November 2011 Archives

Attachment Styles

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

Flashbulb Memories

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

Do you remember?

I do.

Social Psychology

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

Pavlov's Classical Conditioning

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

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

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

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

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

By drinking Pepsi, we will be amazing socialites.

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

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

Attachment Styles Throughout Life

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

A Moment in Time

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

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

Attachment Styles

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

The Mystery of the Child Mind

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

Acupuncture Treatment

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

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

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

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

blog 5

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

Assignment 5 Graphology

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

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Assignment #5-Piaget's Stages of Development

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

The Use of Projective Tests

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

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


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

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


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

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

Writing Assignment #5

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

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

I Want It And I Want It NOW!!!

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

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

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

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

Contact Comfort or Food

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

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

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

Projective Tests

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

Strange Situation

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

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

The Big Five

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

The Duel of the East and West Emoticons.

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

Criminal Profiling

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

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

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

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

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


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

Attachments in action:


secure base

exploring with attachments

Ability vs. Performance. Who Wins in the End?

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

The Attachment Theory

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

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

Assignment #5

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

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

Is Standardized testing accurate?

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

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

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

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

Rethinking Intelligence

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


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


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

The Id, The Ego, and The Super Ego

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

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

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

The Id, The Ego, and The Super Ego

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

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

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

Stages of Separation Distress

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

Assignment 5

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

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

Sources Cited: The textbook and

Assignment 5

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

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

Twin's Behaviors

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

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

Projective Tests, all about the inkblots.

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

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

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

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

Assignment 5

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

What a "Strange Situation!"

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

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

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

Here is a sample of Mary Ainsworth's study:

The Big Five of Personality

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personality is developed from Sexual Pleasure? What?

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


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

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

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

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

Below is a cute video going through Freud's Theory

Guilt Trip

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

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

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

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

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

Criminal Profiling

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

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

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


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

Assignment #5: THE BIG 5

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

Horoscope and The P.T Barnum Effect

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

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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

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

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

The Id, Ego, and Superego

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

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


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

Different Angles On Intelligence

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

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

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

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

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

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

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

Personality Matrix

68 Years of Use

IQ's and the Presidents

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

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

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

Assignment 5: Intelligence

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


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


The superego

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

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

The Big Five Model

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

Captain Jack Sparrow:

Elizabeth Swann:

Attachment Theory

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

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

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

Psychoanalytic Theory

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

Rorschach inkblot test

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

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

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

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

Happiness :D

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Before reading, Please view the following:

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

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

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

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

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


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

Multiple Intelligences

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

Intelligence Is Intelligence, Right?

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

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

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

Blog 5

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

Attachment Theory

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

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

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

The Big Five

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

The Big Five Model

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

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl

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

The Big Five Method

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

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

Assignment 5: Lie Detectors

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

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

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

Assignment 5

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

Criminal Minds: BAU

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

The Big Five

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

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

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

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


Criminal Profiling

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

Repressing a Tragic Past

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

Here is another study about Repressed Memory:

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

A Positive Outlook Is Essential!

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

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

Assignment 5 Behaviorism vs Psychoanalysts

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

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

From Criminal Minds to Law and Order: Criminal Profiling

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

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

The Mere Exposure Effect: How "Familiarity Breeds Comfort"

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

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

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

The link below is a mere exposure effect test.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crazy Things in Life

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

IQ for job placement

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

Secrets to Interviewing Success

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

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

Emotion and motivation: body language and gestures pg416

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rosenthal and Jacobson Studies

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

Scary Strangers

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

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

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

The Lie Detector & Lying.

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

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

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

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

Assignment #4-Kyle Wong

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

assignment 4

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

Are You My Mother?

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

Sensorimotor Stage

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

High Divorce Rates? Blame the Pill

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

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


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

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

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

The Mozart Effect

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

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

Anorexia Nervosa

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

Lie Detector Tests

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


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


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

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

Assignment 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tribute To Andy Rooney

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

The Explosion of Portion Sizes

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

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

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Assignment #4 The Wonders and Mysteries of Love

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

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

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

Non-traditional families

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

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

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

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

What do you think? Do you have an opinion?

Associated Press Article on Non-Traditional Families.

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



Assignment 4: Imprinting in Cinema

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


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

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


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

Flashbulb memories

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




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

Happiness :)

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

Mozart "Faux"-zart

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

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

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

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

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

But I Didn't Say Anything!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Dr. Paul Ekman and Recognition of Microexpressions

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

The Strange Situation

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

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

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

Assignment #4 - The Mozart Effect

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

An explanation Through Parenting

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

The Differences in Sound

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assignment 4: Monkeys, Mothers, and Attachment.

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

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

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

Can We Really Detect Lies?

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Assignment 4

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

Cri Du Chat Syndrome

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

Nonverbal communication

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

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

Assignment 4

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

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

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

10,000 Hours

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

10,000 Hours

YES! Violent Media = Aggressive Behavior

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

assignment 4: Scaffolding

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

Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder?

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

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

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

Assignment 4- Importance of Proximity

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

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

How does attraction work?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assignment #4

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

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

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

The Discrete Emotions Theory

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

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

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

Assignment 4: Mozart, with a bit of truth

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

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

Emotions and Memory

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

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

Assignment 4

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

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

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

Click here for the video!

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

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

Gender Identity

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

The Facial Feedback Hypothesis

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Facial Feedback Hypothesis

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

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


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

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

Polygraph Test

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

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

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

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

Importance of a Father

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

Things that make us happy

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

Things that make us happy

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


Life of an Eating Disorder

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

Imprinting: A Scientific Game of Follow the Leader

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

Mob Mentality

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

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

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

Blog 4: Attachment and Imprinting

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

Here is an interesting example of imprinting:

The Mozart Effect

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

Why Father's Do Matter

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

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


Able to Prove

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

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

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

Soda Bubbles

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

Anorexia Nervosa

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

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

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

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

The Impact of Divorce on Children

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

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

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

Passionate Love: The Notebook

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



Assignment #4: Sternberg's Love Triangle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Prince William & Kate Middleton

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

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

Assignment 4: Empty Nest Syndrome

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

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

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

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

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

Assignment 4: Men and Sex

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

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


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

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