April 2012 Archives

Psychology & Me

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So here we all are, after a long semester filled with pages and pages of reading, countless hours of studying, and last but certainly not least, exams. There's a lot we all learn about psychology throughout this semester, and each one of us retains it all differently, and what we retain is unique as well.

For me, I felt that what I'll keep most in mind in the coming years are things such as the availability heuristic, and representative heuristics, and most of the heuristics that define our everyday lives. I feel I'll remember these most because they exist to correct our thinking in a way to better ourselves, and seek to make us question the world around us.

I think the heuristics are an important aspect of Psychology that hopefully we'll all hold on to and utilize in our everyday lives. Without them, we may still be projecting out feelings on to others rather than inquiring about what's on the outside that's changing the inside; we may still be over simplifying situations that require explanations that go above and beyond what we can see with our own eyes; we may be going about life blindly with all these misconceptions bogging us down.


In all honesty, I entered Psychology 1001 reluctantly, because I had to and not expecting to encounter any particularly influential ideas. However, I was surprised when learning about psychology changed my worldview in a number of ways. The most significant of these was my concept of morality. A short time ago I believed humans' moral instincts were perhaps divinely inspired, or at least of more significance than simple science. However, psychology reveals that morality is in fact perfectly explainable with evolutionary theory. They are created in people when they associate actions perceived as immoral with punishment; later immorality is associated with fear and, later still, immorality is a negative stimulus all by itself. This revelation has a vast number of implications. For example, if one were a perfectly logical person, one could arguably use this information to commit any immoral act without reservation. I don't think I could ever be such a cold person, since my morals are too deeply ingrained in me and to break them would cause me too much psychological pain for it to be worth it. However, after this new knowledge I will be sure not to judge too harshly people I consider to be immoral, because it's not necessarily their fault, but the fault of the environment in which they grew up. In any case, there is no way I will forget this information in five years, or ever.

Snow Globed World

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"Naïve realism: the belief that we see the world precisely as it is." Upon taking Psychology this semester, I have learned so many fascinating things about the human mind and how we interact with each other. But Naïve realism, as defined in the first chapter of our textbook was one of the topics that first caught my attention. Initially after learning a bit more about naïve realism, it helped me to understand the stories that my grandparents used to tell me of their beliefs and perceptions in their culture before they immigrated here to the United States. One in particular was of how you could walk to the end of the horizon and touch the blue skies, because the world was indeed flat and fitted into a dome size snow globe.


In all Honesty

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IIn all honesty, I really won't remember most of what we covered this semester because it's not in my major, and I won't remember specific sections or specific concepts. I will remember little snip-its, though. This class hasn't been at the top of my "to do list" this semester, but what I have retained will probably impact some part of my life five years from now. I'll probably remember how short term information gets stored in the brain and becomes long term information. I'll probably remember OCEAN for the rest of my life too. I'll probably be sitting down at a table to some dinner in the future and study peoples personalities. Not in a creepy sort of way, but just so I can get to know them. Another thing I'll probably remember five years from now is how a baby can learn different languages, and they are able to detect subtle differences in any language. I'll probably look at my future infant child and speak random German to it and study its reaction. I'll probably look at that child and wonder how much information it has retained too. Just little bits of information like that will stay with me five years from now or even longer.

Pet Training and Me

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I'll be completely honest. In 5 years, I can guarantee with nearly 100% certainty that I will have forgotten about B.F. Skinner, Sigmund Freud, Jean Piaget, and Ivan Pavlov. Chances are pretty good that I'll have forgotten much of the terminology I've learned over the year as well. But I think for sure that one of the things that I'll retain is the knowledge of classical conditioning.

About 3 years ago, my family adopted an Alaskan Husky from the pound. My brother and I grew up with a Lab and when we pictured a dog, we naturally assumed that it would be mellow and easily trained, common characteristics amongst Labs. It quickly became very clear that, while a very sweet dog, she would take some serious training. My Mom, Dad, brother and I took turns trying to train her to sit, come, and lay down. 3 years later, she's come a long way but still has a long way to go, and up until this class, I always assumed that it was her and not us. After the chapter on classical conditioning, however, I'm not so sure. I quickly realized that we weren't consistent with our conditioned stimuli, so naturally, the conditioned response took much longer, and wasn't nearly as consistent as it should be.

Now that I know the basic principles of classical conditioning, I'm looking forward to trying it out on my dog, and I'm noticing it in everyday life. I just watched this show of The Office the other day, wherein Jim demonstrates the merits of classical conditioning on Dwight. Enjoy!!!

Mind the Jackelopes

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My friend thought the jackelope was a real creature. It isn't that absurd, we all fall prey to loopholes in our thinking.


As this semester has progressed and my understanding of psychology has grown, I have also gained an understanding of the importance of scientific thinking. This theme of scientific thinking is one of the most crucial components of psychology, hence the first question of each chapter quiz. It was difficult at first to identify the heuristics and loopholes of our human thought processes, but I have gained a solid understanding now that our semester is coming to a close. These basic keys of scientific thinking are useful in everyday life.
It is important to be skeptical of surroundings and to trust instincts and interpretations. Understanding the ways of scientific thinking has made me incredibly aware of the potential faults of my interpretations of the world. In a modern world in which it is nearly impossible to avoid the intrusive bombardment of media and advertisement, I believe it is important to have a strong mind that can identify faults in the claims made by corporations and agencies. The world is threatened by the ease at which one can become a cognitive miser. Being aware of lazy thinking and simple shortcuts has made me more able to interpret the world in a genuine way.

Language and Human

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I've learned a lot of interesting things in the Psychology class. What I found the most memorable among the course is the formation of Language. I've always been ambitious in different kinds of language. In order to learn a language well, I have to understand the words. However, It's been very disappointed to found out the Critical Periods in book p295, Proficiency in Second Language Depends on the Age of Exposure. Since I lived in chinese environment for the past 18 years, my ability to learn a new language well has drop to the lowest level, the same as the age 39.
Another interesting things about language is Linguistic Determinism, which explained by the book as the view that all thought is represented verbally and that, as a result, our language defines our thinking. This might explain why sometimes, or most of the time, I don't know what I'm talking about. I just express myself in the way that my thoughts admit, before myself even aware of those words coming out of my mouth.

IQ Testing

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The topic I most found interesting and memorable this semester in Psychology was when we learned about the different components of intelligence. I enjoyed both the lectures on the subject and the discussion section for the topic of that week. Intelligence can be so variant from person to person, and I thought it was important to realize the causes and examples of different types of intelligence. As the text states, there is the concept of g, or general intelligence, but there are also nine different forms of intelligence that psychologist Howard Gardner narrowed down to define the different ways a person can have intelligence. For example, there is linguistic intelligence, where a person can write and speak well, musical intelligence where an individual is musically inclined, or spatial where a person can reasonably and easily think about an area or space. Intelligence or how people are perceived based on their intelligence also varies between cultures. An "intelligent" act in one culture could be construed as something completely different in another. Because of these different types of intelligences, there has never been an IQ test developed that reasonably and fairly, without bias can test a person's intelligence. I also found it interesting this semester learning how much genetic influences have on IQ, or if intelligence is more largely based on the environment a person was raised. Twin studies were an interesting example when learning further on this subject as it showed there was a high correlation of the level of intelligence twins shared, especially if they are monozygotic. This shows that genetic influences do play a large part on the IQ of a human being.

Twin Study

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Looking back at what I have learned over the semester, one thing that comes to mind is the twin study that was conducted here at the University of Minnesota. In the study, 130 identical and fraternal twins were reunited after being separated immediately after birth and growing up in different families. When comparing the personalities of each twin, researchers found that identical twins who did not grow up together in the same environment were no more alike in personality than identical twins who did grow up in a shared environment. Researchers were able to conclude that shared environment plays very little role in the type of personality a person will have as an adult.


This finding was very surprising to me. I had always figured that how a person is raised and the type of environment that person is raised in would be a very important factor in determining a person's personality, but this is not the case. So when we want to claim that a person's personality is what it is because of how that person was raised as a child, we should think twice and consider other factors. The results also show the importance of genetic factors on personality, so we should also keep that in mind. I think the twin study is definitely something I'll remember five years from now.

Going into this class, I figured that I would just try and get through it with as little effort as possible. However, over the weeks I found myself stimulated and interested in the course material. I will take away many things from this course, but the biggest thing that I think I will remember in the next five years is the personality unit. In particular, I think that the Projective Tests will be the thing that I remember the most. These tests include the Rorschach Inkblot Test and the Thematic Apperception Test. I find this very interesting because you can find out a lot about people with something so basic.

I enjoy trying to "read" people to try to gain insight on others' perspectives so I can attempt to see things from all angles. I think that this could be useful to figure out how people are feeling based on their reactions and descriptions of basic, ambiguous objects or situations. Figuring out these slight cues in their words and actions may be helpful in determining how I decide to go about interacting with them for the remainder of the time being spent with them. This is just one of the many things that I will remember, but this will probably be the most helpful thing I will utilize in social situations.

The following video shows some examples of Rorschach Inkblot Test:

Lately while at work, our radio station has been set to the sounds of the late 50's and early 60's. As I go about my job, I often find myself humming along to songs from The Temptations or The Supremes but lately I've had one song stuck inside my head and oddly enough, its about personality. What does this have to do with psychology you might ask? Well, it got me thinking about the relationship between personality and behavior. During class I was placed in the "artist" group otherwise known as the introverts. Generally, I consider myself an introvert but I'm always thinking about how I act when meeting new people, which is shy and quiet but when I'm with people I know, I have no problem being loud, funny and the life of the party. Which makes me think, while I may score like an introvert, it doesn't last for very long once you get to know me. My personality might be described as quiet, flighty or unaware but certain circumstances in life have shaped my behavior to be more like an extrovert in some cases and more of an introvert in others. Either way, my personality defines me in the broadest of terms but like Lloyd Price says "I'll be a fool for you, 'cause you got, personality!" and that is something I'll take with me when I graduate.

If there is ever a date I wish I were alive on, it would have to be October 30, 1938. That evening, Orson Welles intentionally made the United States temporarily lose its grip on reality by broadcasting a phony adaptation of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds over numerous radio broadcasts. It was with this ingenious prank that the chapter based on Social Psychology was introduced and it was indeed a memorable example specific to both social contagion and the fundamental attribution theory.

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To understand the influence of society upon our own, otherwise rational decisions, we must experience the unintentional intentions of society. Given a moment of panic, how would you react? It's a question that we seemingly root our dispositional influences, or enduring characteristics such as intelligence and personality, to. It is with this knowledge of ourselves that gives us the confidence in proclaiming "I'd never have acted that way". However, to speak theoretically upon a situation that we've never actually experienced is much easier then speaking realistically about the same situation. It's this inability to fathom that is responsible for a proclamation that underestimates the influence of society upon our behaviors.
Now the book states, "just as we often turn to others to better understand ourselves, we often look to them when a situation is ambiguous to figure out what to believe, and how to act", and as exemplified in Orson's prank, social contagion can indeed influence our interpretations of reality. To make the familiar seem unfamiliar can cause an occurrence of ridiculous irrationality.

"Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding". Chapter 13. Pages 495-499. Print. April 29, 2012.

"You Can't Always Get What You Want" by The Rolling Stones perfectly describes why my personal favorite unit, Mental Disorders, didn't arrive until the very end of our PSY 1001 class. Nevertheless, I am hopeful that the myths and misconceptions that our textbook and lectures sought to shatter will never affect me again. I have had the great fortune of knowing and interacting with several people diagnosed with mental illnesses in the last few years, and the time spent with each has been illuminating for me. Learning about several of these conditions in greater detail, along with receiving an emotional glimpse at the afflicted, will allow me to stay mindful of the environmental and genetic factors working against both diagnosed and untreated individuals. I can only hope that my next five years brings me into contact with others in similar situations. In these interactions, I hope that I can use my PSY 1001 knowledge to make each situation more comfortable for the other person.


There are few greater human pursuits than cooperation with and the betterment of our fellow man. Resorting to social ignorance and avoidance tactics to make ourselves feel more comfortable in the presence of the afflicted might be the easy way, but it is also the destructive way. Mankind cannot sustain itself except through understanding. Cultures, beliefs, and even psychological conditions are the barriers that separate us, and the same walls must be overcome for the good of our world.

"Treat others as you would treat yourself."

If there is one thing that I have learned in Psych that will stay with me, it is personality and the "Big 5 Model" in particular. It is amazing how different every individual is, and being able to understand personality gives us a better grasp of who a person is. I think being able to read people and being able to understand a person's personality is a necessity in life. When meeting new people, I realized that I now think back to the Big 5 Model and try to figure out peoples levels of things like extraversion and agreeableness. Without the understanding of personality how would we understand who a good potential friend or partner may be? We size people up everyday, and being able to read people is extremely important, especially in many careers. In any sales job, the ability to figure out the customer is vital. Personality is something that is such an important part of a person and I think that this concept is something that I will carry with me for a long time.

Remembering to Remember

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memory-cartoon.jpgThe thing I will remember the most from PSY1001 5 years down the road will have to be about how our memory works. It should have seemed obvious that our different senses remember things differently, like our iconic (visual) and echoic (sound) memories remember things for different periods of time. Also, the concept of how our short-term memory works. The diagram in the textbook of the three-memory model made a lot of sense to me. Unless we make something in our short-term memory meaningful, we either can constantly rehearse it, or we forget it. I have already began to incorporate strategy like chunking, or elaborative rehearsal to remember small things in my daily life, like picturing the hands of a clock in my mind to remember when something starts, instead of just the number. Just having a basic understanding of how your brain retains memories can save you a lot of stress if you know how to efficiently remember important things in your daily life. And for this reason PSY1001, I thank you. memory-cartoon.jpg

What Moves Us

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Psychology has been a very interesting class to me. I think I will remember many things that I have learned over the course of this semester. If I had to pick just one that would be most memorable to me I would have to pick Emotion and Motivation from chapter 11. I find it fascinating to understand why we do the things that we do. I think that the different theories of emotion, such as the James-Lange theory of emotion, the Two Factor theory of emotion, and Cannon-Bard theory of emotion are very interesting. I am also astonished at how powerful and important non-verbals are. It is interesting that most of our everyday communication is non verbal and how much information you can interpret from the cues. The most fascinating concept to me, however, is that of Motivation. I loved learning about what motivates us in our behaviors and pursuits in our everyday lives. I think Attraction and everything that has an effect on it is extremely interesting such as things like what makes us attracted to someone and the factors that can affect that like reciprocity, similarity, proximity etc. Understanding the concepts in emotion and motivation can be extremely helpful and insightful in real life. I am grateful to have been in this class and for the opportunity to learn about psychology.

The Scientific Method

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The most important thing I learned in this class was the importance of using the scientific method when evaluating claims. To me this means using these ideas whenever possible. If somebody describes a story, il say something like "You're wrong! thats anecdotal evidence and violates the scientific principle of replicability". If somebody proposes a very elaborate explanation of an event I interject and say "You're forgetting about Occam's Razor". Because of how often I use aspects of the scientific method with my friends, I know that it will be with me for a very long time. Hopefully through my continuous, and sometimes annoying, use of the method more people will start to think more scientifically.

Throughout the semester, my favorite topic was personality. Learning about the "Big Five" personality traits was really interesting. It really surprised me how accurate a simple personality test was at describing my personality. I was placed in the "scholars" group during discussion, which was low in extraversion and high in conscientiousness. The description of this personality type was quiet, reserved, hard-working, and well-organized. I would use all of those words to describe myself. When I applied the "Big Five" personality characteristics to my friends and family, it was interesting to see the differences between them.


Another reason this topic was my favorite is that I learned that personality is something we can't really change about ourselves; it's a part of who we are. Personality can justify why people are a certain way and can help predict the actions of others based on their personality. For example, my sister is high in extraversion and low in conscientiousness. Based on her personality, I wouldn't expect her to sit quietly at a family gathering; I would predict that she would be highly social and outgoing. Learning about different personality types can be a very useful tool in life and can help in understanding other people.

While reflecting back on my semester in psychology and thinking about what we learned that has been most useful to me, I realized it was one of the earliest and most simple concepts that has helped me the most. While seemingly basic, the Scientific Thinking Principles are actually probably the most important concepts one learns in psychology. Without them, we would not have a set of guidelines to use for effectively evaluating claims.
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I realized the usefulness of these principles while I was writing an argumentative research paper a few weeks ago. I was able to use the principles to make sure I was supporting my argument in an effective manner. In addition to doing research, learning these principles can help us evaluate the loads of media messages we are bombarded with on a daily basis, as well as find solutions to everyday problems. These thinking principles remind us to look for alternate explanations, remember that 'A' doesn't necessarily always cause 'B', check to see if the claim can be disproved, find out if results can be replicated, evaluate that the evidence is as strong as the claim, and always be sure that a simpler explanation doesn't fit the data just as well as a complicated one.

Right or Left?

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A topic that I will remember most is about how our brains think (biological psychology). It is interesting that the right hemisphere of the brain works for the left side and the left hemisphere works for the right side of the body. I always found that to be interesting, although it may be an awkward concept to keep in mind, but I find that it actually might come in handy for the future. I say this because I know that as you grow older, there will probably be more troubles to your body such as strokes, brain damage and such. An example of this is when a patient goes through split-brain surgery and they become "blinded" to some things on the left or opposite side. Also with people who have brain damage on a certain hemisphere, it would be helpful to know what body part or function in your body won't be working.


If I had to damage a side of my brain it would probably be the right hemisphere which functions the coarse language skills and visuospatial skills because I rather keel the actions. The brain has so carries so much information it could be an endless conversation. Of course, there are many interesting things that we should all know about the brain and this is just one tiny bit of information.

Perceptual Blindness

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Perceptual blindness is an effect when someone is concentrating on something and passively ignore other details or actions that are in their sight. Perceptual blindness happens all the time, but of course, if you are experiencing it, you won't remember it. I remember the first time when I heard about perceptual blindness, I, myself was a victim in the experiment. But after learning about perceptual blindness I found myself to pay attention more to my surroundings and to my own actions.

I used to think that in movies, why do the protagonists always drive pass each other, or miss small details in critical scenes, where they are actually looking for each other or something important. After learning about perceptual blindness, it makes sense that the protagonists are too concentrated on something else that they miss certain details. People, who are experiencing perceptual blindness, probably won't notice that they are experiencing it until someone else informs them. Perceptual blindness is probably one of the most interesting subjects in psychology that I learned. Below is one of my favorite perceptual blindness video, as much as I would like to tell you about the video, it is best if you watch it yourself.

I can almost be positive that I will not retain a lot of the fine details of this course in the next 5 to 10 years unless I take another psychology class. The one thing however that I will retain is that correlation does not equal causation. It seems that on every test or in every chapter a section in the book would hammer this point into my brain. So I can easily say I will not forget this lesson. This concept has helped me think of events in a different light because there is often more then one answer to a question or problem. Also although it is not a specific thing, the way I think of events in general will never be the same. Psychology has taught me to delve deeper into explanations and use things like Occam's Razor, falsifiability, ruling out rival hypothesis, and ofcourse, correlation does not equal causation. Needless to say this course has changed many of my perspectives, yet it saddens me to say that I will not retain many of the fine details. I am comforted because psychology has shown me how short term memory could have contributed to this loss in memory.

Classical Conditioning

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Nearing the end of Psychology 1001, I am almost shocked that I made it through the thick textbook, never ending exams, blog posts, weekly quizzes and lab discussions in one piece. There have definitely been some times or 'aha' moments throughout this semester when I have realized that I had just related some part of my daily life and routine (whether big or small) to something that I learned in this class.

Thinking ahead, I definitely do not know much about where I am going to be in the next 5 years, but I will definitely remember some of the theories that have been engrained in my brain through this course. One of the things I will never forget learning about is Pavlov's classical conditioning. I believe that because classical conditioning made so much sense to me when I learned about it in class, it is one of the things that I won't have a hard time remembering. The concept of acquisition, extinction, spontaneous recovery, stimulus generalization, discrimination, and more apply to so many real life experiences and the theory of classical conditioning almost always holds true to the situation. It helps to explain so much of our actions that most of the times go unnoticed, which is something I have and always will find very interesting.

Overall, I believe I will remember much more than this concept alone, but taking this class is only the beginning of my psychology studies in college. It has been a great start to the rest of my major-credit classes and I can't wait to learn more.

Memory Aids

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When I look back on my Psychology 1001 experience in five years, the concept I am going to remember and use the most are memory aids such mnemonics and the Method of Loci (oh the irony of remembering learning tricks). The first reason I'm am going to remember these ideas because they are extremely simple (I've been using mnemonics since I was a young child). The usefulness of mnemonics stretches from when I started learning the music staff for piano (Every Good Boy Does Fine!) at age seven up to now, memorizing concepts and keywords for classes. The second reason I know I will remember these techniques is their everyday usefulness in school, work, and everyday random activities. For example, the method of Loci is ideal for perfecting that long presentation or speech for class or the important business meeting. As a whole, remembering these memory techniques (enough with the irony already) will help me gain a competitive edge by allowing me to recall ideas and information easier, faster, and more accurately, thus giving me a competitive edge in life, school, and ultimately the workplace. 536671_f520.jpg

Through the whole course, there were so many examples about how human's functions been affected by biological factors rather than psychological factor itself, or the two factors function together to result a phenomenon. This is very important for people to understand what they have experienced were really come from other than the clear evidence in front of their eyes.
There are certainly some other important and interesting topics in the course; the chapter of memory and the chapter of human development have all gave me some very interesting ideas. However, these are interesting knowledge at the front, not the ones would help people improve and extend learning and critical thinking skills. Compare to those, the idea of thinking about psychology along with biology was particularly important to me.
We have learned about some topics like the drugs' effects to the brain and dreams relation to biological activities. Before, I only considered our thinking process as part of consciousness, did not really noticed anything happened without awareness. Also, I have not been thinking about how biological activities in our body will affect our brain and our thinking. This helped me built a way of thinking which lead me to consider and connect the major evident factors with other factors in the deep environment. I would say this is the most important thing I learned in the course.

Who We Are

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What defines who we are? How do people develop their individual characteristics and what influences their behavior?

Psychology and theatre has always been an interesting topic to me. I have always been intrigued in what influenced people's actions and attitudes, and I always found it fascinating how actors can transform into different characters from role to role - sometimes transforming from being the protagonist in one production to being the antagonist in another production. Although I enjoy the whole psychology field, I tend to focus on personality psychology. Thus, I enjoyed Chapter 13: Social Psychology and Chapter 14: Personality the most, along with the corresponding lectures.

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One of the topics that I enjoyed reading was the twin studies as well as the adoption studies. After research about twin studies, I found the finding that the environment played a very small influence in adult personalities. There were many examples presented of twins who were raised in different environments, but shared the some of the same personality traits.

Another topic that I enjoyed was the discussion about the Big Five Model of Personality and the personality quizzes/tests that we took for lecture and for our discussion sections. This model is an easy way to characterize people and even fictitious characters.

Psychology is a great field. It tells you a lot about other people. I love analyzing and watching people and this course has helped me to decode some of people's behaviors and attitudes. I will definitely remember what I have learned from this course!

Memorizing Memory

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Ironically enough the topic that I think I will remember the most is memory. I think the process of how the brain stores information is really interesting. I never really acknowledged the difference between short and long term memory; I always just thought of memory as one general concept but it has much more depth than that. Everyone is always trying to remember things throughout their life and knowing how to to maximize your memory is important. It is very useful to know how to make information easier to remember with tactics such as chunking and using mnemonic devices. The other thing about memory that I think is really cool is the amount of space the brain has to store long term memory. It pretty much has unlimited space for storage even though we aren't conscience of all of it. The uncertainties of memory also make it a very intriguing topic and I look forward to hearing more about it as research continues to investigate the mysteries of memory such as where in the brain all of it is stored. Diseases such as dementia leave scientists and doctors baffled and we don't know much about how and why this terrifying transformation of the brain takes place.

When going over the section in the book entitled Emotion and Motivation, I was struck by the universality of emotion over different cultures. I was amazed by the study done by Paul Ekman in which cultures who had never been exposed to Western Culture before could still recognize emotions in westerners faces fairly accurately.


This shows that emotions are fairly universal over cultures and also that emotions have an evolutionary base. I found it fascinating that all emotions can be broken down into seven basic emotions: happiness, sadness, surprise, anger, disgust, fear and contempt. I also found the two factor theory of emotion very interesting. Before taking psychology, I had never really thought about how emotions were created, I just took them as an inevitability, and now that I had learned about emotion, I could better understand my emotions. Psychology has taught me this lesson in many factors of my life. I had always taken many aspects of psychology as inevitabilities. Now that I am aware of psychological phenomena, I am more aware of my surroundings and can more effectively react to and think about the world.

Blog 4

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When thinking ahead to 5 years from now and what concepts we have talked about in psychology and still be really relevant to me it is hard to choose just one. But the one that would be relate-able to everyday life would be our topic of personality. Specifically I think of our discussion when we were put into different groups with people that matched our personalities according to a survey that was taken. I think it is very important to be aware of the personality of people that you are with a lot, specifically in five years I think it would be most helpful pertaining to my coworkers. I feel as though the better you know one another personality the better you will be able to get along with them, and be able to figure out better ways for you to get along. Also just when we would talk about personality in either lecture or discussion it was just the most interesting topic I thought that we had covered. So I think that it will make it more likely to be a topic that I think about five years in the future. So among the many topics that have been covered this past semester I feel personality will be the one that is looked back upon the most.


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Learning more about personality was the most interesting topic this semester and what I will remember most. Learning about identifying traits with the Big Five Model of Personality caught my attention because I like learning about different people and personality types. I really enjoyed the activity in discussion when we were split into groups based on personality and had to plan a trip. Just by taking a simple survey and examining the groups it was easy to identify the different groups and I find it very interesting that most people can be put into groups based off of five different personality traits, openness to experience, conscientious, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Another thing about personality that I found interesting was all of the different types of tests and ways to categorize people and their personalities. I thought the graphology was a unique way to detect different personality types. There is so much more about personality that I enjoyed learning about this topic. Personality is such a complicated topic because personalities are so different, but overall most people can be placed in one of five different categories that really help explain who people are.

Study Skills and Memory

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The concept that I think will definitely be relevant for the next five years is the concept of memory retention. Mastering memory retention skills such as chunking, rehearsal and the use of mnemonics are of utmost importance to me in order to be successful for the rest of college. In chapter seven I learned many different strategies that will help me retain information for tests more effectively. One of the most important strategies is spreading out my studying more rather than cramming. Before I read chapter 7, I thought it was equally effective studying really hard the night before the test and I ignored all of my teachers' advice of studying early and often.

I also thought that the reading on short-term memory was fascinating. It is interesting how some things such as emotional memories are so easy to retain and how it can be seemingly impossible to remember factual information for a test. It is also surprising how it's possible to plant ideas into other people's minds and how the brain automatically fills in blank spots in certain memories. Some people can be lead to believe things that never happened just like the girl who after a talk with a superstitious summer camp leader falsely accused her own father of sexually abusing her when it had never actually happened.

Baby Brains

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There are plenty of psychology concepts that I will need to use later in life: the theories of learning for teaching and raising children, the "Big Five" personality traits, and the three stage theory of memory. But what interests me most on a purely "cool" level is the development of infant psychology.

Meanwhile, watch this cute baby use sticky mittens. It's cute because it is hilariously uncoordinated.

I find it completely fascinating at how simple tasks are impossible for infants and even young children. It's hard for us to imagine not having a "theory of mind" to understand other points of view. Equally as astonishing is how fast these mental abilities develop in children and how relatively universal the age is that these developments unfold at. My niece is still a baby, and it will be interesting to watch her develop when I know certain milestones that occur.

While I feel that infants are very simple in regards to my previous examples, I can still marvel at how complex of a learning machine they are. The study of universal adaptability towards phonemes shows how powerful the human brain is even at a young age. From now on, I won't look at a baby as a small, babbling ball of soft flesh. It is a learning machine, just as complex as we are.

everlast.jpgPunching bags have become a real money maker in today's market. In fact company's like Everlast, have grown into international corporations around items like punching bags and boxing gloves. But why are such items so popular? The answer can be found in a psychological concept known as displacement. Displacement is the act in which we direct an impulse from a socially unacceptable target onto a safer and more socially acceptable target. A life without frustrations is next to impossible in today's world. Our society however has learned to use displacement however, to direct our anger away from our boss or from all the other cars jamming up the freeway and towards things like punching bags. I think it's safe to say that most people would agree that society as a whole directing its physical aggression towards these punching bags and boxing gloves is probably the better alternative. And multi-million dollar corporations like Everlast and Mizuno would most likely agree.


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Personally, my favorite unit of this semester is chapter five, consciousness. From the beginning of the semester I was especially interested in the stages of sleep and was eager to learn about dreams. This chapter also intrigued me with déjà vu, as well as paradoxical sleep and lucid dreaming.

When I was younger, I remembering noticing how my older sister's eyes were darting underneath her eyelids when she would take her naps. It frightened me at first, but as I got older I started to understand that she was undergoing REM. Before my parents explained to me what REM was, I always came to the conclusion that my sister's eyes were darting because she was having a crazy dream.

Prior to learning about paradoxical sleep, I wasn't aware of it and it didn't ever occur to me. It is quite ironic because a week or two after reading the section on paradoxical sleep, I myself experienced an episode. I felt that my eyes were glued shut and it was extremely frustrating. It only occurred during my naps, though. I felt extremely tired and wanted to open my eyes and move my body, but I could not gather the strength to do so.


Psychology 1001 opened my eyes to many things that I am now aware of, and I really do feel that despite my grade in the class (I will withhold from saying what it is), I learned a lot and can apply so much new knowledge to my every day life.


What will I remember most? What still stick with me the most? The first thing I thought was that we've learned a million things, there's no way I can think back and pick just one!! That's crazy!! But when I actually sat back and thought about this, I was shocked to see that I could think of one thing that stuck with me the most over this semester.

This topic was a broader topic that we learned about, and really can relate to anyone in our class. The topic I'm talking about is personality. Specifically, the five different categories of personality. The categories are, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness. By taking a personality quiz, we each found out where we fit in the most.

I was more on the extraversion side. This was interesting to me because that does explain my personality, but even more interesting, is that I never used to be like that. Due to my dance career and performing on stage my personality has changed into what it is today. The reason I found this topic so interesting was because there are so many people in this world. By no means is everyone the same, or should everyone be the same. The fact that there are different personalities and different personality categories, greatly explains the diversity and uniqueness our world consists of. That's so great that we can all function and live our own life with our very own personality. Where would we be if everyone had similar personalities?? The world functions the way it does because we work off of others and learn from ourselves and from other people personalities everyday.

The fact that some people are organized, or conscientious, or caring, or easy to get along with, or adventurous, allows us to take full advantage of what we enjoy most. It doesn't matter if you are one type of personality or another. It is the fact that we can accept our personality and have the ability to categorize it, that allows us to learn more about ourselves!! It really is interesting!!

Five Years From Now

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images.jpegWhen thinking about which psychology term I will remember in five years, I was trying to figure out which one I could apply to my every day life. After much deliberation, I finally settled with Pavlov's very own, classical conditioning. As a declared marketing major, I feel like I will have the opportunity to incorporate different aspects of classical conditioning throughout my academic career as well as my career. It is one that can have such a strong influence on people; yet, more often then not, goes unnoticed since it is almost always down subliminally through advertising.

Similar to classical conditioning, I also think that I will be able to incorporate Skinner's operant conditioning methods when raising my kids and interacting with coworkers on a day-to-day basis. Much like classical conditioning, although we do not really think about the term at the time, in some way or another, we are almost always engaging in some sort of conditioning throughout our daily interactions. Whether that be offering to help someone and expecting something in return, or intentionally avoiding something due to past experience, both classical and operant conditioning play major roles throughout our lives. Unknown.jpeg

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Have you ever wondered how accurate are these personality tests? I thought they would not be accurate at all before I took any. I then took the Big 5 test in lecture and was very surprised how accurate it was. I then compared it to my Strength Finder test I needed to take as a freshman. They were very similar for example I scored high in Consciences on the Big 5 test and then scored high in Responsibility on the Strength Finder test. These similarities were only supported by one of the six principles of scientific thinking, replicability because two tests scored the same category. This may not be an exact match since they were different tests so there would be many different independent variables like the questions but the dependent variables are very similar strengths and personality. I think personality tests are very accurate and extremely helpful in life. These tests can be used in companies to match certain employees up on an assignment. They could also be used to assign duties which fit their personality or strength. Furthermore they can benefit individuals by allowing them to give back to their community using their strength for example a person who scored high in extraversion could rally their neighbors for a food drive.

Big Five Forever

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Five years from now I see myself sitting on a couch somewhere and watching re-runs of That 70s Show. Some may think that first sentence has nothing to do with this blog post, but it definitely does. When I look back on my time spent on the course Psychology 1001 there will always be that one topic that I will never forget. For me, that one topic is the Big Five Model of Personality, and I found out the other day while watching That 70's Show, that it's engraved in my brain forever now.
After learning about the Big Five Model of Personality it was so much easier to place the name-tags of Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism on each of the main characters in That 70s Show. Each of them is unique in their own way, especially one in particular, Michael Kelso. Kelso is highly extraverted and open to new experiences, and extremely low in the conscientiousness category of the Big Five Model. Kelso likes to try new things and tries to get as many girls as possible, while also getting people to like him at the same time. He also is very irresponsible when it comes to school and in one aspect in particular when he accidentally gets a girl pregnant.
Overall what I'm trying to say is that not only can I relate the Big Five Model of Personality to some television show that I watch every day, but I also feel like I will use this for many other things I come across in my life to try and identify people better. I definitely think that this topic of the Psychology course will stick with me for a long time. If this topic just sprang into my head while watching this television show, then I know it will always be in my mind in case I need it to identify people's trait's in other situations as well.

Do you remember...

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The topic that I have found to be most memorable this semester was learning about the ways in which we remember things. This concept is extremely pertinent to all college students, as we are asked to recall and recognize a wide body of knowledge for various classes. Learning memory techniques, such as chunking and mnemonics, has proven to be an effective way to study. I can remember a greater amount of information in a smaller amount of time by using these techniques. I found the lectures that included slides of numbers that we were asked to memorize for a short period of time to be particularly interesting.
Learning about the ways that the brain encodes, stores, and retrieves information can affect the processes of learning. That is to say that we can consciously affect what we remember by knowing how we remember things and how our memory works. For instance, if one wants to remember a famous quote, one could repeat the quote a few times to move the sentence from sensory memory to short-term memory, and continuously reviewing the quote could move it to long-term memory. Thus, we have the knowledge to go about remembering something in a more informed manner.
As the picture shows, mnemonic devices can help us to chunk information into units that are easier to remember. The information that we have learned about how our memory works is something that I will remember for quite some time.
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Five years from now, ideally, I would be a multi millionaire living with my family, good friends, never having to work again a day in my life. I'd be sitting in Dubai already retired at 24, author, musician, NBA player, entrepreneur, etc. I would probably also want to have Siri (from the iPhone) remind me every Friday that it happens to be payday. Also, Natalie Portman and/or Olivia Wilde would be my wife...
Anyways, psychologically speaking (Psych 1001 I mean), I believe I would most likely remember the concept from Pavlov's classical conditioning. It was remarkable to me that associating something with a pleasurable want would have a great affect on the associate. So in this case, ideally, I would pretty much love to hear Siri's voice considering that it would remind me of the ensuing million dollar paycheck I would have coming into my hands. Good plan, right?

1 of 7 Billion

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Have you ever thought about what makes you different from every other person on Earth? How is it possible that out of nearly seven billion people, each person still manages to have unique characteristics? It is all summed up with one simple word, personality. Personality is an extremely interesting concept because it consists of different qualities that make an individual unique. Basically, a personality is a set of qualities that defines a person and makes him different from everyone else.

I was curious about studying personalities and applying this knowledge to myself and my relationships. When we took the survey to measure ourselves on the "Big 5" traits, I really took it seriously. I found that I scored extremely high in extroversion and conscientiousness. I have always known that I am a social and organized person, but this test showed me that these qualities are actually large components of my personality. After learning more about my own personality, I tried to assess and evaluate the personalities of my friends and families. I realized that I can relate much better to those who are highly extroverted because there are no boundaries in conversation and it is effortless. I also realized that I have a hard time relating to people with low conscientiousness because they are much more risky and I don't understand their logic.

When I really try to relate something I have learned in school to my everyday life, I find that I remember it for a very long time. Studying personality is very applicable to my life. I will continuously use the "Big 5" traits to try to understand others and work on relating to different types of people. By applying this knowledge to real-world experiences, I know I will remember the OCEAN acronym for a very long time.

Dear Psychology,

What an adventure you and I have gone on this semester. From filling my brain with knowledge about...the brain... to explaining basic human behaviors. I have learned so much. The thing I found most fascinating was what you taught me about personality.

The three levels of consciousness Freud postulated called the ID, ego, and superego, was a fascinating way to describe every human.


I really like the idea that we have base impulses that fuel us (id), and then our ego, and superego translate our actions to tell us of what we did was right or wrong. It makes it sound like your brain is watching you act and trying to make sense of it all. Which I think explains why we blurt things out loud.....which I do often.... so it was interesting to see a reason as to why.

It will be interesting to see how I now perceive and analyze situations in my life from here on out, thanks to you psychology.


" It's 2 am, why I still can't sleep?'
"It's 3 am, Oh my goddess, I really want to sleep!"
"Oh no! 4 am, seriously? I'm still awake? Well, I lose my hope..."
I used to talk those sentences to myself when I turned over again and again on the bed in midnight. Yes, I was a insomniac. You can't imagine how miserable it was when I struggled every night. Fortunately, I studied chapter 5 which talked about sleeping. One point is about insomnia and how to cure it.Honestly speaking, it's really saved me and I'll never forget this knowledge.
I always felt nervous when I went to bed. I'll think, what if I can't sleep this time. Therefore I was often in an anxious situation. As what this chapter says:" Many people don't realize that even most "good sleeper" take 15-20 minutes to fall asleep". I always worried about the time and felt more and more clear-headed. Then after I finished reading, I obey the advice which was put forward by James Maas. He suggested that people need to hide the clock. At the same, I stop dinking coffee and napping during the day. Then I felt tired and want to sleep in the night. I become more relaxed as well. Finally, I successfully fell asleep and had a nice dream.
After that, I realize how important the psychology is and it's really useful in every daily life. I think it's really a right decision to choose psychology this semester.

The Best of Psychology

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It goes without saying that Psychology 1001 caught me off guard with the amount of work that I would be doing. The countless hours that needed to be read to understand what was going on in the class room, the quizzes, and the strenuous exams. It was an endless amount of work but to be honest, it was all worth it because of how much I learned this semester and how much I will be able to keep with me as I continue my college career.
The concept that I found most interesting was all the information discussed on IQ testing because I really did not know there was so much to cover on the subject. What I thought was most interesting was how an IQ score can determine your mental age compared to your chronological age, whether you are average, a genius, or struggle with some sort of a mental disability.

It is to be expected that there are some flaws to IQ testing and that some people may have their own thoughts on the matter but overall they are more helpful than not. They are a helpful way of determining intelligence while among other things such as what subjects one may be strongest at compared to what subject they may be weakest at or in need of more improvement.

Out of all the things that I have learned in psychology this year, the topic that stands out the most for me is the bystander effect. This means that when there is an public emergency situation, people often find themselves wanting to help, but they become frozen in place and unable to help. I have witnessed this firsthand when I was on an airplane to Europe a few years ago with my family. A flight attendant came over the loudspeaker in the middle of the flight and asked if there was a doctor on the plane. My dad is a doctor, but he was hesitant to get up and help because he figured that there would be many other people that would offer their help. However, after no one got up to do anything my dad stood up to help the person in trouble. I think that this is interesting because even though my dad is a doctor and deals with patients everyday, he was still hesitant to help the person on the plane because he believed that there would be plenty of other people to help. In this case, it was good that he decided to help the woman because no one else offered their help. Also, one would think that on commercial flight there would be more than one doctor on the whole plane. As the textbook states, there is a danger rather than a safety in numbers. This could be due to the diffusion of responsibility. This means that when there are other people around, people feel less responsible for the outcome of the situation. If my dad had not helped the person on the plane and she ended up getting more sick or even dying, he could have felt that it was not his fault since no one else had helped either. I know I can speak for most people when I say that we all want to believe that we would not fall victim to the bystander effect, but chances are most of us would.

There is no doubt in my mind that I will remember many of the lessons I have learned in psychology this semester throughout the rest of my life. However, the section on thinking and reasoning, specifically the use of heuristics, was especially interesting in my opinion.

It never occurred to me how much thinking I do every single day. Most people do not factor in all of the little things that you have to remember to do every day such as knowing what time it is, trying to avoid obstacles in your way, and planning on what you are going to put on all while making sure that you are out the door on time. Thank goodness for these mental shortcuts our brain has otherwise according to the textbook, we would be psychologically paralyzed.

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Not only are heuristics useful for the sake of our thinking process, we also use them to draw inferences about what was going on. I never would have thought that my brain was using a shortcut to come to the conclusion that my parents were home when I saw their keys on the table or when I decided not to drink the funky smelling milk in the refrigerator. If my brain did not use heuristics I could find myself in some not so pleasant situations.

All in all, I am grateful and amazed for the way that the brain thinks. It is an amazing thing that will continue to puzzle me and astound me throughout my entire life.

Bystander no more!

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My last blog was also about the bystander effect and how it amazes me that people witnessing an emergency or what not, especially when in a big group, are actually less likely to help the person in the possibly dangerous situation. This concept or lack of action, has been one of the most interesting scenarios that I have learned more about this semester. After reading more about the bystander effect in our text book and other sources, it mentions how people reading or learning about it don't think they would act in such a way when witnessing any sort of emergency, but most likely when the situation comes about people find themselves as part of the audience to a critical situation rather than helping the individual in need.

The text book also mentions that once informed about the bystander effect, people are more likely to help in the future rather than just be that helpless bystander. I have actually been one of those people. After reading about the bystander effect I could remember scenarios where I have been both the bystander and the lone individual in need of help, and I didn't want to he that helpless person anymore. I was shopping at a store this past week when a lady knocked down a bunch of shoes accidentally. There were quite a few people that just watched, but didn't help. I on the other hand wasn't going to be one of the observers, so I went over and helped they lady. She truly appreciated it and it felt great to help someone and not be a part of the common bystander effect. I hope all the Psych students disengage in the bystander effect and instead become one of the brave souls, helping those in need.


As a student, it is very exciting when a class topic excites you or is something you are passionate about. I have always been a big advocate of gay rights, and because of this, the concept that will stick with me most from this semester of psychology is the genetic component behind homosexuality. I have always believed homosexuality to lie within a person's genetic makeup; however there are so many people who go to great lengths to claim that it is a choice, and even some who will then condemn people for that choice.

Of course, it is a very large issue in our society today as well as in the world of politics. This is one of the reasons why this component of the course will be something I will never forget. While reading the textbook, I could not help but think to myself that I was so glad all at least all of the students in my class would read this and be provided with real information that made a claim against homosexuality being a choice, and that maybe if this class and that information effected enough people's lives, we could come one step closer to change, but more importantly equality and tolerance.

What to Do?

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I think the part of psychology that I will be most useful to me in the future is the section on problem solving. It will help me to refrain from or at least realize common mistakes when I approach my problems. Some common mistakes we learned to avoid are salience of solution, mental sets, and functional fixedness.


The salience of solution refers to the error of looking at only the surface of a problem and trying to use previous methods that worked for problems that are actually very different fundamentally. The mental sets error refers to being stuck on one way of solving a problem even when it's clear that it won't work and being unable to come up with alternative solutions. Functional fixedness is the inability to realize any other uses for objects than their originally intended use. Of these errors, I think the one that I make most often is the mental sets error. Once I start thinking that I can solve a problem a certain way, it's hard for me to come up with any other alternative solutions because I get so focused on my original solution. I also often have a problem with salience of solution. I tend to look at problems and try to think of ways to solve it that have worked for me in the past rather than coming up with new methods. However, hopefully knowing these things will help me to feel less stressed when I am faced with a problem and help me to handle it to the best of my abilities.

Understanding my BIG 5

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Everyone always says, "You figure out who you really are in college". Parents, teachers, and high school councilors all told me that college would be a time of personal, social, and emotional growth. I guess I didn't really believe them. That is, until I started looking back and realized how different I had become in the last 9 months. The"Big 5", that we learned about in Psychology, helped me to understand more about myself, and why I've changed so much. When we took the test in lab, and then analyzed our results on the Big 5 test I was shocked. I didn't get the score that I had expected to receive. I found out that I score low on the scale of extroversion, high on consciousness, high on openness to experience, high on agreeableness and low on neuroticism (which pretty much means I get stressed out a lot). I had been expecting a high score on extroversion, but when I really considered it, I found that I personally get the most joy out of being with small groups of people. The Big 5 also has helped me to manage my stress levels better. Before the test, I thought my stress and anxiety levels were normal, but after scoring a 7 (that's about as low as you can do), I decided to get help in managing my stress. The Big 5 has really helped me to understand myself as a person and as a college student, and I know that I will continue to change and grow as the years go on. I can use the Big 5 as a tool to understand why I am the way I am. And it's the concept that I will remember 5 years from now.

The idea/concept that I will remember the most and continue to use to most from this class are the six principals of scientific thinking. They are as you probably know ruling out rival hypotheses, correlation vs. causation, falsifiability, replica ability, extraordinary claims, and Occam's razor. These concepts will still be present for me after this class because they are general ideas that should apply to everything. This class taught me to question what I hear frequently and to find proof to support ideas. The six of these principals I can apply to everyday situations as a move forward. We used these principals in class to make sense of some ideas and to prove things about studies and I can do the same in my personal life. Looking back I have been using these concepts all of my life without knowing it. One example of this is when I was growing up and still to this day I play the basketball game HORSE, and when you get to the last shot if you miss the shot on your first try you can either choose to shoot again or make the other person shoot again. This uses the concept of replica ability. These concepts have been around me my whole life and will continue to be after this class is over.

Go away please

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When the weekend finally rolls around, most people seem excited to get together with friends to go out and have a good time. While I too like spending time with my friends, my idea of a great weekend usually involves spending a lot of time alone, usually with a good book. I've always known that I am more introverted, but growing up in a society where withdrawn people are seen as weird, and being part of a family where openness and constant chatter are basically required, I often felt like there might be something wrong with me. I started to force myself to talk to people more, and go to more parties, but it didn't make me very happy.

During the personality lectures, the discussion about introverts needing to shut out external stimulation really hit home for me. It may be hard for others to understand that sometimes we would rather daydream than hold a conversation or eat alone in peace than keep up our polite façade. I think it's important to realize that this is normal for us, and introverts don't need to change their personality just because our silence might make others uncomfortable.

Here is a great article, "10 Myths About Introverts," that other introverts might identify with. And maybe you extroverts might learn a little something us, too!


After reading all about IQ and tests to give you a proper intelligence result, the more I realized how non-valid it can be. I realize there are many correlations that show it shows the potential success and job success, but it does not do it entirely. What really grinds my gears is the fact that all college institutions, including IVY League schools rely on such tests as ACT and SAT. Also, the fact that there are programs out there to "boost" your ACT or SAT score by the means of attending a class for a month shows that it can be pretty easy to learn a concept that the test covers pretty easily. These IQ tests are suppose to be tests of what you learned your whole entire life, not what you learned in 4 weeks. I am glad that GPA is another factor that schools look into which shows work ethic, not just intelligence. In the job industry, you could have a worker who is naturally gifted academically, but won't work at all, so no work gets done. I really hope psychologists find a different method of IQ testing that is more valid than the ones now, or find a different system for colleges to accept students in for.

Teach or Be Taught

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I think the concepts that I will remember most in five years is everything related to teaching and learning. I am currently studying to be a high school teacher, as a result, I will be practicing these teaching concepts daily. Obviously I will have much more training on current teaching methods and how these concepts apply to practical teaching, but it is something that I think I will remember.
Ideally I will be able to take these concepts and use them in a practical way in my future. I am fully aware that I will most likely not explicitly remember these concepts, it's not like I will be able to think back, "Oh yeah, that was on page 456 of my psych book!", but rather the concepts will be ingrained into my teaching, personality, and mindset. It truly is applied psychology, here I will be taking something that I have learned about and almost unconsciously apply it to my life and career. I fully believe that some of the best work in any field has come from people that don't know enough to know just how special what they are doing is. It's almost as if the formal terms trip you up, sometimes the less you know, the better.

This is who I am

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There are over 7 billion people living in this world, all of whom have different personalities. Whether you are talkative, sympathetic, organized, relaxed, or creative, everyone has a unique personality that is special to themselves. We've developed our personality through genetics, as well as through our daily experiences, which have helped shape who we are today. For this reason, I believe the topic on personality is the most valuable subject we learned about this semester, and will deeply remain in my long term memory.


Each individual has goals in the life, whether it's to become a great engineer and work at power plants, or to become a veterinarian and take care of animals. Our personality is a main factor that will guide us towards our desired futures. My favorite thing we learned in the personality unit was about the Big Five Model because of how applicable it is to finding out what kind of person we are. I would consider myself as extroverted, which could possibly be the reason I am seeking a career in the field of business. So no matter where we end up in the future, we will always hold onto one essential trait, our personality.

Last post, so sad

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As the year is winding down and I look back at the wide range of topics we covered I would have to say that behavior and social behavior has been the most interesting topic. I think it is interesting to look into what makes a person who they are and see how they act in a group of people and why. I've always had some clue as to what kind of person I am. Happy, talkative, energetic.. well depending on sleep, and a risk taker. But it was nice to finally see this while taking the Big 5 personality test, it showed I was high on extroversion, which explains how i used to always get in trouble for talking, and agreeableness. I was surprised I was not very high but still slightly above average on Conscientiousness and openness to experience. I found my traits very interesting, anyone else?

Stress, at least for me, is a part of our daily lives and during the college years the stress of finals, interviews and social events seems never-ending. Whether it's the little hassles in life or the large events, stress plays an important role.

That's why I think the topic of stress is the most important topic we learned about in psychology and learning how to cope with stress is something I know I will use in the future.

I have always looked at meditation and thought, why would I ever do that? When I was 12 years old my soccer coach made it a team ritual to meditate before our state games. I remember sitting in the grass and thinking well this is boring and pointless. However, after reading about it in Psychology I learned that meditation helps to train attention and awareness. It actually heightens creativity, empathy, alertness and decreases anxiety and recurrences of depression. Although scientists are unsure why meditation has these positive effects, many people seem to benefit from it.

So now, rather than isolating myself or under-eating when I'm stressed out, I have the knowledge to seek out other stress coping activities... like meditation!

One of the most interesting topics covered this semester in Psychology that I feel is extremely important to many people as they become adults and start families is the information surrounding the attachment theory - the belief that humans have a strong need to form and maintain stable relationships. The attachment theory focuses on two areas of life I find and will find to be incredibly important to me: the roles in a romantic partnership, and the development of an child based on how he or she was raised, respectively.

The book goes into some detail about the attachment theory, but I found Dr. Simpson's lecture on it much more engaging and much more interesting. Having learned the different forms of attachment through his lecture (secure, avoidant, and anxious-ambivalent), I find myself retrospectively placing people I once knew into these categories, as well as categorizing characters from movies, shows and books, allowing me to become more immersed in the narration as I find the characters' actions and thoughts towards other people becoming more salient.


Though I knew that relationship between a child and his or her parent was important, I was surprised to hear how truly important the type of care the parent gave to his or her child in determining how the child would see relationships in the future. Giving myself the self-diagnosis of responding to relationships in a secure manner, I appreciate how supportive my parents were through my childhood development and I know that I can rely on them to give me genuinely helpful advice on how to raise my child when I start a family.

ADHD is Personal to Me

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Impulsive, inattentive, does not sit still, does not play well with others, and throws a lot of temper tantrums are all symptoms that my step-bother has had for years. They are also common symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder. Children with this disorder are diagnosed with or without hyperactivity. My step-brother definitely has the hyperactivity part of the disorder.

I will remember this concept from psychology because I never really knew what it meant to have ADHD until I came across the definition of it the text book. My step-brother takes medication for the disorder, and the disorder has also gotten better with age, just as the text book says it might do. My step-brother still has trouble in school and in learning and still has bad balance and coordination. He also lacks commonsense. Other than those issues, most of his symptoms simmer down when he takes his medication on a daily basis.

My step-brother's first boy cousin, too, has ADHD. Studies have shown heritability is as high as .80. The boys' grandpa also has symptoms of the disorder and had a lot of troubles growing up. Because I can associate the concept with my life, I will remember the symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder and the statistics about it for many years to come.

Nazca lines

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This video describes the supernatural patterns in the Nazca of Southern Peru. The Nazca lines spread over the whole plain, which is unwatered and some even stretch for several miles. These patterns include the geometric figures, animals,plants and others. "The geometric ones could indicate the flow of water or be connected to rituals to summon water. The spiders, birds, and plants could be fertility symbols. Other possible explanations include: irrigation schemes or giant astronomical calendars."(Brown, Cynthia Stokes ,2007). Because these lines seem to be extraordinary claims, some people believe that Aliens did them. And the most famous and unexplained patterns look like an astronaut and airstrip. Also, people think the ancient Nazca people didn't have enough knowledge and technology, especially they did not have tools to check the patterns. As a result, Nazca lines become more mysterious. But many local Nazca people believe that their ancient made the lines. For me, I think these amazing patterns could be made by human. Because, I can't understand the purposes if the Aliens did them. Why the Aliens made them in our Earth? I agree that ancient Nazca people might made these lines to find water or hold pray rain activities because of their geographical locations. It could be coincidence or unaware to draw an astronaut and airstrip. Moreover, these pictures are imagined and called "astronaut" and "airstrip", they are subjective ideas. Whatever, I'm so interested in landscapes. I believe that we can find the real answers in the future. The reason I chose this topic because in chapter 2 I leart that we need find reliable evdiences to explor unknow things. I believe that I will remember to use scientific method to understand things in the future.

Brown, Cynthia Stokes (2007). Big History. New York: The New Press. pp. 167. ISBN 978-1-59558-196-9.


Psychology is present in our lives whether we like it or not. Rather than ignore this fact, I decided to make good use of psychology this year in college. One of the major things that I struggled with on my transition to college was that I did not know exactly how to study for my exams. I especially looked forward to the memory portion of our class, hoping that I would learn some useful tricks and tools to studying for tests. When we came to this section I read the chapter and was happy to find some useful concepts to apply to my studying. One of the major concepts that I used was the distributed versus mass studying. Instead of cramming for a test the night before, I decided to distribute my studying throughout the week before the test. Thanks to this, I earned a much better grade on my Biology test than I had before I learned this method. Another concept that I found to be prevalent in my studies was the testing effect. I noticed this greatly in none other than my Psychology class! Throughout the chapters there are short true or false quizzes, after reading the chapter there are chapter quizzes, and before the exam there are practice quizzes. After taking each of these and testing myself as much as possible, I was able to retain much more information and do better on the exams. Over all, psychology has been an ever-present force in my studies and has allowed me to do my best in my classes.

Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding PG 261

One of my favorite television shows still airing is Family Guy. Needless to say the most commonly known character from the show is Peter Griffin. Despite being on television for close to a decade, Peter displays a wide range of personality characteristics which makes it hard to categorized him in Allport's list of five. However I will try. It is easy to say that Peter Griffin is high in extraversion considering he is always socializing and talking with every other character on the show. He is also for the most part friendly, just not to Meg. As far as agreeableness goes, Peter seems to lack the ability to cooperate with others because he is so immature and is always getting what he wants. He is far from being trustworthy, since he is always lying to his wife Lois so he does not get in trouble. Conscientiousness is not something Peter is strong in since he is very careless and reckless. For example a bit that keeps showing up in the show is when Peter buys random vehicles and operates, but usually crashes all of them. To list a few the hindenpeter, petercopter, and the peter-rang. I cannot really pin point where he is in neuroticism since he is not really anxious, moody or tense or on the other end, relaxed poised, or steady. This is one characteristic that depends on what flashback or situation he is in, so it contributes to the situation part of the debate. Finally, needless to say Peter is very open to experience. This is easy to see since he is very impulsive and the situations he gets himself into are almost always to due curiosity.Peter.jpg

Perhaps one of the most complex (and hilarious) characters on television is Dr. Cox from the television show Scrubs. When viewed through the different facets of the Big 5, we come to see just home complex of a character he really is. As shown in the clip above, Dr. Cox feels the need to always be right. In this way, and in the way that he talks to Elliot, he shows a very low level of Agreeableness. He also scores low on Openness because he was unresponsive to Elliot's ideas. He is very stuck in his ways, from experience and out of habit. The one quality that sets Dr. Cox apart from all of the other doctors as Sacred Heart, is his extremely high level of Extroversion. Dr. Cox possesses the ability to talk to anyone, and even though he doesn't seem to show it, he needs to company of others to be happy. Again, illustrated by the clip above, Dr. Cox would score extremely low on the Big 5 scale for Concientiousness. When he is advising Eliot, he doesn't take into account her feelings, and doesn't consider anyone else. And finally, Dr. Cox is not very Neurotic, he doesn't worry about what other people think about him, and he doesn't exhibit signs of stress from a profession that is very stressful.


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Because there were vocabulary words I knew beforehand, I chose a psychology term I learned this semester. The word I will remember five years from now is conditioned. There were plenty of types of conditioning and countless experiments based on conditioning. In and of itself, the term is quite interesting to me. It can effect many people, no matter what the age, as well as animals.

An easy definition is to make a person or animal behave in a certain way by manipulating the way they think. This is done using a particular sense. The sense of sound was used when Pavlov rang a bell before feeding a dog. He then varied ringing the bell, feeding the dog and when they would go together. He noted the dogs salivation. This experiment was really interesting to me which helps me to remember conditioning.

Conditioning can lead to many different outcomes and can vary if one is using classical or operant. Voluntary and involuntary behaviors amaze me. I think it is intriguing how the brain works to respond to different situations and stimuli. Below is a cartoon mouse displaying a great example of conditioning.


While reading Chapter 9 in our psych books, which covers intelligence and IQ testing, I couldn't help but take a particular interest in the section about college admission tests, such as the ACT and SAT. Since we are students at the U, it is safe to assume all of us have taken the ACT, SAT, or maybe even both. This section stood out to me because I am a firm believer that these tests do nothing but cause extra stress, pressure, and cost us money, without actually producing any significant results. There are so many factors that have to be taken into account, I just don't see how these tests can be trusted to accurately measure anyone's success rate. They are a snapshot of one day in a student's life, using material that they may or not even be familiar with. In addition, they leave test-takers with limited time to complete the questions, which seems a little unfair considering these tests are supposedly measuring our success in the future.
Psychologists designed these tests to forecast performance in undergraduate courses. Yet, according to our books, the correlations between these tests and college grades are often below .5 and I a few cases close to zero. Although these tests tend to predict first-year grades at reasonable levels, they generally do a worse job of predicting performance in later years of college. With facts like this, a person has to wonder: What is the point?


It is quite evident that in this world, there exist numerous systems of discrimination that include massive amounts of constructs that function to stereotypically marginalize the groups incorporated to these constructs. This process can be referred to as exclusion and it is this lack of inclusion, or inclusive engagement, toward different groups of people that do the marginalizing. It's not the people themselves that discriminate but rather, their lack of knowledge concerning "outside" groups and what they entail. Now, there is this new approach that a recently published report from the APA has introduced. In this report, this discrimination prompted by lack of knowledge can easily be repaired if such knowledge was instituted through certain subjects, which could include cultural studies taught in post-secondary institutions. Such classes, based solely upon incorporating the knowledge of the given culture, can easily promote a "culture lens" that would generate a comprehensive understanding of a different people. It would seem that according to what discrimination is based upon, this could serve as the cure.

Now, this discussion of discrimination is taken on a lighter scale leaving out the situational factors of one's opinion. However, this "cure" is deemed contradictory if a person's reasoning is omitted. This lack of knowledge is what discrimination is, and not taking into account a person's opinion is a major situational factor that can't be ignored because doing so produces discrimination. This cure is based upon producing an understanding that is too generalized to have any affect.

Am I the Only One?

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One of the more interesting phenomena in the arena of social psychology is the bystander effect. In 1968, psychologists John Darley and Bibb Latané tried to find the factors that resulted in these occurrences. Their first hypothesized factor is pluralistic ignorance. As defined in the textbook, this is when people make the error of assuming that no one in the group perceives things as we do.

I, myself, have fallen under this influence many times, thinking when something is wrong that I must be seeing it wrong, since no one else is doing anything. I find the example in the text book particularly interesting, since I have experienced this situation many times and usually I do not do anything. The example paints a scenario of walking to class and you happen to walk by a student lying on a bench, dirty and poorly clothed. As you walk by, you experience a number of thoughts. I often wonder to myself: is the person homeless? Sleeping? Drunk? (After all, it is college). Since everyone around me walks by, I usually do the same. In situations that seem odd to us, people tend to look around and observe what others are doing as a cue for how we should act. If everyone else walks by and does nothing, there must not be anything wrong. The video clip below, I'll admit, is cheesy but makes the point. In this case however, people do actually help out. [Notice that when later passersby see others helping, they feel something is wrong (spilled coins) and try to help]

Mr Darcy.jpg

Off all the classic literature that is available, most of the population has come into contact with Pride and Prejudice. It could have been through the book, the BBC's six hour long television special with Colin Firth or the most recent re-make starring Kiera Knightley and Matthew McFadyen. Either way, ladies left and right, (me included at times) swoon over the character of Mr. Darcy. Is it because he's rich? A good big brother? Or is it because we all secretly want the "Hate turns into love" relationship? Well, if we took Mr. D from a psychological standpoint, I think many of us ladies (or gentlemen) would be having second thoughts. So let's test the big 5 out shall we? First, Mr. Darcy isn't very open to new things. He hates dancing and finds people kind of boring. So minus points in the openness category. However, Mr. D is very conscientious because of his amazing self discipline and the fact that he acts how society would have him act, which is the first reason he gives on why he shouldn't get involved with Elizabeth. He's not very extroverted and he's not very agreeable either. In fact, many of the other characters in the book talk about how they can't stand him because he comes across as mean. But he isn't very neurotic. He keeps control of his emotions very well (especially where his sister is concerned) and if we didn't know any better, we would probably think he is devoid of all emotion. So let me recap, if you like a guy who hates new things, hates socializing, will eagerly do what he's told, isn't trapped in a glass case of emotion and takes a while to warm up to, then Mr. Darcy is still your man. I however, may start looking elsewhere.

Why are people so likely to conform? What are social influences on conformity? Solomon Asch conducted one of the more well known studies of conformity in the 1950's. This was a "study of perceptual judgements" where participants were asked to compare a standard line with 3 other lines. The fifth person in order was always the one being tested, all the others in the room were in on the gig. Early on in the study, the confederates in on the study would give the right answer so that the participant being tested would feel comfortable and think that the study would be easy. However, the people in on the experiment started to purposely give the wrong answer. So, the person being tested had to decide what to do. Would they say what they knew was right? Or would they conform? Solomon Asch and other researchers studied the social influences on conformity and came to the conclusion that conformity was influenced by a few different factors. One of these is called "Unanimity". The influence of unanimity is defined that "if all confederates (people in on the study) give the wrong answer, the participant is more likely to conform. Nevertheless, if one confederate gave the correct response, the level of conformity plummeted by three-fourths." So the likeliness that someone would conform can be very much dependent on how many people give what answers. The size also plays a factor somewhat. People are more likely to conform if there are more people giving the same answer. However, this only goes up to about 5-6 people giving the same answer. After hitting 5-6 people and going up there's enough that people will conform. Then, there is also "Difference in the wrong answer" which is "knowing that someone else differs from the majority makes the participant less likely to conform." This seems to correlate with Unanimity that if even one person gives the correct answer, conformity severely drops.
I see conformity happening all the time in classes. People will raise their hands because the rest of the class already has. Even thought the individual may not agree with what they are raising there hand for, they still will. This is such a sad thing to see because it takes away from individuality. There is such great worth, creativity, talent, uniqueness, etc. in every person that I hate to see that be thrown away by people conforming.

Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding
Chapter 13, Page 500-502, "Social Influence: Conformity and Obedience"

Neurotic Men

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I was sitting watching the new episode of Mad Men and I wondered where the notorious womanizer Roger Sterling would fall on the Big Five personality inventory:

Roger is an extremely extraverted person, always seen flirting with women and schmoozing clients. As if he couldn't get any more extraverted, he becomes even more so after a few drinks, which tends to be the majority of the time.

Roger is without a doubt an entertainer because in addition to having high extraversion, he has very low conscientiousness. He often times rushes into things, doesn't think through all the details and often refuses to accept responsibility.

Roger is moderate on Openness to Experience. This is apparent through his work habits which consist of show up to work, drink and smoke heavily, hit on women, sleep, and repeat. Roger continues his habits even after being told to quit by his doctor in the wake of two almost fatal heart attacks. However, Roger does go through a divorce and remarriage to a significantly younger spouse, although a new experience probably isn't the primary cause.

Agreeableness is a category Roger is severely lacking in. He tends to be easily angered especially when someone takes shots at his ego and sees things as "my way or the highway" (agree with me or I will fire you). Roger's tends to be emotionally cold, but occasionally has neurotic periods where his mood swings rapidly especially with his quick and eccentric temper.

Of the concepts learned in the social psychology chapter of this book, one of the most potentially dangerous phenomena is the "bystander effect", in which a situation occurs where immediate intervention or attention needs to occur, but due various reasons, witnesses do not provide or send for assistance. The book provides two shocking anecdotes, one of a young woman being stabbed multiple times at night over a 35-minute time span with several people watching the event unfold in their apartments, but the woman succumbed to the blood loss and the perpetrator fled well before anyone called the police. The other chilling story occurred in 2009 when as many as 20 bystanders simply stared while a teenage girl was gang-raped for over two hours outside a school dance, where the police weren't summoned at all.

NBC discussed a study that shocked many of those involved in the social psychology experiment. A man seized a young girl at a busy intersection pretending to be her father, and the girl would scream for help and exclaim that the man was not her parent. The clip displayed that people would simply walk by despite the ongoing distress of the girl. It was only after twenty minutes that two young men who passed by decided to turn around and confront the kidnapper.

Why do such tragic events occur, despite overwhelming evidence that something is seriously wrong? One reason could be pluralistic ignorance, where a witness assumes no one perceives the situation as they do. They see others walk by the attempted kidnapping, and think the others know the situation does not need to be confronted, so those who are hesitant to intervene are more reluctant to avoid looking foolish. This phenomenon is perhaps even more valid considering how ambiguous the NBC experiment was; the child could simply be disobedient to her father and is desperately trying to get out of his grasp.

Another reason for the bystander effect to occur is what is coined the diffusion of responsibility: the presence of other people makes each person feel less responsible for the outcome. So witnesses to this kidnapping may rationalize that even if that was a genuine kidnapping, their lack of intervention would seem trivial compared to the other multitudes of people who simply pass by as well.

When I was working at Cub Foods, several people (including myself) witnessed a man who was probably intoxicated drive his car into the cart station and other cars in the parking lot, then drive away as fast as he could. Fortunately, the bystander effect did not occur as several people called the police immediately after the man fled, and one jumped into his car to chase after the man.


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Arguably, the best part of the Harry Potter series is it's rich and diverse cast of characters. Although everyone can agree that the main antagonist, Voldemort, was evil, there is far more to his personality than what you see at the surface level.


Openness: moderate-high

Voldemort scores high in this area in the sense that he is extremely smart and intellectual. He was hungry for knowledge and power, and not afraid to go to the darkest corners of the world to find what he wanted. However, he has a deep-seated hatred for muggles, showed him to be close-minded.

Conscientiousness: very high

Voldemort had great self-discipline and went to great lengths to plan every detail of his schemes. Although he had no regard for the rules, while a student at Hogwarts he showed he was able to achieve great academic success and to follow the rules carefully, even rising to the role of prefect.

Extroversion: low

In public, Voldemort may have seemed extroverted. However, most of his plans were known only to himself. Because he hated others, he did not enjoy their company, and spent much of his time scheming alone. His most prized possessions were his horcruxes, which in fact were extensions of his own self.

Agreeableness: very low

When it suited his way, Voldemort was able to act agreeable in order to manipulate others. However, he was actually a very cold and calculating person. He had no regard for others' feelings, and treated them as disposable objects. In this sense, Voldemort was almost on the level of a psychopath.

Neuroticism: moderate-high

Voldemort was usually able to keep his emotions well hidden from others. However, he was prone to bursts of rage when things did not go his way. He also often let his true fear slip, especially during times when Harry Potter got the upper hand.

I think that the biological drive that we have to form groups also has a direct correlation with conformity. The need to belong or form groups seems ridiculous when we look at it from outside of any given situation because we want to believe that we are independent individuals. In the book, it says that the threat of social isolation can lead us to behave in self-destructive ways and even impair our mental functioning. When I first read this, I thought that statement seemed a bit exaggerated, however, after thinking about it, I realized just how rarely I do things by myself. Even something as simple as going to the bathroom at a sporting event or party, most people, including myself, almost always ask the people they are with if anybody else has to go.

Although it may seem unnecessary looking back, asking someone to accompany you to the bathroom is a harmless act. Unfortunately, sometimes a group setting can involve very harmful acts as well. For instance, the art of peer pressure and conformity when it comes to deciding whether or not you want to participate in an illegal activity with a group of friends. Your conscious tells you not to, however, your desire for acceptance takes over and you find yourself doing things you would not normally do.

Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding
Chapter 13, Page 495, "The Need to Belong: Why We Form Groups"

Does Birth Order Matter?

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Is it true that in large families the latter born children are less intelligent? Many studies have suggested birth order can affect a person's personality, however is this a valid statement? Studies suggest that first born children are more likely to reach achievement, middle borns are more likely to have a knack for dealing with people, and third borns are more likely to be risk takers. In my family there are three children including myself. My brother has been known for his intelligence and has always been a high achiever. I am the third child in my family and I do tend to be the most adventurous. However, just because I sometimes engage in risky activities does not mean that I will not achieve or just because my brother is smart does not mean he will not engage in risky activities. Many researchers have recently wondered whether being a first born or third born really matters, or if it depends on the number of children in your family. Researchers have found that the more children there are in a family, the more likely that the latter born children are going to be less intelligent than the first-born children. This may be due to genetics or environmental factors. Going along with the first claim, a study in Norway found that first born children are more likely to gravitate towards other first born children, middle born children are more likely to gravitate towards other middle born children, and third born children are more likely to gravitate towards other third born children. Many say that people are more likely to spend time with people of similar interests as them. Their study suggests that people of the same birth orders are likely to be friends with each other because their personalities are similar. In this case, they are suggesting that correlation does imply causation, however there is not enough evidence to support these claims. It seems to me that these claims are so popular because of coincidences. Do you think that birth order affects personality?

rapunzel.jpgWhy are fictional characters always so relatable? We might not necessarily relate them to ourselves (although that is often what we do), but relate them to other people we know as well. A famous psychiatrist, Carl Gustav Jung, has an explanation. Carl Jung created and promoted a concept known as archetypes. Jung believed that the collective unconscious contains numerous archetypes, or cross-culturally universal symbols. A little more explicitly, Jung believed that there were five main archetypes. Those were the Self, the Shadow, the Anima, the Animus, and the Persona. Others have expanded upon Jung's ideas to create a few more recurring archetypal images including, the child, the hero, the martyr, the wise old man, the damsel in distress, and many more. If one analyzes most fictional stories, it isn't hard to find examples of these archetypes within them. The story of Rapunzel for example, which most of us know from its modern Disney remake, is the story of a maiden who is locked at the top of a tower and a hero who comes along and saves her. It isn't hard to see the archetypes in which those two characters fit. It isn't hard to see a bit of ourselves or our friends within each of these archetypes as well. When a character models an individual archetype so easily, it is just as easy to relate that part of ourselves to them.

It's unbelievable to me how people can just stand nearby and watch others suffer, whether it is from a sudden body reaction such as a heart attack or from physical abuse they are witnessing, like rape. According to the bystander effect, the phenomenon where the greater number of people present, the less likely they are going to help the person in distress, this is not uncommon in the world today. As we can see in the video posted, nobody was willing to help the boy lying on the ground, seeming to be unconscious. Many people walked by him, some even stopped, looked at him for a few seconds and then kept on going. It wasn't until a little bit later when an authority figure, a teacher, took the initiative to help the young boy.
There may have been some alternative reasons for this aside from the bystander effect or as our book would say, some alternative hypotheses, so we need to rule them out. Some of the students may have recognized this being an experiment and just kept on going with their day, not wanting to get involved. Others may have known this student to be a "class clown" and thought he was just trying to be funny, yet there had to be a few students who walked by and thought something was wrong, but still didn't do anything.

I myself have been part of the bystander effect, but not as a bystander, instead as the helpless victim of an accident. I was going up for a rebound in basketball at the same time a girl over six feet was. I was 5'3", so you can guess who jumped higher and got the rebound. Unfortunately for me, not only did I miss the rebound, but the girl's elbow came down straight into my eye, which had me running off the court screaming. I remember everybody staring at me and nobody came to me help. I was thinking "what the heck, isn't somebody going to help me?" Thankfully my coach finally ran to help me, but it took a minute or two for it to finally kick in to him. I wonder what everyone one else was thinking. I just hope now that we have read and learned about this phenomenon in class, that we don't take part as a bystander, but rather as the hero who helps save the day.


The Bigger The Better

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After watching both of the videos of women in Mauritania, I was pretty shocked to see how different they were than the standards or views in America. The videos portray a long history in Mauritanian culture of a male preference for larger "fat" women. When girls are young, before puberty, parents will even begin to force feed their daughters to make them more desirable for marriage.

These preferences for a larger body weight differ greatly from what the textbook says is conventionally physical attractive for women. This larger body weight also has more concerns besides the aesthetic side. I would imagine the careers of these women would suffer greatly from dedicating yourself to becoming fat. This women who have done this, do so to wed a successful man, which probably eliminates any motivation for a career of their own. Physical labor becomes extremely strenuous, and the health risks as anyone knows, begin to pile up with the increase in unnecessary weight.

It is hard for me to imagine why this is attractive for men in Mauritania. Because of the strain these women are putting on their health, I would imagine that their husbands would outlive their spouse, which I would find very undesirable. This excess weight also would probably have some negative affects on the children of these mothers from pregnancy as well.

The bigger the better

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After watching both of the videos of women in Mauritania, I was pretty shocked to see how different they were than the standards or views in America. The videos portray a long history in Mauritanian culture of a male preference for larger "fat" women. When girls are young, before puberty, parents will even begin to force feed their daughters to make them more desirable for marriage.

These preferences for a larger body weight differ greatly from what the textbook says is conventionally physical attractive for women. This larger body weight also has more concerns besides the aesthetic side. I would imagine the careers of these women would suffer greatly from dedicating yourself to becoming fat. This women who have done this, do so to wed a successful man, which probably eliminates any motivation for a career of their own. Physical labor becomes extremely strenuous, and the health risks as anyone knows, begin to pile up with the increase in unnecessary weight.

It is hard for me to imagine why this is attractive for men in Mauritania. Because of the strain these women are putting on their health, I would imagine that their husbands would outlive their spouse, which I would find very undesirable. This excess weight also would probably have some negative affects on the children of these mothers from pregnancy as well.

For the last few years, one of the most hotly debated topics in America has been the question of whether homosexual couples should be able to get married. Specifically I will discuss the issue of whether or not homosexuality is a choice, as it has become a major part of the debate. If it were a choice, then gay marriage would arguably be unnatural and banning it would be more defendable. However, I believe that the idea of homosexuality being a choice is ridiculous. True, one's sexuality is likely not entirely determined by one's genes. The textbook tells of an experiment which shows that even identical twins, with 100% identical genomes, can often have different sexualities. However, this only proves that sexuality is more complicated than simple DNA, which has nothing to do with choice. Even if sexuality were entirely determined by environment, it would still be chance and not the decision of the person in question. I have never heard of a person of any sexuality who chose to be that way, and I am fairly certain that few such people ever existed. Even the stories in textbook of gay men who were 'corrected' to be straight turned gay again within a matter of years. So I don't think there can be any debate about the fact that homosexuality is not a choice.gay-marriage-pie-chart-jpg.jpg

The Hunger Games

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The release of the new movie The Hunger Games has been highly anticipated by children, teens and adults around the world this past week. Based on the inspiring novel by Suzanne Collins, it is predicted to be almost as popular as the Harry Potter movie among children and teens around the world. Yet, it's PG-13 rating for its high level of violence has parents wondering: is it too violent for my kids?

Some experts say that the subject matter is much too heavy for children, while others saying that it depends on the child's age and temperament. Child psychologist Richard Freed is a strong believer that "images are much more powerful than written words."


This holds true to what we learned about in our discussion as well. Viewing violent content at a young age can have both short and long term effects on a child. Violent media has been found to cause agression, anxiety and a number of other problems for young children. Each child reacts differently to the things they see on television or in the media. Ultimately, it is up to the parents to decide wether their child can be exposed to violence and wether they should take them to the new Hunger Games movie as well.

Charlie Bit my Finger- What makes an Online Video go viral? by Charlie Pieper
I'm sure that most people have seen this video-
Its been viewed nearly 450 million times. But what makes this video so popular? If you think about from a purely rational sense it's rather stupid, a kid bites someone but then it all ends up okay. According to Jonah Berger from U Penn Its because of all the different emotions it showcases. This is a good explanation of why it is popular, but what made people want to share it so much? This is also an easy explanation, the video creates state of emotional arousal, and when you are aroused you are more likely to want to share the source of the arousal. According to Mr. berger "We don't want to share facts--we want to share feelings." This is also evident in the Kony 2012 video, which is considered to be the most viral video of all time. One of he reasons why it was so successful was that it made people angry, and this caused people to want to share it. However as psychology students we have to remember the principle of correlation versus causation so we cant say for sure.


How to Detect a Lie

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Paul Ekman published a study in 1991 in which much was learned about lying and people's accuracy when detecting lies. In the study, participants were shown video clips of people talking and were asked to judge whether or not the people were lying in the video clip. Ekman tested certain groups of people including the Secret service, federal polygraphers, robbery investigators, judges, psychiatrists, and college students.

The results indicated that the only group that performed significantly better than the rest at detecting lies was the Secret Service. Ekman's explanation of this was that the Secret Service spends a lot of time scanning crowds and reading body language. Paying attention to non-verbal cues is very important in detecting lies.

Lie Detection by Group.png

Liars tend to show nervous behavior such as crossing their arms, tapping their fingers, and leaning back in their chairs while they are fibbing. They also tend to speak in a slightly higher tone while lying. Shifty eyes may also be indicative of a lie.

Better lie detectors rely on both verbal and non-verbal cues and are better able to detect subtle facial expressions. It was also found that neither gender out-performed the other in the study.

Harmful Ideals

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It is interesting to compare standards of beauty in different cultures. I discovered an article from BBC news that described the culture of the African country Mauritania. Traditionally, women that are considered attractive are significantly obese. From a young age, girls are encouraged, and sometimes forced, to overeat, often receiving a greater amount of food than males. Although the prevalence of this practice is dwindling, the origins of this attraction stem from obesity being a symbol of wealth. It is interesting how ideals of beauty in many cultures are blown out of proportion, sometimes resulting in the physical harm of an individual striving to fit a social norm. In Mauritania, this is the force-feeding of women from a young age to reach an extreme.

When comparing this to standards of beauty in the US, it is interesting to find connections with the standards in Mauritania. Obesity is a growing problem in the US. Many individuals that suffer from obesity develop serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease. Obesity is often linked to poverty, where individuals do not have adequate access to, or understanding of, healthy food choices. Women that are considered healthy in the US are often thin. Sadly, this obsession takes a different direction than in Mauritania, where women here may develop severe eating disorders to reach a different extreme.

On a different note, it is interesting to look at Mauritania's unique social ideal from an alternative, evolutionary viewpoint. Perhaps the fact that many Mauritanian men are attracted to obese women stems from genetic factors. Perhaps fathers that are attracted to this type of women pass on their genes, and therefore their offspring share this preference. In a community that lacks access to food, these women are more likely to survive and produce healthy offspring. It is possible that men who were attracted to thin or unhealthy women had fewer offspring, therefore not passing on this preference.

First of all, I should mention that myself have experienced some situation when I found someone is very attractive but not anyone else agreed. I am an international student, since the first time I went abroad, my friends and I always find there are many examples showing that people from different cultures, different geographical locations, or different races may have different judgement of what is beautiful to them. Sometimes, some girl not seem to be attractive to me could be very attractive to someone else from other countries. This situation should have been well explained by the texts on textbook about physical attractiveness. As been explained in the textbook, the results are most likely due to the similarity between the person and whom the person find is beautiful.
There are also some other examples and survey results been found on the internet. In one article, the author talked about many different beauty standards around the world. (the link is: http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/3798150-beauty-ideals-around-the-world) Some of them are very or somehow familiar to me, a few seem to be very shocking when the first time I saw them.
The image above showing a kind of make up that was very common the ancient China. People from other countries may find this to be unacceptable or even scary. Myself found the picture with two people with dots on their body is not very easy to accept as beautiful. Based on the cultural influence, I would prefer the human skin to be clean and smooth, even for the males.

Is Being Gay A Choice?

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Do you think being gay is a choice? According to The New Civil Rights Movement, 47% of Americans believe that being gay is a choice. That is almost half of the population. I believe that being gay is not a choice. Let me tell you a story of a personal experience from a friend.

My friend is a homosexual. She started out as a tomboy which is a girl who dresses like a boy and usually hangs out and engage in the activities that boys play. As she grew older, she started realizing that she is attracted to girls. She was starting to feel confused about her sexual orientation, soon enough, her parents started to wonder if she was confused too. So, as she and her parents panicked about her being different, she decided to not be homosexual and to be straight. She went ahead and dated a boy to prove that she was not homosexual. Just a few moments in, she can feel that this kind of relationship is wrong for her, but she forced herself to keep going for a couple a days. Finally, after suffering from emotional distress, she called it quits and ended the relationship. Now, she is happily displaying her true sexual orientation in public without feeling ashamed or guilty.

My friend thought that being gay was a choice so she tried to choose being straight, but as it turns out, being gay is not a choice. She cannot fight what she truly feels.

All throughout high school many people have thought of me as being the stereotypical "dumb blonde" even though test scores, class participation, and other aspects of a good grade did not show otherwise. In actuality, I worked really hard, and enjoyed receiving decent grades. I rarely slacked up, if it was between homework or a party I usually selected homework. I was almost the opposite of a dumb blonde even though I had blonde hair. In class I was often called Barbie or plastic. I usually took these cruel words as motivation to do bette, and that is exactly what I did. I began thinking, who has any right to judge intelligence? There are so many different forms, it is near impossible.


In this decade so many different tests determine intelligence, such as the ACT, SAT, IQ tests and other more selective tests. The ACT and SAT can determine what college you go to, the amount of money you will pay for that college, and sometimes the programs you will be allowed into versus the programs you will not be allowed into. For young adults who do not test well it is a vicious cycle of feeling like a failure. Is this really fair though? I for one am not a good test taker but I am personable and I am able to carry on a conversation with just about anyone. I may lack in common sense but I make up for it in other areas of intelligence.


This leads me to a question that has been bothering me. Who has the right to decide who is intelligent and who is not? I am a firm believer that every individual is intelligent in his or her own way. Everyone has certain things they are good at just like everyone has something they are bad at. Truth be told, there are so many different forms of intelligence that not one person should ever be considered/ called "stupid" or "dumb" or "an idiot." It all depends how you utilize your intelligence and how you deal with the areas in which you may have struggle with.


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Aggression has always been a popular subject to portray in the media. From guys involved in fights to girls spreading rumors and excluding people, people have had a fascination with this issue. What interests me is the topic of how people become who they are. Is there a biological explanation or is a trait influenced more by the social environment? Aggression is one trait that many television shows and movies depict, such as Fight Club and Gossip Girl. Physically violent behavior is depicted more often in males, while relational aggression (indirect aggression) is more commonly shown in females.

The textbook explains that some scientists believe that higher aggression correlates to higher testosterone levels, but this is under debate since the correlation may also be true in the opposite direction. The textbook also details that female hyenas are more aggressive than their male counterparts. This supports the idea that aggression is related to testosterone levels since female hyenas show higher levels of a testosterone-related hormone, suggesting that testosterone does play a factor in aggression. But what are some other hypotheses that scientists have developed to explain aggression differences in males and females?

An article on Science Daily's website, "Why Men Are More Aggressive: What a Mother Should Know," suggests that the levels of aggression may be caused by the genes that are responsible for the neurotransmitter serotonin. In a study with Rhesus monkeys, a species of Old World monkeys who are known to be aggressive, show low levels of serotonin.

These are only a couple of a number of explanations for what causes aggression. These articles and explanations are all interesting I have is how I believe that aggression can be caused by genes as well as social pressures. However, the cause of aggression is still under research and will likely remain a controversial issue until more results from other studies are presented.

Intelligence > Media

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These days, the media try to exploit intelligence in any way possible because they think it is the greatest story ever. One way in which intelligence is portrayed is through the use of many different Hollywood movies. In these movies, each deal with showing a different type of intelligence, as stated by Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences.

I'd like to discuss one in particular that correlates with Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences theory. The movie that portrays a character of having a high intelligence level is that of Rain Man starring Dustin Hoffman as a severely disabled autistic man who has great mathematical/thinking abilities. This connects with Gardner's Intelligence Type, stating that Hoffman's character has Logico-mathematical and Naturalistic abilities because he can remember so much information about books, geography, history, and other living things, while also acting as a human speed calculator at the same time. The movies portray this in a way as if Hoffman's character is a genius so he is better-off. It turns out that that is not true at all. Being autistic is hard enough to live with, and just because he has this level of intelligence does not mean that he can live a normal lifestyle.
The point I'm trying to make is that intelligence in real-life, and how it is portrayed through the media are two completely different things. Even in the book it makes the reference about "Good Will Hunting," and it says how this would definitely never happen in the real world. It would take a person with Will Hunting's intelligence level in the real world a lot longer time to figure out these complex problems that Damon's character figures out in a few days span. So overall, the way the media represents intelligence is not entirely true of how it is presented in the real world. The video above is just an example of how Hoffman's character tries to use his intelligence.

Baby Storm is four months old; it lives in Toronto, Canada.... wait... "it"? Yes, "it." Storm's parents are keeping the infant's sex a secret from everyone but the immediate family and a handful of others in an effort to provide the child freedom to eventually decide on a gender identity, without the influence of societal expectation and traditional gender roles. In today's society we are affected at an early age, perhaps before birth, based on our gender. While Storm will be given the opportunity to decide on his/her gender, is it appropriate and socially acceptable? I think gender is a part of who we are, even though sometimes we wish it wasn't. Taking that away from a child confuses them even more and may greatly influence their personality later in life. However, others say that we live in a world where people aren't able to make personal decisions on who they are. So is Storm's situation and experiment unhealthy? Or is it something that our society should start implementing in order to give children the freedom to choose who they want to be?

IQ isn't Limitless

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Essentially ever since its inception, the study of IQ has fascinated social culture. The audacity of the very concept of IQ; the idea that you can boil down every facet of human intelligence into one number (hopefully a 3-digit one), in itself is daring. There are so incredibly many types of genius that, to me at least, it seems a bit ridiculous for one number to sum up every measure of intelligence. How can you possibly compare the genius of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Martin Luther King Jr., Pablo Picasso, and Ralph Waldo Emerson?

Naturally, once people know their IQ, the next thing they want to know is how they got it. Is it pre-determined, a result of cumulative life experiences, or a combination of both? Most of the available data supports the notion that IQ is probably a combination of both Nature and Nurture, meaning that there appears to be some variability, but that a large part of IQ may be determined in the womb, an unsettling idea for many people who believe "that all men were created equal".

The inherent mystique of genius naturally makes it a popular topic in Hollywood. One of my favorite recent releases, "Limitless" is about a writer who discovers a pill which allows him access to instant genius. He uses this pill to write a book, learn new languages, and gain overnight success on Wall Street. I won't say any more about the plot, so I don't ruin the movie for those who haven't seen it, but I really enjoyed it, so if you have any free time this weekend, it comes highly recommended.

When I came across the story of Chris Langan in chapter nine I could not help but be reminded of a movie I saw a while back. Langan is considered the smartest man in america with an IQ of between 195 and 210. Despite his amazing cognitive abilities, he has worked many labor intensive jobs including a 20 year stint as a bouncer on Long Island. Langan has published a paper on his theory called the Cognitive Theory Model of the Universe and has started a foundation with his wife called the Mega Foundation which strives to assist and support individuals with extreme cognitive abilities like Chris.


When I heard this story I was reminded of this scene from Good Will Hunting where Will, a character with very similar cognitive abilities to Chris, explains why he does not want to work in a job which would take full advantage of his abilities. These two stories bring up an interesting question regarding the meaning of life. If these individuals who are supposedly so much smarter than your average person are living an average blue collar lifestyle, perhaps that is the best way to be happy in life.


Looking around on the Internet, I see a number of differences in what is considered "beautiful" in different cultures. I the Chinese culture, for example, a woman is only considered beautiful if she is very VERY thin. Although this is not much different than out culture (girls wanting to be "model skinny"), it does contradict the Latina culture, which believes that the more curvaceous a woman is, the better. Another aspect that is found beautiful in the Chinese culture is white skin. In the summer, the women wear loads of sunscreen and use umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun. Although this is essentially a healthy habit, it differs greatly from that of American culture. Americans seem to admire the "bronze goddesses", freshly baked from the tanning bed. It's extremely interesting to see the large number of differences in the concept of beauty across cultures.
Though there are some differences, in the book it says that generally, across a variety of cultures, people prefer average looking faces. I'm not sure if being skinny and white skinned, and having large eyes is average in China, but in my personal experience, I have found this concept to be true. In discussion we were shown pictures of non-average faces and gradually a number of faces were averaged together. As more and more faces were averaged, I thought the person became more and more attractive. Do you agree? The different ways beauty is perceived in different cultures may affirm the possibility that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Or is it that our cultures have shown us what is considered beautiful rather than allowing us to decide for ourselves?

The more I learn about IQ and psychology in general, the less and less respect I have for the testing and for the profession. The whole IQ testing controversy stems from one simple idea: Humans are gods and can (certainly deserve to) know exactly how intelligence works. As we have seen from the eugenics movement, this idea can have disastrous results. Nevertheless nature (pun totally intended) seems to have won again and keeps throwing us curveballs. Whenever humans "think" we've reached a conclusion, nature goes ahead and shows us a different result. No matter what we may do, there's always an alternative explanation or some other reason. Who knows, maybe there is a great big spot on the brain saying exactly this: "Yeah Right".


It seems that psychology is certainly treading on thin ice here. When an entire profession can't agree on what is important, or even what is considered to be right something is wrong. People will argue that this is the case with every scientific branch, occupation, or other aspect of life, but in my opinion, psychology is especially apt to be 'wishy-washy' giving no definitive answers. Just my personal opinion, but I have a hard time lending any credibility to something that is so ambiguous and undefinitive.


What emotion is this person feeling?
A. Happy
B. Sad
C. Angry

I took an online emotional intelligence test and it asked questions like this, along with questions about what I would do in certain situations.

Emotional intelligence, in the book, is defined as the "ability to understand our own emotions and those of others, and to apply this information to our daily lives". I didn't really think about the actual definition as I was first reading, but after reading more about emotional intelligence online, I now have a better understanding of what it is. This link has really useful articles to the ins and outs of emotional intelligence.


The one article I found most helpful was, "What Emotional Intelligence Is and Is Not". This article explains that emotional intelligence is not personality traits. It says people with high emotional intelligence understand the meanings that emotions convey and can use emotional episodes in their lives to promote specific types of thinking. I found these things in the article especially interesting.

The other article I found interesting was "10 Ways to Enhance Your Emotional Intelligence". The article outlines things you can do to improve emotional intelligence such as write thoughts and feelings down and tune into your unconscious feelings. Recently, employers have implemented training to boost their employee's emotional intelligence. Does this formal training method actually work? I guess we will have to wait for more research to be done in order to find out.

Many married couples these days are the couples who met in high school or college; in general they are people who have been around each other a lot (anywhere), even unknowingly. There have been instances where attraction with another person happened right in that same classroom all the way back in high school or just being in the same place in time. This is known as "proximity" where the physical nearness of those two people from a relationship. Just sitting next to or beside or in front of this person may cause you to have more of a chance for a relationship (of course it's not that easy though). This is a very interesting concept because although it may sound silly, it happens to a lot of people. An example of this in the real world could be where the actors fall in love with their co-actors because they are the always near each other even if they have just recently gotten introduced to each other on set and know only a little about each other.


For myself, I guess you could say the same thing happened to me. I have been with my boyfriend currently for about four years now and we met in high school. To be specific we met in my Chinese class, where he sat only a row or so away from me. Somehow we just started interacting with each other and connected. I would definitely have to say because we were sitting in the same area, that was one way we started off (because honestly I would say that he was not really my type in looks and attitude). The concept of physical proximity is seriously something I would consider happening a lot.

Campfield (et al. 1996) and van Litalie (1990) have developed a theory promptly titled the "glucostatic theory". This theory states that, "when our blood glucose levels drop, hunger creates a drive to eat to restore the proper level of glucose". This theory should be changed to law, especially in the medical field. Type 1 Diabetics, or juvenile diabetics, know too well what happens when your glucose level falls below the normal rage. You turn into an animal seeking anything that is made with sugar or anything that is made mostly out of carbohydrates. Knowing from personal experience, your brain tells you to eat excess amounts of sugar and carbohydrates in order to raise your blood glucose back within the normal range. It sucks too, because it personally wakes me in the middle of the night, blood glucose level is at, like, 50 (when it should be at 100-130), my vision is blurred, my arms and legs feel like Jell-O and I have this animalistic drive to eat everything in my fridge. This provided link gives some indication of what it feels like to have a low blood sugar:

Everyone experiences a low blood sugar differently, but this theory is very real, and shouldn't be taken lightly.

Sorry if the link doesn't work. I was having technical difficulties all night.


I have been really interested in learning about relationships and the many aspects that play a role in attractiveness. One things I found fascinating is that people tend to find a relationship with, whether it's friends or more, with people they are in closer proximity to. While reading this, I found that I have experienced this is my own life. In school when I was younger we have homeroom. In my homeroom were people with last names that were closest to mine. I ended up being good friends with the people in my homeroom. It seems like when you are put by people and in close contact with them you can form relationships based on that. People have certain things that attract them to others. Everyone is different and it's interesting what people look for in a mate. I used to think that maybe it's true that opposites attract, but now with more knowledge and experience I don't know if that has much truth to it, does it?! think about it in your experience. With me people I have liked or have been in relationships with actually have similar values and personalities as I do. It helps me get along with them and have more in common, which in turn attracts me to them more!! For me, I like to think I look at the person as a whole when I am judging them. But it is true, like the book says, that we do look at the physical factors first. My question is, what makes a person more attractive? Isn't it objective?? One person might think a person is beautiful while someone else thinks that person is not attractive in the least bit. It's something to think about because it tests our whole way of thinking about what is attractive!!

Looking to cope with my Sunday night boredom, I decided to escape to the ever so popular website stumbleupon.com. A website devoted to helping people over come their boredom as well as teaching people a thing or two. On this particular Sunday night I stumbled upon an article that has forever made me immune to humanities weak attempts of lies and deviations. "How to Detect Lies" an article found on http://www.blifaloo.com/info/lies.php was an article that may not be "reference material" but it is something I came upon in my daily life that is psychology related and reminded me of the text from last weeks discussion.
The website made me aware of many gestures that people make while socializing that very well may be signs of a liar in disguise. Things such as hand, arm and leg movements are toward their own body, hands will be touching their faces, throat or mouth, gestures and expressions will not match their verbal statements, and the guilty person will often get defensive. An innocent person will go on the offensive side of the situation. Other verbal signals were also noted within the article, a liar may use words you used in the previous question to make an answer a question, the guilty person may speak more than natural, and will tend to add unnecessary details to convince you, and they are not comfortable with silence or pauses in the conversation. Now, as you take this information I gracefully decided to share with you, think about how often or how reliable these methods of lie detection are seen in real life? Do you find that non verbal and verbal gestures can be used to identify lies?

Nourishment or Touch?

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Infants begin to form attachments to their parents very early on in life. Are these attachments simply made with those who provide nourishment for the infant, or are there other important factors to consider? Harry Harlow helped answer this question in a study he performed in the 1950s, which I find rather interesting. He used infant rhesus monkeys (which he separated from their mothers soon after birth) and placed them in a cage with two figures that represented their mothers. One of the mothers was made out of uncomfortable metal wires and had an angular face, but was also the source of nourishment and had a bottle of milk. The other mother was made out of a heated, comfortable terry cloth and had a rounded face, but did not have a bottle of milk.


Harlow found that the infant monkeys went to the wire mothers for milk, but spent more time with the mothers made of terry cloth. When the baby monkeys were confronted with a scary stimulus, most would attach themselves to the terry cloth mother. This was later called contact comfort, the positive emotions afforded by touch. So, while you may think nourishment plays the larger role in forming attachments, it is actually touch that has more of an effect. It is important to understand how important this bond is for infants and children.

The Strange Situation

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"The Strange Situation is a laboratory procedure for examining one-year-olds' reactions to separation from their attachment figures, usually their mothers." (pg. 386 in textbook)


The process: (pg. 386)

"First researchers place the infant in an unfamiliar room with his or her mother. The room is loaded with all kinds of interesting toys, and the mother gives the infant the chance to play with them. Then a stranger enters. On two different occasions, the mother exits the room, leaving the infant alone with the stranger before reuniting with her infant. The Strange Situation takes advantage of infants' stranger anxiety, which as we've learned tends to peak at about one year."

There are four different categories in which infants' behaviors fall into.

-The first category is called secure attachment. This is where the infant becomes upset when the mother leaves, but once she returns the infant greets her with joy.

-The second category is called insecure-avoidance attachment. This is where the infant reacts with indifference when the mother leaves and shows little reaction once she returns.

-The third category is called insecure-anxious attachment. This is where the infant panics when the mother leaves the room and reacts with mixed emotions when she returns.

-The last category is called disorganized attachment. This is where the infant reacts with confusion and once the mother returns, the infant appears to be dazed.


Those of us who have babysat before know how this goes. Some of the kids you babysit may be the rare, perfect ones who don't show much of a reaction to their mother's departure. On the other hand, some kids are kicking and screaming and uncontrollable! We all know those ones can be extremely difficult to handle. Let us be thankful that most of the children cry themselves to sleep and get to wake up in the morning in the comfort of their mother's arms.

Jonathon Haidt is an influential psychologist and author of a recent book, titled "The Happiness Hypothesis." The book features eleven steps to achieving happiness. One of the chapters, "The felicity of virtue," talks about the loss of virtuous qualities in contemporary society and how we, as a country, can return those values to everyday life, ultimately improving our general level of happiness. For, Haidt argues, simply acting in a virtuous manner makes us happy.

One might ask, then, why do we praise things that are not virtuous; doesn't it reduce our happiness? We have to look no further than Jersey Shore and South Park to find shows that thrive mainly on partying and (generally) offensive jokes, two things often not associated with being virtuous. So why is it that many people are happy when watching such shows? Aren't we seeing an extension of ourselves and our thoughts through the less-than-virtuous characters displayed in these and other shows?

Haidt would argue that giving up these shows that many people, myself included, find entertaining. In fact, Haidt reasoned that "we've reduced virtue to just being nice," thus losing most other virtues. So how do we get back to being a virtuous society?

Jonathon Haidt is an influential psychologist and author of a recent book, titled "The Happiness Hypothesis." The book features eleven steps to achieving happiness. One of the chapters, "The felicity of virtue," talks about the loss of virtuous qualities in contemporary society and how we, as a country, can return those values to everyday life, ultimately improving our general level of happiness. For, Haidt argues, simply acting in a virtuous manner makes us happy.

One might ask, then, why do we praise things that are not virtuous; doesn't it reduce our happiness? We have to look no further than Jersey Shore and South Park to find shows that thrive mainly on partying and (generally) offensive jokes, two things often not associated with being virtuous. So why is it that many people are happy when watching such shows? Aren't we seeing an extension of ourselves and our thoughts through the less-than-virtuous characters displayed in these and other shows?

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People detecting lies

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I think that many people often maybe even everyday can think of a time when they thought that they know when someone is lying to them. Although as shown by Ekman there is very little or no correlation between somebody's confidence in there ability to detect lies and their accuracy. Which really is surprising because plenty of us have been in the position where we were one hundred percent sure that we could tell that someone is lying only to be proved wrong at a later point. As stated in the text book these feelings of confidence in detecting a lie could really become a problem in court case. Where one juror may feel very strongly that someone is lying when giving an oath. It could or often does send people into incarceration wrongly. This often can create a problem when it is involved in a court case, if a juror decides that the a witness is lying and are very confident of it they very well could be wrong and have a part in incarcerating an innocent person. Most likely most of us thinking someone is lying without a doubt is not as major of a deal as sending someone into jail. Next time you decide that someone is lying remember that you might not be right, and hopefully that helps you not be embarrassed by being wrong or even worse.

peek a boo

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Growing up people probably played peek a boo with you when you were little. Chances are that you were so young that you don't even remember playing the game. But as you got older and began to be around young kids you probably were on the other end of the game and you were the one that was hiding behind your face behind something and then popping out and surprising a little kid. Peek a boo can provide entertainment and laughter for hours at a time. As you know the game is simple and can be played pretty much anywhere but why does this work? After reading I found the answer, it has to do with the concept of object permanence. Object permanence is an idea that little kids lack, it is the concept that an object is present even when it is hiding behind another object. When little kids see something that is covered by something they do not realize that it is still there they believe that it has disappeared. What this means for little kids is that when you are playing peek a boo when you hide your face behind something to them it is like your face has vanished. When you uncover your face it's a shock to them. To little kids it seems as though your face has appeared out of nowhere. Even adults would be entertained by this however as we get older we develop our object permanence and we realize that even when a person's face is covered that it is still behind the object that is covering it. peek-a-boo.jpg

Lying, it is apart of everyone's lives even though it is so frowned upon in society. It is moral's worst enemy. Studies have shown that college students will tell about two lies per day! So, when can we tell if someone really is telling a lie? There is no right answer, research shows that there is only about a 50-50 chance of being right, but average population shows about 55% accuracy. With these statistics, how are polygraph testers a whopping 98% accurate? It turns out that these can actually be quite misconstrued. Keanu(3).jpg In fact, it can pick up false positives (innocent people who are labeled as guilty, even when innocent). In addition, a polygraph test can confuse arousal with guilt, which jokingly got its name as the "arousal detector" rather than the "lie detector". So a suspect to a crime could be feeling an emotion other than guilt like anxiety when answering a question and the polygraph would pick up on it as a lie rather than just anxiety in itself. It also picks up on false negatives (people labeled as innocent even though they are guilty). So, if there are so many problems with this, then why do so many examiners insist on using such a non-liable piece of equipment? This can be answered by the sole fact that a polygraph elicits confessions, especially when the victim is guilty. It is a shame that it is still used though due to the fact that all of its results lead to the fact of how unfalsifiable it really is.

Is sugar a drug?

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There was a story on 60 minutes tonight discussing how sugar is having a negative impact on our society. The story started out talking about the health issues that come along with too much sugar consumption. These included heart disease and diabetes which are all increasing among Americans. Is it a matter of simply not consuming sugar anymore? That sounds a lot easier than it actually is though. In studies that look at sugar's effect on the brain participants were given sugar while having their brain scanned in an fMRI machine. As soon as the sugar touched the tongue of the participant, the brain's reward system activated and dopamine was released. This is the same process that happens when somebody uses drugs such as cocaine. The scientists conducting this study said that they believed that sugar was just as addicting as cocaine. Interestingly enough you can even build up tolerance to sugar just like other drugs causing people to consume more sugar to get the same affects as before. Sugar may not be as dangerous as cocaine in the short run, but as people continue to consume it in large quantities, the health of millions of Americans could be at risk.



Have you ever seen diet ads promising to help you lose tons of weight in barely any time? I have too. However, unlike most I do not fall for these unlikely hoaxes. In fact, if you look carefully it is almost laughable at the results they guarantee. Let's take the Grapefruit Diet for example.

This diet is one of my favorites because it promises to help you lose up to 10 pounds in 12 days simply by eating grapefruit before every meal. That comes out to almost one pound a day or 3500 calories. Once you look at the numbers you can see that there is no way that is a healthy diet. A normal human usually burns 1700-1800 calories daily but in order to lose the weight guaranteed on the grapefruit diet, one must burn twice that. That seems a bit far-fetched to me.

If you agree, yet are as intrigued as I was here is the website to learn more:

In the book, it states that as Americans we are always looking for quick ways to lose weight in order to fit the American "ideal". It seems as though the health and fitness industry have been playing off these goals. There are constantly new and extraordinary claims to new diets that compete for your attention by promising nearly impossible results. It is important to remember that these are exactly what they are called: claims. The descriptions never mention health risks or side effects that could go along with rapidly losing high amounts of weight.

In my opinion, people should just stick to the old fashioned way of losing weight. Eat right and exercise and you simply cannot go wrong.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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