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A Blogger's "How To..."

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So now that I've experimented with blogging and learned how to incorporate fun and interesting features like videos, images, and hyperlinks, I'm expecting you to do the same. The bar is being set higher. But that doesn't mean I'm going to leave you high and dry, so in this blog, I'll walk you through how to do those three important things.

I haven't experimented with non-YouTube videos, but I can't imagine they are too different. YouTube videos are incredibly easy to embed. First, go to the YouTube video online.

Then, below the video, click the "Share" button; you'll open a window like this:

In this newly expanded window, click the button that says "Embed" and copy the text that comes up.

Simply copy this text into your blog and you will have the video embedded. Easy.

Images are a little more complicated, as they require that you first create an asset that is the image. So the first step is to have the image you which to embed saved as a file on your computer. Then, on the blog's homepage, select "Upload file" from the "Create" tab pull-down menu.

You will then get a screen that looks like this:

Use the "Browse" button to find your file. Once you have selected the file, click "Upload" in the lower right. You will then see a screen which will as if you want to "Create a new entry using this uploaded file." I deselected this box, but I would imagine that selecting that box allows you to create the post immediately after you upload the image; this will give you options for how to make the image appear in the post. If you deselect the box, then you will have to copy and paste the code to embed, which is not difficult; you will also have to use other html code (which I do not know right now) to alter its appearance within the blog. However, if you're working with an image that is already an asset (say, something someone else already uploaded), than you will have to follow the same steps as if you deselected the box. To embed an asset (such as ath the image you hypothetically just uploaded), select "Assets" from the "Manage" scroll-down menu on the homepage.

Below the image, click the text "Embed Asset."

This will open and highlight a line of text.

Copy this text. Next, go to the page where you write/edit entries. You will be using html commands to now insert the image. The command for imbedding images is this: img src="...". In between the quotes, paste the embed text you just copied for the asset. Also remember that all html code requires that commands be in the carrot brackets, < and >. So, put the "<" before the "img" and put the ">" after that last quote. This will tell the blog to insert what is indicated by the copied text (actually a URL link, if you look at it) as an image. (Notice that the text you copied to embed the YouTube video has these brackets.) Because a picture is worth a thousand words, here's a screenshot of the code from my cognitive dissonance blog. The highlighted text is the command code.

Lastly, hyperlinks (that is, links that actually take you to the webpage indicated by the linked URL; these are the kinds of links we want) work similarly to images. Again, you'll use html code, so put everything in brackets. Use this command: a href="..."; put the URL within the quotes. This commands opens the hyperlink, meaning that whatever text you include after the ">" will be the hyperlink. I'm putting a link to Google here, as a test. The command to close the link is a/. Thus, whatever words you want to be the link (e.g., in my blog on cognitive dissonance, it was simple "here") should go between ">" and "<". Again, since I can't show you the code in a blog (it will use it as code, not show it as text) here's a picture. The highlighted text is the command code I used, the command to actually get the link to Google I just spoke of.

I think that's everything you will need to know to at least do these blogging basics. But, if there's anything that wasn't clear or isn't working for you (or if you want to do something I haven't explained), you can always search online. Our blogs are through MovableType, which has good documentation and tips for blogging; otherwise, our blogs obey html code, so if you know or research that, you can figure anything else out without too much problem. I now expect a little more from you on these next writing assignments. But, hey, if I can do it, so can you. Happy blogging!

I need to test my ability to do cool things with blogs (insert links, embed videos, include pictures, etc.), but I want it to relate to psychology, so I chose cognitive dissonance, one of my favorite topics from my social psychology class.

Leon Festinger ("Uncle Leon") was the psychologist to originally study and identify the phenomenon and develop the theory, along with his colleague J. Merrill Carlsmith. In this seminal experiment, subjects performed a menial and unenjoyable task of turning spools and then asked to tell the next subject how fun the task is. Half of the subjects were paid $20 to do this reporting task; the other half were paid $1. A feeling of anxiety (cognitive dissonance) would arise from the discrepancy between their actions (the unenjoyable task) and their statement that the task was enjoyable. The theory goes that those paid $20 would find the 20-dollar payment to be a sufficient justification for lying; on the other hand, those paid only $1 would not find this to be sufficient justification, so they would change their opinion of the task in order to eliminate the dissonance.

However, the entire scientific community was not convinced by these findings. Daryl Bem did not believe the effects to be due to any sort or emotion or anxiety; rather, he believed the effects could be explained with he termed the self-perception theory. Bem's theory is as such: when we observe others, we do not have access to their emotions or thoughts, so we strictly analyze their environment and actions; when we when our actions are in discord with out cognitions, rather than reducing an anxiety, we achieve an attitudinal change after analyzing ourselves as analytically as we would observe another. To test this theory, Bem employed the same paradigm as the Festinger study, with one exception: instead of doing the task and reporting, subjects were told about Bob who had done the task and was paid to say it was fun. Subjects were then asked to evaluate how much Bob enjoyed the task. As can be shown in the table below, Bem found the same results as Festinger; but because Bem's theory does not rely on the added assumption of arousal, the principle of parsimony would argue his to be the better theory.

Still, the debate was not over. There were still people who believed in cognitive dissonance. There was also no reason to believe both couldn't be true--perhaps dissonance is employed when we judge ourselves, perception when we judge others--so in an exquisite experiment (one of my favorites, because of its beautiful design and explanatory prowess), Fazio, Zanna, and Cooper (1977) pitted the theories against one another. Subjects with liberal beliefs had to write essays arguing for specific topics, either something they would agree with or not agree with. They found writing a belief-consistent argument did not change their beliefs but that writing a belief-inconsistent essay could change their opinions, but only if there was a high choice (so they would have to know that they chose to write the essay voluntarily) and they had no external factor on which to blame their internal anxiety. However, if the choice was high but they had an external stimulus that caused discomfort/arousal (in this case, an uncomfortable booth), the internal arousal would be attributed to the booth rather than the behavior-cognition inconsistency and they did not change their beliefs. (I know it's complicated. You can read the full study here, if you like.) Self-perception would not predict that, thus restoring cognitive dissonance to its former glory.

That is not to say that self-perception is invalid or has no validity for predicting how our behaviors affect our attitudes. Take the facial feedback hypothesis, for example; affect/attitude is affected, but you can't argue that any dissonance is present. There are other instances where self-perception seemingly succeeds in explaining what cognitive dissonance cannot. Thus, as David Myers puts it in his textbook on social psychology, "Dissonance theory, then, explains attitude change [...] self-perception theory explains attitude formation."

Welcome!

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Hello, sections 2 and 3! Welcome to our blog site! I will hopefully be an active blogger along with you, blogging about cool psychological phenomena I observe in the world around me. I will also post helpful and explanatory blogs shortly, ones that explain how to do certain things like embed videos and images, as these can be involved processes. But for now, I'm just going to post this. If you can read this, you're in the right place and using the site correctly--congrats!

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