Is seeing really believing???

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The more I learn about the brain the more I realize how uneasy our brains are! There is a saying that goes, "You have to see it to believe it". The truth is that whatever seems real to us may turn out to be a fabrication of our subconscious mind and our senses. I know now that what we feel and how we think about the world influences how we actually see it.
Five years from now, I will remember the concept of sensation and perception. Sensation occurs when your sensory organs absorb energy from a physical stimulus in the environment and your sensory receptors convert this energy into neural impulses and send them to the brain. Perception follows that when the brain organizes the information and translates it into something meaningful. Here is a video that I believe tackles the concept of sensation and perception called, "The Rubber Hand Illusion":

In this illusion, a brush strokes the fake hand and the real hand until you feel the sensation from the brush on both hands. Then your perception of the "rubber hand" changes and it starts to feel like your real hand. This is exaggerated when the experimenter pulls out the hammer and smashes the rubber hand and the volunteers pull back as if it was their actual hand.
Here is a short video that deals more with perception:

In that video we learn just how easy it is to not detect something when our attention is focused on something else.

I find both experiments to be fascinating, but the question that remains is what makes something "meaningful"? How do we know what information is important and what information should hold my focus? I have yet to understand how our brains choose to focus on one thing more than another or how we can see something we know is not real and still be convinced that it is! So I'll leave you with this, just because you touch something or just because you see something... is that all the evidence you need to believe it is true?

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

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The mention of fetal alcohol syndrome (in class and briefly in the book) broke my heart and especially resounded with me because my family has opened up our home to foster children, many of whom are affected by FAS. The choice to impair a child within the womb is not a typical one to make, but unfortunately, there are many cases in which families, specifically women as they carry the child(ren), affect their children so profoundly with the use of alcohol that the effects last a lifetime.

In professor Koenig's first lecture, she showed a video that talks about how alcohol affects the ventricles in the brain: these holes are much larger in children whose mothers use alcohol than those whose mothers do not. Also discussed was how the brain density is smaller and cell groups are in the wrong place for these children. The effect of alcohol leads to children with FAS having symptoms like facial malformations, physical growth retardation, learning and behavioral disabilities that can all impair their progress within society. My own adopted brother is one of these children; it's been upsetting to watch the ways in which he does not get a chance to live life to the fullest because he cannot function normally within society. His brain does not work normally because he is literally not all there; of course, despite the ways in which he might not "be all there," he is for my family because that is how we have always known and loved him.

The choice to improve a child's life is one that will always be necessary in order to create improvements within civilization. That is why steps to educate men and women on prenatal development and teratogens like alcohol is especially important if the world is to continue the advancements it is making and better opportunities for all.

Typical facial characteristics of a child affected with fetal alcohol syndrome as a previously mentioned symptom from

The Milgram Paradigm

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Over the entire semester of psych 1001, the Milgram Paradigm was the one most fascinating study that I've learned about. It's really scary to think about what normal people would do, if given an authoritative figure. The Milgram study was designed to understand the causes of obedience. Stanley Milgram thought obedience was more interesting to study than conformity because "he believed that unquestioning acceptance of authority figures is the crucial ingredient in explaining unjustified violence against innocent individuals," (Lilienfeld 508).
Two participants are said to be participating in a study used to learn the effects of "punishment on learning", with one participant being the learner and the other being the teacher. You are then asked to draw a card saying which role you would get where the actual participant always ends up being the teacher and the other participant who is actually a confederate gets the learner, because the cards are rigged. As the teacher you are required to read a long list of words in pairs, and present learner with the first word of the pair and have them repeat to you the second word. If the learner gets it wrong, you are required to give them an electric shock ranging from 15 volts, up to a lethal 450 volts which is listened as "XXX". If any of the teachers complained or asked to stop, the authoritative figure or the experimenter in the white lab coat would tell him they have to continue.
Yale psychologists hypothesized that only 0.1 percent of people would go all the way up to 450 volts, however they were proved completely wrong. All of the participants displayed some obedience by administering at least a couple shocks, and most went up to at least 150 volts, but an astonishing 62 percent of people displayed complete obedience going all the way up to 450 volts.
It's truly ridiculous thinking that people have capabilities to harm and even kill others just because some "official" person gave them instructions to. This makes me think back to the Holocaust and genocides, is everyone truly bad? Or does the influence of the few make everyone seem evil? I don't know what I would've done if I had volunteered for the Milgram study. I hope I would've stepped back and refused, but since so many people seem to have full obedience it makes me wonder if I would be just as bad. I am truly mesmerized by this study and I think this is something I will remember for years to come.

Mean Girls

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Five years from now I will remember the concept of conformity. I find this concept important and interesting because it is so relevant in our daily lives. Most people face conformity nearly on a daily basis and it's definitely not going away. The scientific definition of conformity is the tendency of people to alter their behavior as a result of group pressure.

Teen girls are especially prone to conformity. I know I was. Cliques start to form during middle school, and these cliques come with rules and expectations of their members. The following clip is the trailer of a popular movie called Mean Girls. The trailer doesn't quite show the real extent to which conformity is relayed throughout the movie, but it gives a pretty good idea. As you will see, there are many different groups which people are categorized into, such as the cool Asians, burnouts, jocks, and the plastics. The main character, named Cady, gets drawn into the plastics group, where she is pressured to dress, act, and even talk a certain way.

But conformity doesn't just take place in ridiculous cliques throughout the teen years; it remains constant through adult lives as well. It comes down to being as simple as facing a certain direction in an elevator because everyone else is facing that way, (as we saw in our discussion section). In the end, conformity will inevitably continue to exist.


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We've learned about a lot of different areas of psychology this semester. When looking back, I see myself remembering the most about developmental psychology five years from now. Developmental psychology is the study of how behavior changes over the life span. I will remember this area of psychology the best because I am interested in learning how parenting and environmental factors play roles in a child's life. I also look forward to having kids of my own one day, and knowing developmental psychology will help understand what area of development my child is in, and how to parent during that stage. One area I find especially interesting in developmental psychology is the parenting styles and how they affect a child. After reading about the parenting styles; permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative, I realized that the best parenting style for me is authoritative. I think this is a lot like the way my parents raised my brother and me, and I believe they were successful in doing so. My parents set good authoritative rules by giving us a curfew, punishing us when we broke rules, and giving us appropriate punishments. However, they made sure reward us with our free time as well. They let us go out with our friends, and even when given permission, come in later then curfew. I would like to raise my children this way as well because I see the benefits of it by the way my brother and I turned out.


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Five years from now I am going to remember the differences between science and pseudoscience. More specifically, I am going to remember how to determine whether or not something is pseudoscience or an actual science. There are always people trying to scam you, and I don't want to be one of their victims. It is important to be able to tell the differences between the two because science can actually provide help, but pseudoscience generally just makes the situation worse.
For instance, people who write self help books are somewhat hypocritical. The term self-help means helping yourself without the help of others. It strikes me as odd that they are writing a self-help book, even though the goal is to help the reader. This doesn't see like it is actually about self-help, or helping people at all. It is only a ploy to gain money.
They don't care what so ever about helping people at all, so they claim to have proof and facts. People are desperate, so they turn to pseudoscience, which has "solid" proof, instead of actual science that only suggests. No one wants to get scammed or fall victim of pseudoscience, but they do because nothing stops them from stating that they have facts.
This YouTube video can't be embedded, but it is worth watching:

Operant Conditioning in our World

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Years from now, I'm sure I'll still remember the concept of operant conditioning. If you aren't aware, operant conditioning is a theory of psychological learning that deals with "reinforcement" and "punishment." Good behavior is rewarded with reinforcement, while bad behavior is met with punishment. Operant conditioning differs from classical conditioning in that it deals with one's own behavior, rather than others'.

I'm sure I'll remember operant conditioning simply due to the vast number of occurrences in our society. Even now, I'm a slave to my conditioning: I get frustrated while working on homework, which punishes my behavior of working on homework, so I tend to do it less or put it off. However, completing the homework is rewarded (hopefully!) with a good grade, so I tend to do it more. There are nearly infinite similar examples of operant conditioning's affect on our day to day life, in big ways and small.

An example of operant conditioning (possibly taken to extremes) is applied in this big bang theory clip:

Note: Embedding is disabled on the video, otherwise I would have embedded it.

assignment 6

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Psychology 1001 has covered numerous topics this semester. It has outlined the important parts and the more commonly known pieces of psychological research and thinking. We haven't gone too far in depth on many of the subjects due to the large amount of material covered, but I will remember the subject of false memories. This topic was covered in discussion sections a few weeks back and outlined the case of Paul Ingram and his family. When we reviewed this in discussion it we were required to go further in depth on the ideas of false memories and how situations like this come about. The case of Paul Ingram centered on the facts of how his daughters accused him of abuse and he denied the accusations right away, but as more and more came forth from his daughters he began to believe them and doubt himself. The daughters accusations were meritless, but soon Ingram admitted to the charges. Paul Ingram was a religious man and he came to the belief that he had taught his daughters not to lie and thus they must be telling the truth and he eventually admitted guilt to all charges. Remembering the ideas of false memories in 5 years will be something that I know will still stick with me. The case of Paul Ingram is the main reason why I believe this to be. In a case like this where an innocent man spent over 20 years in prison makes me wonder how many other cases false memories may have played a part in an innocent individual admitting guilt. As we ventured further into the subject and got to flash bulb memories this made me wonder more on the whole idea of traumatizing events and how we are able to imprint memories i.e. flashbulb memories, or in some cases completely wipe the memory from our conscious. All in all false memories play a large part in proper investigation and the ability to back up claims whether true or false.

Assignment 6

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Five years from now, I will have graduated from college. I hope to have a BA in psychology and a job working with kids. I love kids. Actually, I have my life partially planned out already: when I was 12, I decided I would never have kids of my own. I wanted to adopt a little girl and name her "Maya." That dream still holds.

That being said, I think the concept from Psychology 1001 that I will remember most five years from now is the Attachment Theory, which looks at the attachment between a child and his or her mother. As discussed in class, there are three types of attachment: secure, avoidant, and anxious-ambivalent. The theory was tested by having a stranger be in the same room as a mother and her child, and after a while, having the mother leave and return to see how the child would react. Children with a "secure" attachment viewed their mothers as safe bases - they cried when their mothers left and calmed down when they returned. Children with an "avoidant" attachment seemed indifferent to their mothers' actions and refused to acknowledge their mothers' return. Children with "anxious-ambivalent" attachment to their mothers tried both to cling to their mothers and push them away at the same time, due to their disorganized coping behavior.

The reason I believe that the Attachment Theory is the concept I will remember most from this class is that I want to have a secure attachment with my future child. When the professor showed statements pertaining to each type of attachment in class and told us to judge ourselves based on those statements, I realized that I have more of an avoidant relationship with my parents. I'm the type of person who doesn't like to make it apparent when I'm upset, and I tend to want to deal with my problems by myself because I don't want to inconvenience anyone. Because of this, I went through a lot of depression in high school and it wasn't healthy by any means. I don't want my future child to go through the same thing.

I mentioned earlier that I want to adopt a child when I get older. The Attachment Theory that we discussed in class seemed to pertain only to children and their biological mothers, and one of the main things I was left wondering is whether or not it applies to adopted children as well.

This video shows how attachments can be made with adopted children:

Even after watching this video, I am left with a few questions: How early in life does attachment type become apparent? Can attachment type be changed (say you adopt a child who has a history of anxious-ambivalent attachment with her caretakers - can you still form a secure attachment with her?)


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One thing that I will remember five years from now is the concept of conformity. According to the book, conformity is the "tendency of people to alter their behavior as a result of group pressure." In my own terms, I would describe this as something we do in order to fit in with a group of people to not look unintelligent. We are in fear of embarrassment when we engage in group activities or experiments where people are watching us or are a part of a social group.

The reason why I think I will be able to remember this concept in five years from now is because it is such a common thing that I'm sure all of us have experienced it at least once in our lives. So five years from now, I will remember the concept of conformity whenever someone tries to answer a question in a group setting in the same way as someone else.

One question with this concept that I've thought about is that do we only conform in front of groups? What about just in general by ourselves when we are talking to people? Don't some people answer questions or talk in certain ways that society "likes"? It seems as if society has such a big impact on us that we conform to the standards that it has for us. For example, since society seems to portray going to college as something that is needed in our lives, someone who didn't go to college (but who is around the same age as a college student) might try to sound more educated or "college-like" when speaking to someone. Or they may try to act smarter than they really are just to look good to people because of what society says.

Here is a video on social conformity:

Assignment 6

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The topic I will really remember would be Pavlov's classical conditioning experiment. It is something that has caused quite a bit of research. It is really something that is learned very early on in Psychology, and it is an easy topic to understand. Ivan_Pavlov_(Nobel).png Pavlov's face is quite memorable to me, and it is something that I have seen quite a numerous amount of time. It is really a well known experiment has won a numerous amount of prizes.


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The one concept in psychology that I know I will still remember 5 years from now is conformity. According to Lilienfeld, conformity is "the tendency for people to alter their behavior as a result of group pressure." There is always the saying, "don't give into peer pressure," but it is not as easy as it may sound. In high school, there were many times when I saw people fall prey to conformity and did some pretty "dumb" things. I myself have also fallen prey to conformity during high school when I changed my fashion sense to match those of my friends (i.e. growing out hair, following fashion trends). Although we may hate to admit it, conformity plays a role in our decision making even if we don't consciously think about it. Returning back to my high school years, I remember buying clothes that my friends would of have bought not noticing that my fashion sense had change because of the people I was with. I feel like this concept will stick with me for years to come because now it is one that I personally deal with on a daily basis.

This image show an example of a man who refuse to conform with the bigger group. In high school, if you did not conform with the group, you were not "cool." Which may be why I consider high school a time period in my life where I conformed and why I will always remember this concept.

Final entry

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The five stages of REM sleep will always be with me throughout my life, not only did chapter five fully capture my attention, but I have always been interested in figuring out what goes on during my sleep. There are five stages to sleep and each stage has different wavelengths and periods' determining what is going on within that stage. REM sleep is biologically important and probably essential in everyday life. During REM sleep 82 percent is associated with dreams. Dreams have always been a mystery to me. As I learned in lecture, dreams are integrating new experiences with established memories to make sense of and create a virtual reality model of the world. This will always seems to amaze me that our dreams can produce so many implications of real life. With sleeping there comes different types of sleeping disorders like, insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, night terrors, and sleepwalking. When looking into these disorders you can relate them back to the five stages of REM sleep. All of these concepts are intertwined with each other and If I was going to peruse a degree in psychology I would choose to have an emphasis on the developments of the five stages and developments of dreams with also development and trying to cure sleeping disorders.


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The capabilities of the human brain fascinate me, more specifically, neuroplasticity. The ability of one area of the brain to regain functions of a separate, damaged region is remarkable. The brain is capable of reorganizing itself. Simultaneously as we were exploring this concept in psychology, my freshman writing class was reading an excerpt from the book "The Brain that Changes Itself" by Norman Doidge. The text offered three case studies to explore the workings of brain plasticity, including the story of Cheryl Schiltz (see related video), whose vestibular apparatus wasn't functioning until she sought treatment from scientist Paul Bach-y-Rita. Another focused on Pedro Bach-y-Rita, who was 'permanently' paralyzed and unable to speak. After intense therapy, Pedro regained his normal functions. It was after his death that doctors discovered a large lesion in his brain resulting from his stroke that had hardly healed; his brain restructured around it.

Neuroplasticity is an ever-changing area in the psychological, scientific, and medicinal world, and I suspect that numerous breakthroughs will be made in the future. Not only will I remember learning about such aptitudes of the brain throughout my life because new experiments and advances will be shared by way of the media, but I'm sure at some point in my life I'll have the pleasure of meeting an individual who has experienced trauma, and in adapting, has rewired their own brain to cope.

"The Five Minutes That Changed My World"


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The capabilities of the human brain fascinate me, more specifically, neuroplasticity. The ability of one area of the brain to regain functions of a separate, damaged region is remarkable. The brain is capable of reorganizing itself. Simultaneously as we were exploring this concept in psychology, my freshman writing class was reading an excerpt from the book "The Brain that Changes Itself" by Norman Doidge. The text offered three case studies to explore the workings of brain plasticity, including the story of Cheryl Schiltz (see related video), whose vestibular apparatus wasn't functioning until she sought treatment from scientist Paul Bach-y-Rita. Another focused on Pedro Bach-y-Rita, who was 'permanently' paralyzed and unable to speak. After intense therapy, Pedro regained his normal functions. It was after his death that doctors discovered a large lesion in his brain resulting from his stroke that had hardly healed; his brain restructured around it.

Neuroplasticity is an ever-changing area in the psychological, scientific, and medicinal world, and I suspect that numerous breakthroughs will be made in the future. Not only will I remember learning about such aptitudes of the brain throughout my life because new experiments and advances will be shared by way of the media, but I'm sure at some point in my life I'll have the pleasure of meeting an individual who has experienced trauma, and in adapting, has rewired their own brain to cope.

"The Five Minutes That Changed My World"

Tell A Story

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One concept/topic that I will remember five years from now is the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), which is used to indirectly study someone's personality specifically. In this test, 31 cards depicting ambiguous situations are used, most of which are interpersonal in nature. Examinees then construct a story based on each card, and the qualifiers given in the story will show their emotions, thoughts, and relations between people. This is then interpreted by the examiners on an impressionistic basis, where they inspect the content of the story and analyze it using clinician intuition. The story that the examinee tells will indicate their unconscious thoughts & emotions and also shed some insight into the harmful situations they may be involved in. Because of the unique story a person tells when looking at these cards, it's possible to glean a lot about a specific person based on how they respond and get to the core of WHY he or she feels a certain way. Through the TAT, it is possible for the person to safely project their unconscious thoughts and for the psychologist to understand the unique behaviors that a person shows based on the information given through this test. Below is a picture of a few cards that are used.

TAT Card
TAT Card 2

This concept is very interesting for me because of the way something subtle can be used to glean something important and meaningful to better understand a patient and their actions. As an inquisitive person, I like to understand the interesting behaviors that people have and what sort of situation factors can cause these behaviors, which is what a TAT shows. My interest in this was initially piqued when it (and other indirect self-projection tests) was used to analyze the members of the Third Reich after World War II to understand how they could come up with such horrific things, like the Final Solution and the idea of concentration camps. Since they were smart enough to lie on other psychological measures so that their true personalities couldn't be seen, the Thematic Apperception Test was one way to determine how the members' personalities really were so as to give insight into why these disastrous events occurred. For example, it was seen that some members had paranoia, which wasn't visible when they took other standardized personality tests.

All in all, personality tests are a way to describe the way a person is and what sort of characteristics they may hold. The TAT shows us how these characteristics may be hidden from the rest of the world, so as to present a normalized, stable front, but can also explain why we emulate certain behaviors.

Human Resilience

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One concept that I will not only remember, but do my best to implement over the next five years and beyond is my knowledge of the fact of how resilient humans can be. This applies from children all the way up to old people. I have had bouts in my life where I felt like stress had swallowed me whole. It would make it hard to think, move, and even listen to and play music; one of my very favorite hobbies. These vary in length and are often times concluded with the realization that I have had a pretty easy go at things thus far in life. Not that I haven't heavily exerted myself in order to accomplish desired goals, but I am given the opportunity to reach targets that I want to reach. The things that I do in this life have been geared towards bettering myself while of course keeping others in mind. While realizing this I look at experiences others have faced, whether it be a child an adult, that i haven't experienced. I have never lost a dear friend or close family member, nor have I witnessed heavily traumatic event. And many of the people who have had such experiences struggle, yet still find a way to bounce back and live life with a positive outlook. Certainly some don't overcome this so easily, and many who have suffered a real rough patch struggle from post traumatic stress disorder. And that is always a possibility, but I am determined to transcend that. So what I guess I am really trying to get at is the knowledge of this human capability, to press on when "the going gets rough", should apply to me even when I someday do come across a somewhat traumatic event. I don't at all look forward to it, but I know I'll manage to get through it.
Over twenty years ago, longer than I've been alive, my moms brother was involved in a life changing car accident that sent him into a coma then a wheelchair fort the rest of his life. She and her brother are very close, and I have never seen her break down in remorse on his account since I've been around. I'm sure she struggled for some time, but she has kept trucking with the matter since as long as i can remember. She and her parents are extremely resilient.
Other examples of resilient people depicted below:

The Role of Obedience in My Life

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Out of all the topics in psychology, the topic of obedience will definitely resonate in me for the rest of my life. For the majority of my life, obedience has played a big role. This is why I have been able to observe and analyze the positive and negative aspects of obedience. Obedience, as described in the text book, is "adherence to instructions from those of higher authority." This has started early in my life because I had to be obedient to my parents. I could not support myself and I knew that the only way to survive was to trust my parents and follow their advice. Parents, more often than not, know what is best for a child; therefore, it is wise to obey them. Obedience became more apparent in my life when I chose to attend Saint Thomas Academy for high school. This high school is special because STA, as we call it, is involved entirely in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp, or JROTC. This involved transforming the student body into a military set up. All students were entitled to a rank and were put under the command of upperclassman. The student body was run in a military fashion and overall, everything ran smoothly at the Academy because of this set up and it helped me learn to respect my leaders as well as how to be a leader myself. All I have learned from STA will definitely be prevalent five years from now because the school has taught me the benefits of obedience in the professional world, and also when to challenge authority in positive and productive ways.
Here, I have a video of how obedience to a higher authority is demonstrated at the Academy, through a military marching review. None of this would be possible if it were not for the obedience of underclassmen to the upperclassmen.

What I Will Remember Five Years From Now

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Of all the content that we have gone over in Psychology 1001, I will remember the topic of lucid dreaming five years from now. This may seem like a strange concept to remember, but I love sleeping, and have experienced lucid dreaming. As I remember, lucid dreaming was very fun. Lucid dreaming is when a person becomes aware that they are dreaming while asleep. This is usually caused when the dreamer experiences something so bizarre in the dream, that realize that it must be a dream.

The reason I find this topic so interesting is becomes it gives humans the possibility of controlling their dreams. I personally love sleeping, and enjoy when I dream. I have experienced lucid dreams, and when I realize that I am dreaming, it makes the dream much more interesting. When I realize I am dreaming, I can't necessarily control the dream, as some may claim, but I feel like I am in dreaming in an omniscient point of view.

Although lucid dreaming is very hard to verify scientifically, I do wonder why we experience lucid dreams, or why we think that we experience lucid dreams.

lucid dreaming.jpg

Assignment #6

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Although it is not a concept exclusive to psychology, I believe one of the most significant concepts explored in this course that will have implications for the rest of my life is critical thinking. Critical thinking refers to the evaluation of claims or ideas with an open-minded, cautious (perhaps even skeptical) approach. Critical thinking in psychology may also be considered scientific thinking and it includes a set of scientific principles. There are 6 of these principles: Ruling out rivaling hypothesis, correlation vs. causation, falsifiability, replicability, extraordinary claims, and occam's razor.
Critical thinking will continue to play a role in my life on an everyday basis. With any new information I receive, whether I encounter it on the news, in a gossip magazine, or in one of my college courses, I encourage myself to apply my critical thinking skills and assess things cautiously to prevent from falling victim to bias or irrational tendencies of myself and others. Due to the versatile and universal relevance of critical thinking, it can be applied to many (if not all) aspects of life, and this is why I'm confident that this will be something that will stick with me beyond this course.

This video presents is an example of the scientific principle, Occam's Razor, which encourages us to follow the rule of thumb: Simple is best. In other words, most of the time (not always) when presented with more than one explanation the more parsimonious one is generally best.

Although there have been many elaborate and imaginative theories behind the construction of Stonehenge, this video explores a more simple explanation.

The Six Principle of Thinking

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There are numerous topics from psychology, but the concepts of the six principles of thinking are what I'll really remember five years from now. The six principles of thinking were in every chapter quiz and each time I'd recall the definition of each six. The repetition of recollecting the meaning and studying them created the principles to be embedded into my long-term memory. After learning these terms they helped me stir away from confirmation bias and think in a different way.
For example, the media tends to sway our perception, but the media shares only one side of the explanation. In the newspaper if I see a head line that states "study shows depressed people who receive a new medication improves more compared to depressed people who receive no medication." It lets me think that the study could be due to the fact that people who received the medication were expected to improve, which in this case is using the principle ruling out rival hypotheses. Even, if a study stated speed-reading increases our IQ, I'll be skeptical if the study was replicable and have results of the same findings. I encounter all of the principles of critical thinking in my daily life.

Interpersonal Attraction

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A concept I will remember five years from now about psychology are the social influences on interpersonal attraction which are: proximity, similarity and reciprocity. Proximity is the physical nearness predictor of attraction, which allows for a relationship to be formed.

Similarity refers to the extent to which we have things in common with others, which is important for maintaining a relationship. shrek-and-fiona.jpg Reciprocity is the rule of give and take and allows for relationships to move to a deeper level. reciprocity.jpg

I will remember this topic in five years, because I think that it's very simple, but logical by how it describes the reasons for why relationships form. I find this topic interesting because it explains thoroughly why we have the relationships we do. Reflecting on my own life, some of my closest friends are the ones who live on the same floor as me, and who share common interest of the biological sciences. The fact that this concept is so applicable to my life makes it more memorable for me in the long run. I am able to observe the influence of these factors in the lives of others which is not only entertaining at times, but bolsters their validity.

Even though this concept seems so concrete I still wonder why there are functional relationships that defy all three of these influences. By all logical reasoning these relationships shouldn't work, but I guess that's what makes humans interesting, the fact that we don't all follow a set of rules for our behavior.

Assignment 6 Parenting Styles

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I know that in five years I will remember the section about parenting styles because I have dealt with them on a personal level being a babysitter for many years and a nanny for multiple summers. In my family it has always been apparent that there are differences in parenting styles. For example, as a young girl I noticed that my aunt and uncle had more rules and would not let us watch MTV but on the other hand my other aunt and uncle were very different in that they never told us what we could and could not do. According to Diana Baurind's work there are three different parenting skills, permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative. Since Baurind's study some authors have also identified a fourth style of parenting, uninvolved. Permissive parents tend be lenient and allow a lot of freedom to their children. Authoritarian parents tend to be stricter with their children and allow little freedom.
parenting styles.jpg
Authoritative parents use a combination of permissive and authoritarian styles of parenting; they set limits but allow some freedom. Uninvolved parents tend to be neglectful and ignore their children. A couple summers ago I was a nanny for a family with the authoritative parenting style and I was able to keep control of the children but also have a great time and bond with them. As a nanny the next summer for a family who I would classify as permissive parents, it was difficult for me to keep control of their children and show that I was in charge. I know I will remember this topic in five years because when I have my own children I will want to parent them the best way I can.
parenting style 2.jpg

Assignment 6 Parenting Styles

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I know that in five years I will remember the section about parenting styles because I have dealt with them on a personal level being a babysitter for many years and a nanny for multiple summers. In my family it has always been apparent that there are differences in parenting styles. For example, as a young girl I noticed that my aunt and uncle had more rules and would not let us watch MTV but on the other hand my other aunt and uncle were very different in that they never told us what we could and could not do. According to Diana Baurind's work there are three different parenting skills, permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative. Since Baurind's study some authors have also identified a fourth style of parenting, uninvolved. Permissive parents tend be lenient and allow a lot of freedom to their children. Authoritarian parents tend to be stricter with their children and allow little freedom.
parenting styles.jpg
Authoritative parents use a combination of permissive and authoritarian styles of parenting; they set limits but allow some freedom. Uninvolved parents tend to be neglectful and ignore their children. A couple summers ago I was a nanny for a family with the authoritative parenting style and I was able to keep control of the children but also have a great time and bond with them. As a nanny the next summer for a family who I would classify as permissive parents, it was difficult for me to keep control of their children and show that I was in charge. I know I will remember this topic in five years because when I have my own children I will want to parent them the best way I can.
parenting style 2.jpg

attachment styles

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Out of everything we have covered so far in Psychology, I believe in five years I will remember the attachment styles. I believe I will remember this because I am one to notice these styles within work, school, and at home. There is the secure attachment, avoidant attachment, and anxious-ambivalent attachment. I found that when I was younger I held more of the secure attachment because I was so dependent upon my mother and I was able to stay calm and controlled around her. I also see that with my younger brothers and sisters right now. On the other hand there is avoidant attachment where a child is able to cope with separation and tend to not rely on their mother. I have seen this a lot in movies with divorced parents. For example, the movie the Ring has a young boy who is able to coup with the death of his cousin and doesn't really need his mom to help him get through the tough times. I work at Chuck E Cheese's and I see many different relationships and attachments styles between a child and their parents. Anxious-ambivalent is a little more difficult to notice, but it is where a child is confused with the ability to cope with nonappearance of their mom, dad, or caregiver. After learning about the different attachment styles, it is definitely going to help me in five years because I will be thinking about having kinds and the way I want to raise them. I would love for my child to grow up and hold a secure attachment style I don't want them to have negative impacts on their behavior later in their childhood. I want them to be strong, independent, and to hold a high self-esteem. Therefore, I have learned a lot throughout this semester of Psychology, but the different attachment styles are what I am going to remember in five years.



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As of right now my main interest in the Psychology 1001 course is probably Personality, which we learned about in Chapter 14. In the personality category of learning, in specific, I'm intrigued by the idea of the Big Five Model. The Big Five Model consists of five basic traits that have surfaced repeatedly in factor analyses of personality measures (trait terms in dictionaries and works of literature). The Big Five is moving to me, because the lexical approach to personality used to uncover this model proposes that the most crucial features of human personality are embedded in our language. When I think about what I'm going to remember in five years from this Psychology course, I think about the Big Five Model. The reason for this being, it was not a difficult subject for me to learn. In that sense, it would not be a difficult subject for me to forget. The model also slightly interests me, which means that I don't really have to think about it too hard in order to remember it. I'm sure I will remember more than just this model when five years has come, but this is just one example. I am also sure that I am not the only student who says that the Big Five Model is one of the topics that they think they're going to remember in five years, because it was talked about a lot in class and we did in-class assignments regarding this model.

I placed this video about dealing with unemployment, because unemployment can be a serious downfall in anyone's life. It can cause depression and many other things. This video gives ways for people to keep themselves happy and useful. These are important things for people to remember.

Classical Conditioning and Its Alarming Implications

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I am always late. It doesn't matter how hard I try or what precautionary measures I take. However, it has less to do with the fact that I am irresponsible, and more to do with the fact that I can't wake up to an alarm.

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When we started learning about classical conditioning, I realized why I am completely immune to whatever blaring sound I hear early in the morning. I have conditioned myself to not respond to the sound of my alarm.


I found an article on how to start waking up to your alarm that specifically references conditioning. The author recommends practicing waking up to your alarm, thus conditioning yourself to wake up in the morning. I am currently working towards this goal, and I will definitely remember this in five years.

Assignment 6

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Obedience to authority figures is one of our inherent qualities as human beings. It is what allows us to live in societies with hierarchies and thus, is an extremely important characteristic in social psychology. The reason it will stay with me for the next five years though, is that it has a dark side. As shown in the Milgram Experiment, people can have their morals overridden by directions from a person wearing a lab coat. Stanley Milgram's experiment consisted of an experimenter who told you to deliver increasingly powerful shocks to a learner whenever they answered questions given by the experimenter incorrectly. However, the learner was really a confederate who was not actually being shocked. The purpose of this experiment was to determine how long the subjects would comply with the experimenter. A shocking 62% of the subjects delivered the most powerful shock, marked XXX. This will stay with me because I think it has extremely relevant repercussions for my everyday actions. I need to be aware of my own actions and the causes for them so that I do not simply do something "because I was being ordered to" that could compromise my morals, and more broadly, it's a lesson that would benefit humanity.

Dreams: What I'll Never Forget From Psych 1001

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One thing I will never forget learning about in psychology is dreams. I found it interesting that we go through different stages of sleep, five to be exact, and that when we go through the last stage, REM sleep takes place and the brain is activated as much as it is when we awake. I also found it interesting that there are two types of dreams: dreams that happen in REM sleep which tend to be emotional and illogical and non-REM dreams which tend to be shorter, more repetitive and deal with everyday topics of current concern (Lilienfeld). I will never forget learning about this chapter because it interested me and explained a few things about dreaming that I never knew. Dreams are an extremely complex subject that will always be a mystery of our subconscious and will never be an uninteresting subject to talk about. I find it extremely interesting that science has shown that all mammals dream. To think that my cat can be sleeping next to me and dreaming something just as bizarre as I am is a concept that just blows my mind. Although we may never know exactly why we dream what we do or why we even dream at all, dreams can provide an abundance of inspiration when you're lacking as well as something interesting to talk about.

Lilienfeld, Scott.Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding


Attraction: theories to fall in love with

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I think I will remember many theories and principles from psychology 1001, but one that I know I won't forget is the psychological basis of attraction. This states that our attraction to others is derived from four areas: proximity, similarity, reciprocity and physical attraction.
We humans form relationships all the time and often we have theories about who we will be attracted to and form relationships with, but we can always count on our own common sense, something this class has also taught me well. We would like to think that high school sweet hearts were just meant for each other, but science tells us it was probably at least partially because they sat next to each other in a few classes. We would also like to think we are attracted to people that are different from each other as exemplified by many sitcom romances, but again stable relationships are probably formed out of similarity. The bad boy who ignores the girls seems to get all of them, but is this really true, or does give and take work just as well if not better, especially in later years. Finally we would like to think love is blind, but physical attraction may be just as important.
The separation between our ideas about who we will be attracted to and who we will scientifically be attracted to fascinates me and will I believe I will from now on question why I am attracted to someone. Am I interested in a girl in my class because it is love or because we like the same subjects, she sits next to me is physically attractive and engages me in conversation? This is questioning is why I will remember the theories about attraction for years to come.
High School Sweethearts

Ross and Rachel right for each other?

the bad boy gets all the girls?

I just like her because she is interested in comic books

The triarchic model

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If there is one thing I will remember five years after this psychology class, it will be the triarchic model. I've always been very interested in the idea behind intelligence and IQ, and always wanted to take an IQ test to see where I would place. After reading the chapter on Intelligence and IQ I think there is a lot of merit behind the triarchic model. It makes a lot of sense when I think about it, because I know plenty of people that take tests well (such as the ACT or SAT) but when you talk to them in person, they don't exactly carry it on well. And on the other end of the spectrum some people don't test well but can relate well in conversation and are great with people. This is why I think the idea of three kinds of intelligence, analytical, creative, and contextual, may have some merit. I can't say for sure if these are the three kinds, but they make sense. This finding, whether it can be proved or not, suggests that there may be more to intelligence than straight book smarts. Efforts should be made to find a way to test/measure the other kinds of intelligence that people have, so that better correlations or findings can be made and we can know more about the science of the brain and mind.
(When I tried to embed this image it said permission denied.... technology troubles)

Learning and Chunking

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There were many interesting things I learned so far this semester is Intro to Psychology. One idea that I will keep with me for at least five years is the idea of learning and chunking, and how exactly the brain works when it comes to learning new materials and concepts. Before reading the chapter on learning and memory, I had no idea there was so much that went into learning, not to mention how complex it was. Chunking was one of the things that I found very interesting, which is the idea that you "chunk" or group together three or four simple items (numbers or letters) and learn them in groups versus learning each separate one individually. An interesting concept, but I find myself doing this at times when it comes to learning dates and names.

The reason I will keep this with me is because I will continue to learn things in the future, and will want to do it in the most efficient way possible. It is clear there is a science behind everything, and the fact that if you are able to understand and utilize this science and techniques, learning and memorizing and understanding will be more efficient. This is something I will definitely never forget.

Five Years

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Five years down the road, I know I will truly be happy that I took this class. I learned a few really valuable things that I will need to keep in mind for the next five years.
In five years, I will be in some other state with a child and my husband will be at work 100 hours a week in Medical Residency.

Key concepts that I will remember and could really come in useful are: the child development rates and when they learn to deceive and how they perceive things as well as how their perception changes, how your facial expression can change the way you feel, and how memories work. I'm sure I'll still have many flashbulb memories from having that first kid and finishing school and getting married. And knowing about my child's brain is very helpful for parenting (and that chapter on Authoritative parenting rather than Authoritarian parenting). I'll also have the haunting memories of Asch's conformity study to remind me how peer pressure could get to my child/children when they are old enough to be in school. I feel like I'm acting like a worried mom already.

There are so many concepts from this class that are helpful in everyday life and growing up. So the biggest thing that I take away from this class, is the joy and relief I will have in five years because I had simply taken it.

As seriously funny as this is, I pray that my child will not be influenced so easily...

Conformity: Join the Big Parade!

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I'm a teenager. Almost all teenagers deal with some sort of peer pressure at some point in their awkward journey to adulthood. You always hear your parents telling you "Don't give into peer pressure!", but after reading about the Asch study and seeing videos of everyday people falling prey to conformity so easily it makes me see conformity more and more everywhere I go.
This video is from the show Skins and it's funny how naive people can be when it comes to conformity.

Conformity is the tendency of people to alter their behavior as a result of group pressure. Now that I'm a freshman in college, I see it every weekend; especially at parties. I admit, I even fall prey to conform with others. Sometimes you may feel like a relaxing night to yourself may be what you need after a busy week or a night to do homework is needed versus going out to a party with a bunch of friends. But you choose to go out because all of your friends are and you don't want to feel left out. I dealt with this situation the past weekend. A bunch of rugby girls were going to go out, but I had to finish my chemistry assignment before midnight that night. This is conformity at its finest. I feel like this concept will stick with me through the years because it's the one that I personally deal with on a daily basis. Although we hate to admit it, conformity plays a role in our decision making most of the time even if we don't consciously think about it. By seeing how easily someone can conform to a group it also can be easily reversed by simple methods. I'm glad that we did a discussion activity on ways to avoid destructive conformity, such as ways to avoid drinking at a party if you find yourself in a situation where you don't want to. Finding someone else who won't drink or who won't conform to the group always helps.

Assignment 6

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The one the thing I think I will remember the most from Psychology 1001 five years from now would probably have to be the Milgram Study. I still remember learning about this in my high school psychology class too. This study showed how humans responded to authority. Experts predicted that less than one percent of participants would go all the way up to 450 volts during the experiment. I was extremely surprised when I found out that sixty-two percent of all participants went up to the full 450 volts shock. This just shows how much influence people with authority have. It makes people feel compelled to continue on with a task even though he or she may feel uncomfortable with it. The video we watched in discussion clearly displayed the "teachers" struggling with administering the shocks to the "learners", but when the experimenter told them to continue, they did as they were told. I kind of wish that this study was still around today just so I could see how far I would go with administering the shocks. I would hope that I would stop relatively close to the beginning of the experiment (like maybe two, three shocks only), but I cannot be too sure about that considering most people went up to 150 volts. This study was just beyond belief and I cannot believe that so many people fell under the command of an authority figure.

The Milgram Study:
This picture shows the "teacher" and the "learner" separated by a wall. Studies show that if there is a larger distance between the two, the more obedience there will be.

On the bright side

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I think the one thing that I learned that will stick with me for the rest of my life is the is the idea that remaining happy and passionate about what I do will have lasting impact on my health, emotionally and physically. The positivity effect, or the idea that one remembers more positive information with age, comes to mind as I think about the years ahead. When I really think about it, it makes a lot of sense. With age, most people marry, develop more friendships, and earn college degrees. As stated in the text, people who are married tend to be more happy than those who are not. Those with many friends tend to be more happy than those with less. Those who have college degrees are also more happy than those who do not. Republicans tend to be happier than Democrats. Republicans also tend to be older and wealthier. All of these items simply imply correlation rather than causation, but I think it can be said that getting married, having friends, graduating from college, and making a living for yourself can increase your outlook on life. Additionally, when we look at exercise, there have been studies that show that when people exercise more, there is a release of endorphins that increase happiness. I can honestly say that in beginning to exercise more frequently, I have become a happier person.
To conclude an academically enticing semester of psychology, I would like to say that studying the mind has fortified my belief in exercise and maintaining a positive outlook on life. They really do impact personal health and well being more than I imagined, and continuing to enjoy the joie de vivre will be a focus of mine in the future. If the positivity effect holds a truth for me, it should be a very plausible emotional state to achieve.


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One concept this year in psychology class that has really stood out to me, coincidently has been the most recent topic discussed in my psych discussion group. That concept is the social influence on conformity. Conformity is the tendency for people to alter their behaviors as a result of group pressure. Solomon Asch conducted one of the most popular tests on conformity in the mid 1950's, where he used "confederates" (fake subjects of people who knew what the test was about) to influence the actual subject's answers. The tester would show the subjects a group of lines and state which of the three lines matched a standard line. After a few tests where the confederates would say the true answer, they would switch it up and all the confederates would purposely say the wrong long matched the standard line and the real subject would be confused. Asch found that about 75% of the subjects would in-fact conform with the group and answer the question incorrectly. There were some ways where the subject was less likely to conform though. When at least one other confederate gave a different answer than the others, the subject was less likely to conform and more likely to say the actual right answer. The other way he found subjects less likely to conform is when he had the subjects write down their answers on a sheet of paper that would be kept quiet from the rest of the group. Subjects in this test answered correctly almost 100% of the time.

Conformity doesn't only happen with choosing lines though, as seen in a video during my discussion class, people conform to the group during real world situations. In one situation, four confederates would walk into an elevator where a "subject" was standing facing outwards. The confederates would walk in and face backwards in the elevator, and in nearly every test, the subject would eventually turn around to face the back of the elevator. The picture below is an example where this test took place, with everyone but one of the people in this picture being a confederate, you can see the subject turned around as well. (the guy in the black shirt)
elevator conformity.jpg

To further test the strengths of conformity, some friends and I conducted an experiment in our dorm. Four friends and I (all taking the psychology 1001 class) would walk into a room of one of our friends who was just watching TV, and the five of us would casually sit down and start reading a book from one of our classes. Of the five different subjects we tested, four of them stopped watching TV and picked up one of their books to start reading. The one subject who didn't conform with us, later admitted that he thought about studying for a class but he already took three midterms that week and had nothing to study for.

The fact that such a high percentage of people will conform to a group in any situation amazes me. It makes events that previously seemed unbelievable (such as the holocaust as an extreme example) actually seem realistic. The fact that people around us affect our decision making so strongly is remarkable. These reasons make me believe that I will still remember the concept of conformity five years from now.

Stanly Milgram Study

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The most interesting thing in the lectures during the past 2 weeks was Stanly Milgram study. When I was young I heard this experiment so that I knew it, however, I so surprised as I saw the video of Milgram study in discuss section.
A famous study by Stanley Milgram, a Yale University Psychologist, points out in a rather dark way, how our beliefs affect our experiences. The participants and confederated are told by the experimenter that they will be participating in an experiment to test the effects of punishment on learning behavior. The actor pretends to have a slip of "student," so the participant is led to believe that the roles have been chosen randomly. However, the both slips say "teacher," while the actor just pretends he or she has "student" on his/her slip. The participant gives a question to the student, and then if the answer is wrong, the student will receive an electric shock. The shock levels starts as 15 volts and increasing in 15 volts all the way up to 450 volts. While the participant believed that the student will receive real shocks, shockingly, the number of participants who continued all the way up to 450 volts was 65%, with every 'teacher' giving shocks up to at least 300 volts. Many participants seemed unable to disobey the experimenter even though they displayed signs of anguish while giving the shocks, such as seating, trembling and biting their lips. As a result, Milgram's experiment is to understand how strong a person's tendency to obey authority, even though it's immoral or destructive. I guess if the experiment is conducted today, the result is very similar to the old one.

I found one interesting video. this is asking that "How evil are you?"

The Bystander Effect

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Reading the psych book, the stories of the bystander effect shocked me. The bystander effect is an aspect of social psychology in which individuals do not help or offer assistance to a victim while there are others present as well. Also, the greater number of bystanders, the less help that will be given by anyone present.
I find this topic intriguing, and I believe I will remember it five years from now, because of the appalling nature of it. I can't believe that the more people there are, that the less likely an individual will be able to obtain help. In addition, I found it stuck in my mind especially because I work as a lifeguard and would like to think that even outside of work I would notice someone in trouble and would offer help. And if I would, wouldn't others as well? How can someone with training or even just a nice person not help someone in need?
I remember when I was taking my lifeguard certification classes our instructor showed us a video that demonstrated the bystander effect in a lifeguard setting. In a pool at a camp, all the counselors and kids were in the pool and it was packed. The lifeguards were also on duty. A kid was lying face-down in the water, and after 30 seconds, he still hadn't resurfaced. The lifeguards were still scanning the water, and probably assumed he was simply floating on his front. After a minute, he still hadn't been spotted, and there was even a counselor who kept bumping into him but also thought he was just fooling around. None of the lifeguards, counselors, or other campers recognized that the kid was drowning and unconscious. There were so many people and they did not see the signs of trouble or simply chose to ignore them.
I think the general public should be more thoroughly educated about this phenomenon as it might shock people and motivate them to be on the look-out for endangered individuals more actively and prevent awful incidences from occurring.
Here is an experiment they did to find out how the public reacted to the abduction of a little girl:

Defense Mechanisms and Boy Problems

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Being a girl, and having girl friends, I deal with boy problems almost on a daily basis and interestingly, I have found that often the actions and conversations involved can be explained using a defense mechanism. The one topic from psychology that I think will stick with me for at least five years is the concept of defense mechanisms. I already find myself using them to put a name to what a person is saying and doing when they are upset.

"It's okay that he kissed that other girl because he was drinking and not in the right state of mind." This sentence is a real world example of intellectualization. It is very obviously not okay for anyone's significant other to be kissing another person. But, in order to feel better, the person being hurt will try to avoid the unhappy feelings by focusing on an abstract and impersonal thought.

Throwing your cellphone across the room and slamming the door sometimes seems to help alleviate upset feelings about a situation. This type of defense mechanism is called displacement. Instead of yelling and screaming, which would be considered socially unacceptable, throwing objects seems to suffice.

Not only do defense mechanisms appear in my life almost daily, they are everywhere. They can even be spotted in movies. This video clip shows the defense mechanisms appearing in a variety of movies.

You can see examples in this video.

I will hang on to the concept of defense mechanisms because they show up in my daily life and they are interesting enough in order for me to pick them out easily.

The Bystander Effect

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The bystander effect is a concept that immediately sparked an interest for me. I heard about the murder of Kitty Genovese, in which no one who heard her screaming called 911, at some point during my high school career. However, I never knew there was scientific evidence describing the reason people don't feel they need to call for help. The reason for this reaction is not necessarily due to apathy, but to psychological paralysis, in which these people find themselves frozen and unable to assist the victim (Lilienfeld, 2010).
I took a CPR class where my instructor made it clear that while I am preparing to give someone CPR, I need to point out two specific people, one to find an automated external defibrillator and one to call 911, because few people will not take it upon themselves to help voluntarily. This makes me think about all the moments in my life when I saw someone on the side of the road with a flat tire and I never stopped to see if the person needed help. Although it is very necessary to evaluate the situation to make sure it's not dangerous to help, I feel the vast majority of these people would appreciate a helping hand. Psychology has taught me never to fall victim to the bystander effect again and that it is better to have multiple people call for help, than to see that person's name listed in the obituaries.
This concept has raised awareness about the bystander effect to many students so far and will continue informing future students. I hope that all of the psychology 1001 students will hold this message close to his or her heart, so that we will never have another tragedy due to the bystander effect again.

The attached video is a staged abduction in which the bystander effect is demonstrated.

B.F. Skinner and Shaping Behavior

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I found professor Peterson's lectures on learning extremely interesting and especially enjoyed learning about B.F. Skinner's development of shaping. Shaping is the process of rewarding successive approximations of a behavior until the desired behavior is performed. For example, when B.F. Skinner was training the dalmatian to jump up the wall (as pictured,) he first rewarded the dalmatian when it got near the wall, then when it moved it's nose up towards the line, and again with each successive jump that got the dalmatian to the line.

Shaping is interesting because it can be widely used; shaping is used in training dogs, dolphins, seals and even pigeons (a personal favorite of Skinner.) I had heard of clicker training before the lecture, but I didn't understand the concept behind it or how effective it was. I left the lecture extremely excited to try the techniques on my dog and am still excited by the possibilities that shaping affords. Even animals that don't seem very intelligent, like pigeons, are able to be trained to perform seemingly incredible tasks like guiding missiles as this video shows.

One question I had about shaping is to what extent it is used with human learning. Of course parents often use shaping without even thinking about it, but to what extent can shaping be used within the classroom to help teach basic skills (basic arithmetic, reading, etc.,) or even more complex ideas? It would be interesting to see research along this line and in what ways the technique is modified for use on children or adults.

Milgram Study

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The Milgram study is one that I will never forget about. I have discussed it in several of my classes, including high school psych, Psych 1001, and my political science class as we discusses authority. This study was a shock to the psychological community. Before the experiment was done, it was predicted that less than one percent of participants would go to the highest voltage of shock, in the actual experiment over sixty percent of participants did. The authority of the scientist telling them to proceed with the experiment was enough for the participants to potentially kill their test subjects. This may explain why so many normal German citizens committed so many atrocious acts during the holocaust, the authority made them feel compelled to continue with their jobs, and they felt that the consequences would not go back to themselves but to the figure of authority telling them to do so. From this experiment, psychologists learned amazing things about the impact authority has on people. Although this experiment could never be conducted again in the United States do to ethical reasons, it would be very interesting to see if this experimented were done again with today's young generation that is known for being disobedient.

Overcoming the Bystander Effect

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One topic that I have always found to be fascinating in psychology is the bystander effect. The bystander effect is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases where individuals do not offer any means of assistance to those who are in emergency situations when other people are present. The larger the group of people who are witnesses, the less likely anyone is to help the person in need due to a diffusion of responsibility.

I find this topic fascinating primarily because of the fact that I witnessed it first-hand and overcame it when nobody else would. Here's my story:
It was my senior year of high school, and it was a normal morning as usual. I was just talking to my friends before classes started, but then something new happened: a fight broke out. Two women were having an argument that eventually escalated into a all-out, physical fight. There was punching, screaming, and hair-pulling. It looked pretty painful for the both of them. Soon after the fighting began, I noticed that nobody was doing a single thing to stop it. I couldn't believe it at all. I looked at the two women fighting, then I looked at everyone else. It was like everyone was in trance. They were statues unable to move. I finally just went to break up the fight. And even more fascinating than the actual bystander effect that everyone was experiencing was the fact that people started to help AFTER I initially broke up the fight.

Knowing how the bystander effect works is one thing; seeing it unravel before your very eyes is another. It's quite the experience, and it's even more of an experience when you overcome it.


Where I see Pysch in my Future

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There are many things in psychology that I have seen in my everyday life. These things did not stand out to me until I learned about them and the terms that go along with them in Psychology 1001. One concept I learned in class that I have already seen and know I will continue to see for years to come is operant conditioning. This is when a person learns based on the consequences of their actions. I am going into special education in hopes of someday becoming a teacher, so ten years from now I will be around students who are learning all day long. I will be using operant conditioning to teach these children what kinds of behaviors are appropriate and what is inappropriate using positive and negative reinforcement.

I spend some time in and autism spectrum disorders classroom right now and just the other day I saw operant conditioning in action. One of the children screams a lot so in order to teach him to stop screaming the teacher decided to use positive reinforcement. She made a chart with seven boxes and then a break choice. For every minute that he was not screaming he moved one box closer to his reward, the break choice. This is positive reinforcement at it's best.

assignment # 6

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A study I will remember from psychology 1001 five years from now is the Milgram study. I had never heard of this study before and when i first read about it I was speechless! I couldn't believe the amazing (or sickening) ways our brain is capable of functioning. I had always naively thought that if a person knows something is wrong then they usually won't do it. This study showed me the way our mind takes the guilt of doing something wrong and placing it on someone of higher rank/authority. It was even more shocking and fascinating to watch the video in the clip we saw in discussion sections when modern psychologists replicated the study and gave the "teachers" a 45 volt shock to show them a small fraction of what the "learners" would be subject to. Even though the participants had felt a small jolt and most had jumped a little or said "ouch" most STILL administered the maximum voltage of 450 volts! The video shows many of the participants clearly struggling with their conscience while administering the shocks, but they still go through with it, with the 'encouragement' of the authority figure. This study really stood out in my mind and made me wonder if I were a participant in this study what would i do. I would hope that my conscience would not let me administer shocks to someone, but after reading about this phenomena our brain makes up i can't say for sure how i would fair.

assignment 5

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The Big Five model consists of five different traits that emerged from factor analyses of measures of personality, terms in dictionaries, and works of literature. The Big Five model was discovered by using a lexical approach to personality. A lexical approach suggests that the most important features of human personality are embedded in our language. Paul Costa and Robert McCrae labeled the five traits of the Big Five model. These five traits are as follows:
o Openness to Experience ("Openness") - Open people tend to be intellectually curious and unconventional;
o Conscientiousness - Conscientious people tend to be careful and responsible;
o Extraversion - Extraverted people tend to be social and lively;
o Agreeableness - Agreeable people tend to be sociable and easy to get along with; and
o Neuroticism - Neurotic people tend to be tense and moody.
Two well known acronyms for these five traits are OCEAN and/or CANOE, which is also known as a helpful mnemonic for remembering the Big Five model. Each person falls into one or more of these five traits, which is why the Big Five model is important; it helps us learn more about our neighbors, friends, and family and what kind of people we're surrounded by. This could be a useful tool when trying to figure out the right way to talk, or acknowledge, someone. Let's say you were to walk up to a complete stranger and just randomly start talking to them about something. If this stranger is a neurotic person, then you may want to be a bit more careful in how you express yourself to them, or around them. This is just one example, but there are trillions of people in the world and every single one of them is different. Not everyone fits neatly into each category, but this model is a good indicator as to the main 5 type of traits people posses.


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Throughout the semester, the topic I have found most interesting is Social Psychology, more specifically the Milgram study of obedience. I remember hearing about this study when I was younger and always being fascinated by it. The fascination arises from the fact that truly good-hearted people have the power to do nasty, cruel things under the orders of an authority figure. In the study, people are subject to an experiment where one of them is the "learner" and the other is the "teacher". Unbeknownst to the participant, the "learner" is really a confederate. The teacher then must administer a word association task with the learner, and whenever they get an answer wrong, they receive an electrical shock. The shock increases with each wrong answer. This is a frightening thing to think about, especially in the context of obedience of soldiers during the Holocaust or other genocides. It is truly amazing and horrifying how willing people are to comply with certain tasks without asking for any evidence of validity of the authority figure. Although the Milgram study can help explain why people thoughtlessly murder others, like in genocide, it should by no means be an excuse for it. The reason that most people comply with requests that they normally would never fulfill could possibly be a selfish reason. People are afraid that if they don't agree to do a certain unethical task, something worse will happen to them.
Here is a video where a man asked people to help him catch a woman who is a "kidnapper". Some people go as far as to steal the baby from the woman in order to help the man.


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The concept of a malleable, plastic brain that can overcome injury and change itself will endure in my mind for years to come. I think this it is not only the most important topic from psychology for me, but perhaps one of the more important areas of research today.

Neuroplacticity is the concept that our brain undergoes neuroanatomical changes due to behavior and learning. It has been been proven using animal studies and brain scans, and has proved to be a great therapy technique for many afflictions. The power of our plastic brain is prominent in childhood development, but continues throughout our lives. When we experience and learn new things, neurons fire (and wire together), reinforcing connections and building new ones.

I find this topic so interesting and memorable because it allows people who normally had almost no options for rehabilitation to undergo extreme changes. There is a plethora of research in many different areas relating to the improvement of learning and rehabilitation in the brain, and the concept of neuroplasticicity can help to explain many other different areas of psychology that are already known (Hubel and Wisel research on cats, drug addiction, shaping and chaining, human development, etc). Many neurologists, psychiatrists, and psychologists have recently been developing new therapies for people with many different disabilities. Stroke victims, OCD sufferers, amputees, learning disabled children, all of these people can and have benefited from this newly researched (but surprisingly well known throughout history) concept. Here are a few videos highlighting some of the pioneers in the field and the ways they have improved the lives of many with their work. I understand the videos are quite long, but I encourage you to watch them, as I hope you will find them as enlightening as I have. The idea that so many different people, who normally would receive almost no benefit of traditional therapy, can now reverse the effects of their illnesses, is truly fascinating and inspiring to me. This is the reason I will remember this concept for years to come.

The Dangerous Abilities of Man

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Although it is the one of the more recent studies we have been engaging, I feel that I will always remember the Milgram Experiments., I had heard of this study a couple of years ago in high school, and for some reason it always stuck with me. I found it so interesting that an average human being could be capable of such great torture without any moral conflict. This study comes up with the horrifying reason as to why genocides across the globe happen. Its kind of like a "if someone else is giving the orders, then it's not my fault" mentality; this severe obedience is the reason for mass killings in history. What surprises me even more is that most psychologists of the time predicted an extremely low percentage of subjects would actually go to the lethal 450 volts. It's very shocking (to use a bad pun from Dustin) to realize that over 75% of the subjects actually completed the study. Another interesting thing that grabs my attention is the fact that no one knows how they would actually do in this study, we would all like to think we'd stop, but would we? How dangerous can we as humans actually be?


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Throughout this semester I have learned many unique concepts. One concept that I will remember in years to come is the universal experience of dreaming. Nearly everyone who has been observed reported vivid dreaming when awakened during REM sleep. I find this fascinating because psychologists today are still trying to decipher the meaning of dreams. Scientists believe that dreams are involved in emotional memories, integration of new experiences with established memories, new learning strategies, and much more. Virtually everybody's dreams contain more aggression than friendliness, more negativity than positivity, and more misfortune than good fortune. There are also many different theories including: Freud's Dream Protection Theory, Activation-Synthesis Theory, and other neurocognitive perspectives. This is just a few reasons why I will remember what I learned about dreams.

Attraction and Love as a Mystery

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The concept from Psychology that I will remember the most is that attraction and love are some of the greatest mysteries in life. Going along with that, there are three major principles that guide attraction and the formation of a relationship: proximity, similarity, and reciprocity. Proximity often has a large part in falling in love because you usually are near by the person you are interested in. Usually "birds of a feather flock together" and that is usually the case in relationships as well; people who are similar have an easier time being in a relationship with one another. Reciprocity reminds us that love is something you have to work on at some points; you have to be willing to give and not just constantly take from your partner. Also, it is important to remember that love cannot always be explained, there are going to be emotions and thoughts that you may not understand. I really like Sternberg's Triangle because it shows some of the different "loves" there are and how you can tell which one your love may be. I like the idea that love and attraction are mysteries because that means that there is always something new and surprising around the corner. Sternberg.jpg

Social Conformity

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The one concept from psychology that I will remember in ten years is conformity. It is very interesting how people from society will conform to a specific thought, action or response because the majority of people share the same views or acts in a particular way. Some individuals believe it is wrong or inappropriate to act or think differently in certain situations and do not want to stand out in a crowd. They would rather blend in with the popular majority and put their uniqueness aside. However, in some circumstances, conformity can be a good thing. One should follow the crowd when it comes to safety measures. A person could be put into a lot of danger if they did not evacuate during a fire drill, go into a room without windows during a tornado drill or even put on an oxygen mask on a plane when problems arise. It's fascinating to see how far people will go to conform to society even when it goes against what they believe is right. People will change their beliefs and actions so that it matches everyone around them. The Asch study is a great example of conformity in society and shows the difference between someone voicing their thoughts from conformity versus writing their thoughts down on paper. Individuals are much more willing to go with their initial views when writing them down on paper rather than saying them out loud and going against the majority of the group. Also, when one person voices the correct response, the subject is more willing to voice the correct answer. Conformity in society affects every individual at one point or another, but it is their choice whether they want to conform to the majority of people or be a unique individual.


This cartoon illustrates how conformity in the work place can lead to consequences and that individuality is essential when it comes to a successful career. Managers want to see what each person can bring to the table without being influenced by their other co-workers. As I look over what I have learned about social conformity, I am still wondering how conformity can be prevented? What does it take for an individual to go against popular thinking and voice their unique perspective about a subject or topic?

Psuedoscience. Blog #6

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The text from the website (downloaded on 9/8/11) includes:
Pseudoscience is a claim that seems to be based on scientific evidence but it is not at all. An example is that Native American Men don't cut their hair is because it gives them a "sixth" sense to find threats. Native American men with long hair tracked enemies faster as opposed to short hair. The source is "United Truth Seekers", under the science and sprit section. The government tried hide it from public, but the reality is exposed (2011). The scientific claim is their "hair also emits energy, the electromagnetic energy emitted by the brain into the outer environment."

The claim is identified as a pseudoscience, because of the heavy reliance on anecdotes. The idea of hair being associated with supernatural powers originated from bible stories and urban legends, it described that hair gave humans precise tracking abilities for identifying threats. Urban legends are a weak source to rely on because it is based on second hand evidence and often are hard to falsify because it is not factual information. They are stories passed down from generations and it is likely that the speaker might add or delete some of the information. This inconsistently makes the claim unreliable. In terms of lack of replication, a scientific approach would have other independent labs redo the study to confirm the theory being proposed. If the findings are similar, then that strengthens the claim of the original theory. The test was carried out only once, this is not enough evidence to conclude that Native American men will long hair have superficial powers. It observed the behavior of only one Native American man with long hair, who went through several tests. They noticed that the when his hair was cut; it became harder for him to track the enemy down. However, since this is the only experiment carried out it is considered as a pseudoscience.

Knowing the difference between correlation and causation is crucial in an experiment, because prevent the experimenter from developing misleading conclusions. If A is associated with B does t necessarily mean A cause B, rather a third variable could cause both A and B. The false correlation in the article study was those Native American males' hair causes them develop a supernatural sense that aids them to track down potential threats. A possibility for the third variable can include those Native American men may have more military experience and better sense of locations in the land. The scientific approach considers various factors when coming to a final conclusion, which the study did not do.

When an experimenter makes an extraordinarily claim, there needs to be strong supporting evidence. It is important because if no evidence is shown people will believe everything they hear, even if it's strange. The claim that hair had its own ability to sense danger requires extraordinary evidence, and this experiment had no clear evidence. The only "test" done was one man and this could have been due to chance, the results of one person is not enough to claim that all Native Americans men have hair with supernatural powers. The other evidence was urban legends; these stories have no scientific evidence, and it's likely that these stories could have changed during the process of being passed down.

People may believe these to find an answer to a question. Since the answers might be limited, they might not agree with the other alternatives so they want to make up their own explanations to questions that cannot easily be answered. Learning the importance of replicating experiments has helped me differentiate between a pseudoscience and scientific claim. If not replicated by other scientist, then there's a doubt in the claim, a scientific approach would have consistent findings from various sources.

Interesting explanation of psuedoscience :)

Assignment 6: The Bystander Effect

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Something that I have learned about this semester that I know I will not forget is what I have learned this semester about the bystander effect. The bystander effect refers to the phenomenon in which the greater the number of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in distress. This stuck out to me especially, considering most people would assume that the more people, the better.


For example, in the photo above, a citizen is collapsed on the ground and though there are many pedestrians surrounding, nobody offers to help and they continue about their daily actives. Some of the reasons for this are that bystanders want to help, but find themselves paralyzed and seemingly helpless. However, the real problem seems to be that the more people present at an emergency, the less each person feels responsible for the negative consequences of not helping. For example, one could say that if the citizen in the above picture died because nobody helped them, the bystanders could say that it wasn't really their fault because any of the people present could've felt. Therefore, making them feel better about themselves in the situation. Nevertheless, there is hope.


The more people know about the bystander effect, the more likely they are to help in the future. This makes me feel optimistic that since I have now read about the bystander effect, if I ever come across a situation where there is someone in need in a crowded area, I will know that I should actually help them, and I should assume that nobody else has helped them yet. I can also pass this knowledge on to my friends and family who have not taken a psychology course! This will definitely stay with me for the rest of my life.


Learning, Chunking, and Rehearsing

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Ways to Chunk Information
One psychology concept which I believe I will remember in 5 years is the concept of chunking, rehearsing, and learning in general. Chunking is organizing information into meaningful groups to help remember information. This concept was particularly interesting towards me because I was impressed by the human brain's ability to increase its capacity for memory. I will likely remember the chunking method in an array of situations because chunking is my personal favorite way to remember information. Currently, I am using chunking to remember psychology concepts as well as other things such as phone numbers.
Another way I will remember things in the short run is through rehearsal. Rehearsal is repeating information mentally to enhance short-term memory. I will also use this to remember things such as phone numbers. Through these two methods, I will be able to enhance my memory for a variety of situations. We run into memory situations daily. In almost every class, chunking is extremely useful to remember concepts. Rehearsal is also useful in situations such as a math midterm when I need to remember a specific formula for a test and have not studied it enough to retain it in my long-term memory. Although the magic number for memory is generally seven, my memory can be helped by chunking and rehearsing. Because I will use these methods almost daily for the rest of my life, this psychology concept will stick with me for the rest of my life. Overall, I still wonder if there are other ways to enhance memory. Although there are many different claims to improve memory, chunking and rehearsing seem to be the most effective method so far. Consequently, I wonder if there is another method in the near future which will help humans learn as a whole.


Assignment #6-Violence Through Observation

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When I was really young, around four or five years of age, I was always the type of kid who would resort to violence to solve my problems. I was also the type of kid who would watch TV shows like the "Ninja Turtles" and "Batman" cartoons. Now that I am older and have calmed down a considerable amount I always looked back and wondered what made me so inclined to violence in comparison to other kids my age. Finally in psychology class I learned about an experiment done by Albert Bandura called the "Bobo Doll" experiment and how kids will learn to mimic behavior through observation. The Bandura study resulted in other studies on how other social media can influence children, like a video we watched in my psychology discussion about how children tend to be more aggressive after watching shows like "Power Rangers" in comparison to something like "Barney". Now that I have learned about concepts like this I am much more aware of how influential things like TV shows and older adults can be in the lives of children and also why I was so aggressive as a kid. Because this finding explained a lot of my behavior to me that I was never really quite sure of, the results of this finding will probably stick with me for a lifetime.

The Bystander Nonintervention

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bystander-effect.jpgOne of the concepts that will remain with me is the bystander effect, which is the tendency for a group of people to refrain from helping someone in need because of the presence of other people. It is a shocking truth, and it shows human's genuine nature. In large groups, people become increasingly more ignorant and feel less responsible for negative consequences of not intervening. An example of this was shown in an infamous video of a hit-and-run accident in China. A toddler was gruesomely run over and sustained critical injuries. For ten minutes, people walked past the child lying in the middle of the street ( It seems as if the moral standards of today's society are almost virtually nonexistent. I was not aware of the magnitude of influence that people have over others. I could never predict how I would react in such a situation, but I believe that because I have been informed by psychological research and certain values, I might be aware of an emergency occurring or react differently. Still, I have hope that the precious few people with socially constructive behaviors will stand up for what is right, in spite of seemingly daunting odds. Perhaps, the act of a good samaritan will influence others to do the same.


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One topic that we studied this semester that I will remember is consciousness. I found the studies of people with severed corpus callosums fascinating. The Corpus callosum connects the two hemispheres of the brain and allows them to share information.


It's strange how people did not realize what they saw in their left visual field but their hands "knew". The right and left hemisphere of the brain are almost symmetrical. One difference is that the left hemisphere is responsible for understanding and formulating speech. Because the information sensed in the left visual field goes to the right hemisphere, a person with a cut corpus callosum can not say what they saw. It seems that they do not even realize that there was an image presented on their left. The most interesting part though is that when asked to grab what they saw (for example: a spoon) with their hand, the person's left hand will pick the correct object. The conclusion drawn from these studies is that our consciousness is connected to our Broca's area and Wernicke's area (the area's that control our speech).

This video explains this phenomena very well:

I will remember this concept because it was so interesting and amazing to me.

The Milgram Study

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The question is, what concept will you remember five years from now? My honest reply to that question has to be without a doubt the Milgram study. This reason being is that this study showed many things about how humans interact with authority and how good people can do bad things.

The study was done by taking individuals and informing them that they will be testing a theory that punishment helps learning. Two people and a person in a lab coat are in the main part of the study. One person is assigned the role of learner the other teacher. What participants do not know is that they are always the teacher, as the learner and the lab worker are actors. As the teacher you are told by the lab worker you will be giving questions to the learner and that if they get the question wrong you are to administer an electric shock. Every time that the learner gets a question wrong you are to administer a stronger shock for each successive incorrect answer. The shock values range from 15 volts for the first incorrect answer all the way to 450 volts.

The test was designed to see how people would react and obey to authority even though they knew what they were doing was wrong. It is truly astonishing what ended up happening in this experiment. The teachers who were administering the shocks could hear the learner being shocked. As the volts increased the learners cries for help and screams of pain became louder. At one point the cries stop all together. While this is happening people show their concern for the learner that is being shocked and ask the lab worker if they are ok or if they should keep going. The lab worker who is an s]actor explains to them they must go on and that it will not cause permanent harm. To the amazement of scientists after the study was concluded, 65% of participants went all the way up to 450 volts, simply because they were doing what they were told.

This experiment explains some phenomena like the nazi movement in germany during world war two, and how good people can do bad things. People did these things out of fear, and most individuals said they continued because, A: The lab worker told them too and said they would be fine, and B: they did not want to cause a stir or ruin the study.

This experiment will surely stick with me, and should stick with many if not all people so that we can see and stop things like another nazi movement from happening.
Below is the video we watched in discussion sections, I chose this video because I think it did a nice job of showing exactly what the experiment was attempting to find out.
I apologize the video stops a bit early, what this experiment found was over 50% went all the way to 450 volts.

The Milgram Study

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The question is, what concept will you remember five years from now? My honest reply to that question has to be without a doubt the Milgram study. This reason being is that this study showed many things about how humans interact with authority and how good people can do bad things.

The study was done by taking individuals and informing them that they will be testing a theory that punishment helps learning. Two people and a person in a lab coat are in the main part of the study. One person is assigned the role of learner the other teacher. What participants do not know is that they are always the teacher, as the learner and the lab worker are actors. As the teacher you are told by the lab worker you will be giving questions to the learner and that if they get the question wrong you are to administer an electric shock. Every time that the learner gets a question wrong you are to administer a stronger shock for each successive incorrect answer. The shock values range from 15 volts for the first incorrect answer all the way to 450 volts.

The test was designed to see how people would react and obey to authority even though they knew what they were doing was wrong. It is truly astonishing what ended up happening in this experiment. The teachers who were administering the shocks could hear the learner being shocked. As the volts increased the learners cries for help and screams of pain became louder. At one point the cries stop all together. While this is happening people show their concern for the learner that is being shocked and ask the lab worker if they are ok or if they should keep going. The lab worker who is an s]actor explains to them they must go on and that it will not cause permanent harm. To the amazement of scientists after the study was concluded, 65% of participants went all the way up to 450 volts, simply because they were doing what they were told.

This experiment explains some phenomena like the nazi movement in germany during world war two, and how good people can do bad things. People did these things out of fear, and most individuals said they continued because, A: The lab worker told them too and said they would be fine, and B: they did not want to cause a stir or ruin the study.

This experiment will surely stick with me, and should stick with many if not all people so that we can see and stop things like another nazi movement from happening.
Below is the video we watched in discussion sections, I chose this video because I think it did a nice job of showing exactly what the experiment was attempting to find out.
I apologize the video stops a bit early, what this experiment found was over 50% went all the way to 450 volts.

The Six Principles of Scientific Thinking

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Throughout the course of the year I have learned a lot about the field of Psychology. I remember learning in the first chapter the six principles of scientific thinking. I remember thinking that this concept was pretty straight forward and didn't really hold much importance or much thought to the field of psychology. I thought this idea was one of those that I learn once and memorize the concept for the test, and after that it will disappear from my brain forever. But to my surprise, these ideas reappeared again and again in almost every chapter, on almost every page, and in every theory or experiment presented to the class.
These principles have been drilled into my brain, and as a result I also have come to realize their great importance and brilliance in psychology. The principles help scientists to focus in on what an experiment is truly demonstrating and determine if the results are truly scientific or really useful. I have learned to be able to pick out the principles within an experiment and use them to help explain the purpose of the experiment, and the reliability and validity of the experiment. These principles, especially the principles of Ruling of rival hypothesis, extraordinary claim, and replicability, have been useful in my daily life as well. They have helped me better evaluate the information I receive throughout my day and I have learned to only share information that apply these principles. I will remember this aspect of Psychology because it is very useful in everyday life and helps contribute to a more accurate and relevant world.

Assignment 6: Bystander Effect

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The Bystander Effect
I will take with me many things from psychology, but I know I will never forget the myth of "safety in numbers." They bystander effect is the phenomenon in which the greater the number of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in distress. This occurrence is interesting to me because it does seem like the opposite would occur. The larger the group, the less obligated people feel to help. Many people may find the situation to be too dangerous or they just don't want to get involved. The presence of others makes each person feel less responsible for the outcome. This is something I will remember because it shocks me, and terrifies me. I would hope someone would help me in an emergency instead of just walk by, but at the same time, I hope I would help someone as well. I think I would, but you never really know how you are going to react until you're actually in the situation. I think learning about this phenomenon has made me more conscientious of this occurrence and five years from now, I feel like I will be more likely to take action.

Ali Behrens

What I will remember in five years

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I have learned a lot this semester in psychology but i think one of the most important concepts that I have learned and will most likely still be with me in five years is the scientific principles. The author of the book has stressed them through out the entire book and they have begun to make a lasting impression on me. They are important because they can be used a constant throughout nearly any field of work psychological or otherwise. the authors uses them to guard against pseudo-science but that is not their only purpose. Sometimes scientists can make mistakes that the scientific principle will not initially detect but over time and with an unbiased eye the principle will find what is considered to be untrue or inaccurate. That is the true value of them and why I hope I can continue to apply them in my own life, the fact that they are imperfect but eventually win out. The following is a link showing 10 blunders in science but were corrected over time by using the principles

Love and Compassion

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I think that the concept of love and compassion will be the thing I will remember the most out of psychology. The main reason why I will remember love and compassion is because in five years or so I will be looking for a potential partner and knowing the triangular theory of love and the definitions of passionate and companionate love will be very beneficial. It will even help me in looking for a partner and what I can see in her that I will like and want to spend the rest of my life with.

I have had a few relationships in my past and when we learned about the types of love in class, I could see the ways of the triangular theory of love in my different relationships. When looking back on my past relationships and seeing how the different types of love have been shown in those relationships can really help me in my future relationships so that I can find the right girl. Love and compassion is a big part of what I want to achieve in live, so remembering the concept of love will be very beneficial for me and my partner.

Attachment Styles

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Five years down the road I see myself happy, situated, and hopefully pregnant. A concept that stood out to me the most this semester would have to be the attachment styles.
The attachment styles fell into three categories; secure attachment, avoidant attachment, and anxious-ambivalent attachment. Secure attachment is where the child is dependent upon the mother and is calm and collected around her. Avoidant attachment is where the child is able to cope with separation and do not rely greatly upon their mother. Anxious-ambivalent is a where a child is 'disorganized' with the ability to cope with the absence of their caregiver. According to our psychology book, infants' attachment styles attributable largely to their parents' responsiveness to them. It is important to me personally to have my child be in the 60% of the U.S. infants and be in the category of secure attachment. I want to be a 'secure base' for my child, as I was to my mother.
Also research has said children who don't form secure attachments early in life have negative impacts on their behavior later in childhood, and sometimes throughout the rest of their lives. Secure attachments are known for children down the road to have strong romantic relationships and good self-esteem. Studies have also shown that child in secure attachment styles are described as less disruptive, less aggressive, and more mature than child with ambivalent or avoidant attachment styles.
This concept is very important for me because I want to be a great mother some day by having my child be less aggressive, have good self-esteem, and be committed in a lasting relationship.
iStock attachment finger.jpg

Flashbulb Memories

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Out of all of the topics we have learned in psychology I believe in five years I will remember is the concept of Flashbulb memories. I think I will remember this one the best because I can apply it to my experiences in real life. I have had several experiences with this psychological phenomenon throughout my 18 years. The first is September 11th; I vividly remember where I was, what I was doing and even what I was wearing. For me this will be the easiest to remember because it puts a term to the distinct vivid memories that I have from experiences in my life. Another of the most vivid flashbulb memories that I have is when one of my friends took his life. I remember what I was watching on TV, what I was eating, what I was wearing, the day of the week, the time, you name it I remember it. As hard as I may try I cannot forget the details of this day and I bet I never will even fifty years from now. I know this is not true for just me because I have seen this phenomenon in my friends and family so I know it exists. Flashbulb memories can come from the best of times or the worst of times, either way flashbulb memories are a part of life that are unavoidable, unexpected and unforgettable.

Do you remember?

I do.

Social Psychology

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Throughout the semester in psychology 1001 I have learned many concepts that I feel I will remember five years down the road from now. Although the concept that I feel has stuck the most is the concept of social psychology. Social psychology is the study of how people influence others behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes for both good and bad. Before this class I never would of thought of social psychology as the term to define all the actions and decisions we make. Before reading chapter thirteen I never would of thought that a lot of the decisions I make are based on other people. Now after learning about this concept I can think of many prime examples in my life that I have affected others and their behaviors. In high school my senior year most of my friends took up the habit of drinking. Personally in high school I knew I just didn't want to take the chances of getting caught because I had to much to lose if I were to get caught. My boyfriend for two and half years didn't really want to drink but in some ways wouldn't of minded doing it. Having me as his best friend and I not drinking he knew he had the support and someone to hang out with if he decided to take the same path. With knowing he had me in his life my decision had an impact on him.
Another key example of social psychology in my life would have to be my experience with the Ronald McDonald house. I started volunteering at the Ronald McDonald house nearly two months ago. One of my friends was looking for somewhere to volunteer with kids so I suggested the Ronald McDonald house. At first she was really skeptical but after pointing out all the good and even having her come with me to volunteer one week she changed her attitude towards the opportunity. ronald.jpg I know that social psychology does not always influence people in a positive way but throughout the next years of my life I see social psychology affecting myself positively. Ronald McDonald Website You can make a difference! I have attached the Ronald McDonald house website because just maybe this blog has influenced you a little demonstrating social psychology.

Pavlov's Classical Conditioning

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I think that five years from now I will still remember the concept of classical conditioning: a learning procedure that takes place when two incentives are paired together frequently over time. The first reaction is obtained then the same reaction is obtained by a different stimulus after time, because the subject associates the first stimulus with the second. Thus, our minds react to a stimulus without that stimulus really rousing us.

I am interested in going into advertising and classical conditioning is used very often in advertisements to get consumers to correlate their products with an innately pleasurable stimulus. Now that it has been explained to me in Psychology 1001 and after seeing many examples of classical conditioning as well as operant conditioning in both discussions and lectures, when I see ads or commercials I am more skeptical than I used to be. I learned that many of the physiological ways in which we react to things is actually a key element of survival.

Seeing that Black Friday has just passed, many consumers have been mislead by advertisers into buying goods by the idea of high-order classical conditioning, which gets consumers to correlate their products with a optimistic stimulus. Now every time I am to purchase dinner at a restaurant, food at the grocery store, or clothing at a store, I stop and ask myself: do I really want it or is it the fact that I have seen this product so many times on television in commercials, or do I genuinely want it; thus, I will be more cautious. The concept of classical conditioning and the appliance of it to daily life is something that I find very interesting.

Below I pasted images of advertisements that illustrate higher-order classical conditioning.

So if we have a Canon camera, we will become a attractive tennis pro-athlete?!

By drinking Pepsi, we will be amazing socialites.

By wearing this perfume, we associate ourselves to be more like Beyonce (famous)
and hope others will too.

Lastly, my questions that I still have about classical conditioning is: in therapy, how long does it take patients to classically condition themselves to get over a new fear or phobia? Is this easier to children versus adults or vice versa? How long is a typical amount?

Attachment Styles Throughout Life

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After thinking about all that I have learned in psychology so far, I came to the conclusion that five years from now, the concept in psychology that I will remember most will be the concept of attachment styles. I believe this to be true, because after reading and learning about the different attachment styles I wondered what my children would be like when they grow up according to their attachment style. According to attachment theorists, your earliest relationships with your parents may play a major role in adult relationships. The three overall attachment styles that I learned about include; secure attachment, ambivalent attachment, and avoidant attachment. It is said that children who do not form secure attachments early in life, can have a negative impact on their behavior later in childhood and throughout the rest of their lives. Those with secure attachments, also tend to have strong romantic relationships and a good self-esteem. This concept in psychology will help me be the best mom that I can be when raising my kids in order for them to have a successful adulthood in both relationships and how they feel about themselves. Below, is a picture that displays how close of a relationship I want to have with my children as they grow up in order for them to have secure

A Moment in Time

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There are many topics I have been very interested in discussing throughout the semester and I would love to continue to learn more about these topics, specifically personalities and family situations versus social situations effect on individual's development. I believe these are the most interesting to me because, while I do not plan on pursuing a psychology career, these two topics have tremendous impact on my life, on a daily basis. These two topics have helped me to understand more about myself and who I am today. The aspect I found most interesting is that it is better to live in a bad family environment in a good community than to live in a good family environment in a bad community. It seems to be very true that children are greatly influenced by their peers everyday but I still question the book's statement that children learn more from their peers than their parents.

Additionally, the OCEAN traits have been the most entertaining to learn about in lecture while sitting next to a couple of my high school friends. A moment I will never forget is the day we went over each of the these five traits specifically. When we hit the 'neurotic' slide both my classmates leaned over and stared me down just to let me know I am the definition of neuroticism. Needless to say, I was a professional on this topic and got all the questions about this topic on exam correct. I will never forget this specific moment in my psychology class.

Attachment Styles

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The concept that I think will stick with me and that I will remember in five years is the attachment styles found in children. Attachment is the strong emotional connection a child feels with their parents. There were three types of attachment that were discussed in lecture: Secure, Avoidant, and Anxious-ambivalent. Secure attachment is where the child has a strong bond with their caregiver and is easily calmed down when around that person. Avoidant attachment style is where the child is able to cope with separation by themselves and do not rely heavily on their caregiver. Anxious-ambivalent style is where the child is disorganized in their ability to cope with the absence of their caregiver. I found the entire chapter that was devoted to child development to be fascinating, but this one concept I think will stay with me because of how important it is. I plan on having children when I am older and understanding how my actions can severely affect my child is essential. I also am a nursing major and I am considering the option of going into pediatrics. This concept will help me interact better with children and help me recognize what the attachment style of the child I am working with is. The video I found goes further into explaining attachment in children and gives real life examples. This video, along with what I learned in my Psychology 1001 class will help me care for children better in the future both as a mother and as a nurse. One part of the concept that I will research into further is what parents specifically do to provoke these attachment styles.

The Mystery of the Child Mind

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In five years, and basically for the rest of my life, I would like to remember everything I learned about child development. The main view point I think I will remember will be Piaget's child development theory with all of the different stages. It interests me so much because it is something we all have gone through, but the only way we can observe it first hand is by looking at others. It is such a weird thought that all humans went through the same stages. I think this will be important for me to remember because eventually when I have kids I can see if they are on the supposed "right" track. Even though Piaget's opinion was found to have many problems with it, the bases of the theory still hold true for most kids.
I know I will remember this concept in the future because even now when I see little kids I find myself witnessing things like object permanence and conservation in them. It makes me also think about what stage Piaget would have placed them in. I cannot wait to have kids and witness first hand some of these concepts like doing the conservation experiment with them. Children are so unique and interesting, so I cannot wait to really see how they function. The following link shows Piaget's developmental stages:

Acupuncture Treatment

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The ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture is a well-known, yet odd example of complementary and alternative medicines. Through the process of inserting over two thousand needles into the body, this technique is believed to modify the energy forces assumed to be running through the body. This energy of life force is what they refer to as qi.

As much of a skeptic as I am about acupuncture and qi, it's something I would be interested in trying if the opportunity were to present itself. Although maybe for reasons science can not currently explain, I would be intrigued by the effects of using such a bizarre method to alleviate pain. From people that I have talked to who have gone through acupuncture treatments, they have said nothing but positive things about it; however, the experience itself is a little strange. Having someone stick needles all over the place must be a little uncomfortable and probably a little awkward.

In this video, Amy Guinther has an excellent analogy about why acupuncture is necessary for some people. In the body, certain areas may be blocked like a hose that is folded, blocking water from passing through. The acupuncture treatment opens up these folds or blockages in the energy flow of qi. The video also discuses how acupuncture treatment is very different for each individual. Amy Guinther describes how the patients are specifically analyzed before the treatment begins to ensure maximum results.

After the research on acupuncture and qi, I am still a little skeptical. I like the idea of being able to treat pain in this very unique way, but I'm very doubtful about the whole qi aspect. If the opportunity ever presents itself in the future, I would be willing to try and alleviate the pain through acupuncture.

blog 5

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Over the last couple weeks we have covered numerous topics ranging from cognitive development to intelligence and emotions. The topic that I happened to find quite interesting was intelligence and the way it has been progressing over the last 80 years. When the graph was shown depicting the evolution of our intelligence and how an IQ of 100 today translates to an IQ of roughly 125 back in the 1930's, I was astonished. How is it that our intelligence is progressing so rapidly? Knowing that intelligence has been trending steadily upwards makes me wonder as to how an exceptionally intelligent person like Einstein would fare in todays fields of study. Einstein was considered one of the most evolutionary thinkers of his time. When looking and figuring that his intelligence is only relatively higher than those of us today poses questions such as how would the geniuses of today have fared in the 1930's and 40's. Overall this seems like a stretch in the findings of intelligence, that is the way that we our progressing. I find it hard to believe that an above average thinker from today would be able to have made some of the break throughs that Albert Einstein made in the past. Another interesting fact that I heard in lecture was the fact that intelligence was positively correlated to brain size. Meaning that a bigger brain is usually better. The funny thing is that Einstein actually had a below average sized brain.

Assignment 5 Graphology

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The topic I chose for this blog is graphology. Graphology is the psychological interpretation of handwriting. I think this is important because many regard this as a pseudoscience while others use it to detect employers who are potential to deceitful behavior. What evidence is out there to tell us whether graphology is a reliable source or not? According to our book others have even said to cure psychological disorders by changing people's handwriting. I have always been curious why everyone has different handwriting. Do girls generally have neater handwriting than boys? Is there a genetic influence in handwriting? Sometimes I swear my grandma, mom and I all have the same handwriting. I found a video that gives examples of all the different styles of handwriting and how to analyze them. The video has a disclaimer saying, "Please don't believe everything you see here 100% It does not always work, but for the majority of the population it is true." My first instinct after watching the video is that I fit into multiple categories and that I certainly hope that they weren't all correct. I think it's important to realize that graphology shouldn't be heavily weighed upon while hiring someone and it may provide some insight but graphology interpretations have low reliability. According to our book many graphologists rely on representativeness heuristic. This is another problem that I came across while researching graphology. While on the other hand my research lead me to find that there are actual dedicated to handwriting analysis. This topic is very interesting to me because there is so much controversy surrounding the topic.

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Assignment #5-Piaget's Stages of Development

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Over the last two weeks of psychology the concept that I found to be most interesting was Piaget's stages of development. Piaget's stages of development consisted of four separate stages consisting of sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operations each marked by a specific way of looking at the world and a set of cognitive limitations. This concept helps us understand exactly how a child's view of the world differs from ours and when certain mental tasks that come easily to us will appear in younger kids.
In the sensorimotor stage, which is from birth to about two years, a child's focus is on the here and now. During this stage the main source of knowledge, thinking and experience are their physical interactions with the world. Children in this stage lack the understanding of object permanence, which is the understanding that objects continue to exists even when out of view. A really good example of this concept is in an online video from Youtube about object permanence at The next stage is the preoperational stage, which is about two to seven years, where children acquire the ability to construct mental representations of experience. Children in this stage have now grasped object permanence but lack the ability to see the world from others point of view due to egocentrism. The following stage is the concrete operational stage marked by the ability to perform mental operations but only for physical events and finally the last stage is the formal operations stage achieved during adolescence where children can perform hypothetical reasoning beyond the here and now.
I think this a very important concept because by researching just how children think and develop we as adults are better equip to understand how a child thinks and therefore provide a better learning environment and realize they might lack some of the cognitive abilities we take for granted. If we didn't fully understand why children think the way they do we might have trouble seeing things from their point of view and expect things of them that we shouldn't. Before learning about Piaget's stages of development a couple years ago I was at a family gathering and my baby cousin Andrew was playing with his new toy incessantly and if anyone would take it away from him he would get upset and reach out for it. Eventually I saw Andrew drop the toy out of his view and he looked confused but this time he didn't reach for the toy and after a little while just went about his business. At the time I was very confused why he would reach for the toy when it was in sight but ignore it once it was out of view. Now that I learned about Piaget's stages I have a better understanding of his behavior and it makes perfect sense.
After studying this interesting concept I am left wondering exactly why things like object permanence occur and if it is an issue with physical development or if it just usually takes an infant two years to fully comprehend the idea of objects out of view still existing. Either way I think Piaget's stages are incredibly useful for understanding and raising children.

The Use of Projective Tests

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Projective tests are used to "interpret ambiguous stimuli such as ink blots, tell a tale (TAT), or even signatures" (Lilienfeld). These tests suggest how people think unconsciously. Projective tests are an interesting and important topic because they are used all the time yet lack reliability and validity.

The Rorschach Inkblot Test is one of the most interesting projective tests and is also one of the most used. These cards are used in the same way as when we look at clouds in the sky and see a bunny and are used to see projections from our unconscious (Personality). Inkblot tests have shown to have a low validity resulting in it not being able to accurately identify most psychological disorders. On the other hand, they have been effective in the diagnosis of illness such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.


The tell a tale (TAT) technique is used by showing the patient a picture of a situation and then in return they interpret that photo. Using this method can reveal a person's past such as if the patient was raped or how they feel about themselves. This test shows some validity in the way that TAT correlates positively with a person's occupational success (Lilienfeld).

Signatures or "graphology" is also an interesting way of evaluating psychological disorders as well as characteristics of a person. Graphologists use the representative heuristic, matching the features of people's handwriting with certain personality traits such as I's being dotted and T's being crossed being interpreted as disciplined (Lilienfeld). However, this test has very low reliability and almost no correlation between handwriting style and personality characteristics.


Projective tests come with some benefits but come with even more downfalls. Projective tests are generally given in a therapeutic environment but patient's answers can be easily variable with the examiner's attitude and the environment. Scoring these tests are also quite subjective, resulting in different interpretations of answers from each examiner.

"Projective Tests", Lilienfeld, page 570-572
"Personality Synopsis",

Writing Assignment #5

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The humanistic models of personality provide an interesting and original perspective of psychology. I have encountered these concepts in a counseling psychology course and they seem to have some beneficial implications for a therapuetic environment and relationship. It allows a person to be accepted for who they are and promotes the individual's ability to achieve their greatest potential (self-actualization).
The basic assumptions and concepts of the humanistic approach are that individuals are innately positiive and have the ability to achieve self-actualization, although there are various factors that can impede upon that achievement. Self-actualization is the aquisition of one's greatest potential, which according to Roger's, is innate and inherently constructive and positive. Carl Roger's model proposed that there are 3 factors at work. The organism, our biological make-up; The self, our beliefs about who we are; and the conditions of worth which are expectations we place on ourselves for appropriate and inappropriate behavior. It involves us internalization of external social factors. When conditions of worth conflict with our self-concept in-congruence emerges.
Carl Rogers humanistic approach is a refreshing alternative to more deterministic views adopted by pschyoanalysists and behaviorists. It's an empowering perspective that reassures us that we have the ability to achieve a fullfilling life no matter what our circumstances. There is much room for criticism though, since the concepts associated with the humantistic approach are vague and abstract and have little strong empirical support compared to other theories. It's also arguable that it's a little overly optimistic to assume that everyone has this innate ability and to assume that everyone's potential is innately peaceful.

This video explores the idea of innate morality. The study shown works with babies and displays the tendency of babies to gravitate toward the "good" puppets over the "bad". The concept of innate morality is closely associated with Carl Rogers' view of e the inherent abilities of people to become self-actualized and "good".

I Want It And I Want It NOW!!!

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There are three basic parts that Sigmund Feud argued made up the human mind and that these parts together are what account for the different individual differences in personality:

The ID: A primitive part if the personality that pursues only pleasure and instant gratification. Freud believed this was mainly an impulse fore sex and aggression.
The Ego: A part of their personality that is aware and is in contact with the reality of situations in the outside world. It is very conscious and it considers all possibilities including consequences of an action. The Ego also has to deal with the demands of both the ID and Superego.
The Superego: This is basically our sense of mortality. This is why we experience guilt and anxiety when we do something wrong. But it also is what guides us towards socially acceptable behavior.

In a healthy person, according to Freud, the ego is the strongest so that it can satisfy the needs of the id, not upset the superego, and still take into consideration the reality of every situation. Not an easy job by any means, but if the id gets too strong, impulses and self gratification take over the person's life. If the superego becomes to strong, the person would be driven by rigid morals, would be judgmental and unbending in his or her interactions with the world. Here are two short clips to show you exactly how one might over power the other:

I believe this concept is important because while the ego negotiates with the id, trying to prevent another tantrum, the superego judges the performance. Superego is another name for your conscience. It expects your ego to be strong and effective in its struggles against the libido's force. Usually, our conscience comes from our parents or a parental figure. As we grow, we internalize their standards, those same standards that make us feel so guilty when we tell a lie, cheat on our spouse, or steal. But the question remains, does everyone have a conscience? The answer may never be clear but I believe Freud was on to something!

Contact Comfort or Food

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In lecture we watched a short clip of an experiment that explored whether contact comfort and affection are in any way helpful to a young child. This experiment was performed by Harry Harlow and it really caught my attention. Before this experiment was performed many believed that affection had no real purpose.They believed that the attachment formed between mother and child was just due to the fact that the mother provided food and nutrition to the baby. Some such as behaviorist John Watson, even went so far as to say that love and affection can spread disease and psychological problems. This was a falsifiable theory, therefore, it had the ability to be tested and proven wrong. And that is exactly what Harlow did. He raised rhesus monkeys from birth in a laboratory setting. They were separated from their mothers from the minute that they were born. The only mother figures that these monkeys had were artificial ones. There was a wire monkey "mother" with a bottle that supplied food just as a real monkey mother's nipple would do. There was also a soft terrycloth mother. When left to be raised by these to fake mothers, the baby monkeys more often than not went to the soft more affectionate mother for cuddling and support. Therefore, his results show that love, affection, and contact comfort are very important in forming that attachment between mother and child. Food is not the only factor.

In a later experiment he would place the young monkeys in new environment (room) with there soft surrogate mothers. These monkeys would use their artificial mothers as a secure base. That is they would use them to feel more comfortable exploring the new room. When he removed the mothers, the monkeys no longer explored because they did not have the secure base they needed to feel comfortable in such a new situation.

This experiment is very interesting to me because it takes an idea that is now very well accepted in society and proves that its true. It's very hard for a person growing up in present time to think of this experiment as something bigger then just common sense, but back than it actually was.

Projective Tests

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Projective tests are an interesting, but sometimes unreliable measure, of personality. A projective test aims to create a projective hypothesis which assumes that in the process of interpreting ambiguous stimuli, people inevitably project aspects of their personality onto these stimuli. A classic example of this is the Rorschach Inkblot test. It consists of ten symmetrical inkblots, half in black and white, half in color. This test is very old fashioned and the quintessential example of a psychology test we see in movies. The test is administered by the person interpreting what they see in each inkblot and the psychologist interpreting their interpretations to signify certain personality traits. The Rorschach is low in replicability and validity though. There aren't many replicated associations between Rorschach results and mental illnesses. The test is also low in incremental validity meaning that the extent to which a test contributes information beyond its collected measures is low. Overall, the test can possibly help us identify certain personality traits but shouldn't be relied on for diagnosing mental illnesses.
Here is an article about a modern take on the Rorschach: Sorry I tried linking this before and my whole internet crashed and I lost my blog post so I had to do the whole thing again and I didn't have time to try and link it again. Whoops.

Strange Situation

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Strange Situation is a test created by Mary Ainsworth to explore childhood attachment patterns. Mary did this by a child and his/her mother is in a room. While the child is able to play within the room, a stranger enters and interacts with the mother. Eventually, the stranger will approach the child while the mother leaves the room. After a short period, the mother returns as the stranger leaves. Throughout the procedure, Ainsworth observed her play behavior, reactions of the mother leaving and returning, and behavior when the stranger is around. There were three attachment patterns that were observed they are secure, avoidant, and anxious-ambivalent. A toddler who has secure attachment will be frustrated when the mother leaves and happy when she returns. A toddler who has avoidant attachment will avoid the mother when she returns and show little emotional response. As for one who has anxious-ambivalent attachment shows distress when the mother leaves, but upon return the child has mixed feelings about her mother. Strange situation is important because studying childhood patterns shapes how they're going to react when they are adults.
I would consider myself more of an avoidant attachment than secure attachment. I feel uncomfortable when I'm close to others this explains why I only like to be acquaintances with my friends. I find it hard to fully trust most of them and to depend on my friends in situations such as meeting me at a certain restaurant or being on time. This sense of feeling uncomfortable also illustrates why I never had a close boyfriend. I just felt uneasy being so close to someone. Even when I was younger I would show little emotion to my father coming home when he was working for a month. He was always working when I was an infant and today I tend to ignore my father compared to my mother.. < > < >.

I'm wondering if the developments of the attachment styles are based on the environmental influences only when the child is an infant. Could an event change their attachment style between their care givers when they are older?

The Big Five

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The Big Five are the 5 main personality traits. These 5 are Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. These 5 define the majority of a persons personality. It is really important for finding out about people whether they have a chance of having a problem. I learned that these can really show a lot of what I do, such as when I am working on a project. I can really see that I am very agreeable as when we have to decide on something, I am very will to compromise or agree with someone else's ideas.

The Duel of the East and West Emoticons.

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One of the topics in Chapter 11 of the text Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding is our nonverbal expression of emotion in our eyes, bodies, and our cultures. In a ScienceDaily article titled "Facial Expressions Show Language Barriers, Too", the University of Glasgow found very interesting reads for East Asians and Western Europeans.
In this experiment, a standardized face map called the Facial Action Coding System (FACS) was used to construct the expression by contorting the muscles that are typically used in an automatic response of the emotion. The researchers found that of the "Easterners" (East Asians) and the "Westerners" (Western Europeans), the Easterners tended to rely on what they could read from the eyes more as opposed to the eye brows and mouth. This is important to note because it is evidence for missed nonverbal cues that could alter the perception and understanding of the emotion.
They linked this finding to Easterners and Westerners use of emoticons. In this part of the correlation/causation effect, the researchers claimed that Westerners use the : ( and : ) to convey sadness or happiness, whereas the Easterners used ;_; and ^_^. The claim that the University of Glasgow makes to strengthen this so-called cultural construction seems to be "extraordinary" in the sense that it does not take into consideration the actual media source from where these were constructed. It is a too loosely based claim that cannot be half of the account for the complete findings of one experiment. If there were a way to find out why Easterner and Westerners use either eye brows/mouths or eyes to decode facial expressions, it could potentially help to support their claim more that these culturally different emoticons can actually be used as a cultural signifier for why either facial feature gets used.
PS, in what way does this show a language barrier? I don't believe I actually read any of that.

Criminal Profiling

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Criminal profilers' job description at the FBI and other law enforcement agencies includes drawing detailed inferences about perpetrator's personality traits and motives from the pattern of crimes committed. Criminal profilers go beyond the widely available statistics such as the typical murderer being a male between the ages of 15 and 25, and who suffers from psychological problems. Instead, criminal profilers claim to use their unique expertise and years of experience to do a better job of describing a criminal's personality, compared to the available statistics.

The YouTube video below is a short video of officer Beau Bapkin, who works at the Cottonwood Heights Police Department. He explains that, "a criminal profiler usually has a little bit of experience in the criminal justice field. Criminal profilers could be anywhere from a criminal investigator with the police department, or sheriff's office, or a state agency; to an educated criminologist or sociologist." Bapkin concludes that if someone is going to be a real criminal profiler, having experience in the field is essential, along with some education to back it up.

Although most criminal profilers do a decent job in producing accurate profiles, even they fall victim of the P.T. Barnum effect; the tendency of people to accept high base rate descriptions as accurate. They simply use general descriptions that any person could come up with as a criminal profile. Researchers have even found that professional profilers are no more accurate in determining the personality features of murderers, than are college students with no training in criminology.

A criminal profiler usually has training and experience, but really, according to studies a criminal profiler could be any one of us. So why are criminal profilers still popular in crime investigation? The answer is unknown. Even though average people seem to do just as well in estimating personalities of criminals, the FBI and other crime organizations remain in full-time business of training criminal profilers.

Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding, by Lilienfeld, Lynn, Namy, & Woolf


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Humans have a great need to create long-lasting and stable relationships with others and become psychologically unstable in isolation, when they cannot talk or interact with others. Because of this need they from attachments with others, typically among parents and lovers. These attachments have three basic functions: proximity maintenance, safe haven and secure base. Proximity maintenance allows us to gain a sense of comfort with an immediate threat or danger, safe haven provides safety and secure base provides physical attachment.
These attachments are very important as they allow us to venture out into the world without fear. Attachments also help to diminish anxiety and fear when formed securely. They can allow a child to be more confident with the mere presence of a person they are attached to. Children with secure attachments are able to use the attachment to reduce anxiety while insecurely attached children either try unsuccessfully to calm themselves down internally (avoidant attachment) or are inconsolable externally (anxious attachment). Without secure attachment humans have less effective ways of dealing with stress and anxiety and cannot explore as effectively.
One of the most important and anxiety reducing aspects of attachments is the contact comfort they provide. Harry Harlow proved this with a famous monkey study. Hallow wanted to prove that a bond to contact comfort is stronger than food. To do this he separated baby monkeys from their mothers, then he place them in a cage with a wire monkey-mom with a bottle of milk (food) and terry cloth monkey-mom (comfort). As Harlow expect the monkeys turned to the terry monkeys when they were anxious or afraid, proving the importance of contact comfort. This comfort derived from contact was also very important to me as a child. When I was feeling anxious I would hold on to my parents' sleeves or shirt. The comfort I gained from this allowed me to reduce my stress and the confidence to venture out in social situations or other stressful environments. I used my attachment to my parents as a secure base to explore my world.

Attachments in action:


secure base

exploring with attachments

Ability vs. Performance. Who Wins in the End?

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We are all familiar with the typical movie scenario of the teenager who is fresh out of juvie or grows up on the wrong side of the tracks that turns out to be a secret genius. Does this happen all the time in real life? According to an article on Psychology Today, it's unlikely. Many people nowadays relate what they get on the ACT or SAT on how smart or successful they will be in the future, and I even admit to think this way. The article states that standardized tests have a strong correlation on student's grade point averages and also shows how well they'll perform on future occupations. Through these tests we can almost rate the ability someone has to perform or accomplish tasks in the future.
Arneson proposed a hypothesis that states: "If ability is only important up to a certain point, then a graph of performance as a function of ability should not be a straight line; it should level off once the pertinent threshold is reached...but if ability matters at all then the graph should be a straight line."
He came to the conclusion that SAT scores do measure future performances by gathering data using a longitudinal approach. He observed data from education and employment. Using the scores of an earlier SAT score, he later measured people's performances in a later time after the test taking.
We have to remember that the results weren't perfect; therefore we can't assume that SAT scores are the cause for good job or educational performances (correlation v. causation). Other factors could have helped with these results such as environmental influences on school work, test anxieties, what types of classes the students took, what kind of jobs were being observed, etc. The article also points out that the data does not measure talent and other factors such as opportunities, perseverance, or practice. Although the results show that SAT scores can predict success we have to keep in mind that it doesn't necessarily mean that the results will hold true 100% of the time.

The Attachment Theory

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According to Dr. Simpson "Humans have a strong need to form and maintain stable relationships, and if your thwart this need and keep them in isolation, it's very psychologically painful" Solitary confinement is a method of punishment penal system, where you put somebody in complete isolation. A perfect example of this situation, is the case of Genie.

As the video above says, Genie was in completely isolated from everybody, and everything. She was in a room strapped to a potty chair with nothing but walls to look at and nobody to talk to and form bonds with for over 10 years. Her parents even beat her for talking, giving the the impression that talking was bad. When she was rescued and taken to a hospital, psychologists hoped that they would be able to nurture her back to normality. When she first arrived at the hospital she was basically mute, and walked almost animal like, with her hand in the front, clawing, spitting and sniffing; giving her the name "the wild child". With the care of the hospital staff and psychologists, Genie began to express her feelings through nonverbal communications and later on she even started speaking and had a strong command of vocabulary. She even became more sociable to adults that she had familiarity over and started acquiring an attachment to them. She was making tremendous progress but the funds for the experiment lessened therefore she was sent to more foster homes, one of which the foster father beat her for vomiting. She went into a state of fear and once again isolated from the world. In this case of Genie, the three states of separation distress as talked about by Dr. Simpson is most likely apparent. Stage one: protest, is the persistent attempt to re-establish contact by crying or other means. Genie probably cried many times in the beginning, however getting beat for it made her conditioned to not cry. Stage two: despair, prolonged inactivity and helplessness. Genie was tied to her potty chair for over 10 years, meaning it was 10 years of depression, helplessness and no social connections. She was basically treated as if she didn't exist, only given food and shelter to. The last state is detachment which was less apparent in this case because it's the withdrawal from a figure and finding of another. Genie never really had anybody to withdraw from since she never had anybody in the first place, however the closest example to this would be the staff at the hospital that looked after her. She become attached to him and her first foster parent, but when she was moved on, she once again lost the will to live. The case of Genie, the wild child, is a great example of how important the attachment theory is.

Assignment #5

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Personality is a topic that has been explored throughout human history. What comprises it at its most basic level has only been recently discovered by psychologists in the elegant theory of the Big 5. The big 5 consists of Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism. Each of these traits is measured by a test, such as the Berkeley Personality Test, that places the test taker on a continuum where they are compared to the average across all people. The different traits were determined by several different sets of researchers analyzing many different rubrics of measuring personality and factor analyzing all those into five most common and fundamental traits. This is only a recent development in the field of psychology, but it is a crucial one. It is, however, easily misconstrued, as this article in the Huffington Post shows. Every single person falls somewhere on the scale for each of the different five traits, it is not a test that measures which of the traits most describes you. The article also doesn't take into account that while the trait is called Extraversion, the test is actually measuring where you fall in between Extraversion and Introversion. A low score in Extraversion means you are more associated with the behaviors of an introvert instead of only using that measure to describe extroversion. This theory is a crucial, if sometimes misunderstood, step forward in understanding human psychology.

Before I became a Personal Care Assistant, I believe I took for granted the ability to analyze a person's personality and how they go about in life. On top of that, I rarely thought about the reasons as to why they had the personality they did and what factors would make their personality show itself more. Now that I have the opportunity to work with others as their personal care assistant, spending hours with them at a time, I greatly appreciate seeing someone's personality as they are and as I become to know them better, the puzzle pieces start to fit together to create an image of what they went through in their environment and what they were set with as far as their heredity and gene makeup to make the bigger picture of who they were. When looking at all my patients' personalities, I can think of one patient in particular that was the most interesting to analyze. After studying the different personality theories such as Freud, Adler or Maslow, the theorist that seemed to be the most appropriate for analyzing this patient's personality was humanistic theorist, Carl Rogers. Roger's model of personality fit perfectly with helping me analyze this specific patient's personality because my patient shared the same optimism as Rogers believing that we could all achieve our full potential for emotional fulfillment if only society allowed it. Also from what I have seen, my patient's personality is completely in sync with the consisting three components of how Roger explained personality. Rogers three components were the organism, the self and conditions of worth. My patient's components of personality fit as follows:
1. The Organism: My patient had a genetically influenced blueprint that made up her unconscious mind. (or as Freud would call it, her id) She had been diagnosed with schizophrenia as well as a few other personality disorders. As it is hard to say, that could have made up her organism.
2. The self: My patient, just entering her early senior years, now has a strong sense of self and self-concept. Getting to know her I could see that she was growing to know who she was and what her purpose in life was by portraying confidence in her opinions and strength in her personal beliefs.
3. Conditions of worth: My Patient placed numerous expectations on herself for appropriate and inappropriate behaviors for years all throughout her child and adulthood. My patient grew up with an emotionally abusive mother so anything she did, her mother would find something wrong with it. Without getting too detailed, her mother made her acceptance of my patient conditional on many behaviors and as a result, my patient only learned to accept herself in certain limiting ways for years.
I can't help but think about the components and influences my patient had influencing her personality in the end. Was it her mental disability of schizophrenia that caused her to grow and approach her environment with a specific personality or was it her environment that caused her mental disability to trigger her approach to going day by day? These questions may never be answered, but one thing I know is that no personality is ever going to be the same and as much as we try to analyze 99% of it, there is still always going to be at least that 1% that makes every single human being different from one another.

Is Standardized testing accurate?

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Standardized testing such as the SAT, ACT or IQ scores have become a big part of todays education and College Admissions. Standardized tests are given to high school students looking to go onto a college career and continue their studies, and are intended to predict overall intelligence and grades their freshman year in that college. Over the past couple of years, Standardized tests have become a much bigger factor in deciding the acceptance or not of a applying student. In reality, though, the correlation between these tests and college grades are often below a 0.5 and in a few cases close to zero. On top of that, they don't do well in predicting to overall success of the student in four years, but may predict first-year grades at reasonable levels.

Though these tests will have their flaws, they are very important today in finding the overall intelligence of someone. They are also very consistent, so they do have reliability backing them up. On top of this they are universal, and replicable. Though I have not taken an IQ test or the SAT, I did take the ACT and found, while talking to others who took it, that it is very uniform and straight-forward. It doesn't measure how smart or knowledgable someone is, I feel like it measures how well we do at taking tests and solving problems.

Though a little far-fetched and obscure, there is a lot of truth behind this humorous Simpson's clip. Do standardized tests have this much impact on our lives? Can our college and employment career be made or broken by one or two tests?

What I wonder about is whether or not they will change up the standardized testing? Or will it stay the same? Is there something better and more efficient that could be done to judge intelligence for college applications?

Rethinking Intelligence

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College Prep U states that the top four most important factors in college admissions are GPA, test scores, course rigor and extracurricular activities. In terms of very selective schools, namely any Ivy League Institutions, being a great student may not be enough. With so many high school students planning on continuing to college, competition is higher than ever. But according to Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligence Theory, those with exceptional intelligence in some areas may be somewhat deficient in other areas.This may mean that the best students, having exceptional linguistic and logico-mathematical intelligence, may lack musical or bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, often needed to do well in extracurricular activities.


This fact raises some questions. Do the most selective schools really end up having the most intelligent students? If you measure "intelligence" only in terms of how successful one is in the classroom, the answer may be yes. However, if you consider all the ways in which one can be intelligent, it is likely that these schools will lack the most successful athletes, artist, musicians along with many other talented individuals. Some colleges have observed this trend, and are taking steps to ensure that they admit a variety of well rounded individuals. The Washington Post asked admissions counselors from across the country to describe what they looked for in applicants. Although all of their answers were very different, they all touched on the fact that they prefer "well rounded" students. This doesn't mean the person who was in every club, but rather the person who was successful academically in addition to being very involved in their interests outside the classroom.


Although academics are the main focus of most colleges, it is important to remember that academic success is not the only measure of intelligence. We can all think of a number of cases where someone was an amazing athlete or musician, but was only a mediocre student, despite the countless hours they spent studying. Our culture puts so much emphasis on academic success that we often fail to recognize many talented individuals. Although having college majors where one is graded on their sprinting times or how well they communicate seems absurd, this may be the way to create a balance of all areas of intelligence, and move forward as a society.

The Id, The Ego, and The Super Ego

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The Id, ego, and super ego are all parts of what Sigmund Freud believed to be at the heart of the human psyche. The id is our basic instincts, what we want to do. It contains all of our drive to receive pleasure, but it is entirely unconscious. The ego is our decision maker. Our ego has touch with reality, and unlike the id, will wait until we can find a socially appropriate outlet for our desires. The superego is our moral standards. Our superego, according to Freud, looks down upon our ego and let's us know if what we are doing is right or wrong.

I think that this is a very interesting theory on human personality, because it offers an interesting view on how and why people act the way they do. According to Freud, how these three agencies interact determines our personality. Although we should be wary of Freud's claims because they lack falsifiability, these interactions could possibly describe why when we see an attractive individual, we don't "Holla" at them all of the time. This video, obviously jokingly, would be an example of a guy with little control over his ego.

One thing that I would like to know more about the id, ego, and superego would be how often it is used in Psychology today. I am wondering if it is still influential and studied today, or if it is just an important theory from the past.

The Id, The Ego, and The Super Ego

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The Id, ego, and super ego are all parts of what Sigmund Freud believed to be at the heart of the human psyche. The id is our basic instincts, what we want to do. It contains all of our drive to receive pleasure, but it is entirely unconscious. The ego is our decision maker. Our ego has touch with reality, and unlike the id, will wait until we can find a socially appropriate outlet for our desires. The superego is our moral standards. Our superego, according to Freud, looks down upon our ego and let's us know if what we are doing is right or wrong.

I think that this is a very interesting theory on human personality, because it offers an interesting view on how and why people act the way they do. According to Freud, how these three agencies interact determines our personality. Although we should be wary of Freud's claims because they lack falsifiability, these interactions could possibly describe why when we see an attractive individual, we don't "Holla" at them all of the time. This video, obviously jokingly, would be an example of a guy with little control over his ego.

One thing that I would like to know more about the id, ego, and superego would be how often it is used in Psychology today. I am wondering if it is still influential and studied today, or if it is just an important theory from the past.

Stages of Separation Distress

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In lecture last Friday, Professor Simpson discussed the three stages of separation distress in relationships. Whether they were between a mother and a child or romantic relationships, I thought of the movie, "The Notebook." I couldn't find the individual clips as videos, so I will describe why the characters, Noah and Allie, represent the three stages of separation distress.
The first stage is protest. This is the persistent attempt to re-establish connection. Protest is seen in the movie after Noah and Allie break up. Noah writes Allie letters saying how he is sorry everyday for a year. However, her mother takes and hides the letters so Allie will never receive them. Even though Allie doesn't receive the letters, she also does something to reconnect with Noah even though it is not as direct. Allie volunteers to help the hurt soldiers in the war so she feels like she is connecting with Noah.
The next stage is despair. Despair is the prolonged in activity and helplessness. Noah represents this stage by fighting in the war, and when returning, building the house he promised Allie he would make. In doing this, he also built the house with the rooms she wanted, the color she wanted, and the style she wanted.
The last stage is detachment, or withdrawal from or coolness towards a parent or lover. This is seen in the movie when Allie first decides to date, and then marry Lon. The decision for her to start dating again is what 'detaches' her from Noah. Noah also tries to withdrawal from his feelings for Allie by having a relationship with Laura.
I see these stages in many romantic movies, but they are not only seen in fiction, they are seen in real life as well. I found "The Notebook" as a good example of these stages, but there are many ways people do this in real life, especially while grieving.

Assignment 5

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One important concept i found interesting in these past couple of weeks is the big five traits: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. These concepts has made me relate my peers to which trait they are. I find this very interesting because knowing these traits i can know more and more about their personalities. To those of you who know very little about the big 5 traits, i will briefly explain them. Openness to experience is intellectually curious and unconventional, Conscientiousness is someone careful and responsible, Extraversion is someone who is social and lively, Agreeableness is someone who is sociable and easy to get along with, and neuroticism is someone who is tense and moody. I have found a video where you can see examples of each trait listed here:http: //
with the big 5 traits we always need to remember that behavior involves an interaction between a person's underlying personality and situational variables. The situation that a person finds himself or herself in plays a major role in how the person reacts. However, in most cases, people offer responses that are consistent with their underlying personality traits. Personality is a complex and varied in each person and may display behaviors across several of these dimensions. So when trying to figure out peoples personalities, these 5 traits are just a guideline and a first step to trying to figure another human being out.

The Big Five explanation of personality gives a realistic approach to categorizing various traits that make up an individual. This approach is more developed than a simple organization of likes and dislikes, due to the complexity of the traits said to be related to every aspect defining what we call personality. The Big Five are said to be the predictors of human personality traits using measurements on openness, positive acceptance to experience, conscientiousness seen through the ability to be responsible, meticulous, and dedicated, and the ability to be extraverted based on social interactions. The principles of the Big Five are also shown and measured through an individual's tendency to be agreeable or open-minded in social situations while for contrasting views of a personality an individual's preferences may be seen through tenseness or aggressive feelings towards certain situations, categorized as neuroticism. While there are multiple factors influencing every personality complex every single second, the implicit desire to stick to the basics reflexes of how to react in situations ultimately depends on the feelings of the individual and the tendency to place more value on past experiences or recently acquired knowledge. From the textbook, proven research regarding this idea is able to help possibly successfully predict the probability of outcomes based on an individual's set of reactions to the various categories of personality. Although there are flaws to generalizing a broad outcome of a fellow human based on personality characteristics, there is also prevalence to be highly accurate and influential to determining the outcome of certain individuals in possible work place settings.
I read an article practicing ideas of the Big Five personality model in the business world, specifically in terms of personality traits, both positive and negative, applied to the differences manifested through stereotypical genders. This article claims, "Pertinent to the current research, Lippa (1995) found that sociability, openness, and low levels of adjustment were the factors most linked to "masculinity," while agreeableness and conscientiousness were linked to "femininity" (note: not all males in the study measured as "masculine" and not all females as "feminine")." The ideas of the Big Five characteristics are dangerously accurate at times to a point leading to stereotypes, which although could potentially be verifiable, should not be used for negative reasons. Contradictions to typically attributed characteristics to certain individuals may be defining factors in specific personality traits influencing social interactions and automatic responses to stress or less than pleasurable situations. Individual differences can seem to be simplified when seen through concepts of basic categories of personality defining typical behavior in a structured social environment, like a workplace or learning institution.

Sources Cited: The textbook and

Assignment 5

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After attending lecture and discussion about the Big Five personality traits, I gained an immense interest in the topic. There are many ways to go about when it comes to differentiating people from one another, but this approach can be used to describe all people. I think this is an important concept because these traits can help predict many important real-world behaviors.The five traits are: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
Openness to experience are people who tend to be intellectually curious and unconventional. Conscientious people tend to be careful and responsible. Extraverted people ted to be social and lively. Agreeable people tend to be sociable and easy to get along with. and Neurotic people tend to be tense and moody.
I think that this is an excellent way to figure someone's personality out because it covers a broad spectrum. During discussion, I was placed into the 'Entertainers' group. So that means I have high extraversion and agreeableness, and I definitely agree. Obviously this isn't spot on because i'm not always outgoing and agreeable, but I think that it's pretty accurate. But I am curious if the personality traits change often within a person?
In this video, the creator does a good job with defining the characteristics of each trait and providing example pictures to go along with them, but she kind of portrays the pros and cons of each trait; thus, making it look like having a high score of a certain trait being a bad and negative thing. But that certainly is not true.

Also, in the book, it talks about how it's possible to have a Big Three as an alternative to the Big Five. I am just slightly curious as to which three traits would contribute to that? I think that the Big Five is perfect the way it is right now.

Twin's Behaviors

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When I was in high school there were a pair of twins on my baseball team. They were raised together, by the same parents. They were identical twins with similar personalities, however they expressed their personalities very differently. For instance, one would "pout" when he struck out and the other would shake it off and try again next time. They both were extremely competitive, outgoing, rebellious, yet nice guys. In their sophomore year, one of the brothers had to go to rehab for drug dependency. A year later, the other brother was in rehab as well.
Their father was a strict former Army officer who tended to hold high standards for his sons. Since he was also a coach, we saw this on the field. We always felt that it was because of their father's strictness that caused them to rebel and begin taking drugs. However, stories like these girls, show that certain personality traits can be genetic, thus being activated at birth.

We could assume that it could be possible that if my friends had been separated at birth they would still be rebellious and potentially still do drugs. Hopefully that wouldn't be the case. On the bright side, the chemical dependency treatment center they attended, (at different times) worked. Both are now chemical free and attending college. This could also show another trait they share.

Projective Tests, all about the inkblots.

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We recently learned about projective tests. A projective test is a type of personality test in which the individual offers responses to ambiguous scenes, words or images. I find these particularly interesting because they are intended to reach into the unconscious thoughts and feelings of person and uncover desires that are otherwise hidden from the conscious mind. Projective tests are well known in therapeutic settings. Therapists often use this type of test to acquire qualitative information about a patient. This type of test can prove to be very important; they can aid in helping troubled people figure out why they are troubled and they can even help in diagnosing mental disorders.

One form of projective test that interests me the most is the Rorschach Inkblot Test. I believe that inkblot tests are almost like a symbol of the field of psychology; they are all about examining the mind. If not a symbol, inkblot tests are definitely very well known. This test consists of 10 different cards that each have an ambiguous inkblot. The patient is shown one card at a time and then asked to describe what he or she sees within the image.

The inkblot that I included at the top of my post is called "plate I" in the inkblot test. After researching, I came up with some possible interpretations and explanations to this inkblot. Some common interpretations include bat, butterfly, moth, and even a female figure (in the center). Some interpretations, such as a mask or animal face, are said to represent some paranoia. A bad response is said to be anything that interprets the female figure in a bad way. The female figure is said to be a projection of one's own self image.

I would like to know more about what situations projective tests are used and how much of an aid they really are.

Assignment 5

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One theory from the lectures during these past few weeks that really caught my attention was taught in Professor McGue's lecture on gender differences. His lecture was about the theory that biological gender and psychological gender can differ, but both are determined prenatally. The idea is that biological, or genetic, influence on gender is much greater than social influence. In fact, McGue's personal belief, which he stated in his lecture, is that biology is the only thing that affects gender. The evidence that he showed was the story of a boy who was accidentally circumcised at an early age and was raised as a girl because his parents didn't want him to "suffer." The boy ended up going through lots of depression because he was never psychologically feminine, and didn't fare better until his parents revealed that he was, in fact, male. So the differences between the psychological male and female genders lie in prenatal hormone levels in the brain.

I'm a member of GLBTA and am a gay rights activist, and a lot of the discussions I've been having in my groups have to do with gender and sexuality, which go hand in hand. Professor McGue's lecture got me thinking quite a bit about transsexuality, and McGue's arguments about gender make perfect sense.

However, today's society is shifting towards a more uniform definition of both gender and sexuality alike. This may seem odd because society still seems pretty divided and there's a lot of homophobia and the like, but in being part of GLBTA and having been part of the GLBT community openly for the past year or so myself, I'm seeing more and more people come out as what society has labeled as "androgynous" or "gender nonconformist." Basically, some people are beginning to realize that they don't really fit into either gender category. Some do not fit into either, and some fit into both. This kind of ambiguity has placed a lot of confusion in society and in my own personal opinion, there will eventually be no such things as gender labels. My idea is based on the fact that there are already various gender labels out there: cis male and cis female (traditional gender roles), butch (masculine female), fem (more feminine female than cis), transgender, agender (neither gender), androgynous (both genders) and more.

A great example of an androgynous person is musician Bill Kaulitz:


Watch the first minute of this video - it sums up how I feel about androgyny and the movement of today's society to more properly define "gender."

Notice how this person says that the reason for this shift and scramble to come up with new words to define sexuality is because people are becoming more "complex." One thing I wonder is why this is happening and whether people were this "complex" back in the 70's as well, but just weren't comfortable enough to express it.

After Professor McGue's lecture, I went up and talked to him about androgynous/gender nonconformist people and what he thought about them, because the idea of gender nonconformity completely goes against his notion that there is a distinct psychological difference between the male and female genders. He looked like he was unfamiliar with gender nonconformity and told me that it's "probably just a fad or a phase."

I tried not to get offended, but I know that androgyny is not a fad; it's an addition to the movement of society towards a fluid definition of gender.

I guess the big question I am left with is that if there is such substantial evidence that psychological gender is determined prenatally by hormone levels, then how does gender nonconformity fit into the equation? I think that the department of psychology should extend their studies of gender to androgynous people in order to answer this question.

What a "Strange Situation!"

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The Strange Situation is an experiment first done by Mary Ainsworth and her colleagues, which developed an organized way to determine infants' attachment styles.The experiment examines the reactions of one-year-olds when they are separated from their mother. Each infant is left alone with a stranger, and their levels of anxiety are recorded upon the departure of their mother, and the relief upon their mothers' return. The findings were organized into four categories : secure attachment, insecure-avoidant attachment, insecure-anxious attachment, and disorganized attachment. The most common attachment style among infants in the US is secure attachment. An infant is securely attached if he/she is upset by the mother's departure, and is joyful over the mother's return. Secure infants use their mothers as a secure base as soon as she returns, and depend on her for comfort. This finding is important, and is used presently by researchers to determine an infant's attachment style. This finding can also be used to predict the type of person an infant will likely grow to be. For example, securely attached infants tend to feel loved as they continue through life, and typically are most stable in a relationship.

This concept makes perfect sense to me. I see Ainsworth's findings more often than most of my colleagues and coworkers. I say this with so much confidence because I come from a family much larger than the usual. I have 11 brothers and 1 sister, and 10 of the bunch are younger than me. The youngest just turned one, so there has always been an infant in the house as long as I have lived. It is very clear that the majority of my siblings were securely attached as infants. As soon as Mom left the room , especially when strangers were around, the infant instantly would burst into tears. Just tonight I was watching my youngest brother while my mom bathed the toddlers. I stepped out of my room for a moment, and the moment I did, Jeb started whining and came crawling my way. Although I am only his sister and not his mother, he still has a bond with me and uses me as his alternative secure base when our mom isn't around. When I returned to my room, Jeb held his hands towards me, begging me to scoop him up and soothe him. It did not take long for Jeb to calm down, and shortly went back to his play.

What I wonder the most about this topic is how much it can predict future behavior. Even more specifically, I am curious about the connection with relationships. At my age, I think about serious relationships more and more, and the lecture on relationships really caught my interest. I consider myself to be a secure person just like the majority of my family, and it comforts me to know that a secure person is more stable in relationships. I definitely do not want to see any of my siblings go through divorce or any problems in relationships and marriage. I just wonder if the chances of that are slimmer given they are secure people currently.

Here is a sample of Mary Ainsworth's study:

The Big Five of Personality

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I have become very interested in the Big Five after lecture and discussion over last week. In psychology, the big five personality traits are the classification of a person's personality into the categories of neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience. The 'Big Five' are five broad factors or dimensions of personality traits discovered through empirical research. The big five are a descriptive model of personality, not a theory, although psychologists have developed theories to account for the big five the big five personality traits can be summarized as follows:
Openness to experience: Appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas; imagination and curiosity (vs. conservatism)
Conscientiousness: A tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement.
Extraversion: Energy, surgency, and the tendency to seek stimulation and the company of others.
Agreeableness: A tendency to be compassionated and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others.
Neuroticism: A tendency to easily experience unpleasant emotions such as anger, anxiety, depression, or vulnerability
These traits are sometimes referred to as the OCEAN model of personality because of the acronym composed of their initial letter.

I read one interesting article which explains the relationship between personality and grade. It said Extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness were found to be personality traits favored in instructors, whereas neuroticism was not. A significant correlation was found between the students' expected grades in the course and student evaluations of the course, but not the evaluations of the instructor. When the effect of students' perceived amount of learning was taken into account, no significant effect of grades was found on teacher ratings. Personality explained variance in teacher and course evaluations over and above grades and perceived learning.
Big Five.jpg
I found one video which explain well about the each concept of the Big Five Model. It was very helpful to understand the concepts easily.


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There are several ways to describe a person: shy, quiet, loud, crazy, chatty, extroverted, crazy, and kind. But is there any way to narrow down these words into a few categories that can be generally applied instead?

Over the years, understanding the structure behind personality and its general categories has become a main goal of many personality psychologists in order to understand some of the main traits that encapsulate a person. Through the examination of several possible traits, trait theorists have used factor analysis as a way to statistically minimize the diverse number of traits that exist into a manageable number of underlying traits. With repeated factor analyses and a lexical approach (a belief that language is what gives us the most crucial parts of our personality), these efforts have resulted in the Big 5, also known by the popular acronyms OCEAN and CANOE.

The Big 5 traits are openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. These are five factors describe personalities at the broadest level possible, and everyone's personality contains each of these 5 factors (to some extent). Under extraversion, those who are on the high end of the spectrum are friendly, assertive, social, and chatty, while those on the low end are silent, passive, and introverted. Most extroverted people seek for thrilling experiences and want to be the center of attention. With openness to experience, those on the high end are imaginative, curious, creative, and unconventional versus uninterested, unimaginative, "tried and true," and consistent for people on the low end. These behaviors are associated with liberalism and political attitudes.

For neuroticism, those on the high end are generally moody, tense, aggravat ed, anxious, and vulnerable, versus relaxed, poised, steady, calm for those on the low end. Behaviors for this category are generally associated with overreactions to stressful situations, anxiety, depression, and negative emotions. Under agreeableness, those on the high end of the spectrum are empathetic, kind, easy-going, cooperative, and trusting versus suspicious, cold, aggressive, unkind, and untrusting on the low end. Generally, behaviors for this trait are related to early temperament and interpersonal connections formed with other people. The last trait is conscientiousness, and those on the high end of the spectrum are organized, disciplined, diligent, and dependable, versus careless, negligent, and unreliable. Behaviors under this category are associated with constraint and, surprisingly, longer life-spans. Those who have OCD are also people who tend to be highly conscientious. Below is a video from the TV show FRIENDS showing Monica's high conscientiousness.

The idea of having the Big 5 is very important for psychologists, since it gives them a way to observe different people's personalities. The Big 5 also allows psychologists to build a character based on a person by looking at their overall personality through each of these five factors. Having the Big 5 also allows similarities in personalities to be found across different cultures, but it also allows for some heritability to be found in the personalities between family members.

The Big 5, on a personal level, is something I find particularly interesting because it allows me to understand (in a general sense) the qualities a person has by comparing them to the scores they get on a Big 5 personality test and how I can relate to them based on my own scores. The fact that the Big 5 also lets you see heritability within personalities among family members is also very interesting for me, because my family on my mom's side and I joke about only being a Devanur (a part of our family) if you share 5 characteristics: 1. a passion for sleeping 2. a passion for music/ dance 3. being a foodie 4. being a chatterbox 5. enjoying the familial atmosphere.

Seeing the commonalities between our personalities makes me wonder: to what extent is the heritability? How is the correlation when looking at heritability? And is there any way to see how the Big 5 may change over time (especially during moments of great change)?

Personality is developed from Sexual Pleasure? What?

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As I read Chapter 14: Personality, Freud's personality development stages caught my attention the most. I would never associate personality with sexual behaviors. According to Freud, these stages focus on erogenous zones - sexually arousing zones of the body. Personality develops in five stages: oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital.


The oral stage focuses on the month and sucking and drinking is the source of pleasure. If the infant does not successfully receive gratification, it may lead to overeating, binge drinking, or smoking in the later years.
Anal stage is the toilet training stage of development. If toilet training was too harsh or too lenient, the child may develop excessive neatness, stinginess, or stubbornness.
Phallic stage is when the genitals become the primary source of pleasure. During this stage, boys develop Oedipus Complex - boys supposedly love their mothers and want to destroy their fathers. Girls develop Electra Complex - girls develop penis envy to be just like their fathers.
Latency Stage is when the sexual impulses submerged into the unconscious. This is the stage in development when boys have cooties and girls are yucky.
Genital stage is the final stage and sexual impulses are awaken and romantic relationships are formed.

This theory is important because even though it is unfalsifiable and created more questions than answers, it influenced the present thoughts on personalities. If Freud did not establish this theory, psychologists today may not think deeper into personality because they would not have a theory to test, but this is just a false correlation versus causation because this is just my belief.

I remember talking to my mother about my behaviors when I was younger. She said I breast fed for only three months. If I followed Freud's developmental stages, I would now overeat, drink a lot, and smoke, but I do none of that. So my anecdote falsifies the first stage. I personally do not find pleasure in pooping, but that is my conscious speaking since I do not know what my unconscious is thinking. If I remembered correctly, I did not have penis envy during my early years. I did not want to destroy my mother either; therefore, I did not develop Electra Complex. I do remember during my elementary days, I did believe boys have cooties. I would rarely go near them. According to the timeline, I am in the genital stage right now. I am in a mature relationship right now.

I believe there were certain aspects of Freud's theory that make sense in the modern world while others are outrages. After examining this theory a couple times, my question is how would these stages explain the different personalities? I feel like this theory is either one side or the other. There is no middle terms.

Below is a cute video going through Freud's Theory

Guilt Trip

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On one of the episodes of The Experiments, Derren Brown goes into the psychology of false confessions and explores how guilt makes people commit to crimes that they haven't didn't even commit.

Derren picks a subject who believes he will be doing something else other than the experiment. He is the only one involved who is not an actor; he's totally oblivious to what will happen. Throughout the episode, Derren instructs the actors to create situations where the subject will feel guilty and then instructs the actors to anchor that feeling of guilt to him being touched on the shoulder. For example, every time they make him feel guilty, an actor would touch him on the shoulder. Eventually, that anchor is powerful enough that, when he is touched on the shoulder, he will feel guilty regardless of what he is doing. Derren also creates situations that confuses the subject and makes the subject question himself on what he truly remembers. For example, when eating, he is distracted by an actor, and then the other actors switch his plate with something else.

Not only this, but after all the confusion and "guilt trips" that Derren made the subject undergo, Derren also set up a false murder to see if the subject would fess up. Initially, the subject was far too confused to be sure about anything, but after a while, after everything seemed to click in his head, he confessed.

The experiment ended there and Derren explained everything to the subject.

This is truly an interesting experiment done by Derren and reminds me of the many stories of false confessions made by people even though no physical evidence linked them to any crime. An example that we discussed was the case of Paul Ingram, a man who confessed to doing some pretty terrible things to his daughters, even though no evidence substantiated that claim and even though his daughers' stories didn't add up. As Derren brought it up in the episode, guilt can make us confess to things that we had no part of . This also was partially the case with Paul Ingram, due to his religious beliefs. Also, Paul Ingram was subject to hypnotic suggestions, just as the subject of Derren Brown's experiment. Sometimes, hypnotic suggestions can be powerful enough to convince people to do things that they normally probably wouldn't do.

Criminal Profiling

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Is criminal profiling an urban legend or expertise thinking? The pictures of Silence of the Lambs and Criminal Minds shown above have one thing in common: criminal profiling. I will now go into detail of what criminal profiling is, the outcome of using criminal profiling, and why I believe this technique should be put to rest.

Criminal profiling is the analysis of the crime scene and crime patterns to assign relevant characteristics to a perpetrator in order to aid law enforcement in narrowing the field of suspects. Criminal profiling is often used in cases where law enforcement officers have no suspects for a crime. A criminal profiler is the person responsible for creating a character or personality sketch of the perpetrator. Criminal profilers go beyond the average available statistics. They typically claim to possess unique expertise and are able to harness their years of accumulated experience and outperform statistical formulas.

These 'professionals' center their conclusions on nothing more than P.T. Barnum statements. Some researchers are now describing criminal profiling as a largely useless exercise that often relies on unverifiable and ambiguous language. Others have found that professional profilers perform similarly to untrained individuals suggesting that they are no more accurate in gauging personality traits of criminals. Although some researchers have found that profilers sometimes perform better then untrained individuals in identifying criminal suspects, others have found that professional profilers are no more accurate in gauging the personality features of murders than are college students with no training in criminology! As you can see in this graph below the correspondence with correct I.D. and the correspondence with profile show little correlation.


This being said, criminal profiling is still being used today! As our psychology book states, "tradition dies hard, and the FBI and other crime organizations remain in the full-time business of training criminal profilers." This topic is important to me because I have had friends who have been a victim to robbery. If criminal profiling is showing these statistics, why is it still being used today? Personally I believe criminal profiling is not reliable and I believe should be technique put to rest.

Assignment #5: THE BIG 5

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There are countless ways of differentiating people, many of which can be examined using a very "black and white" approach. Such group distinctions are not very difficult to determine, like what race someone is, or whether you're a boy or a girl. Still, determining some differences can get a bit more technical, such as differences in athletic ability. However, there are still human differences that can transcend the review of an instant replay. It is one's personality. Psychologists have done there best to gauge this crucial aspect of human life by creating 5 main personality categories known as "THE BIG 5". "THE BIG 5" include openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Peoples differing levels of each of "THE BIG 5" categories is what gives human so much variation in personality. When studying "THE BIG 5", it is important to note that they are not requirements for people to follow, but instead "THE BIG 5" serves as a measurement of ones already existing personality. What makes "THE BIG 5" so interesting is endless amount of variation it offers. Think if we were to measure each aspect of "THE BIG 5" on a binary scale, meaning each category either receives a high or low rating. Assuming I did the calculation right, that offers 120 different "THE BIG 5" scores. That's a lot of possibilities. But when looking at an Earth filled with 7 billion people, you quickly realize there are a bunch of others exactly like you out there. So instead, "THE BIG 5" is more often measured on scales ranging closer to around thirty or forty. That leaves an awful lot of variation within each "BIG 5" category. Now when you conjure "A BIG 5" score for a given person, they may truly be one in 7 billion instead of just one in 120. The latter method for "BIG 5" analysis certainly makes me feel much better about who I am as an individual. "THE BIG 5".

Horoscope and The P.T Barnum Effect

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Every morning I wake up and pick up my phone. I lie in bed and click on my horoscope application, and immediately go to Virgo. I read it to myself and every day I am amazed at how dead on it is. I have right then and there fallen to the P.T Barnum effect.
The P.T Barnum effect is the tendency of people to accept high base rate descriptions as accurate. Or in other words predictions or descriptions that can be applied to almost everyone, but we fail to see this because we are amazed at how the prediction or results of a test fit us almost exactly. A horoscope is a perfect example; we accept these general predictions as true because we believe they were written specifically for us. Each horoscope is written to apply to each person based on their day, month, and year of birth, which makes them so convincing.
Horoscope predictions are widely accepted, and they can change a person's expectations and confidence towards expected outcomes of the day. But the problem with these predictions is that they are highly inaccurate or invalid. They generalize the predictions to fit almost any situation or person. Looking at the horoscope site that has been linked to this page, first read your own horoscope. It may be surprising at how accurate and relevant it is to your life. Now click on another character, does it also apply? Chances are it is just as accurate and relevant. This is an example of the P.T Barnum effect. Now every morning I no longer read my horoscope, because I have learned that it really has no relevance or validity.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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Fetal alcohol syndrome (also known as fas) is a very serious danger that has always been interesting to me. Fas occurs when a pregnant woman engages in the use of drinking alcohol, which then passes through the placenta and into the unborn fetus. A number of symptoms are then passed to the baby. Fas babies often have learning disabilities, physical growth retardation, facial malformations, and behavioral disorders. Obviously the amount of alcohol the mother drinks affects how serious the syndrome can be, but even the smallest amounts of alcohol can have permanent lasting effects on the child. Almost all babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome have abnormal brain development and they often have heart defects. A recent study found that up to 30% of pregnant women have admitted to drinking alcohol while they were pregnant. Women who drink alcohol often should join alcohol treatment groups when they become aware that they are pregnant to help reduce the urge to drink. The picture below shows the different facial defects that may occur in fas babies.

Fetal alcohol syndrome is especially touching to me because one of my mother's friends had an alcohol problem while she was pregnant. I was still very young when she had the baby and I didn't understand why her child was different. Now that I know more about the effects of drinking while being pregnant, my heart breaks thinking of how selfish that woman was to her baby. I hope more pregnant women become aware of the effects that drinking alcohol has on their baby, which will in turn result in less fas babies.

In the video at the bottom, children are thanking their parents for not drinking and they tell about the different defects they would have if their mother did drink.

The Id, Ego, and Superego

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Freud's theory of psychic determinism is quite the bold claim. Almost every idea or theory in psychology has some disclaimer, such as " we cannot be that.... because ___", or there is only a correlation of .3 or .7. It seems there are little to no absolutes in psychology, which is probably why it is not regarded by all to be one of the hard sciences. This is why I find Freud's theory of the Id, Ego, and Superego interesting.
One of Freud's most notable theories is his idea of the Id, Ego, and Superego. The Id is the reservoir of our most primitive impulses, such as sex and aggression. The Id is entirely subconscious. According to Freud, the Id operates by means of the pleasure principle, which is the "the strive for immediate gratification.The word no isn't in the id's vocabulary. The Superego is our sense of morality. It contains our internalized decisions about right and wrong based on interactions with society. Freud believes people with over-developed superegos are guilt-prone, while those with under-developed superegos may develop a psychopathic personality. The Ego is the boss of personality, its principle decision maker. It's main job is is interacting with the real world, and finding ways to try to satisfy the demands of the Superego and Id. It is supposedly governed by the reality principle, which strives to delay gratification until it can find an appropriate outlet.
The idea of the Id, Ego, and Superego are important because they provide an explanation for those moments of impulsive behavior that we can't explain afterwords, or on the other end of the spectrum, moments of true bravery and morality . The Id would be the reason for "impulse buys", while the ego would be the reason some people run into burning buildings to save people. The Superego is the explanation for our average behavior, which is controlled and normal.
If these concepts are correct about our behavior, I can think of a few examples of them showing in my life. My Id was the reason I stayed up an extra two hours wednesday night to watch a bad movie. My Ego was the reason I returned the sweatshirt I found in my room Saturday morning.
A video that provides a good explanation of these concepts can be found on youtube:

The only question I have about the Id, Ego, and Superego is how can we prove that they exist?


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In the psychology text, I found the section regarding multiple intelligences extremely fascinating. As opposed to standardized scores, IQ tests and other academic measures, the theory of multiple intelligences goes above and beyond the regular tests that measure academic knowledge. Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist who is a professor at Harvard University, defines nine different types of intelligence. Gardner describes these different types of intelligence as: naturalistic, musical, logical-mathematical, existential, interpersonal, bodily-kinesthetic, linguistic, intra-personal and spatial. I find these explanations for different types of intelligences perfect for describing all sorts of people around the world. Everyone that we know has some of these intelligences at high levels, and unfortunately sometimes low levels; this description of IQ provides an all-encompassing explanation for everyone's "smarts".

Different Angles On Intelligence

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In Chapter 9, there seems to be many different angles on intelligence. Going from general intelligence and specific abilities, to fluid/crystallized intelligence, multiple intelligences, and the triarchic model, it seems to be confusing of which theory is correct. In a way, I think that each of these are correct in some way shape or form. The first theory, consisting of general and specific intelligence, it seems very broad that general intelligence includes everything. But in contrast, later researchers thought that Charles Spearman (the guy who came up with g or general intelligence) was wrong and believed that his findings were incorrect. But I think that these researchers were inaccurate and completely misunderstood what he was talking about. The researchers who thought this were Louis Thurstone, Raymond Cartell, and John Horn. All of these researchers talked about fluid/crystallized intelligence and said that intelligence contains two capacities: crystallized and fluid. But, Spearman's definition of g, or general intelligence, is as follows: hypothetical factor that accounts for overall differences in intellect among people. In other words, it is just intelligence in general. If Thurstone hypothesized that general intelligence was wrong and that there's more to it, isn't crystallized and fluid intelligences both within our general intelligence? Since general intelligence is just our intelligence in general, any certain intelligences within that are included in our general intelligences. It just seemed a little confusing to me when I read this, and interested me to think that maybe sometimes researchers can misunderstand each other.
I believe this topic is important because if researchers misunderstand each other, than they would be coming up with theories that are ineffective and thus give us results that can't help with anything. An example could be one scientist finds that giving a plant more fertilizer will help it grow and develop, but one other researcher understands this as that this is the ONLY way for a plant to grow and develop. So he tends to disagree with this scientist and says he's wrong, trying to come up with a different way for the plant to grow and develop. So it seems as if the first researcher's theory was completely ineffective and did nothing because the second one totally disregards his idea. Instead of building off of each other's ideas, researchers can tend to misunderstand them and try to come up with different ones. It is like saying that a psychologist isn't a scientist even when they are, they are just more specialized within an area of science. That is why I found this topic interesting and it leaves me with questions such as, "I wonder if scientists misunderstand each other all the time?" "What do they do if they misunderstand each other?"

Here's a video on a highly controversial topic right now in physics about neutrino particles traveling faster than the speed of light. This disagrees with Einstein's theory of relativity which said that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. I hope this supports my idea that sometimes ideas in science can be misunderstood and found to be controversial later on:

Here is a link for a picture of a neutrino particle:

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

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The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality assessment widely used among the business world. Nearly 2,500,000 Americans take the test annually, and 89 of the US Fortune 100 companies require employees to have taken the evaluation. The test itself is based upon Carl Jung's psychological beliefs that people can be characterized into one of three categories including extraversion, sensing, and thinking, as well as judging, which was introduced by Isabel Briggs Myers. Primarily used in the business world as a recruiting tool, I believe the MBTI has several negative proponents associated with its use.

Much like the StrengthsFinder assessment incoming freshman took at the beginning of this year, the Myers-Briggs classifies employees based upon dominant traits. According to the matrix created by crossing the four dimensions, sixteen specific personality types are generated. Of the people who retake the Myers-Briggs assessment a second time, seventy-five percent are regarded as a personality type that differs from the original categorization. Not only does the reliability of such a test waver, but so does its validity. According to the National Academy of Sciences committee, only the extraversion dimension presents construct validity. From installment into businesses in 1943, the MBTI has continued to be used, though its legitimacy has been questionable.

Though the MBTI can be beneficial in constructing teams of compatible personalities or locating areas in need of personal growth, it should not be used as a hiring component. As a prospective business student, I would much rather be judged on my interpersonal skills and ability to apply knowledge to relative situations rather than a general personality predictor.

Personality Matrix

68 Years of Use

IQ's and the Presidents

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Though I don't agree that an IQ score can completely determine one's intelligence, or even their potential, I found it interesting that U.S. presidents had between a .3 and .4 correlation between their IQ's and the quality of their leadership. While I think that determining the quality of leadership in a president is difficult to quantify, I still found it interesting that there was a correlation. Upon looking at the table provided in the text, I noticed that John Quincy Adams had an estimated IQ between 165 and 175, the highest of any on the list. Not remembering JQA as a president that really stood out, I took to youtube to see what I could find out about this supposedly intelligent man, and more importantly, his leadership qualities.

I found this somewhat childish video that actually contains a lot of good information about John Quincy Adams. Apparently, he was a Harvard grad and fluent in seven languages, clearly indicating his intelligence. While he was president, he would get up at 5 AM every morning to read the bible to further his spiritual education.
Yet, from what the video indicates, it seems as though he had difficulties convincing others of his viewpoints. He seems to have been a very self-righteous and stubborn individual who lacked power in persuasion. Though this doesn't relate perfectly to the paradox of expertise, I think that perhaps being so intelligent maybe inhibited Adams' ability to relate to others, and help them see his ideas in a positive light.
Yet, nonetheless, John Quincy Adams seems to have been a good diplomat, being able to speak many languages, and was able to display a proper, respectable image. In fact, after his term ended, he became a successful congressman in the years that followed.

Conclusively, while it appears that John Quincy Adams possessed some good leadership skills, there were also areas that were lacking, which provides evidence that even though he had the best IQ in the table, he may not have been the finest leader. I also would like to know a bit more about how leadership qualities were quantified. Did it have to do with their personality, or actions they took while in office? On the other hand, two presidents, George W. Bush and Warren Harding, notorious for having been poor presidents, are at the lower end of the list, which would confirm the theory. Yet, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, two of our finest leaders, sit in the middle at the 125-150 range. It definitely isn't a perfect system, but certainly was interesting that researchers found a moderately strong correlation.

Assignment 5: Intelligence

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Even the most intelligent psychologists cannot come up with a definition for intelligence. As discussed in lecture, when a group of psychologists gathered and tried to make a definition, they could not come up with one that they agreed on. Instead, they they ended up defining what people who are intelligent do. They defined it as being able to understand and use complex ideas, to adapt effectively to the environment, to learn from experience and to engage in abstract reasoning. Another interesting point made is that different levels of intelligence exist. For example, one person may have a high intelligence in musicality, while another may have low musical intelligence yet high linguistic intelligence.


This is important to me because growing up, my oldest sister got a perfect score on the ACT and my dad is a chemical and bio-chemical engineering Professor. I found it hard to live up to that standard of intelligence as I worked hard to earn good grades, but never loved math or science like my dad and sister and couldn't achieve as high of scores on standardized tests as I wanted. However, during high school I found that I had a higher intelligence for athletics. I then found that though I may not achieve the same standards of excellence as my sister or dad, I could succeed in an area that was my own. I have continued with my sport in college. Learning that there are different types of intelligence that are scientifically acknowledged made me feel that my intelligence didn't have to be measured solely on by others successes. It has been important for me to learn that intelligence isn't only the image of someone who is only "book smart", gets all A's on every assignment and can seemingly memorize everything they read effortlessly. However, I would like to know if there is a specific intelligence that leads to a more fulfilling life or a higher level of happiness?


The superego

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What makes you tell the truth because you know it is the right thing to do? Freud would say that is your superego, or your sense of morality. The idea of the superego is that the superego is our morals, or what keeps us from doing things that we know to be wrong. I find this interesting because the superego can vary greatly among people. According to the Lillienfeld textbook people with an overdeveloped superego can become guilt ridden, but people with an underdeveloped superego are at risk for developing a psychopathis personality. I find this to be quite intriguing because the superego is a persons sense of right and wrong, so this definition can explain why some people commit crimes and others do not, for the simple fact you ma lack a superego.
This is an important concept because by using the idea of the superego we can analyze peoples personalities to find probabilities of whether or not people will commit crimes. The only question I have about this concept is, can someones superego change over the years?
The video below shows a clinical psychopath, who has no superego at all and does not have any sympathy or compassion for anyone. It should give you an idea about what the superego really is.

<a href='' target='_new' title='Confessed Serial Killer: I'd Kill Again'>Video: Confessed Serial Killer: I'd Kill Again</a>

The Big Five Model

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When we try to describe ourselves in terms of our personality, there are a limitless number of words that fit every individual in their own, unique way. The Big Five model of personality helps individuals to narrow down the amount of traits a person has based on how many times they reoccur in a multiple individuals. The Big Five are five personality traits that can be used to describe every individual in one form or another. The characteristics are openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Openness to experience describes how curious an creative a person is; conscientiousness is how organized, dependable or diligent someone is; extraversion measures sociability and friendliness; agreeableness shows how sympathetic, trusting and cooperative an individual is and finally neuroticism displays a person's anxiety and vulnerability.
This concept based on personality is important to psychology because it can compare all different types of people with different personalities on the same scale of personality traits. It equally measures the level of one trait compared to another. For example, one person may be high in openness, but also low in neuroticism at the same time. The Big Five can relate a large group of people on the same basis for what kind of personality they exhibit.
The Big Five model can be applied to everyone, including movie characters. In the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series, Captain Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swann have completely different personalities especially when it comes to the Big Five. On one hand, Captain Jack Sparrow can be described as having high openness, low conscientiousness and low agreeableness. Being a pirate sailing across the seas, Jack Sparrow has a drive for adventure and curiosity. He can't get enough excitement out of coming face to face with sea monsters, looking for keys to treasure chests and sailing on his beloved black pearl. He does what he wants when he wants to do it and does not stop to think about if it is going to be the best plan. On the other hand, Elizabeth Swann is high in conscientiousness, high in extraversion and high in agreeableness. She is a very compassionate young woman and deeply cares for the people she loves. Swann is very friendly, but also very conventional. She is used to order and having a routine, but sailing across the ocean is a completely different story. Swann and Sparrow display a completely different personality which is why it is so entertaining to see them on screen together. With such diverse characters, there is never a dull moment.

Captain Jack Sparrow:

Elizabeth Swann:

Attachment Theory

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The attachment theory explains the relationship between an infant and their primary caregiver. An infant has a very close relationship with their primary caregiver. The primary caregiver is the person that an infant spends the most time with; therefore they form a bond. studies have shown that this bond can effect our future relationships and our ability to manage different situations. Many studies have been done on how infants react to their primary caregivers leaving them (either alone or with a stranger).

The video mentions that the baby demonstrates secure attachment. In a secure attachment the attachment figure understands the needs of the infant; they trust each other. In an insecure attachment the attachment figure fails to understand the needs of the infant, which stresses the relationship. According to John Bowlby there are four characteristics of attachment: secure base, safe haven, proximity maintenance, and separation distress. Secure base means that the child views their attachment figure as a security base while they explore the area around them. When a child views their attachment figure as a safe haven they return to the figure for comfort in a stress flu situation. Proximity maintenance refers to the desire to be near people we are comfortable with, and separation distress is the anxiety one experiences when their attachment theory is gone.

This video is another example of a study done. It explains more about secure and insecure relationships.

Psychoanalytic Theory

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As I was reading the chapter on personality one theory really stood out to me and that was Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality. The reason it stood out to me was not because of its hard evidence that backed it up, but by the extraordinary claims made that weren't being supported by evidence. Freud's theory of personality may be considered to be the most complete, but is it? While he may have accounted for many of the aspects of personality, he didn't support them with concrete evidence, leaving many gaps in his theory.
Freud was a firm believer in the fact that childhood experiences had a huge impact on adult personality, and therefore came up with the stages of psychosexual development. Freud determined that there were five stages of sexual development: Oral, Anal, Phallic, Latency and Genital, and if anything went wrong during any one of the stages then the adult personality would suffer. While this might make sense in theory, where is the concrete evidence? Freud obtained most of his evidence from his patients who were not psychologically well, and therefore it can't be an accurate representation of the population.
Freud also came up with the idea of defense mechanisms he felt people used when placed into high-anxiety situations. Freud's defense mechanisms include: repression, denial, regression, reaction-formation, projection, displacement, rationalization, identification with the aggressor, and sublimation. Examples of these defense mechanisms can be seen here: While defense mechanisms may seem to be a logical source for why we behave the way we do it certain situations, Freud still is lacking supporting evidence as to why they're true for all people.
It's important for people to understand that while Freud may have had a "complete" theory of personality; it is not based in hard evidence and therefore can't be taken as fact. In later studies it's been shown that difficulties during different psychosexual stages do not lead to long term issues in personality. Therefore, even though Freud's theory may be interesting to read, it is by no means one hundred percent accurate.

Rorschach inkblot test

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The concept of a projective task test is very interesting, the fact that researches are able to figure out a per. The test is derived from the concept of psychoanalytic which claims that humans have both the conscious and unconscious desires and attitudes that are away from their level of conscious awareness. The most famous projective tests known as the Rorschach inkblot test, which is ten symmetrical ink blots. These ink blots are ambiguous images with no right or wrong answers. The examiner asks the respondents to interpret these images and based on the response they give it will allow the examiners to determine characteristics that are associated with certain personality traits. However, their is still little evidence that this test is highly reliable or valid. Also, the test is not common because it is hard and time consuming to interpret these ink blots are relate them to a persons inner feelings.

I thought it would be interesting to try this test on myself and see what image I find in this ink blot. I looked and realized that I saw some sort human hand movement. In the text book I came across a table that listed some typical response of people for the Rorschach test. Interestingly enough my response was one of the common interpretations. The interpretation for a human movement response was associated with the characteristics of impulse control and inhibition. I thought this was interesting because I would never associate these characteristics with my personality. But then I realized that I looked at this image during my stressful week which was full of midterms and papers. Therefore, I assumed that because of my stressful week I may have interpreted the image differently as opposed to if I saw the image in a relaxed state. This is just a prediction of my not so elaborate experiment.

I am still wondering how psychologist have come upon a common agreement to labeling mental disorders with a person's interpretation of the image.

This is an really cool video of the Rorschach inkblots in action!

Happiness :D

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Before reading, Please view the following:

I think its an extremely fun way to start a happiness blog!
And doesn't it just make you happy?

According to the Lilienfield text happiness is an emotion that can be driven by many things, a few of them being: marriage, religion, giving, "flow," friendships, and success. I would like to talk however, about our facial expressions having an impact on our mood, especially happiness. Watch the coke video again if you didn't laugh the first time, but this time, whether you find it amusing or not, try to smile throughout. It's amazing that a simple smile makes your mood change and you seem overall happier!

"No one is in control of your happiness but you; therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change."
- Barbara de Angelis

I suggest changing your facial expression. Try being "fake" happy for a day. See what happens.
Ever since the text had me hold a smile on my face for 15 seconds (page 415) I have used this tactic to make myself feel better- while studying, or in the middle of a stressful situation, or angry at my husband (If we both do it, then it's even better because we both end up giggling at each other).

I think its great, and I really have learned to appreciate the simplicity of a smile from a friend (or even a stranger). Smiles are contagious if you let them be, and they may even brighten your day, and mood.


Here's my challenge to you: Smile a little more. Maybe share it with a stranger.
It will encourage happiness!

Multiple Intelligences

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The idea of multiple intelligences states that there are many fields of knowledge. There is not one type of intelligence. There are many, such as linguistic, interpersonal, and musical for example. I believe that the idea of multiple intelligences is true because I see this play out in everyday life. One can't say that so and so is smarter than another because that person may be more intelligent in one field of intelligence but he/she may not be always more intelligent in the other fields. The general teaching style in the typical classroom does not accommodate this idea. The process of lecturing and giving tests based on material only helps students who are intelligent in certain fields, mainly the linguistic and logical fields. Yet, there are many schools that help students by giving a variety of resources to the students, such as study groups and allowing students to form clubs. This allows students who are intelligent in different ways learn about material taught in the classroom effectively. For example, people who have a high intelligence in the interpersonal field can benefit from learning in study groups because they are able to interact with others while learning the material. Naturalistic people can learn the material taught in a classroom by joining a club that allows that person to go out and apply what he/she has learned in the classroom to the natural world. Schools, such as the University of Minnesota, have helped many students with different types of intelligences by offering many choices of extracurricular activities. It is really great to see how schools are getting better at accommodating all the types of intelligences. Here I have a video with Howard Gardner, the founder of this theory, talking about the multiple intelligences and how to apply them to education. Yet, there are many more things that schools can do to accommodate people with multiple intelligences. There is no school out there that can accommodate every single student. So the question is, what more can schools do today that can maximize the quality of education that students with different intelligences receive?

Intelligence Is Intelligence, Right?

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I find it surprising to learn about the fact that there are multiple different types of intelligences. Which means that everyone is intelligent, in some way or another. For example, a person could be linguistically intelligent, advancing in the area of being able to speak and write well, but they might be lacking in the musical intelligence department. But that does not mean that they are no longer considered intelligent.

The existence of multiple intelligences is comforting in the way that everyone gets to be intelligent in some way. No one is really 'left out'. But at the same time, people want to know that they are unique in comparison to others, and well, that they're 'better' than others.

But there really isn't a reliable and necessarily valid way of measuring someone's level of intelligence, compared to the next person. For there isn't a 'set' definition of the word "intelligence", so there is no solid foundation of testing someone's level of intelligence.

Blog 5

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During the past few weeks, we have been discussing intelligence and the use of IQ testing. In our discussion groups we talked about using IQ tests as the only determinant in hiring for a job. I personally think that while IQ tests may be a good thing to look at when looking at potential candidates for a job, I do not think that it should be the only factor in deciding whether or not to hire someone for a position,
I think that it would be wise to look at an IQ test to get a feel for the potential that a job candidate could reach, but employers should take other factors into consideration like personality and job experience. If employers only hire based on IQ, they may be very intelligent individuals, but they may have no social skills. Depending on the job, having social skills may be a very important aspect of the job, and just having a high IQ may not be enough qualifications to perform the job well. Also, personality tests would be a good thing to look into because then you have a basic understanding of a person.
Interviews and talking to the candidates in a relaxed atmosphere also would be a good determinate of how they interact with people. During a face to face conversation you can start to get a better idea of who they are and what interests that person has.
Also, qualifications and job history are an excellent way to see how a person performed in the workplace.
IQ tests are only one factor in a broad range of things to consider when hiring employees. This site administers a test that supposedly helps students get a job after their education. According to this website, employers look at tests like these when looking at various candidates. So I think that using more than IQ tests is critical when hiring people for jobs.

Attachment Theory

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Attachment theory, as described in lecture, is the theory that humans have a tendency to want to form strong, stable relationships with other human beings. Along with attachment theory are attachment styles, which as Dr. Simpson described, can be categorized in three different ways:
The first style is secure: These people are generally stable in their relationships, and find it easy to love and be loved.
The second style is avoidant: These people have a fear of becoming too attached or having people be too attached to them, and are generally not reliable when their partner is in a state of emotional need.
The third style is anxious-ambivalent: These people fear their loved ones will leave them, and can be smothering in a relationship.

I have enjoyed learning about this theory, as it helps me to identify what kind of attachment style I have and what facets of my personality I can become aware of and try to fix or at least be conscientious of. Here is a great depiction of two people who definitely do not share the same attachment styles; see if you can identify each of their styles.

There are still questions I have yet to understand the answer to regarding this theory, such as what other things besides early parental care influence our attachment styles? Are there smaller divisions of each of these categories, exacting our styles to a further degree? Do these styles differ across cultures? I am curious to know all the answers to these questions.

The Big Five

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(Note: This is to be played while reading.)
Although it's already been written about many times I found the "Big Five" personality traits to be extremely interesting. The five factor model consists of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Although the five factor model is a good broad indicator of personality, the categories are so general that they are generally not as useful as many of the subgroups for predicting behavior. The creation of the five factor model was heavily influenced by the lexical approach, or a study of what words different languages have for distinct personality traits. One thing that I take issue with regarding the "Big Five" model is the tendency of different sources to define personality traits by their negative. For example, as an introvert I've always been a little peeved that extraversion is usually defined as something like this: "Extraversion is characterized by positive emotions, surgency, and the tendency to seek out stimulation and the company of others. The trait is marked by pronounced engagement with the external world. Extraverts enjoy being with people, and are often perceived as full of energy" (Wikipedia). This is fine, but introversion is often defined as simply the negative of extaversion; that is, an introvert would simply not exhibit the characteristics of an extravert. This is somewhat true but doesn't do introverts justice because they have their own set of strengths, which is something that I think has been focused on more in recent personality indicators. Incidentally, this show is extremely interesting and does a good job of showing how personality traits come through in daily life and even how they are possibly developed. As an added bonus it's hosted by a spectacularly mustachioed man, and yes, it's yet another BBC production. Incidentally the BBC is almost enough to make me want to move to the UK.

The Big Five Model

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The Big Five model consists of five different traits that emerged from factor analyses of measures of personality, terms in dictionaries, and works of literature. The Big Five model was discovered by using a lexical approach to personality. A lexical approach suggests that the most important features of human personality are embedded in our language. Paul Costa and Robert McCrae labeled the five traits of the Big Five model. These five traits are as follows:
o Openness to Experience ("Openness") - Open people tend to be intellectually curious and unconventional;
o Conscientiousness - Conscientious people tend to be careful and responsible;
o Extraversion - Extraverted people tend to be social and lively;
o Agreeableness - Agreeable people tend to be sociable and easy to get along with; and
o Neuroticism - Neurotic people tend to be tense and moody.
Two well known acronyms for these five traits are OCEAN and/or CANOE, which is also known as a helpful mnemonic for remembering the Big Five model. Each person falls into one or more of these five traits, which is why the Big Five model is important; it helps us learn more about our neighbors, friends, and family and what kind of people we're surrounded by. This could be a useful tool when trying to figure out the right way to talk, or acknowledge, someone. Let's say you were to walk up to a complete stranger and just randomly start talking to them about something. If this stranger is a neurotic person, then you may want to be a bit more careful in how you express yourself to them, or around them. This is just one example, but there are trillions of people in the world and every single one of them is different. As said in the video below, each person is not necessarily put into one of these categories and that's probably very unlikely. Every individual is most likely a subject of more than one of the personality traits.

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl

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The story of David Reimer is a tragic one. Professor McGue discussed this in his lecture on gender identity. Gender identity is an individual's sense of being male or female. David was an individual that struggled with this concept. He was born a boy, but due to an accident during his circumcision, his penis was destroyed and he was raised as a girl. When David was being raised, he always felt uncomfortable, like something was wrong with him. Even though his parents pushed everything that was girly on him, he resisted at all costs. This case is very important to psychology because it shows that nurture does not overrule nature in determining the sex of a person. That had been the ideology of society up until this time. After this case became public it changed most psychologists' views on the nature vs. nurture debate. We now know that both parts are equally important when raising a child.
I actually read the book As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who was Raised as a Girl last year in my high school psychology class. It is a very good book, and goes into depth about what David really went through growing up. I found his story sad, but also interesting. The attached video shows a more visual look into David Reimer's accident.
After reading this book and hearing what Professor McGue said in lecture, I still wonder if it is impossible for a child born one sex to be raised successfully as the other sex? David Reimer's case obviously did not turn out that well, but that was one case. Although producing more cases is very unethical, I still wonder if there have been successful cases.

The Big Five Method

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One of the most scientifically researched of identifying traits is the Big Five Model, which entails five traits broad dimensions of personality determined by factor analysis. The Big Five traits are openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. The Big Five Factors Openness is shown in people with the tendency to be intellectually curious and an inclination towards novelty. Conscientiousness is demonstrated in people who are responsible and disciplined. Extraversion is shown in people who thrive on socialization and liveliness. Finally, neuroticism is exemplified by emotional stability and anxiety.
Using these factors of personality, people's personalities can be described. People with psychological disorders can be detected by finding specific highs and lows in these dimensions. The popularity of this method has led to similar personality tests used to find your significant other on dating sites. Interestingly, in the well-known series of Harry Potter, the young wizards and witches are sorted into their houses by the sorting hat, who bases the decision off the personality. This personality test is quite similar to that of the Big Five Model.
I have always found a certain fascination for personality quizzes. It was interesting to know what kind of personality that I had. For my Introduction into Health Careers class, I took a strong interest inventory profile where I asked questions in detail about my preferences and personality. Instead of the Big Five factors, the inventory profile was determined by six factors: investigative, realistic, conventional, social, artistic, and enterprising. My quiz results were then generated into possible interest areas, occupations, and personal style scales. The results were surprisingly accurate and helpful in showing me strengths and weaknesses. It was also helpful in showing me possible career possibilities that would fit me best.
The Big Five Model can be an important means of determining a personality. Often, the model is successful in predicting behaviors or even job performance. For example, extraversion positively correlates with job performance for a job that requires high levels of sociability such as salespeople or public speakers. However, it is important not to generalize personalities. Does the Big Five Method adequately explain personality? Are there other personality factors that are not being covered in the model; if so, what other factors of personality are there? Personally, I believe that the Big Five Method covers only a portion of what the personality entails. Personality traits can be expressed differently throughout different individuals.

Lilienfield, Scott, Steven Lynn, Laura Namy, and Nancy Woolf. Psychology from Inquiry to Understanding Mypsychlab Student Access Code. Boston: Pearson College Div, 2011. Print.

Assignment 5: Lie Detectors

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One area in this section that I found to be iteresting was the subject of lie detection. Over the years, I have heard too many different tricks to catch someone in a lie. For example, someones voice goes up in pitch, their nose twitches, or they touch their face. I have never really believed these can actually do the trick, but I wanted to look into it.

Research studies have found that you can tell whether someone is lying just by noticing some body language clues they display. When most normal people are lying, they show signs of stress in their posture, movements and facial expressions. They also delay a few seconds longer when answering a question with an answer that is not truthful. Truthful answers come sooner then untrue answers. There are a few things to watch for when a person is lying to you face-to-face.
• Voice is higher pitched.
• Hand-to-face touching increased, especially nose rubbing and mouth covering.
• Nostrils may open wider ('flare').
• Shoulders pulled up and elbows pulled in to sides more. Body takes up less space.
• Forehead tightens up a little in area between eyebrows.
• Eye contact breaks away from you and eyes may squint or close.
• Heart rate increases.

I am also interested lie detectors and after reading in the book about polygraph tests, I was left wondering how they really worked.
My findings showed that when a person takes a polygraph test, four to six sensors are attached to them in which the multiple ("poly") signals from the sensors are recorded on a single strip of moving paper ("graph"). The sensors usually record the person's breathing rate, pulse, blood pressure, and perspiration. Sometimes a polygraph will also record things like arm and leg movement. This method is not always foolproof though because someone who is very good at lying or knows how to avoid becoming stressed over telling a lie can skew the data being recorded.

Assignment 5

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On July 22, 2009, there was a solar eclipse that occurred. There was a bold prediction that the eclipse would produce an earthquake which would make a devastating tsunami. This prediction is very risky and has to be classified with some extraordinary evidence to have such an extraordinary claim. This claim was made by a recall from a Russian who predicted that "The first major catastrophe with one of the continents will happen in 2009... will be connected with water". I believe that there is no way that an eclipse can be a way to start an earthquake. The way an eclipse is produced has no factor in how the earth will shake, making my explanation a part of the scientific principle of Occam's razor.
Going off of one person's prediction because he is "an unusually gifted" person is not a good way to make a very serious claim that could cause serious fear or anticipation in the world. You would need to have to do intensive research and have lots of information to back up the claim. There is evidence of deep research in how the force of the moon and sun pulling the tectonic plates away from the earth, but that is also part of extraordinary evidence that has to help an extraordinary claim.
If an earthquake would have happened on that day, there is also the possibility that something other than the eclipse could have caused the earthquake, making the claim also unable to infer correlation versus causation. Also if the earthquake would have happened, the majority of the population would have said that the Russian knew what he was talking about and would have believed that the earthquake was caused by the eclipse, but they would have fallen to the correlation versus causation principle.

Criminal Minds: BAU

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Have you ever heard of the show Criminal Minds? Ever wondered what the "BAU" in the title meant? BAU stands for Behavioral Analysis Unit, the members of this group on the television show work in this Unit for the FBI. The main jobs of these people are criminal profiling. Our book says that criminal profiling is no better than a guess, I disagree. However that is not the focus of this blog, my focus is how the "Big 5" play into this show through the main characters.
Aaron Hotchner: better known on the show as Hotch, he is the supervisior of the BAU. Hotch would score very high in conscientiousness, he is very careful with his team and making decisions when they are on cases. Their safety depends on him so he carefully thinks out possibilities before making the decisions. He is very responsible and reliable when it comes to his team.
David Rossi: he is a former Marine who was recruited by the FBI. He and Hotch work closely together on cases. They have similar personalities, however Rossi is more introverted. He keeps his personal life personal.
Derek Morgan: a former Chicago PD officer gone FBI. Morgan is more of an extrovert in the group. He has his quiet times too, but will be seen interacting with people more and is known as more of a "flirt" with the ladies. Morgan also shows slight neuroticism due to his past of abuse, but it does not interfere with his work! He works closely with Garcia.
Penelope Garcia: she is the teams computer tech. She is extroverted, very friendly with her team and has more of a "bubbly" personality. She maintains a flirty relationship with Morgan. She is also agreeable, and gets along with all members of the team. Garcia also has a touch of neuroticism, she is very anxious and a big worrier when it comes to her team.
Emily Prentiss: another agent in the BAU. She is one of the "newer" memebers even thought she has been there for four years. She, unlike Hotch is not as conscientious. She is know for sometimes letting her emotions get in the way of investigations which effects her reliability and decision making.
Dr.Spencer Reid: He is another agent, the only difference is he is a genius. He is by far the most intelligent member of the team, and also the most introverted. Reid is what we would call "socially awkward", he does not handle social situations well and just doesn't have any luck with talking to girls.
All in all, the majority of the members of the BAU are conscientious, their lives and lives of others depend on them being that way. The characters of Criminal Minds show a commonality in characteristics with those really in law enforcement. I have been around law enforcement my whole life, and the personalities of these characters hold true in real life. That is part of the reason I find this show so interesting!

The Big Five

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After reading about the Big Five and talking about it in discussion and lecture over the last week, I have become very interested on how such a short survey can determine our personality traits. I was also very fascinated with the five traits they rank us on; extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness. I hear people talk about these traits every day, but I have never thought about using them to describe myself. I learned that extraversion includes characteristics of being social, talkative, outgoing and assertive. Agreeableness includes trust, kindness and affection. Conscientiousness meaning high levels of thoughtfulness, organized and having a goal-directed behavior. Neuroticism includes characteristics of being anxious, moody, and having emotional instability. Lastly, openness deals with your imagination and having a broad range of interests.

I was curious on how much the results of the Big Five personality test would differ through age and across gender. After doing some research I found that on average the levels of agreeableness and conscientiousness typically increase over time. On the other hand, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness tend to decrease. This definitely grabbed my attention because I would have thought the number for neuroticism would go up because of the stress and responsibilities one takes on when they get older.

When looking at gender differences through the personality test, I found that women seem to report higher scores in neuroticism and agreeableness, whereas, men often report higher scores for extraversion and conscientiousness. I believe the reason for these gender differences typically come from wealthy and equal cultures where women have just as many equal opportunities as to men.

When I took the personality test, I had the highest scores in agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism. I believe these results to be true because I do find myself organized, reliable, agreeable, kind, and sometimes moody. I also agree that I am more of an introvert and do like to be as open and outgoing as others. Therefore, I found the Big Five personality test and the results to be very fascinating. After learning about it for the past week I was able to gain a better understanding of how personality tests work and what kind of person I really am.


Criminal Profiling

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Have you ever watched the show Law and Order or CSI? How about Criminal Minds? These two television shows depict a technique called criminal profiling. A criminal profile is used to provide investigators with information about unknown suspects that will aid in that suspects identification. The profiling process assist's the investigator by reducing the general public to a set of suspects with more unique characteristics. They often can determine certain traits and motives from the various crimes an individual has committed. However, these professionals base their conclusions on nothing more than P.T. Barnum statements. Some researchers have found that professional profilers perform similarly to untrained individuals suggesting that they are no more accurate in gauging personality traits of criminals. Criminal investigative analysis has been developed in the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit. However, it is also used by police departments all over the country. This is very important in our world today with numerous crimes occurring everyday. With law enforcement on the lookout for criminals, our world will be a safer and better place. Personally, I found this topic appealing because I know quite a few individuals who have been victim's of robbery. They went through the process of consulting the police and criminal profilers.

Repressing a Tragic Past

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Repression is triggered when a person experiences a traumatic experience that causes anxiety. The individual uses motivated forgetting because they want to forget the experience every happened. Freud believes that these scarring memories occur during childhood and we repress them to avoid the pain they cause. The idea of infantile amnesia -people can't remember anything before age 3 -has been proven implausible, but I do believe that a person can repress his or her memories from a childhood experience.
This concept jumped out at me when I was reading the textbook because my friend's sister, Mettie, was adopted from Kenya at approximately age 5. She only spoke Bantu when she first arrived to the United States and the adoption agency told their family that she her entire family had died in a village fire and a Kenyan woman who Mettie did not know brought her half way across Kenya to the orphanage. At first Mettie cried about her parents and siblings whose deaths she had witnessed, but after a while she stopped bringing them up. Ten years later she does not remember a single event from her experiences in Kenya and has no recollection of the Bantu language. I believe she was able to repress these traumatic memories from her mind because most people I know can remember big events that happened to them at age 5, but Mettie does not remember anything. I think this is a blessing for her, although I do wish she remembered aspects of her culture. I feel like Mettie had to have cut those memories out of her life, but I have no idea how. It was a miracle for Mettie, but the scientifically curious side of me really wants to know what happened inside her brain that allowed her to forget her tragic past.

Here is another study about Repressed Memory:

The attached video is about a man whose repressed memories affected his life even 50 years later. After therapy he was able to recover his memories and remembered his traumatic experience vividly. The video describes his experience witnesses the death of a friend.

A Positive Outlook Is Essential!

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Down Syndrome is a condition that is very close to my heart as I have a relative that struggles with it everyday. Down Syndrome is a condition that is the result of an extra copy of chromosome 21. The condition is usually described as a type of mental retardation which affects roughly one percent of United States citizens. Mental retardation is defined as a condition in which the individual has a low IQ score, and a decreased level of function in everyday life. The hardships that involve raising a child with Down Syndrome are incredible, so I wanted to learn more about how to approach the situation and make it manageable. I believe understanding ways that parents and family members can help their children grow up with the disorder is essential because it opens new opportunities for the child. I found a video of a young girl named Victoria who suffers from Down Syndrome. Her parent's outlook on life is truly inspiring and is the perfect example of the how the condition should be approached.

Victoria's parents were devastated when they found out that their daughter had Down Syndrome and realized that she would never be normal. But they chose to embrace her condition and have a positive outlook on her future. In the video, the father discusses how he will not be disappointed in anything that she does or doesn't do, and will celebrate her accomplishments. I also found it amazing that the parents sought out help for dealing with the new and strange condition that affected their daughter. I think that the father's message is very powerful and other parents should realize the advantages of positivity and optimism. After learning about the condition and how to properly approach it leaves me with a few more questions. Are there medicines that exist that can potentially cure the condition? Are there actual organizations or groups that parents can utilize to help educate themselves about the condition? Finally, since the video was produced in 2008, I am interested to know how Victoria and her family are doing today, and how the positive outlook has transformed their lives.

Assignment 5 Behaviorism vs Psychoanalysts

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The textbook presents both behaviorism and psychoanalysis as two different theories of personality on opposite ends of the spectrum, with Skinner and Freud representing each side respectively. This view is not uncommon and is highly represented in both psychology and the media as seen by the following animation representing Skinner and Freud in a rather extremist parody.

The Freud v, Skinner video first seems to present two opposing views that are at odds with each other. The video points out flaws in both theories, Freud saying "You have dark feeling and hidden feelings for your mother" and Skinner telling Freud "Feeling mean nothing." but comes to no resolution. Initially the two views seem as though they cannot coexist because they are are on opposite ends of the personality spectrum. Psychoanalysis never even considering learning and behaviorism denying free will. This black or white view of personality is strikingly similar to another debate that raged in psychology both of which fell victim to the either-or fallacy. Years ago many people saw the Trichromatic theory and Opponent process theory as opposite ends of the spectrum. Eventually the two theories were found to be both partially right. I think that a similar approach to personality is the key to resolving the "Skinner v Freud" debate. Both theories compliment each others flaws and have overlap. It is very possible that Freud's defense mechanisms are byproducts of the two process theory of learning, and how else could someone explain ah-ha moments with out cognitive reasoning. In order to truly understand personality one must avoid the either-or fallacy and consider both psychoanalysis and behaviorism simultaneously

From Criminal Minds to Law and Order: Criminal Profiling

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Some of you may wonder what criminal profiling may actually be? Think back, have you ever seen the television shows such as "Criminal Minds" or "Law and Order"? Both of these shows use the practice of criminal profiling. Criminal profiling is a technique that is used by criminal profilers usually at the FBI or other law enforcement agencies. These criminal profilers draw detailed inferences about the suspects' personality traits and motives from the crime that they had committed in order to conclude what type of criminal they may be dealing with. I find this theory of criminal profiling very important because if we are able to narrow down what type of criminal that we are dealing with from a crime, the chances that we can find the criminal multiply substantially. My question is, does criminal profiling really work?

After watching television shows such as the two that I had mentioned above, I have come to believe that criminal profiling does work. An example of criminal profiling, or profiling a person that I have found on YouTube is attached. This video clip from the infamous show "Criminal Minds," shows two of the major detectives in the show discussing criminal profiling. Emily profiles her co-worker after minutes of being with him. This same technique is used for criminals and their crimes that they commit. Some may say that criminal profiling is bogus and is unable to be done just from some general and vague personality characteristics of a criminal. But, I believe that it is an acceptable way of finding a criminal with greater ease, and so do many others as there are many FBI and crime organizations still using this technique to this day.

The Mere Exposure Effect: How "Familiarity Breeds Comfort"

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The mere exposure effect states that familiarity creates comfort, reassurance and relief. Thus, after frequent and repetitive exposure to a stimulus one should feel better and more comfortable about the stimulus which can be both objects or people.

The reason I decided to chose this topic to blog about is because I want to know: can all of these findings be replicated? Do the outcomes and results always state that one feels better and more comfortable about the stimulus?

The Lilienfeld text states that as readers, we should not get confused or thrown off track because as human beings, we search for things that we are fond of.

The link below is a mere exposure effect test.

This test proved to me that the mere exposure effect does work, even though it may be unconsciously.

After taking this test, the mere exposure test was confirmed by me; I agree that as human beings, we search for things that we are fond of, and the mere exposure effect states that the more we see something (an object, picture of a person, a person, hear a sound) the more we come to like it.

BUT Below I listed links of objects, pictures of people/things and music/sounds that I personally find to be very annoying/gross/unpleasant. Not only do I find these these things annoying/gross/unpleasant but each time I see them I still feel the same way.

Thus, what I want to know is: if I keep listening to Rebecca Black's "Friday" music video, or keep looking at a picture of raw fish heads on a platter ready to eat, will i eventually want to listen or eat these things?

In conclusion, I don't think I will ever be in the middle of a workout and say to myself "I want to listen to Rebecca Black!" or "Let's have fish heads for dinner!"

So, what I want to know is: how enduring is the mere exposure effect? Does it only influence short-term emotions versus long term emotions?

Crazy Things in Life

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After reading chapter eleven the concept of somatic marker theory really stood out above the other concepts. Somatic marker theory proposes that we unconsciously and instantaneously use our "gut reactions" especially our automatic responses, like our heart rate and sweating to gauge how we should act. According to Damasio, if we feel our hearts pounding during a first date, we use that information as a "marker" or signal to help us to decide what to do next. first date.png
This past week my boyfriend of two and half years broke up with me. On Sunday when he text me asking if we could Skype and saying we just need to talk, my heart began to pound and my stomach immediately got upset. I knew at this point something was not right. I used those signals to hold myself together until we were able to Skype and actually talk. In this instance the somatic marker theory that Antonio Damasio proposed was exactly what I used. I just will never fully understand how our body or "gut" knows when something bad is going to happen? What triggers us to know or distinguish between something little that wont be a big deal and something that will be life changing?
The Ultimate Gift This video clip I have attached is from the movie The Ultimate Gift. This movie is all about a man who's grandfather passed away and in order to obtain his inheritance he needs to work and realize the many treasures in life. In the movie he meets a little girl and a mom in the park. It ends up the little girl has cancer and not even chemo will cure the disease. This video shows the point where the doctor tells the little girl's mom that nothing will cure her little girl. The mother is an excellent example of the somatic marker theory.

IQ for job placement

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During one of our discussion sections we were supposed to debate the use of IQ scores when hiring someone. Were supposed to decide whether or not to hire someone on their IQ alone. Our group decided no because you would be ignoring other key factors such as their job experience or their people skills. I completely agreed with this decision. Chris Langan, as we read in our books, is a great example of why IQ should not be the only factor when hiring someone. His intelligence didn't really help him in his life. He thought he was too smart to bother with college, he never applied himself and ended up a bouncer at a bar. People with lower IQ's may have more interest and experience in the specific field of the job they are applying for, and they may have better people skills than other applicants who have higher IQ's. Hiring on IQ alone would result in companies not hiring a person who may actually perform at a far higher level at their occupation once hired than someone with a very high IQ.

Secrets to Interviewing Success

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Interviews are a part of life. They are key factors in determining whether a candidate is qualified for a job or internship. They are generally no longer than thirty minutes, and often cause the candidate much stress. While the interview process is often nerve-racking, there are many ways to impress your interviewers with a few simple tricks. While the interviewers should take a candidate's intelligence quotient (IQ) into consideration before hiring him or her, another important element that the interviewer should look at is emotional intelligence (EQ). Our psychology textbook defines emotional intelligence as the ability to understand our own emotions and those of others, and to apply this information to our daily lives. In my opinion, EQ is more important than a person's IQ because research has shown over the years that those with a higher EQ are more successful than those with high IQs. Because of this research, many interviewers today look for candidates with strong emotional intelligence and will often form questions to elicit a response telling the interviewers whether or not the candidate has a high EQ. This video further explains why emotional intelligence is an important factor in the interviewing process and how it makes interviewers more impressed with certain candidates. I know it's a bit shaky, but the information that Rob Kaufman says is very interesting!

Because emotional intelligence is not quite as common as a person's IQ, many people are quite unfamiliar with it. I think this should change. The ability to read and interpret others emotions is a key factor to one's success in life. Why haven't people noticed this before? I generally tend to be a person that likes to really put my foot in the door for other people, but without at least some emotional intelligence, the foot in the door won't do much good. Being able to help people with dilemmas is important to me and the ability to read their emotions helps me to form solutions, whether permanent or temporary, to give the person some relief if they are facing a difficult conflict.

Emotion and motivation: body language and gestures pg416

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There are many terms, sayings, and phrases used today that just would not be understood by previous generations. For example, "just google it" was not something you said when you needed quick information pre-computers. Furthermore, the dilemmas of texting and emailing were not problems faced by society until the '90s rolled around.

Texting and email are notorious for creating awkward or misunderstood situations because there was a misinterpretation in intension due to a lack of body language and gestures within the conversation. This non-verbal form of communication comes in all different varieties with the three main forms being: illustrators, manipulators, and emblems. The illustrators are the form being lost in translation when looking at the written language.

Illustrators refer to the fluctuations in a person's voice when they want to emphasize or draw attention to a specific area of speech. They are also the hand movements and body motions highlighting key terms within a conversation.

The attached article brings together the importance of body language in everyday life and the question of whether these telling gestures are acquired through nature or through nurture.

Of course, like every other study we have read about in class, there is no definite answer. Rather, the authors of this article also believe it takes a mixture of both nature and nurture.
Body Language
It would also be important to note this type of non-verbal communication can be very different across cultures. For example, a simple peace sign in the United States can be misinterpreted as an extremely vulgar hand gesture in Australia (as learned by former President Bush).

I found this section of the reading to be very interesting as it relates to everyone every day. Texting is not a valid form of communication when looking to have a real conversation about an important topic with a person.

Rosenthal and Jacobson Studies

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Success Fortune Cookie.jpg
One of the studies which I found particularly interesting was conducted by Rosenthal and Jacobsen and outlined the importance of expectancy effects on IQ. Rosenthal and Jacobson Studies During this experiment, Rosenthal and Jacobson explored the idea of a self-fulfilling prophecy, similar to a placebo effect. To do so, researchers gave teachers a list of students who were likely to "bloom" in the next eight months. However, these students were actually randomly selected by Rosenthal and Jacobsen. Twenty percent of the class was chosen and their initial scores did not differ from the class. After a year, Rosenthal and Jacobsen retested the same students and found that the students who were labeled as "bloomers" scored on average four IQ points higher than the students who were not labeled as "bloomers". The possibility that expectancy can affect how teachers treat their students is interesting because of the possible implications. If the actions used by teachers towards the labeled "bloomers" were used on the rest of the class, it is possible for the entire class to get more out of their education. Although replications of this study have not generated as large of an effect as the study by Rosenthal and Jacobsen, the possibility that small cues by teachers towards their favorite students due to the belief that the students are smarter can lead to huge differences in our education system.
Test Taking.bmp
As I researched this study, I wondered if this meant that teachers were prejudiced against some races of students or students who dressed differently than others. For example, would a teacher consider a child who dressed more professionally smarter and consequently give that student positive cues? This could happen in a variety of situations. As a child, I was placed in the ESL (English as a Second Language) program because Chinese is my first language. English as a Second Language Lesson Plan Guide When I was in regular classes, I did not truly feel like I was part of the class. As a matter of fact, my kindergartner teacher told my mom that she should stop speaking Chinese around the household because it was impairing my English abilities. Because of this, I wonder if she treated me differently from other students whom she thought were smarter. The actions by my former teacher could effectively outline the expectancy effect because she thought that I was not ready for elementary school. Therefore, the largest question which came to me when researching this topic was how it effects our current school system and specific types of people.

Scary Strangers

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Around eight or nine months of age, infants tend to become fearful of strangers who they have never feared before. This is known as stranger anxiety. I believe this concept is important because it is a stage seen in almost every infant between the ages 8 months to 15 months. This onset occurs around the age that infants begin crawling and become more exposed to dangers out in the world. Although this phenomenon may be upsetting to parents and even to a stranger being rejected by a fearful infant, it also has a positive result. As infants begin to add distance between themselves and their parents via crawling, they are exposed to more dangers, including strangers. The stranger anxiety then prevents infants from accepting the outstretched arms of strangers, keeping them safe from any potential kidnappings and so on.

Stranger anxiety is not an unfamiliar concept to me. I have seen this phenomenon with my own eyes (and ears, for infants most often cry when startled) at least 8 times within my own family. Out of my 10 younger siblings, I can clearly remember 8 of them as infants. As expected, each of them grew fearful of strangers around the time their 8-month photograph was taken. The people that the infants feared included relatives, neighbors, strangers at the grocery store, and most fearful of all, Santa Clause. Although most anxiety begins to decrease at 15 months, the fear of Santa in my family does not diminish until the child understands that the "big red man" is just Daddy's co-worker dressed for the company's annual holiday feast. I think the reason for this is that Santa has such an unusual appearance. Strangers tend to have a common look, which does not include the characteristics of Santa Clause. Why do some kids hold on to their fear of strangers longer than others? I know that some of my siblings retained their anxiety up until their first year of grade school, while others seemed to outgrow it at 12 months.

Here is a website that gives parents help with their child's stranger anxiety.

The Lie Detector & Lying.

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A topic I found fascinating in the past few weeks was the idea of lying and the concept of the lie detector. I think the idea of lying is important because it applies to everyone; everybody lies and huge things can revolve around lying, such as crime scenes. The basic ideas about lying covered in the book talk about how nonverbal cues tend to be less valid indicators of lying than verbal cues. This was interesting to me because if that is true, it contradicts the idea of the lie detector.

The lie detector is an interesting tool used to do just what it sounds like: detect lies. A polygraph looks at and records physiological stats such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and skin conductivity while the subject hooked up to the machine is asked answers a series of questions. The concept of the polygraph is that deceptive answers will have different responses that can be noticed from those associated with non-deceptive answers. I found it interesting how the Polygraph testis biased against the innocent, and how according to psychiatrists and doctors, the Polygraph is 90% accurate. This raises concern for me because even though that is a high percentage, that still means that 10% of the people put under the test can be wrongfully accused or punished. I tried looking up specific examples of specific crime cases when the lie detector failed and a criminal was left innocent because of it but I wasn't able to find any online. Sure enough, there are probably some examples of that in the world. The science behind the polygraph is fascinating enough, and the fact how simple of a concept it is, but yet how complex it it. An interesting video i found on youtube about the Polygraph is linked below, which states a lot of interesting facts about the polygraph.

Another interesting thing about lying I would like to bring up is the idea of the Pinocchio response. The idea is pretty interesting in its self, but I thought of an interesting question while learning about it. Do you think different people have different Pinocchio responses? For example, could somebody maybe blink a ton when lying while a different person could lick their lips a lot while lying? The idea is seen in media through movies and tv shows such as "Lie to Me", which is a show about a psychiatrist who is able to tell if people are lying or not and bust crime cases by using the Pinocchio response and figuring out their actions when they lie.

It is a very interesting show and sheds a lot of truth on just how deep and fascinating lying is.

Assignment #4-Kyle Wong

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Over the past two weeks there have been many interesting theories, ideas, and concepts that we have learned about, one that I find particularly interesting is the disorder anorexia nervosa or anorexia for short. Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by an unhealthy body weight due to a distorted view of one's own self-image.
If you search anorexia in Youtube there are a countless number of videos posted by people dealing with this horrible disorder. The video I choose for my blog post is of a young girl who was diagnosed with anorexia in 2009 and still battles with it today. . The video reveals just how devastating anorexia can be, how hard it is to recover and what might compel someone to develop such a horrific condition.
According to an article on the University of Maryland website research suggest anorexia has a higher rate of mortality than any other psychiatric disorder, therefore I believe that research in this area could be extremely beneficial to those suffering from this life threatening. Aside from health concerns I think that there is a lot to learn about what drives a person to starve themselves and at what point sociocultural pressures outweigh survival. Another interesting aspect of anorexia that would be worth researching is how people suffering from the disorder perceive themselves.anorexia1.jpg Personally I have no experience with this devastating condition but I do have a number of friends who know someone suffering from anorexia and from what they tell me it begins to consume their life and they lose a lot of their ability to do everyday things.
After taking a close look on how anorexia can alter a person's life and ultimately consume it, I'm left wondering a number of puzzling questions. In all of the articles I read there was plenty of examples of people dying or left with permanent health problems due to the condition, but no examples of someone suffering from anorexia recovering with no complications and I would like to know how often, if at all, that occurs. Another question still lingering in my mind is if due to their distorted perception of themselves if they actually see fat that's not there or if they just have an incredibly high standard for skinny.
Overall I think that anorexia is pressing issue that should be dealt with immediately and that psychology could learn a lot from the people who suffer from this disorder and vice versa.

assignment 4

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over the last week or so we have covered the area of psychological development. During this time we have taken an in depth approach to the inner workings of child development and how infants perceive and interact with the world. I came to understand that infants are able to interact with as young as 5 months of age. Infants are also relatively speaking a blank canvas, that is they are able to absorb and learn at an alarming rate any type of speech or language basics. These infants need not be deeply engrossed in language, it has been shown that as little as 10-15 hours a week will suffice in giving them the ability to absorb and process the language. It was also shown in lecture that an infants ability to process and learn new language is undertaken in a relatively short window. This window closes at roughly the 11 month mark of development. After this time what an infant has observed in most cases is the dominant language and process they will be accustomed to. As stated above an infants mind is very complex more so than i would have thought a few weeks ago.

Are You My Mother?

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There are many pictures that show a baby animal, like a kitten, following a larger, different animal, like a dog, around. It almost appears as if the smaller animal thinks of the bigger one as a parent. In some cases this may be true. This idea is referred to as imprinting. It was developed by Konrad Lorenz who accidently came across some goslings as they were hatching. Lorenz was the first large creature the goslings saw, so he was thought of as their mother, in the goslings' eyes. Lorenz stayed with the goslings as they grew older, and the group developed a bond with each other. The attached video shows actual footage of him imprinting the goslings. This finding was very important for psychology because it showed how important the critical period is for newborns. The critical period is the specific window of time during which an event must occur. This period differs for all animals.
In Lorenz's situation he was dealing with geese, not actual humans. Imprinting does not apply to humans as it does to animals. We develop softer bonds with those who tend to us after birth. Usually these people that tend to us happen to be our parents so that is why we have the bond with them. I have lived with both of my parents my whole life, so I know that I have a strong bond with them through that. This makes me wonder, however, if children who are given up for adoption after birth have any type of bond with their birth mother. Adopted children still have a critical period just like any other child, so I would think they would form some bond with their birth mother, but I would like to know how strong it could be potentially.

Sensorimotor Stage

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An important theory is Piaget's stages of development because it shows how humans develop from birth to adulthood and the way we think and understand life. His first stage was the sensorimotor stage (from birth to two years), then the preoperational stage (two to seven years), followed by the concert operational stage (seven to eleven years), and finally the formal operation stage (eleven years to adulthood). I'm going to talk about the first stage of Piaget's stages of development because it fascinates me the most. In the first stage, the sensorimotor stage, children learn by their experiences with their physical connections with life. Children lack object permanence in this stage, which means that they think that objects are no longer there when hidden; it just disappears and then magically reappears again. Due to object permanence, children in the early stages of development have so much fun playing peek-a-boo. Here is a video that demonstrates object permanence. When my cousin was around a year old, me and my brother would always go up to him and cover our faces in a blanket and then uncover it again. He would start crying or getting upset when we would hide our faces for too long, but when we removed the blanket he would be overjoyed! It was the funniest thing ever, and so adorable! Now I know it's because he thought we actually disappeared which is why he got so upset! The book uses the quote "out of sight, out of mind" because when something is gone or hidden behind something, children in the sensorimotor stage seize to believe its existence. They have no thought beyond current physical familiarities. In the first stage children also lack deferred imitation. Deferred imitation is the capability to imitate something that was observed beforehand, which babies learn after about two years of age. I don't have any questions to ask about this, I think it's extremely intriguing how unique children are at different ages and how much they can change in such a little time. We learned about how children around the age of 3 can't lie to benefit themselves (video with the sticker), but once they hit the age of 4 or 5 they can lie as much as they want.

High Divorce Rates? Blame the Pill

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As we read in our textbook, even psychologists have no idea what makes us attracted to someone else. Everyone prefers different personal qualities, physical appearance, and moral values in their partner. However, it often seems that we cannot control who we are attracted to. Whether were attracted to the "dangerous" type or your friend's boyfriend or girlfriend, it seems that our conscious does not participate in attraction -allowing our logical, rational thinking to take a back seat to our emotional responses.

However, with the current divorce rate at a staggering 50%, it may lead us to question what is going on with our biology. However, it may be our own manipulation of biology that causes this statistic. After its creation in the early 1960's, oral contraceptives have become one of the most common forms of birth control in the United States. As many of us already know, oral contraceptives, aka "the pill", releases hormones to trick the body into thinking it is already pregnant, therefore preventing pregnancy.


Recent research suggests that the pill may also affect a woman's preference in a partner. According to Scientific American, "hidden in a man's smell are clues about his major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes, which play an important role in immune system surveillance". Research suggest that women who are not on the pill prefer men whose MHC genes are different from their own. This makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint since a more diverse genetic makeup tends to produce a better immune system in our children.

the pill.jpg

Women who are on the pill, however, tend to prefer men who have similar MHC genes to their own. This may be because pregnant woman are biologically predisposed to seek comforting, protective individuals during pregnancy, such as family members. When women who met their partners while on the pill stop taking it, they may no longer be attracted to this person. The same may be true when beginning to take the pill. Either way, it is believed that the taking the pill can affect a woman's attraction toward her partner -potentially causing marriages to end in divorces.

Although this claim seems to make perfect sense, I don't think that we can attribute the high divorce rate to birth control alone.Other simpler explanations may explain the high divorce rate just as well. For example, although couples may be in love when they get married, they may not be well suited as life partners. They may share different philosophies on family life, religion, or finances that may lead to divorce. This article explains several, simpler explanations as to why so many couples are getting divorced. Although biology says that birth control may be the culprit, Occam's razor thinks differently.

The Mozart Effect

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is widely acknowledged as a musical genius. By the time he was five years old, Mozart was composing music and performing for royalty. Some parents or students hoping to get a head-start on their education or studies have turned to something called the Mozart Effect. The Mozart Effect claims to boost intelligence after listening to classical music- hence, the Mozart reference. Companies quickly took advantage of the opportunity and produced audio cd's for babies. The Mozart Effect: Music for Babies It seemed now that parents could now improve their infants learning abilities and intelligence.
In 1993 Rauscher made an extraordinary claim that after individuals listened to Mozart for 10 minutes, individuals increased their spatial reasoning skills. The results were difficult to replicate. Many findings showed no effect whatsoever. Some reported findings showing a small increase in spatial reasoning skills, lasting for a short period.
Based on the little research that supports The Mozart Effect, it seems unlikely that this claim is true. Another explanation for the Mozart Effect is that by listening to any kind of music causes one to become emotionally aroused, which would explain the short-term effects on intelligence. Questions have risen whether listening to Mozart would have any difference than to listening to other kinds of music. Interestingly, beneficial effects have been found between music and people with epilepsy. More research is needed to explore the long-term effects to Mozart. However, even though listening to Mozart shows no definite increase in spatial reasoning or intelligence, there's no harm in listening to Mozart's wonderful music.

Jenkins, J. S. "The Mozart Effect." JRSM. Apr. 2001. Web. 07 Nov. 2011.

Anorexia Nervosa

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Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by refusal to maintain a healthy body weight as well as an obsessive fear of gaining weight. Many people that suffer anorexia nervosa view a distorted self-image and it's more common among women. This is important because Anorexia Nervosa can severely damage the human body and impair organs, which can result in death. Anorexia is a common disorder, so having a treatment is essential to those people that have been not only hurting their physical body, but also their mental health.
A close friend of mine named Claire was diagnosed with a mild case of Anorexia. Throughout freshman and sophomore year she was a normal, healthy and athletic girl. Then beginning of junior year our friends noticed she became rather thin and Claire was already tall to begin with. Eventually, I realized she would buy all this food at lunch, but barely touch it then stash it in her backpack for "later". This went on for about a month and we eventually confronted her. Claire was furious at the time because she thought she looked overweight, but she forgave us because she finally got treatment. It killed me seeing my best friend go down that road and I was the first person to notice signs of her becoming anorexic. Claire told me that she would work out in her basement so no one would see her. She would work out 3 to 4 times a day. Her mother had a lot of pressure on her because when her mother was Claire's age, she was smaller than Claire; Claire told me that was the biggest factor as to why she came this way. I still wonder how or what chemicals change Claire's brain to view her self as overweight?

Lie Detector Tests

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There are different ways to assess people's emotions. When we are reading people we look at their facial expressions and listen to the tone of their voice, but how does a machine read people?


The polygraph machine was invented by John Larson in 1921. It measures certain physiological reactions in the participant. The polygraph measures breathing rate, blood pressure, sweat, and pulse. The idea behind the polygraph is that these reactions change when stress levels change. These reactions are involuntary so the participant can not control them. The polygraph machine records changes on a graph; when the reactions are different from the norm the line in the graph changes.


The polygraph test is generally pretty accurate but it is not foolproof. People can learn to control their reactions in order to "trick" the test. It is controversial to use the polygraph as evidence because of the ability for people to fool it.

This was an interesting, quick video that helped explain what the polygraph measures.

Assignment 4

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When I was reading through Chapter 10, the "Obstacles to Normal Fetal Development" section really stood out to me. I guess I never realized how many different things could disrupt fetal development, and to be quite honest, it's a bit scary to think about, considering i would like to be a mother someday. The book states that there are three ways in which fetal development can be disrupted: exposure to hazardous environmental influences, biological influences resulting from genetic disorders or errors in cell duplication during cell division, and premature birth.
I never would've thought that prematurity would be such a roadblock in a child. But this video talks about how "preemies" can suffer from hitting developmental milestones (which are just marks of time when a baby should achieve something). The video also indicates that they can have difficulties with hearing and vision which can sometimes lead to difficulties in speech. The video even says that sometimes premature babies need specialists to help them out.

I found this topic very interesting because I know a family who has two premature children. The older one is very small for his age and sometimes slurs his words together. And the younger one is just a baby, so I can't really say anything about him being premature.
As for questions, why is it that premature babies happen? Like what makes them stop developing inside of the mother and causes them to be brought into the world earlier than expected?

A Few Weeks Won't Hurt... Or Will It?

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While reading about some obstacles in normal fetal development it didn't come to my attention on how serious prematurity could play a factor in cognitive and physical development. My older sister, who is now 24, was born prematurely by about two months. Luckily, she didn't develop any serious cognitive or physical disorders like how many do.
A full-term baby is born after 40 weeks of pregnancy (Lilienfield, 2010). With each week of pregnancy, the odds of disorders decrease and the odds of survival increase (Hoekstra et al., 2004). Research has consistently shown that children born earlier than normal gestation show an increased risk for deficits in learning and other cognitive problems. The Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology published a study to compare the executive functioning of 50 premature children to 50 normal born children (27 boys, 23 girls). They tested children all about around the same age, 6 years old. Each child was tested on the Go/NoGo test, the shape school task, the day-night stroop task, a verbal fluency task, digit span, the object classification task for children, and a full IQ test (Lopez-Duran, 2009). With all these tests, they were able to test all spans of executive functioning. They didn't single out a specific skill such as memory, organizing, speech, etc.
The results show that premature children scored lower on accuracy and efficiency of cognitive switching, verbal fluency, working memory and concept categorization. Although these results show that the children aren't as well developed as normal born 6 year olds, it doesn't necessarily mean that they will have these deficits later in life. As stated in the study, perhaps the children are undergoing a developmental lag and will soon develop the cognitive skills later in their childhood. We can't assume that these will have long-term effects; we have to rule out any rival hypotheses. We also have to take into account how prematurely born the children were and if that perhaps affects the severity of their deficits.
Something that I'm still wondering about on premature babies is what causes them to be born early? Is there a direct cause such as drinking alcohol while pregnant, smoking, or doing any drugs? Are babies more likely to be born prematurely from those actions?

A Few Weeks Won't Hurt... Or Will It?

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While reading about some obstacles in normal fetal development it didn't come to my attention on how serious prematurity could play a factor in cognitive and physical development. My older sister, who is now 24, was born prematurely by about two months. Luckily, she didn't develop any serious cognitive or physical disorders like how many do.
A full-term baby is born after 40 weeks of pregnancy (Lilienfield, 2010). With each week of pregnancy, the odds of disorders decrease and the odds of survival increase (Hoekstra et al., 2004). Research has consistently shown that children born earlier than normal gestation show an increased risk for deficits in learning and other cognitive problems. The Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology published a study to compare the executive functioning of 50 premature children to 50 normal born children (27 boys, 23 girls). They tested children all about around the same age, 6 years old. Each child was tested on the Go/NoGo test, the shape school task, the day-night stroop task, a verbal fluency task, digit span, the object classification task for children, and a full IQ test (Lopez-Duran, 2009). With all these tests, they were able to test all spans of executive functioning. They didn't single out a specific skill such as memory, organizing, speech, etc.
The results show that premature children scored lower on accuracy and efficiency of cognitive switching, verbal fluency, working memory and concept categorization. Although these results show that the children aren't as well developed as normal born 6 year olds, it doesn't necessarily mean that they will have these deficits later in life. As stated in the study, perhaps the children are undergoing a developmental lag and will soon develop the cognitive skills later in their childhood. We can't assume that these will have long-term effects; we have to rule out any rival hypotheses. We also have to take into account how prematurely born the children were and if that perhaps affects the severity of their deficits.
Something that I'm still wondering about on premature babies is what causes them to be born early? Is there a direct cause such as drinking alcohol while pregnant, smoking, or doing any drugs? Are babies more likely to be born prematurely from those actions?

Tribute To Andy Rooney

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Andy Rooney was made famous for is rants at the end of every 60 Minutes. Usually he would question the reason behind a new innovative technology, give his opinion on a global event, or just complain. However, when it came to the new technology, he had a right to complain. He was born in 1919, and grew up with typewriters not computers, old telephones, not iPhones, Model T's, not hybrids, so he wasn't used to using new technology.
In the lectures, we learned about how it is easier to learn something while you are developing than it is while you are fully developed. We focused on languages, however, it can be applied to a vast amount of knowledge. In Mr. Rooney's case it could be texting, let alone using, smart phones. I grew up in a technological age, so I have know problem finding my way around a laptop or using an iPad. Mr. Rooney on the other hand would most likely have a harder time understanding how to use it, because he grew up using a typewriter and calling the operator before making a call.
I'm sure when I get to be in my 80's there will be a new gadget that my grandkids will be having to teach me how to use. It will be hard to learn, so I will probably be stubborn and stick to using my old-fashioned mac computer and using that "snail mail" called texting. So I have know problem allowing Andy Rooney go on and on about how complicated smartphones are, since its really not his fault its that difficult for him to learn.

The Explosion of Portion Sizes

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Over the years portion sizes and the way we think about food in the United States has blown out of proportion. In an experiment done by Brian Wansick and his colleagues, a full bowl of soup was presented to the participants that secretly had a tube pumping soup into the bowl as the participants ate portraying an "endless bowl of soup". This experiment showed that people with the "endless bowl of soup" consumed more than those who consumed soup out of a regular bowl. This shows that people tend to eat food in units, in this case the "bowl" of soup or for example if you grab a pop tart in the morning, the serving size is only one poptart but in general most people eat both the pop tarts at once.

In my nutrition class we also talked about this endless bowl of soup and the reasons why people eat food (besides hunger) which included things like quantity, price, convenience, etc . One of the biggest reasons why we consume food in large quantities when we go to fast food restaurants is because we want to get our money's worth. For example, if someone goes to a buffet, they're not going to just eat one plate and be done. They are going to eat as much as they possibly can until the point where they can barely move, all to get their money's worth. In my high school cafeteria there was a poster that had portion sizes on it and it showed what the actual portion size was and what you were given which was mind blowing to see how small a serving was compared to how much you got. (I actually found the picture online so I included it.) A little mind trick mentioned in the book to control the amount of food you eat is to eat on a smaller plate because then the portions look bigger but at the same time you're still limiting the amount you eat.

portion distortion 2.jpg

Assignment #4 The Wonders and Mysteries of Love

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One topic that has sparked my interest lately is the idea and concept of love. It seems to be not even defined in our textbook except for "passionate love" or "companionate love". The word love can mean so much to somebody and mean nothing to someone else. It is a word that be defined in so many different ways to people, that how would it be possible for psychologists to define it? I feel that it is as if it cannot be defined. It is a word that comes to mean something different to each and everyone one of us. Love is just love. It can make us feel on top of the world or feel at the bottom of a pit. It can come in many different forms with our parents, siblings, friends, and finally, our lovers. Although I cannot say I have experienced being in love, it is something that I find intriguing because it is not something that we can define, but rather describe characteristics of. I know that two of my three roommates are both in love with someone and both said that it is something where you have to give and take, and where you'd give anything in your power to make the other person happy. It is almost how it is with your parents or anybody for that matter who you love. The only difference is that you are IN love with someone (whom is your romantic partner).
I believe that this topic in psychology is important because so many people go through this everyday and search for it their entire lives. What is it about love that gets everyone going? What is it that makes someone search for it everyday for the rest of their lives? It is the one thing that can make us happy or make us completely heartbroken. Is it really worth it to go through all that trouble and heartbreak to find somebody? Also, this issue can be important because without the love we receive everyday, we could potentially die of a broken heart. Researchers should actually look more into this subject and see if that is actually possible. But then again, everyone loves to be loved so why wouldn't they!?

Here is a link to the different views of love shared by many young children (All are typically around 5 years old):

This video is interesting because it shows that even 5 year olds get a sense of what love is at an early age and can have a different meaning to them too. I found this quite interesting and enlightening.

Non-traditional families

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Traditional Mother, Father, children, archetype of families still holds firm in much of America, however, it is becoming more and more prevalent in society to have gay men with children or a single parent raising kids or even a set of mothers raising a family. Although I'm a strong believer in the riches of growing up in traditional families, the idea of something different really fascinates me. I have many questions and am curious about how the children are raised and their viewpoint on parenthood.

Recently, my husband came home from work, Regions Hospital, and told me about an unusual case he had. A surrogate mother came in with twins; the lucky family to receive the boy and girl, a gay couple. He was a little rattled, being that he has a bit of a "homo-phobia" and his view is that there are family values that need to be upheld. The women nurses were saying that the couple was the most excited of everyone there that day having children. And they were very excited for the young men. This goes to show that views have changed drastically in the last few years and are even drastically different from person to person.

Nowadays, even though most of America holds to this traditional idea of "family," less than 25% of the nations households actually have a traditional family (Associated Press 2003). Think of how different the numbers may be now that it's 2011! Aimee Gelnaw, interviewed in The Non-traditional Families article, explains that people are being more and more exposed to gay or lesbian living. It's causing people to see that they all want the same thing, "to create safe loving environments for our kids."

Rev. Gerald Kieschnick mentions that the family is the center of society. It's what holds societies together, so when it gets "all mixed up" the whole society falls apart (Associated Press 2003).

What do you think? Do you have an opinion?

Associated Press Article on Non-Traditional Families.

Another non-traditional family article about how they are becoming more traditional.



Assignment 4: Imprinting in Cinema

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Imprinting refers to animals, such as geese, attaching themselves to the first large, moving object they see after hatching. The example discussed in the text, and in lecture, is Konrad Lorenz' experience with the three geese who imprinted on him almost immediately after hatching. This reminded me of the movie Fly Away Home that I watched as a kid.


In the movie, a young girl moves to Canada to be with her father. Here she finds a nest of geese eggs, which she takes in. When the birds are imprinted with her as their Mother Goose, she realizes that unless she and her father can teach the birds a migration route from Ontario to North Carolina, the birds will not be able to survive the winter. However, her father solves the problem in the form of ultralight aircraft that is used to guide the birds to sanctuary.

Growing up, I had always wondered if this could actually have happened. Now, I know that there is extraordinary evidence to support this extraordinary claim. After doing more research on the movie, I found that the movie was somewhat based off the true life story of Bill Lishman of Canada. Lishman was an inventor, and an ultralight aircraft hobbyist. He wanted to know if geese could be taught migration patterns through imprinting. After several years of logistical setbacks, Lishman succeeded in his migration mission.


Now I just want to know when I can get my own family of little geese???

Flashbulb memories

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Flashbulb memories
Henry Price
Flashbulb memories are emotional memories of great detail. These memories are episodic memories enhanced by emotional components. They are often created under time of trauma or great stress, as the storage and retrieval of memories is enhanced by trauma and deals with interactions between the amygdala and hippocampus if the brain.
For many people their flashbulb memories are created in national tragedies; some examples in American culture include the Kennedy assassination, Pearl Harbor, and the 911 attacks. People are able to often able to recall where they were and what they were doing when they heard of these events. These vivid memories seem to not decaying over time unlike other memories, leading many to believe that flashbulbs are a different category of memories, but this may be a false conclusion. Although flashbulbs seem stable they often change the second time they are recollected. A study by the researchers Neisser and Harsch found that 75 percent of college students changed their recollection of their memory of the Challenger explosion over their initial and later reports.
Salient flashbulb memories:




Flashbulb memories are very important in understanding the concept of memories. Flashbulbs show the importance of emotion and trauma and the amygdala in the production of memories. They also are a show that memories can be false and that all memories can change despite our perception of their nature.
My most salient flashbulb memory is of the 911 attack I recall that I had no idea what the world trade center was and I can recall the classroom I was in when I learned of the attack in great detail, but is this a true memory, however my perception of that day could have changed since I first recalled it. My question is can any memory especially an emotional one be truly accurate? This question could change our understanding of history as we know it. Are diaries of battle experiences or other primary sources truly accountable?

Happiness :)

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One of the most interesting topics in the chapter was the idea that money does not lead to long-term happiness. Rather, factors such as marriage, religion, friendships, giving, and others lead to true long-term happiness. Although money can give us some short term happiness, money is not crucial to happiness in the long-run. Money causing happiness is only one of the four common misconceptions. The other misconceptions include that happiness decreases as we age and that people on the West Coast are happiest. Furthermore, events which happen to us do not determine happiness. I believe that the idea on how to find happiness is crucial towards our personal lives as we are all trying to pursue happiness. Therefore, the factors which influence happiness are necessary for the general well-being of people worldwide.
Happiness applies to my life in an array of ways. One factor emphasized in the text was friendships. Personally, I have found that the first couple weeks of college life have been rough because I lacked the friendships which I had in high school. I found that my levels of happiness declined during the first weeks of college but increased after I made connections to other people as time progressed. Another factor which I found applied to me was exercise. When I entered college, I felt that it was less convenient to go exercise and consequently did not exercise as much. Exercise.jpg After a couple weeks, I felt unmotivated and did not want to do anything, leading to lower levels of happiness. Gratitude and giving seem to have the biggest impact on me for happiness levels. I found that volunteering for the Special Olympics was extremely beneficial for my well-being while providing me with a great opportunity to interact with others. Special Olympics As I evaluated the factors which led to happiness, I questioned why family is not in the list. Many college students suffer from homesickness because family is not with them. I also thought that some of the factors could be aided by money. For example, many students are unable to go to college because of monetary constraints. Hence, money can lead to college which is a factor of happiness. Money can also effect giving as people with more money will be more inclined to give because they are able to without stress. Therefore, I wonder if some of the factors which lead to happiness could be influenced by money. Money.jpg

Mozart "Faux"-zart

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Ever heard of a pregnant woman playing Mozart music while she relaxes? The Mozart Effect is one topic that has been fascinating to me since the first day that I had heard of it. On the surface it seems pretty convincing, Mozart is a well-known musical genius after all, and who wouldn't want their kids to aspire to be like him?

Even though studies have come to prove that listening to Mozart does not make a personsmarter, it does temporarily improve the performances of mental tasks known as spatial intelligence. But according to these studies, it only lasts for about 15 seconds before fading away. So what if a person wanted a permanent increase in spatial intelligence? Is there a way to have a permanent increase? Perhaps by starting a routine of listening to Mozart a couple times a day for a certain amount of time?

I know for me personally, my mother didn't listen to Mozart, or any other musical genius, when she was pregnant. And my brother is a great example for evidence that you don't need to listen to musical geniuses to increase your level of intelligence. My brother has always been smart, impressing people left and right. From getting a score of 34 out of a 36 on the ACT test, and doubling up in Pre-Calculus and AP Calculus Senior year of high school and managing to have straight A's in all classes the entire year, my brother continues to blow people's minds of just how intelligent he is.

Mozart is unnecessary when it comes to increasing your level of intelligence. But it could have a placebo effect and convince a person that it does, which makes a person focus more and study longer, increasing their test/homework scores, makin it seem like they did gain intelligence. Who knows!

Enjoy the music, maybe it'll make YOU smarter!

But I Didn't Say Anything!

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Even without speaking is it possible to know what type of emotions you are feeling? Our body postures, hand gestures, and even facial expressions can covey more information about our emotional state; then we sometimes want. If you seen someone walking down the street with their head down you might thing that they are depressed, sad, or tired. Vise versa, if you seen someone walking down the street, head held high you might think that they where happy, excited, and having a good day. Body language is a non-verbal form of communication. It consists of body posture, gestures, facial expressions, and even eye movements.

Some people say that we pay more attention to body language than actually listening to what a person is saying. Take this animation of emotions for instance. We can look at each and every emotion and more than likely you are able to tell exactly how he is feeling. Diving deeper, I bet it would be just as easy for you to explain his emotions and why he is feeling that way. For example: In one picture he is shaking, his knees are buckling, and he has a look of fear on his face. This image conveys fear. Maybe he did a job wrong and is getting scolded by his boss. Therefore, he is shaken up and scared he might be fired. Because the man is wearing a suit and a tie you can easily put his emotions into a business context and find reasons to explain how he feels based on emotional postures, gestures, and facial expressions. file:///Users/stormipeters/Pictures/blog%204.png

Here is another example of body language and how easily your message can be conveyed even without speaking.

I am not going to say much about the video because I feel the video is explained very well. But in that video you as a viewer can feel the tension and in a way feel how they felt. This video shows you that there are no rules in body language and even when you say absolutely nothing you can portray everything.

There is a saying that I believe is all to true. Is goes a little something like this "actions speak louder than words". It's simple, sweet, and straight to the point. I feel that if you are unaware of the message you are convening through body language and gestures you might want to start watching yourself. Who knows, you might learn more than you ever thought you would!

JUST FOR KICKS... Here are some basic types of body language I found surfing the web:

CLOSED - AGGRESSIVE body language:
Hands on hips
Invading personal space - too close
Aggressive gesturing - finger pointing
Standing 'over' someone
Over firm handshake
'Eye balling' - out staring

CLOSED - DEFENSIVE body language:
Crossed arms or legs
Hunched shoulders
Poor eye contact
Leaning away
Tight voice

CLOSED - NERVOUS body language:
Nail biting
Dry throat - swallowing / coughing
Blushing - face/neck/chest
Weak handshake
Avoiding eye contact

CLOSED - BORED body language:
Looking around the room
Looking at watch
Drumming fingers
Shifting weight
Rubbing face

OPEN - INTERESTED body language:
Firm handshake
Good eye contact
On the same level
Confident stance
Confident gestures - chosen gestures
Showing interest - head nod / slight lean in


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Catena Dimauro - anorexia bulimia#2 (photo enhanced).jpg

Anorexia is a part of my life because one of my friends struggled with it for a few years. She got to the point where she was obviously too skinny and many people expressed worry for her. She had dealt with it in the past and everyone, including her, thought she had beaten anorexia. But she hadn't. I'm happy to say that she is doing much better now after getting a lot of help at treatment facilities but other people aren't so lucky. Which brings me to the picture above. This is a young lady, Catena, who suffered from anorexia for seven years and eventually passed away. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Which is why anorexia, and eating disorders in general, are such an important topic to learn and discuss about. As seen in the picture, anorexia takes a large physical toll on the human body. It is very obvious when someone is dealing with it. This should make it easier to help the person struggling with it. Because my life was affected through my friends struggle with anorexia I really realize how bad anorexia, and other eating disorders are. I wonder why more things haven't been done to try to put a stop to anorexia. In my opinion, it needs more attention. What else can be done to show suffers of anorexia that they are perfect the way they are?

Dr. Paul Ekman and Recognition of Microexpressions

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In the textbook (and in lecture) Dr. Paul Ekman and his work in emotions and facial expressions were mentioned. Dr. Ekman proposed that there are universal expressions that people everywhere share, the seven primary emotions being happiness, sadness, surprise, anger, disgust, fear and contempt. However, there are also combinations of expressions and emotions; for example, anger and disgust shown together is interpreted as scorn. Ekman's research has been used to teach members of law enforcement how to identify micro expressions (extremely short unconscious facial expressions) so that they can tell whether or not someone is lying or poses a threat. I think this would be a great skill to try and develop; imagine how useful it would be to know how people really feel. This website has a great little application that lets you try and identify micro expressions, although I found it very difficult.... What I thought was more interesting, however, is this video where Dr. Ekman explains a little bit about his work and describes one of the experiments that they did related to micro expressions. Of course, the television series "Lie to Me" (which was great and now, unfortunately, cancelled) is based loosely on Dr. Ekman and his research. However, in the show there are certain people that are "naturals:" people that can read micro expressions naturally, without studying them. I wonder whether or not naturals really exist because it seems like an amazing ability to have.

The Strange Situation

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The Strange Situation is a laboratory procedure that shows how infants, of about 12 months, react to being separated from their attachment figures. There are four main attachment styles that research believe most babies fall into: Secure attachment, insecure-avoidant attachment, insecure-anxious attachment, and disorganized attachment. I think The Strange Situation is important to Psychology because it shows how different infants attach to their parents. Also, the different attachment styles can predict children's later behavior. An example from our textbook says that, "Infants with a secure attachment style tend to grow up to be more well adjusted, helpful, and empathic than infants with other attachment styles" (387).

This video is a demonstration of The Strange Situation. The infant in this video most closely falls into the attachment style of secure attachment because the infant cries when the mother leaves, and then is calmed down when her mother returns.

I am still wondering how Psychologists found out that particular attachment styles can predict that child's later behavior. It is a very interesting subject and offers a lot of insight into Developmental Psychology.

Assignment #4 - The Mozart Effect

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One psychological study regarding learning that interested me was the Mozart effect. We've all seen those commercials on TV, advertising to hopeful parents that their product will turn their children into particle physics professors. Mozart-For-Babies.jpg Do these testimonials actually work or are they some form of pseudoscience? I discovered that the Mozart Effect is not responsible for the increase of general IQ, rather an increase in spatial intelligence. However, these findings were still promising and even led to a proposition in Georgia to grant all newborns a classical music CD. Even if listening to classical music doesn't have much of an impact on infants, the result is still well worth it.

An explanation Through Parenting

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These past few chapters have been very interesting to me. One area that I have found to be very interesting was the section in Human Development and the Parenting Styles. Through growing up I have witnessed a range of parenting styles among my friends and acquaintances. I have always wondered how kids my own age could differ so widely in behavior and ideas of what is acceptable. Throughout school I have seen extremely shy kids, outgoing kids, confident kids, insecure kids, mean kids, nice kids, good kids, and extremely bad and misbehaving kids. As a kid I never thought much about the causes of these extreme differences, but through reading the chapter on human development and Parenting styles some explanation has evolved.
There are four basic types of parenting styles explained in the book, Permissive, authoritarian, authoritative, and uninvolved. Permissive is when the parents are very easy going and let their kid get away with anything. Authoritarian is the opposite where the parents are extremely strict with their kids and give them little freedom. Authoritative is a combination of the previous two, they are supportive but also have rules and limits to their freedom. Uninvolved is when the parents neglect their children completely.
The article that can be reached through the link explains these parenting styles effects. According to the article authoritarian parenting styles sometimes can result in insecure and socially awkward kids. Permissive parenting styles can result in misbehavior and the kids give into peer pressure more easily, but they have better social skills. Authoritative parenting styles normally result in a child who is well rounded and well behaved with good self-esteem and control. An uninvolved parenting style can result in an extremely damaged child with many problems. Through learning about the impact of parenting styles I have gained a new insight into the behavior and personality differences I witnessed as a child.

The Differences in Sound

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Despite not being able to speak, studies have shown that a baby's ability to interact with language first begins with the acquisition of sounds, long before they are born. By the fifth month of pregnancy, most of the baby's auditory system is developed enough that he or she possess the ability to recognize some characteristics of the mother's native language. By the time they are born, babies have the ability to clearly distinguish between different sounds and show a preference to their mother's native language.

Since they have no form of communication but are able to differentiate between phonemes, or the sounds of language, babies are born with universal adaptability. This allows them to have the ability to learn all of the languages in the world, since each language contains a specific subset of phonemes that determine how the language sounds. Universal adaptability allows babies to determine and distinguish between the different phonemes used in all of the languages across the world. Since some languages contain sounds that don't occur in other languages, this allows babies to be able to decide whichever language they want and how they learn it.

In contrast, adults who only speak one language, such as English, have difficulty imaging sounds that are distinct and perceive speech sounds to only belong to one single phoneme category. Why do they lose the ability to have universal adaptability? Research shows that when the baby becomes ten months, he or she loses universal adaptability and only learn the phonemes of one language. When this happens, a reorganization of perception occurs, and the subtle differences between similar sounds can't be recognized, especially if there is no distinction within the language being learned. For example, in Hindi, the phonemes d, th, t have very different sounds, but to the native English speaker, there is no distinction between the three (all of the phonemes sound exactly the same). Another example of this is seen in the youtube video below, where a distinction appears between the phonemes "kuh" and "khuh," which isn't apparent to the native English speaker until the sound becomes extremely emphasized ("from the epiglottis").

From the epiglottis: (starting at 1:28. Unfortunately, the entire video is in Hindi, but it's still possible to differentiate between the two different sounds because of the emphasis they are pronounced with)

For child psychologists, the concept of universal adaptability is very important in understanding how language development truly occurs. Learning how babies have the ability to pick up any language they want may determine how the brain works to provide a language and how it may have evolved over time. With this phenomenon, learning how a baby learns to only recognize the phonemes of a specific language and how the brain works to formulate that capability is also something that will contribute to the study of language development. By studying universal adaptability, it could also be possible to learn more about the structure of the brain, and how language capabilities differ between children as they grow older. On a personal level, universal adaptability is very interesting to me as a bilingual because I've always been interested in how people learn different languages and what allows some people to be very adept at learning languages, while others are poor. I'm also interested in knowing how the languages a person knows can affect the acquisition of other languages later on, especially since I think my ability to easily understand Spanish may have something to do with my knowledge of Kannada, a language from southern India, despite the two sounding completely different (and have different phonemes). Being bilingual has also allowed me to pick up other Indian languages, which all have similar phonemes but are very different on a syntactic level.

This makes me wonder: is it possible to alter universal adaptability so that it persists even after we learn the phonemes of a dominant language? And how does a baby differ from a bilingual or monolingual person in terms of the structure of the frontal cortex?

Assignment 4: Monkeys, Mothers, and Attachment.

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In the text, Lillenfield and others discuss the strongest attachment that an infant shares with the person whom they are closest as "attachment." Within this idea of attachment, there are several other factors involved like "contact comfort" which, according to Lillenfield, are "positive emotions afforded by touch" and the varying levels of attachment. Each one of these levels of attachment and the idea of contact comfort contribute to the development of infants into children, children into teenagers, and teenagers into adults.
During the 1950s, Harry Harlow developed an experiment that separated baby monkeys from their mothers and provided them with inanimate mothers; one who was made of uncomfortable wires and a bottle of milk, and the other made from a terry cloth that was heated by a lightbulb. Between the two mothers, the baby monkeys spent more time with the terry cloth mother despite being fed by the wire mother; this was true when being frightened by a loud drum too. His experiment demonstrated the phenomenon contact comfort. Below is a video that demonstrates a monkey's preference.

While not completely in line with Harlow's findings, an article found on ScienceDaily "Clues to Young Children's Aggressive Behavior Uncovered by New Study" spoke of a study done by the University of Minnesota that speaks to contact comfort and attachment in a few ways. The study set up was to look at how an infant was parented between the first and sixth month of life, then the interactions of the same children and their parents during 2 and 3 years, and then finally during kindergarten and first grade of the children's life. The findings established the idea of negative parenting (whether it was through negative emotions or rough handling) as resulting in the child's aggressive behavior later on. This goes to show that the child's physical contact with a parent does have negative and positive effects that lead to later behavioral development. It also illustrates the emotional contact (attachment) between children whose parents exhibited negative actions were more likely to have a hostile or harmful relationship/attachment with each other and in elementary school.
Further research that could lead into more insight in aggression and overall behavior would be to evaluate the relationships at even older age. The depths of attachment, especially those relating to physical contact (even like facial feedback), are realms of human development that give comprehension to the whole of mankind which offers insight into ways which we can understand one another and ways to interact in more helpful, healthy ways.

Science Daily Article "Clues to Young Children's Aggressive Behavior Uncovered by New Study"
Youtube Video "Harry Harlow Monkey Experiment Contact Comfort"

Can We Really Detect Lies?

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People tell lies on a daily basis. They do this to deceive others for reasons such as defense. Most often, people lie simply to protect themselves from getting in some sort of trouble. Sometimes it is easy to tell if someone is lying, but other times it is very difficult. In cases where it is difficult to detect if someone is lying, a machine called a polygraph can be used. Polygraphs are commonly called "lie detectors" because they are able to monitor a person's physiological reactions, indicating to the examiner whether the person is lying or not. One may ask, "How can a machine tell truth from deception?" Well, even though polygraphs are unable to detect if someone is actually lying, we can make scientific assumptions according to the evidence of deceptive behavior shown by the polygraph.

Polygraphs detect deceptive behavior being displayed by measuring changes in body functions that are uncontrollable to the conscious mind. Measurements include a person's heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and electro-dermal activity. The fluctuation of these involuntary responses is mainly caused by the stress associated with deception. A polygraph is designed to show the examiner how the levels of heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and electro-dermal activity change in comparison to normal levels. In conclusion, fluctuations would indicate that the person is being deceptive.

Below, is a YouTube video of a clip from a MythBusters episode which gives a good look at how polygraphs work.

But how accurate are polygraphs? Based on studies, polygraphs are found to have an accuracy of about %90. Then again, there are factors that play an important role in the accuracy of polygraph examinations. A couple factors include the level of skill and experience of the examiner, and merely how well someone is at lying. Although these factors come into play, polygraphs are still highly accurate, and continue to be used in criminal investigations and some job interviews.


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From magazines to television shows there are many people who have an opinion about how to properly parent your children. So is there a right way to parent your children? Well it just so happens there is. Diana Baumrind offers three major parenting styles: permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative. While these three styles are outlined in the textbook a fourth style, uninvolved, is outlined in many parenting articles such as the one written by Kendra Cherry (see:The Four Styles of Parenting).

Authoritative parenting has been established by numerous sources to be the best and more effective form of parenting as it provides children with a strict disciplinary and structured environment while also implementing nurturing and supportive environment. It makes sense that parents need to provide their children with rules in order to establish boundaries and create an influential place for kids to grow into adults.

The piece I find most interesting about parenting styles is the differing roles of mothers and fathers. My parents have always fallen into the stereotypical roles as parents throughout my childhood. My mother is the one I go to for emotional support and was always the one to care for my every need while my dad took the role of financial provider who wasn't around every minute of every day. My dad was definitely the one my little sister and I would go to when we wanted to play and roughhouse.

I love both my parents very much, and equally, even though they played very different roles in raising me. It is because of their differences, I believe, they were able to provide the best environment for me to grow up in. Without one half of the equation I would have turned out to be a much different person today (even though the book argues single parents do no worse at raising a child).

Furthermore, the fact that these role differences are common in many other households and can be attributed to gender differences makes me question why our society puts so much emphasis on gender equality.

Assignment 4

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The Mozart Effect is the classic example of why replicability is a key part of scientific findings. This effect which was tested once was thought to improve intelligence and spatial reasoning. Though occam's razor would say that there is a more simple answer which was in turn it did show after numerous amounts of other testing. This testing showed that this gave a short-term arousal which led to them having a very short term increase in spatial thinking. Though, during the years when it was thought to be true, many companies capitalized on this business and made a large amount of profit. Still to this day, sites such as the one below still capitalize off this idea. 51ABFDAMM4L._SL500_AA300_.jpg This image is off a product sold on Amazon. Even though there has been proof that this is false, there continues to be buyers. It will be sometime before they are able to disprove it from people's minds completely.

Cri Du Chat Syndrome

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Cri Du Chat syndrome is a rare genetic defect where there is a missing part on chromosome five. It is missing due to random deletion during development of sperm or egg. It is a French name, meaning "call of the cat" because infants with this disorder have a very high pitched cry based on problems with their larynx. This is very rare, only about 1 in 50,000 children are born with this genetic defect. It occurs slightly more frequently in females, and happens to children of any ethnicity.
Some signs of cri du chat is the cat-like cry in infants, tags of skin in front of the ears, smaller heads, downward slant of the eyes, low birth weight, slow growth, slow motor development, cognitive and speech delays, low muscle tone, wide set eyes, behavioral problems such as hyperactivity or aggression, and a small jaw. Individuals with cri du chat still have reproductive ability.
As for treatment, it depends on the child. A specialist doctor should be seen to determine the best way to go about treatment. Each child has different levels of mental disability and will develop at different rates for skills such as communication, walking, and comprehension.
This subject was fascinating to me because we had been discussing infants and their development with Professor Koenig and it made me think of my cousin, who is now 3 years old. He was born with cri du chat and as an infant was unable to swallow because of his jaw being too small for his larynx. He had to have a feeding tube down his nose for awhile, which then got replaced eventually with a G-tube, which he still has, yet only uses now when he hasn't eaten enough for the day. He still is unable to walk on his own, but is getting closer all the time. Now he is able to walk holding onto one side of a hula hoop. He is also unable to verbally form coherent words and sentences, however he is continuing to learn sigh language and can say some simple words like "mama." My aunt and uncle just last year had another child, born without any sort of genetic defect.

Nonverbal communication

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Nonverbal communication is the process of communication through messages where language is not involved. Nonverbal communication includes paralanguage, kinesics such as gestures, eye contact and movement, chromatics, proxemics, and environmental factors such as clothing, hair style, accessories, exterior and architecture. As nonverbal communication participates in speech acts in a broad sense with a great amount, the importance of its role also increases. I found one interesting video that explains skills training of advanced body language and nonverbal communication.

Nonverbal communication factors in the negotiation process play important roles for better negotiation results. Those nonverbal factors are proxemics including location and negotiation site, physical characteristics such as seating, surrounding environments and kinesics messages such as facial expression, gesture, body position, head movements, handshakes and eye contact. I read one article that describes one experience about the relationships between nonverbal communication and business negotiation. (The article that I read was written by Korean, so I am sorry that I cannot post here) To find out how nonverbal communication factors affect negotiation outcomes, the participants attended in the negotiation game in the classroom. Based on the former researches in this field, some hypotheses were drawn and they were proved through the negotiation game done by three different cultural groups of negotiators. The findings show that the negotiators' perceptions about the nonverbal factors in different cultures can bring different negotiation outcomes. However, one thing that doesn't change is that nonverbal communication plays a key role in our communication. The conversation could go to negative meanings or positive meanings due to our nonverbal communications.
In our text, it says that as useful as body language can be in communicating information about emotional states, we must be careful in drawing conclusions about its meaning for any given person (Ekman, 2001). I totally agree with this. Here is one video that explains we should be conscious of our nonverbal communications when we talk to someone.

Assignment 4

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The topic I chose to explore is the Mozart Effect. The Mozart Effect is a claim that after listening to classical music there is supposed to be an enhancement in intelligence. The study was done with college students, but that didn't stop people from running with the idea that they can enhance their child's intelligence and create a "superbaby". I think it is important to address how carried about people became with this finding. Researchers were not able to explain this finding and had trouble replicating the findings of the "superbaby" study. There is a $100-million-a-year industry with "Baby Einstein" toys and videos to help create these "superbabies". Yet scientists have no evidence that these products actually work.

One personal example that I can think of is my baby cousin, Martha. Martha was a prematurely born. Her family was very into the Baby Einstein products and Martha seemed to love it. At an early age Martha learned to read and was a very intelligent child. It seems like the Baby Einstein products seemed to work with Martha, she actually did become a "superbaby". Here is where my scientific evaluation skills come in handy. Martha's mother was a retired English teacher who spent her whole day at home basically teaching Martha. So is Martha's smartness contributed to her mother teaching her or maybe she is genetically predisposed to be smarter because her parents are or are the Baby Einstein products responsible?

On the Baby Einstein website they make several promises to parents. These claims don't directly say that they will make your children smarter or turn them into "superbabies". There are many other reasons a parent might buy the products other than to make their children smarter. For example, when I was a child, soft classical music helped me fall asleep. The "superbaby" claim is good in theory but the studies are not falsifiable and have very inconclusive results. It is important for people to band wagon onto every new theory that comes out right away.

10,000 Hours

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Are individuals born geniuses, and do genetics alone depict one's fate? Or through environmental circumstances and personal determination, can an individual work to achieve intelligence and control their future talents? In his book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell addresses this question by explaining that over the course of 10 years, or more specifically 10,000 hours, a person may become an expert in an area of interest. For example, before the Beatles ruled the British Invasion, they had played in Hamburg, Germany over 1,200 times. They amassed over 10,000 hours of stage experience by playing 8 hour sets at a local strip club every night for months on end. Such can be said for entrepreneur Bill Gates, who spent over 10,000 hours programming on a local computer during his high school years, or Bobby Fischer, who lived for chess. All grew to be famous for their efforts, but none relied solely on initial talent. As we read in our book, 'practice makes perfect, or at least pretty darned good'. This supports the claims that both nature and nurture contribute to making a person's potential into reality. The correlational arrow related to this posed question can be pointed in opposing directions. In some cases immense quantities of practice lead to excellence, in others an initial presence of skills lead to more practice. However, we can be sure that higher intelligence levels can be achieved through such dedication.

10,000 Hours

YES! Violent Media = Aggressive Behavior

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In our discussion we talked about many ways violent behavior could and could not contribute to aggressive behavior. Before the discussion we had to choose a side we would argue for and even after the argument I still choose to believe that violence in the media contributes to aggressive behavior. I have even witnessed it in my feeble attempt to gain money over my junior high years by babysitting. Many of the kids I babysitted were between the ages of 3 to 10 years old. As the lazy babysitter I was, I let the kids watch whatever they wanted just so they wouldn't give me a hard time. Some days they would choose Hey Arnold or Barney, if they were young enough, and the rest of the day was a breeze to take care of them. They napped, ate, and played nicely until their parents came home. On other days they watched Power Rangers or Pokemon and the rest of the day it was a hassle for me to calm them down. The people and characters on the TV shows are acting as role models for these kids, just like their parents are. When we were all younger we looked up to older people and most of us wanted to be exactly like them. Children who watch television shows are the same way. They see their favorite characters acting a certain way and they want to be exactly like them causing aggressive behavior when kids watch their role models be aggressive in television shows. To learn more about this topic here is a link that explains actual research people have made.
I also found an interesting article saying that all babies are born with violent tendencies, even though i do agree with that, i still believe that children get more aggressive by watching violent television shows. Here is the article if you would like to read more.

assignment 4: Scaffolding

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Lev Vgotsky, a psychologist from the early twentieth century is credited for developing the theory of scaffolding. His theory is based on the belief that children grow up among elements in their environment that assist them in performing tasks that they cannot already do themselves. So as a child develops, their surrounding environment serves as somewhat of a guide to create the ideal baby. This is a pretty crude way of putting it, their is no such thing as an ideal baby. Anywho, Vgotsky goes on to explain a period of time referred to as the zone of proximal development, which is the time a child is receptive to learning a new task but cannot yet do so unassisted. With strong construction worker approved scaffolding put in place, this baby can soon become a pro at the given skill.
I find this theory very interesting not due to the intentional influence parents can have on their children, but the unintentional one. Sure, a father trying to relive his glory days on the field can try teaching his son how to chuck a football at age 3 a couple times a week, but it's the things that are performed daily or more that will truly rub off. This could be singing, saying please and thank you, or swearing. Scaffolding isn't always pre-contracted.

Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder?

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There has always been the old saying that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" but after some interesting research from the Lilenfield text, this may not be true. Our text states that people tend to agree on levels of attractiveness, not only for within a race but even throughout different races. Men and women also tend to prefer certain body types, such as weight and hip-to-waist ratio, of the opposite sex. Though, some preferences change depending on the culture, but for the most part physical attractiveness is relatively similar among people. Below are three pictures of females (Beyonce, Natalie Portman, and Meghan Fox) who are found attractive by nearly everyone.
beyonce.jpgNatalie portman.jpg meghan fox.jpg

Another interesting fact about attractiveness is that people tend to think that the more average looking someone's face is, the more attractive it is. In fact, when men/women are show a series of different faces fused together, the Lilenfield text states that an astonishing 96% of all subjects tested chose face that was the most average (had the most faces combined in the picture). One reason for this may be due to the fact that average faces are more symmetrical, or possibly that a symmetrical face shows no signs of mutations or diseases.

Through all this research, it shows that beauty may not just be in the eye of the beholder, but beauty is actually determined by physical traits. This is likely a reason why most attractive people tend to fall in love/be acquainted with other physically attractive people. This finding leads me to wonder whether it is possible if two people of vastly different attractiveness levels ever do fall in love with each other (excluding outside factors such as money, toys, etc.), or if some people see their lovers as more attractive than they actually are such as in the popular movie "Shallow Hal". The YouTube link below shows a scene.

Assignment 4- Importance of Proximity

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The majority of our closest friends live, study, work and socialize in close proximity of us. This is a simple truth of human relationships. Proximity means physical nearness, a predictor of attraction and affords the opportunity for relationships to form.
From an early age, children are given assigned seating in their classrooms in alphabetical order. As a result kids tend to have friends whose last names either start with the same letter or a letter close to theirs in the alphabet. The reason for this was because they saw each other on a regular basis. In this article called "Role of Attitude Similarity and Proximity in Interpersonal Attraction among Friends" it states relationships have always been an issue of major significance for all human beings. By clicking hereyou can read the mentioned results of the importance in proximity in friendships.
Psychological research shows that physical proximity, such as being seated next to each other in a classroom, can set the stage for later attraction. Decades of studies on attraction have found there is a positive correlation between physical proximity and attraction. In other words, the smaller the proximity of space between people the more likely they are to be attracted to one another. The video released by Ori Brafman with Sanford University's Entrepreneur Corner he states that proximity plays a major role in helping individuals to form instant connections.

Why does proximity lead to attraction? The more often you see someone the more chance you have to talk with them and get to know them. The more you talk with them the more you discover similarities, values, interests, which can lead to deeper friendships or even relationships. Consider a couple that is involved in a long-distance relationship. The cost of that relationship adds up in ways most don't recognize. Consequently, when considering potential romantic partners, individuals with a closer proximity may have an advantage simply because there are fewer physical burdens. Proximity plays a major role in all relationships.

How does attraction work?

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According to Lilienfield, people subconsciously follow a special system to find the "soul mate." Attraction has three principles: proximity, similarity, and reciprocity. Proximity is the distance we place ourselves to others. The distance we keep from others determines how close we are to them. Similarity is how related we other to the other person. We tend to stay close to people who are similar to us. Reciprocity is to share the same feelings towards one another. If the other person doesn't "return" the same feelings, we would lose interest and hope.

Proximity is more than just the distance between people. First impression takes a major role in this principle. We base our opinions on others based on our first look of them. Some people may say they do not "judge a book by its cover," but in truth, they subconsciously do. The first impression leads us to determining if we want to continue as acquaintance, as friends, or as something more. In short, first impressions determine proximities.

As I was reading through this section, I started to think about how my boyfriend and I began. I remember my first impression of him was I liked his style and by style I mean the way he dressed. One of the main reasons why I started to talk to him in the first place was because I was physically attracted to him. If I was not any bit attracted to him, I probably would not get close to him. The more I talked to him, I found out we had a lot of things in common like what music we are in to and the activities we like to do. As cheesy as it sounds, I felt an instant spark between him. When I found out he felt the same way, I was ecstatic. Him and I have been together ever since.

Although my story is only an anecdote, I continue to believe that love and attraction is not just a spur of emotions, but there is some sort of science that goes into it. I still wonder how the brain knows what neurotransmitters to fire depending on the emotion that we generate. How does the brain know what we are attracted to? Do genes play a role in love and attractions?

I found this picture on Google that shows the body's reactions to love (simple representation).

I came across this video one day and it reminded me of this chapter.

Assignment #4

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I found the section "the effect of divorce on children" in chapter 11 particularly interesting.This is a very important concept because often times children are the ones that suffer the most in the process of a divorce, and parents should try to minimize the effect their problems have on their children. Personally i think that the research put into this area of psychology is very beneficial because of the long term benefits. Children are the future of tomorrow and because of this we should do all we can to protect them. This article was very informative to this topic:

Although my own parents are not divorced I have seen my best friend go through her parents divorce. From what i observed my friend was not the same after the divorce. She would often get sad about small things, and it took her a very long time to adjust to the new lifestyle. Although psychologist say that divorce is often a welcome relief when the parents are constantly fighting, i have sadly been a witness to the opposite. My friend although she was unhappy with the situation at home, she found solace in the fact that her family was still together. When her parents divorced she lost that sense of security.

A few questions that still remain with me are how do psychologists help young children that don't understand what is going on around them adjust to this new change in lifestyle? Also is there a way that parents can mentally prepare their children prior to announcing that they are getting divorced? Does the remarrying of one parent help fill the void or does it make the void greater? And lastly with divorce becoming more common do children react to it differently now than did the generation before?

The Discrete Emotions Theory

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The Discrete Emotions Theory says that people experience only a few distinct emotions due to our biology. This theory is important because it gives an explanation as to where our emotions come from and how humans experience the same sets of emotions.

The Discrete Emotions Theory applies to everyday life because in a certain situation, people often react the same way. When news of my grandmother's death reached my family, everyone reacted with sadness and regret. It shows that because we all biologically have the same sets of emotions, we tend to react in similar ways to each other. This theory also helps highlight how people react together in certain situations, which helps people connect based on their similar reactions, The Discrete Emotions Theory helps explain how complete strangers can connect and support each other in times of need. During 9/11 people came together in the streets to console each other and to lend a hand to those in need despite the fact that they knew nothing about the person they were helping.

That said, It still makes wonder how people exhibit such a wide range of emotions even though biologically we supposedly only experience a set amount of emotions. People often express widely different emotions than others. This could be because this theory only states that there is a wide range of emotions that humans will feel. Not every person will react the same way under same stimuli. Therefore there are multiple possible emotions that people might feel when placed under identical situations.

Assignment 4: Mozart, with a bit of truth

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In searching for an article making extraordinary claims, the "Washington Times" provided me with the following article regarding the Mozart Effect:

To begin, this author makes the claim that studies show when an infant listens to Mozart in their beginning years, they tend to score higher on tests in their childhood. Yet, the author leaves out confounding possibilities for this correlation. As we know, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Well, the author simply said the studies at North Texas University concluded this, neglecting to talk about how the experiment was conducted. This gives us no substantial evidence to support the claim.
Second, she neglects the scientific principle that correlation does not equal causation. It is likely that parents who cared a lot about their kid's development may produce smarter kids in general, and listening to Mozart or not is irrelevant to making a more intelligent child.
Yet, while those claims are questionable, the author did throw out a few studies that indicated that a child who received a musical education in their earlier years tended to score better on tests as well. Again, this claim could fall victim to the idea that correlation does not equal causation, the claim seems a bit more probable. If young children are activating their minds by learning to play an instrument, that could result in development. Yet again, because there isn't extraordinary evidence, we still can't take this claim as true.
Overall, while the article proposes some intriguing phenomena, we must be skeptical in evaluating the claims made by the author. It can be easy to get caught up in the pseudoscience of the day, making it essential to return to the principles of scientific thinking in evaluating the range of claims made by the media.

Emotions and Memory

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I think it's interesting that our emotions have such a huge impact on our memories. In chapter seven, we learned about flashbulb memories and were told that a flashbulb memory is an emotional memory that we remember with great detail of when and where it happened. There are many instances where this can happen. Flashbulb memories can occur for people when they have children, get engaged, or married. These memories occurred for many people when John F. Kennedy got assassinated. One example of a flashbulb memory that comes to mind in my life is the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. The song "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning" by Alan Jackson always triggers the memories of that day ten years ago.

I found this link while I was writing this. After I watched it, I remembered in vivid detail where I was during the time of the attacks. I was sitting in my fifth grade class when the teachers stopped us and had us watch what happened. Since I went to a Catholic school the teachers had us reflect on this and pray for the families who lost their loved ones and also for those who were in the attacks. I decided to ask other people my age if they remembered where they were that day. My friend, Emily, was in a similar situation. The teachers at her school stopped classes, brought each class in to the library and had them sit down and watch it. I suspect many people who are my age did something along these lines, and adults stopped what they were doing at work to see the tragedy as well.

Assignment 4

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A big issue in society today that is mentioned in the Lillienfield text is that of anorexia nervosa. Anorexia, although less common than bulimia, still affects between 0.5 percent and 1 percent of the population, according to the text. It is also considered the most life-threatening of all psychological disorders. It is a devastating disease that is characterized by an individual's extreme desire to lose weight and to be thin.

Some research studies suggest that anorexia results from previous experiences in which an individual lost of control over an aspect of his or her life. In these instances, anorexia is used as a form of control - an individual can control the amount of food that goes into his or her body.

However, there are other studies which suggest that other things, such as media and advertising, influence the presence of anorexia among individuals. The reasoning behind this idea is that clinics are beginning to see younger and younger children being admitted for anorexic behavior, and it is unlikely for children this young to have had experiences with extreme lack of control over their lives that are significant enough to trigger anorexia. The video below is about Dana, an eight-year-old girl who is anorexic. It is a long video, but I highly recommend watching all of it. The clinic personnel interviewed in the video discuss how terrifying it is that such young children are being admitted for treatment, and that this leads them to believe that media has a tremendous affect on the minds of young girls like Dana. The patients that are interviewed, including Dana, discuss what caused them to become anorexic and their own thoughts and feelings towards their disease.

Click here for the video!

Having been a sufferer of anorexia and anorexic tendencies myself, I believe that anorexia is not a choice; it is a disease. I believe that both studies discussed above are correct; some anorexics are influenced by past experiences, some are influenced by everyday media, and some are influenced by both. I was (and still am) influenced by both. My junior year of high school, I had an experience which I will not go into details about, but which caused me to feel a lack of control over my own body. Since then, I have been fighting with myself to regain control, psychologically, of myself. Sometimes I feel like if I can control every single aspect of my life now, it will somehow help me regain the control I lost that one day during my junior year of high school. I know that will never happen, but that's what it feels like. These thoughts are then paired every day with media advertisements that suggest that thin is beautiful and that the thinner a person is, the more beautiful they are. When the two are put together, it triggers anorexic tendencies in me, and I believe that many other people suffer in the same way. It sounds really cliche, but the media really does have a huge psychological impact on people.

A few things I am currently wondering about anorexia are if the average age of an anorexic child admitted to the hospital will continue to go down, and if there will be more anorexia-awareness campaigns in the future. I also wonder if there will be any government action taken to ban pro-anorexia websites or campaigns in the United States or elsewhere.

Gender Identity

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Gender is always a good example of the nature/nurture debate. Is one inherently born with a sense of gender or is it developed throughout their childhood by what behaviors their parents reinforce? It is most likely a combination of the two but of course there will always be gray areas. There can be multiple combinations between gender identities and gender roles. A woman may see her self as a woman (gender identity) but may enjoy taking on more masculine roles like teaching her son how to play baseball or being the main breadwinner in the family (gender role). Of course it could go the other way too with a man taking on female gender roles. One piece of evidence that displays the nature influence on gender, is that very young children, as young as one year, are more likely to play with toys that are gender specific even if they've already been exposed to gender neutral toys. For instance, boys are more drawn to balls, firetrucks, and play weapons, while girls are more susceptible to kitchen toys or dolls. These toy preferences display the biological predisposition in boys to be more aggressive and for girls to be more nurturing.
Reverting back to gender identities, what happens when someone is biologically born one gender but identifies with the opposite one? This makes us think, are there only two genders or are there more? An interesting example of a "third" gender is the fa'afafine of Samoan culture. Fa'afafine are born biologically male but they feel a strong gender identification with females. They are also attracted to adult masculine males but they do not identify themselves as a "gay" culture. There is no "gay men" culture in Samoa, only fa'afafine. In Samoan culture, a sexual relationship between a man and a fa'afafine is not seen as homosexual since the fa'afafine are regarded as their own gender. As far as gender roles, fa'afafine, which means "in the manner of a woman", usually take on an aunt or uncle like role for their brother's or sister's children. Here is a video of an interview with a fa'afafine who personally explains what life is like for her (or him?).

The Facial Feedback Hypothesis

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Facial Feedback Hypothesis

One important theory I find interesting is the facial feedback hypothesis, which is a theory that blood vessels in the face feedback temperature information in the brain, altering our experience of emotions. In simpler terms, the facial feedback hypothesis states that we're likely to feel emotions that correspond to our facial features (happy, sad, or angry). I find this theory important, because altering someone's mood, or emotions, for the better would most likely create a more ideal way of living. Being angry, sad, or grumpy can really ruin your day. Not only your day, but someone else's day, too. It could just create an improved living environment, and who would disapprove of that?

As for me, people seem to think I'm in a negative mood quite a bit. I don't understand why, well I kind of do. I don't mean to seem like I'm angry with someone, that's just how I come off to people. The way I talk makes me sound like I'm not happy, or that something's wrong. It's not like I don't smile, of course I smile! I guess a lot of the time others see my smiles as being fake, which is known as a Pan Am smile. I always conclude that my smile's are sincere and meaningful, which are known as Dechenne smiles. My point being that even though other people may not believe that I'm happy, I am. Obviously I'm not all dandy all of the time, but no one is. Smiling does help, though. At least I believe that. If I'm in a bad mood and I smile, it makes me feel better, for that moment if nothing else. Whether someone else is the cause of my smiling or if I just decide to do it just to do it, it makes me feel better.


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Picking a topic was easy for me this week. The most important concept in anybody's life is happiness, whether it be theirs or the happiness of those around them. I'm not only obviously in want of happiness, but I am also very curious as to how it works. It seems like some people are always happier than others, even if it is surprising given what they have in life.
So, what is happiness good for? The most notable effect is one that is hard to explain, but we all know what it means; it makes us feel good. Webster defines happiness as " a state of well being and contentment". I believe this doesn't do it justice, because it's hard to put emotions into words. Happiness, or a state of contentment, is good for just that - feeling good.
Besides its obvious effects, what else is it good for? Surprisingly, a lot more than one would think. According to Barbara Fredrickson's broaden and build theory , happiness predisposes us to "see the big picture". this can mean finding novel solutions to problems, or seeking out more opportunities, such as romantic partners we wouldn't normally consider.
It seems that people who are happier even live longer. A study of 180 nuns with diaries found that the nuns who used words with positive meanings lived on average 10 years longer . Another study of people over age 50 found that those with positive attitudes about aging lived, on average, 7.5 years longer. Most studies conducted point to the conclusion that, in general, being happier makes you live longer. This seems like an exponentially positive finding, because the happier you are, the longer you live, and therefore the more happiness you experience.
There are a few misconceptions about happiness. The first is that 'the prime determinant of happiness is what happens to us'. This is possibly the most accepted myth in all of psychology. In reality, what happens to us specifically has almost no correlation on our happiness. The second is that 'money makes us happy'. There are some limits to this, such as a severe lack of money, but generally money cannot buy long-term happiness. The third is that 'happiness declines in old age'. Remarkably, happiness has been shown to increase in old age; elderly people are happier on average than younger people. The final misconception about happiness is that 'people on the west coast are happiest'. Californians are just as happy as everyone else.
I was surprised by some of the things I read this week. I was especially interested in the misconceptions about happiness, and the alternate effects of it. An interesting thing I didn't mention is a list of what does make us happy. A few things on the list are marriage, friendships, college, religion, exercise, gratitude, giving, and flow (being completely immersed in what we're doing). I think learning about happiness is very important because being happy is a goal we all have in life
I still wonder, why are some people so much happier than others? And why do the things that make us happy make us happy?

A short 2-minute video with some interesting statistics on happiness and longevity!

Polygraph Test

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A concept I found interesting from the Emotion chapter was Lie detection. Countless television shows and movies have shown suspects being interrogated with the help of a polygraph test. These polygraph tests were used to prove whether or not the individual was lying or telling the truth. Up until reading this chapter I didn't really know how exactly the polygraph test worked. I think it's important for everyone to understand the many flaws that come with the polygraph test and that it is by no means one hundred percent accurate.

The polygraph test involves hooking up the subject to equipment that measure "physiological signals that reflect anxiety" (Lilienfeld). As seen in the photo: polygraph3.bmp (
While hooked up to the equipment individuals are asked a series of relevant, irrelevant and control questions, while their bodily responses to each type of question are measured. These physiological responses include: blood pressure, respiration, and skin conductance. The belief if these responses increase from the "control" level, then the subject is lying.

The main problem with the polygraph test is that yields a high amount of false positive results, and therefore convicting innocent people who may just feel anxious about the idea of being falsely accused. Studies have shown that the polygraph test has wrong accused many innocent people and therefore is not accepted as hard evidence in the court of law. There are also cases where criminals are able to "beat the system", and are able to pass their polygraph tests without raising suspicion.

Although there is evidence supporting the fact that polygraphs are not as accurate as allegedly thought, people are still persuaded that they work because they can evoke confessions. A comical example evoking a confession during a polygraph test is shown here: While this may work on TV shows, the reality is many times the criminal's confession is false and the responses are misinterpreted. It's important that people don't take the results of these tests so seriously, because many times the information they're receiving is skewed.

Importance of a Father

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The father plays an important role in a child's life. The father provides a lot of the tools that a child needs to succeed in life. My father has given me so many tools to succeed in life. He has sacrificed so much for me since he is the only person who makes the income for this family. He would often stay at his office all night in order to provide for my mother, my brother, and me. He has shown so much dedication for us, which is what I believe is one of the most important aspects of being a father. This idea of dedication leads me to one of my favorite stories about a father's love and dedication. The story of Ricky and Dick Hoyt makes me tear up every time I hear about it. Ricky Hoyt has cerebral palsy and has not been able to walk and speak for all his life. One day, he asked his father, Dick Hoyt, to run in a charity run with him. Dick Hoyt then ran the whole 5 miles pushing Ricky in a wheelchair. Ever since, Dick has pushed, pulled, and carried Ricky around in many races, marathons, and even the Ironman. This story has really inspired me because that is the kind of father that I would want to be. Even though Ricky has cerebral palsy, Dick never gave up hope and has helped Ricky live a very fulfilling life. I have the story of Ricky and Dick Hoyt here. There are many more out there and I think you should check them out.

Things that make us happy

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Have you ever been doing an activity or a job one minute and looked up at the clock and noticed that hours have past without you even realizing it? This sort of phenomena is called flow. This idea coming from the mind of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the idea that we are immersed in an activity or job that we find to make us particularly happy and makes time "fly bye".
Many activities can put people in a state of flow, anywhere from reading, performing ones job, or even writing a blog for psychology. This is important because people who are in a state of flow whether doing their job or reading their book, A: tend to be happier and B: tend to do better work because they enjoy it. This can be crucial in a workplace so that employees can work to their best abilities. Another concept of the state of flow is that people are happier because they feel in control of their actions, this could be implemented into the workplace to give employees opportunities to have more control, this may make them happier and perform better on the job.
As I reflect on this concept there is one thing in particular that I ask myself. Is someone in a state of flow always happy? This question refers to correlation vs. causation.
This video should help to explain in even more detail what the state of flow is exactly, it may seem a bit boring, but I find it quite interesting, enjoy!!

Things that make us happy

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Have you ever been doing an activity or a job one minute and looked up at the clock and noticed that hours have past without you even realizing it? This sort of phenomena is called flow. This idea coming from the mind of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the idea that we are immersed in an activity or job that we find to make us particularly happy and makes time "fly bye".
Many activities can put people in a state of flow, anywhere from reading, performing ones job, or even writing a blog for psychology. This is important because people who are in a state of flow whether doing their job or reading their book, A: tend to be happier and B: tend to do better work because they enjoy it. This can be crucial in a workplace so that employees can work to their best abilities. Another concept of the state of flow is that people are happier because they feel in control of their actions, this could be implemented into the workplace to give employees opportunities to have more control, this may make them happier and perform better on the job.
As I reflect on this concept there is one thing in particular that I ask myself. Is someone in a state of flow always happy? This question refers to correlation vs. causation.
This video should help to explain in even more detail what the state of flow is exactly, it may seem a bit boring, but I find it quite interesting, enjoy!!


Life of an Eating Disorder

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I debated about the subject of my blog for a significant amount of time before I finally decided on eating disorders. This topic is one close to me because I was diagnosed with both anorexia and bulimia at different points throughout my high school and college career. Viewers of this entry may be surprised at my openness toward my diseases, but I am now in recovery and choose to talk to girls who are currently dealing with the struggle of eating disorders.
Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder in which an individual goes through phases of bingeing and purging in order to lose weight and anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which an individual starves his or her self for periods of time in order to lose weight. However there is much more behind an eating disorder than what many people believe or understand. I believe these concepts are so important because they apply to nearly 5% of the population, but majority of these people do not seek help. I won't banter on about how much I believe programs such as the Emily Program are so very beneficial for these individual's and their friends and family, but I do think the world needs to raise awareness about these problems because they are very common. The signs of an eating disorder should be more widely known, because 80% of eating disorders are diagnosed as bulimia and these people are not usually emaciated or fit the stereotype of what society believes a person with an eating disorder looks like. I don't so much have a question about my topic but I would like to find opportunities to raise awareness about eating disorders. I have attached symptoms and The Emily Program website.

Imprinting: A Scientific Game of Follow the Leader

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Konrad Lorenz was one of the first scientists to observe the behavior of imprinting in geese in the 1930's. He observed that immediately after goslings were hatched from their eggs, the baby geese would follow the first, large moving object they saw. Lorenz first identified this kind of behavior as "stamping in" in German, but later became known as imprinting in English. In most cases, the baby geese would imprint on the mother goose, but in some cases, the first thing the goslings saw was bouncing balls and boxes on wheels. In those cases, the inanimate object would serve the purpose for the mother goose. There is a specific time frame called the critical period in which the imprinting must be established. For geese, this is usually around thirty six hours. If the geese do not have the opportunity to see their mother or any other moving object within that time, they lost the opportunity to create that deep bond with those who would take care of them after birth.
However, imprinting in humans is much different. Human babies do not imprint on their mothers the way baby geese do. We do not automatically bond with the first moving object we see, otherwise in a lot of cases, the young child would think the nurse that cleans them off after birth is their mother. Instead, we have a softer version of imprinting. We bond to those who tend to us shortly after birth who usually are our parents and other loved ones.
This concept is important because it demonstrates how crucial it is to bond with the parental figures in animals and in humans. For these young geese, they will be learning from the object they imprint on, and if they don't imprint on their mother figure, they may not learn important survival skills such as finding food, swimming and flying. Humans may develop emotional problems if they do not get enough intimate time with the people that care for them. It is very important for every young living thing to bond with their parents or care givers to ensure beneficial social interaction.

Mob Mentality

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I recently watched episode 2 of Derren Brown's The Experiments. This episode focused on mob mentality and deindividuation. Deindividuation refers to a psychological state of decreased self-evaluation in individuals who are a part of crowd. This decreased self-evaluation, in turn, increases the likelihood of antinormative behavior occurring within in the individuals and, as a whole, gain a "mob mentality," in which they all may join in on the antinormative behavior.

In this episode, Derren Brown sets up a mock game show in which the audience determines how a night will go for a person who is unknowingly also a part of the game show. The audience, however, is actually the subject of the experiment. Every once in a while, Derren gives the crowd two option: one option will be pleasant for the person whose unknowingly a part of the mock game show and the other option will be unpleasant. Every single time choices were given, the crowd chose the unpleasant option for the unknowing contestant. They even showed pleasure for his misfortune, or schadenfreude. At the end, Derren reveals his experiment and shows how the members of the audience essentially formed a mob mentality and wanted the contestant to have an unpleasant night.

It appears that deindividuation is something that anybody can fall prey to, and it appears that deindividuation studies can be replicated. Another similar, and highly controversial, experiment is the Stanford Prison Experiment by Philip Zimbardo.

Blog 4: Attachment and Imprinting

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The book has interesting observations about the concept of attachment (establishing bonds) and I liked how it discussed in detail how this bond is established within different species. For geese they bond by imprinting on something or someone that is present in the time of their birth. On some occasions it can end up being another object or person different from their mother, which can be interesting to observe. I thought this was fascinating because no matter who this creature may be these baby geese trust this individual and try follow exactly in their footsteps. They try to take on the characteristics of the species by walking, eating, and even communicating the same way they do. We, humans however are attached to our mothers by what Psychologist call the "healing touch". Previously psychologist assumed that the bond was established by nourishment of food and milk. However, the experiment Harry Harlow did with the rhesus infants negated this assumption. Even thought this infant monkey was provided with food, the wires made an uncomfortable home for them. But the terry cloth warm mother, who provided the infant monkey with warmth and softness because of the light bulb and her cozy skin that made the monkey have an easier time falling asleep. He observed that when he presented a scary stimulus to the infant monkey, the monkey automatically would go to the terry cloth mother because he associated her with the one who he could go for comfort and protection. Even though the wire mother provided him with food he choose the soft cloth and the heated bulb. Harlow then established the concept of the contact comfort, which is that touch is significant contribution to positive emotions. This experiment proves that contact with the infant can build a stronger relationship with the mother.
I personally experienced this with my younger cousin. Whenever I tried to put him to sleep it does not work. Even if I give him milk and try to make noises to clam him down, he still kept crying. But when his mother holds him he just automatically stops. It's that feeling of warmth that my aunt has given him, which he cannot experience in anyone's arm but hers. He may feel a sense of protection and calmness when he is with her as opposed to me. Mothers' attachment does not come from only food because that is just here to satisfy the hunger appetite. But hugs, and rocking chair provide infants with nourishment. The interesting thing is that complexity of these infants understanding that they are in their mother's arms. They have an sense of awareness that helps them tell the difference between a close family member and their mother, which is extraordinary and helps me recognize the complexity of infants minds.

Here is an interesting example of imprinting:

The Mozart Effect

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The Mozart Effect is essentially a quick and easy educational method to boost infants' intelligence...Or is it? This effect is defined as an enhancement in intelligence after listening to classical music. However, after many experiments were conducted, there was no statistically significant rise in IQ. Also there was no improvement in spatial thinking or abstract reasoning among participants. This is extremely important because numerous individuals believed that the Mozart Effect was indeed effective. Later research suggested that the effect occurs due to greater emotional arousal and that such things that boost alertness are likely to increase difficult mental tasks. This over-hyped phenomenon is still believed to be effective today! This directly relates to me because my parents believed that the Mozart Effect worked. Here is a link that I found to be funny:

Why Father's Do Matter

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Father's play a very important role in the development of their children from birth through adulthood. As proven in our Scott Lilienfeld Psychology book, "Fathers tend to be less affectionate with their children than mothers, but both girls and boys tend to prefer their father over their mother as a playmate." Children need both affection and loving that they can go to when need be, and they also need the fun role model in their lives. Mothers tend to give their children the affection that they need where as fathers seem to provide something else than that that mothers usually don't tend to provide as much as father do.

As stated in our psychology text the differences of fathers from mothers to their children are; fathers tend to be less affectionate toward their babies, they spend less time with them than the mothers, they spend more time in physical play with them, and lastly both boys and girls tend to choose their fathers over their mothers as playmates. A picture that I have attached really shows the role of a father to his children as most see it to be. I feel that as having my parents divorced as a young kid, that I really could tell the difference between the roles of each of my parents. When living at my mom's house I would receive the warmth and attentiveness from her, and when living at my dads I would get the fun playfulness and jokes from him. An article written by, called "The Role of a Father Today," analyzed the roles of fathers to their children and said, "Being a dad is the most important thing you will do in your life...You're pulled in a million different directions as you try and juggle family and work life, and all the other responsibilities that come with it." This article interested me most because it really describes exactly all that a father must do. It is sometimes hard for fathers to take on the roles that they do, but fathers do make an important impact on children's overall well-being.


Able to Prove

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Every religion has different beliefs. People who participate in religion tend to just agree with whatever beliefs that are fundamental to their religion. They do not question whether these beliefs could possibly be real or not, they just accept them because they are the foundations of there religion. One example of a universal belief that people just believe without question when part of a religion is the belief in some sort of higher power. In the religion that I am a part of, Catholicism, we believe in one, all powerful God. We do not question whether he exists or whether we could ever prove that he exists, we just believe that he does.

Another belief that cannot possibly be proven or proven false, is that of an afterlife. Most religions believe in some sort of after life such as heaven or hell. In one religion, there is a belief in a spirit world. Basically after death the spirits leave the deceased body and either go to spirit paradise or spirit prison depending on whether they were good or not. They wait there until the second coming of Christ. This is very similar to the common belief in heaven or hell.

When critically thinking about both the theory that there is a God and also the theory of an afterlife we need to ask questions. Are we able to test and disprove that there is a god? Are we able to prove that there is an afterlife? I really do not think that there is any way that we can run an experiment and test these two things so therefore, they are not falsifiable. They are beliefs that cannot be proven or proven wrong. Also we should ask the question, are these two things extraordinary claims? I feel that they definitely are extraordinary claims that must have extraordinary evidence in order for them to be proven. This evidence will probably never turn up so that is why people just choose to believe whatever they want without question.

Soda Bubbles

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There is a claim that if you tap on the side or top of a soda can before you open it, you will prevent the pop from fizzing all over you. Some people believe in a theory that by tapping the side of the can, you send all of the bubbles to the top of the can instead of the side so it doesn't being the liquid up with it when it wants to exit the can. I, on the other hand, don't believe this. I agree with the other side of the theory in that when you tap on the can you create just as many, or more, bubbles than you release from the side of the can. I also think that there is no way you can get rid of carbon dioxide in the can when carbon dioxide always wants to go to the lower pressure, which is outside the can.
The principle of critical thinking that makes this theory false is falsifiability. You can not physically chick to see how many bubbles are in the can and if tapping on the can gets rid of or adds bubbles. The definition of how much a pop will fizz and if the pop actually gained or lost fizz by you tapping on the side is debatable too. There is really no way you can measure the bubbles in the can before and after so this also makes this falsifiable. You can try to experiment with this by trying to get replicability, but you will never be able to see if the amount of bubbles was less or more than originally in the can. So either theory is correct depending on what you want to believe, but there is no way of getting the correct answer.

Anorexia Nervosa

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Anorexia Nervosa is a psychological illness marked by a sufferer's excessively slim body (from 85% to 50% of normal body weight, or sometimes less), depression, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and an obsession of food. This includes setting a rigorous diet/exercise schedule, fear of being obese, and a major guilt in ingesting food. Anorexics have poor self-esteem, a negative self-image, and the mortality rate of the disease is over 10%, making it one of the most deadly of all psychological disorders. Anorexia is most common in women, who make up 95% of its sufferers. It usually develops in adolescence, at around 13 years of age.

Here is a woman who was a long time sufferer of anorexia. There was a great youtube clip of her, but unfortunately the embedding for it was disabled.

I have had two siblings suffer from this disease (full recoveries, no worries), so this affliction has definitely played a big part in my life as far as my childhood is concerned.

I have a lot of questions regarding this disease. What physical biological changes in the brain occur after the onset of the illness? Why have out-patient, behavioral treatments been largely ineffective compared to standard nutritional treatments? Has there been significant, recent findings regarding the treatment of this disease?

The Impact of Divorce on Children

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There are a number of factors that account for why children in divorcing families may have difficulties in life. Some of these factors are the loss of contact with a supportive parent, fewer economic resources that lead to more stress, poor parental adjustment, lack of parental ability and conflict between parents. When we can reduce or eliminate these risks, then children of these divorced parents will be better off.

When a child is in the middle of a divorce, the loss of contact with one parent leads the child to lose the knowledge, and the skills and resources of that parent. This includes emotional, financial, social, etc. With that financial loss, children living in single parent homes are less likely to have as many economic resources as children living in an intact home. With fewer economic resources that means less toys, not being able to go out, or maybe not being able to attend college. To me, the hardest thing on a child going through their parents' divorce is the stress. Changing schools, daycares, homes, financial situations, and leaving back some friends are just some factors that lead to more stress in the child's life. I believe children have enough stress trying to make their parents happy in school and sports, getting good grades, and staying healthy that these changes from their parents getting a divorce creates a more stressful environment for them.

I unfortunately had to witness a few of my friends go through their parents getting a divorce and it was very sad. They had to move out of their house, change schools, and make new friends. The overall results from the studies I looked at suggest that while children from divorced families may experience more major psychological and behavioral problems than children with 2 parents in an intact family, there are more similarities than differences. Current evidence shows that the factors I listed above all contribute at least to some degree to the difficulties of these children. The feelings these children face when the divorce happens can continue on into young adulthood and the video below shows just a few teenagers' responses. I also do believe there is a correlation between parents getting a divorce and children suffering from emotional, financial, and social difficulties.

Passionate Love: The Notebook

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Passionate love is defined in our book as "love marked by powerful even overwhelming longing for one's partner", and is said to fade into companionate love as we age. As I read this I wondered if it is really true that passion fades with age. It has been said that companionate love is most common among elderly couples. I wondered if passion fades in all elderly couples or if it is only in some. When I was thinking about this I could not help but think of the movie The Notebook. In this movie the main characters Noah and Allie had been lovers since their teens, this of course started out as a passionate love as most young relationships do. However this passion truly doesn't ever fade. Allie is in a nursing home because she has Alzheimer's disease and cannot care for herself, and she does not remember Noah most of the time. Noah however visits her everyday and reads to her from a "notebook" which is actually Allie's diary of their memories together. Just by watching how he interacts with her it is clear that there is still that same passion that there was when they were teens. Occasionally she does remember him and the passion returns for her too. They are companions too, but it is obvious that there is passion left also. This led me to believe that maybe Robert Sternberg's Triangle Theory is a more correct representation of different kinds of love. Based on this model I would conclude that Noah and Allie have a Fatuous love, which is a mixture of passion and commitment. There is still passion between this elderly couple and Noah is so committed to Allie even though she doesn't remember him. When she does remember him she does show these same characteristics. Maybe passionate love does not fade with age, and maybe it can be prevented by keeping old memories of passion alive. Studies would have to be done to prove this correlation, and maybe someday they will be. I would like to believe that passion can continue with age, and The Notebook is a great example that it can be done. True it is a movie but there are many movies that are based on true stories, maybe we can save passion in older age and make true stories based on a movie.



Assignment #4: Sternberg's Love Triangle

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Assignment #4: Topics on Emotion, Motivation and Development: Sternberg's Love Triangle

Love is a very popular and talked about thing. Everyday at the University of Minnesota, students write in to Dr. Date in the MN Daily. In addition, many Disney movies all end with prince charming saving the day and then falling deeply in love with the princess. The list goes on and on.

For this fourth assignment, I decided to identify the concept of love and explain why I believe the idea and concept of the 'crazy little thing we call love' IS real.

The first time I heard about this theory was actually not in Psychology 1001 but in fact last year in my family social sciences class I took entitled Intimate Relationships. In this class, we talked about the three sides of live, also known as the Robert Sternberg Triangle of Love. There are three major elements of love, intimacy, passion, and commitment.

I agree with the Lilenfeld text as well as Sternberg that love is three sided and these three concepts ultimately make up seven different varieties of love. However, what surprised me and is something I did not learn last year in my Intimate Relationships class, which is that there is also a triangular theory of hate. When reading this, I was surprised at how there are three 'key ingredients,' of the hate triangle, some of which make up the triangle of love.

In my opinion, it makes sense why there is both a love and hate triangle. In psychology, as well as life in general, there always seems to be a opposite or differentiating viewpoint. In this case, it makes sense there is a love and hate triangle, just like a person can be very happy, a person can also be very depressed; on the complete other end of the spectrum.

I found the media gives many examples that support both triangles. I 'Googled' happiest celebrity couples in love as well as unhappy celebrity couples. I believe the reason so many people have a distorted image of love and hate is due to the fact the media completely distorts this idea and concept: I think if people were to read about Sternberg's ideas of love and put down the celebrity magazines, they would find out what love, and a healthy relationship really is and understand what to really look for.

Happiest Celebrity Couples Who Show Signs of Love:
-David & Victoria Beckham:

-Prince William & Kate Middleton

*they are listed but I wonder if it is too early to never know!

Unhappy Celebrity Couples Who Do Not Show Signs of Love:
We all must make sure to not get carried away like this ex-couple in the picture below...this story was released in the news and has grabbed the media's attention: everyone is wondering if the couple was really ever in love, or if it was all a scam. (see link below!!!)

Assignment 4: Empty Nest Syndrome

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I found this vocabulary word especially interesting because I am the youngest in my family so once I left for school, my mother became an "empty nester". The definition states; feelings of sadness or depression experienced by parents and caregivers after children come of age and leave their childhood homes. At first, this really confused me, because my mother has been doing about the complete opposite of this definition since I have been gone. She and my father have gone to several concerts, taken three different vacations and are continuing to make plans. I wanted to take a closer look at this "syndrome" to see if there are similar cases like my mothers.

As I read further in my psychology book, it mentioned "most empty nesters experience an increase in life satisfaction" and have "newfound flexibility and freedom" (p. 398). The video clip I found also reassured me of this. It is a nice to know that parent's lives do not stop once their children move out. I next had the question if an empty nest affects the mother, the more nurturing partner, or the father more, or if it has a neutral affect on parents.

Further research has shown me that this syndrome mostly affects the mom because many mothers have dedicated almost 20 years raising their children, motherhood being their primary role. The fathers are not affected as much because they may be used to working more, and their hours would not increase after a child leaves the home.

I don't think there is anything I am left wondering about after looking into this topic more. I am glad that my mother isn't feeling too "empty nested" with out me.

-A Picture of me and my mom
me and mamam.jpg

Assignment 4: Men and Sex

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Many people "know" or have at least heard that men think about sex every (insert ridiculously low number) seconds. Various popular media sources continue to propagate this urban legend by presenting informal studies to the public as fact. Consider the "study" published by the popular men's online magazine Ask Men in late August of 2010 and the "insight" offer by Dr. Cockney.

The textbook even addresses this "fact" the "The average man thinks about sex every seven seconds"(476). However, the text goes on to show the overall lack of research done to prove this common misconception. The overall lack of research done to explore the seven second hypothesis dose not come as a surprise when considering the six scientific principles. When evaluating this extraordinary claim one would be rather underwhelmed regarding any extraordinary evidence or any evidence at all proving men think about sex every seven seconds. In addition it would be nearly impossible to accurately measure how often any individual thinks about sex without encountering considerable bias from the Hawthorne effect, as shown by the above video. As soon as the male subjects were asked "How often do you think about sex?" the participants immediately started thinking about sex and most likely would for the next several minutes skewing any results. Another rather faulty way of measuring how often a male thought about sex would be to have him mark down every time he thought about sex, this method would also fall victim to the Hawthorne effect thus making any possible study both unable to rule out rival hypotheses, and fail Occam's Razor test, because it is both a hypothesis that the participants are thinking about sex more because they know they are being studied and it is much simpler to conclude that because the latter the subject are thinking about sex more often rather than an average measure of sex on the brain. In conclusion this urban legend


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What is companionate love exactly? That is the very same question I asked myself while I was reading chapter eleven last weeks. The book defines compassionate love as a sense of deep friendship and fondness for one's partner. Romantic relationships tend to progress over time from passionate to companionate love although most healthy relationships retain at least a spark of passion. Immediately after reading the definition of compassionate love I couldn't help but think of the movie P.S I Love You. This is a movie that shows what a relationship should really be about. After the husband dies from cancer the wife realizes he created a journey of experiences for her to help cope and move on after his death. This clip shows the scene from the movie where the compassionate love between the couple is at its peak. P.S. I Love You Youtube Video It is said often times that older couples compassionate love may be overriding emotion in there relationship. I myself have sometimes wondered if older couples are still truly as happy as they were in the beginning. Robert Sternberg came up with the triangular theory of love. love.pngIt proposes that there are three major elements of love intimacy, passion, and commitment. Intimacy is the stage where you feel really close to someone, then you slowly move to passion where you are crazy about someone, and finally onto commitment where you want to stay with that person forever. It is hard for me to fathom why we don't just immediately jump right to passion or right to commitment. Why is it that some animals or even some people can "fall in love" with partners in the sense of caring deeply about them, yet experience little or no sexual desire? I also wonder what within ourselves makes us right for one person vs. another? I wish these questions could be answered easily but I know that is not the case and probably never will be.

How close are you with your parents?


As our Psychology book describes, the idea of attachment, or the strong emotional connection we share with those to whom we feel closest. Many children remain close to their parents because parents feed and protect them, so young infants stick close. The idea of attachment is important, especially regarding the nature vs. nurture debate, because children cannot decide who their primary caretakers are, so whoever the caretaker is must know that he or she has a huge influence on that child's upbringing.

This YouTube video [] the importance of having both parents are role models in a young child's life. This video also discusses a lot about how many male authority figures tend to take on a lesser role with young infants because they feel that the females should be the primary caretaker; however, the infant often associates equal feelings of attachment to both of its parents around the same time in its life.

I feel a very equal bond with both of my parents. Because I was the first child born in my family, I also know what it feels like to have a new sibling in the house with all of the attention is focused on the baby. Although I feel that my parents did an excellent job balancing the time spent with me (the four year old who felt neglected, because of the new baby) and my little brother, I have to believe that many older kids are really pushed to the side when a new sibling is born. Why is that? How can parents more easily balance their time spent with older versus younger siblings? Are older siblings more likely to separate farther from their families because of early childhood sibling rivalries?

A Disability That Can Be Prevented!

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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a condition in which children exhibit mental, growth, and physical problems. Symptoms include learning disabilities, physical growth retardation, facial malformations, and behavioral disorders. Children develop this syndrome as a result of their mother drinking alcohol while pregnant. When a pregnant women decides to drink alcohol, it passes through the placenta to the fetus, causing the development of the fetus to be harmed. I believe that raising awareness about this life-altering and preventable condition is crucial as children are paying the consequences for their mother's poor decisions. The main way to prevent this syndrome is for mother's to stay away from alcohol completely while pregnant. For alcoholic pregnant women, there are alcohol abuse rehabilitation programs that provide frequent doctor check-ups to stay on track.
I am not aware of ever meeting a child with fetal alcohol syndrome, so I wanted to see how the condition actually affects the child. I found a video about a boy named Iyal, and the struggle his family goes through every day in order to deal with his condition.

This video completely shocked me because I was not aware of how serious the condition actually is. Before watching this video, I didn't realize that Fetal Alcohol Syndrome was actually a disability. At one point in the video, the mother compared living with her son to "living with the constant anticipation of a hurricane". Living with a child with this condition affects every family member and the whole dynamic of a household. The video, however, instilled some hope in me that children can attempt to overcome their disability, and live healthier and happier lives. Treatments such as speech and physical therapists can help, as well as service dogs which I think is a great idea because it gives the child a companion that they can always count on.
Learning more about this disability really opened my eyes to how dangerous alcohol really is to the development of children. I can't help but wonder whether this syndrome can be described as a type of child abuse? The children are affected mentally and physically as a result of their mother's actions, so shouldn't the mother be charged with abuse? Also, I am still wondering how common the syndrome is, as many children are probably still going undiagnosed?

Theoretical Accounts of Language Acquisition

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The Imitation Account

Learning through imitating their parents and others is one of the easiest ways for children to learn language. In simpler terms, babies learn the language they hear. Babies also learn language through reinforcement. When they are given attention with smiles, hugs, kisses, etc., for speaking, they are reinforced to repeat what they've spoken to receive that attention.

The Nativist Account

This account states that children are born into the world with some knowledge already stored in their brain of how language works. This account is also the strongest nature view, meaning babies learned their knowledge of language from environmental factors. Noam Chomsky hypothesized that all humans have a language organ, called the language acquisition device, in the brain that contains the syntactic rules of the English language.

The Social Pragmatics Account

This account basically states that children learn what people mean by what they by observing their behavior. Children look at people's actions, expressions, gestures, etc. The earliest age children can figure out word meaning this way is twenty four months. This account assumes that children understand a lot about how people are thinking.

The General Cognitive Processing Account

This account disagrees with Noam Chomsky's hypothesis that all humans have a language acquisition device. It also states that children's ability to learn comes only from their general skills to perceive, learn, and recognize patterns. Children are much better at learning languages than adults, while adults are better at learning other things in general.

Infants & Language Development

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It has been interesting to learn about the language portion of this unit. I especially enjoyed learning about the development of language in children. Infants can start learning or processing the dialect of the language the parents, especially the mother, speak starting when they have been in the womb for at least five months. Listening to music, reading, or talking to a baby while they are still in the womb can only benefit the child's learning. This topic is especially discussed in the article, "Babies Language Starts In The Womb" ( Talking to the baby, your environment, and encouraging baby talk all help your child's language development.

Continually talking to babies, even though they are not capable of responding, plays an important role in the development of language. It gives them the opportunity to hear the phonemes or sounds in the parent's native language. This encourages babbling, which helps them eventually produce the correct sounds of the language. You often hear parents refer to their baby as 'telling a story' when they babble continuously, and in a way they are. They are using this to coordinate the sounds and identify words they recognize.

Eventually babies acquire a few words over time. I found it interesting that one and a half year olds often have a vocabulary of 20-100 words, and by the time they reach kindergarten they know several thousand. I've enjoyed watching these stages develop in my little cousins, and seeing how much their vocabulary grows. It's always been exciting for my family when we hear each of their first words, or even when they start babbling without being able to comprehend it. Parents never forget their child's first word because it's such a great milestone in their lives. I know my parents still remember the first word I said following mom and dad, which was money. Every parent remembers these things because it's so important to them, or it could worry them like it did mine.

The Stages of Sleep and It's Disorders

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This week I've found the consciousness chapter very interesting, especially sleeping patterns. I never realized there are steps in the sleeping process. There are five stages in the sleeping cycle. Stages one through four include non-REM sleep, and stage five is the REM sleep cycle. Different brain waves occur in each level of sleep. While a person is still awake the brain produces beta waves, these waves are produced during alert states only, and occur thirteen plus times per second. Alpha waves arise eight to twelve times per second and are produced in calm wakefulness. Theta waves occur four to seven times per second. Both Alpha waves and Theta waves take place during stage one of sleep. During stage two, waves are absent, but electrical activity happens instead. Sleep spindles and K-complexes appear during this time. Delta waves appear twenty to fifty percent of the time in stages three and four. During REM sleep, there are low-amplitude waves resembling those of wakefulness. This is also when dreams take place. This has been interesting to me because before I knew about the different levels of sleep, I always wondered how I had so many dreams in one night. Now I know it is a result of each cycle lasting approximately ninety minutes during the night.

I also found the sleep disorders interesting to learn about. I've always heard of insomnia, night terrors, and sleepwalking, but never really heard of narcolepsy or sleep apnea. I feel like the most dangerous disorder is narcolepsy. People who have this disorder really aren't capable of driving, operating machinery for their jobs, or taking part in recreational activity. It would also be a very hard lifestyle to get used to.

Chapter five has probably been my favorite chapter to learn about so far in Psychology 1001. I wish we could have spent more time on the subject, but I'm looking forward to learning more for this unit.

Speed Reading Assignment 3

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The average college student reads about 200-300 words per minute. The faster one reads, the more they miss. I will now go into detail about one of the biggest hoaxes and how speed-reading is not effective.

It is said that courses in speed-reading boost student's reading rates, help students pass tests, and even save money. Controlled studies indicate that reading faster than 400 words per minute results in comprehension rates lower than 50%. In reality, speed-reading actually makes comprehension skills suffer enormously.

There are many problems with speed-reading claims, one of which is that reading speed and comprehension go hand-in-hand. The programs are so popular because they claim that reading speed is correlated with comprehension. But in actuality, the correlation doesn't imply that if one starts reading faster, they'll comprehend more. In this bar graph I have listed below it shows the accuracy on the y-axis and the length on the x-axis. You will notice the purple bar (250 wpm) has a better percentage of comprehension.

speed reading graph.gif

Lastly, the speed-reading programs promise to increase reading rates by 1,000 to 2,000 words per minute. Homa tested two readers on specific words and comprehension within a written text. Both readers failed the comprehension test miserably. There are many extraordinary claims with speed-reading. In this article I have listed below, it will go into depth of the 5 proven reason why speed-reading doesn't work.

You can read the article here.

In conclusion, there is no correlation between speed-reading and comprehension. The truth is the faster one reads, the more they will miss. Research shows that speed-reading has negative consequences on comprehension.

Loss Prevention.

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As humans age, reality becomes more apparent; one realizes how much time they have and things almost acquire a "realness" to them. In the textbook, Psychology: from Inquiry to Understanding, one of the statistics for Alzheimer's was that an American develops the disease every 72 seconds. The chance of contracting the disease goes up 29% from the age 65 (13% of getting it) to age 85 (42%). Several thing that the text said to increase one's chances of getting Alzheimer's is to continue being physically active.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case as was found with Pat Summit who is a 59-year old basketball coach for the University of Tennessee.

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Summit said that she will continue to live to the fullest, as anyone can hope and expect. Other famous figures the article discussed were Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan both who held offices in governmental positions. After their time in office, they suffered severe dementia. This begs another question--do jobs that entail a lot of responsibility increase the chances of getting Alzheimer's?

In the article where this clip is linked, the author goes on to talk about how the Mayo clinic has found that it's getting closer to being able to detect earlier stages of Alzheimer's from certain brain scans. While closer, technology is not yet able to completely pinpoint when it will affect people. This disease, the video clip says, is one that occurs over decades but of course varies from person to person. The benefit to understanding and finding early Alzheimer's is not only to pinpoint when and where in the mind it really begins, but there are some doctors who believe that prevention may be the only treatment available.

One question that arises from the article is the subject of amyloid-beta deposits, a factor in Alzheimer's. The text had no link from these deposits to the cause of Alzheimer's. Is this because there was no prior knowledge? And if so, how do these deposits affect Alzheimer's?

In another article posted in The New York Times, a spinal fluid test has found it can identify some of the abnormal proteins that Alzheimer's patients typically carry. Corrections of the article said that it is not 100% detectable of the early stages, but is useful for finding these abnormal proteins. The importance of corrections like these is to realize that they are just that, corrections, and therefore the article cannot be completely believed. If, like the textbook says, there are claims made that seem scientific but really are not (pseudoscience), then the overall meaning and truth to the information needs to be taken lightly.

Although some of the article has merit, like a spinal tap test to identify Alzheimer's in patients and brain scans that are aiming to identify the early stages of Alzheimer's (like the previous article/movie mentioned), the other claims cannot be believed completely.

Momentarily, my excitement over the findings of a spinal tap test to detect early Alzheimer's was elicited, but then after looking more at the article and seeing the corrections, it taught me the importance of reading more deeply and cross referencing.

2nd Article.

1st Article.


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One simple yet fascinating topic we recently covered in Psychology is the idea of hypnosis, and common myths and unknown facts behind it. Hypnosis, to me, in the simplest sense is being put into a state where we are used to do specific actions, usually while being relaxed and calmed. Before learning about it in psych, I fell into the crowd they talked about in the book that believed all of the common myths. For example, I thought hypnosis was a sleeping state. At my senior all-night party for high school, a hypnotist came and was able to hypnotize people from the crowd. Before his show, he said "you will feel as if you got a full nights rest once you wake up". This made me believe that being hypnotized is just like being asleep, but the reality is you don't show brain waves similar to when you sleep.

After reading about the 6 myths behind hypnosis in the book, I decided to continue my search and see if there were any more myths behind the idea. I came across an article talking about many more myths behind hypnosis, one in particular being you can not be stuck in hypnosis. This is interesting and reassuring in the sense that as paranormal as hypnosis may seem sometimes, it is a very natural and normal state for the body.

Another interesting video talking about hypnosis i watched was this:

An interesting yet confusing question I have about Hypnosis is can other alterations of consciousness or unusual events happen while under hypnosis? For example, could we begin to dream or have a near-death experience while being hypnotized?

Falling in love.. each day.. differently <3

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The movie "50 First Dates" portrays a woman who was involved in a car accident which resulted in the loss of her short term memory, a disorder named anterograde amnesia. The woman is able to remember all past relationships and situations before the accident but each day after the accident never remains in her memory; once she goes to sleep her memory of that day is wiped away resulting in her inability to create and store new memories. Each day, her father and brother reenact the day of the accident, thinking it is better to go through all the work of setting up that same day rather than explain the devastating loss of her memory to her every day.

This form of amnesia can occur from damage done to one of three different parts of the brain: the hippocampus, basal forebrain, or the diencephalon (Myers). The most common damaged is done through the hippocampus which is associated with the medial temporal lobes and plays an important role in storing new information in the memory (Myers). When it is damaged, no new information is able to pass through resulting in the loss of storing new memories (Myers). However, memories from the past are often times safe and the person is able to recall them upon command (Myers).

When a study was done on some amnesia patients, they were taught a skill or task such as playing a board game and then the next day they were asked if they remembered what skill they learned the previous day. Of course the patients had no idea what they had learned the previous day but when the researchers asked them to perform the task or skill, the patients were often times able to do well, showing that a very small portion of memories must have been formed. This was very accurately portrayed in the movie when the man who had been winning the woman's heart over each day came back to the hospital, where the woman had admitted herself, and she didn't know who the man was but she had dreams about him and her art studio was full of pictures that looked similar to the man showing that she had retained some memories of him even if they were very vague. Overall, this movie does a pretty decent job of portraying this form of amnesia as well as how people with the disorder have to live and the circumstances that they have to overcome.

Myers, Catherine."Memory Loss and the Brain".

False Memories

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False memories are memories that we think to be true, but really aren't. They can range from being as minute as remembering a word in a list that wasn't there to remembering fake facts/details in a murder case. False memories are extremely important, because they can effect our lives in dramatic ways. Having a detailed memory can be helpful, but only if it is correct.
A jury is a good example of how false memories can be extremely important. If a few members of the jury falsely remember a detail of the case, the wrong person could be put in jail, and even worse a vicious criminal could be set free to potentially do harm again.
The link at the bottom shows how false memories can be implanted quite easily into our brains. It comes from a show on The National Geographic Channel called Brain Games. This is from a show on memory that just happened to air the week we were learning about memory.
The questions that false memories brings about are how we can control them and separate real memories from fake ones? It is hard enough to tell when someone is lying, and it is even harder to tell when someone doesn't know that they are lying. People who tell a story with false memories in it are usually completely confident in their facts. They have no doubt that they are right. So in order to keep false memories from having an effect on society, we need to figure out a way to distinguish them from real memories.

Here's a link to the video.

Classical Conditioning

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One interesting thing that I've learned over the last couple of weeks is classical conditioning. Classical, or Pavlovian, conditioing is how animals can be trained to perform certain tasks, and how certain stimuli can provide response not directly related to that stimuli. In short, it is a way to get animals to respond to different stimuli. I loved the introductory example of how Pavlov found that providing dogs with a metronome while giving them food made them salivate, and after the food was removed, the dogs continued to salivate to the metronome.

I think that classical conditioning is very important in the Psychology world because it can allow psychologists to find new ways to treat phobias and other human traits that can be effected by classical conditioning. Although there are some fallacies in classical conditioning, like extinction and stimulus discrimination, classical conditioning has alot of power. Examples of classical conditioning are all over. One of the numerous examples could be if you watch the same show every time before dinner, just watching the television show could make you hungry.

I found a comical example of classical conditioning on Youtube. The conditioned stimulus will be the sound effect of "that was easy", and the unconditioned stimulus of being shot with an air-soft gun. The guy in the videos roommate soon learns that as soon as he hears the sound, "that was easy", he will be shot with an air-soft gun. This is obviously a very loose example of classical onditioning, but I thought it was one comical and worth sharing. Here's the link:

I am very curious as to how far classical conditioning can go. I would like to know if it can be applied to getting people to quit their addictions, such as cigarettes. If people could quite smoking through classical conditioning, then people could quite other bad habits or addictions. The possibilities are endless if this is a possibility.

assignment #3

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A concept I found extremely fascinating was punishment and reinforcement. Growing up if me or my brother did something wrong we were punished for it, it was the only way my parents knew how to correct behavior. It is interesting that now with more and more research people are realizing that reinforcement of good behavior will make that behavior more likely in children. Skinner's approach to reinforcement such as the cat in Thorndike's boxes must become distressed after many tries and this distress may affect the outcomes, along with his theories on punishment really caught my attention.

Another thing i found captivating was sleepwalking. Its amazing how even when we are unconscious our brain works well enough that we can get up move around like an awake person! This is a clear example of how even when we think we are "clocking out for the night" our brain is still almost fully engaged. although in this clip the people wrongly believe that walking up their friend from his sleepwalking will give him a heart attack this is false. Scientists have proved that it is harmless for a person to be woken up while sleepwalking. Our brain is able to keep us alive even when we arent aware of it, i wonder what the world would be like if everyone used the full capacity of their brains.

Anterograde Amnesia

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Anterograde amnesia occurs when there is damage to the hippocampus in the brain and causes an inability to retain any new information after the accident. The hippocampus passes memory on from sensory storage to the LTM, so when it is damaged the effects are devastating. This concept is important because it is a prevalent issue in society that not many people have information on. Brain injuries are extremely serious and if someone decides not to wear a helmet when biking or not to wear a seat belt in the car, it is plausible that the consequence of his or her choice will be severe.
This particular concept stuck out in my mind because I have a cousin who suffers from anterograde amnesia. Her short-term memory is intact enough for her to be able to carry on a conversation with someone, but she has no recollection of how that person and her began talking in the first place. My cousin lives in Florida, so I do not see her often at all and I was not aware until I took Psy1001 that she actually is able to learn new things; she just can't recall the actual learning process. She could have been taught yesterday how to work a particular program on the computer, but the next day she won't be able to tell you how or why she knows how to work the program.
I was researching anterograde amnesia cases and I thought it was peculiar when the website "Science: How Stuff Works" compared the concept with blacking out from drinking too much. High alcohol consumption can block the neural pathways in the brain making it impossible to form new memories. Someone may be holding a conversation, but the next day will have no memory of it. Being in college and surrounded by alcohol on a weekly basis I think it is important for students to realize the seriousness of the temporary amnesia experienced during black outs.
I am still curious about the recovery process after someone experiences damage to the hippocampus. In movies and television shows the characters usually snap out of their amnesia after a week or so, but it is obvious that that is not the case in real life. It is very upsetting to think about the fact that my cousin can no longer lead a normal life. I am happy she has her older memories to hold on to, but it is a very sad thing. I suppose I am wondering on average how many people recover from it and all the steps they have to take to improve?


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Memory is a topic that is still not fully understood. It has been described many ways; from a cage of birds to a computer. The best way to describe it is in three stages. The first stage is called Sensory store. Most of the time we do not even realize we are using sensory store. It "keeps" sensations for less than 3 seconds. Which is just long enough for a person to decide if they want to pay attention to the stimulus.

The next stage is short term memory. This stage is also known as working memory because it is what we use when we think about things. Without rehearsing or thinking about things, the memories in our short term memory fade. Next information is encoded to Long term memory. Long term memory is essentially permanent and can hold an unlimited amount of content. Long term memory only stores information though. Information must be moved back to short term memory to be thought about and altered; this process is called retrieval.


This video explains more about how memory works, why we remember things, and how to improve memory.

I still have questions about the cellular aspect of memory, such as how do cells "know" to form stronger bonds at certain points? Also i have more questions about memory diseases for example, Alzheimer's.

Blog #3: Pavlov's experiment

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Pavlov classical conditioning transformed the way humans think about learning. With his experiment on dogs, he concluded that animals learn by responding to previously a neural stimulus that was repeated paired with an unconditioned stimulus that caused a unconditioned response. His realized through his dog experiment that when the dogs were given meat power (UCS) the dogs had an automatic reflex to salivate (UCR), which is a response from nature not nurture. The salivating is an automatic response that is not learned but because it is in the nature of dogs to salivate when they are given food. But Pavlov tried something different. He paired up the metronome ticking a neutral response with the meat power (unconditioned stimulus). By constantly paring up the neutral stimulus with the uncontrolled stimulus Pavlov found that the dog went through the process of learning. The dog realized that ticking of the metronome means that the food is about to arrive. So whenever he heard the metronome he stared to drool (unconditioned response), because he associated that noise with the meat powder meaning that he learned. This proved that if an association is made between a neutral stimulus and an uncontrolled stimulus consistently the dog will respond the same way with the neutral stimulus. In this case it was the ticking of the metronome, it now became the controlled stimulus that caused the animal to respond with a conditioned response (CR). The dog learned this through experience not nature.

I found this discovery so interesting that I tried to replicate it with my cat. I got him new treat container that makes a certain noise when you shake it. This noise became the neutral stimulus for the experiment because when I first shook it, it had no response from my cat. Usually when I give my cat a treat (UCS) and his natural instinct in response to the treat is meowing (UCR). The meowing is a response that is not learned but in the cat's nature. Then, I started to repetitively pair up the container noise (neutral stimulus) with a treat (unconditioned stimulus); I did this for a couple of days and observed that my cat had made an association between the container noise and the treat. Gradually, he went through the process of classical conditioning because whenever I shook the container alone (CS) he would run up meow (CR). This is because he has learned from experience not from nature. Since the noise of the container usually got him a treat, he started to associate those two things together. So just hearing the noise of the container makes him meow, which proves Pavlov's discovery. The CR (meowing) now responds to neutral stimulus (container noise) because of the association of the neutral stimulus with the UCS (treat). Pavlov's experiment not only gave an insight on the learning behavior of animals but also the differences between nature and nurture.

The above link is a hilarious version of a modern day classical conditioning in the show The Office. enjoy :)

assignment 3

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The law of effect put forth by E.L. Thorndike states that if a behavior receives a positive outcome, it is likely that the behavior will occur again. This is very true because people will try to act a certain way if they know they will be rewarded. In the book the example was the cat had to pull the string to get out of the box to reach its food, soon enough it figured out how to do this quickly. I have experienced the law of effect last year while working with a class of first graders. I was in charge of reading groups, i would always let them play games or give them candy if they did their homework, this therefore made all the students want to do their homework and do it every week. This can also be considered positive reinforcement. I also used this with one of my struggling students, she was allowed to play reading games at the end of the week if she did her homework. I would also make sure to point out the good things she did, such as actually doing her homework. The positive feedback usually helped her be more confident and happy and therefore she performed better. Overall i feel that positive reinforcement and punishment are the best techniques to use when dealing with unruly children. They are striving for attention and by giving them positive reinforcement they will strive to do better.

Mnemonics at Work

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The human brain is an incredibly impressive organ responsible for tasks including balance, problem solving, and memory. With the proper training and practice the human brain is even capable of recalling large sequences of random numbers, such as in the case of Rajan Mahadevan who was able to recite up to 38,811 digits of pi.
The people accomplishing these remarkable feats attribute their abilities to the use of mnemonic devices. In a video I found online at 3 time Memoriad champion Tatiana explains exactly how she is able to remember seemingly impossible amounts of information in just a short period of time by using mnemonics. A mnemonic device is defined as any learning aid, strategy, or device that enhances our ability to recall information. Tatiana is able to skim through a shuffled deck of cards for just 3 or 4 minutes and list them off in order by both suit and value. When the interviewer asks how she is able to pull of this difficult task with such ease she begins to explain that anyone is capable of doing this with the use of mnemonics. Tatiana uses a story telling mnemonic by assigning each card a name through a system that indicates both suit and value and then she strings them all together in a story making it much easier to remember the order.
This idea of mnemonics is an incredibly important concept to the field of learning and memorization. It is an idea that could be applicable to so many people and aid in the task of recalling certain memories. I believe if teachers were to integrate mnemonics into their regular curriculum many students would have a much easier time absorbing and retaining new knowledge. Through my own experiences even I can attest to the functionality of mnemonic devices. For example in my high school Chinese class we were asked to memorize the Chinese dynasties in chronological order. Some other students and I came up with a mnemonic device that allowed us to memorize the dynasties much easier and we were all able to score well on the test the following week.
It is clear to me that mnemonic devices are a very useful technique when it comes to the memorization of sequences, lists, specific dates, etc... One thing that I am left wondering is if there is a way to transfer the memorization technique of mnemonics to other forms of knowledge such as definitions, addresses, or standard facts. Regardless of whether mnemonics are a universal technique that is applicable to all forms of knowledge or not it is clear that they can be an incredibly helpful resource for memorization and have allowed some dedicated people to do amazing things with them.

Heuristics and Problem Solving

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A pertinent, real-life applicable topic of discussion of lecture the past few weeks has been the concept of heuristics and our tendency to sometimes ignore logic when answering questions/problem solving. We humans use heuristics (mental shortcuts used to shorten up our cognitive energy and quickly make decisions) everyday in life, and generally they serve us well. We can flip through channels on t.v, quickly identify the context of the images we are seeing, and assess our desire to watch it, all with relative ease. But when asked the right questions, our heuristics and problem solving techniques can lead us away from the truth, when more thought out logic is the only way to come to the correct answer. Take these two problems as examples:

1. A father and his son are driving down the road. The car crashes into a tree and the father is killed. The boy is rushed to the nearest hospital where he is prepared for emergency surgery. On entering the surgery suite, the surgeon says, "I can't operate on this boy. He's my son. How is this possible?

As we try to solve the problem, most of us will find that it is difficult to imagine how this is possible (at least I did). But many of us are unconsciously using our availability heuristic (basing the likelihood of an event based on how easily an example comes to mind) to describe the surgeon. Most of us are probably imagining the surgeon as a man, which would be impossible because, as the story says, the father of the child was killed in the accident. When we ignore our availability heuristic and think outside the mental set, we can easily come to the conclusion that the surgeon is the child's mother. We know that we are using our heuristics in the problem, because if the question were stated a mother and her son are driving down the road, we have no trouble coming to the solution that the surgeon would in fact be the child's father, even though the likelihood of the event is the same in both cases.

Here is another example:

Instead of using our working memory in the problem, we are focused only on the two unopened doors. We relate the two doors to similar situations in which we know there are only two possible outcomes (such as flipping a coin), and conclude that the chance of choosing a car or a goat are the same as flipping a coin, 50%. We fail to use our working memory of the problem, and use our availability heuristic to come to an answer. Here is another example in which logic prevails in problem solving.

Assignment #3

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Language seems to be an afterthought to people in everyday life, unless of course if one is learning another. A basic necessity to living in society today, language is extremely complex and has developed over the course of human history. I found it interesting that when babies first start to speak, their brain starts to make new connections with regards to the native phonemes. The adaptability of the brain is truly amazing in this aspect. Also, another common trait of all language are the inclusion of phonemes, morphemes, extralinguistic information and dialects. No matter what language, even non spoken languages, abide by these rules. Something that always puzzled me was the origin of words for certain objects or things. The concept of onomatopoeia makes sense, creating words that read and sound like the noise they describe, but as for other words, it never made sense for me. I liked how Figure 8.1 on page 289 in the book sort of explained word origins, it provided some background knowledge. Language, although highly complex, is something basic that was and is necessary for humans to use in order to continue to share new ideas learn about ourselves as a race.

Writing Assignment #3

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Classical conditioning is a form of learning in which the subject develops a particular response to a stimulus that would otherwise be nuetral, without being paired with a stimulus that is not neutral and elicits an automatic response. In other words, the subject generates a response that wouldn't naturally occur as a result of associating a neutral stimulus with a nonneutral stimulus. This is a concept that I had never heard of before, however after learning more about it I came to realize that this seemingly unfamiliar topic was somthing that I encountered on an almost daily basis. Examples of this classical conditioning concept can be found throughout our lives in many different ways. The fact that I already had experiences with this form of learning without even knowing it, was perhaps why I found this concept to be particularly interesting.
One of the most obvious real world examples of classical conditioning is it's use in the media. Here is how: corona_ad_example.jpg
Unconditioned stimulus: Paradise or the pretty woman
Conditioned Stimulus: Corona
Uncondotioned Response: Happiness or arousal to paradise or the pretty woman
Conditioned response: Happiness or arousal to Corona

Also just for fun, I wanted to include this video from the office where Jim recreates Pavlov's experiement with Dwight. I thought it was cool that a concept from my psychology course found it's way into one of my favorite TV programs.

The Office - Pavlov's dog from Rauno Villberg on Vimeo.

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Is it too good to be true? Does sleep-assisted learning actually work? Sadly, this type of learning is too good to be true. Although many of us hate to hear it, sleep-assisted learning tapes don't actually work and aren't worth the hype that many companies are making it to be. If I were able to listen to a tape of all of my class lectures, while sleeping, and fully retain all the information, my life (and everyone else's) would be golden.

One explanation for this fad to be false is that the recordings are actually awakening the people who listen to the tapes while "asleep". Many of the accounts that showed a positive effect from sleep-assisted learning lacked to show evidence of actually sleeping and didn't monitor their brain waves through an EEG. Even though this learning fad is too good to be true, the entertainment business is one place where the myth is still portrayed as being the solution to many characters' problems.
Watch the video starting at 3:30-5:55:

In an episode of "Boy Meets World", Eric wants to learn how to ice skate and one of his friends gives him a tape that attempts to teach him how to by listening to it while he sleeps. The tape tells him repeatedly that he will be a good skater and it's unlikely that he will learn how to skate from just listening to a tape. After a while Eric begins to dream. In his dream he meets the two time Olympic champion figure skater, Nancy Kerrigan. This makes him wake up to believe that he has learned how to skate just from listening to the tape and that he can skate just as well as an Olympic figure skater. We all can conclude that Eric Matthews didn't learn how to figure skate through sleep-assisted learning and to excel in a physical activity, such as figure skating, you have to physically go out and practice the skills.

Even though life would be easier if we could learn new material while sleeping, we're better off learning the old fashioned way.

Vivid With Detail... Was it to Easily Created?

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Have you ever thought that one of your very own memories could be false? Well the truth is that some of your memories might be incorrect. Now don't get scared and start examining your memories and interviewing family members to find out. Just read on and everything will be cleared up for you! A "False Memory" is just a memory, which is a distortion of an actual experience, or a confabulation of an imagined one. Many false memories involve an error in source memory. Our brain does occasionally create false memories; sometimes they can be quite detailed and vivid. In today's society we rely heavily on eyewitnesses to recall events leading to a specific crime. I believe this concept is very important because it affects many people in there everyday lives. It's these life experiences that help us to form opinions and beliefs but in some cases, the original memory may be changed in order to incorporate new information or experiences. Take a look at this interesting segment as it shows you how this can come about:


In that segment you have seen examples of false memory, distorted memory, and even memory that has been implanted. Like I said earlier "don't get scared" because while your memory might not be correct it probably holds some truth. On average, most of us have an acceptable memory but we don't recall them perfectly. In fact every time we tell a story a piece of that story changes, even if it's only a slight change. Our brains do have some checks and balances. While we have the ability to create parts of our memory our brains also filter out memories that it finds might be false. This is called recollection rejection (but that's another topic in itself). Our memory is also affected by our emotions and our feelings about what we are witnessing. Two people looking at an event, but having opposite emotions about what they are witnessing will go away with two completely different sets of memories about it. So while it might not be the "truth" it's your truth so accept it!

The Law of Effect

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The law of effect was formed by E.L. Throndike and it explains behaviors that lead to satisfying outcomes are more likely to be repeated than the behaviors that lead to unwanted outcomes. This is important because the subject will strive to continue doing what provides a pleasant effect to keep learning. Giving a dog a treat every time it doesn't beg for food, will gradually teach the dog to not beg. In my life, when I work over 40 hours a week I will receive a bonus from work and that bonus is a raise in my hourly pay. From this, I learned to take as many shifts as possible because I want to get another bonus and to save up for college. <> <>.


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A concept from our readings these past few weeks that I find fascinating is Amnesia. Amnesia is a problem with memory. There are a couple different kinds as well as a few misconceptions, which I will discuss. The main problems associated with amnesia are in the retrieval (or possibly disappearance) of memories, along with the formation of memory.
I find this idea important because it hints at the ideas in psychology that make it so interesting to me. The most fascinating part of psychology deals with the functions we cant see (memory being one of the most interesting). If you think about it, diseases involving memory, while awful for those who have them, can provide great insight into how we have memory. Nobody knows how memory actually works, and scientists know even less about where memory is stored. Through studying the brains of patients with amnesia, we could possibly learn more about where memory is stored or how it works.
There are two different types of amnesia. The first is Retrograde amnesia, in which we lose some memories of our past. The second is anterograde amnesia, where we lose the capacity to form new memories. When most people hear about amnesia (I used to think this way until this psychology course) they think that people with the disease have lost all of their memories. It turns out that this is called generalized amnesia and is very rare.
The most common and troubling form of amnesia is anterograde amnesia, contrary to popular belief.
I have always been a HUGE fan of Derren Brown, a british psychologist and entertainer. He had his own tv show, and many of the clips are on youtube. I found one about inducing temporary "amnesia" (its not true amnesia). Its actually more about messing with memories via suggestion, which is another topic we've been discussing lately. The video can be found at
With a subject as interesting as amnesia I'm bound to have questions. The most prominent question I have is how amnesia develops. There are extremely high rates of amnesia in the elderly, especially in people above 85 years of age. If so many people develop amnesia, how come we don't know more about it?
Hopefully more information on this "memorable" disease becomes available soon.


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Henry Price
Imprinting is a phase sensitive rapid form of learning, in which an organism takes on the characteristics of a stimulus. Filial imprinting is the most common form of this type of learning and is described as when a young animal takes on some of the behavior of its parents. However in the case nidifugous birds the stimulus can be anything presented at hatching. This principle was well demonstrated by the researcher Konrad Lorenz. Lorenz hatched the birds in incubators, ensuring he would be the first stimulus the hatchlings saw. The birds invariably imprinted on Lorenz and fallowed him everywhere he went, even swimming with him. Imprinting can also be applied to any stimulus such as an inanimate object or even a normally predatory animal like a dog.

(nidifugous birds imprinted on their mother, Konrad Lorenz and a domesticated dog.)

Imprinting is an important aspect of learning and demonstrates several parts of learning theories in psychology. Imprinting shows the flexibility of learning, as evident by imprinting upon any stimuli in response to its environment. This becomes a biological adaptation, as with all learning, allowing young birds to be cared for by any mother of the same species or in more recent circumstances other stimuli such as Konrad. It also demonstrates learning by observation, as the birds imitate behavior based on the mere sight of a stimulus.
I witnessed imprinting first hand when my father hatched a goose. He was the first stimuli the goose saw and as a result, learned behavior by observing him. The goose fallowed him, ate grass where my father pointed and fallowed his example in response to stimuli (such as not fearing the family dog). One thing that still puzzles me is why nidifugous birds don't imprint on more specific stimuli such as bird like stimuli. Why are they susceptible to all stimuli, why is this an advantage?

Negative Dreams


The Lilienfield text talks about dreams in chapter 5. It mentions multiple studies on how and when we dream, as well as when we are dreaming, those dreams are almost exclusively negative. This seemed very strange to me because Dreams that are negative are considered a Nightmare in my opinion, and I haven't had a nightmare in years.
But then my husband and I started talking this concept over, and no matter what we remembered dreaming about for the last week, they were all terrible dreams. Dreams of the apocalypse, dreams of missing finals, dreams of the other dying, dreams of not meeting standards, etc. It's been horrible. Dreams have no longer become fun to have.
Why are dreams always negative? Maybe because we remember horrible or traumatic things better than the good. Most of my dreams have some good in them, but the part that always sticks out is the scary part. Or the bad/ sad/ angry part.

Maybe the reason they don't feel like nightmares anymore is because I have become conditioned to them. They don't seem scary when they are frequent, and I've seen far worse on TV and in movies. As a child, dreaming of losing a parent will wake you up screaming, as an adult, the same dream may bring a tear to your eye, but you won't wake up wanting to crawl into mom and dad's bed.

This article gives a few reasons as to why we have bad dreams:

I feel like all of these reasons can be absolutely true to my bad dreams. I have an example of nearly all of them. What do you think? How does something like stress/anxiety affect you?

Maybe this video will help you!

:] enjoy!

-Dana Fisher

Blog Assignment 3

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The most interesting section from the last few weeks for me concerned the implantation of false memories. The section started small with the idea that information from a stored memory can be altered from the idea of suggestive memory techniques. I was not particularly surprised that memory can be slightly altered upon recall, but I was amazed that entirely manufactured memories can be inserted. As a person who never studied psychology before, I always assumed that memory was more concrete than it has been experimentally shown to be. Inserting a memory is also such an easy process, merely involving the researcher inserting a false story among actual memories that the person has. This is clearly significant because the memories we have make up our sense of who we are, our view of reality is filtered through what we have seen before. If it is extremely easy to alter our memories than it is easy to alter our actions, as is aptly demonstrated by the Geraerts study where people would avoid the egg sandwiches after having a memory of a bed egg sandwich inserted. Memories, real or imagined, can alter your behavior. The question that this invokes for me is to what degree can someone's actions be altered? Not eating sandwiches is not exactly the largest alteration in someone's behaviors so how powerful can this technique be?

Learning and Habituation

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I could think of a better and more appropriate topic from the past two weeks other than the concept of learning itself. More in depth, the concept of habituation fascinates me, and how the human body adapts and reacts to mass amounts of stimuli on a daily basis. The fact that the human brain changes with in every minute of your life is almost an overwhelming fact and encourages me to take in all the future opportunities to learn. In the textbook, the authors explain learning as a change in an organism's behavior or a thought because of an experience that it goes through. Going in more in depth, like I mentioned before, the concept of habituation fascinates my mind even more. The fact that our body responds to all kinds of stimuli we experience makes the process by which we respond less strongly over time to repeated stimuli almost a relief in the human world. I couldn't imagine having the noise of the heat vents blaring in my ear or the clothes irritating my skin on a constant basis. Habituation makes me see the beauty in the adaptive nature of our senses. What is even more interesting is that there is a limit to the intensity our bodies will adapt to certain stimuli. In the case of extreme or strong stimuli, our bodies form no sense of habituation at all. This also possesses a sense of relief because I couldn't imagine getting used to a strong electrical shock or some form of strong pain that could potentially harm my wellbeing.
With that being said, there are many ways to manipulate habituation. As I provided for the example in the link, it shows how the horse trainers are using the repeated stimuli of the feeling of the plastic bag over the horse in order to have the horse respond less strongly over time to plastic fabrics and other fabrics that are similar.

Study Hints from the Psychologists

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If you're like the majority of the students currently enrolled in Psych 1001, chances are you want to succeed in this class. Unlike most other classes, psychology not only provides a wealth of knowledge you can use in your everyday life, it can also teach you how to learn more effectively. Incorporating a few simple tips from Chapter 7 in your studying regiment may help you do better on your next exam. Remember that these tips are psychologist tested -and not necessarily student approved.

A Paper.jpg

Distributed versus massed study Research shows that humans remember information better when we learn spread out over time interval, rather than learning in brief period of time. I know that all my fellow crammers out there might dispute this, but it really does make sense. Some athletes use this method to boost the productivity of practice time. This article explains how the method of distributed study can help baseball players reach optimal performance level. The conclusion sounds appealing: less time spent working with better results. Unfortunately, this really gets in the way of procrastinating... Try at your own risk.

Testing effect Here's a little newsflash for all the other psych students out there -those true/false quizzes in our textbook aren't there for decoration. Frequently testing your knowledge of the material you've just learned will give you a more accurate idea of how well you know the information. In addition to the textbook, has practice tests to help you master the material we cover in class.

Elaborative rehearsal When we reference things we've already learned in order to understand new concepts, we are using a technique known as elaborative rehearsal. The textbook uses this frequently. When was the last time you read anything for psych where one of the six principals of critical thinking wasn't mentioned? Making meaningful connections with our existing knowledge helps us to encode new information, rather than simply memorizing and hoping we can recall important concepts for the test.


Levels of processing Some psychologist believe that we can process information at different "levels". The theory states that the deeper we process information, the greater the chance that we remember it. We can process things either visually, phonologically, or semantically. Each of the three levels can be applied to studying and note-taking. For instance, when we copy down exactly what is written on a power point slide, we process the information visually. We can take our processing a step further by repeating the information back to ourselves, activating the phonological level. However, according to the theory, we will best remember the information by processing the information semantically. We can do this by focusing on the implications of the new material, translating the lecturer's words into our own, and emphasizing the meaning. Using semantic processing increases the likelihood that we will commit the material to our long term memory. Get a more in-depth explanation of this experiment.

Mnemonic devices Do you think it's easier to give a speech 100% from memory or with the help of a few notecards? Most of us like the reassurance of a notecard or two in our hand while giving an important presentation and knowing that an important guideword is close-by if you get stuck. Mnemonic devices are like notecards for our brain. They give our brains key words, mental images, songs or acronyms that help us recall important details on command. Learning the bone dance is without a doubt an easier (and more fun!) way to memorize the skeleton than staring at a diagram for hours. Try for more easy ways to remember the things we're bound to forget.

Using these strategies, we can train, trick, and teach our brains to remember the things we need to remember -and get us the A we all work so hard for.

Sleep. It's crucial!

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Out of all that I learned about in the past few weeks, the most striking to me was the information regarding sleep. Specifically, the five stages of sleep. Stage 1 is the lightest stage of sleep which lasts for about 5-10 minutes, in which our brain power shuts down by about 50%. In the 2nd stage, our heart rate slows, our body temperature decreases, and our muscles relax more. In stages three and four, we are in a much deeper sleep, in which we can observe delta waves. The fifth stage is sleep is called REM sleep. REM sleep is the stage of sleep in which our brain is most active and during which vivid dreaming most often occurs.

Sleep is something that is highly relevant in my life right now, and I completely agree on how important sleep is. Learning about the sleep cycles is crucial because it helps us understand what our body is going through during sleep, and that this cycle is crucial for our body's recovery. As a freshman student, and as a student athlete, I am now learning that with all the adjustments one's body goes through during their first year, it is crucial to get a good night's sleep. Our survey on sleep we took in small group discussion was incredibly insightful as to how sleep deprived college students are. Finding out that waking up to an alarm clock is not as beneficial because it disturbs your sleep cycle was certainly and eye opener (pun intended). Apple is even marketing a 'Smart Alarm Clock' app that claims to record your sleep cycles. The website claims that "More than 1,000,000 people around the world are using our Smart Alarm apps!", but does that necessarily mean that it works? One must be careful not to commit the band-wagon fallacy, and it would also be advisable to make sure that there is sufficient evidence to support their claims.

Before reading this chapter, I had previously wondered if waking up repeatedly during the night, but still getting a full 8 hours of sleep would be as effective in recovering our bodies as a full 8 hours with no waking up. Upon reading about sleep apnea, I believe my question was answered. Sleep apnea is a disorder in which people have trouble breathing while sleeping. This breathing problem causes them to snore, and sometimes stop breathing for short periods of time during their sleep, waking them up. The textbook states that this causes fatigue the next day, but it also states that this is also due to the lack of oxygen. So while my question is answered in part, it is, like so many other scientific answers, not exactly a black or white answer. Though it's in a gray area, I believe that I now have a better idea about getting a full nights sleep.


Memory and Matteo Ricci

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I know we’ve all seen a lot of Derren Brown already, so I apologize for that but I found this interview from Open University which is associated with the BBC regarding memory and identity. Derren talks briefly about hypnotism and the effect that it has on subjects before he lands on memory palaces, which is what interested me. The memory palace is a mnemonic device that was first written about by Matteo Ricci, an incredibly brilliant Jesuit scholar that ended up spending quite a bit of his time in China. It’s simply a variant of the method of loci where you specifically use a “palace” that is familiar to you, someplace with a lot of rooms that you can maneuver through easily. You mentally walk through the palace the exact same way every single time and when you want to remember items you simply incorporate them into the rooms of your palace.

This is extremely interesting to me because I’m very interested in improving my memory (presumably like many of my classmates) and the memory palace is a very ancient technique that people have used to remember extraordinary amounts of information. Also, Matteo Ricci himself is a fascinating study and this book is extremely good (apparently it was also listed as a reference for the Hannibal Lector movies, although I can’t confirm that.)


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A concept from our readings these past few weeks that I find fascinating is Amnesia. Amnesia is a problem with memory. There are a couple different kinds as well as a few misconceptions, which I will discuss. The main problems associated with amnesia are in the retrieval (or possibly disappearance) of memories, along with the formation of memory.
I find this idea important because it hints at the ideas in psychology that make it so interesting to me. The most fascinating part of psychology deals with the functions we cant see (memory being one of the most interesting). If you think about it, diseases involving memory, while awful for those who have them, can provide great insight into how we have memory. Nobody knows how memory actually works, and scientists know even less about where memory is stored. Through studying the brains of patients with amnesia, we could possibly learn more about where memory is stored or how it works.
There are two different types of amnesia. The first is Retrograde amnesia, in which we lose some memories of our past. The second is anterograde amnesia, where we lose the capacity to form new memories. When most people hear about amnesia (I used to think this way until this psychology course) they think that people with the disease have lost all of their memories. It turns out that this is called generalized amnesia and is very rare.
The most common and troubling form of amnesia is anterograde amnesia, contrary to popular belief.
I have always been a HUGE fan of Derren Brown, a british psychologist and entertainer. He had his own tv show, and many of the clips are on youtube. I found one about inducing temporary "amnesia" (its not true amnesia). Its actually more about messing with memories via suggestion, which is another topic we've been discussing lately. The video can be found at
With a subject as interesting as amnesia I'm bound to have questions. The most prominent question I have is how amnesia develops. There are extremely high rates of amnesia in the elderly, especially in people above 85 years of age. If so many people develop amnesia, how come we don't know more about it?
Hopefully more information on this "memorable" disease becomes available soon.

Infants & Language Development

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It has been interesting to learn about the language portion of this unit. I especially enjoyed learning about the development of language in children. Infants can start learning or processing the dialect of the language the parents, especially the mother, speak starting when they have been in the womb for at least five months. Listening to music, reading, or talking to a baby while they are still in the womb can only benefit the child's learning.
Continually talking to babies, even though they are not capable of responding, plays an important role in the development of language. It gives them the opportunity to hear the phonemes or sounds in the parent's native language. This encourages babbling, which helps them eventually produce the correct sounds of the language. You often hear parents refer to their baby as 'telling a story' when they babble continuously, and in a way they are. They are using this to coordinate the sounds and identify words they recognize.
Eventually babies acquire a few words over time. I found it interesting that one and a half year olds often have a vocabulary of 20-100 words, and by the time they reach kindergarten they know several thousand. I've enjoyed watching these stages develop in my little cousins, and seeing how much their vocabulary grows. It's always been exciting for my family when we hear each of their first words, or even when they start babbling without being able to comprehend it. Parents never forget their child's first word because it's such a great milestone in their lives. I know my parents still remember the first word I said following mom and dad, which was money. Every parent remembers these things because it's so important to them, or it could worry them like it did mine.

Can someone be programmed to become an assasin?

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Derren Brown has this new TV series called The Experiments. And his first episode asked whether or not it is possible to hypnotically program a person to be able to kill and not even realize it.

In the beginning, Derren hypnotizes an audience to see who are the most reactive to his suggestions. He then does more tests and filters out the less suggestible people until he finds the one person he believes to be the most suggestible. He then takes that person through more tests, which all have importance, because the final experiment at the end requires these preceding tests for it to be even possible to happen.

Near the end of the episode, Derren and his crew set up the final experiment, a mock assassination (the subject doesn't know that), to see if the hypothesis would hold up ... And it does! The subject, in his trance state, believes that he assassinates English celebrity, Stephen Fry. When he exits out of his trance state and is asked whether he remembers shooting anyone, he genuinely can't remember doing it (and this is substantiated through the use of a lie detector test after an earlier experiment in the episode).

This experiment was both mind-boggling and eye-opening. It shows just how powerful hypnotic suggestion can be. However, this was only one experiment. I believe for it to show some true potential, it should be able to be replicated, even though that may be tough unless quite a few subjects are initially involved.

False Memories

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One of the things that I found to be the most interesting was the idea of false memories. It made me think about the things that I have remembered, and if the things I think I remember vividly may be partially false.
In the book it states that there are two factors that help contribute to the implantation of false memories. The first is that it is easy to implant a fictitious memory of something that is plausible. The second is that it is easier to implant a false memory about an event that took place in the distant past that we can barely recall.
These two factors for false memories led me to the conclusion that many of my memories about my childhood vacations may be false memories based on the pictures and stories that have been told to me through the people who also experienced the moments with me. One specific event comes to memory of mine comes to mind. My family took a trip to Florida when I was about ten years old. My Dad and Uncle took my sister and I out on the Jet skis. I look back on the event and I remember vividly the blue water, the scene of all the people on the beach, and one other thing, Dolphin just about five feet away from me swimming between the two Jet Skis. I remember my sister telling me about this happening a few years after the event and then I remember looking back on the event and remembering seeing the scene of the Dolphins. But now I have come to wonder if this is a false memory of my own. Did I actually remember seeing this event happen, or was it because my sister described it to me that I created the memory in my head on my own? The two factors are represented well in this situation, the sight of a dolphin in the ocean is a plausible event, and the event occurred a long time ago. This idea makes me wonder if I correctly remember the events of my past, or if some of them are just creations.


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Throughout the past few weeks one topic that I find very interesting is sleepwalking. An individual who is sleepwalking acts as if they are fully awake however may appear somewhat clumsier. Approximately fifteen to thirty percent of adolescents and five percent of adults sleepwalk. These individuals who are considered somnambulists are more prone to sleepwalking if they are deprived of sleep. Some actions that may occur, although they mainly exhibit little activity include: performing household tasks or driving a car. I have been told that I sleepwalk quite often. Can sleepwalking be eliminated from our day to day lives if we obtain the desired amount of sleep we need?


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In scrolling through recent posts by others, I have realized I'm not the only one to be fascinated by sleepwalking. It seems so difficult to grasp the idea that we can get out of bed and begin to accomplish daily chores or even begin eating. As someone who has sleepwalked before, I can say that the reasons given for why we sleepwalk truly applied to me.
In the first scenario, it was the last week of the quarter in high school, and I had been swamped with finals to study for. Consequently, my sleep schedule had been far from normal. The weekend prior, I had stayed up late studying, only to sleep in really late Saturday and Sunday morning. I stayed up late again Monday and Tuesday night, but had to get up incredibly early, often functioning on a few hours of sleep. The next night, I went to bed, and apparently only an hour later, was down in the kitchen fetching out the Wheaties to make breakfast. The time was about 12:30 AM. I remember waking to my mother rubbing my shoulder, trying to wake me up.
The following case was at a week long band camp, where we out in the sun for 11 hours practicing, and staying up really late hanging out. On the last night, our non-air conditioned room rose to about 80 degrees, making sleep conditions uncomfortable. I ended up getting out of bed with my sheets in hand, walking over to my buddy's side of the room, and throwing them on his bed, as I guess I was too warm. I went back to bed, but ran into the wall as I tried to lay down, waking me up.
In both cases the sleepwalking I did really frightened me, knowing I had little control over my actions. Luckily, my buddy was fine with the extra linens, and no Wheaties were spilled. I had been having a very inconsistent sleep schedule, one that was very short in the nights prior, making conditions right for sleepwalking. Additionally, I was in an uncomfortable sleeping environment at band camp, also increasing my chances of wanting to get out of bed while sleeping.
This video I found really explains why getting enough sleep is so important.

I hope one or the other embedded. I am still figuring out the technology used. Essentially, the video talks about how our bodies have no way of making up for lost sleep, and can't adapt to shorter sleep cycles. It has motivated me to get into bed at an earlier time each night, and has made me feel better the following day.

Of Course I Remember Everything! Don't You?

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Let's be honest here: How many of you haven't wanted a perfect recollection of everything you've ever learned so you can ace that exam or get that speech down perfectly so you can finally get that A in your public speaking class? Or has there ever been a time when you've met someone who seems to remember everything they've ever done and you wish you could be like that? Well, if you do, then you met someone who is known as an "eideteker," or someone who has an eidetic memory. While only a few actually have this capability, eidtekers can recall images, sounds, objects, etc. from their memories with perfect clarity and extreme precision (yes, they have a photographic memory.) Unlike the rest of us, they don't actually portray the seven sins of memory as much as we do.

In general, while most of us have pretty good memory on average, we don't actually have a perfect recall, no matter what we'd like to believe. Scientists believe that eidtekers' memories are because of an extended use of iconic memory, where their visual sensory memory tends to hold visual images with a greater persistence and clarity, hence the photographic memory. A great example of this (for all of you Psych lovers) is the hat game that Henry Spencer plays with young Shawn to test his son's eidetic memory on the show Psych. In the hat game, Shawn has close his eyes and then tell his dad exactly how many hats there are, who's wearing them, and what kind of hat there are-- and his precision is amazing (check out the video below!). Another example of this from pop culture is also the Lexipedia from Grey's Anatomy, as seen by the video below.

The hat game 0:00 to 1:38):


To me, the idea of having an eidetic memory is a key finding in our quest to learn more about memory. If more research was done on eidetic memory, researchers could probably understand more about how the brain works and how our memory systems can be so diverse that they possess this capability. The current studies and research that are going on with eidetic memory and the memory system itself (like implanting false memories) are fascinating because it allows us to discover more about how memories can actually occur this way (and perhaps discover a bit more about the unknown!) On a personal level, I've always wondered whether I've possessed just a small piece of edietic memory, because I seem to remember phone numbers on the spot, even if I've only called that number one and never actually rehearsed it to keep it in my mind. Or at times I seem to randomly know peoples birthdays, even if I saw the information in passing while surfing the net on facebook.

This makes me wonder: is it possible to teach someone to posses the capability of eidetic memory? Or is this just something genetically passed down to those lucky few?

The Late, Great Memory

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Created by Daniel Schacter, the "seven sins of memory" consist of the tricks we can have played on us by our memory. The fourth sin is transience. This particular sin is significant to me, for it is a memory error that affected the lives of my entire family through the experience of my late grandfather. Transience, which is often seen as people age, is the fading of the short-term and long-term memories over time.

Recently, I experienced the loss of my grandfather due to his old age. Just a few years ago, Pappa had a very impressive memory that spanned back to even his early childhood years. He never failed to amuse us with his stories, which consisted of a great deal of detail. The family insisted that he should write a memoir of his life, and he did. Not too long after, his memory began to fade rapidly. In fact, the speed at which he was losing his memory baffled many doctors, and they were unable to diagnose him with anything other than dehydration. The last time I saw my grandfather he was very weak and frequently asked me who I was. He told me stories that were not accurate, and repeated them several times within one conversation. However, Pappa still remembered his wife, and praised her for her hard work and patience she had throughout the years. He seemed to remember a few bits of history, but he could not remember recent occurrences.

Having to see my grandfather in these conditions was hard to bear. Having a loved one ask me who I was repeatedly brought great sorrow to me, and is something I would not wish for anyone to experience. It makes me wonder what can cause such conditions. Pappa did not have Alzheimer's Disease or any other illness that is known to cause severe memory loss. Could the fading of his memory have been prevented? Or slowed? I am very glad I was able to visit with him before he left this earth (although he spoke mostly in Finnish), but oh how I wish I could have heard the stories he told us grandchildren years ago!

I was able to answer some of my questions here.

Finally, on a lighter note:


How Children Learn Language

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One interesting concept that has appealed to me lately is the concept of children learning language. I think that it was interesting how the baby learns the native language of their mothers despite what language is otherwise spoken to them in the womb. It is not a fact of English being the primary language of all babies, but rather the native language itself. Babies develop a keen ear out for their mother's voices and recognize what their native and primary language is.
I found this to be quite interesting because usually one might think that a baby would learn both languages if their mother speaks multiple languages, or the baby wouldn't know which language to speak, but the baby in some way knows the native language. They can pick out which one is the more dominant in the mother's life. I wonder how this works, and why and how it does. Does the baby just know? Is the baby born with this notion of what language to choose to speak once it is born? How does this happen? These questions fill up my mind as I ponder this.
I believe that this is important because if babies did not have this unique and amazing skill, how would they be able to learn the language? If they are not competent at being able to learn language in general in the first place, how will they communicate, learn, think, and feel? Language is a part of all of these things, so it is essential that the baby can know how to communicate effectively. Here is a video link that tells us more about the benefits of speech development in babies:

Here is also a photograph of an advertisement for helping your baby know the language better. Dunstan Baby Languages:


I found this photograph appealing to the subject because we don't need videos, dvds, and books to help us teach language to our babies. It is already engrained in their brains to know how to learn a language.

Sorry that you are only able to see half the advertisement and the size is large, but here is a link for the photograph to view it better:

-Sherene Mostaghimi Section 08

Sleep Talking and Sleepwalking

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While reading chapter five, the topic of sleep walking intrigued me a great deal. I also wondered about sleep talking and whether it was considered a sleep disorder as well. These topics caught my interest because I am both a sleep talker and a sleepwalker. I have never truly looked into the causes of these disorders.
Sleepwalking, also called somnambulism, is walking while fully asleep. Sleepwalking occurs in the slow wave stages of sleep, stage three and four. These stages occur approximately about 3 hours after falling asleep, as each stage lasts approximately and hour and a half. Sleepwalking only occurs one a night typically. Sleepwalking occurs mostly in children, about 20% of children sleepwalk, and it decreases with age. Only about 5% of adults sleepwalk. Much to my relief, it is a common misconception that sleepwalking is a sign of a psychological disorder, however it can be true in some cases. People deprived of sleep are more likely to exhibit sleepwalking the following night. Sleepwalking is harmless, and sleepwalkers will likely not remember their actions upon awakening. It is perfectly safe to wake someone up while they are sleepwalking, it causes no harm whatsoever as related in this clip:
Sleep talking, also formally known as somniloquy, is when a person is talking in their sleep without being aware of talking. Sleep talkers don't usually talk longer than 30 seconds per episode, however there can be many episodes per night. These episodes can consist of precise speeches or simply incoherent mutterings. It can consist of shouting or whispering, talking to themselves or talking to an invisible person. Almost half of young children talk in their sleep, however only about 5% of adults sleep talk. It is believed that sleep talking may run in families. However it can also be caused by stress, depression, fever, sleep deprivation, drowsiness, or alcohol. Sleep talking can be very disturbing for the roommate or bed partner.
Learning about sleepwalking and sleep talking was very fascinating to me and now I understand more about why I sleep talk and that it is not a huge cause for concern as a psychological disorder.

Retrograde Amnesia

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The most interesting topic in past two weeks was amnesia. The most striking early symptom is memory loss, which is known as amnesia. Amnesia usually appears as minor forgetfulness in the beginning and then becomes a serious illness that a patient will eventually have problems with relative preservation of older memories, like familiar and well-known skills or objects or people. As this disorder develops further, cognitive impairment extends to the domains of recognition, agnosia, apraxia, anguage aphasia and those functions closely related to the frontal lobe of the brain like decision making and planning. There are two different amnesias; one is retrograde amnesia, in which we lose some memories from our past, and anterograd amnesia, in which we lose the capacity to from new memories from our experiences. Especially, I am interested in retrograde amnesia. We can often see some movies or dramas which are based on retrograde amnesia. A notable example is the movie, 50 first dates. In the movie, the Lucy got into a car accident and got damage on her brain, temporal lobes. So she suffers from retrograde amnesia. In the movie, Henry makes her fall in love him every day in the morning with a video tape. And Lucy realizes everyday what happened to her and the situations. The movie has a happy ending; they got married and got a baby. However, in the real world, I guess it is not easy to be happen. This story shows that how disturbing retrograde amnesia can be in life. This movie is a good example to explain what amnesia is (particularly retrograde amnesia is.) (the trailer of 50 First Dates)
Also, Finding Nemo is one good example of short term memory loss. (the trailer of finding Nemo)


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While learning about memory and amnesia in these past few chapters, I started to get interested in how amnesia, or memory loss, is used in popular movies. In the movie "50 first dates" there is a character named ten second Tom. Every ten seconds Tom forgets what he was currently doing and his mind resets. He was involved in a hunting accident where he lost part of his brain. It is likely the damage to his brain happened in the medial temporal lobe, which contains the hippocampus, or in the prefrontal cortex.
There have been a few scenarios in real life similar to ten second Tom. A notable case is one of a man named Clive Wearing. He was a music director who contracted a cold virus which led to Herpes simplex encephalitis which then attacked his brain. He developed anterograde amnesia as well as retrograde amnesia. As a result of anterograde amnesia, Clive Wearing repeatedly "wakes up" every day in thirty second intervals with no conscious knowledge of ever "waking up". Though he can not recall new things that have happened to him, he can retain his knowledge of music, which shows that the two types of memory are in completely separate parts of the brain. The case of Clive Wearing shows that the case of ten second Tom could actually happen. The first YouTube link at the bottom is the case of Clive Wearing, and the second link is a clip from the movie "50 first dates".
There is also another case similar to Clive Wearing's where a man named Henry Molaison had a bilateral lobectomy, the removal of both of his medial temporal lobes, and he suffered from amnesia similar to Clive Wearing's. Below is a picture of a normal brain compared to Henry Molaison's. As you can see there is white matter that is completely removed out of his brain, which is the reason for his amnesia.


These cases lead me to wonder if there will ever be a possible cure for these types of amnesia. I wonder if there are any tests that the person with the amnesia can do to help train his/her brain to store memory in other parts.

Assignment 3

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During the last few weeks, talking about learning, memory, language and thought has been deeply interesting to me. I was interested in the ideas of iconic memory, and echoic memory. Iconic memory is remembering things about the scenery and what you see, whereas echoic is remembering information about the things you hear. I really think it is interesting how it is not just one section of the brain devoted to all memories, but instead it is broken up. The auditory parts of your memories are called one thing and stored in a separate place that the visual parts of a memory. It makes me wonder how the brain knows to put the two together when we recall a memory. Now as I recall childhood memories, it is intriguing to think that all of my visuals of the memory are in a different part of my brain than the auditory information.
iconic memory.jpg

Long Term Memory

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When we discussed long-term memory in class, what stuck out for me was the concept that our "storage space" is essentially unlimited. Obviously there is some finite limit to the space (you can't store infinite data in a finite system) but for all practical purposes there is no limit. What's truly amazing to me is how our most powerful supercomputers still cannot come close to approaching the complexity of our brain. While we might be able to approximate the amount of storage our brains have, we can't even come close to being able to access that amount of data anywhere near as efficiently as our brain. This begs the obvious question: is it even possible to approach the amount of power and storage the brain has via mechanical/magnetic means? Will we eventually come up with some sort of "biological computer" using processes similar to the brains?

The main reason the concept of "unlimited memory" stuck out to me is because my grandfather was a shining example of this. He had the most extraordinary memory I've ever witnessed, remembering things from his childhood like they happened yesterday. Here's a video my aunt recorded about a year ago of my grandpa remembering the day one of my aunts was born, showing how amazing our memories can be:

Insight Learning Ben Bauch

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With most of the learning examples we have encountered in class, there has been a pretty standard model. The main idea is that one learns through performance and reward. This is of course a very loose generalization of how learning takes place, but it gets across the main idea. However, the learning methods that fall under this large umbrella go along most with physical learning. Meaning, actions are made and rewards/punishments are distributed. They are learning and teaching methods that can be modeled in a lab without much difficulty. Insight learning on the other hand, is extremely difficult to directly replicate in a lab. Insight learning is the aspect of learning that takes place inside your head, often times without any real physical action taking place outside of the body. The book describes it as the "ah ha" effect. Once faced with a problem or a prompt, your brain internally thinks of the possible solutions or directions an idea can head in, and it says "ah ha".
This idea makes me think of philosophers and artists. Though both of these models of thinkers learn through physical actions, like a potter continuously struggling to make perfect bottles on a wheel, much of their forward thinking and reason for their work is generated through insight learning. For a philosopher or a political activist to come up with progressive ideas to push the world forward, they must first be in the world and learn how people work, but then they can internally reason to produce ideas. This makes me think of Rev. Martin Luther King sitting in the Birmingham jail writing letters to the white clergymen of Birmingham and Alabama. He was sharing ideas based on events that he had witnessed, but the reason for them came from what he was thinking inside. He had no street experience for those days in jail, but he used his base knowledge to continue to learn and generate ideas through his own means. (letters from birmingham)

Amnesia & 50 First Dates

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After learning about memory and amnesia in psychology lectures and through reading, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss the misconceptions provided to the public through movies regarding amnesia. The movie I chose to take a deeper look at is the Columbia Pictures film, 50 First Dates. The film stars Drew Barrymore as Lucy Whitmore, and Adam Sandler as Henry Roth. Lucy (Barrymore) suffers from amnesia that she acquired after a devastating car accident. With her condition, everything new that has happened in her life since the car accident is erased from her mind every night as she sleeps. Lucy only remembers the years of her life up to the day of the accident. Henry (Sandler) falls in love with Lucy and wants to help her learn the truth about her life on a daily basis. He composes a short video for Lucy to watch every morning once she wakes up. Included in this video is information about her accident, and her new memory problem. Henry also includes information about Lucy's family, friends, and various major events that have happened in society since she was injured. Below is the 50 First Dates trailer which gives a better idea of the storyline.

Science writers have looked into the truth behind movies containing characters with amnesia. Baxendale wrote, "50 First Dates propagates a number of misconceptions which are common in the films which refer to amnesia. Whitmore's amnesia is the result of a head injury incurred in the car accident; other amnesic characters may lose their memory after being assaulted, or bumping their head in some other way." These are generally popular ways that characters with amnesia tend to have injured their brains in movies. Baxendale goes on to conclude that, "in reality, memory loss rarely occurs following a head injury; it is most often caused by stroke, brain infection or neurosurgery. The idea that new memories are wiped clean at night is also unrealistic, and unlike any documented amnesic syndrome."

In conclusion, many movies like 50 First Dates falsely portray amnesia. Film makers do this in order to make their films more interesting and more appealing to viewers. But, we need to remember that a majority of the information is indeed incorrect.

false memories

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In discussion this past week we discussed paul ingram, and how false memories affected him and how the legal system to which he was a part of in turn got him to confess to a crime he probably didn't commit. I have to ask myself though how is it that false memories can cause such a void in your memories that you begin to believe something that is completely untrue. In ingrams case he fell back to the idea that he taught his daughters not to lie and always tell the truth, and he was very religious which made him believe to look for the best in people. Ingrams daughters had a past of creating false stories and yet he led himself to believe that they were always truthful.

In the same sense though paul was a very religious individual and to think that he would do such disturbing crimes makes me wonder why he doubted himself so much especially when he was first accused. When it came to the written confession that he submitted i feel that he slowly began to lose faith in himself. I personally believe that had it not been for his strong religious faith and his belief that his daughters would never lie and not wanting to bring scrutiny to them paul eventually forced himself to believe that what seemed improbable wasn't. After learning more about the paul ingram situation that we discussed, i wonder how often the ideas and doings of false memories greatly effect the outcome of other cases in the legal system. In the case of paul ingram he apparently tried appealing his case once convicted but still ended up serving basically the whole sentence, even when evidence to support false memories became more understood.


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I was looking through the chapters to find a good topic to talk about. I stumbled upon a topic under the reading section of chapter 8. It talks about the effectiveness of speed-reading and comprehension. There are organizations out there that say that taking a speed-reading class will help with comprehension of the material. This is false. I agree when the textbook says that speed-reading classes are pointless. I have actually taken some classes and they did not help me at all. Like the textbook says, "Save you money!". I truly believe that the only way to be able to read efficiently is to read more often. Don't just read for school. Read during leisure times. My parents have always pushed me to read more often, whether it be the newspaper or just a good book, and I have. Doing so has helped my comprehension a lot better than the reading class has.

classical conditioning

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Classical conditioning as a whole, is an extremely important concept. Classical conditioning is a form of learning that involves a previously neutral stimulus that is paired with another stimulus that elicits an automatic response. So many different aspects lie within classical conditioning and it helped make sense of many different pieces of psychology.

You know something is important when it is very apparent in daily life. Things like advertising, phobias, disgust reactions, and even fetishes are all involved with classical conditioning. I find it very interesting how one topic can cover so many parts of every day life. It's also impressive how classical conditioning can happen everyday without the subject even noticing.

-Here is one example of some classical conditioning that you might not be aware of! In this advertisement the tequila company is trying to classically condition the viewers of the ad by making an association with the picture of the happy couple and the Jose Cuervo tequila.


-The unconditioned stimulus is the couple and the unconditioned response from viewers is feelings of happiness. When the unconditioned stimulus is paired with the conditioned stimulus (the tequila) the conditioned response to the tequila is happiness. Therefore, the advertisers of Jose Cuervo tequila are hoping that the next time you step into the liquor store and take a peak at their tequila you will have feelings of happiness that are enough to buy some tequila! Classical conditioning is every where!

Also, as I was researching more things that involve classical conditioning I came across this clip from the television program "The Big Bang Theory". It's a both interesting and hilarious example of classical conditioning.


False Memories

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How do you truly know if a memory is real? In the well-known movie TheMatrix.jpgThe Matrix, where machines have taken over the world and live off of human beings, they raise and harvest humans, while creating an artificial reality for the minds of all the people. In their simulated reality, people believe they are living their lives when they are really in a pod being fed through a tube. All of their life experiences and memories are real to them, yet they do not exist. Memories of life experiences help to form opinions and beliefs, and essentially, make us who we are. Of course, this movie hypothetically portrays an extreme situation of creating false memories, but it brings up a good point about the importance of memories.
In the Lilienfield text, it talks about implanting false memories by suggestion or the misinformation effect. Through studies, it was proven that we could cause people to create alter or create completely new memories. By using certain words that suggestible or inputting a false thing or idea among valid ideas, the false idea is less likely to cause a red flag. Typically, the memories that were created were plausible and not extreme, but there some exceptions to the level of plausibility of false memories (an example of an extreme false memory can be found here: The limits of creating false memories seem to be when the memory is reasonable and in the distant past where the memories have become fuzzy and difficult to recall exact details.
I have personally experienced memories that have never occurred. For the longest time, I believed that I witnessed a tornado. Whenever the subject of tornadoes came up in a discussion, I would bring up my false experience; even divulging in details of the weather or how I felt. In time, I realized that I never saw a tornado during my childhood. I realized this during a discussion during supper with my mother and siblings. My false memory was most likely created from watching movies and hearing horror stories about tornadoes. Additionally, as a child, I watched The Wizard of Oz numerously because it was one of my favorite movies. Suggestive or deceptive techniques can shape our memories. Our memories are very fallible because they are constructive inside of our brain. While we can remember details from years ago quite accurately, we should be cautious in trusting the validity of our memory because it is often inaccurate.

Assignment 3

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Over the past two weeks, the topic that interests me the most is false memories. I find it crazy how easily our brains can deceive us. Many of us are overconfident in our recollection of events than we should be. Although our brains do a good job of helping us remember things, it sometimes fails to make accurate events. False memories are events that never actually occurred, but one thinks that they really did occur. An example would be the whole Bugs Bunny at Disney World ad. Some people were given a false ad that showed Bugs Bunny at Disney World with a slogan at the bottom, and were then asked if they met Bugs Bunny. Many claimed that they did meet him and that they even gave him a hug. But this would never happen because Bugs Bunny would never be at Disney World since he is a Warner Brothers character.
I also think that implanting false memories is an insane concept. If someone were to just randomly tell me of this concept, I wouldn't not believe him/her. But after reading about the Paul Ingram case, I completely believe it, and am a little bit shocked by it. Suggestive memory techniques are a very strong way of encouraging people to recall memories, and that was what was used in the Paul Ingram case. The fact that people actually believed him to be guilty was crazy. There were no physical evidence -- no medical reports of an abortion, no bones buried, etc. The stories didn't match up -- Paul's stories did not match up to his daughter's stories. The stories were inconsistent -- Paul's daughter's stories kept on changing constantly. Paul even admitted to a story that the officials knew didn't occur.
I think that these concepts are important because for severe cases, like the Paul Ingram case, many innocent people could be dealing with consequences for events that never even happened. Obviously there are the minor cases, such as the Bugs Bunny one, that are not a big deal whatsoever. But it's still interesting to learn about how our brains are capable of doing things like this.
Here is a video kind of explaining what false memories are and how to implant false memories:
Questions: I think that this topic is very interesting and that there is much to learn about it, but one question that I have that relates to the Paul Ingram case is what happened to him and his daughter?

Blame it on your Ancestors

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Biological Influences on Learning: Preparedness and Phobias


Chapter 6, Learning, focuses on how an organism is raised has a huge impact on their reaction to stimuli.

While classical and operant conditioning are the two major ideas to learning, there are many other sub-components related to learning as well. Pavlov's dogs and Skinner's reinforcement are not all encompassing. Preparedness is an additional factor when discussing learning. It has been found that many people are afraid of things they have never come into contact with or have had limited experiences with. Phobias do not typically involve your normal household appliances but rather elements such as heights, open water, and creepy crawlers.

I am terrified of snakes, just thinking about them makes my skin crawl. This could be attributed to the fact that many generations ago snakes posed a huge threat to the population(such as harm and injury to people and livestock), and therefore, we have been conditioned to avoid snakes at all costs. Another reason for this fear could be described by analyzing what I observed as a child. My dad is a big guy. He isn't afraid of anything and has always been the 'big, strong protector' in my family. But my dad turns into a jumpy little girl when he sees snakes. Through my observation of his reaction to the slimy, slithering snakes in our backyard I have most likely acquired this fear.

There is a very good article found online ( which very accurately summarizes many of the main points outlined in the psychology textbook. This site highlights ideas like phobias and classical conditioning as well as genetics and desensitization using some very interesting examples.

The sauce béarnaise syndrome

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One of the interesting ways that biology has an influence on our learning is through the concept of conditioned taste aversion. What this refers to is how classical conditioning can cause us to develop avoidance reactions to the taste of certain foods. The classic example is when the psychologist Martin Seligman went out to dinner, ordered a filet mignon steak with sauce béarnaise, and later became violently ill. After this single instance of throwing up due to the sauce béarnaise, Seligman was never able to taste it again without feeling like vomiting.
This concept is fascinating in regards to classical conditioning because it contradicts some of its core findings in the Pavlov's dog experiment. Pavlov had to consistently pair the unconditioned stimulus with the conditioned stimulus multiple times in order to generate the conditioned response, while with conditioned taste aversion it usually only takes one instance to generate the conditioned response. Another interesting difference is that conditioned taste aversion usually doesn't demonstrate much evidence of stimulus generalization. That is, if one type of salad makes you sick, say caesar salad, it is more likely than not that you will enjoy all others types of salads except for the caesar. These differences are important in a way because we don't want to eat the same type of food that makes us sick multiple times in order to learn that we don't want to eat it. There is also a delay between the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus that teaches us to avoid dangerous foods that we might have eaten earlier.
I have personally experience conditioned taste aversion in the form of cooked carrots. I remember being around the age of 6 or 7, eating cooked carrots, and then feeling awful afterward. I had also somehow convinced myself that I was allergic to them. For the longest time, I would never go near cooked carrots, but I had no problem with raw carrots. To this day, I'm still not a big fan of cooked carrots but I'm started to overcome my conditioned response.
I wonder if conditioned taste aversion could be used in the opposite direction in order to help young kids develop a likeness for "yucky" foods. Maybe associating one of the child's favorite foods with one of their least favorite foods might condition them to elicit a positive response to that food. Here is a link to an article that basically talks about how children who receive certain foods before their chemotherapy treatment, and then feel nauseous afterward, are more likely to not want that food again which helps explain appetite loss in cancer patients.

Hollywood 'Forgets' Truth About Amnesia

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Hollywood moviemakers have exaggerated the effects of amnesia for decades, creating numerous myths and misconceptions about such mental states. Several movie plots are based primarily on retrograde amnesia, where subjects lose the ability to remember events and people from their past. For example, following a car accident a newlywed bride lost touch with her personal identity in the movie Garden of Lies. In Santa Who? Santa Claus forgot who he was along with his former memories after suffering a serious fall from his sleigh. The Bourne series revolves around the character Jason Bourne who loses a lifetime of memories and assumes a new identity as a government assassin. Almost all Hollywood amnesia plots are centered on loss of previous memories, and characters often find themselves questioning their identity and whereabouts. These scripts are distorted from reality however, as head injuries and strokes more commonly affect subjects' present health. Instead of losing the ability to remember events, people lose the ability to form new memories, known to psychologists as anterograde amnesia. The film Momento is one of the few thrillers that presented these conditions correctly, telling a story of a man who lived with the effects of anterograde amnesia following brain damage.

Other popular flicks have shown characters waking from lengthy comas with a complete loss for past recollections, but continue to function normally from that point forward. In reality, damage affects cognitive processes, and learning or perception is altered. Another misconception is that after experiencing brain damage from one head injury, a second injury will set all disturbances straight. In the film Overboard, Goldie Hawn suffers amnesia after falling from a yacht, but regains full function after experiencing a second wound. All in all, Hollywood continuously misrepresents amnesia for entertainment purposes, and viewers simply need to 'remember' that the validity of such conditions is twisted for media purposes.

Santa Who? example

Observational Learning FTW (For The Win)

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Observational learning is a model of learning in psychology. It is based on the principle of modifying or adopting new behavior after observing an individual performing it. This method of learning is used by everyone, everyday.

It is often seen in children who look up to the actions of their parents. But just because actions are observed, does not necessarily mean that the observer will begin this new behavior. For example, if a parent wanted to encourage the consumption of vegetables, they could eat a plate of vegetables like it was the best meal they have ever had, in order for their children to observe this and possibly start thinking that it might be true. If a child is convinced, they just might start repeating this new behavior of eating vegetables.

Observational learning isn't a very hard concept to understand. Personally, I find myself using observational learning to avoid repeating mistakes that I see occuring in others.

For example, for the fitness test during my senior year of highschool, when it came to pull-ups, I observed other classmates as they made their attempts before me. Different people used different techniques in holding the bar, mostly using the underhand hold, but there were a few that held the bar with the overhand technique. Through observing how well people did when they used the overhand or underhand technique, I found that the underhand technique would be the best option for me. When I tried the overhand technique [after my pull-up test], it was proven that observing my classmates before my turn, benefited me in the end.

Short fun video on someone learning through observation,

Anterograde Amneisa: 50 First Dates

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In the movie 50 First Dates starring Drew Barrymore as Lucy, and Adam Sandler as Henry, you learn that Lucy got into a car crash which damaged her temporal lobes. Since that accident she hasn't been able to form any new memories, meaning she suffers from anterograde amnesia. Anterograde amnesia is the inability to form new memories, while retrograde amnesia is to when we lose memories of our past, anterograde being the most common. When Henry first meets Lucy in the cafe he introduces himself to her and they make a date to meet up the next day. However, when he goes to meet up with Lucy the next day, she freaks out thinking he's a stalker which utterly confuses Henry. He is later explained that she has lost her capacity to formulate new memories, and her slate is "wiped clean" the next morning, and she starts her day everyday from the day of the accident which was her father's birthday. Everyday her brother and father have a birthday celebration for her, give her the newspaper from a year ago when the accident took place, and basically try to comfort her and shield her from the painful truth by living a day in repeat. Later on in the movie, they finally try to tell her the truth each day instead of her shielding her from it by showing her a tape of her life since the accident. She goes through an emotional breakdown each day, however she calms herself down and each day she starts writing a journal, and making videos of her life to help her remember important memories with her and Henry. In the movie we meet a guy named "ten second Tom", who can only remember things for 10 seconds before he forgets everything, so he reintroduces himself over and over again (look at video posted below). That reminds me of Clive Wearing (video posted below), who can only retain his memory for maximum of 30 seconds. He like Lucy, also writes down journal entries, each day saying it's his first day truly alive even though his last 100 entries say the same thing. When his wife tries to tell him the truth he reacts in anger, just like Lucy reacts with emotional breakdowns. In the cases of Lucy, Tom, Clive Wearing, and H.M (learned about him in the book), they all have anterograde amnesia, and damage to the hippocampus which impairs explicit memory, and leaves the implicit memory intact. Clive can play the piano perfectly well, even though he doesn't remember the point and time he learned it, it's all in his subconscious and he can do it without knowing he's doing it. All these cases are tragic, but in the movie Lucy and Henry manage to turn something devastating into a miracle by dealing with her situation. Henry makes her fall in love her each day, and she says multiple times "I wish I had met you before my accident" that way she would've remembered him. They end up getting married, having a kid, and traveling the world in a ship. This is great movie, it explains short term memory loss very well and the tragedies of it, and is entertaining as well!

"ten second Tom" video :
Clive Wearing "man with a 30 second memory" video:

Assignment 3

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One thing from the text and lecture in the past two weeks that I found extremely interesting is the idea of split-brain patients and their similarities and differences to people whose corpus callosums are still intact.

The idea is that split-brain surgery does not affect the intelligence of individuals, but does affect their conscious memory and communication skills. However, it seems that unconscious memory is left intact. This is likely due to the fact that both areas of speech and language comprehension (Broca's area and Wernike's area) are located on the left hemisphere of the brain, and if the two hemispheres are split, the right hemisphere has no way to communicate out loud. This finding is important in psychological research because it highlights a difference between unconscious thought and conscious thought, and brings up the idea that perhaps conscious thought is actually a result of our unconscious actions, not the other way around.

I was doing a little more research on this subject on my own the other day and found myself on YouTube, watching a few videos. This video in particular caught my attention, because it brings up some very interesting points and questions:

During lecture, we talked about how split-brain surgery affects an individual's conscious and unconscious thought, and how both hemispheres of the brain are separate because they have no way of communicating with each other. However, we never touched on any aspects of the hemispheres other than language, for example, personality or personal beliefs. How vast is the realm of the unconscious? How many things, in terms of personal beliefs, attitudes, and personalities, does the unconscious control? Are these things affected by splitting the two hemispheres of the brain? With these questions being pondered, one thing I am left wondering is if, once the two hemispheres of the brain are split, they are completely separate from each other, is it possible for multiple-personality disorder to result from split-brain surgery?

False Memories

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One topic that I found fascinating from the past few weeks was that of creating false memories. The idea that our brains can so easily fool us is both interesting, but at the same time frightening as well. Creating false memories can come from a variety of different means. There are flashbulb memories where a particularly emotional memory can be recalled with a lot of detail and vividness. Many people have flashbulb memories from events like the attack on the Twin Towers or the example in the book included recollections from the Challenger explosion. In either of these instances the later recollection of the event includes much more detail and often times are much more distorted.

There is also the phenomena of implanting false memories, which is when suggestive memory techniques are used to encourage people to recall memories that didn't necessarily occur. The fact that our minds are so open to suggestions is incredibly dangerous, because it allows our memories to become compromised. In settings like the courtroom this can be especially destructive when people make false testimonies against others because the idea was planted into their mind by another person.

One of the most famous false memory studies was done by Elizabeth Loftus, who demonstrated that it is possible to implant elaborate false memories into the minds of others through suggestive memory techniques. In her well known "lost in the mall study" she found that it was possible to convince people that they had been temporarily lost in the mall at some time in their childhood. She asked relatives to provide information supporting this occurrence, and even though no such thing had ever happened to her test subjects she found that they reported experiencing such an event. Not only did they remember the event, but they also went into great detail about what happened.

An example of one her test subjects is shown in this YouTube clip The man in this clip not only recalls the event of being lost in the mall, he also provides extensive detail about it. He is able to describe the man that found him as well as what his mother said to him, even though none of it actually happened. At the end of the clip Loftus refers to memory as being "malleable", which it most definitely is. The fact that our minds can be shaped to believe what others want us to remember can be a disturbing idea, which is why it's important to be cautious with our memories, and not become victims of our own recollections.

Remember that one time you ate calamari, were violently sick at night, and never could eat calamari again after that? Many people have had a similar experience to this just with different food. This concept is called conditioned taste aversion and was developed by psychologist Martin Seligman. Conditioned taste aversion is a type of classical conditioning that leads to an avoidance of a taste of a food. This is different from regular classical conditioning because conditioned taste aversion only requires the pairing of the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus to happen once and then the conditioned response occurs.
This finding is very important with ranchers protecting their livestock from predators like coyotes or wolves. The article attached at the bottom of this post contains the scientific information as to why conditioned taste aversion is a useful, but controversial, way of getting predators to stay away from livestock. This example has the same effect on animals that it does on humans. Ranchers poison the dead livestock carcass so that when the predator tries to eat it, it becomes sick. This will hopefully make the animal stay away from the rancher's livestock.
Conditioned taste aversion is very relevant to my life because my stomach does not handle very many foods. For example, I cannot eat any seafood or green jell-o because I have had terrible experiences with them after. I only needed to eat those once and get sick, so that I am now conditioned to not eat any of those foods. Conditioned taste aversion makes me wonder if there is any way to un-condition one's self? Hopefully there is some way to allow people to enjoy certain foods again, even after they have had a bad experience.

False Memories

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Over the past two weeks of class I have found our studies of memory the most interesting. Particularly, of false memories as we discussed during our discussion sections. The story of Paul Ingram shocked me. This is a great example of false memories, even though all of the evidence (excluding the words of his non-trustworthy daughters, or "victims") showed that he never sexually violated his daughters, he believed his daughters and the cops who interrogated him, who happened to be his friends. He confessed, convinced that he, a preacher, had done this horrific crime. I found this story very disturbing, and was surprised that his confession wasn't reviewed further in court.
We also learned about the more average occurrences of false memories. A common example we were told during our discussion section was of people interviewed after a trip to Disneyland. They were asked about what characters they saw, such as Goofy, Mickey Mouse, and Bugs Bunny. Although Bugs Bunny is not a Disney character and therefore would never be at Disneyland, very many of the people asked said that they saw him and that he was friendly, or even was eating a carrot. This is a great example of every day false memories. Later in the same class we listened to our section leader, Dustin, say a list of words, all of which would be associated with another word which was not said. He then had us recall and write down the list of words. For example, a large percentage of our class had written down the word chair when it was not said, but the words sit and table were.

Skin color is not the only difference between people.

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During the Memory Lecture, I found the Linguistic Relativity (a.k.a "The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis") very interesting. According to this hypothesis, the language that a person speaks determines how he or she perceive, think, and remember. With this "definition," the idea that people who speak different languages views the world differently arises. I believe this theory is important because I believe it shaped what we know about language and perspectives now.

In the English language, colors come in a variety of names. Each color has a unique name. The Vietnamese language only has a handful of color names. For the colors blue and green, each has a distinctive name. In Vietnamese, these two colors are expressed by either, "mau xanh duong," which is blue, or "mau xanh la cay," which is green. "Mau xanh duong," mean the color like the ocean. "Mau xanh la cay," means the color like a leaf. For me, when I see the color blue, I immediately think of the ocean because of the vietnamese term. I don't think about sky blue or mist or aqua or etc. When I see green, I see a leaf in my head.

Although there are studies that show evidences against this hypothesis, I still believe that this hypothesis is the basic knowledge of testing language. Language is an interesting and very deep idea that may take years and years of studying to discover just a hint of what it truly is. If language shapes some aspects of perception, memory, and thought, what shapes the other aspects?

I feel like sometimes our own thought shapes the language we use. For example, if I am uber angry, my language becomes very aggressive and I start to use profanities. If I am happy, my language becomes gentle. Although my example is only anecdotal, this is my perception of language.

Below is an example of what I believe linguistic relativity is:
Benjamin Whorf: Semiotic mediation & the meaning of "empty" (Lucy 1992)

Skin color is not the only difference between people.

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During the Memory Lecture, I found the Linguistic Relativity (a.k.a "The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis") very interesting. According to this hypothesis, the language that a person speaks determines how he or she perceive, think, and remember. With this "definition," the idea that people who speak different languages views the world differently arises. I believe this theory is important because I believe it shaped what we know about language and perspectives now.

In the English language, colors come in a variety of names. Each color has a unique name. The Vietnamese language only has a handful of color names. For the colors blue and green, each has a distinctive name. In Vietnamese, these two colors are expressed by either, "mau xanh duong," which is blue, or "mau xanh la cay," which is green. "Mau xanh duong," mean the color like the ocean. "Mau xanh la cay," means the color like a leaf. For me, when I see the color blue, I immediately think of the ocean because of the vietnamese term. I don't think about sky blue or mist or aqua or etc. When I see green, I see a leaf in my head.

Although there are studies that show evidences against this hypothesis, I still believe that this hypothesis is the basic knowledge of testing language. Language is an interesting and very deep idea that may take years and years of studying to discover just a hint of what it truly is. If language shapes some aspects of perception, memory, and thought, what shapes the other aspects?

Below is an example of what I believe linguistic relativity is:
Benjamin Whorf: Semiotic mediation & the meaning of "empty" (Lucy 1992)

50 First Dates

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The movie "50 First Dates" is a great example of many of the things that I learned in chapter 7 on memory. In the movie, due to a car accident Lucy now has short term memory loss. Her only memory is from everything that happened before the day of the accident. Lucy suffers from anterograde amnesia because she can only attain her memory for 1 whole day before she loses it and wake up to relive the whole day again. However, in the movie Lucy did show signs of implicit memory when she was painting pictures of Henry and singing the song from the Beach Boys:
This movie does a great job at showing the emotional effect of what we can expect to see from patients when they finally realize they have amnesia. After Lucy saw the pictures of the accident scene, she broke down in tears. We can relate Lucy's emotional break down back to one of the videos that we saw during lecture about a man getting angry because he said didn't remember doing any of the things that his wife said he had done. This movie also shows a possible solution to help people with amnesia because similar to a journal where the patient write down all the things they want to remember, someone else record a video of the patient's life and show it to them every morning. I say that this is a possible solution because patients can deny what they wrote in their journal or even rip out the page of it but they cannot deny seeing a video of what they have done.

Memory Loss

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This week I was watching Private Practice. For those of you who do not know the show, it's doctor show. Many times, the patients on this show suffer from not only serious medical conditions, but also psychological disorders. This week the episode fit perfectly with what we have been learning about in class, memory. I would have posted a clip but I could not find one besides one of the whole episode.

The main case on this episode involves a woman who is pregnant and her husband. This seems pretty standard until you find out that the woman does not know she is pregnant. She cannot remember in. Several years ago the couple was in a car accident in which wife lost the ability to make new memories. So the entire episode she is constantly shocked to find out that she is pregnant and has a baby. One of the saddest moments was when she was holding her newborn right after birth and she looks at her husband and asks whose child it is that she is holding.

This reminded me of the case of Clive Wearing that we learned about in class. He suffers from what I would presume to be the same condition. He also could not form new memories. All both of these people can remember is what happened before they lost this ability. What an awful condition to suffer from.

Extraordinary Claim Vertical Jump Assignment #3

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The claim I evaluated from the media is the claim from Higher-Faster-Sports which states that it is possible to quickly and effectively increase your vertical jump. ( Higher Faster Sports Link) Right off the bat, the website is headlined by an extraordinary claim. The first quoted text states, "I improved my vertical leap from 23 to 42 inches." Because the average vertical leap is 16-20 inches for men ( Top End Sports Vertical Leap Data), the claim made by the website seems extraordinary because it doubles the average vertical leap of a human male. At the same time, the quote also shows a lack of replicability. Although this patient increased his vertical by 19 inches, the method has not been proven to consistently work for all types of people. Hence, the method has not been repeated enough to be proven as reliable. Furthermore, this example violates the principle of correlation versus causation. We do not know if the training which he did was the sole cause of his increased vertical leap. A diet he may have been a part of could have been critical towards his overall fitness and could have helped him jump higher. Consequently, the diet could have been more influential towards his increased vertical. Other factors such as athletic apparel may have contributed to his vertical. A basketball shoe called the Concept 1 claims to help athletes increase their vertical without any other factors. ( Concept 1 Shoe Website) This shoe may have been used to help increase vertical instead of training method.
Concept 1's.jpg
Personally, I believe that these extraordinary increases in vertical can be attributed to a variety of factors. One of the main factors could be the placebo effect, the possibility that people who receive the training believe that their vertical will improve. This is a clear-cut example of the thinking principle of ruling out rival hypothesis. The hypothesis that a placebo effect may have occurred was not taken into account. Outside factors such as diet and types of clothing can change the vertical leap of a person. A combination of all these factors are a more probable reason for why somebody could improve their vertical leap by 19 inches. It is extremely unlikely for one program to increase their vertical leap to that extent without any other outside influences. In conclusion, the increase of vertical leap should not be solely be attributed to the training provided without thoroughly examining other environmental factors which could have skewed the data.

MLA Works Cited Page

"APL Basketball | Load 'N Launch Technology | Jump Higher with Athletic Propulsion Labs Shoes." APL Basketball | Athletic Propulsion Labs Shoes, Apparel & Equipment. Web. 21 Oct. 2011. .

"Vertical Jump." Jump Higher, Run Faster, and Perform Better - Enhance Athletic Ability. Web. 21 Oct. 2011. .

"Vertical Jump Test Scores." Rob's Home of Sports, Fitness, Nutrition and Science. Web. 21 Oct. 2011. .


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What causes a person to sleepwalk? Who is most likely to sleepwalk? What do people do when they sleepwalk? All of these questions refer to how people walk or do certain activities while they are completely asleep. For some individuals, sleepwalking can be a very scary or serious situation, while others will have a harmless or amusing experience while sleepwalking. There are many different causes as to why people sleepwalk such as stress, sleep deprivation, chaotic sleep schedules, alcohol intoxication, drugs or many different types of medical conditions such as arrhythmia, fever, asthma, seizures, sleep apnea or psychiatric disorders. Fifteen to thirty percent of children sleepwalk and four to five percent of adults sleepwalk occasionally. When someone is in a state of sleepwalking, they may experience anything from very little activity to driving cars, turn on computers, have sexual intercourse or in the very extreme cases, commit murder. Sleepwalking occurs in the lighter stages of sleep, before the deep REM sleep in stages 3 and 4. This concept is important because it demonstrates how us as individuals can experience something so out of the ordinary and not remember a thing about it the next morning. We are unaware of what our bodies are doing especially when we are unconscious or sleeping in the middle of the night.
I have actually experienced an episode of sleepwalking about two years ago. At the time, I was working at Dairy Queen about three to four nights a week during the school year. It was the beginning of my junior year of high school and I was beyond stressed out over school, work, homework, tests and starting to look into where I wanted to go to college. I had no free time whatsoever. One night I woke up around three in the morning, got out of bed, walked over to my dresser and started to make a blizzard as if I was at work. It seemed very realistic that I was at work, but seemed odd that I couldn't find any of the supplies to make ice cream. When I woke up I remember briefly sleepwalking and remembering how I thought I was at work, but actually was at my dresser trying to find the ice cream pump. In addition to humans sleepwalking, animals and pets have been known to sleepwalk and unconsciously move while remaining asleep.

Dog Sleepwalking:
Sleepwalker: Coca-Cola Commercial

Memory Illusion

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In our last discussion section we took a sort of memory quiz, in which we were giving a list of words and told to recall them. What I found out at the end was that specific words on my list that I had remembered hearing were not in fact on the list given. This astounded me because I could have sworn that I had heard them. This phenomena is called memory illusion.
A memory illusion is a false memory but one that is subjectively compelling. In this case we were given words that were related to one another like sit, stool, table, etc. Therefore when attempting to recall this list I inserted the word chair because it is related to the others, this is subjectivity. This simplification to make the recollection of words easier is called representative heuristic.
Although in this case the consequences of my inserting a false memory into these lists was minor, it makes me wonder. Have I done this before with worth consequence? If I did not even notice myself doing this how can I possibly prevent it in the future?

If you have not seen this before, I think you should try it, it may surprise you!
Below is a list of words from the example given in the book, read each column of words left to right and only take about a second per word. Do not write any down yet. Once you have finished reading the words look away from the screen and attempt to remember as many as you can. Afterwards compare and see how you did....did you put in anything extra?

Bed Cot Sheets
Pillow Dream Rest
Tired Snore Yawn
Darkness Blanket Couch

Retrograde Amnesia

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Throughout chapter seven I learned that there are two different kinds of amnesia. Retrograde amnesia is where we lose memories of past and anterograde amnesia is where we lose the capacity to form new memories. Anterograde amnesia is what really intrigued me out of the two. Most people think that if you have amnesia either kind you lose all memories of previous life, or even who you are. THIS IS NOT TRUE. It is a misconception that the general public holds. The general public holds many misconceptions about amnesia. They also believe that memory recovery from amnesia is abrupt. In fact memory recovery from amnesia tends to occur gradually, if at all. Most people in our world today suffer from retrograde amnesia. It is far more common and a troublesome problem.
youtube video
After watching the video you can clearly tell that when you suffer with retrograde amnesia you live everyday for it self. My great grandpa suffered from retrograde amnesia where everyday was brand new. After my great grandma pasted away my great grandpa could never remember where she was each morning. Everyday he would have to be reminded that she had pasted away and gone to heaven. Could you imagine living with this disease? The hippocampus with in the brain is largely related to retrograde amnesia. The more I think about retrograde amnesia the more I wonder. After doing damage to your brain how fast does amnesia set in? Does it literally occur within minutes, does it take months, or even as long as years?hippocampus.jpg

Assignment 3 Amnesia

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One of the most interesting topics I learned in chapter 7 was about amnesia. There are two types of amnesia, retrograde amnesia and anterograde amnesia. I am particularly interested in retrograde amnesia. Retrograde amnesia is when a person loses all their memories from the past. Some common misconceptions about amnesia are that many people lose all their memories of their previous life, even who they are. Another misconception is that memory recover can be sudden and abrupt. Truthfully, in real life, any memory recovery usually tends to be gradual, if there is any memory recovery at all. Another myth is that most people suffer from retrograde amnesia while really anterograde amnesia is a much more common and distressing problem. I think it is important for people to know the difference between the two amnesias and to not buy into Hollywood misconceptions.
I worked in a group home last summer in a dementia and Alzheimer's unit. On a daily basis I experienced people who had no short-term memory but could tell incredible stories of living through the Great Depression or fighting in World War II for example. After reading about amnesia and dementia and Alzheimer's I wonder how related these events are. Does one always have to suffer an accident to have amnesia? Could there possibly be a common link between them that could potentially be used to finding a cure? This article explains many cases of people with amnesia. Some like, Henry Molaison brain became damaged from seizure surgeries and Emily's brain on the other hand was perfectly normal and healthy yet she couldn't remember her own children. Amnesia is particularly frustrating topic because it can have such devastating effects. I hope scientists and researchers are coming closer to finding ways to help people recover their memories or find a cure.

CBS News Article

Short-Term Memory

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What i found interesting in these past couple weeks was the concept of short-term memory. Short-term memory woks actively with the information handed to it, transforming it into more meaningful material before passing some of it on to the long-term memory (Psychology from inquiry to understanding pg 245). Short-term memory is where we work to hold onto information we are currently getting. The information is either processed into long-term memory for storage or just scrapped away, meaning we might forget it after a little bit. One way to test our short term memory was when in class we were given an amount of words to try and remember to write most of them down. For me i tended to write down the last three words our professor would say because they were fresh in our mind, and i would often forget most of the others. This leads to the duration of short-term memory consisting of 10-15 seconds to process information, which explains why i only got the last three words written down right away.
Fortunately for us there are some ways that can help our short-term memory. First; chunking, which is organizing material into meaningful groupings. For example; when you are looking at a list of words and some end in s and some end in y you can chunk those words together to try to remember them faster.
Another way of helping our short-term memory is rehearsal, which is repeating the information mentally, or even out loud. We keep information alive in our short-term memory by repeating information, for example; when I want to remember a phone number someone has given me and I don't have a pen or a pencil, I keep repeating it until I can get my phone out and enter it in.
Short-term memory to me is very important to our memory system and i would love to learn more about it how our short-term memory positively and negatively affects us and why do we have to have it in our memory system. Without our short-term memory barely, if any, information would be processed and stabilized into our long-term memory.
Here is a link to a quick video on how Short-term memory can effect peoples lives.


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Amnesia refers to the loss of memories, such as fact,information and experiences. A typical myth is having no sense of who you are and is also a common plot device in movies and television, and in real-life like we have learned in our book, amnesia generally doesn't cause a loss self-identity. I have also learned that amnesia can be caused by damage to areas of the brain that are vital for memory processing and can be permanent. To this day amnesia has no specific treatment, but there are techniques for enhancing memory and psychological support can help people with amnesia and their families cope.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been reading a book called The Housekeeper and The Professor which is based on how a person can be able to develop a relationship with other people when suffering from amnesia. To cope with his memory loss after his car accident he uses sticky notes and math to help him get through everyday.
Amnesia has also been featured often in Hollywood films for almost a century. By 1926, at least 10 silent films which used amnesia as a plot device had been made.
One popular film is 50 First Dates. It is a romantic comedy about a man who falls in love with a girl who is suffering from amnesia. When he goes to meet her the next day, she doesn't know who he is. Someone informs him that after a terrible car accident, she has lost her short-term memory, therefore every morning is a clean slate.
Another movie we can look at is Memento. This is about a man with anterograde amnesia, which impairs his ability to store new explicit memories. When trying to figure out who murdered his wife, he uses pictures/tattoos and notes to help him remember things trough the investigation.
Through the course readings, books, and Hollywood films we can gain a better understanding of amnesia, but we need to be careful when we come along the amnesia myths. Just because they talk about amnesia in a Hollywood film, doesn't mean that everything about their condition is accurate. There are different types of amnesia, but all are very sad and I am very thankful for my ability to remember my past experiences and new memories.

"50 First Dates"

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The movie, "50 First Dates", is a great example of how the lack of explicit and memory can change a person's life. In the movie, Lucy was in an accident that made her lose her short term memory; she was not able to remember anything that happened the day before. She wakes up every day forgetting everything new that happened to her the day before. She would go one these dates with Henry every day, but have to reintroduce herself everyday because she can never remember him from the day before. This movie is very similar to the Clive Wearing case. Lucy has to get reintroduced to Henry every morning. This lack of being able to retain any new information is an example of anterograde amnesia.
Even though he does remember bits and pieces of her past, like her dad and where she is, she lacks the ability to gain memory that needs conscious awareness, explicit memory. Without her explicit memory, she lacks that ability to remember what she encounters consciously in her day to day activities. She is able to remember certain parts of her past by continual reinforcement of them, like seeing the waitress at the restaurant everyday and knowing where she wakes up at the same place every morning. This shows that she has implicit memory and that something's are still familiar to her that she doesn't need conscious awareness of. Things that are new to her don't get stored and processed as easily. She needs to have repeated exposure to a situation to have to make sense to her, which is what Henry tries to do during the movie so she can eventually remember him. With how similar Lucy's amnesia is very similar to Clive Wearing's amnesia; a possible hypothesis could be that during the crash Lucy was in, she suffered severe damage to her hippocampus because of her inability to retain explicit memory.

Sources: I used my book to get information on Clive Wearing and for some of the terms. I also used these links for "50 First Dates" information.

50 First Dates

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After recently watching the movie "50 First Dates" I realized that it had quite a bit to do with chapter 7 on memory. In the movie Drew Barrymore plays a character named Lucy, who has short therm memory loss. After reading the chapter I realized that the specific type of short term memory loss she is suffering from is antiretrograde amnesia. With this type of amnesia a person is unable to encode new memories from experiences. Lucy wakes up thinking that everyday is the same day, she reads the same paper and goes through the same activities every single day. Lucy was in a bad car accident that damaged part of her brain causing her to lose her short term memory of new occurances. She also shows little to no meta-memory, which is knowing about our own memory abilities and limitations. She has no idea that she was in a car accident or suffers from antiretrograde amnesia, and no one will tell her because this is traumatizing information, and she would forget the next day. In the movie she falls for Henry (Adam Sandler) every day, and they go on a date every day, and the next day she does not remember ever meeting him. The encoding feature of her brain is not functioning, and she is no longer able to store information. Lucy is living life at a standstill, and Henry is falling in love with a woman who doesnt remember who he is.

Above is the URL for the trailer for this movie


Dog Training

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Last year we taught my English Springer-Spaniel how to shake. To do this, my sister and I followed the A-B-C model of operant conditioning. First we declared our discriminative stimulus to be the word "shake." In the beginning we would say "shake" then grab Dottie's paw, then we would positively reinforce this by petting her and being excited. Soon when we said "shake" Dottie would hit your hand with her paw, almost like a high five. Like before we would reward her with treats. After about two weeks of practicing Dottie would hold her paw in your hand and allow you to shake it whenever she heard "shake." We would continue to reinforce this behavior with treats, but since it was the desired behavior we now needed to put her on a different reinforcement schedule. By not rewarding Dottie with treats every time she shook our hands we were ensuring that she would learn this behavior and keep the desired response for a longer period of time. This partial reinforcement schedule was very effective in ensuring that Dottie did not lose interest in performing this trick.

You can see an example of how to teach your dog obedience from the video embedded in this blog. This video gives a good view at how my sister and I trained our dog through operant conditioning. It gives you good examples of how rewards lead to your ending goal.

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!

Assignment 2

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The specific section of the video I watched included Marcus asking the question: When do we become aware of self? Along with this, he asks a plethora of questions, such as how do we feel the sun on our skin, how do we become aware of specific colors or are able to zero out specific dialogue or text. When exactly do we become aware that we are "aware"? One great way to help work on this question is with an experiment known as the "Mirror self-recognition test". In this test, A 16 month old baby is placed in front of the mirror and is allowed time to recognize itself. After this is done, A parent is required to place a noticeable sticker on the babies cheek-while in the process of wiping the babies nose- without him/her noticing. The baby is then put back in front of the mirror to examine him/herself again, and if the baby does not make an action towards the face to remove the spot, the baby is said to not be aware of itself. The experiment is done again, just this time with a 22 month old baby. She however, notices the sticker, and moves towards removing it from her face. Multiple more tests and ages are done, and it comes to conclusion that we become aware of ourselves from the ages of 18-24 months. After these experiments were done, Marcus goes on and asks the same question about awareness, just with animals instead of humans.

Because of our heightened self-awareness, we have the ability to mentally time travel; that is remember specific events from the past, be aware of the present, and even predict events in the future. It is a strange concept, but I find it fascinating. I think this idea has a strong tie into the bigger question asked here, such that the reason we can't remember things from our toddler ages is because we were not aware of ourselves then. This is why marcus' son who is 13 can't remember visiting the grand canyon when he was a baby, because he wasn't aware of himself and his surroundings yet. Not a concrete idea, but I feel like it makes sense, and it is the biggest idea i got from watching this segment of the video.

Assignment 3: Twin Talk

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Assignment 3: Twin Talk
My best friend and current roommate is a twin, so anything about twins has always intrigued me. When I read the section on twins who share a language that they can only understand I was really interested and wanted to look a bit further into the phenomenon of cryptophasia.

Terms such as idioglossia, autonomous language or cryptophasia describe the experience of twin language, a captivating concept that has intrigued researchers and parents alike. Although this phenomenon is quite fascinating, it is actually very rare for twins to develop their own entire language. It is usually attributable to young twins mimicking each other's trials at language, often incorrectly (Twin Talk 1).

About forty percent of twins, normally monozygotic or identical twins, will develop some form of autonomous language, using nicknames, gestures, abbreviations or terminology that they only use with each other. While parents and siblings can frequently distinguish the meaning, the twins normally don't use the terms with others people (Twin Talk 1).

There are many different theories for why this happens in twins. Delayed speech in general is related to low birth weight and premature births. Virtually about 60 percent of twins and over 90 percent of higher multiples are born premature. Other factors may include limited one-on-one time practicing communication with parents and twins' intense ability for non-verbal communication skills. Twins sometimes have more one-on-one time communicating with each other, so it is reasonable that they would continue to use close communication with each other, even if it involves using rambling modifications of real speech (How Stuff Works 1).


Works Cited:
"HowStuffWorks "How Twins Work"" HowStuffWorks "Science" Web. 18 Oct. 2011. .

"Twin Talk - Twin Language - Secret Language of Twins - Idioglossia." Twins - Multiples - Multiple Birth - Twin Pregnancy - Having Twins - Identical Twins - Triplets Quadruplets Quintuplets Sextuplets - Parenting Twins. Web. 18 Oct. 2011. .

Observational Learning

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Observational Learning

One important concept from the Lilienfeld text in chapter 6 is observational learning. Observational learning is a cognitive model of latent learning because we learn without knowing we are being supported to learn. This concept is important in psychology because not only does observational learning apply to ALL of us humans, but it also applies to animals as well. As babies and children, we observe our parents who act as models, people who influence us as we learn and grow. Models (not only parents, but also teachers, grandparents too) allow us to learn by observing and noticing their behaviors.

My good friend showed me this video, which I found quite fitting for this blog post on observational learning. A man named Konrad Lorentz, a famous founder of Ethology, discovered imprinting, which means to learn something at a certain stage/age in one's life. He experimented with geese and became their 'mother.' Thus, he imprinted the geese to follow him and learn from him. In the YouTube video clip, at 1:17, the clip illustrates Lorentz swimming and the geese following him. This shows how the geese learned to swim by observing Lorentz. They tried and failed but due to the fact that he imprinted himself on the geese as their 'mother' and taught them numerous skills, the geese followed his every move and learned many survival skills. The geese, as well as countless other animals and other human beings, "learn by watching others" and display observational learning (Lilienfeld 225).


(If the link did not work, here is the URL: YouTube Video Clip Link:

Further Questions:

I have many further questions after seeing this video, like why did Lorentz chose geese? Why not a different type of animal? What if Lorentz tried this experiment in a different location, such as another country or highly populated area- would this experiment still work and would his findings be similar?



Works Cited

"Konrad Lorenz: Impringting." Video. Web. 18 Oct 2011.

Lilienfeld , Scott . Psychology: From Inquiry to
Understanding. 2nd ed. . New York : Learning Solutions ,
2011. 225. Print.

Cognitive Dissonance: Where Do You Stand?

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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."

Do you understand me?

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When having a conversation with someone, there are is so much information being conveyed that is not spoken. Nonverbal communication is key in analyzing how humans communicate with one another. The book describes this as extra-linguistic information, or the overall dining experience of language. Extra-linguistic elements are not a part of the content of the information being conveyed, but are essential to the interpretation of the meaning of language.
Many nonverbal cues are lost with the current technology today. For example, the true meanings of text messages are often difficult to decipher - it's difficult to tell whether someone is being serious or sarcastic because there are hardly any nonverbal cues. Sometimes, emoticons or phrases such as "just kidding" or even "ha-ha" can help the receiver to determine the tone of the message, but even those can be confusing at times.
This article discusses many reasons why text messages miss almost 90% of all communication, because that is the percentage of communication that people receive nonverbally.
The article continues on to discuss that text messaging is an entirely different language that many people in "Generation Y" are learning. Although the nonverbal cues are being missed, it discusses other ways in which people can attempt to convey nonverbal cues, such as emoticons or smiley faces which I discussed earlier.
Like learning a new language, the article continues to discuss that people who aren't accustomed to text messaging may take a long time to fully understand how it works. Because many people at first say that it is an impersonal method of communication, it takes awhile for people to get accustomed to the idea of such an aloof method of communicating.
I am curious to see how future generations will learn to communicate. Will there be a new technology available to include the presence of nonverbal cues?

Narcolepsy- A Mental Disorder?

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I find the serious disorder of narcolepsy to be very interesting. I have always been curious about narcolepsy, as one of my favorite movies is Moulin Rouge, which has a narcoleptic character. So when I began reading about it in the Lilienfield text, I was excited to learn about the disorder that seemed so bizarre to me. Narcolepsy is a disorder in which people experience sudden attacks of sleepiness, which can lead to a sudden sleep. Narcolepsy is often brought on by strong emotions, sexual intercourse, and even laughing. Some people with narcolepsy can experience cataplexy, which is a complete loss of muscle tone causing people to fall to the ground. Normally, REM sleep is entered after about an hour of sleep, but people with narcolepsy immediately go into REM sleep. This suggests to researchers that narcolepsy is due from problems with the sleep-wake cycle. Researchers also know that the hormone orexin is found in low amounts in narcoleptic patients. There is no cure for this disorder, however, there are medications that help with wakefulness. Sleep hallucinations are also a major part of narcolepsy, and can intervene in patient's ability to live life to the fullest.
In order to apply this to my world, I looked on the internet for stories of people with narcolepsy. I wanted to find out how this disorder affects a person's life, as I assumed it would be a difficult disorder to live with. I found the story of girl named Miranda, who had a difficult struggle with narcolepsy for most of her life. Miranda's Story
Miranda's story really allowed me to see the struggle that narcolepsy patients deal with on a daily basis. Miranda's journey to being diagnosed with narcolepsy was a long and stressful one. What I didn't realize before reading this article was the how strong the sleep hallucinations can be. She describes accounts of seeing people in her room, and eventually became suicidal because she felt alone. But Miranda pulled through, found strength, and is now working full time and managing her disorder. She did this by managing her sleep hallucinations by comparing her cat's reaction to what she thinks she sees. This story really touched me because it represents how people can overcome the most difficult of situations by finding their confidence and working through the rough patches. I find this to be extremely important not just for people with narcolepsy, but for anyone struggling with a disorder, or even for those that are struggling with school, relationships, or money.
As I reflect on what I have learned, I am still wondering how many people have been diagnosed with narcolepsy, and how many people are living with it and are not aware. Finally, if this disorder has to do with imbalances in the brain, and is accompanied by hallucinations, is it considered to be similar to mental disorders such as Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder?

Assignment 3

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I went to, and I came across a myth which I have heard quite a bit about. I picked the myth that you only use 10 percent of your brain. I recently watched the movie limitless, and this was brought to my attention. I have heard from both sides that it is true and false. The best way to figure out whether it is true or false would be to use research finding. This could be done by using some sort of brain scan to determine how much of the brain is being used. If you do this, you will find that you just use different parts at different times, but you actually use most of your brain.

Assignment 2

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I watched a bit of a documentary from BBC which covered questions on human consciousness. One of the questions asked was, "Where does consciousness reside?"

A doctor in the documentary explained that, anatomically, consciousness seems to rely on cortex activity, and cortex activity relies on the brain stem. The brain stem contains the reticular activating system, which projects brain activity to the thalamus. The thalamus then spreads out those projections throughout different areas of the cortex. This allows our cortex to be constantly stimulated and active, and that allows people to remain conscious.

Now is it really that simple? Cortex activity? I wish they would have gone deeper into depth on answering the question, but I should remember that the human brain is one of the most complex machines in the universe and that we still have so much to learn about it.

As fascinating as consciousness is, I would love to learn more about the subconscious mind. How important is it? Is it over-exaggerated? How much do we know about it?

Amir Bajramovic

Signal Detection Theory

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Signal Detection Theory (SDT) is the point in which almost all reasoning and decision making takes place in the presence of some uncertainty. In other words SDT is the process for someone who needs to decides between different classes of an items and their bias to favor a particular type of response. if a signal is present and a person correctly identifies the signal, then she/he has made a 'hit.' However, if the signal is absent and she/he says that the signal is present, then she has made a 'false alarm.' I believe this is one of the most important theories because it tries to help explains why we tend to lean on one type of guess rather than the other even when we are in doubt about both. On real life exapmle is talking on the phone with someone and there is a lot of static in the background. If the person on the other line has a good stimulus present they will not need you to shout over the phone in order for you to understand them (true positive). One question I am left with is "How does the applet define a receiver-operating characteristic?"

Thank you,

Blog #2

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In the past few weeks of class and through the readings I was intrigued by the idea of echolocation. Echolocation is using sound and listening to the echos off of the objects to determine the distances to them. This concept is astounding to me because of a young boy named Ben Underwood. This young man, mentioned in the text book, is blind but can "see" using echolocation. Upon reading this I watched a few videos about Ben Underwood and his use of echolocation and it was outstanding. He uses a series of clicks and can determine where objects are around him based on the reverberations he receives back off the objects. I believe that this concept is important because people have been able to put this concept of echolocation into practical use through submarines. Sonar is used in subs to find and navigate throughout the ocean floor. Without the ability to do this the submarines would crash into rocks and other objects in the ocean.
The thing I wonder about this concept is to the extent this can be mastered, in the case of Ben Underwood he is able to navigate through his surroundings while still being blind, but with some troubles at times. But is there a way to master this ability so that blind people could "see" so to speak?

one this is a link to a ben underwood video

Consciousness or neurons?

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Viewing the BBC video

The question is, are we conscious of our decisions, or are our neurons conscious and they tell us what to do? In a shocking study, Marcus de Sautoy is put into an fMRI machine with 2 buttons in his hands. His job? Simply choose which button to push, and push it. After several times of this, he is removed and they go over the results. Using the fMRI, Doctors can tell us what Marcus is going to pick 6 SECONDS before he knows what he's going to pick. Thats real mind reading.
The brain scans give a picture of what Marcus is thinking, if he is going to choose left, the left side turns blue, if he is going to pick right, his right side turns yellow. It's pretty amazing how far technology has gotten us.

The man, Marcus, makes a comment, "am I conscious or are my neurons conscious?" I think the answer is both. Your neurons are you; they are a part of you, they are still your choices.
I like what Professor John-Dylan Haynes says "brain activity is a part of conscious activity. They are encoded... Your conscious is your brain activity." It is much more calming to think about and understand.

So which will you choose? Door number one, or door number two?

-Dana Fisher

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Blog Entry 2

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What does the difference in consciousness between waking and sleeping tell us about our sense of self? Most basically the trans-cranial stimulation tells us the mechanics behind consciousness, the physiological reactions and interconnectedness among all the different parts of the brain are what distinguish consciousness from unconsciousness. On another level it lets us see where our sense of being comes from, all these firings of different neurons in separate parts of the brain is what allows us to synthesize the information into an awareness of ourselves. This step is crucial in our understanding of the human brain and of the brains of animals. We can know more about the functional capacity for a sense of self in biological terms. I would also like to know more information on his ability to detect consciousness in animals and computers. The methods needed to distinguish between what is actually a fully functioning consciousness like humans possess and lower levels of data integration would be very interesting.

Assignment 2

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Consciousness is believed to be brought about from your cortex, and it is believed to be the part that makes you self aware. The reticular activating system acting with the Thalamus is believed to give you self-awareness. This is very interesting, as you believe that you should just know, but it is required to understand it.

Assignment 2

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Sensation and Perception has been a very interesting topic in Psychology 1001 these past few weeks. I am intrigued by the idea of a perceptual set, which is shape, size and color constancy. Perceptual Set means that our expectations influence how we perceive things, like to be able to identify a door no matter if it is open or closed. I believe it's an important concept because it explains how we are able to tell what objects are if they are near or far, facing sideways or forwards, and to be able to determine that something is a certain color no matter what the lighting. If we didn't have these abilities then we would have a hard time with figuring out what object were and what size things were. It was interesting to read about this and then open the door and recognize the fact that I was still able to determine that it was a door and not a foreign object. I wonder how else perception helps us distinguish things we see and how we interpret them.

Assignment 2

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Sensation and Perception has been a very interesting topic in Psychology 1001 these past few weeks. I am intrigued by the idea of a perceptual set, which is shape, size and color constancy. Perceptual Set means that our expectations influence how we perceive things, like to be able to identify a door no matter if it is open or closed. I believe it's an important concept because it explains how we are able to tell what objects are if they are near or far, facing sideways or forwards, and to be able to determine that something is a certain color no matter what the lighting. If we didn't have these abilities then we would have a hard time with figuring out what object were and what size things were. It was interesting to read about this and then open the door and recognize the fact that I was still able to determine that it was a door and not a foreign object. I wonder how else perception helps us distinguish things we see and how we interpret them.

Assignment 2

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Marcus de Sautoy wanted to find out when we develop self awareness. In order to investigate this question he engaged in a search for consciousness... the search for "me." Sautoy makes some intriguing observations about the simple things in life that humanity does not typically think about. He is right in saying that we take these things for granted, like the feel of sun on our skin and mental time travel: the ability to focus on the past by searching through memories or focusing solely on the present.
Sautoy goes Portsmith University to observe the well known mirror self-recognition test. It becomes evident that children between 18 and 24 months become self-aware. They connect themselves to the reflection in the mirror by noticing that a sticker is on their face that isn't usually there. Humans, chimps, and orangutangs are the only creatures that have proved to have self-awareness. However, death-awareness is the price we pay for self-awareness.
I really enjoyed this video --I could not help, but watch other sections of it too! It's true that the average citizen does not think of the simple things in life, such as self-awareness. This documentary presents Sautoy's results in an informative but interesting way, which I believe is the best way to bring my attention to the incredible things that our brains are capable of.
My biggest question is what would happen if all mammals were self-aware? If with self-awareness comes death awareness, then how would the animals react to hunting, poaching, and slaughter houses? If a cow is completely aware that it is being raised in order for it to be slaughtered for meat...would more people consider it cruel? Would we have more vegetarians? Would hunters be as successful at hunting if their prey is aware of its surroundings? It's mind-boggling to think about

blog #1

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The most interesting thing to me was the complexity of the brain in terms of the temporal lobe. I did not know that there was a specific function in our brain that had the ability to recognize faces. A defect can lead to the disease of prosopagnosia. The video we watched during lecture amazed me of how the woman could not even recognize her own face. I hope to continue to learn the brain and its function. Also, I look forward to learn about the how memory works.

Assignment #2

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I chose to write my assignment on the concepts of sensation and perception. These two concepts are important in our everyday lives. Sensation and perception could be considered as one concept, because they work together in every situation we encounter. We first experience the sensation and then we make sense of that sensation, which is perception, therefore you do not place perception on anything if you do not first have a sense for anything. Sensation is what we use to pick up signals in our environment using our eyes, our nose, our tongue, our ears, and our skin. Perception allows us to take in all these inputs and make sense of them, or make them into something meaningful. One reason why I believe that sensation is important is because of pain. For example, if a person lacks the capability to sense pain and places their hand on a hot stove, they are in serious danger of severe burns. Perception is important, because the sensation of a burn would normally motivate a person to create the perception that they need to remove their hand from the hot stove before they receive physical, or permanent, damage. In this case, since this person does not feel the sensation of the burn from the hot stove, they do not have the ability to create the perception to make sense of what's happening, and therefore they have no reason to remove their hand from the hot stove. This is just one example of how sensation and perception work together in a given situation and why it is essential to our everyday lives to have the capability of detecting these concepts, or concept.

Assignment #2

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I chose to write my assignment on the concepts of sensation and perception. These two concepts are important in our everyday lives. Sensation and perception could be considered as one concept, because they work together in every situation we encounter. We first experience the sensation and then we make sense of that sensation, which is perception, therefore you do not place perception on anything if you do not first have a sense for anything. Sensation is what we use to pick up signals in our environment using our eyes, our nose, our tongue, our ears, and our skin. Perception allows us to take in all these inputs and make sense of them, or make them into something meaningful. One reason why I believe that sensation is important is because of pain. For example, if a person lacks the capability to sense pain and places their hand on a hot stove, they are in serious danger of severe burns. Perception is important, because the sensation of a burn would normally motivate a person to create the perception that they need to remove their hand from the hot stove before they receive physical, or permanent, damage. In this case, since this person does not feel the sensation of the burn from the hot stove, they do not have the ability to create the perception to make sense of what's happening, and therefore they have no reason to remove their hand from the hot stove. This is just one example of how sensation and perception work together in a given situation and why it is essential to our everyday lives to have the capability of detecting these concepts, or concept.

Assignment 2 3:30-12:30

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In this segment of the video, Marcus de Sautoy wants to point out that sensation to surroundings and self makes people more aware. There are many things in our life that we take for granted that help shaped who we are now. But when exactly do we become aware of self? In the study with a 16 month old child, a sticker is placed on the child's cheek and there is a mirror that will reflect an image of the child. The objective of this experiment is to see if the child will realize that a sticker has been placed on his cheek and touch it. The child however failed to realize the sticker. In another experiment, a 22 month child performs the same experiment but notice the sticker placed on her. This shows that between the month 18-22 months , the children will finally start to become aware of self. This experiment was a well devised experiment to see if the children were self aware. However, what part of environment plays a role in this? Have the children been exposed to mirrors before the experiment? There are still many questions about when people become self aware however this experiment have helped to narrowed it down into a smaller group. If we are not self aware what happens? Sautoy's son said in the video that he had no memories of ever going to the Grand Canyon. Does being self aware play a role in memory?

Sleep Deprivation Score

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I found the exercise we did in our discussion sections in which we discovered our own sleep deprivation scores and tested them in one way or another against the rest of the class was very interesting. My own score was 10 which is very high. (Perhaps part of the reason that I am writing my blog entry two days late?) My group surveyed 20 other members of the class, 10 males and 10 females, in order to see which sex is more sleep deprived. We found that females on average were far more sleep deprived than their male counterparts, contrary to our groups hypothesis. This exercise was interesting to me because I have always had trouble with my sleeping habits for as long as I have remembered and I was shocked to see just how high my score was, since one is considered sleep deprived at a mere score of three.

Assignment #2

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After watching the BBC video, more in depth during 12:30 through 15:50, I found the subject of consciousness more interesting due to what I have learned so far in Psy 1001, like the parts of the brain. It was very cool to be able to understand what Dr. Gentleman (funny last name, I think) was saying regarding the thalamus, brain stem, and lobes of the brain. Marcus de Sautoy, however, has a more raw sense of emotions when it comes to handling the brain rather than Dr. Gentleman's more scientific view of the human machine. Sautoy was really taken aback when handling the brain, and felt very privileged that he could hold something that made man human. I found it odd how consciousness could be quantified and labeled as the outer layer of the brain; I always have pictured consciousness as some sort of mystical thing that couldn't be pictured physically, rather it be some sort of imaginary holographic enigma-thing.

Henry Price proposes an interesting question : "When do we become consciously aware?"
According to the mirror self recognition test, when a baby (under 18-22 months) was given a red mark on his cheek, he failed to recognize it. The test concluded This he still was still not completely aware that the person in the mirror was himself because if he was aware he would have attempted to remove the mark on his face. This experiment made me realize that there was once a time where I was not aware of the actions that I did. I used to always wonder why I did certain things when I was younger but now it makes sense because i did not realize myself. There is an age where the the development starts to occur and this was proven by the mirror self recognition test to the other child.
Bethon, the 22 month child, she was given the mark on her face she immediately recognized it and tried to take it off. She looked in the mirror; and was consciously aware that the person in the mirror was her. So in reaction to her conscious awareness of herself she realized that there was something different about her face. When she noticed that change in the mirror she removed it. This idea of the mirror self recognition test was by Gordon Gallup, who also used in to test animals. The evidence shows that both chimpanzees and orangutans who like humans are also consciously aware of themselves. Conscious awareness is something that we as humans take for granted. It is crucial to humans because a person can engage in human time travel and think of relationships in past, future, and present that later on help the person shape the world.
Henry Price ended with a scary after thought. The unfortunate aspect of the conscious is that it makes us aware of death, which will mean that our conscious will be no more. The recognition of death is because of our conscious awareness. This was a very interesting point that he bought up because humans would not think of death if we weren't aware that we are living. Our five senses help us feel alive because we are aware of what is constantly going on around our surroundings. When our senses stop working it is as if we are not in the world anymore because we do not know what is going around us. There is no equation to "how" the inner world is made, but through tests there has been some knowledge as to "when" it is developed which around 18-22 months.

Assignment #2

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Some of the most interesting and important concepts I've learned about in the last couple weeks are sensation and perception. This is not a subject I had a lot of previous knowledge in, so I had no idea of the differences between sensation and perception and the processes involved in each. These concepts are essential to the way we view the world and our understanding of how we process that view.
Sensation is the detection of external signals in the outside world, which are converted to a universal language the brain can understand. While perception is our brains interpretation of those sensory inputs into something meaningful.
Now, everywhere I go, everything I do, I'm thinking about whats going on inside me to process what I see. It's fascinating to me to think of how much "guessing" is involved when it comes to perception, so my brain can help me to make sense of the world and not become overwhelmed with what I see. This is a fascinating fact, but also daunting one, when I wonder if what I think I'm seeing is in fact whats really there.

Assignment #2 The Secret You (3:30 - 12:30 minutes)

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Prompt #2 Henry Price

When do we become self-aware is the question the first portion of the BBC video: The Secret You (3:30 - 12:30 minutes), attempts to answer. Most people are not aware of when they became self-aware; they only know that they are conscious of themselves currently. When does this change from only having sensations, to actually having a sense of oneself in relationship to other things occur?
According to Professor Gallup there is a simple test that assesses self-awareness, the mirror self-preservation test (originally designed for animals). In the test the subject locks eyes with itself in a mirror, and then a person secretly adds a mark to the subjects face. If the subject gestures to the mark they are measured to be self-aware, by perceiving the image of themselves in the mirror as themselves.
Humans pass the test somewhere between 18 and 22 months. This means that according to the test human become self-aware in this time period. Self-awareness for Gallup, and the test, means that the subjects can "engage in mental time travel" and "see themselves in relationship to things that happen" in the past present and even future. This also means that humans, and the few other primates that pass the test, must also confront the inevitability of their own death.
While it is hard for me to believe that almost all other intelligent mammals are not self-aware, it is not hard to believe that they have no concept of the past or future. They cannot see the image as themselves because it is an alternative view of them. They cannot see themselves as eventually dying because they cannot see themselves from the outside. But what I still don't understand is how they can develop complex thoughts about their world, are they even capable of such thoughts?

Synthesia (Assignment 2)

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I think not only one of the most interesting, but also relevant, topics we have discussed so far in class is the idea of synthesia. What synthesia means to me is the reception of an external stimulus by a sensory organ being used to perceive a different sense. For example, some people can report being able to "hear" smells. Basically, they can smell something and then in their mind perceive the smell as a noise. Although it sounds impractical for use, this concept is being used to treat people with different kinds of physical disabilities. Take for example the work done by neuroscientist Paul Bach-Y-Rita. He constructed a machine that blind people would sit in, with a camera that recorded objects in front of them. The camera would then send electrical signals to the back of the seat. The seat would have hundreds of vibrating stimulaters that would vibrate in accordance to what the camera was recording. The people's sense of touch was synthesized into their sense of "vision".

And the research is only getting better. Which leads me to some questions. If the research is getting better and better and the technology more advanced, will there ever be a time when blind people can not only see, but see in color? What does the future hold for people who have lost their sense smell, hearing, or taste?

Alcohol - Writing #2

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Most of us know that alcohol displays a big concern throughout the United States. Most underage students and kids drink when they are not supposed to. In the text on page 189 it states, "Today, alcohol is the most widely used and abused drug." So since this is widely used across the U.S. and the world, I wonder why this is so appealing to people when all it does is cause people to forget what happened, or hurt other people. Well, it also states in the book that it can be appealing because alcohol is a depressant, which leads people to drink when they are upset and want to forget about their problems. I believe this issue is so important because so many people are effected by this and causes deaths to many innocent people in the world.
A real life example dealing with alcohol consumption is when kids get drunk on the weekends. Most of them know that what they are doing is illegal and isn't ethically or morally right. Yet they do it anyways and risk getting jail time just to be more happy with themselves? It is ironic that you cannot feel or know much about what is going on around you when you drink in the first place to have a "good time." Here is a video link that I found talking about alcohol in four kids lives hosted by Matt Damon: You may have to copy and paste into a URL in order for it to work.

So after watching this video, you can tell that students realize the effects of how bad alcohol consumption can be. The question in mind that I still ponder is why people keep doing it if it has such bad effects.

Importance of Selective Attention

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Selective attention is the ability to ignore all unimportant information and focus more on the information that you are trying to receive. This especially helps a lot in a situation where there is a lot of action going on. Say someone is trying to talk to you. If you do not have selective attention, you would have a hard time listening to what he/she is saying because all the sounds around you would be pounding at you from all directions. This applies to my life because I have been a musician since the 3rd grade. Being able to listen to the key parts in the music has helped me become a better musician. For example, there are parts in music where the trombones are important. Being able to single out the trombones enables me to figure out where I have to be quieter so the trombones are heard by the audience. I do have a question about this topic though. It says in the textbook that people randomly hear information from a conversation that he/she is not even involved in. Why does our brain do that?

What I've learned and want to learn

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I never took psychology in high school, so this information is all interesting to me. My favorite part so far is learning about the brain and what each part does or controls. It's pretty intriguing, when we learn about the things like information perceived by the eye and sends the information to the brain because while I read about the information I am experiencing what I'm reading at that exact moment. I am really looking forward to social psychology. I want to learn how people's brain works when they have a mental disorder like schizophrenia or even how a personality is created in each individual person.

Survival of the Fittest?

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An astounding 30-50 percent of people report having some sort of sleep problem (Althius et al., 1998; Blay, Andreoli, & Gastal, 2008). Almost everyone is affected by a sleep disorder at some point in his or her lives. There are different types of sleep disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, night terrors, and sleepwalking. Many accidents can arise from being sleep deprived. For example a man was declared innocent after killing his mother-in-law and injuring his father -in-law with a knife, due to sleepwalking (Lillienfield, 2011; McCall, Smith, & Shapiro, 1997). That may have been a rare case where lives of other people were in that much danger, but it is possible to put yourself in danger from lack of sleep. When people think of insomnia they usually don't have death in mind, but can someone die from insomnia?

Insomnia is when someone has difficulty of falling asleep or staying asleep. It's the most common sleep disorder among people.In this article from Psychology Today, they asked 2200 Wisconsin state workers about health and sleep. People who answered yes on more than two questions were considered chronically insomniac. Out of the 2200 workers, 46% of them were considered chronically insomniac. This specific study used the survey approach in collecting their data. They can find a correlation between lack of sleep to whether the workers are considered insomniacs or not, but they didn't take into account if the workers had any illnesses such as depression. The article also didn't state what types of questions they asked the workers and just assumed because they were shift workers, they probably got less than 7 hours of sleep. From taking into account whether the workers had any illnesses, asking the actual amount of sleep they get, how frequently they have trouble sleeping, etc., could perhaps rule out any rival hypotheses. Also, instead of assuming that lack of sleep causes insomnia, there could be a third variable that causes this.

Although this article may not have fully answered the question if insomnia can kill someone, we can conclude that sleeping disorders can affect our health in negative ways. Not only are we hurting ourselves from not getting the recommended hours of sleep each night, we are depriving ourselves of what we need for survival.

Inability to control oneself.

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On Wednesday, our weekly professor talked about epilepsy and the various forms of this disorder. It was shocking to hear of intractable epilepsy, or the inability to control the episodes. Having no control over one's body is heartbreaking, and the problem is further exacerbated by the means of not being able to find some momentary cure for it. In this rare case of not finding a way to control it, the solution (after many guidelines are met) is to sever the corpus callosum which transmits messages from right to left or left to right hemispheres. As was shown, this can severely effect perception.

This surgery is called corpus callosotomy. Before one undergoes this type of surgery, they have to go through an assessment that includes an EEG scan, MRI, seizure monitoring, and a PET. Once the patient is verified as an acceptable candidate, the operation will take place. Eventually the person is able to get back to a life where their seizures will be 50-75% less severe. While there are several short-term side effects, they typically go away on their own. As was described in class, risks like a "lack of awareness on one side of the body," infection, coordination, speech problems, and more can occur.

This surgery, and the information that have come out of the observation and testing of its risks, have given the world a deeper insight into how far one has to go in order to control their bodies. One of my own good friends from school has been severely affected by epilepsy; she has been in and out of college. While most days of a teenage life are spent daydreaming about how wonderful college life will be, she has had to deal with the reality of things not going as planned, body and all. While this surgery is not for everyone, and still doesn't give a patient 100% satisfactory, it's still effective in some ways that it's enough to those who are effected by epilepsy.

Information on corpus callostomy taken from

The Placebo of Alcohol

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In chapter 5 of the Psychology book there was a section on the physiological effects of drugs and alcohol on the brain. The section outlined an experiment that investigated the effects of alcohol from a social standpoint. The experimenter told people they were receiving one of four drinks.
z) Told they were receiving alcohol and received alcohol
y) Told they were receiving alcohol and received a placebo
x) Told they were receiving a placebo and received alcohol
w) Told they were receiving a placebo and received a placebo
Interestingly, the people who received a placebo but were told they received alcohol acted just as "drunk" as those in group z, and more intoxicated than those in group x. In addition those who were in group x acted just as sober as those in group w. This study shows a rather important aspect of alcohol's social connotation. The textbook described alcohol as a depressant but socially people are conditioned to believe that alcohol make you rowdy and therefore act rowdy. Other social constructions such as liquid courage, may later be proven to be nothing more the the product of what is considered appropriate behavior be society while under the influence of alcohol. This is an important study because it not only exposes a misconception but points at a more important message of being responsible for per behavior

Selective Attention

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The concept that I found most interesting from Chapter 4 was selective attention. Our ability to use selective attention is the reason that we can hold conversations in a crowded room at a party. Other examples from my life could be how it is possible for an orchestra to create such beautiful music. If each member of the orchestra listened to every single instrument playing and didn't focus in on their instrument, it would not be as beautiful. The textbook definition of selective attention is: the process of selecting one sensory channel and ignoring or minimizing others.

An interesting example that the book gave was the cocktail party effect. At large parties with multiple conversations are going on, we are often able to pick up on a conversation nearby when we hear our names. This shows that even though we may not be aware that we were processing the conversation, our brain can pick up on these cues and avoid filtering these conversations out. Shortly after reading chapter 4, I was in a large classroom which was split up into separate groups. While in conversation with my group, I heard the group next to me say my name, which prompted me to listen to their conversation. I thought of the example of the cocktail party from our reading and found this very interesting.

I think that this is an important concept to know about, because it pertains to our every day lives, and is something of interest to people since they can relate to it. I would guess that many people can think of a time when that has happened to them and they would be interested in knowing that it isn't just coincidence, or an eerie sensation, but that it is scientifically supported as a known concept.

Can a person train themselves to have better selective attention?
Do some people have higher abilities of selective attention than others?

Big foot story

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We have all heard of the urban legend of "Big Foot". I personally do not believe in a creature that wanders throughout forests and has never been officially identified. I came across an interesting post on the website It was a story about a married couple that was mushroom picking in western Indiana. The wife wandered away from her husband and reported bending down to pick a mushroom and heard breathing as she did so. When she looked up she saw a man about 50 feet away staring at her. She said as she looked closer it wasn't a man, but an ape looking creature about 7 ft tall.

I personally do not buy this story. I think the most reasonable description of what she saw would be that she just saw a bear standing near a tree. She heard breathing. Bears breath. She said the creature was about 7 feet tall, bears standing can easily be in that height range. Applying the principle of scientific thinking of Occam's Razor, the simplest explanation is the best. The simplest explanation is that she saw a bear and in her fear, mistook the bear for "Big Foot". I did some research and found out there are black bears roaming in counties of Indiana, where this story took place. What she saw was most likely a black bear.

Another possible explanation to what she saw could be that she was hallucinating. A hallucination as defined in psychology is the experience of perceiving objects or events that do not have an external source. There are many things that could have made her hallucinate the image of a "Big Foot". She could have been on medication, sleep deprived, or been under the influence of some other drugs. This could be a very reasonable explanation of what she saw.

With what we know of the woman who saw the creature, which is almost nothing, it is most reasonable to apply Occam's Razor and conclude that what she saw was a bear. There are black bears in that area of Indiana, and photos have been taken of these bears. It is very likely that what she saw was a bear.

Works Cited

Larry, B. (2011). Bigfoot Encounters. Retrieved from

hallucination. (2011). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

Assignment 2

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The one idea that has had an abundance of real life applications is the idea of maintaining a circadian rhythm. As a refresher, the text defines your circadian rhythm as the cyclical changes that occur on a roughly 24-hour basis in many biological processes. This is an idea that I have tried to address in my life, because I think it is very important for my body to be on par with what it needs to do. In other words, it's essential that I get enough sleep to be alert for the next morning. The way I do that is by getting to bed at about the same time, and getting up roughly around the same time everyday. Unfortunately, I am breaking my habits of getting to sleep right now.
Earlier this year, I had the fortune of going to Europe for a one-week vacation. Our plane left on a Friday morning, and after a few connections, was scheduled to arrive in Switzerland that next morning, that Saturday. Through all of the flights there, I stayed awake, too excited to get to sleep. As a result, I had already stayed up about 18 hours by the time our plane arrived. When we arrived, it was morning in Switzerland, just as I began to feel tired. Yet, we had a day of sightseeing planned, and I had to stay awake till 10:30 that night, when we would return from dinner. This was a case in which my circadian rhythm was thrown off dramatically. After slouching over my food at a fancy restaurant and being seen as impolite by the locals, I decided that it was important to maintain my circadian rhythm, because it truly is necessary to being happy, alert, and healthy.
Today, I do my best to get to bed and wake up at set times, because I understand the importance of this psychological idea. It helps me stay awake, and has made me more healthy.
I have noticed that this idea must impact celebrities like athletes, actors, and the president. It must be difficult for them as they travel around the world to adjust to time zones while also getting enough sleep. In fact, below is an article about tennis star Novak Djokovic not feeling up to playing in a tournament due to the vast amount of flying he had done in the prior few days.

Assigment two: Correlation vs. causation

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Correlation does not always equal causation. That is one of the many very important things that I learned in Psychology 1001 so far. There can always be a third variable involved. Smoking and lung cancer has a high correlation, however how can you tell if the people that smoke aren't just genetically predetermined to get lung cancer? There would have to be studies done to figure that out, but most people probably wont even take that seriously because smoking and lung cancer are so highly correlated and have so much cause/effect evidence. Another example that's highly ridiculous is the number of ice cream sold and crimes committed is correlated. How would that be logical? Does ice cream cause crime? Highly unlikely, so there must be a third variable involved. The third variable is: hot weather. When it's hot outside, people want to buy ice cream, and also people are more irritable which may cause more crimes. Correlation and causation aren't always related. I feel like this is very important because they happens to everyone on a daily basis. You drink to much liquid therefore you have to use the bathroom, or if you haven't slept for an entire day (due to studying for midterms) you will be extremely tired the next day. I don't really have any questions about this, I think it's very interesting how things can be correlated but not always be directed related.

The Search For Consciousness

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When do we become aware of self? Well, that is a common question that lingers among our minds. But first of all, what exactly is self-awareness? Gordon Gallup says, "to be self-aware means that you can engage in mental time travel." He goes on to explain that with self-awareness, "you can think about yourself in relationship to things that happened in the past, the present, and may even happen in the future."

In a study done by Oxford mathematician Marcus de Sautoy, consciousness is examined in many different levels. The level that I found most interesting was when we first become aware of ourselves. In order to discover the real answer to this question, Marcus de Sautoy took a look at an experiment called the Mirror-Self Recognition Test.

In the Mirror-Self Recognition Test, young children are placed in front of a mirror with an unknown mark on their face. If the child recognizes the unusual mark on their face, then they are considered to be self-aware. In the demonstration that I watched, a 16-month old boy was put to the test first. After looking in the mirror, he showed no signs of noticing the unusual mark on his face. Next, a 22-month old girl was put in the same situation. This time, the girl almost immediately drew her hand to her face, noting the unusual mark. This proved that she had self-awareness. In conclusion, the usual time frame that we as humans acquire self-awareness is between the ages 18 and 22 months.

Marcus de Soy was interested in the making behind the Mirror-Self Recognition Test, so he went to talk to the inventor; Gordon Gallup. Gordon Gallup explained that he initially devised the Mirror-Self Recognition Test for animals; specifically chimpanzees. Through many experiments, he found that chimpanzees, orangutans, and humans are the only to pass the test so far.

Gordon went on to explain how self-awareness goes deeper, and gets more complicated than just recognizing oneself. He says, "the price you pay for being aware of your own existence is having to confront the inevitability of your own individual demise. Death awareness is the price we pay for self-awareness."

I found all of this information very interesting because I believe that at one point, everyone wonders when they, themselves, become self-aware.The question now, is that does everyone agree on the same thing? Are these findings correct?

BCC Horizon: The Secret You

Afterlife So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

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Since the beginning of civilization, humans have been obsessed with hypothesizing about what occurs after death. The Egyptians, Mayans, Romans, Chinese and others all speculated about life after death and what it would be like to die. Each culture lived and prepared for death in a way that corresponded with their constructed image of the afterlife. But what shaped the beliefs of each culture? Where did these assumptions originate?


One assumption that seems to be ubiquitous regardless of religion or culture seems to be the "light at the end of the tunnel". Despite the variety of places this claim could have originated, one major contributor is the testimonies of those who have had near death experiences. NDEs are explained as out of body experiences which occur when one is about to die, often depicting a transition into the afterlife. In religion, the flash of light is meant to depict a transition to heaven. However, scientists believe that an overload of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream may be to blame for the perceived "flash of light" (see here for more on this hypothesis).

Regardless of the true reason for this phenomenon, it is important to seek explanations to justify these experiences instead of blindly dismissing these claims. In an attempt to prove these explanations, we consequently will find out much more about how the brain functions when the body is in a critical condition. We can also answer questions about the correlations between religious teachings and NDEs. Did these experiences shape the idea of heaven and the afterlife or are these perceptions a result of top-down processing influenced by religious and cultural teachings? Accounts like these play an important role in answering these questions.


Although we can examine how the principles of critical thinking apply to this case in particular, the greater application is that examining these cases provides a model of the process in which we comprehend the human thought process. We still don't understand how one can have visions while displaying zero brain activity, or why NDEs consist of visions of bright light and passed memories. However, we can use this evidence to hypothesize about our beliefs and how our brains work. We strive to find evidence to support our claims, but as the brilliant psychology students we are, we will continue to ask questions until extraordinary evidence is presented to us. Is this the only case in which a process in our body manifests itself as an experience? Is it possible that our beliefs are shaped only by the biological processes in our body? Do we control our brains or do our brains control us? I guess our only hope is to research these experiences to death -and back again.


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I am very interested in the psychology of drugs. So interested, in fact, that I have thought of pursuing a career in psychopharmacology. Which is basically the study of drug-induced changes in mood, sensation, thinking and behavior. I feel that the study of the effects of drugs on people is extremely important. It has becoming increasingly obvious that drugs have many negative effects on people. Even the Lilienfeld text the harmful effects of drugs on a persons life is mentioned many times. So, not only do I think that the study of drugs important because of their potential to be very harmful, but because I also find the subject extremely interesting.

One part of the drugs section in the "consciousness" chapter that really stood out to me was how fast methamphetamine can change a person. Meth can cause weight loss, ance, dental problems, tremors and can destroy tissues and blood vessels. This all can result in a completely different looking person in the matter of no more than two and a half years.

With this youtube video, the "faces of meth" are portrayed. It is extremely sad and absolutely unreal what a drug can do to a person in such a short period of time...

(not sure if the link is working correctly, if not, just copy and paste the following into the address bar:

On top of the obvious physical damage, meth has huge harmful effects psychologically and to put it simply, can really screw up a persons brain. The drug can lead to many awful psychological disorders and change in personality. Meth works by releasing high levels of dopamine, which in return stimulates brain cells. Here I have included a picture that illustrates the damage that meth can produce in the brain.


All in all, the concepts of drugs effects on a person can be immense. Methamphetamine is a very dangerous and highly addictive drug that has the potential to completely change a person in no time at all. Learning about what drugs can do is not only very interesting but is essential in finding out how exactly drugs are impairing the brain. I would like to know more about a career in psychopharmacology and what all it entails.

works cited:

"Methamphetamine." !Arrested! North Metro Task Force - Meth, Methamphetamine. Web. 09 Oct. 2011. .


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psychology has numerous theories and differing experiments. In the text i recently remember covering the sensation and perception material in class and can't help but remember the different perception images. the Necker Cube was one instance where depending on how you looked at the image and the center point would alter or appear the way that our mind processed the image. I found it remarkable how such a simple image made the mind seem so complex. There were other images where the way two identical lines were placed on the paper and how it created the appearance of a differing length in both. Knowing that our brains process all these different perceptions and other bunches of information so quickly and we don't even realize how our brains can be so easily tricked by such simple figures and images. Knowing that this is possible will continue to make me wonder why we as humans rely so much on our sight and not on other senses.

Assignment 2

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One concept that we have learned about within the last two weeks that really struck me was the topic of insomnia in chapter 5 in Lilienfeld. Insomnia is a sleeping disorder where people have difficulty falling and staying asleep. This is the most common type of sleep disorder out there. According to the text, insomniacs have "trouble falling asleep (regularly taking more than 30 minutes to doze off), waking too early in the morning, and waking up during the night and having trouble returning to sleep." I think that this is an important topic since so many people suffer from it. Roughly 9%-15% of people suffer from severe insomnia. Sometimes I think I am part of this percentage because I occasionally have problems falling asleep. It takes me a while to fall asleep at night and then once I do doze off, I sometimes 'twitch' and it wakes me up; then I have issues falling back asleep. And I am a super light sleeper so I wake up from people slamming their doors in the hallways in the morning and then can't fall back asleep. But luckily, this doesn't happen every night, otherwise I think I would be totally sleep deprived.
Here is an example of a severe case of insomnia:
I didn't think that a loss of sleep could cause someone to actually murder someone else, but this article proves me wrong. He was so sleep deprived that he hyped himself up on caffeine and that drove him to do insane things.
As far as questions go, I don't have very many. Most of them have been answered in the text. Like how to somewhat prevent insomnia (hiding clocks, sleeping in a cool room, going to bed and waking up at regular times, etc.)

Differences In Consciousness While Awake and Asleep

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Like many others I watched the BBC's "The Secret You" video (I chose to watch the section regarding the differences in consciousness while awake and asleep.) In the video, the host travels to a lab at the University of Wisconsin Madison and has his waking brain activity monitored by an EEG while the researcher also administered low-level electrical shocks to certain areas of his brain. The purpose of this was so they would be able to compare how the shocks travel and are transmitted through a waking brain versus a sleeping brain. Unfortunately, the host was unable to fall asleep in the sleep lab so they had to explain the results that they obtained from previous volunteers. Apparently, when the shocks are administered to a waking brain they travel from the point where the shock occurred to other parts of the brain while the same shocks administered while asleep stay localized and were not transmitted throughout the brain. This led the researchers to conclude that a large part of consciousness is the ability of the brain to communicate within itself. This makes sense to me, but I wonder what brain activity would look like when a sleeper was experiencing lucid dreaming. Would the brain act as if it were fully conscious, unconscious, or somewhere in-between? For that matter, if different areas of the brain are unable to communicate during sleep, how exactly does dreaming work?

BBC "The Secret You" - Consciousness and Sleeping

Writing #2

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On October 15, 2009, in Fort Collins, Colorado, the infamous balloon boy hoax occurred. Six year old Falcon Heene was believed to be stuck in a homemade gas balloon resembling a UFO saucer. (An image of the gas balloon can be found at The saucer floated uncontrollably over Colorado for two hours before it landed. It was believed that Falcon was in the balloon due to eyewitness account by one of his brothers and his parent's accounts. (A more detailed account of the Balloon Boy Hoax can be found at
However, instead of the boy being discovered inside the saucer, he was found safe at home, hiding in the attic. Meanwhile, authorities and volunteers searched for the boy, thinking he may have fallen out of the aircraft. After the boy had been found, things began to settle down. The family was not held responsible for criminal charges or cost of the search.
However, during an interview on CNN, a reporter asked Falcon why he did not come out of hiding when he his parents were looking and calling for him. The boy simply answered, "You guys said that we did this for a show."(A video for this interview can be found at With this new evidence, the incident now seemed more like a publicity stunt. Both of the parents were then penalized with jail time and restitution fees.
A scientific thinking principle that should have been used in determining whether Falcon was in the helium balloon is extraordinary claims. The extraordinary claims principle requires extraordinary evidence. There must be tangible proof for a claim. Instead of believing that a child was trapped in a helium balloon floating uncontrollably thousands of feet in the air, one could use the extraordinary claims principle and deduct that the whole incident was a hoax, and the child was not in the balloon. Just because somebody says that they saw Bigfoot does not mean that we have to immediately believe them.
Another principle that could have been used is the ruling out rival hypotheses principle. Authorities excluded the alternate explanation for the incident such as: the boy was not in the balloon. Therefore, by overlooking other findings, the authority wasted manpower and finances. Either the ruling out rival hypothesis or extraordinary claims principle would have shown the balloon boy's hoax's errors.

Works Cited
Diaz, Jesus. "Boy Flies Away Uncontrollably in Homemade Flying Saucer." Gizmodo, the Gadget Guide.
Balloonbrat, 15 Oct. 2009. Web. 09 Oct. 2011.
Goldman,Russell, and James, Michael S. "Balloon Boy Found, Falcon Heene Safe After Runaway Hot Air
Balloon Scare - ABC News." Daily News, Breaking News and Video Broadcasts -
ABC News. 15 Oct. 2009. Web. 09 Oct. 2011.
PoliticsNewsPolitics. ""Balloon Boy" Falcon Henne Admits: "We Did This For The Show" -
YouTube." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. 15 Oct. 2009. Web. 09 Oct. 2011.

Gestalt Principle of Closure

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Gestalt's principles were particularly interesting, especially closure. It is used a lot in daily life and is extremely important. People never think about it when they do it, but it happens quite frequently. To summarize closure, it is the mind assuming that something is a whole even though all the lines aren't connected or in view. It can be that the edges aren't connected, yet we perceive it to be closed. It could also be that something is obstruction our view of part of the object, yet we also see it as a whole. This link shows an example of closure. the panda isn't completely outlined, however the mind perceives it as a whole.

This is a very basic example, but there are many examples of closure during an average day. Companies tend to use this technique a lot when they create their logos. IBM's logo is a perfect example of this. The reason they use closure is because they know that people will have to look a little harder at it to figure out what it is. This obviously makes their name brand more recognizable. Another, more important, example is when we drive. Many times the road will be blocked by another car or object. Our mind can't see that there is road, but we perceive it to be a whole so we can continue to drive without stress. It would be extremely hard to go through life without knowing whether the road you were driving on was in tact or not. The point is that closure is more than just seeing a couple lines as a square. It is a vital part of our perception of the visual world.

Assignment 2

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The topic I chose to explore is the sleep disorder, insomnia from the book. Insomnia is the difficulty to fall asleep and stay asleep. Insomnia can also include having trouble falling asleep, waking up too early in the morning, or waking up during the night and having trouble falling back to sleep. I believe this is important to understand because a lot of people's lives, including my own, are disrupted by sleep disorders, especially insomnia. It is also important to understand that brief bouts of insomnia can often be due to stress, medication or sickness, working late, jet, caffeine, or napping. If one can possibly figure out the cause of their insomnia, they can possibly improve their sleep patterns, or beat insomnia completely. Here is a youtube video that I found discussing a couple ways to break the pattern of insomnia. This video draws a parallel to Pavlov's dogs and how they began to recognize that the ticking noise meant food while in real life possibly a bedtime routine like brushing your teeth can trigger your brain to expect to have difficulty falling asleep or insomnia. One example given in the video to try and reverse insomnia is changing your bedtime routine. The brain needs to be "tricked" into not thinking it's almost time for bed and I'm going to have difficulty falling asleep. Another example to try and combat insomnia is taking a warm shower before bed. The body cooling down after a shower is very conducive to sleep. Those are just two examples and there are many more ways to try and deal with insomnia. After discussing this topic I wonder if you actually have to be diagnosed with insomnia or a person can just claim to have insomnia? I know I certainly feel like I suffer from a slight case of insomnia. I also wonder how many people claim to suffer from insomnia and how often doctors prescribe medication?

Assignment #2

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One of the experiments which I found particularly was Ivan Pavlov's experiment regarding his dog. In the experiment. Pavlov began the experiment by realizing that his dog reacted to food by salivating. In the experiment the food was the unconditional stimulus while the response (the salivation) was the unconditional response. Pavlov then introduced the metronome which would make sounds before his dog was fed. The metronome was the conditioned stimulus. After periods of time, Pavlov's dog began to salivate after the metronome was making sounds even when the food was not present. Hence, the conditional stimulus is the salivation by the dog in response to the metronome. Because the dog associated the metronome with food, Pavlov's dog responded by salivating.
Picture of Pavlov:
A youtube video which shows a simple version of Pavlov's experiment is in this link:
I believe this experiment is crucial towards learning because it explains how humans and animals can learn naturally. Consequently, it demonstrates how humans can be trained towards different things. The natural reflexes which the dog learned can be applied to our personal lives. Last year, in one of my psychology classes, we experimented with classical conditioning firsthand. In class, the teacher gave us all cups of Country Time Lemonade Mix. (Picture in link below) We were all given cups of the lemonade mix and every time he played a beep sound on the board, we were allowed to stick our finger into the cup and have a taste of the lemonade mix. After 30 minutes, the majority of us began to salivate after the same beep was played. Similarly, in history class, we had a student sit in front of the class while the teacher read an article. Every time the word "the" was said, the student would be squirted with a spray bottle. Eventually, the student flinched after the word "the" was said. After these learning experiences, I still question the extent to which we can use the method of classical conditioning for learning. Furthermore, I wonder how long classical conditioning can last on a human. After a couple weeks, will the student who was sprayed with a spray can still react to the word "the"? In general, I would like to learn more about how classical conditioning could possibly impact how we learn in the future and how long the classical conditioning effects us.

The Dangers of Lacking Critical Thinking

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Apologies in advance, but I'm going a bit away from the given prompt.

I was browsing the listings, looking for a hoax or other claim that I could evaluate. I came across one that caught my eye, as I had some personal experience with it. I'm referring to the dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO).

"Dihydrogen monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and kills uncounted thousands of people every year. Most of these deaths are caused by accidental inhalation of DHMO, but the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide do not end there. Prolonged exposure to its solid form causes severe tissue damage. Symptoms of DHMO ingestion can include excessive sweating and urination, and possibly a bloated feeling, nausea, vomiting and body electrolyte imbalance. For those who have become dependent, DHMO withdrawal means certain death." (

DHMO is, of course, H2O: water. The snopes article goes on to give a few examples of people being fooled by these claims. All of the claims are accurate, albeit cleverly phrased, and they have fooled many people since this trick has been circulating. The fact that it continues to fool people demonstrates a few issues.

The first issue is lack of critical thinking. Almost all the people fooled by this have had at least a basic chemistry course, and certainly would recognize the chemical formula: H2O. However, when presented as "Dihydrogen Monoxide", it sounds much scarier, and people forget to use critical thinking to analyze the claims. If they stopped and thought about what DHMO really is, it would quickly become obvious that it is actually harmless water.

As I mentioned earlier, I've had some first hand experience with this trick. When I was a junior in high school, I helped start a petition to ban DHMO, similar to the student referenced in the Snopes article. I don't have the hard data anymore, but overwhelmingly students were in favor of banning it. This is partly due to lack of critical thinking, but is also likely due to the second issue of this trick, peer pressure.

When forming the petition, we put a few fake names onto the list to start with. We figured that people would be more likely to sign it if they weren't the first one to do so. We also tried to approach people in groups, so that they all would sign up for it. People seemed much more easily convinced of it when their friends were convinced of it as well. If your friends support it, you probably should to.

This fairly harmless trick is an excellent example of where critical thinking is useful. If you can be convinced that water is a dangerous chemical that should be banned, what else could you be convinced of?

Conscious Awareness

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In the video BBC Horizon- The Secret You, professionals explained how there have been cases where they have detected brain responses to stimuli in a physically unresponsive person. In a case of a woman in a vegetative state, when she was told to imagine playing tennis, the parts of the brain that are responsive when a conscious person plays tennis, responded. This shows that the woman's brain was somehow able to respond to an outside stimulus, even though her body was not.

This reminded me of Locked-in Syndrome. Locked-in Syndrome is when a patient is seemingly in a coma but they are actually able to sense their surroundings. Someone with Locked-in Syndrome can not respond physically to the outside stimuli. This article is an example of a patient with Locked-in Syndrome:

It is interesting to me how people can seem completely unaware but their brain is actually sensing and responding, but the signals are not reaching their body.

assignment 2

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I chose to write about physic mediums after watching the show Long Island Medium on TLC, which fits into what we learned about pseudoscience. I have never truly believed in ghosts and loved ones being contacted by the dead. Watching this show makes me wonder about this. The star, Theresa Caputo, claims that she is constantly contacted by the dead, and they usually ask her to deliver messages to their loved ones who are still alive. Instead of just predicted the future she can hear and see the dead. I find this to be very interesting since their is no scientific proof that this is actually possible. I connected this to the section in chapter 4 about ESP. The way she knows things about the people she meets with just isn't possible, there is also no proof that she is actually being contacted by these spirits. I would like to see this tested to see if certain parts of her brian have higher functions then others when the "spirits" contact her. I still find it hard to believe that she is actually being contacted by the dead, yet some of the things she knows about people makes it seem like she's telling the truth, but without scientific proof its easy to be skeptical.

assignment 2- Significance of Higher-Order Conditioning

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From the Lilienfeld textbook, I found the concept of higher-order conditioning surprisingly applicable to every day events in a more direct way than some of the other ways of classical conditioning, because of how it works to activate a new branch of an already learned pattern of association. Higher-order conditioning works to create a habitual response to a repeated pattern of stimuli through nature of a previously acquired reaction to another stimuli- related or unrelated. I found this example of classical conditioning to be reenacted through my actions through the issue of addictions, but unknown addictions, formed through positive connections made from other actions. It's easy to see how individuals who don't usually smoke cigarettes, but in a social setting, with positive stimuli from other cigarette smokers, feel the desire to take part in the same activity. The mind is a simple tool in the addictive sense, because social events are generally positive stimuli, yet can be associated with anything to create a positive, almost parallel sensation in the brain leading to a negatively addictive cycle if not fundamentally recognized. Although addictions are often hereditary issues, or long-term consequences of abuse, I find it fairly easy to see how simple the mind is to deceive with associating certain actions with positive things in specific situations. The ability to associate and categorize certain things and actions into groups is a magnificent human action, but can lead to great trouble when self-control and occasionally health are not taken into consideration. Higher-order conditioning is just another example of mistaken perceptions of the mind due to a 'blind spot' or rather an unintentional connective pathway. I feel that the mind is able to overcome such tendencies if they are discovered, but often these pathways are just associated with character and not stimuli from certain settings- it would be interesting to see which plays a greater role in determining the outcome action given a particular situation.

Pavlov's classical conditioning

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One concept that was very interesting to me during the class and discussion is Pavlov's classical conditioning. In 1900, Ivan Pavlov, a Russian biologist, experiments with dogs that proved their reflexes could be conditioned by external stimuli. Dogs innately salivate when they smell food. First, he gave food to the dog, and the dog salivated. Then he showed the metronome which is an unconditional stimulus, and there was no salivate from the dog. After that, every time he gave food to the dog with the sound of metronome tick. Soon the dog started to associate the sound of the metronome tick with the smell of food. After several times of experiments, it made the dog salivated when it heard a tick sound alone, without food. I think it is important research because it presents how people (and animals) behave by stimulus. That is, be able to describe how knowledge of Pavlov's classic conditioning may help us understand behavior, and the emotion of people, such as some prejudices that we can find easily around us

I also have a dog and she shows me the theory of Pavlov's classical conditioning every day. She knows how to sit, stand up, and roll over by training. When I trained her, I gave her treats when she successfully followed my comments. After few weeks later, when I hold her treats box without saying anything, she does "sit" "sand up" and "roll over" which means she does everything that she can do for treats. That is to say, now she follows the unconditional stimulus of treats instead of following the conditional stimulus of the sound of my comments.
According to the video in the You tube, one of the roommates gives stimulus to the other roommate to prove the Pavlov's conditioning. The first roommate whistles and gives stimulus with air-soft gun. After several times of experiments, the first roommate whistles without shooting, the second roommate flinches even though he does not get any stimulus. This is an example of how Pavlov's conditioning works in work life.
I think the Pavlov's conditioning shows not only how people (and animals) react by stimulus, but also how people learn their behavior. For examples, Pavlov's conditioning is involved in association that is, putting together different ideas-is conditioning. I am wondering what else there are. Research says there are some more types of learned behavior, such as habitation, imprinting, trial and error, and insight. I think it is also good to know in order to explain people's behavior

When do we become aware of our conscious self?

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When do we first become aware of ourselves? Is it when we first are conceived or when we first pop out of the womb? Or is it after we make our first friend and notice they look different from what we do and we are two separate people? What a good question that I never really thought about.

In the section of this video, Professor Vasu Reddy performed the mirror self recognition test, developed by Professor Gordon Gallup Jr., to determine whether or not a toddler was consciously aware. The test involved putting the toddler in front of a mirror and allowing them to look at their face and then their mother would take them away from the mirror, pretending to wipe their nose with a tissue but actually put a dot on the child's face near their nose. Then the child would be allowed to go to the mirror again at their will and if the child looked into the mirror and realized that there was a dot on their face (shown if they looked at their face and immediately went to touch the dot), they were considered to be consciously aware because they were able to realize that the body that they feel is the same one that is reflected into the mirror. From this experiment it was determined that we become consciously aware anytime from 18-24 months.

Professor Gordon Gallup Jr. originally developed this test for determining if animals were consciously aware. In result of doing this experiment to hundreds of different animals, it was shown that only orangutans and chimpanzees, along with humans, were the only ones to show significant evidence that they were consciously aware. In order to be consciously aware, the subject needs to be able to think about themselves in the past, present, and even in the future. The downfall of being consciously aware is that you know that one day your conscious will no longer exist. In the words of Professor Gallup Jr., "death awareness is the price we pay for self awareness".

This video made me think about my siblings and when they first started becoming consciously aware and how I was able to watch them change, becoming their own little people with personalities of their own and it made me think about myself. I uploaded one of my favorite pictures of my dad and I and looking back at it I wonder if I was aware of my conscious. It's remarkable to think that at one time things were so much simpler and carefree when I had no idea of my conscious self. It's also mind-boggling to think about my cat looking into the mirror, as she often does, but she has no conscious of who she is or what happened to her in the past. This video was extremely interesting and enjoyable. It made me think about things in a whole other perspective, in ways that I never thought of.


Catching some zzzzzzzzzzzzz

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The biology of sleep refers to the significance of rest for the body and mind as well as discussing the science of the mental state while sleeping. There are many ideas of just what sleep is good for but most psychologists would suggest sleep helps to process memories, boost the immune system, conserve energy, and restore strength. There are five stages to a healthy sleep cycle. Interestingly enough, a person does not just go through these five cycles and then wakes up, but rather, goes in and out of cycles throughout an entire night's rest. REM sleep, the most commonly known stage, is actually experienced five or six times throughout an entire sleep cycle. This stage also grows increasingly longer as the sleep cycle progresses. Scientists describe each differing stage by the state of consciousness being experienced and the wave lengths occurring in the brain (Lilienfeld 167).

Sleep is such an important concept for all college students today to understand. There is a huge pressure in society to be busy, to constantly have things going on, and to get involved in numerous activities. When trying to keep up with this pressure many people add more and more to their daily schedules. Because the day is always twenty-four hours long and never wavering the first thing people cut from their schedules is the amount of sleep they get. College students are thought to need nine hours of sleep a night. But is that possible with the course load that many sign up for and the amount of homework assigned in a typical college class?

What are the impacts of not getting enough sleep on a day to day basis? While one may be getting more done in a day with an hour less sleep does their work lack in quality? Furthermore, there must be a point when a person crashes either by underperforming, emotionally breaking down, or losing energy. These are all consequences that can be experienced when a person is not getting an adequate amount of sleep at night.

Assignment 2

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The existence of a "bigfoot" or "sasquatch" has been a popular national and international debate topic for years. People who think the idea of a sasquatch is bogus hold strong opinions, but people who believe in sasquatch also hold strong opinions. There is even a group of researchers who call themselves a "scientific research organization" called the "Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization," or "BFRO."
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The difference between people who believe in sasquatch and those who don't is that people who don't believe in sasquatch have strong evidence backing their points. People who believe in sasquatch have only photos and stories.

We can use various critical thinking principles to analyze the existence or nonexistence of sasquatch. For example, the most obvious (and probably most useful) principle we can use is the "extraordinary claims" principle. The existence of a sasquatch creature is an extremely bogus, extraordinary claim, but the only supporting "evidence" found so far consists of photos and word-of-mouth stories; both of which could easily be formulated. Some of the "evidence" found by sasquatch-believers has been falsified by non-believers, which can be analyzed using the "falsification" principle. Here, the BFRO acknowledges the fact that some "sasquatch sightings" have been falsified, proven to be nothing more than costumes.
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One concept we learned about in Psychology 1001 is the confirmation bias. Although the BFRO acknowledges that some sasquatch sightings have indeed been falsified, they continue on to disregard those facts and treat the findings as insignificant in their research, illustrating confirmation bias. Their entire website is littered with bits and pieces of confirmation bias. The following few links are from the BFRO website and are quite amusing - enjoy them!
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