September 2011 Archives

Assignment 1

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One thing that I have really enjoyed learning about is sensation and perception. It is very interesting to me how our brain translates what we see and how we perceive it. One thing that I am looking forward to learning about is other mental conditions and why they happen.

Neurological Disorders (Agnosia, Prosopagnosia)

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The lectures so far have been extremely fascinating, especially those regarding neurological disorders like agnosia and prosopagnosia. I have been reading some of Oliver Sacks' work lately and was intrigued to learn more about the diseases that feature so prominently in my reading (Musicophilia and The Mind's Eye, namely.) As many people have no doubt already mentioned, neural plasticity is also a truly astounding ability that the brain has; it is incredible how adaptive our minds are, and well-suited to the specific tasks of life.

However, although I enjoy the lectures a great deal, the discussion sections are simply too reliant on computers. Although they are great tools, nothing that we do simply cannot be done without them, and it makes it difficult to include all of the group members when not everyone has a computer. In fact, even when everyone does have a computer, it seems like face-to-face collaboration would be more effective than dividing up an assignment and attacking it separately in google docs.

Assignment 1

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Intro to Psych is a fairly interesting class for me. It is not really my favorite class because I am not really interested in the psychological side of people and how people think. I am taking this class more or less because it is a requirement for me to get into the Sport Management major. The most interesting part of the class so far is the components of scientific thinking. The principles make sense and knowing these principles really helps in learning the rest of the materials and components of psychology.

Assignment #1

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Intro to Psych has been both interesting and somewhat boring for me so far. I think that most students came into this class expecting to jump right into the fascinating facts about the human mind and human behavior, like I did, but it turned out to be something else. Studying the very basic yet detailed information about the human brain and all the little strings attached to everyday brain processes is not very appealing to me, so I find it challenging to be motivated to do anything in this class right now. I'm expecting for it to turn around soon and start going on an uphill climb as far as the level of how interesting the things we learn will be in class. Psych lecture is also quite a challenge for me to stay focused in, since there are over 700 other kids in this class. It's really easy to zone out and start focusing on other things that have nothing to do with Psych. But nonetheless, I'm still reading and keeping up with quizzes, taking my own notes as I read and also taking notes in the lectures. Psych discussions are a lot better though, I can ask questions and there's more of a one-on-one dynamic in psych discussion, which I enjoy. I'm just hoping that the chapters will get more interesting as we go along.

Reflection/Expectations of Psy 1001

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Psychology is a new subject to me, and so far I've found it to be extremely interesting. I love the science and anatomy behind it, so naturally chapters three and four have been my favorite so far. Learning how specific areas of the brain relate to specific thought patterns or actions fascinates me, and I look forward to expanding my knowledge in this particular area. I am a visual learner, and appreciate the graphs, charts, and illusions this class incorporates. I am grateful for the communication through e-mail from Kate Briggs, and find updates on the class helpful when trying to keep up to pace. I expect to learn the basic concepts of psychology in this course and hope to establish a quality grade.

Assignment 1

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So far i have really enjoyed learning about the optical illusions. They have always interested me and its cool learning how our brain tricks us into seeing something else. I have also liked reading about the nature vs. nurture debate. Its interesting to hear both sides of the debate and really think about what factors make up who you are. Im looking forward to reading about the different mental disorders and phobias people have.

Assignment 1

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It is very exciting to me to learn about the different parts of the brain and their functions. I really enjoy learning about brain disorders, so it was very interesting to study the connections between a brain disorder or damage and its corresponding brain part. I hope that discussion will supplement the material being taught in lecture and will help me prepare for exams.

Assignment 1

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This is my first time taking psychology and honestly the more I read from the textbook, the more interesting it gets. The most interesting topic that really grabbed my attention was Chapter 2 on Research Methods. It was really useful how they used many cases as an example of why using good research methods is necessary. In this course, I just really want to understand more about why people do the things they do and I hope that the discussions and lectures help guide me.

Assignment 1

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This is my first time in a psychology class. I did not take this in high school. I have nonetheless enjoyed this class thoroughly. The small discussion class have really helped me because it goes deeper into the topics that the lectures are teaching. I am looking forward to learning new topics in psychology since I have no background in this subject

Assignment 1

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This course has turned out to be better than I expected! So far in psychology I have really enjoyed illusions and the many ways our mind tricks us into thinking we know what we are seeing. I am excited to learn about dreams and how to interpret them along with how our emotions work.

Assignment one

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So far in Psychology what I enjoyed learning about the most was illusions. I'm looking forward to learning about dreams and sleeping, that really interests me. I want to learn about interpreting dreams and the meaning behind it. I'm expecting this course to be really fun and insightful and I'm really excited to learn more about how our minds work!

Assignment 1

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My favorite thing about psychology so far is learning about senses and illusions. I've always wondered how our mind gets tricked and it's very interesting. I also enjoyed reading about the ideomotor affect. I remember at my thirteenth birthday party, a girl had this awesome trick. You take a blank piece of paper and fold it in fourths, then draw lines on the folds, then number each box 1, 2, 3, and 4. Acquire a string and something to serve as a weight (we used a washer). Tie the weight to the end of the string and hold the "pendulum" between your index finger and your thumb. The weight should be dangling 1/2 inch from the very center of the paper, where the four boxes meet. Now, holding this string very very still, you think of two of the four numbers repeatedly (1,3. 1,3. 1,3. etc). After a short period of time, you can start to see the pendulum swing from the first number to the second that you are thinking in your head (swings from 1 to 3 for example). It was so cool! And now I'm excited that I know how it works!

I look forward to learning more things about psychology because we are moving so quickly that I am unsure exactly how much psychologists study. I'm also very nervous for this first test because we are moving so quickly. There are so many things to keep track of not to mention all the assignments and extra credit to keep track of on top of that. I just hope I finally get into the swing of things before its too late!

Assignment 1

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So far, the concept that has interested me most is the sensation and perception section. I like learning about how our brain perceives the outside world. It is weird thinking about the brain broken up into parts and each part interpreting a different part of our reality. I'm looking forward to learning more about how the human brain works, especially how it stores memory. I am excited about psychology because it relates directly to physiology, which is my intended major. It also relates directly to me as a human being.

Assignment 1

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I have really enjoyed learning about optical illusions. They had interested me in the past, and I was very excited when I heard we were talking about it. I am very interested about learning development.

My first look at Psychology

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Upon entering PSY 1001 I didn't know what to expect, it has been very different than I thought it would be, but it has also been very enjoyable. My favorite part about class so far has been watching the different optical allusions in small group and in lecture. I especially enjoyed watching the 'Person Swap' youtube video. Some more things that I would like to learn is understanding people's behaviors a bit more. I didn't expect to be doing such scientific looking stuff, and it makes sense that we are, but I'm looking forward to more on just learning about humanistic behaviors, etc.

-Rebecca Rethwisch

Assignment 1

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So far I have enjoyed learning about the Scientific method and Scientific thinking. These two concepts may be some of the most important things that I can learn from 1001 because of the nearly endless application that both Scientific thinking and reason have. During the course if this semester I hope to learn about Clinical Psychology and Social Psychology.

Introduction

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So far, I have found that this past chapter regarding sensation and perception to be the most interesting. I feel that one of the main reasons for taking interest in Psychology has been my curiosity on how the mind works. I'm continually amazed when discovering the brain's hidden tricks and its shortcuts. I look forward to learning more about the brain and what causes social/mental disorders. With regards to expectations for professors, T.A.'s, etc., I really don't have much to say; I haven't had any issues or difficulties with learning the material, and if I did, I would know how to resolve them through help such as office hours, emails, etc.

Assignment 1

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I've really enjoyed learning about how our brain simplifies such a complex world. I never knew before how much our brain filters out or simplifies everything in the world around us. I am very interested in learning about psychological disorders.

Assignment #1

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Throughout the first few weeks in Psychology 1001 I have learned various different concepts. So far I have enjoyed learning about the Biological aspect of this course. Also, I like the chapter about sensation and perception. The different illusions such as the moon illusion, Ames room illusion, and the Ponzo illusion are really cool. I am looking forward to learning about how our memory operates and how we think and reason.

Writing Assignment #1

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During the last few weeks in Psychology 1001, I have found the topic of optical illusions, the Gestalt principles, and how we perceive things interesting. I think it is fascinating how each one of our nervous systems work uniquely so we are able to see things from a varying point of view. I'm looking forward to learning more about the other body systems and what role they have in the psychological field. Also, i'm interested in learning about how our emotions play a role in psychology and what determines them.
Kerri Young (youn1267)

Optical Illusions and the Subconscious

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For me the most interesting concept we have gone over so far is definitely the information about illusions. I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks that they look really cool, but beyond that, it's super interesting because of the psychological basis for why we misinterpret these images. It's very clever, considering we could be told we are going to look at an optical illusion and our brain can still perceive the image wrong. I think that topics like illusions (the "cooler" or "more interesting" subjects) are the reason most psychology majors chose psychology; how our brains work can be fascinating. I look forward to learning more about how the brain works in general, and specifically the areas we don't know much about (like how present our subconscious is in our thought process).

Assignment #1-Kyle Wong

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During the past two weeks of psychology I have learned about a number of very interesting concepts and theories that are applicable to everyday life. One subject that I found specifically interesting was the Nature vs. Nurture debate. The Nature vs. Nurture debate is a concept that focuses on whether a person's personality and psychological habits are based more off biological factors or environmental factors. Over the years enough data has been collected that proves neither nature nor nurture is completely responsible for a person's behavior. I believe that studying this field of research is very important because it will help in many areas of a child's development, such as how to raise a child, whether or not certain environmental factors could help or hurt a child's development and many other related matters. Something that I hope we will learn more about over the semester is brain plasticity and how our brain is able to change and to what extent.

Writing Assignment #1

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Going into psychology I thought it would be a breeze having already taken psychology in high school, but so far I have been wrong. Even though it has not been easy I have enjoyed it a lot. The readings are long but engage me more than any other school related reading. The Psychology 1001 book has good real life examples and pictures that make the concepts easily comprehendible. I also have really enjoyed discussion. It has given us an opportunity to relate what we are learning to the real world through projects. Throughout this course I hope to gain more knowledge and maybe even be persuaded to be a psychology major.

Assignment 1

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I took a Psychology class in high school and thought that this class would be similar, but I was wrong. This class definitely moves at a faster pace and is more informative than my high school class. Even though it is so fast paced and is slightly hard to keep up with at times, it is still a very interesting class. So far my favorite thing that we have talked about would the different types of illusions. I am looking forward to learning about the different personality theories of people.

Assignment 1

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So far, psychology is my favorite class this semester. I really enjoy the readings because they are interactive and the pictures and charts help me as a visual learner. I have always enjoyed psychology courses and what I want from this one is to be able to retain the information I'm learning by applying it to everyday life. I can't wait to learn more about how our brain works and why we do the things that we do. It's odd to think that even the littlest, simplest things have a neurological/psychological explanation.

Psychology Write-up 1

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I took psychology in high school, so I expected this class to be somewhat like what I had already taken. I was so wrong though. Not only does this class move faster than my other class, it also goes into more depth of the subjects being covered. I feel that I have learned more in these four weeks than I did for all of my original psychology class. I am very excited to be taking psychology here, even though it has nothing to do with my major. The University of Minnesota's psychology department is so well known that I feel honored to be able to take a course under their teaching. So far my favorite thing that I have learned is all of the different parts of the brain. I love learning about the scientific part of why we think the way we do. It is very interesting to me that each tiny part of the brain has its own specific role in making our body's function. The brain is so amazing because it not only controls our movement, it controls things we do not consciously think about, like breathing, our heartbeat, dreams, etc. I think it is so cool that the brain does this and is extremely small
This year in psychology, I really want to learn more about how emotions get triggered, like why certain music puts us in a particular mood or why random objects can trigger sadness or excitement. I want to see why individual's brains register things like that differently than others. I know all people have different experiences in life, but I also wonder if each person's brain makeup is different. I also want to know exactly which part of the brain registers each emotion. I think it is very interesting when psychologist use the MRI and fMRI scans to see exactly which part of the brain is being used.
I am very excited for the rest of the year in psychology. I know it is going to be a lot of work, but the knowledge gained will be very useful, no matter what my major is.

Assignment 1

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In Psychology I have found the way the brain and the rest of the body communicate with each other very interesting, and also the way certain medicines and drugs affect the way they communicate. I'm looking forward to learning more about emotions and personalities.

ASSIGNMENT #1

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So far, I have really enjoyed this psychology course. I have taken a course before at MCTC but I have found this class to be more interactive with the students. I love that majority of the things we have learned in lecture and in class, we are given an example for reference which I have found to be extreamly helpful. I am really enjoying learning about sensation and perseption, especially perseption. I find it odd how our perseption of an illusion can be misguided by our brains ability to fill in "what is missing" even though nothing is really there. I am looking forward to learning everything that this class has to offer.

Assignment #1 bemel010

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Sec 09 Assignment:
I hope through this class that I can pinpoint and narrow down what kind of psychology I would like to study and pursue as a career. Something from class I have really enjoyed so far has been the optical illusions. I find it fascinating how we see things and how our brain interprets them.

Assignment #1:
Even though there are numerous reliable psychological resources existing today, there is still a common false impression that most, if not all people, use only 10 percent of their brain. The so-called "10-percent myth" became popular and gripped peoples attention in the late 1800s near the same time as phrenology emerged. However, the "10-percent myth" quickly became falsified after stimulation studies involving neuroimaging and brain stimulation were established and took place.

As a result, when I Google-imaged what a picture of what it would look like to "utilize only 10% brain," this image came up, http://www.whatpoll.com/Posts/myths%20about%20the%20brain%205003.jpg , which I found quite fitting. Then, when I typed into Google-images "brain stimulation," this image http://medicmagic.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/brain1.jpg , came up. This photo of the brain highlighted all parts of the human brain, which in fact, are all active parts and play a critical role in total human functioning affecting all human behavior.
Thus, we learned from lecture and our textbook reading, that as humans, we gain new understandings (such as humans DO use more than just 10% of their brains) by overcoming traditions as well as what everyone thinks to be true by when evaluating science versus traditional ideas and methods.

In conclusion, due to the fact that scientific knowledge is tentative and open to revision, and must be supported by facts, there are numerous technologies today, such as MRI, PET, CT, EEG imaging scans that highlight brain activity and how crucial the ENTIRE brain is to humans everyday functioning.

Assignment 1

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Assignment 1: Write a blog about what you like in Psychology and about what you are excited to learn / what is to come.

There are a number of things I enjoy about Psychology. Learning how the brain works and all of its systems is very interesting to me. Prior to this class, I learned most of how the brain words, but in Psychology 1001 they go into more detail. The brain is so small in comparison to what is all does! What intrigued me most is how the temporal lobe, which is located at the bottom/ back of the head, is the prime site of hearing, understanding, language, and storing memories of our past. What I look forward to in psychology is chapter 15. Chapter 15 includes mental illness, mood disorders, and suicide. These topics really interest me.

First.

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The first weeks of psychology were vey intimidating, i hate class readings and when i found out how much we had to do i got a little nervous, but as time passed i felt way more comfortable. The first two chapters were very intriguing to me. I am mostly about the actually interpretation of psychology, rather then the science and biology behind it, which is why the third chapter was the worst to engage in. Although, the professor who taught biological psychology was one of my favorites thus far. I am mainly excited to see how the first exam goes, and how to learn more skills for studying, since i never really studied in high school. Right now the illusions are an interest of mine because i think that visual perception and mind phenomena are something that will always be a mystery in some cases. I currently have an undecided major, but with how this course is going i may actually end up majoring in psychology.

Assignment #1 Natalie Barsness

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Although I took Psychology in high school, I am finding that Psych 1001 has been very informative thus far. One thing that I have learned here at the U of M that I had not during high school psych is the story of Jenny Storch and facilitated communication. Although it appeared as tho the facilitators were assisting this young girl who couldn't previously communicate with her parents, experiments where the communicators and the child were looking at different images showed that the facilitators were typing the image they saw, not the image that the child saw. The facilitators did not realize that they were actually the ones who were telling the child's parents things such as "I love you" or, more disturbingly, that Jenny's parents were severely sexually abusing her, causing her to be sent to foster care. Had "facilitated communication" not been proven invalid due to the ideomotor effect Jenny may have never been reunited with her parents. (source is pages 44-45 in our textbook)

Assignment 1

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In Psychology 1001, I have really enjoyed the optical illusions we have been subjected to. I have always enjoyed learning about why different pictures are illusions and what parts of our brain are used to trick our mind. It is interesting to learn about why and what parts of our brain perceives some pictures differently than they actually are. In this class I hope to learn more about how and why certain people do things. I would enjoy listening to a forensic psychologist lecture a about what he/she does and how they make their conclusions based on evidence from the scene to predict the type of suspect.

Assignment #1

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So far, I have enjoyed learning about the research methods. Specifically, I liked the nature vs nurture concept. I also like reading about absurd and incorrect theories

Assignment #1

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So far, I have been very intrigued in everything that we have learned so far in Psychology 1001. A lot of it is a repeat from high school but it sure seems to go more in depth. So far in class, something that I liked most was getting to learn more about the brain and our behavior network. I find it very interesting how so many things are connected and there are several processes in which pain has to go through before you may feel it. Even though it takes a split second for all of this to happen. Something that I am most looking forward to learning about in the upcoming chapters would have to be about psychological disorders. I found it very interesting in high school so I am looking forward to getting more in depth with each one and what causes them.

Assignment 1

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The thing that I've found most interesting this semester is that there is very little that we can be absolutely sure about in psychology. I was amazed at the difficulty to perform an experiment that will allow the psychologist to obtain reliable data. After thinking about it, I think I may fall into some of the traps of many study participants if I ever chose to be in one. First, I think the Hawthorne Effect would be something I'd exhibit. Knowing I was in an experiment would make me think about why the experiment was being performed, and I feel as though I would try and work to achieve a certain outcome as opposed to acting as I would naturally. Second, I think I may fall into the placebo or nocebo effects in an experiment. If given a pill, I can see myself constantly trying to feel some sort of after effect of it, even if it wasn't there. Overall, not only do I think I'd be a confounding test subject, but I can also see why it's tough to gather truthful data in an experiment.

I hope to become more aware of the way I function as a person by taking this course. I want to learn about why we feel the sensations and emotions that we do, and what are the natural ways for us to react to certain events in our lives. I am very excited and inspired by what I have read in the first few chapters of the book and heard from professors at the lectures. It is my hope that the class shares this enthusiasm too, and that my teacher can be someone I can go to as a resource for help as well as to talk and learn a bit extra about some of the concepts discussed in class.

Assignment one

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When hearing about psychology at The U, the first thing said is how much work and reading it is. Although excessive reading can take its toll, I think interesting reading is a wonderful thing. And I also believe that psychology can provide me with some extremely interesting reading and discussion topics. The human brain is so complex and theories about its functioning is ever changing. Psychology is a contemporary study, while it also maintains ideas that arose centuries ago. Many ideas that psychologists have today could be dropped in the future due to them being disproven, while others will continue to thrive. I hope that by this course's end i have a better idea of not only how brains work in general, but of how my brain has grown into what and who I am today. When we are being lectured in class, we aren't learning about some people that did something at some time. When we study psychology, we are studying ourselves, and that is so rad.

Nature vs. Nurture

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In psychology 1001, we have covered some very interesting and important topics that effect our mindsets and how we are perceived as individuals. The research finding that I believe is the most interesting is the nature vs. nurture concept described in chapter 3: biological psychology. The nature vs. nurture is a very important finding in psychology and informs the public about how DNA and the world around us can influence the brain's behavior.

Nature vs. nurture is precisely the way our genes and DNA along with our surroundings in the environment can shape the person we are. A big part of it is our genes which play a part in physical aspects such as height, hair color, eye color, skin color and much more. The second part of this finding, the environment, can include multiple things such as the people we live with and how we were raised as a child, friends who one may spend hours a day with, the town or city we lived in as children, the education one has received, or even the social class we belong to such as the high, middle or low class or even whether or not one is living below the poverty line. All these factors contribute to our physical, mental and emotional beings we develop into throughout a lifetime.

This psychological research finding is important since it gives insight into how genes and the environment can influence a person's physical traits, actions, thoughts and behavior. It is able to make connections as to how a person's behavior is related to their genetic makeup along with what kind of environment they are living in. With this concept, a psychologist is able to find whether a person's actions or thoughts are due to their genes, their environment or maybe even a little bit of both.

This psychological finding has related to my personal life as a child and growing up. In the past, I have had to deal with my parents fighting and yelling at each other over their latest argument. Whether it was about money, divorce or affairs, it seemed as though it was a weekly task to fight about something that they had trouble with. It really hurt me to see them yell at each other and especially to see them cry at the end of it. These rough times have definitely had a huge impact on my life growing up because I was never sure if everything was alright, or if my parents were just saying that to make my sister and I feel better. It made me realize that marriage is not perfect and it takes a lot to keep peace and happiness present in any home. The nature of this problem made my emotions run wild. I did not know what to do or say to keep them from fighting. My past had definitely affected the person I am today all because of my genes, but also because of the home and environment I was raised in.

Blog #1

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So far in Psych 1001, I have enjoyed learning about the brain. I think neuroscience is pretty interesting and I look forward to learning more about it. I'm also very much looking forward to learning about social psychology. Human interaction is fascinating to me and how we can be socially conditioned and convinced into doing certain things. I am possibly looking into becoming a Psychology major though I am not sure of whether to go down the arts or the sciences path.
One thing that I found really interesting that I learned in my psychology class in high school, was the concept of a "wild child" which also is related to the nature vs. nurture argument. It is truly fascinating to see how a person's environment can so dramatically change they're personality and way of interacting. I'm looking forward to a exciting semester.

Blog #1

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So far i have really enjoyed psych 1001, I am a psych major so all of it is very interesting to me! If i had to choose what has been the most interesting for me I would say Biological Psychology, specifically nature vs nurture and gentetics. I think it is so interesting to see how behaviors might be connected to genetics, and thinking about what might cause behaviors in general. My goal career is a behavioral analysist (criminal profiler if you will) for the FBI so anythink with behavior and causes is highly interesting to me!
I hope to learn more about behavioral psychology and disorders as the semester goes on. I truly find the human mind and how it works interesting and amazing, and look forward to learning more about it! For discussion, I am hoping to learn how to move as fast on my computer as I need to because I cant keep up with how fast our leader goes!
~Bailee Meyer

Blog 1

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So far this course, I have learned a lot of interesting ideas I never thought of before. One thing I found interesting was the history of psychology. I did not realize how much thoughts and changes went into modern day psychology. I have always been interested in psychology, but I forgot to look into the history of it. I was happy to learn about it the first couple weeks of school.

I know psychology is a complicated science, but I would like to learn about how a person's brain reacts to interaction with other people and what happens to the brain after a dramatic incident or experience.

Assignment 1

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I believe one of the most important concepts or debates ever to surface throughout the history of psychology is the nature-nurture debate. The debate is about whether a person's behavior and mental state are influenced by society or their family, the way they are nurtured, or if they are a direct result of their genetics, their nature.

Although recently many scientists in the social sciences field have reached an agreement that both nature and nurture are together relevant and important in shaping a person's psyche, there are still debates out there that one is more relevant than the other, or for some aspects of the psyche, one is completely irrelevant compared to the other.

For example, I found an article while surfing the internet one day about homosexuality and how, at one point, it was thought by the American Psychological Association to be a mental disorder. There were various experiments done by various scientists to figure out if homosexuality was influenced by nature or by nurture. It was clear that scientists believed that homosexuality was either nature or nurture; not both. That article can be found here: http://allpsych.com/journal/homosexuality.html

The nature-nurture debate is directly relevant to me because my younger sister is adopted. I have always been interested to see in which ways she has grown up different from me, and in which ways she is the same. She is of the same ethnic background, and was adopted when she was three, but she is still different from me in various ways such as height, body type, metabolism, and interests. She is the same in ways such as speech style and, to some extent, decision-making.

I guess what I still want to know is why the nature-nurture debate still exists to the extent that it does when it has been proven that both nature and nurture affect everything that shapes the human psyche.

Assignment 1

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I think the "neuroplasticity" topic is the most interesting to me. I am in neuroscience 1001 and a lot of things we are talking about in that class relate to this class, such as the functions of different areas of the brain and how they can be rewired to substitute for damaged areas. I really like this subject because it shows how the brain is not completely hardwired like we used to think it was and there is a lot of opportunity for change in the lives of people who are physically impaired. I would really like to learn a lot about the mental disorders and how they occur, and also how they change the makeup biologically of a sufferer of a specific disorder.

The Amazing Plasticity in the Brain

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The most interesting part of Psychology so far has been the chapter on Biological Psychology. To think that a small, three pound organ in our head can be so advanced and is able to change and adapt as we develop is truly fascinating. The brain's ability to change and grow as we develop is called plasticity. According to the Lilienfeld textbook, there are four different kinds of plasticity that the brain can undergo. The first is the growth of dendrites and axons. Dendrites and axons both help a neuron function as dendrites receive signals and axons send signals to other neurons. The brain can also form new synapses, which are spaces that allow neurotransmitters to travel between neurons. Thirdly, the brain can get rid of neurons that it no longer needs, a process called pruning. Finally, the brain is able to insulate axons using myelin sheaths, which protect axon's signals.
So plasticity is extremely important because it allows our brains to be sharp and to function at its best. But what fascinates me the most is the brain's ability to change shape and create new connections. I found a video that is a perfect example of plasticity in the brain (found below). Jodi's hemispherectomy was performed in order to remove her entire right hemisphere in the hopes of limiting her seizures. Miraculously, Jodi was able to function with one hemisphere. Because of plasticity, her left hemisphere began making connections to the fluid that had taken the place of her right hemisphere when it was removed. The fact that the brain has the power to repair itself to such a degree at a young age is amazing. However, plasticity is not magical, so it cannot cure diseases such as Alzheimers or Parkinsons. The brain is also not able to heal itself completely after experiencing major head trauma. I can't help but wonder how far plasticity can actually go, and what its boundaries are. Also, if Jodi were an adult at the time of her surgery, how much would the results differ?
Through this class, I hope to gain knowledge that I can apply to my future career in Nursing. Understanding psychology will allow me to assess my patient's needs better, allowing me to be more successful. By the end of this course, I expect to obtain a greater appreciation for psychology, and its effects on human life.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSu9HGnlMV0

Nature vs. Nurture, the Mystery

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I have found much of the information covered in class very applicable to everyday life and very important to have knowledge of. The one concept that really caught my interest was the Nature vs. Nurture debate. This concept of Psychology has been extensively studied. Nature refers to the traits that are the result of the genes that were passed down to the offspring by the parents. In other word the things that were biologically affected by the genetic material that has been inherited. Nurture refers to the traits that are the result of the environment the subject has been exposed to. In other words, Nurture refers to the traits that have been learned or taught.
The scientists have devoted a large amount of time trying to determine what psychological traits are affected by either Nature or Nurture. Psychologists look at this idea through various studies. One of these studies I have found to be most interesting is the study of Else Schein and Paula Bernstein. This study was of two identical twins separated at birth. (The link below will take you to an article telling the whole story.) They were reunited and found that they had many of the same psychological characteristics as each other.
As I was reading this information about Nature versus Nurture and the story of the identical twins, I became curious in the heritability of many of my traits. I look very similar to my mother that is obviously due to Nature. I have the same humor as my Father. I behave similar in social situations as my Sister and Mother. I take after my Mother through my caring and motherly instincts. All of these characteristics could easily be due to Nature and just as easily be due to Nurture. I would be curious to know if I would be the same person if I were raised in another environment. Is there anyway to find out? Is there really a single cause for certain traits, or are some caused by a combination of Nature and Nature? Will the mystery of Nature versus Nurture ever be solved?

Assignment 1

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Psychology so far has been a really fun class. I enjoy going to class and the discussion. One thing I have found really interesting thus far would be learning about the brain. I like learning about how the brain works and seeing how each lobe functions. For the rest of this class, I hope to learn more about what happens when we sleep and why we dream what we dream at night. I find psychology very interesting and I am also considering majoring in it. I expect to go to discussion prepared and if I have any questions or concerns I will be able to share those with my TA. I also expect, that if I somehow get behind in class, my TA will be there to help me catch up.
-Sami

Assignment 1

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Psychology has been a great class so far! I enjoy both the discussion and the lecture. The nature vs. nurture debate has always been a topic that I could never decide how I felt about. After talking about it in depth in our discussion last week, I am still quite undecided. I believe a little bit of both factors influence how a child is raised. From this class, I hope to learn how to understand people's nonverbal skills a little bit better. I expect that there will be open communication between the students and the TA to make sure that everyone is on the same page about assignments and any questions that come up in lecture/readings.

Blog Post Number One

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So far, I have found chapter 3 of our studies the most interesting. I enjoy studying the brain and the functions of each section of the brain. I also enjoy how these studies directly apply to us and how it relates to biology. I find the correlation between psychology and biology fascinating. During this semester, the most interesting thing I have learned so far is how the different parts of the brain function and how this affects our personal lives.
During this semester, I hope to gain a general overview on psychology as a whole and get exposed to the science. I also hope to learn more about how psychology effects our personal lives. Overall, I expect this class to be an interesting topic and a great learning experience !

Blog Number One

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So far, the semester has been pretty interesting. I've probably been most interested by the discussion this week about synapses and how our brain works. To think that our entire consciousness and everything about us can really be broken down into small electrical currents moving through cells is mind-boggling.

The fact that the brain has evolved over millions of years into such a precise and delicate part of our bodies, and that we still don't understand all of what goes on is simply amazing.

Overall I think I'm looking forward to just getting a taste of what psychology is during this semester. I'm not a psychology major, and I don't anticipate taking any more classes in psychology, so the format of this course works well for me. Hopefully by the end of the semester I'll have at least a working knowledge of the subject.

-Will

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Thus far in psychology we have gone over many concepts and theories but one in particular has stuck out to me, and that is the Nature vs Nurture debate.
This to me is almost two separate concepts, one being that nature is the main cause of human behavior and developmental outcome and the other is that nurture is that cause of our behavior and developmental outcome.
I think that these two ideas are important because both in my eyes attribute to human development and by studying the effects that these two things have on humans could be crucial in determining the future of many human beings.
You can see this concept well at work in schools all across the nation. The debate of ADD, does it really even exist. I for one feel it does exist, but I do think that it is over diagnosed many times. For instance there have been times in schools where a child that is seemingly over energetic in second grade is immediately tabbed as "suffering" ADD. If you look though, most of the time the diagnosed are boys in the second grade, these children most of the time are just being children. The reason that this is related to nature vs nurture is because maybe some of these children have been raised in a fashion that at their homes they are able to do whatever they want, and act how they please. So in essence the nurture aspect of the way these kids are being raised tells them it is ok to act wild in their school setting. The nature aspect though could in fact be that these children biologically speaking have ADD. Some of these children may have the imbalance which makes them more energetic and have less patience then others. This biological issue may indeed have been handed down from parents, but the way they act could be just due to the fact they were raised, or because they are just being kids.
Most people would agree that these two things go hand in hand in developing and shaping the behaviors of humans throughout there lives. But it is still debated which one has a greater influence. I for one think that nature has a bigger pull, because even if someone may be a non violent person the way they were raised by their parents could in fact make them violent. Like in the Bogle family.

Assignment 1

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So far I'm really enjoying psychology. I added the class late so I missed the first week. I was a bit overwhelmed with the amount of catch up reading that I had to do at first, but than I realized it wasn't too bad. I wasn't very excited about the first two chapters in our book, but once I started reading chapter 3 I found it really interesting. I especially like learning about the different parts of the brain and what they do. It fascinates me.

Welcome!

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Hey guys!

Welcome to the blog! This blog is designed for you guys to post any of your class-related thoughts, comments, or questions. It is also where you will submit your writing assignments. The first one is due October 2 by 11:59 pm. The goal of the first post is really to make sure that you have access to the blog and know how to work with it and how to post to it. With that in mind, grading will be lenient, but I would like you to answer the following two questions in your posts: 1) What is one thing so far this semester that you've learned that you found interesting? 2) What do you hope to learn from or get out of this class or what are your expectations of this class and/or of me?

As for me, so far, I've enjoyed the unit on behavioral genetics. Being a biology major as well in my undergrad, I'm very intrigued by biology and genetics; also, being a MN native and UMN student, the twin studies are a point of state and school pride. Before the end of class, I hope to learn everyone's names; I'm terribly slow at learning names, but in three months, I think I can do it! Wish me luck!

Dustin

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