, but I'm always going to be thinking about how a psychologist might classify my actions.

When I think over all the things I have learned this year in Psych 1001, one of the first things that come to mind as something that I will remember down the line is definitely when we learned about the famous Milgram Experiment. The participants were told to administer electric shocks on the subjects taking the test. Each wrong response by the person "in the other room" results in a higher shock administered on them by the participants. As the voltages increased, an unbelievable thing happens. Even though they can hear the "painful" reactions of the person they believe is taking their test, amazingly the participants continue to proceed with the process. All because the experimenters claim it is absolutely necessary to go all the way until the words were learned. When watching this, it is shocking to see that just because they are told to continue by an authority figure, the participants shock the learner under the impression they could be seriously injured.

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It is very hard to imagine that people would act like this, and wonder if you yourself could act similarly in like situations. It is unreal that 62% of participants administered what would have been lethal shock to the learners. I bet most people would never believe they would go that far, but more than half would be wrong...

When reviewing the material that has been taught over the course of this psychology 1001 class, one may find themselves wondering what will be remembered when they look back five years from now. On a personal level, I believe the one topic that has stood out to me and will be remembered is the controversial nature vs. nurture debate. The nature versus nurture debate discusses the relative importance of an individual's natural qualities against personal experiences in determining or causing individual differences in physical and behavioral traits. The nature side of this debate stresses how much of an individual character is based on biological factors. For example, genes are activated at appropriate times during development and are the foundation for protein production. Proteins have a wide range of molecules, such as hormones and enzymes that act influence direct development in the body. When looking at the influence of genes in the Nature vs. Nature debate there has been found to be a change in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene. The discovery of this inherited, genetic "happiness gene" is evidence for the nature side of the debate when looking at life satisfaction. On the other hand, The nurture side emphasizes how much of an organism is based on environmental factors. In reality, it is most likely an interaction of both genes and environment, nature and nurture, that affect the development of a person. Genes and the environment must be in sync for normal development. Even if a person has inherited genes for taller than average height, the person may not grow to be as tall as genetically possible if they aren't given proper nutrition. I believe I will remember this debate because of its currently a well known issue in the social world. This will cause me to hear about it through some form of images.jpg

A popular adage states that high school teaches you what to think, while college teaches you how to think. Reflecting on my experience in the PSY 1001 course, the latter definitely rings true.

One concept from the class that I will certifiably remember the most in five years and beyond is the framework for scientific thinking and skepticism we learned at the very beginning of the semester. In a few years, I may not be able to recount all the details of the sleep cycle, elaborate on each theory of cognitive development, or describe the anatomy of the central nervous system. However, I will forever apply the logic of the six principles of scientific thinking when presented with new assertions and information.

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The seven words "rival causes falsify repeated claims, Mr. Occam," is more than just a mnemonic device that helped me through exams. It equipped me with a new basis for how to think critically about various claims and arguments. For example, how often have we run into situations in which we're presented with a claim that's literally incapable of being disproved (falsifiability)? Like how Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy "magically" appear only when we're sleeping.

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One of the most important psychological principles, in my opinion, is that correlation isn't causation. For example, my friend once humorously asserted the following: "I have skin. Potatoes have skin. Therefore, I am a potato."

While the specifics of each subject in psychology are worth knowing, nothing will prove more useful or more applicable to me than the principles of scientific thinking. I haven't just learned what to think, I've learned how to think.

5 years from now

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The psychology concept I think I will remember five years from now is the whole idea of environmental pressures making people do things that they know are wrong. Just watching those experiments really shook me up with the shocking of the learners at gradually higher voltage for wrong answers to see how far the "teacher" would go. I was just so shocked that such a high percentage of people continued giving higher voltages until it reached the level that would have killed a person.
However, I do not know why I am so shocked when Hitler proved that environmental pressure could be a successful way of killing years ago. I guess what this really taught me was to never underestimate environmental pressures and what they can do to someone. Especially the ones who we least expect it. At the end of the day I hope we can overcome environmental pressures and not be afraid to do what we think is right.

Sticky Situations: Stress

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Hands down, no question in my mind: chapter 12 will probably be the most prevalent material these next few years of my life. We all heard the stories of how fun, yet stressful college life can be and now are living testament to that fact. College is definitely a stressful time in one's life, especially during finals. student_stress.jpg
After reading chapter 12, I have a better understanding of how stress can affect myself mentally, emotionally, and of course, physically. This year, I also took part in a month-long REP study which measured how I currently handled stressful situations and then instructed me on how to improve those methods. With the help of this study, I have learned how to focus on something called present control. Present control teaches individuals to basically focus their efforts and concerns on present matters which are in an individual's control, rather than ruminating on the negative aspects of the situation. This study, conducted by Sam Hintz, has taught me to focus on aspects of life which I can control, such as how I handle a situation; is pointless for me to ruminate on my up-coming tests and finals by wishing I had more time to prepare-that isn't going to happen! Finals are set in place and will not move, so I should focus on what I can control about the situation (such as my mindset, behaviors, etc) instead of things which are out of my control. This way of thinking helps to decrease the ways in which my stress affects me. I feel as if these lessons on stress will be important throughout the rest of my life, especially the years spent here in college studying for high-stress situations.
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Preemie Me

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I believe that the concept that will stick with me most was from the first of Professor Koenig's lectures. Toward the end she talked about premature babies and brain development, and that bit really grabbed my attention because I was a preemie. I have always been super curious about how that has affected me in the long run. While I was not in the hospital quite as long as the poor babies in the video, I was still 6 weeks early and was 4.5 pounds when they took me home (I was about the length of a Barbie... if I was home, I totally would have scanned the picture my mom took of me next to a Barbie to prove it). Anyway, the video said that later in life, one effect of being born premature can be trouble prioritizing. This made a light bulb go off in my head. Sure, I think that the busy world I live in has something to do with this problem I have. However, I have always struggled with that one thing--prioritizing. It has caused a lot of unneeded stress in my life, and I've tried to fix it, but it's been difficult to do so. In the end, I will now always wonder if my early birth has anything to do with that...

...and those aren't my feet, by the way.

Before you say "I DO"

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I really enjoyed this psychology class, but I would have to say that chapter eleven will be the chapter that I remember most in 5 years from now. Being able to connect to what I am doing in school makes it much more easier to remember. I found chapter eleven super interesting because it had to do with relationships and LOVE. I found it really interesting to learn about what most guys look for in a woman, and how it differs so much from what a women looks for in a man. I enjoyed learning about the triangular love theory that demonstrates the three sides of love. I totally agree with Sternberg's three major elements of love. According to Sternberg intimacy, passion, and commitment are the three most important aspects of love. I think that these three aspects are essential to having a healthy relationship, and that a relationship cannot survive if even one of these is missing. So before you say I DO make sure that you have share all three of these aspects with your partner. I loved being able to personally connect to subject matter, and that is why I think I will remember it for the next 5 years!!
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Without a doubt, one of the most applicable concepts in this course is how to cope with stress. No matter what path one chooses in life, you cannot get away from stress. So, learning the right way to deal with this stress is without a doubt one of the most important skills in life.Thumbnail image for meme.jpeg

Depending on your college path, we're going to have to deal with finals twice a year for at most 3 more years. Using informational control coping strategies, like proactive coping by starting to study to avoid some of the stress of cramming for everyone's upcoming finals. Also, maintaining physical activity throughout the year and during finals week can lower the amount of time we spend ruminating on stressful finals. This also can reduce the effect of stressful finals or the aftermath of a bad grade or on our long-term heart health by promoting oxygen use in the body and lowering blood pressure. Along with exercise, maintaining a decently healthy diet can help reduce stress as well. That means limiting the cases of Redbull and McDonald's that we eat.

In 5 years or whenever you finish school, after our last finals, things will probably get even more stressful as we go out into the real world and try to find a sustainable job. So, making sure that we remember these useful tips that help us stay sane in the short run and alive in the long run is definitely a good idea.b70-305x305.jpg

You continually see advertisements, and things in the news or media that use anecdotal evidence or use correlation statistics to try and make a point. One thing that psychology has taught me is to be skeptical about these things but at the same time keeping an open mind about the evidence that they are presenting. This is something that I will remember five years from now. Something that you should ask questions about is correlation studies, you need to look for different causes of correlation between two topics. An example of this is the correlation between children watching violent television shows and in turn playing violent with their peers afterward. One may conclude that watching violent television causes violent behaviors, but there could also be a third variable that could cause the violent behavior, such as the children being more prone to violent behavior in the first place.
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Psychology may have taught me to be skeptical about these studies but it has also taught me that you should not just dismiss new information because there could be another explanation. You need to keep an open mind when confronted with new evidence, and if the evidence is strong enough then at that point switch your thoughts on that topic. Being skeptical and asking question but at the same time keeping an open mind will help me filter out all of the nonsense in media to streamline my thought process towards the facts and not opinions and that is why I believe that I will remember this five years from now.

Gender Freedom

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One of the concepts I found interesting, as well as appalling, was the concept that gender, while clearly biological, is also defined by our society. Now, of course it is important to define gender, but we take it to far when we expect an individual to submit to society's idea of what that gender is. Baby boys are usually given blue socks and baby girls are usually given pink socks. Our society has become one that does not allow individuals to easily explore their own gender. Instead, we use their own anatomies against them, forcing them live their lives according to society's expectations. Many people do not feel that their biological gender is the gender that they wish to express and fueling the stereotypes of man and woman that we already have in place, only cements in them the idea that they have no choice but to live in a way that they may find uncomfortable. I think anyone who identifies as a transgender person is very brave to push the limits of our gender stereotypes. The tragedy is when transgender people are met with violence for expressing the gender they believe fits them the best. How long will it take for us to break down the gender stereotypes that have been dictating the lives of people across the country? Everyone has a right to identify with whatever gender they deem appropriate and they have a right to express themselves as such. When will our society allow everyone this gender freedom?
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The Psychology of Sex

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What I think most students our age will really remember and carry with us into the future is the psychology of sex and gender in society. What interests not only myself, but many other peers of mine the most is the differences and similarities between men and women. This particular part of psychology is not limited to just the physical aspects of sex and attraction between men and women, but also the natural tendencies and behaviors associated with each gender. I could not find a single person who has not always wondered why the opposite gender always acts a certain way in certain situations. Whether men ask "why are girls so emotional?" or if women states "all guys think about is sex". On the surface, the common answers to these various questions and statements which most people see as the truth do not do justice to the true answers that psychology has revealed. The psychology of sex helps explain why men and women act in certain ways, and also helps explain the mental processes and rationals that each gender experiences. These topics are some of the most interesting topics covered in psychology, and I believe that for this reason it will stick not only with me, but many others in the future.

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KISS

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My mother loves mantras. One of her favorites is: KISS or Keep It Simple, Stupid. Throughout my life, she has applied KISS to many different situations. For example, she knows I love to plan fun events for friends and family. She also knows, however, that I like to go overboard and make really complex plans. She would have to repeatedly say, "KISS, Sarah, KISS!" Another example is when I was acting like the typical teenage girl and overanalyzing the actions of the boy I liked, she would tell me to calm down and KISS. Lastly, whenever I worried about a paper and getting a good grade, her advice would be KISS. SOCIALLY AWKWARD PENGUIN

Psychology 1001 taught me KISS is more universal than I once thought. Besides my mother, psychologists use KISS in the context of Occam's Razor. This guideline in psychology refers to when "[...] two explanations account equally well for a phenomenon [...]" (25), we should generally use the simpler one. By not getting muddled in the details of a complex explanation, we can embrace simplicity when considering explanations. While this method is not always correct, it has proven to be more reliable than not.

So the next time you're analyzing the "true" meaning behind someone's words, think KISS and apply Occam's Razor to your everyday life.

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Let's be honest here for a minute, when does one ever see an elderly couple be sexually active. Now, I am not saying that I want to see this, but because it is not portrayed as a commonality everyone has the false idea that as one ages sexual activities cease. The truth is that many people are still sexually active well into their seventies and eighties. There is a larger chance they are still active if they are healthy and are sharing their life with a significant other. There are some statistics to put it in a better view: three-fourths of married men and 56 percent of married women are sexually active over age 60 and 30 percent of women 80 to 102 years old. When I first read these numbers my mind was blown! I ended up sharing this information to everyone I knew. The unfortunate part for the ladies is that at age 80 women are only able to pick from 39 men to every 100 women...those are some slim pickin's. This psychology information about frequency of sexual activities and aging is something that will stick with me for years and is something I will remember when I am older. You never know what percent you may be in. My best advice is to find someone you can grow old and gray with.

The one thing that I think I will remember from psychology five years from now are the six scientific thinking principles. The six scientific thinking principles are ruling out rival hypotheses, correlation vs. causation, falsifiability, replicability, extraordinary claims, and Occam's razor. The concept of these six principles has been reiterated throughout the whole textbook so I have become very familiar. They are basically glued into my mind at this point. These principles go beyond psychology and I think that these things can apply to many different situations in life.

For example, somebody might make a comment saying "the beach is packed because it is sunny," which relates to the correlation vs. causation principle because one thing may not cause the other. It also could relate to ruling out rival hypotheses because an alternate explanation could be because it's on a weekend and less people have to work.
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Another example is in court cases. The persecutor might make a claim that the defendant is guilty. In this situation they would have to see if the evidence is as strong as the claim made by the persecutor. This relates to the extraordinary claims principle.
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With that said, I think I will remember the scientific thinking principles because they relate to many situations in everyday life.

The most important thing that I will remember in five years that I learned from Psychology is the Yerkes-Dodson Law. The Yerkes-Dodson Law demonstrates the relationship between arousal and performance. It shows that there is an upside down U shaped relationship between these factors. In other words, being too aroused or not aroused enough will lead to poor performance. The desire is to be somewhere in the middle. When people aren't aroused enough, they become lazy. When they are too aroused, they become nervous and their performance suffers. I plan to keep the Yerkes-Dodson Law in mind over the next five years. I will remember this or two reasons. First, the Yerkes-Dodson Law applies to everyday life. When I am at work and I am giving a huge presentation, I will keep the Yerkes-Dodson Law in mind. I will try to motivate myself but only to the point of optimal performance. The second reason is that it applies to sports. In sports, when a person gets nervous and fails, they are labeled as a choke artist. In high pressure situations, talented athletes often underperform. The Yerkes-Dodson Law won't make me feel bad for the kicker who blows a game off a missed easy kick, but at least I'll understand why he failed.
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Coping with Stress

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I think that in 5 years from now I will remember the topic about stress the most. Everyone will always have some kind of stressor in his or her life whether it is stress with school or a job or another form of stressor so it is important for everyone to know how to cope with and manage his or her stress.
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I think that it is important to remember that people can sometimes control stressful situations, however, sometimes you can't control the situation, but you can control how you react to it. I really like the idea of keeping a journal to manage your emotional stress, I think that method works well and can help a variety of people in many ways. I also think that practicing yoga or a form of meditation is a good method of managing stress. I do yoga occasionally and I can tell that it really does reduce my stress level and it helps me to relax.
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I found it interesting that having some type of social support such as interpersonal relationships with people, groups, and the larger community can really help everyone cope with the stress that they encounter in life. It is interesting that people with social support are in overall better health than those who do not have it.

TWO FACED

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So, We are probably aware of this term when it comes to talking about relationships with people, usually in cases where someone is friends with one person and then talks bad about the other person. Well this time I am going to use to term two face with Stanford Prison Study. You guys should all be aware of this case, but if not, long story short, people were given authority and it turns out those who had authority mistreated the people without the authority ( in this case the prisoners.) This was an example of what REALLY happens when people view themselves as the top dog, they tend to act different. So with that being said, I have quesitons and thoughts instead of answers...
Question # 1 Why does that Happen?
Thought # 1 Probably because these people think that this is how people with auhtority act, in other words people have negative views on people like police officers, presidents (and other important figures.
Question # 2 Can this case study explain why other similar attitudes towards acting different when put in a costume?
Thought # 2 (for example, Do performers produce an alter ego or is this actually their personality...
My point is, in one way or another we are all sort of two faced, it may be when we are in competition mode we might get more aggressive and snide, or when we are in love, we may be more sweet than sour. whatever the case may be, we might not need a costume or someone telling us that we are in charge, so we need to be careful and know our personality traits before we express them.
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With so many ads and claims out these days for the new "cutting edge" diet or the "miracle" cure to some disease, how can the average Joe decide what to and what not to believe? From taking psy 1001, I believe that in the future I will most definitely remember how to think scientifically, that is, using the six scientific thinking principles. These include ruling out rival hypotheses, correlation vs. causation, falsifiability, replicability, extraordinary claims, and Occam's razor.
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All of these thinking principles can be applied to psychological studies, but also can be used to evaluate any scientific claim. One could use falsifiability to evaluate and outrageous claim from many self-help books when deciding if their facts are true. You could disregard claims about UFO and big foot sightings with the rule of extraordinary claims, needing to have more rigorous evidence for an extreme claim. Many health claims about weight loss tactics or intelligence claims of boosting brainpower by some unorthodox means, you could use replicability to see if there have been any other studies to prove them to be true. Ruling out rival hypothesis and correlation vs. causation to see if there may be another answer or another factor that may contribute to a claim.
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Scientific claims may reap the benefits of the average citizens easy belief of such claims, but those who took psy 1001 have the tools and knowledge to evaluate some "phony" claims.
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"What's love got to do with it? " sang by Tina Turner in 1984 was one of the top songs of the year and is actually the question that many ask today when it comes to relationships. Robert Sternberg, a leading psychologist who posted on the blog "Psychology to the rescue," stated his opinions on love and relationships in a way that I agree with. He summarized that love is something he had always had a hard time connecting to. He connected the thoughts to psychology and the result that he came to was the triangular theory of love. The three components of this theory are intimacy, passion, and commitment. All three have a way of making sense of problems in relationships in different combinations of the three. I found this section of the reading for this course to be quite interesting and actually one of the most important aspects that I will remember five years down the road. Many of us, being college students, have had relationships with a significant other in the past, and if not, will be looking for that someone in the future. Keeping these three components in mind is a smart decision in looking for someone you may develop a relationship with.

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Do you have the same feeling about the memory loss of the things we learned in the past? When we study the history, Mathematics, literature and some other subjects which will drive us mad, do you have the feeling which you can't remember them after a really long time, like a semester?
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Most people will think studying is the short-term memories, which can be forgotten very easily. Actually it is the long-term memory. The storage in long-term memory and short-term memory generally has a strictly limited capacity and duration, which means that information is not retained indefinitely. By contrast, long-term memory can store much larger quantities of information for potentially unlimited duration-. Its capacity is immeasurably large. The reason why we can't remember what we learned last semester is not because we forget them. Our memory put those things into a deeper level of our memory, when we need to use it, the memory will come out, and we can find out that even we can't remember what we learned in the Calculus class, we still could do the exercises of the calculus.
Here is some food that can improve our memory, fish, soy, Colorful and citrus fruits, Cruciferous and leafy green vegetables, seeds, nuts, chocolates, whole grains, and curry... The final week is coming, you can have a try to improve your memory and hop you will have a good grade in your final!
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