Recently in Assignment 4 Category

Scary Strangers

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

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

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

The Lie Detector & Lying.

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

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

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

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

Assignment #4-Kyle Wong

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

assignment 4

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

Are You My Mother?

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

Sensorimotor Stage

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

High Divorce Rates? Blame the Pill

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

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


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

the pill.jpg

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

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

The Mozart Effect

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

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

Anorexia Nervosa

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

Lie Detector Tests

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


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


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

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

Assignment 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tribute To Andy Rooney

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

The Explosion of Portion Sizes

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

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

portion distortion 2.jpg

Assignment #4 The Wonders and Mysteries of Love

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

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

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

Non-traditional families

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

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

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

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

What do you think? Do you have an opinion?

Associated Press Article on Non-Traditional Families.

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



Assignment 4: Imprinting in Cinema

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


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

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


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

Flashbulb memories

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




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

Happiness :)

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

Mozart "Faux"-zart

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

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

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

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

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

But I Didn't Say Anything!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Dr. Paul Ekman and Recognition of Microexpressions

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

The Strange Situation

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

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

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

Assignment #4 - The Mozart Effect

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

An explanation Through Parenting

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

The Differences in Sound

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assignment 4: Monkeys, Mothers, and Attachment.

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

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

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

Can We Really Detect Lies?

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Assignment 4

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

Cri Du Chat Syndrome

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

Nonverbal communication

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

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

Assignment 4

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

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

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

10,000 Hours

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

10,000 Hours

YES! Violent Media = Aggressive Behavior

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

assignment 4: Scaffolding

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

Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder?

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

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

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

How does attraction work?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assignment #4

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

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

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

The Discrete Emotions Theory

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

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

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

Assignment 4: Mozart, with a bit of truth

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

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

Emotions and Memory

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

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

Assignment 4

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

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

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

Click here for the video!

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

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

The Facial Feedback Hypothesis

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Facial Feedback Hypothesis

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

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


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

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

Polygraph Test

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

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

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

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

Importance of a Father

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

Things that make us happy

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

Things that make us happy

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


Life of an Eating Disorder

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

Imprinting: A Scientific Game of Follow the Leader

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

Mob Mentality

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

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

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

Blog 4: Attachment and Imprinting

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

Here is an interesting example of imprinting:

The Mozart Effect

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

Why Father's Do Matter

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

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


Able to Prove

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

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

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

Soda Bubbles

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

Anorexia Nervosa

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

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

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

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

The Impact of Divorce on Children

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

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

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

Passionate Love: The Notebook

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



Assignment #4: Sternberg's Love Triangle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Prince William & Kate Middleton

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

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

Assignment 4: Empty Nest Syndrome

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

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

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

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

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

Assignment 4: Men and Sex

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

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


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

How close are you with your parents?


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

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

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

A Disability That Can Be Prevented!

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

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

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