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Theoretical Accounts of Language Acquisition

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THEORETICAL ACCOUNTS OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION

The Imitation Account

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

The Nativist Account

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

The Social Pragmatics Account

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

The General Cognitive Processing Account

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

Infants & Language Development

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

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

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

Speed Reading Assignment 3

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

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

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

speed reading graph.gif

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

You can read the article here.

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

Loss Prevention.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2nd Article.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/health/research/10spinal.html?ref=thevanishingmind

1st Article.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44260578/ns/health-alzheimers_disease/#.TqZFvN6a9Ux

Hypnosis

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

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

Another interesting video talking about hypnosis i watched was this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5z-KSF0dA4

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

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

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

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

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

References:
Myers, Catherine."Memory Loss and the Brain".http://www.memorylossonline.com/glossary/anterogradeamnesia.html

False Memories

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

Here's a link to the video.

Classical Conditioning

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

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

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

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


assignment #3

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

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

Anterograde Amnesia

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

Memory

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

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

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

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

Blog #3: Pavlov's experiment

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

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

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


assignment 3

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The law of effect put forth by E.L. Thorndike states that if a behavior receives a positive outcome, it is likely that the behavior will occur again. This is very true because people will try to act a certain way if they know they will be rewarded. In the book the example was the cat had to pull the string to get out of the box to reach its food, soon enough it figured out how to do this quickly. I have experienced the law of effect last year while working with a class of first graders. I was in charge of reading groups, i would always let them play games or give them candy if they did their homework, this therefore made all the students want to do their homework and do it every week. This can also be considered positive reinforcement. I also used this with one of my struggling students, she was allowed to play reading games at the end of the week if she did her homework. I would also make sure to point out the good things she did, such as actually doing her homework. The positive feedback usually helped her be more confident and happy and therefore she performed better. Overall i feel that positive reinforcement and punishment are the best techniques to use when dealing with unruly children. They are striving for attention and by giving them positive reinforcement they will strive to do better.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17OiozYwuvYhttp://www.google.com/imgres?q=children&um=1&hl=en&client=safari&sa=N&rls=en&biw=1213&bih=614&tbm=isch&tbnid=craMb69A20GL2M:&imgrefurl=http://www.pbccs.org/Children&docid=f3CXAw3BKzjPiM&imgurl=http://www.pbccs.org/images/children/children4.jpg&w=355&h=280&ei=1ACmToTQIeuhsQKx5uzADw&zoom=1

Mnemonics at Work

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

Heuristics and Problem Solving

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

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

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

Here is another example:

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

Assignment #3

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

Writing Assignment #3

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


1:34-10:12


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

The Law of Effect

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The law of effect was formed by E.L. Throndike and it explains behaviors that lead to satisfying outcomes are more likely to be repeated than the behaviors that lead to unwanted outcomes. This is important because the subject will strive to continue doing what provides a pleasant effect to keep learning. Giving a dog a treat every time it doesn't beg for food, will gradually teach the dog to not beg. In my life, when I work over 40 hours a week I will receive a bonus from work and that bonus is a raise in my hourly pay. From this, I learned to take as many shifts as possible because I want to get another bonus and to save up for college. < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vk6H7Ukp6To> < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjAta0Ahuzg>.

Amnesia

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A concept from our readings these past few weeks that I find fascinating is Amnesia. Amnesia is a problem with memory. There are a couple different kinds as well as a few misconceptions, which I will discuss. The main problems associated with amnesia are in the retrieval (or possibly disappearance) of memories, along with the formation of memory.
I find this idea important because it hints at the ideas in psychology that make it so interesting to me. The most fascinating part of psychology deals with the functions we cant see (memory being one of the most interesting). If you think about it, diseases involving memory, while awful for those who have them, can provide great insight into how we have memory. Nobody knows how memory actually works, and scientists know even less about where memory is stored. Through studying the brains of patients with amnesia, we could possibly learn more about where memory is stored or how it works.
There are two different types of amnesia. The first is Retrograde amnesia, in which we lose some memories of our past. The second is anterograde amnesia, where we lose the capacity to form new memories. When most people hear about amnesia (I used to think this way until this psychology course) they think that people with the disease have lost all of their memories. It turns out that this is called generalized amnesia and is very rare.
The most common and troubling form of amnesia is anterograde amnesia, contrary to popular belief.
I have always been a HUGE fan of Derren Brown, a british psychologist and entertainer. He had his own tv show, and many of the clips are on youtube. I found one about inducing temporary "amnesia" (its not true amnesia). Its actually more about messing with memories via suggestion, which is another topic we've been discussing lately. The video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qGlMG71EeM
With a subject as interesting as amnesia I'm bound to have questions. The most prominent question I have is how amnesia develops. There are extremely high rates of amnesia in the elderly, especially in people above 85 years of age. If so many people develop amnesia, how come we don't know more about it?
Hopefully more information on this "memorable" disease becomes available soon.
questions?

Imprinting

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

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQZdqLeMpELmMyoWPaloKpUKTwTY7JemV8TNJm3ZmgvVWK3y9vj

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTcfFJuAsG2DOEyHq7xAWiRiTdDfzDkB2OPYIWbkiSlUkyfwBqf

http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQVYUzIPUQAlpuwv9TiwS9o4y0jVAYfvTAs24pKsgq_eU6uT88x

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

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

Negative Dreams

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

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

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

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

Maybe this video will help you!

:] enjoy!

-Dana Fisher

Blog Assignment 3

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

Learning and Habituation

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

Study Hints from the Psychologists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sleep. It's crucial!

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

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

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


http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smart-alarm-clock-sleep-cycles/id359431485?mt=8


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Memory and Matteo Ricci

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

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

Amnesia

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A concept from our readings these past few weeks that I find fascinating is Amnesia. Amnesia is a problem with memory. There are a couple different kinds as well as a few misconceptions, which I will discuss. The main problems associated with amnesia are in the retrieval (or possibly disappearance) of memories, along with the formation of memory.
I find this idea important because it hints at the ideas in psychology that make it so interesting to me. The most fascinating part of psychology deals with the functions we cant see (memory being one of the most interesting). If you think about it, diseases involving memory, while awful for those who have them, can provide great insight into how we have memory. Nobody knows how memory actually works, and scientists know even less about where memory is stored. Through studying the brains of patients with amnesia, we could possibly learn more about where memory is stored or how it works.
There are two different types of amnesia. The first is Retrograde amnesia, in which we lose some memories of our past. The second is anterograde amnesia, where we lose the capacity to form new memories. When most people hear about amnesia (I used to think this way until this psychology course) they think that people with the disease have lost all of their memories. It turns out that this is called generalized amnesia and is very rare.
The most common and troubling form of amnesia is anterograde amnesia, contrary to popular belief.
I have always been a HUGE fan of Derren Brown, a british psychologist and entertainer. He had his own tv show, and many of the clips are on youtube. I found one about inducing temporary "amnesia" (its not true amnesia). Its actually more about messing with memories via suggestion, which is another topic we've been discussing lately. The video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qGlMG71EeM
With a subject as interesting as amnesia I'm bound to have questions. The most prominent question I have is how amnesia develops. There are extremely high rates of amnesia in the elderly, especially in people above 85 years of age. If so many people develop amnesia, how come we don't know more about it?
Hopefully more information on this "memorable" disease becomes available soon.
questions?

Can someone be programmed to become an assasin?

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

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

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

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

False Memories

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

Sleepwalking

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

Sleepwalking

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaXsuxbgqVI&feature=related

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

Of Course I Remember Everything! Don't You?

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

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

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

Lexipedia:

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

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

The Late, Great Memory

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

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

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

I was able to answer some of my questions here.

Finally, on a lighter note:

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

How Children Learn Language

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xn4GCBUAt-M&feature=relmfu

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

ds7__02684.jpg

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

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

http://www.babyreflux.co.uk/product_images/b/ds7__02684.jpg


-Sherene Mostaghimi Section 08

Retrograde Amnesia

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErjP5xMTc8I (the trailer of 50 First Dates)
Also, Finding Nemo is one good example of short term memory loss.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuvF113uty4 (the trailer of finding Nemo)

Amnesia

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

HM BRAIN.jpg


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


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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jk7WuvNKe_g


Assignment 3

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

Long Term Memory

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

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

Insight Learning Ben Bauch

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

Amnesia & 50 First Dates

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

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

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

http://scienceblogs.com/neurophilosophy/2009/03/amnesia_in_the_movies.php

false memories

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

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

Speed-Reading

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

classical conditioning

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

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


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

M3781cfced153843ad3fb4984186d003c.jpg

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


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


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guroaQRFsX4)

False Memories

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

Assignment 3

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Over the past two weeks, the topic that interests me the most is false memories. I find it crazy how easily our brains can deceive us. Many of us are overconfident in our recollection of events than we should be. Although our brains do a good job of helping us remember things, it sometimes fails to make accurate events. False memories are events that never actually occurred, but one thinks that they really did occur. An example would be the whole Bugs Bunny at Disney World ad. Some people were given a false ad that showed Bugs Bunny at Disney World with a slogan at the bottom, and were then asked if they met Bugs Bunny. Many claimed that they did meet him and that they even gave him a hug. But this would never happen because Bugs Bunny would never be at Disney World since he is a Warner Brothers character.
I also think that implanting false memories is an insane concept. If someone were to just randomly tell me of this concept, I wouldn't not believe him/her. But after reading about the Paul Ingram case, I completely believe it, and am a little bit shocked by it. Suggestive memory techniques are a very strong way of encouraging people to recall memories, and that was what was used in the Paul Ingram case. The fact that people actually believed him to be guilty was crazy. There were no physical evidence -- no medical reports of an abortion, no bones buried, etc. The stories didn't match up -- Paul's stories did not match up to his daughter's stories. The stories were inconsistent -- Paul's daughter's stories kept on changing constantly. Paul even admitted to a story that the officials knew didn't occur.
I think that these concepts are important because for severe cases, like the Paul Ingram case, many innocent people could be dealing with consequences for events that never even happened. Obviously there are the minor cases, such as the Bugs Bunny one, that are not a big deal whatsoever. But it's still interesting to learn about how our brains are capable of doing things like this.
Here is a video kind of explaining what false memories are and how to implant false memories: http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=zu6-4TN8EOk
Questions: I think that this topic is very interesting and that there is much to learn about it, but one question that I have that relates to the Paul Ingram case is what happened to him and his daughter?

Blame it on your Ancestors

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Biological Influences on Learning: Preparedness and Phobias

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

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

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

There is a very good article found online (http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro02/web3/mwhite.html) which very accurately summarizes many of the main points outlined in the psychology textbook. This site highlights ideas like phobias and classical conditioning as well as genetics and desensitization using some very interesting examples.

Hollywood 'Forgets' Truth About Amnesia

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

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

Santa Who? example

Observational Learning FTW (For The Win)

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

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

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

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

Short fun video on someone learning through observation,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z2wgizj_vg&feature=related

Anterograde Amneisa: 50 First Dates

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

"ten second Tom" video :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jk7WuvNKe_g
Clive Wearing "man with a 30 second memory" video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmzU47i2xgw

Assignment 3

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

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

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

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

False Memories

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

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

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

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

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

False Memories

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

Skin color is not the only difference between people.

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

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

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

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

Skin color is not the only difference between people.

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

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

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

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

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

50 First Dates

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The movie "50 First Dates" is a great example of many of the things that I learned in chapter 7 on memory. In the movie, due to a car accident Lucy now has short term memory loss. Her only memory is from everything that happened before the day of the accident. Lucy suffers from anterograde amnesia because she can only attain her memory for 1 whole day before she loses it and wake up to relive the whole day again. However, in the movie Lucy did show signs of implicit memory when she was painting pictures of Henry and singing the song from the Beach Boys: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yrj0IogDb4
This movie does a great job at showing the emotional effect of what we can expect to see from patients when they finally realize they have amnesia. After Lucy saw the pictures of the accident scene, she broke down in tears. We can relate Lucy's emotional break down back to one of the videos that we saw during lecture about a man getting angry because he said didn't remember doing any of the things that his wife said he had done. This movie also shows a possible solution to help people with amnesia because similar to a journal where the patient write down all the things they want to remember, someone else record a video of the patient's life and show it to them every morning. I say that this is a possible solution because patients can deny what they wrote in their journal or even rip out the page of it but they cannot deny seeing a video of what they have done.

Memory Loss

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

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

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

Extraordinary Claim Vertical Jump Assignment #3

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

MLA Works Cited Page

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

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

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

Sleepwalking

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

Dog Sleepwalking:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2BgjH_CtIA
Sleepwalker: Coca-Cola Commercial
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkHA2pf1gvc

Memory Illusion

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

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

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

Retrograde Amnesia

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

Assignment 3 Amnesia

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

CBS News Article

Short-Term Memory

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What i found interesting in these past couple weeks was the concept of short-term memory. Short-term memory woks actively with the information handed to it, transforming it into more meaningful material before passing some of it on to the long-term memory (Psychology from inquiry to understanding pg 245). Short-term memory is where we work to hold onto information we are currently getting. The information is either processed into long-term memory for storage or just scrapped away, meaning we might forget it after a little bit. One way to test our short term memory was when in class we were given an amount of words to try and remember to write most of them down. For me i tended to write down the last three words our professor would say because they were fresh in our mind, and i would often forget most of the others. This leads to the duration of short-term memory consisting of 10-15 seconds to process information, which explains why i only got the last three words written down right away.
Fortunately for us there are some ways that can help our short-term memory. First; chunking, which is organizing material into meaningful groupings. For example; when you are looking at a list of words and some end in s and some end in y you can chunk those words together to try to remember them faster.
Another way of helping our short-term memory is rehearsal, which is repeating the information mentally, or even out loud. We keep information alive in our short-term memory by repeating information, for example; when I want to remember a phone number someone has given me and I don't have a pen or a pencil, I keep repeating it until I can get my phone out and enter it in.
Short-term memory to me is very important to our memory system and i would love to learn more about it how our short-term memory positively and negatively affects us and why do we have to have it in our memory system. Without our short-term memory barely, if any, information would be processed and stabilized into our long-term memory.
Here is a link to a quick video on how Short-term memory can effect peoples lives. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwigmktix2Y

Amnesia

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

"50 First Dates"

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

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErjP5xMTc8I
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WWzCI2oi-o&feature=related

50 First Dates

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErjP5xMTc8I

Above is the URL for the trailer for this movie
50fd.jpg

50fd2.jpg

Dog Training

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

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


http://youtu.be/DaG-y2tFBFE

Observational Learning

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Observational Learning

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

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

VIDEO:

(If the link did not work, here is the URL: YouTube Video Clip Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqZmW7uIPW4)


Further Questions:

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

PICTURES!
lorenz1.jpg
http://www.leadershipnow.com/leadingblog/images/konrad-lorenz.jpg

lorenz3_g.jpg
http://www.cerebromente.org.br/n14/experimento/lorenz/lorenz3_p.jpg

Works Cited

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

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

Do you understand me?

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

Narcolepsy- A Mental Disorder?

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

Assignment 3

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

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