October 2011 Archives

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 [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMTIlXavtqU] 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" (http://www.viewzone.com/babytalk.html). 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.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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 http://www.selfhypnosistherapy.com/hypnosis-myths.html 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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5z-KSF0dA4

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".http://www.memorylossonline.com/glossary/anterogradeamnesia.html

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. < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vk6H7Ukp6To> < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjAta0Ahuzg>.


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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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qGlMG71EeM
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, allpsych.com 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 flocabulary.com/why 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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qGlMG71EeM
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:

Image: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/meriw007/psy_1001/memory-loss.jpg
Link: http://helpguide.org/life/prevent_memory_loss.htm
Video: http://youtu.be/s7Fv0scKEvI

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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNj04Omq60U
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.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErjP5xMTc8I (the trailer of 50 First Dates)
Also, Finding Nemo is one good example of short term memory loss.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuvF113uty4 (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. http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html (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: http://www.kspope.com/memory/facade.php.) 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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=zu6-4TN8EOk
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 (http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro02/web3/mwhite.html) 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.
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/200/4347/1302.short 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 :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jk7WuvNKe_g
Clive Wearing "man with a 30 second memory" video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmzU47i2xgw

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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQr_IJvYzbA. 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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yrj0IogDb4
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. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwigmktix2Y


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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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqZmW7uIPW4)

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 snopes.com, 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 http://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/corpus-callosotomy

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
Replicability: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3035442.stm

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 bigfootencounters.com. 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 http://www.bigfootencounters.com/stories/putnamcntyIN.htm

hallucination. (2011). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/252916/hallucination

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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVEulrvBwsA)

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 http://a.abcnews.com//images/Technology/abc_heene_balloon_091015_mn.jpg.) 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 http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/AheadoftheCurve/boy-floats-away-hot-air-balloon/story?id=8837704).
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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wI6UONWCq7A.) 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." ABCNews.com: 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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ivan_Pavlov_%28Nobel%29.png
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) http://www.amazon.com/Country-Time-Lemonade-Mix-82-5/dp/B000F30MLO 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 Snopes.com 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." (Snopes.com).

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: http://www.bmj.com/content/331/7508/94.full

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."
[ www.bfro.net ]

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.
[ http://www.bfro.net/news/korff_scam.asp ]

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!
[ http://www.bfro.net/gdb/show_FAQ.asp?id=409 ]
[ http://www.bfro.net/gdb/show_FAQ.asp?id=408 ]
[ http://www.bfro.net/gdb/show_FAQ.asp?id=411 ]

The Trichromatic Theory

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The Trichromatic Theory explains our color vision depends on three different cones receptors within the retina of the eye. Each cone has a different sensitivity to certain wavelengths of light and interpreted by the brain as visible color. Our color vision is based on the primary colors: blue, green and red and the mixture of all three of these primary colors creates a complete color spectrum. I think this theory is important because it helps the world understand color vision. If all three cones were absent, our eye would only perceive things as gray. The Trichromatic Theory helped explain vision disorders such as color blindness, which is resulted from absence of a type of cone.
My uncle, Don, was diagnosed with being colorblind when he was younger. When he was around 6 years old, his mother started noticing he couldn't detect various colors. When Don would pick out his clothes for school, she would ask him " pick out the red shirt", he would simply pick up a green shirt instead. They took Don to the doctor and he was diagnosed with color blindness. The doctor told them he was born with it and usually patients don't realize that they are colorblind that's why Don's family just started recognizing symptoms. Don has an absence of a cone and he struggles with telling the difference of red and green. Also, another example to understand the history and a more in depth explanation of the Trichromatic Theory is by this youtube video URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-majiS83ACs
I'm wondering if a person who is colorblind, can distinguish all the colors of the spectrum in their dreams or if cone receptors are even related to what colors you perceive in dreams?

Where is consciousness located?

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In the BBC documentary about consciousness, "The Secret You", much is revealed about why and how we have our conscious selves. As we have already learned, the brain is extremely complex and contains billions of connections and nerve cells. Due to these complexities, our brains have a highly developed cortex that allows us to be self aware much more than other animals or species. The main area of the brain where consciousness is first located is in the reticular activating system in the brain stem. The reticular activating system is mostly responsible for regulating arousal and transitions between being asleep and awake. Our signal of consciousness is then passed on to the sensory relay station of the thalamus. The thalamus then sends these signal projections onto the cortex where we realize the presence of our conscious selves. Consciousness is all about constant activation of the cortex due to face that we are always conscious of what is going on around us and what our body is doing. One question that I wonder about is whether a conscious life, such as human beings lead, or an unconscious life, one that most other animals lead, is in question "better"? As humans, being conscious, we get to experience the richness of emotions and individual personality. Yet emotions bring about a type of pain that most other animals do not experience. There are benefits to both ways of living, but as humans we will never know what it is like to lead an unconscious existence.

Assignment #2

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I decided to evaluate the claim of Pele and Lava rocks. This claim states that visitors that have taken lava rocks or sand from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park have experience bad luck until they have returned the sand/rocks back to Hawaii. A principle of thinking that could be used to evaluate this claim is correlation vs. causation. Even though some people may have experience back luck after taking the rocks it can not be proved that everyone who has ever taken a rock from Hawaii has had bad luck. People that took the rock(s) as a souvenir and did not experience any bad luck had nothing to report to in this case the media, whereas people that did experience bad luck were more likely to report. It has not been proved scientifically that taking a rock will result in bad luck. A second principle of of critical thinking that could be applied to this hoax is extraordinary claims. The hoax says that everyone who has taken a rock has had bad luck but has the media asked the people who have taken rocks and not been affected? This claim extra ordinary claim that everyone that takes a rock has bad luck cannot be considered a fact until everyone that has taken a rock has reported about their life afterwards and whether they experienced bad luck or if life carried on normally. Doc1.doc.

Pavlov's Classical Conditioning

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One important concept from our lectures that I found interesting was Pavlov's Classical Conditioning. This procedure was conducted by Ivan Pavlov and his assistants who would introduce various items and measure the saliva production created by those products. For example, the experimenters would expose dogs to the constant ticking of a metronome and then immediately present them with food. The food was the unconditioned stimulus because it creates an automatic response. The metronome was considered the neutral stimulus, which eventually became a conditioned stimulus, provoking a conditioned response such as salivation. He concluded that salivation was a learned response, because test subjects responded to the sights they saw within their environment. This discovery led to the formation of behavioral psychology, which is helpful today in treating many disorders.

Sleepwalking: Harmless or Dangerous?

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Have you ever woke up and found yourself just standing in a random room of the house? Chances are you probably got there by sleepwalking. Sleepwalking is exactly what it sounds like: walking while fully asleep. Sleepwalking occurs in 15 to 30 percent of children and 4 to 5 percent of adults. It does not happen every time they fall asleep though. Although sleepwalking may seem harmless, it can be extremely dangerous in some situations. When most people sleepwalk they just wander around their room or house, but there have been some instances where people have climbed out of windows, wandered into the street, or even driven a car. When this happens people have no idea what they are doing so they cannot control their actions. The most extreme case of sleepwalking accidents happened when a young man drove to his in-laws' house, killed his mother-in-law, and injured his father-in-law, when he was supposedly asleep. When this case was brought to court, the man was eventually declared innocent because the jury and judge believed he was actually asleep. This story and other incredible sleepwalking stories can be found at http://www.oddee.com/item_96680.aspx.
When I was younger I used to sleepwalk all of the time. I would usually just wander around the house and then fall asleep on the stairs, but one time I walked out of the house and ended up sleeping under a tree. After that my parents made sure to lock the doors so I would not hurt myself somehow. Now that I am older I rarely sleep walk, and if I do, I never leave the house.
I think sleepwalking is important to understanding humans because as stated above, sleepwalking can be very dangerous. Sleepwalkers do not know when their next episode will happen so they have to always lock the doors and windows to ensure they will not hurt themselves. I wonder if psychologists will ever find a way to stop sleepwalking. If not, maybe they could find what exactly causes people to sleepwalk and then be able to predict when the next episode will be.

Uberman's Sleep Schedule

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As we've read in chapter five, our sleep cycle consists of five stages. This sleep cycle, which repeats approximately every ninety minutes, consists of non-REM sleep (stages 1 - 4) and REM sleep (stage 5). REM sleep is the deepest period of sleep throughout this progression and is essential to our health. We cycle back to the REM stage about five or six times throughout the course of the night, encompassing about an hour in its entirety. If the REM stage is so important to our health, is there a way to take full advantage of this portion, and lessen our amount of non-REM sleep?

The typical person sleeps for hours at a time, but the Uberman's Sleep Schedule, however, views sleep on a different timetable. Spaced evenly throughout the day, Uberman's method states that sleeping six times a day for twenty to thirty minutes at a time is a sufficient amount of rest. Granted, one must immediately skip from stage one to stage five, the REM stage. Training one's body to enter REM sleep instantly is done under conditions of sleep deprivation, and is typically mastered over the course of a week. Under this method, it is believed one's body still benefits from healthy sleep, but can be active twenty-one to twenty-two hours out of the day. Vivid dreams are a key characteristic specific to the REM stage, and occur frequently within Uberman's routine.

The capabilities of the human brain amaze me. Sleeping for two hours a day seems extreme, but by applying definitions and concepts learned from our text, I can comprehend how this is possible. Though long-term health risks are still unknown and under investigation, the claims that people can survive on such a minimal amount of sleep and still feel rejuvenated when they wake up is fascinating. Clearly it truly is possible to maximize vital stages of sleep, and efficiently nap our time away.

Pavlov's Classic Conditioning

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One concept that has always been very interesting to me is Ivan Pavlov's conditioned reflex research finding. The way he figured out the phenomenon of the conditioned reflex is the classic experiment where Pavlov surgically attached tubes to dog's saliva glands to measure the amount and when saliva is produced. First he showed when food was brought to the dogs that they would salivate. He then showed that when a metronome was set randomly there would be no salivation from the dogs. The next part of the experiment involved having the metronome tick, and then present food to the dogs; making them salivate. After numerous times of "conditioning" the dogs with the metronome and food, they would begin salivating after just the sound of the metronome tick regardless if food was presented or not. The experiment shows how after an animal is "conditioned" with a stimulus, a conditioned reflex occurs. The picture below shows the concept, but with a bell ding instead of a metronome tick.

Pavlov dog.gif

I believe this proof is very important because it is possibly considered to be one of the main ways people learn.


As shown in the You tube video in the first link, the first roommate presses a button and then shoots his roommate with an air-soft pistol. After numerous times of being shot after hearing the first roommate press the button, the second roommate flinches even without the gun being shot. The second video, is a more staged test from the TV series "The Office" where Jim makes a sound on his computer and then asks Dwight if he wants an altoid. After multiple times of giving Dwight an altoid after Jim makes the sound on his computer, Dwight begins to crave an altoid when he hears the sound. These are just a few examples of how classic conditioning works.

After watching the Youtube video, I was curious to see if I could come up with a similar experiment and get the same result. This past weekend when I was home, I made a timer ding and then fling a rubber band at my brother. I proceeded to do this for an entire day. The next morning, right when my brother came out of his room I dinged the timer, and he immediately ran back in his room to protect himself. I then asked him why he ran into his room, and he answered by saying he thought I was going to shoot a rubber band at him after the timer dinged. This showed me that classic conditioning is a viable form of learning from past experiences, and proved the Youtube video wasn't just acted out.

I am still very interested in finding other ways that the conditioned reflex technique can possibly teach people. I wonder if a stimulus is used before some sort of physical therapy process is done, if eventually after hearing/seeing a stimulus the body possibly heals itself. A stimulus could be used something like a placebo, where if the body/mind thinks it will be healed, it may possibly heal itself. I wonder to what extent can humans/animals learn from Pavlov's classic conditioning technique.


Mitch Gutzman

Hypnosis and the Truth

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As I begun to read chapter five about sleep and consciousness I was especially interested in the topic of hypnosis. Hypnosis is defined as a set of techniques that provides people with suggestions for alterations in their perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. As a part of my graduation celebration the school hired hypnosis for entertainment. I remember being so amazed as I watch my friends being controlled by the hypnotists. But as I read the book I realized that there was a very clear explanation into how the hypnotist was able to influence the participants. The book explained that the first step in stage hypnosis is to choose people who have high suggestibility. As I think back to the event, I remember the hypnosis starting by performing a trick on the entire crowd. He asked us to outstretch our hands as he began to talk to us in soothing relaxing and persuasive words. In the end of the trick there were about ten people who were stuck with their hands in the air, and these same ten were the ones that he invited on stage. That was the use of the technique of high suggestibility. Next the hypnotist used an induction method, or a technique to increase people's suggestibility by using suggestions for relaxation and calmness. This allowed him to more easily influence their actions because they were relaxed and more suggestible. This all began to explain why my friends seemed to be hypnotized. The book states that the Sociocognitive theory says that people's attitudes, beliefs, motivations, and expectations about hypnosis, as well as their ability to respond to imaginative suggestions shape their response to hypnosis. This theory drives home that people who are expecting and willing to be controlled by the whole act of hypnosis are more likely to be affected by the suggestions. All this explains that hypnosis is not magic it's just the use of psychological methods to persuade people. This video I attached shows en event similar to the one I witnessed at my graduation party. All the parts explained above are depicted in the video.

Aliens Working at Area 51?

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I decided to evaluate the claim of the existence of aliens, because I feel like it is one of the strangest claims to be made by such a large number of people. It's been reported in the media repeatedly, and many have claimed to have had an encounter with these "extraterrestrial" beings. I found a video on YouTube that promotes the existence of aliens by interviewing a man who supposedly worked at Area 51, which has been known for its numerous reports of alien encounters. The makers of the video rely heavily on the anecdote of this alleged employee to support their claim that aliens helped work on a top secret military project. I would place this claim into the extraordinary category, and for such a claim there just isn't the extraordinary evidence to support it. A claim this extreme requires much more concrete evidence than just the stories of an ex-employee from Area 51. Also a claim like this can't be tested, and this therefore is incapable of being falsified. There's no way to actually evaluate the claim that aliens allegedly helped these employees build a flying craft of their own. Not to mention the fact that Occam's razor has been completely overlooked. There could be a much simpler explanation to this entire story that has absolutely nothing to do with extraterrestrial life. An alternative explanation to this claim of aliens helping Area 51 employees with construction could be that the men of Area 51 were told to keep their project a secret and came up with the alien story to frighten others away. Also basing a claim solely on anecdotal evidence alone is risky because the person could be lying about their story. Therefore it's very possible that the man in the video is making up his story about his alien encounter or perhaps confusing it with a dream he had. Regardless, a claim this extreme requires hard evidence to back it up, which is clearly lacking from this video and therefore the claim cannot be considered as truth.


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Images: www.fas.org

When do we become aware of self?

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I decided to watch the video entitled The Secret You. Sensations of the world like sounds, feelings etc. are something we all take for granted. We never realize how much we use them each and everyday and without them we all would disappear. The immense capabilities that goes on in our heads is miraculously changing with age. When we become aware of our self, we become aware of our surroundings. Our self changes with time, age, and experiences we face. In this video they did a test to figure out when we initially become self aware. They used two little children, one baby boy and the other, a little bit older girl, when the little boy had a sticker put on him he looked into the mirror and didn't even notice it, but when they out it on the girl, She noticed it right away. According to this test, between the ages of 18 and 24 months we become self aware.

Green Tea Helps Lose Weight?

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Four days ago, my dad sent me an article about how drinking green tea can help a person lose weight successfully and decrease the rate of obesity throughout the country. According to the study, a certain compound in the green tea was linked to slowing down the rate of body weight gained in mice. Since mice are similar to humans, researchers used an experimental group of obese mice and control group of mice to test the effects of the green tea compound by feeding both groups a high fat diet and only giving the obese mice the compound. It was seen in the study that "Mice that were fed Epigallocatechin-3-gallate -- EGCG -- a compound found in most green teas, along with a high-fat diet, gained weight 45 percent more slowly than the control group of mice eating the same diet without EGCG." (Science Daily 1).The EGCG compound was also shown to limit fat absorption and enhanced the ability to use fat, but didn't suppress the appetite.

But at the same time, you have to wonder: how effective is this treatment in keeping weight off? Researchers have been saying for years that green tea is an effective way to keep weight off. According to WebMD, previous studies showed that thermogenesis, the generation of body heat that occurs because of digestion, absorption and metabolization of food, occurred faster than normal when green tea was fed to rats. In humans, consuming green tea has shown to increase thermogenesis, energy expenditure, and fat loss just by drinking it regularly. The study mentioned above (with the mice) was supported by the National Institute of Health (NIH), but as consumers, can we really trust it? Despite the success of the study, are there any factors that haven't been considered that might change how the results are viewed?

As a result, an important scientific critical thinking skill that consumers need to consider is that correlation doesn't mean causation. According to WebMD, rats have been found to have a specific kind of tissue that seems to be specifically affected by green tea, but since human data is currently limited on what the effects of green tea are, it's unknown how much of this fatty tissue we have, so green tea might affect rats differently that it would affect us. Despite giving the mice a high fat diet that would induce weight gain, the food the mice consumed may also be completely different from the type of fats that we consume and gain weight from. At the same time, mice could also absorb fat differently than we do and use it more efficiently. In conclusion, consumers, including psychologists, need to be aware of studies that are claiming to have such dynamic effects. A lot of the time, correlation doesn't indicate causation, since there could be other variables that may account for this association.

Works Cited:
Lillenfeld , S. et. al. (2011). Psychology: from Inquiry to Understanding . (2nd ed.). Boston : Pearson

ScienceDaily. (2011). Green Tea Helps Mice Keep Off Extra Pounds. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111004123824.htm

Kelly J. WebMD. (2000). Drinking Green Tea May Help You Lose Weight. Retrieved from http://http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20000322/drinking-green-tea-may-help-you-lose-weight

Assignment 2 - Change Blindness

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The concept of how the change blindness happens when we are concentrating on a specific event and we don't realize when that event is altered or changed. If we recognize a person selling hotdogs on the street corner, when we walk by the street corner a few minutes later, we perceive that the same person is there selling the hotdog, but in reality, the person who was selling the hotdog was done with their shift and was replaced by someone else. Having this glitch in our minds doesn't make it look like the brain is a perfectly running organ of the body.
Change blindness can be a very bad thing. If people cannot realize something is different in their environment then what it was a few seconds ago, horrible things can happen. In the video, what if the person giving the consent form ducked down and was stabbed by a terrorist and the person that can back up was not recognized by the person signing the consent form. The person signing the consent form could potentially be harmed. I wonder why our brain makes us do this. If our brain is focused so hard on one thing and then that thing changes within a second, how come our brain doesn't realize what's happened? If the brain is our main source of everything we know. I feel like it shouldn't have a flaw of not recognizing if something changes right in front of our nose. Our brain helps us make the best choices, but not realizing something that happens right in front of us, throws a curveball into how the brain operates.

Localization: Putting all your eggs in one basket

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I believe that an important concept we discussed in the past few weeks was the idea of localization. Localization is the idea that brain functions are "localized", or found in a specific part of the brain. For example, Broca's and Wernicke's areas are localized areas of brain function responsible for processing/understanding speech and for creating it. I believe this concept is important because it's a kind of defined phenomena that most people realize doesn't explain fully where in the brain functions happen. To elaborate, scientists believe that most (if not all) brain functions are NOT localized, i.e., multiple parts of the brain attribute to each function. An example is the experiment where scientists cut out different parts of a rats brain and ran tests. The tests determined that no specific brain area was more important for storing memories than any other. (an interesting, even if slightly unrelated, story on potential amazing long term memory (tested on rats) can be found at http://healthland.time.com/2011/03/03/study-scientists-revive-old-fading-memories/print/). So, if scientists think some brain functions are localized while others are not, what is the answer? Are some functions simply localized and others not? Are no brain functions truly localized? Or do they all have some area of "centralized" function, but all need other parts of the brain to be completed? Hopefully these questions are being answered now, or will be in the near future.

While at the Mall of America today with my sister, we walked past a small stand selling bracelets and watches claiming to improve your balance and health We stopped the woman and asked her to demonstrate how the bracelet and watches work but were not satisfied enough to purchase one. After coming home and seeing this assignment, I decided to pursue this balance bracelet idea for my second assignment.

In the media and society today, Power Balance Bracelets have become a popular phenomenon made popular by various athletes and celebrities, similar to the LiveStrong wristbands and silly bands craze.

Many Americans are seen wearing them on their wrists and comment on how their lives have greatly improved due to these bracelets. The makers of the Power Balance Bracelets claim that these breakthrough bracelets are in fact life changing and "can perform miracles in terms of boosting the energy levels and improving balance, thus making us faster, leaner and overall better" (Softpedia 1). The claim the company makes and the reason why their bracelets better people's health is due factors that have "been used for many years in practices such as acupuncture and acupressure" (Softpedia 1). However, this claim is largely untrustworthy. As consumers, we must ask ourselves: has our life improved more due to the sole fact of wearing a Power Balance Bracelet on our wrists, or is there another variable involved, such as working out more, eating healthier or sleeping longer that has contributed to our well-being?

As a result, a very important scientific critical thinking skill that needs to be applied by consumers is that correlation does not always equal causation. There we many positive outcomes and responses reported, however not all assessors of the Power Balance Bracelets provided a positive response. Alternate explanations stated that this entire power balance idea is all hype and that this may only "be a case of wishful-thinking or what one can accomplish solely on the power of the human mind" (Softpedia 2). In conclusion, consumers, as well as psychologists, need to be aware that correlation does not always mean causation; there are numerous other factors that can influence people's well-being.

Power Balance Bracelet Image:


Works Cited:

Lillenfeld , S. et. al. (2011). Psychology: from Inquiry to Understanding . (2nd ed.). Boston : Pearson

Gorgan, E. (2009). Power Balance Silicone Wristbands for Increased Energy, Flexibility and Balance. Softpedia News , Retrieved from http://news.softpedia.com/news/Power-Balance-Silicone-Wristbands-for-Increased-Energy-Flexibility-and-Balance-120255.shtml

Terrors of the Night

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Although I have no known history of having a night terror, it is not something I'm unfamiliar with. Night terrors, which occur mostly with children, are a sudden awakening that involves screaming, confusion, trashing about and perspiring, and ends with the child returning to a deep sleep. These terrifying experiences are harmless and the child usually has no recollection of it. This sleeping disorder is important because of its intensity and its disturbing impact on parents. Those who see their children experience night terrors need to know that the short episode is fairly harmless and their child will be okay.

A few of my younger siblings have had night terrors. They are nearly impossible to ignore, especially if it is severe. In one instance, my brother was in the hallway outside the bedrooms, banging on the walls and screaming the entire time. All that my helpless parents could do was watch and make sure he did not harm himself. After several experiences, my parents have learned not to overreact, and to ignore minor episodes. The one having the night terror always falls back to sleep (although never in the right place), and has no memory of the event.

Since my first witnessing of a night terror, I have wondered what causes them. Is it something the child ate the day before, or a food intolerance? Is something troubling the child, such as being bullied at school? I have read that adults can also experience night terrors, but why do children experience these most? My biggest question is: can children be calmed during an episode? Or is it uncontrollable by onlookers?

Pic Source: http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRRU9SeAR3SNQA12jhqkjG1WG57Vsgl37uQ3WB16U9NwYZDMFb9_w


The mysterious sleep paralysis can be interpreted in many ways. According to the Lilienfeld textbook, "Sleep paralysis is a state of being unable to move just after falling asleep or right before waking up." Sleep paralysis is more common than most people imagine. Changes in the sleep cycle sometimes cause these occurrences which are associated with anxiety and fear. During this state, the victim can be experiencing strange feelings such as vibrations and eerie noises.

This phenomenon varies from culture to culture. In the Vietnamese culture, people spread the idea that if you cannot move while either falling asleep or waking up, that means a ghost or more may be laying on top of you.

I grew up with this idea impounded into my head. As far as I can remember, I have experienced sleep paralysis more than one or two times. Each time seemed to be more severe than the one before. These occurrences usually happen as I am falling asleep. I would attempt to open up my eyes, but my lids felt like they were glued shut. I wanted to open my mouth to scream, but nothing would come out. I could not move my arms or leg. I could feel my heart beat increasing faster and faster. Then all of sudden, I was wide awake and not feeling tired at all. All I felt was fear and sweat. I was terrified.

After actually reading and researching about sleep paralysis, I learned I am not alone. According to WebMD, four out of ten people experience this phenomenon (1). Although I have learned ways to prevent sleep paralysis, such as getting enough sleep and relieving stress (1), a part of me still believe that a spirit may be paralyzing me.

I still have many questions on sleep paralysis. During one of my episodes, I was able to squint my eyes open a little and I thought I saw someone/something staring back at me. Is my mind playing tricks on me or am I going crazy? After my episodes, I do not know if I was truly paralysis or if it was all a dream. What part of the brain is active during sleep paralysis? Is the same areas active as if the brain is in REM sleep?

(1) http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleep-paralysis?page=2

Rising Epidemic - Marijuana

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Marijuana is the most frequently used illegal drug in the United States. Marijuana damages brain cells, distorts perception, increases the heart rate, and is associated with memory and learning problems.
Also, studies on marijuana show that it is a 'gateway' drug, or in other words, it leads people to try other more serious drugs. Nevertheless, evaluating whether it is a gateway drug isn't easy. I feel more studies needs to be done on this important topic. With such negative effects, why is it still the most frequently used drug? More studies and results need to be done in order to show the country this is a rising problem that should be taken more seriously.

Are you on crack!? Cocaine in depth

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I decided to chose an important concept found in the book. Reading about drugs in chapter five was very interesting to me especially the stimulant group and that is the concept I decided to work on. Stimulant drugs such as cocaine have been a popular topic in my house for most of my life, (my dad works for the DEA) and learning more about them is always interesting to me! I decided to do more research on the drug.

Cocaine is the most powerful natural stimulant, just as the textbook says and it is also one of the most popular illegal drugs on the market for sales presently. A survey from 2008 states that 15% of Americans had tried cocaine and the number has grown (NIDA). Cocaine is composed of many substances, however the main two ingredients are hydrochloride and coca. There are a few popular ways that cocaine is taken, they are intranasal (snorting), intravenous (injection), inhalation, and oral. Intravenous creates the largest reaction because the drug is inserted directly into the bloodstream, increasing the speed and intensity of its effects. Cocaine traps dopamine in the synapses of the brain, which causes the initial euphoric effect.

Short-term psychological effects of the drug are felt withing minutes and can include euphoria, energy, talkativeness, over-alertness to sight sound and touch, and a temporary reduced need for sleep and food . Physiological short term effects include raised heart rate and blood pressure and body temperature. The larger the amount of cocaine the more of a reaction mentally and physically. Physically a large quantity of cocaine can produce bizzare violent behavior and irritablity. Users may also become twitchy and may imagine bugs crawling underneath their skin, they are known as "crack bugs".
Long-term effect of cocaine use are much more severe. Users generally build a tolerance to the drug and have to use more to gain the initial high. The psychological effects are the same, it just takes more to get them. However there are more that appear, they include panic attacks, paranoia and sometimes complete psychosis, when the user loses touch with reality and may experience visual hallucinations as well as auditory hallucinations, "hearing voices". The physiological effects become much more severe due to the increase in substance taken in. Complete loss of the sense of smell is common, along with high weight loss and malnourishment, and of course there is always the chance of death due to overdose.
I believe this concept is important because cocaine is a popular drug on the market currently and is present for all of us no matter where we live. It is being produced and sold for profit as it ruins and consumes lives. This concept relates to my life because my dad works for the DEA and works with both dealers and addicts of this drug and I hear the stories about how it rips lives and families apart. Questions that occured to me during research were, how did this drug come to be in the first place? If people know the effects why would they try it in the first place? And, if current users knew how their lives would turn out would they still start using? Those are the questions I have about cocaine.

** My primary source is NIDA, All information was gathered and cited from NIDA (The National Institute on Drug Abuse) and can be found at http://www.nida.nih.gov/researchreports/cocaine/cocaine.html ***



Faces of Cocaine




Scary, isnt it?

Dogs may be smarter than you think!

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Pavlov's classic conditioning describes how a subject can respond to an unconditional stimulus without being aware of it. It is an unconscious response that animals and people alike generate when they are repeatedly given some kind of stimulus, followed by a reward like food or a treat. First off, the subject is placed face to face with a conditional stimulus like food and produces a response such as salivating when given the food. Over the next trial, an unconditional stimulus is presented primarily such as a bell or ticking sound generated by a metronome. In the first trial, the subject does not produce the same response when they hear the audible stimulus, but then starts to respond once the food is shown. Over the next couple of trials, the subject starts to associate the audible stimulus with the food and salivates before seeing the food. Therefore, the animal generates a response to the unconditional stimulus. This research finding is very important to the world of psychology because it explains how animals and humans behave. They are able to adapt to their current situation without even knowing that they are continuously learning.

This research finding relates to my life with my dog, Gracie. In the beginning, when Gracie was outside and we called her inside, she would immediately come and follow our orders. Eventually, we would reward her for coming inside and give her a treat to let her know that she is doing the right thing. After a couple of months, Gracie would not come inside until we would say "treat" and reward her for following commands. Gracie has now learned only to respond with the unconditional stimulus of a treat, rather than to the conditional stimulus of the sound of our voices. Dogs are much smarter than they seem. They know when their owner says commands such as "sit", "stay" and "come", yet sometimes decide to ignore the conditional stimulus and wait for the unconditional stimulus such as a dog treat.

The king of drugs

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I found reading about Narcotics really interesting in this chapter and decided to do a little more research on the so called "king of all drugs", Heroin. Heroin is the most abused opiate in America. Heroine is made from morphine, a naturally occurring substance taken from the seed of poppy plants. It is very similar to heroine but a lot stronger. In its pure form heroin is a white powder with a bitter taste. It is usually sold along with other drugs or substances like sugar, powdered milk, starch or other drugs. This is called "cut" and can be very dangerous because users don't know actually know the true contents of what they buy or how strong it can be, leading to many overdoses and deaths. Another form of heroin known as "black tar" may be sticky like roofing tar or hard like coal, and its color may vary from dark brown to black. Heroin is most commonly ejected but in its pure form it can be snorted or smoked. Some users inject into the tissue under the skin, called 'skin popping'.

Skin popping.jpg

-Black Tar Heroine

The effects of heroin are instantaneous, immediately entering the blood stream and arriving at the brain rapidly. After an injection, users feel a surge of euphoria and experience dry mouth, flushing of the skin, and experience "heavy" arms and legs. After the initial rush, users will go into an alternately wakeful and rosy state sometimes called "on the nod."

The body responds to heroin in the brain by reducing production of the endogenous opioids when heroin is present. Endorphins are released to weaken pain, creating a dependence on the drug. This is why, when people stop injecting the drug, they feel pain even when there is no physical trauma.

heroin brain.png

Heroin users spend upwards 100-200 dollars a day to feed their addiction. People can become addicted the first time they use. My question is why would anyone every risk something like that.


Alexandra Behrens

Out-of-Body Experiences Do They Really Occur?

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While trying to decide what I should write my blog on this week I started to think back to all the concepts presented in chapter five, to see if I could relate any of them to a personal experience I had or have heard of. When I came across Near-Death Experiences my mind began to race. Many people always through out the words near death. Just talking to friends they will say things like "I almost died" when really it was nothing like an out-of-body experience. An out-of-body experience is an extraordinary sense of your consciousness leaving your body. I once watched the movie Ghost that is from the 1990's that had an example of out-of-body scene.Youtube Video
I never used to believe in these concepts of out-of-body or near death experiences until I read the book Heaven is For Real. This book touched me more than I ever thought a book could. If you haven't heard of it, it is about a little boy that made it through an emergency appendectomy. The unique thing that happened though is Colton the little boy traveled to heaven and back. Now when we first say he traveled to heaven and had an out-of-body experience you say no way that couldn't have happened. Until Colton started to explain things that no four year old would ever know. He described heaven in full detail to exactly how the bible portrays it even though he had never touched a bible. Or how he knew at four years old that his mom had miscarriage years before Colton was born.

Heaven is For Real Youtube

heaven is for real.png
This book is a must read. Ever since I have read Heaven is For Real believe in out-of-body and near death experiences. I think that research and studies on these phenomenons could help us to begin to learn many new things about the brain and how drugs can trigger these experiences.

Assignment #2-Kyle Wong

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According to an article online at http://mashable.com/2010/03/24/facebook-syphilis/, health professionals in Britain claim that Facebook is a probable cause for the recent growth of syphilis in Teesside, Durham and Sunderland. This accusation, although it may initially seem shocking, has failed to abide by all of the 6 principles of scientific thinking. Although it may break even more than one of the principles, the one that I believe to be the most apparent is correlation vs. causation. There are a number of confounding variables that the study failed to take into account or report. One concept that I believe to be a more likely scenario is that people who are meeting through Facebook are mostly of a younger age group and have less knowledge of how to ensure safe sex. Therefore even though they met through a social networking site like Facebook, the spread of syphilis is due to the inexperience of the users of Facebook not the website itself. Because correlation vs. causation requires you to delve deeper into what may have been cause of the correlation between two separate variables, I found that principle of scientific thinking the most useful in figuring out what might be a better explanation.

Facial Feedback Hypothesis: Does it really work?

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Do facial muscles really impact on how you perceive things? The facial feedback hypothesis was designed to evaluate how facial muscles affect humor ratings. In class, half of the students were instructed to hold their pens sideways using their teeth while the other half was told hold their pens straight out using only their lips. The class was then shown a series of cartoons and had to rate how humorous each one was. The hypothesis of the experiment was that people holding their pens with teeth would have a higher average humor ranking than those holding pens with lips because they would be utilizing the same facial muscles attributed to smiling. I found this test to be very interesting, and questioned even further how your facial muscles could make you change your view on how funny something may be?

The idea that facial muscles would have a substantial impact on how you perceive a cartoon seems to be saying the correlation means causation. Though it is true that holding a pen in your lips creates the feeling of frowning, it would not directly affect your mood. In fact, I believe it has the opposite affect because the set up of this experiment is somewhat silly. Another reason you could not state that facial muscles cause humor ratings is that certain comics would be more funny to people with particular past experiences. For example, one of the comics had a man talking on his cell phone saying, "hold on, I think I just took another picture of my ear." Most people I talked to ranked this cartoon as a 2 where I gave it a higher rating of 6 because I have previously taken pictures unintentionally on my phone. Our past experiences have more influence on our humor ratings than our facial muscles. This study might be more convincing if each person was randomly assigned cartoons to rate holding the pen in their teeth, than given different cartoons to evaluate while holding the pen in their lips. If researchers were able to find consistent results showing that most individuals rank higher with the pen in their teeth, I would favor the hypothesis.

Hair Loss and Divorce Correlation

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While looking for an article to write about for my blog, I came across this article about how women who have had multiple marriages suffer more hair loss than those who are happily married. After reading the article I begin to think about the six principles of critical thinking. I feel that I could connect this article to four out of the six principles. One, ruling out a rival hypothesis because in the article it talks about how men's marital status did not appear to impact hair loss patterns and how going through a divorce may not be as troublesome for males as it is for females. Therefore, Dr. Bahman Guyuron who is the lead author of this study ruled out the chance of this connecting to men also. Secondly, this could possibly be disproven because we need to take into consideration sleep duration, smoking habits, and sun exposure that would also impact hair loss. Thirdly, Occam's razor deals with finding the simplest explanation and I believe we can say that stress from divorce is the simple explanation for hair loss in divorced women. Lastly, correlation vs. causation is definitely represented in this article because divorce doesn't cause women to lose their hair, stress from divorce can. There is a third variable that helps back up the study.

I believe the critical thinking principle of correlation vs. causation is the most useful when reading an article like this. From what I have learned in Psy 1001 I was able to read this article and understand that correlation does not prove causation. Therefore, it is not divorce itself that "causes" women to lose their hair; it is the stress that comes along with divorce that may result in some women losing some hair. Being this is a correlational study; we cannot draw a cause and effect response.

I found this article to be very interesting because of Dr. Bahman Guyuron's selection of participants in his study because he chose to use 66 identical male twins and 84 female twins to determine which external factors contribute to hair loss. Besides the fact that the number of female and male participants is different, I would have never thought to use twins in this kind of study. After reading this article I feel very bad for women who have gone through divorce because all of the stress it puts on them and the effects that it may have on their hair!


Circadian Rhythm #2

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Throughout this semester, I have continued to learn functions that my body participates in without ever really letting me know. They are essential to my survival and well-being, but in my everyday routine, they are way above my head. One of the most fascinating of these is the Circadian Rhythm that our bodies work to stay on top of. However, often times our conscious minds decide to rule against its benefits. I generally work my very best to obey my body. When I begin to get sleepy at night, I start making my way towards bed. Because of my obedience towards this greater power embedded in my brain, I generally feel energized and alert when i wish to be. However, it is unavoidable to at least occasionally rule against your brains urges. Sometimes it's from a night of staying out too late, which most college students can attest to. Other times it's due to cross country or international travel. Perhaps one of the most confusing days of my life was when I got home from Hawaii after an 8 hour flight. My body was still on island time, which would have been the middle of the night. The sun and the rest of the people around me however, were perky as can be. I did not accomplish much that day.
I have also had times where my biological clock feels as if it has moved on to the next day without me getting any real sleep. My body was tired for a while, but once i pushed through that long enough, its like my energy comes back. This is often called your "second wind". It's like running a marathon and pushing hard for the first few miles, but once you get past ten or eleven, every step just feels the same.
Anyways, I find the idea of the Circadian Rhythm fascinating. Along with that, the idea that our brain keeps us alive in ways that we only discover through psych textbooks is pretty radical.

About Me

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The discussion section is a great way to earn easy points by basically going to class and participating in the activities. I have learned more about Psychology from this course and it is quite interesting.

The Interesting Condition Called Synesthesia

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When I first read about synesthesia in the Lilienfeld text, I was intrigued by the strange condition. I had never heard of such a condition before, and I immediately wanted to learn more about it. According to the text, synesthesia is "a condition in which people experience cross-modal sensations". Basically, people can hear colors, taste shapes, and even taste words. I wanted to know how people were able to have such a condition, so I found a video that explains what happens in the brain of people with the synesthesia.
The video explains that the condition takes form in the brain during childhood, and cannot be controlled or prevented. From childhood, every letter is related to a certain color because of "cross-talk" going on in the brain. This condition is important in psychology because it demonstrates how unique the mind is. In psychology, we have been learning about the brain and how complicated it can be, and synesthesia is just another example of how that is true. The condition relates to my life because as a nursing major, I may encounter cases of synesthesia in the future. Synesthesia also inspires me to want to learn about the research side of nursing as I have many questions about the condition. What part of the brain is affected for synesthesia to develop? Why do people develop it at a young age? And how many people actually have synesthesia? The condition of synesthesia makes me look forward to learning more about the brain in future chapters.

Someone tell me what my dreams mean!

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After learning about the 5 Stage sleep cycle, I can understand why many people don't remember their dreams - they wake up in a completely different cycle. I love when I can remember my dreams, even though it doesn't happen very often. Although many biologically based theories, such as the Activation-Synthesis Theory and the Neurocognitive Theory, are probably more accurate, I like to believe that Sigmund Freud's Dream Protection Theory has some truth to it as well. I am particularly intrigued by Freund's idea of the manifest content versus the latent content of dreams. The dream itself (manifest content) was to be used to discover the true or hidden meaning (latent content) that the dreamer should realize. The manifest content tends to be very abstract while the latent content is more metaphorical. Some interpretations of dreams can be far-fetched, but some ideas are quite intriguing.
Therapists and psychologists tend to work with their clients to use the manifest content of their dreams to figure out the latent content and then help the client figure out what in their life caused this dream to occur. This video created by Dr. Elligan from minutes 4:15 to 7:00 discusses Freud's Dream Protection Theory in great detail and Dr. Elligan also uses one of his own dreams and interprets it as an example of this theory in action.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OikoLaREvck (watch 4:15-7:00).
After researching Freud's theory more, I am still wondering how dream interpreters can say what a dream represents. Doesn't it depend on each individual person's life experience? How can someone interpret a dream about someone else and claim that there is truth to it? And, how can people be sure they are interpreting their dreams correctly?

Crazy Diets

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I was reading an article the other day for one of my other classes and it was discussing crazy diet plans that people actually try. There were several ridiculous ideas such as stapling your ear, eating tapeworms, and pretended to consume food while you are actually just breathing in the smells from food. The one that caught my attention, however, was the cotton ball diet. Reading briefly about this diet made me think critically about it and made me want to research it a little more. I have copied a link to a video that I found, that briefly describes how you do this diet.


So basically what you do is eat cotton balls before your meals or in place of normal food to lose weight and become healthier. First of all this seems like a very extraordinary claim so I was looking for a lot of evidence to support it and prove that it works. The only evidence I could really find was from supermodels. Basically they lose weight and no longer feel the need to binge because they feel full all the time. Now of course eating cotton balls is going to make you feel full because they are very fibrous, but that does not mean that it is a healthy thing to do. The other articles that I found in my Google search basically just said that this is unhealthy and the fiber in cotton balls is definitely not the kind of fiber we need to live. Another thing that I was thinking about is the principle of correlation versus causation. People who eat cotton balls tend to lose weight; there is a definite correlation there. Eating cotton balls does not directly cause weight loss though. It causes people to feel full. Therefore, they aren't hungry and will not eat food. This third variable of not being hungry and not eating is what causes the weight loss. All in all i would definitely not recommend this diet to anybody.

Psych Chris PLumb

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Psych so far this year for me has been a lot of fun and very interesting. It has been a lot of work though, especially when it comes to the readings in the books and assignments to go along with them. The stuff we are learning about is very interesting to me, but at the same time it is very hard. One thing I look forward to in this class is learning more about the brain and dreams and other stuff along those lines. I'm nervous it's going to be a big challenge though, and may get overwhelmed. Regardless of whether this happens, I will make sure to work hard and allow myself to stay on top of things in Psych. So far very interesting and I can't wait to dive deeper!

Assignment #1

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Phrenology was an interesting concept to me when I first read about it, the whole idea that simply feeling the bumps on a persons head to tell what kind of person they are seemed entirely ludicrous. I wanted to see how this pseudoscience had originally developed and how it was perceived.
Phrenology is the study of the conformation of the skull based on the belief that it is indicative of mental faculties and character (Mirriam-Webster). And in modern psychology, it is an example of pseudoscience.
German physician Franz Joseph Gall developed phrenology in the year 1796. It was originally named 'cranioscopy' but later changed to phrenology. In Gall's book, The Anatomy and Physiology of the Nervous System in General, and of the Brain in Particular, he wrote the following statement as one of the principles of his doctrine for phrenology: "That the form of the head or cranium represents the form of the brain, and thus reflects the relative development of the brain organs."
Phrenology works by feeling the bumps on one's head and from those bumps, determining his characteristics. Gall believed that there were 27 of these areas in the brain that composed a person's personality. Phrenologists would measure the subject's head and would feel for bumps or enlargements and using those distortions, use a phrenology map to see what their personality was composed of. (image: http://www.phrenology.org/vic.gif)
Phrenology was popular in the nineteenth century in the Victorian era in Europe, as well as a valid science that was implemented in society. It was also popular in the United States, where a phrenology machine was developed that would read the skull by a machine instead of a person feeling the bumps. This machine can actually be seen in Minnesota's very own science museum. However, phrenology soon became nothing more than a parlor trick, as it was never accepted by renowned psychologists and con-men used it to gain money.
Today, phrenology is considered pseudoscience because it makes broad observations that don't allow for exactness and scientists have researched and found that the external appearance of the skull seems to have no correlation to the internal characteristics of the brain.

Blog #1

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Something that I have found interesting so far in Psych 1001 is learning about how scientific based psychology actually is. People tend to follow their common senses and learning that they sometimes lead us to the wrong conclusions really made me think of how I see things in the world or how wrong I see things. I'm hoping to learn more about how people think and I'm excited to see how we use the technology in the S.T.S.S. building in our discussion groups. I hope from using the technology in our activities it will help me have a hands on idea of the subject.


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Henry Price
Section 8-9

Behaviorism is a fundamental theory of psychology focusing on the principles of learning. Behaviorism strove to be closer to the "hard" sciences and therefore focused on simply observing behavior. The general principles of learning were used to describe everything an organism does including thinking feeling and behavior. Because of this it is sometimes referred to as black box psychology, the mind is ignored and only the inputs and outputs are considered important. The inputs of the box are the aspects outside the organism such as its environment (rewards and punishments); the outputs are observable behavior.
Behaviorism impacted the field of psychology in several ways and is an important part of psychology as a whole. It allowed psychology to become more scientific relying less on objective data. The observations collected were observable by anyone meaning they were more easily repeated and did not require experts as did previous schools of thought. Behaviorism also discovered many aspects of learning and helped explain part of the reasons for behavior.
Conditioning is a major principle of behaviorism; it is used to explain why organisms exhibit patterns of behavior. Organisms are conditioned to perform behaviors by repeating a system of rewards and punishments, handed out by the environment in response to behavior performed by the organism. Relying on this, behaviorists use conditioning to alter behavior in both lab and clinical practices. They used behavioral conditioning to treat mental disorders.
I have used conditioning many times with my golden retriever Lola. I wanted her to express the behavior of jumping up to catch an object held in my hand at height. As this is not something she normally does she would have to be conditioned to do so. Every time she performed the correct action I gave her a reward (a treat or pat on the head), if she failed she got no reward. Soon she performed the task without any reward; she had been conditioned to jump for a held object.
I am still curious about if behaviorism is still a viable explanation for behavior on its own.

Assignment #1: Psych Discussion Section 008

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One thing that I have found interesting in this class so far is sensation and perception. It is funny how we perceive things that actually do not turn out to be true. One thing I hope to learn in this class later on is why we think the way that we do.

-Sherene Mostaghimi

Assignment #1 Discussion Section 9

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The very first thing that struck me about my first Psychology class was not the lecturers or the topics discussed, but the size. The number of human beings in the room exceeded the number of students and teachers in my K-12 school. My graduating class was a paltry 33 people which is only slightly larger than the number of people in our discussion section, let alone the full lecture. I suppose this is psychologically interesting from a social perspective because the advanced social structures needed to get that many people into the same room to all absorb the information being presented by one person is a fairly organized and complex social construct. Congratulations to the psychology department for being able to pull that off.

Lucky Socks: How to Succeed in College

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The correlation-causing fallacy is defined by our textbook as an "error of assuming that because one thing is associated with another; it must cause the other". Before starting psychology 1001 this semester, I definitely fell victim to this fallacy on multiple occasions. Believing that wearing my tie-dyed socks would help me get a better grade on my AP chemistry tests or that cleaning my instrument the night before a performance would make me mess up are just a few examples of the false conclusions I had made when in reality, the two things do not relate at all. Clearly, I am not the first person make bad conclusions based on coincidences. Just google searching "correlation versus causation" will bring up articles about how atmospheric carbon dioxide will cause obesity or how sleeping with the lights on will cause myopia. As humans, we look to draw such conclusions in order to make sense of a complex world and further develop our understanding of life. What we don't realize is that these assumptions actually set us back. We can blame belief perseverance for the fact that we tend to resist changing our views once we believe something to be true. I honestly was astonished to learn about these "third variables" that actually cause the things I, and many others, believe relate to each other. How could I live eighteen years and not notice that it was waking up early, not wearing my tie-dyed socks, that caused better scores on my chemistry tests? I know can look at the world much more objectively, understanding that an infinite amount of variables impact my daily life.

As we continue the semester, I hope to learn more about how humans think. I know this sounds excruciatingly vague but understanding your own thought process as well as that of others is a critical skill in communication, learning and success. I now know that it is imperative to examine new information carefully before accepting them as truths, and to challenge that which we already accept as true. I want to keep learning about the flaws in my logic and what has lead me to inaccurate conclusions. Questioning my own beliefs will allow me to grow as a student as well as an individual.

-Shannen Swier, Section 09

Assignment One_Review & Expectations

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The thing that I have found the most interesting so far is the McGurk Effect and things to do with our auditory/oral senses. It was really amazing to learn how much seeing plays a part in everyday language.

For the rest of the semester, I am looking forward to hearing from different professors about their specific interests and the research that has gone into understanding those areas of human development more deeply.

Hope you all had a good weekend!
Misha LaPlante

assignment 1

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This class has been very interesting so far, I enjoy learning about new ideas each week. My favorite so far has been sensation and perception and biological psychology. Last weeks lectures were very insightful. I never noticed how the brain can misguide your way of perceiving objects. I learned a lot from the biological presentation. I loved learning how the brain works and all the parts that make it so complex. Im excited to see what we will learn throughout the rest of the semester.

Psych 1001 section 009 Assignment 1

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During this semester, one concept I found incredibly captivating was how the nature vs. nurture argument is apart of the constant conflict faced in everyday actions and events. Humans are creatures of habit, yet also unpredictable through individual differences or possible perceptions of various influences. Throughout the rest of this course I would really love to learn more about the ways outside influences and individual differences affect actions and emotional reactions and to what extent. From what I've learned and seen, the way in which a person perceives things constantly collaborates to form a type of character,making judgments and active decisions based on the feeling from a certain stimuli. I think the research being done on such ideas is fascinating and definitely mind- boggling in terms of how most functions have an identifiable location and pattern of behaviour.

Psych 1001 section 009 Assignment 1

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During this semester, one concept I found incredibly captivating was how the nature vs. nurture argument is apart of the constant conflict faced in everyday actions and events. Humans are creatures of habit, yet also unpredictable through individual differences or possible perceptions of various influences. Throughout the rest of this course I would really love to learn more about the ways outside influences and individual differences affect actions and emotional reactions and to what extent. From what I've learned and seen, the way in which a person perceives things constantly collaborates to form a type of character,making judgments and active decisions based on the feeling from a certain stimuli. I think the research being done on such ideas is fascinating and definitely mind- boggling in terms of how most functions have an identifiable location and pattern of behaviour.

Assignment 1

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One thing I've really enjoyed learning about so far this semester is sensation and perception. It's extremely interesting to me to learn how our brains process the information that we collect; including why we see what we see, or why something looks one way when really it's another. It has been fun to learn about sensation and perception through the various types of visual demonstrations that we've been looking at. These are good ways to keep learning exciting and interesting! As the semester continues, I hope to learn more about psychology in general, and further my knowledge in the science.

Writing #1

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In 1994, Susan Smith, a South Carolina mother of two, filed a report that an African American man stole her car including her two sons who were still in the car. An extensive search for the car thief ensued. However, a week later, Susan Smith confessed to rolling her own car into a lake with her two sons inside the car. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2009/10/17/11-craziest-media-hoaxes.html
Using scientific thinking, was there any way to predict this? Even further, using scientific thinking is there any way find out why she resorted to this crime? Instead of ruling out rival hypotheses and assuming that a man stole her car with her children inside, we could look at other explanations, such as Susan Smith committing the crime herself and accusing a man of a specific ethnicity. She used common prejudices against African Americans to convince people by their own biases.
Reasons as to why she resorted to this are unclear. It is important to not exclude alternative explanations for her motive. In the Times Magazine, they bring many issues to light.
We could assume that Susan Smith was simply "evil or suffered from mental illness." Smith may have intended to kill herself or win back the affection of her lover. In fact, Susan Smith had her own personal history of sexual abuse and neglect. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,983278,00.html
Cases are never black and white. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause, but it is important to not fall back on our own biases.

Works Cited
Ehrenreich, Barabara. "Susan Smith: Corrupted by Love?" Breaking News, Analysis,
Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - TIME.com. 7 Aug. 1995.
Web. 02 Oct. 2011.
The Daily Beast Video. "10 Craziest Media Hoaxes." The Daily Beast. 17 Oct. 2009.
Web. 02 Oct. 2011.

Assignment 1

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I haven't learned about psychology so far, that is, this is the first class to learn psychology in my life. Everything is new and interesting to me, but the most interest thing is biological processes. I did not expect to learn biological terms and the functions of them, such as the functions of different parts of the brain. It was really fun what functions each part of brain does. I learned that which parts of our brain we use for what, and how damages of brain we effect on our seeing. Besides, more surprising part is the role of the entire body in psychology and the capacity for body parts inside and outside to influence operations of emotional and social life. I have thought about psychology more simply, however, since I have studied psychology, it seems that psychology is much more complex studying than I expected.

Assignment 1

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The Tuskegee study of syphilis, lasting from 1932 to 1972, marks an important piece in the history of ethical guidelines for human research. The study's "subjects" were 399 African American men, all living in a poverty stricken area in Alabama, and all had been diagnosed with syphilis. These men did not know they were "subjects" to this study, and in fact the researchers, never told the men that they had the disease, or that there was treatment available. Instead of working to treat the disease and prevent in from spreading, researchers simply tracked the subject's progress over time. By not telling or treating these men, over 120 men were dead, and over 50 members of their families (wives and children) now had syphilis.
This event in history is important because it made researchers begin to realize there are limitations to what they can do while remaining ethical and protecting human rights. Because of immoral studies like the Tuskegee study, there are now institutional review boards to help protect participants in research from abuse. Informed consent is also needed, so participants are aware of what they are getting into before they participate. While gathering data is crucial, the safety and wellness of the humans participating in research is more important.
If I am going to be participating in research here at the U of M, I would surely like to know a little bit of what I am going to be doing. Even in deception is used, I will at least know that the research has passed though an institutional review board and that the experiment shouldn't be dangerous to me.
Some questions that occurred to me while writing this: I wonder what happens to research that was unethically collected. Is it still used, or is it considered just as unethical to rely on data that was obtained in a way that was immoral?

assignment 1

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I found the idea of neurons extremely interesting. I have never enjoyed science, but the process of human thought and action is very intriguing. It is amazing how fast our brain actually works. The book gave an example of getting a coke from a pop machine. The process it takes to do that simple action takes numerous steps. Yet, the brain takes milliseconds to do each step and allows us to quickly and easily finish the action. I go through daily life without even thinking about this, so when I was amazed when I read it. I am really looking forward to learning about different personalities. It is obvious that everyone is different physically. On the other hand, you can't tell the differences in people's personalities by just looking at them. I want to find out what makes people's personalities different, and what makes them alike. One other thing I am looking forward to learning about is emotion. Sometimes it can be easy to tell whether or not a person is happy or sad, but sometimes it is nearly impossible. I want to learn what makes a person feel the emotions they are feeling, and how to tell what another person is feeling.

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Psychology 1001 a simple introductory psychology course. I expected this to be a pretty straight forward and relatively boring class. I've been surprised so far at how much material we have covered and how many different angles there are to examine psychology from. I was surprised to learn that psychology has only been a recognized science for about a hundred years. When i was reading through the book and many of the big psychological figures were making breakthroughs in the early 1900's it took me a second to realize how recent that was. Overall in this course i hope to get a good grasp n psychology and maybe be inclined to take another psychology course or something similar. I always am fascinated at how the human mind and body works so this course falls into something that gives me a little insight into both.

Reflections on PSY 1001

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So far, I've really liked learning about how our brain can cause us to believe in illusions. I think my favorite part was learning about how selective attention works in the human brain, because it became obvious that it's really easy to miss things that are right in front of us if we're not paying attention. But it was also pretty cool because it was funny to see how easy it is to fool people just by having them focus on one thing like we were talking about in discussion! (like with this video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo) I also liked learning about something as simple as crime can run in a family (i.e. the Bogle family) because of various environmental and genetic influences. One thing I'm looking forward to will be how emotion and motivation and personality relates to psychology and us as people. I'm also excited to learn about the mind-body interconnection and how behavior and social learning causes to interact with people.

Assignment #1

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Psychology 1001 is definitely the class I was looking forward to the most at the beginning of the year and it has continued to be my favorite! Currently, I want to take a career path that involves Psychology and Psy 1001 has already made me more sure of myself! So far, the most interesting things I have learned are the topics involving sensation and perception. The subjects involving illusions and how the brain reacts to them are the best! It all seems unreal to me. I really hope that this course helps me solidify my career choice and help me learn tons of interesting things!

Assignment 1

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The thing I've enjoyed the most in Psychology are the demonstrations to show how easily people can be fooled. For examply, just the other day my discussion section was shown a video of Derren Brown (amazing showman) asking people for directions with a map and then covertly switching with another person with the same map; the people didn't even notice the swap, even if the differences between Derren and the swap were very obvious. It's fascinating to see how those people can be so easily manipulated, and I'm interested in knowing the processes (or interruption of?) in depth behind getting fooled.

Amir Bajramovic

Assignment 1

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So far I have enjoyed learning about sensation and perception because I find it really fascinating how the brain works with our sensory system. I took a Psychology class prior to this, but we never went into detail about how our brain interprets all the incoming information, and I think it's interesting to learn how each of our brains has a different perception of reality. I'm looking forward to learning more about memory because it seems like it would be an interesting process.

Assignment 1

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Thus far, I found the concepts and ideas explored in the very first chapter of Lilienfeld to be the most interesting. I think it is very important to learn critical thinking skills and to be aware of our misconceptions and biases that may impair our reasoning in research or even everyday life. A specific example of one of these concepts is confirmation bias, which is the tendency we have to seek information that will reinforce our beliefs or predictions and dismiss any information that contradicts them. I fall victim to this bad habit often, especially with the news and current events. To verify a story I may seek news sources that will validate what I believe to be true or want to be true. Or sometimes not even investigate it at all to confirm that I have all the relevant details and information. I believe prevention against confirmation bias is a very important aspect of critical thinking and important to be aware of and keep in mind in any type of evaluation or analysis.

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