October 2011 Archives

Mirror Therapy

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Phantom limb is a term for an amputated limb, a limb which a person has lost. People with an amputated limb often experience phantom pain, which is pain in the missing limb. This pain can be very excruciating but, fortunately, Vilayanur Ramachandran and colleagues have developed a treatment for it called mirror therapy. Patients positition the limb that they still have, in the mirror so it is reflected to the other side, appearing as though the amputated limb is still there.


This video is about a man who lost his right leg while serving in the war in Iraq. He says that the pains he experiences in his amputated limb are like he is getting stabbed between his toes with a knife, in the arch of his foot or heel, when your big toe is crossed over your second toe, or when you cut your toe nail too short and your sock pulls on it. For this man, sitting with a mirror in between his legs, reflecting his intact leg and foot, is his mirror therapy. As he moves his foot and looks in the mirror at the reflection, he says that it feels like he is really moving the amputated limb.

As recently portrayed in the movie "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" many scientists and people have experimented with teaching animals different forms of language and communication. Since it has been proved that our closes relatives the bono primate was unable to learn the specific nuances of a signing language that all hope is lost, but is that definitive? Some argue that learning small parts of sign languages are similar to the evolution of humans and that their language could have pushed forward genetic adaptations and evolution. Through proven experiments monkeys can master certain words, but many or their errors come from syntax, but if all of the monkeys in an environment communicated through a sign language, would that lead to further mastering of the language and possibly evolution?

Early Onset Dementia

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The world of women's basketball took a large blow late this summer. It had nothing to do with lockouts or injured players, but that of the diagnosis of one of the games most influential figures. The Tennessee Lady Volunteers head basketball coach, Pat Summitt , was diagnosed with early onset dementia. Summitt went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where she underwent a series of tests and received the stunning answer of what disease she had. Many people know anything related with Alzheimer's is not good but what really is dementia?

Dementia is defined as a loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases. It affects memory, thinking, language, judgment, and behavior. Most types of dementia are nonreversible. Nonreversible means the changes in the brain that are causing the dementia cannot be stopped or turned back. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. Lewy body disease is a leading cause of dementia in elderly adults. People with this condition have abnormal protein structures in certain areas of the brain. Dementia also can be due to many small strokes. This is called vascular dementia. Dementia symptoms include many areas of mental functioning such as language, memory, perception, personality, and many cognitive skills.

Pat strongly believes that she can continue coaching, "I feel better just knowing what I'm dealing with. And as far as I'm concerned it's not going to keep me from living my life, not going to keep me from coaching." said Summitt. Although Summitt maintains her positive attitude, she now knows her time as a coach, over three decades, is nearing its end. If the symptoms worsen, she simply will not be in a position to be under the national spotlight of women's basketball. Her highly intelligent mind for basketball is now under duress and sadly, the decrease her cognitive skills will affect every aspect of her life, including coaching the game she loves.

Pavlov's Discoveries

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Classical conditioning, also referred to as Pavlovian conditions is a way of learning in with animals/organisms incur stimuli that illicit an automated response, which they were previously neutral to. Key elements involved in this are, Unconditioned stimulus, Unconditioned response, Conditioned stimulus, Conditioned response. To give some background information, and explain further on how this process works, you should check out this video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo7jcI8fAuI&NR=1&feature=fvwp

I myself have had direct experience with classical conditioning. When we got one of my dogs, Brandie, we took her to puppy school. We trained her to sit, shake, 'watch', and other basic behaviors by using the "clicker method". This method involved rewarding the dog with correct behavior with a treat, and by clicking a clicker. Eventually,
Brandie would ween the dog off of the treats and she would respond to the clicker. This tactic initially uses classical conditioning, but eventually uses operant conditioning. It is a practical and useful way to apply Pavlov's discoveries to real life!

For a more fun example, here is a video that a student made for his Intro to Psych class! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo7jcI8fAuI&NR=1&feature=fvwp
I personally don't think my roommate would appreciate me using classical conditioning on her!

I wonder what other real life ways classical condition is realistically used? Do you have an examples from your life?

The 10% Myth

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The myth that people only use 10% of their brains has spread like wildfire. It is mainly used by ad's and psychics to get your attention.

This myth states that we really only use 10% of our brains and the rest just sits there, doing nothing. This can easily be refuted by using extraordinary claims. Using brain imaging techniques like PET scans and fMRI, people are able to see that the whole brain, in fact, is still functioning and sending neurons across the brain. Using these brain scanners, you can create an alternate explanation to this myth. The principle of replicability was ignored and that is why this was taken as fact.

Super Bowl a Stock Market Indicator?
It has been observed that of the past 41 Super Bowl games, 33 have successfully predicted how the stock market with perform over the following year.
How is this done?

If a team from the American Football Conference (AFC) wins the super bowl, then the market is supposed to be a bear market. This is a general decline in stock prices across the market. However, if a team from the National Football Conference (NFC) wins the super bowl, then the market is supposed to be a bull market, meaning high gains are expected.
This is a classic example of causation versus correlation mix-up. Instead of a popular football game actually affecting how the stock market performs, it is probably due to some third variable. This third variable could be such things as investor confidence or doubt, swings in the overall economy, and many other economic factors.
This myth can also be looked at through the extraordinary claims perspective. This says that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Supporters of myth try to answer this statement with facts. 33 of the last 41 super bowls were successfully predicted, including 28 out of 31 from 1967 to 1997. This correctly shows a correlation between the super bowl champion and the performance of the stock market, but it does not mean that it is the cause. Because this hypothesis can only be observed through naturalistic observation and cannot be manipulated in a laboratory, there is no way to prove a cause between the two factors.


The "Tip of the tongue", which is also called (TOT) phenomenon refers to the inability to pull a word from your memory despite belief that the word is there. It is a psychological state that produces pronounced and easily recognizable physiological reactions. TOT have happened all over the world, people have reported the phenomenon in the native languages of France, Portugal, Vietnamese, and Romania and also all other countries. It is also age-dependent, with seniors reporting the experience about twice as often as college age students. The person experiencing TOT can often name the first letter of the word and can recall words similar in meaning. About half the time, the individually eventually succeeds and voices the word.

The tip-of-the-tongue experience (TOT) is characterized by being able to retrieve quite a lot of information about the target word without being able to retrieve the word itself. You know the meaning of the word, you may know how many syllables the word has, or its initial sound or letter. But you can't retrieve it all. The experience is coupled with a strong feeling (this is the frustrating part) that you know the word, and that it is hovering on the edges of your thought.

It has been thought that these interfering words cause the TOT, but some researchers now believe they're a consequence rather than a cause. Because you have part of the sounds of the word you're searching for, your hard-working brain, searching for words that have those sounds, keeps coming up with the same, wrong, words. A recent study by Dr Lori James of the University of California and Dr Deborah Burke of Pomona College suggests a different cause. Interestingly, this ability to transmit phonological relatives of the word being recalled is lost in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's and dementia involve memory retrieval failure in specific brain areas, which may be the case with this more common phenomenon as well. In their study using functional magnetic resonance imaging, Maril and colleagues found that activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and the prefrontal cortex of the brain was higher during TOT experiences than when the subject remembered the word.

Another prediction is that as a result of this representational "tightening," subjects may be less likely to notice unexpected or infrequent events in their environment - for example, if subjects are completing the same task but are required to stomp their foot whenever a three-syllable word occurs, they may be less successful at this when engaged in a task that involves the retrieval of low-frequency or non dominant information relative to that involving more dominant or high-frequency information.

More Facts and Information can be found at:

Through the class lectures and videos, and keeping up with the book, I have become interested in the split-brain procedure. The split brain procedure involves severing the corpus callosum and separating the right and left sides of the brain. This procedure was done a long time ago without knowledge of the affects, and it would not be completely in present day solely for research purposes. Roger Sperry

After reading the Lilienfeld on False Memories, I wondered what kind of implications this would have for myself. Did this mean that my textbook was telling me that many of my important memories could all be wrong? This thought greatly disturbed me. I realized however I was overanalyzing the book though. According to the Lilienfeld most false memories occur from some the "7 deadly sins of memory". Mainly suggestibility, misattribution, and bias. People can acquire false memories in a variety of ways and although it is possible I feel that they aren't something I should worry about too much. For most of the lab implanting of false memories, the trick was done by suggesting something that happened or a direct feeding of misinformation to people like in the Bugs Bunny at Disney World false memory. The memory must also be a plausible one to begin with for it to become a true false memory. This means I can't have someone suggest utter nonsense that my mind will take in and create a powerful false memory out of. This is one of the most relieving things to me because at first glance the false memory research appears to say the opposite. So although it is true that we can misremember things or create memories that never occurred it is very unlikely this will affect us more than on a small scale. When it does happen on a large scale however, the consequences can be dire as was the case for the Thompson rape case. I wonder if in the future there will be developed a way to accurately sift through memories and test for accuracy. I would hate to see the future littered with more cases of falsely accused people paying for other people's crimes.

How fast can you read?

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Many advertisements explicate that they are capable of increasing your rate of reading by 15,000-30,000 words per minute in order for you to succeed on any test, such as the A.C.T or any college exam. But can they actually do it? The answer to this question is no. In reality, the average reading rate is 200-300 words per minute and through tons of research, scientists have proven that speed-reading is one of the largest hoax claims that the media attempts to sell. This extraordinary claim explains how most "speed-reading" derives from skimming: which is a process of searching for key information to gain clues about the meaning. This underlines the idea that skimming is not actual reading, thus you cannot improve your reading rates because it weakens your comprehension levels significantly. Ironically, the faster you are able to read, the less information you are likely to take in, which results in a decline in your learning. According to the controlled studies by Cunningham, Stan Ovich, and Wilson, reading faster than 400 words per minute leads to less than half of your overall comprehension. I believe this is an important hoax claim to eliminate because people are wasting their time and money on something that our mind is physically not proficient in. Also, In the long run, speed-reading has a negative consequence on our comprehension. I went to some expensive tutoring in preparation for the A.C.T, in hope of improving my reading skills. The pricing was ridiculous and in the end, it did not increase my reading score in any shape or form, it actually decreased it. Ultimately, speed-reading has more negative effects than positive ones, thus, our society should attempt to avoid these hoax claims at all cause.


http://www.rocketreader.com/ LILIENFELD TEXT. (Second edition)

The Crucible

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In our discussion section we discussed the case of Paul Ingram, a man of high standing in society with a family that was devotedly religious. Paul's two daughters went to bible camp where they were convinced that their father had molested them. Paul had never actually molested the daughters, but he was charged and held in jail. In jail he was in solitary confinement and harassed numerous times by the investigators. Paul reached the point where he actually believed that he had molested his daughters, and even began conjuring up false stories that he believed to be true. The Paul Ingram case reminded me of the play "The Crucible." In "The Crucible" a bunch of teenage girls make up false stories of being bewitched by fellow townspeople. The girls continue to accuse numerous townspeople of being witches, to avoid being punished for conjuring spirits themselves. Those that are accused such as the black slave Tituba, confess to witchcraft and even tell stories of what the have done as witches. If they confessed to witchcraft, they would have to carry that title with them for the rest of their lives, but if they did not confess, they were hanged. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-R3KL3x9oI
It does not take much to create a false memory, in one such case a man was reading through his journals from when he was younger and came across an entry that was inserted by a group of researchers. This entry stated that he had been lost in a shopping mall when he was five, and when asked about this, the man was able to go into such detail about the ordeal that one would believe that he actually was lost in a shopping mall at the age of 5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQr_IJvYzbA&feature=player_detailpage

Apps for Autism

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Today, 60 minutes aired a segment on learning and autism. The recently discovered that kids respond positively when using an Ipad. A man named Josh, who has autism, has communicated by pointing out letters or acting things out for most of his life. Using a new app on the Ipad Josh is able to communicate everything he is thinking; proving that a deeper thought process is active in kids with autism. In a way these apps use positive reinforcement with the kids. When it asks the kids a question and they get it right a fun noise goes off and the kids light up. They also provided kids with positive reinforcement such as opera music when the actively engaged in the Ipad activities.

Autistic individuals crave consistency in their lives. Applications on the iPad further improve their learning and comfort by using constant voices, tempo, and sounds. There is a positive correlation between the Ipad apps and autistics kids willingness to socialize and an increase in attention span. Further studies are under way to prove if this is causation.

Finally a professor at University of Pittsburg is currently looking at the brains of those with autism. He believes that there is a connection between autistic language problems and the connections of the brain. He compared the brain of an average individual to that of someone who had Asperger's Syndrome and a problem with speaking. He found that the wiring is very disorganized in the person with Asperger's. Although we cannot use this information because of its lack of replicability, it shows a lot of promise.

Catfish Eats Basketball

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Catfish Eats Basketball:
In this scenario the Hoax is: Catfish eats basketball (stuck in its mouth).
Though catfish can grow to be huge, even gigantic fish with extremely wide mouths, it's not everyday that we see a catfish was an enlarged basketball stuck in its mouth while on the deck of your lakefront home/cabin. In this experience a man and wife were on the lake when they saw a basketball gliding across the water (looking odd). When they got close to the basketball they noticed it was gulped inside of a large mouthed catfish.

Using the Scientific Thinking Principle #3 Falsifiability; that is, (capable of being disproved) I believe my self that a catfish of the right size (gigantic) could produce the ability to hold an 8 inch basketball within the grasp of his mouth. But without trying this experiment on a (gigantic) catfish ourselves we have no information to make us believe this isn't photoshopped in this day and age.

Using the Scientific Thinking Principle #2 Correlation vs. Causation:
(variable a=b, Variable b=a, or variable c=a/variable c=b)
Aside from the ability of others to use the newest of technologies to make an image of such sort, I believe people would do such a thing to a catfish as to gain a few laughs. Putting an 8 inch basketball in a catfish's mouth, can seem to be funny to some people I would assume. In this scenario Variable C (people/person) equating variable A (the basketball in the catfish's mouth). Here's how I believe the basketball was placed in the catfishes mouth. After catching a (gigantic) catfish someone could have opened the catfish's mouth put a basketball right inside and drop the fish back into the water and left, making the next person to see it next think instantly that the catfish grasped with its mouth as if it though it was food. Not only could a person have done this and left the catfish for others to see, but the person who took these photos and made them viral on the internet could have done this him/herself for public humor, self humor etc. Not only is this a sick and disgusting thought, but the basketball that was inside the catfish's mouth was not allowing the catfish to dive back down into the water. So the man and wife who came across this catfish has to pop the basketball to deflate it so the gigantic catfish could dive back into the deep water where he hopefully lives to this day.


I Know it! but.....

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Have you ever experience the following scenario?
You know the answer to a question, but you just can't come up with it. Well, if this ever happened to you, you have certainly experienced the Tip- of-the-Tongue Phenomenon. This very commonly occurring phenomenon demonstrates the concept of knowing, that we know something but unable to access it at the moment. This concept applies to what we experience very often. I was really fascinated by this phenomenon and I attempted to replicate this finding by questioning five of my friends same questions. The questions were related to a topic they were all very familiar with which is related to their favorite soccer team. I was pretty certain that they knew the answer to this question at some point in the past.

I asked who was the first player from African Nation to become Europe's top scorer?
I asked each of them separately and two of them easily answered and three of my friends (participants) experience the Tip-Of-The-Tongue phenomenon. They each said "oh umm... I know his name....the guy who played for Barcelona right? What's his name?" I then provided a rehearsal cues; a player from Cameroon. Of course, all three remembered the name and the answer was Samuel Eto'o one of the best African players in Europe. This finding demonstrated effect of the concept Tip-Of-The-Tongue phenomenon. Does our answer to these concept come from our Long-term memory, if so, why do we have hard time retrieving it?



Positive punishment sounds contradicting. Provided a stimulus, it can diminish the behavior and the likelihood that it will occur again. The question is if it is healthy for humans to be positively punished? The answer isn't very clear, the general answer is, it depends.
Barbra has a fear of sitting in a room with 400 students for an hour for lecture so she decides to skip her lectures. Every time she skips lecture she has to watch the lecture online and fill out an extra 10 pages of worksheets. The extra worksheets are positive punishment for skipping lecture. The extra worksheets are helpful in getting her to do extra work and comprehending the material.
Thomas at the age of 17 likes to poop in his pants. His pants contain sensors that detect poop. So now, every time he poops his pants electrocute him to get him to learn to stop pooping in his pants. The electrocution is a positive punishment. This is not healthy because it can cause him stress and physical pain.Although punishment sounds negative, the effects of punishment just depends on what type of stimulus is being presented.

Punishment works but there are a few problems to it such as creating anxiety, or changing the behavior, Thomas takes off his pants and poops on the floor so he avoids the electrocution, and it may cause a child to develop with aggressive personalities. One must remember that because children are punished, it does not mean that it will cause them to be aggressive in the future, correlation doe not equal causation.
According to this article a boy was punished under harsh Sharia law by having his arm crushed under a truck as a punishment for stealing bread. Is this punishment valid? What punishments are actually good for children in the long run, or for anyone?

Here are some articles on positive punishment


Many of us today can still recall where we were the day first heard of the 9/11 attacks. But we still are fuzzy on exact details or even what the event looked like. The folks closest to ground zero have been known to accurately and vividly recall what the attacks looked like in detail. This is a demonstration of the "Flashbulb memory phenomenon." this article-> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3350048/911-Study-Reveals-How-Flashbulb-Memories-Form.html is the summary of a study conducted post-event on how those closest to the world trade center remembered the act. This flashbulb effect is the quantification of how well people exposed to a stressful event could remember details with accuracy, as compared to a normal memory. The hypothesis relates that the amygdala in a person's brain secretes a compound that acts in the hippocampus resulting in a person being mre accurate, detailed, and confident in the recollection of events. Though this is not the first study of this phenomenon, it is the first to use modern brain scanning technology. This first study of flashbulb memory occurred after the shooting of JFK. Where the nation was violently shocked in unison. Psychologist s took mention in how people could recall the JFK shooting much better than what they had for dinner, say tuesday last week. Because of the stress of the 9/11 inflicted on those close to ground zero, psychologist unfortunatly had the oppurtunity to study this same style of encoding but with the use of modern brain imaging technology. In this video a patient constents to an MRI and "Neuroscientist Elizabeth Phelps" discusses the results. Pretty Neat!

Optimism: A Flaw?

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You know how it is said that we should be optimistic or to keep our chin up when we are pursuing a goal? Well according to a new study collaboration between University College London, the Free University in Berlin, and the Humboldt University in Berlin, optimism may actually be a flaw in the human mind.


According to the article provided by PopSci.com, the research establishments carried out a study where volunteers were to rate the likelihood of a list of negative events happening to them. The volunteers would have their brain activity tracked while answering these questions in order to see which parts of the brain were active during optimistic answers (which comprised the majority of answers.)

According to the research, the areas of the brain in charge of estimation (located in the prefrontal cortices) would have a spike of activity directly correlated to how optimistic the given answers were. The main premise of these outcomes can be seen with the saying, "it-can't-happen-to-me."

From looking through this article, it seems that it was a well constructed experiment, with a high sense of internal validity and replicabilty, especially since it was done between three research institutions. However, I do think that other research pursuits could be constructed to test the falsifiability of this particular finding, such as if optimism is only a flaw in certain scenarios and a strength in others. Also, i think that a study on how pessimistic thinking plays into usefulness would be a nice parallel study to see if it too could be considered a flaw or not.


Dispelling Urban Legends

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It is common to believe in all sorts of "urban legends" because of a human tendency to use availability and representative heuristics: what seems the easiest and quickest to remember is usually the logic we settle on.

However, there are literally thousands of pieces of misinformation; such as the piece found on www.snapes.com entitled "Spiders Inside Her" .
The article describes how people are so gullible and easily fooled into believing something, and the entire myth had openly-satirical goals.
The reason for this piece of information sticks in many people's heads is because the the common phobia (or at least discomfort) of spiders is quite common.
According to THIS articled about "Half of women and 10 per cent of men have, to some degree, a fear of spiders."
This fear causes people to remember this "fact" more, because their emotions aid in the storage of LTM's. According to the Three-Stage Model, this is a very legitimate way to turn STM into LTM in Stage 2 via the "7 +/- 2 items" to remember.

Of course, there are other factors at play, but the main ones may be that it evokes such a strong emotion in people; thus, it evokes such a strong memory. And the urban legend continues...

Unforgettable Memory

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Our memories and our ability to retrieve them from our minds play a large role in daily life, working to shape our past thoughts and experiences into individual personalities that make us each unique. In the opening paragraph of Chapter 7: Memory in our Lilienfeld textbook, the authors tell a story of a woman known as A.J. who has hyperthymestic syndrome. This rare condition allows her to retrieve memories of past experiences from any moment in her life with incredible detail, such as what she did and what she was wearing. Although many of us think we would like to have this condition, A.J. sees it as both a curse and a blessing to be able to remember every part of your past experiences. However, hyperthymestic syndrome differs from other memory altering conditions such as autism in that individuals who suffer from it are able to carry on mostly normal lives. A good example of this is the case of Marilu Henner, a television actress who also suffers from hyperthymestic syndrome. Living with her condition, she has had a very successful career, including her role in the show Taxi. Her remarkable memory capabilities are very intriguing and even led to the new show Unforgettable on CBS this fall. Henner currently works as a consultant for the show in which the main character plays a gifted detective with the same syndrome.
Conditions of incredible memory are very rare and are often the result of a certain genetic trait expressed throughout the brain. But how much of it is actually genetic is still unknown. Gianni Golfera is a man with an incredible memory, most likely the result of some genetic condition. But Gianni also spends much of his time studying and learning how to improve his memory capabilities. In the video linked below, Gianni shows his remarkable ability to recall a long list of random numbers with ease. He explains that anyone can improve their memory with practice and has developed his own memory improvement techniques. So how much of our capability to remember genetic and how much of it is learned through practice? Each of us may not be able to recall every day of our past, but how much can we improve our memory?

National Geographic Link

Gianni Golfera's Website

What Kind of Learner Are You?

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learning_styles.jpg We've spent the majority of our education being told everyone learns differently (which is true to a certain extent, as no two people think exactly alike) and that everyone has a different learning style. The three most common broad learning style categories are:

Visual, in which one prefers to learn through the use of cues they can see - for example, presentations with charts, colors and pictures as opposed to just text; these learners have the generalized reputation of sitting at the front of classrooms and benefiting from an instructor's body movement and hand gestures.

Auditory, in which one learns almost strictly by hearing; according to the common generalizations, their classroom seat doesn't matter so long as they can hear what's happening, and these learners benefit from reading aloud to themselves.

Tactile (or Kinesthetic), in which one learns through touch - these learners learn best by "doing," that is, participating in hands-on activities.

Though these are the most common categories, many "studies" have developed countless other learning style groupings with narrower definitions. This website (where you can also take a quiz to find out what kind of learner you are) suggests seven fundamental learning types.

But how reliable are the studies that provide evidence for these categories? As the Lilenfield text and this article suggest, little to no scientific evidence exists to support the claims that people are either entirely one type of learner or another, and studies have found that teaching to a student's specific learning style didn't result in any sort of enhanced learning. Furthermore, many studies conducted that yielded evidence for these supposed learning styles were not nearly controlled enough to be called scientific. Most of the tests are not reliable either, that is, they aren't consistent from study to study, and the fact that no one agrees 100% on the types of categories for learning styles is pretty suspicious if we're looking at this scientifically. The above article suggets also a method in which the studies would have had to be carried out to provide scientific evidence.

The learning styles myth is still prevalent today, despite having been debunked by several scientific studies. This website even suggests teachers of English as second language in foreign countries should be sure to cater to their students' unique learning styles by using a variety of teaching methods.

I know I've spent most of my life assuming I was a "visual learner" as they call it, though strangely enough, I've always benefited from hands-on learning as well, and in fact, I sometimes read aloud to myself just to emphasize what I'm reading. So really, I just have my own way of learning things, just like everyone else has theirs. Hopefully, learning styles will eventually become a thing of the past, just another silly popular psychology fad that everyone will laugh about years from now.

Two-Process Theory of Phobias

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Many people have irrational phobias. Anyone who has seen daytime talk shows is sure to have seen at least one episode where a guest is bombarded with their phobia of things like balloons, dolphins, and even cotton balls.cnZcMbgEykx7xmvvkst8sOUdo1_500.jpeg
It is hard for many people to understand how these odd phobias exist and why they stick around for the entire lives of those inflicted with this fright. In order to understand why these phobias occur and how they continue to afflict people, we must examine the Two-Process Theory.
The first part of the Two-Process Theory is classical conditioning. Like in the Little Albert study, people may become frightened of an object that they usually would not be afraid of after some event that was cause for alarm. In Little Albert's case, he was playing with fluffy white animals only to have a large noise alarm and startle him. This caused Albert to be afraid of fluffy white animals and even inanimate objects resembling them. Albert was classically conditioned to be afraid of these objects.
The second part in the Two-Process Theory is operant conditioning. In operant conditioning, reinforcers increase the chances of an action to be repeated. If a person is afraid of black cats, when they see a black cat on one side of a road, they may cross the road to be farther away from it. This is a negative reinforcer for the person, as they have reduced their anxiety by removing something (their proximity to the cat) in their situation. This negative reinforcer makes it more likely that they will repeat this process in the future, and is only reinforcing their fear.

In the following video, we can see that even after years and years of fear, operant conditioning can be used to aid phobia reduction. With each step closer to the puppy, the man in the video has increased anxiety and fear, which would usually make him move away from the animal, but this time he has someone giving him reinforcement by means of positive verbal reinforcement. Another positive reinforcement is the puppy not actually attacking and causing harm to the man as he expected it would.

In the end, this is what we need to remember about the Two-process Theory: Phobias are gained through classical conditioning, and phobias are maintained through operant conditioning and reinforcement.


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Spiders, social settings, flying, not being able to escape, and small spaces. These are currently the top five phobias. A phobia is an extreme irrational fear that interferes with your daily life. Even just the thought of your phobia can cause an anxiety that becomes a burden to your everyday living. These go beyond being nervous to take a test or giving a speech, a true phobia will lead you to do everything in your power to avoid that specific object or situation. There are no specific causes as to why people obtain phobias either, and the reason for creating them varies from person to person. For example, a child witnessing her parent's phobias as he or she grows up may obtain that phobia as well. Also, many people develop their phobias before the age of 25. Social phobias develop in children as young as five years old. A traumatic event can lead to a phobia, and your gender can also predetermine what type of phobia you will have. Females are more apt to have social phobias than males. Males are more suspect to drinking alcohol which masks their anxiety levels lower but can lead to depression.
In this Youtube video I posted the guy is confessing all forty of his phobias. It is obviously unheard of to have this many phobias, but it is not uncommon to have more than one phobia. He goes through and describes each phobia while the doctor tells him the scientific name. Going to therapy is one of the ways to overcome a phobia, and it can be extremely helpful. In the end of the video, he expresses that he's afraid of going to the doctor's, and it shows how a phobia can run your life. People who have a specific fear like doctors, dentists, hospitals neglect receiving the help that they really need.


Memory Aids

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Memory aids that many of us learned throughout school include mnemonics. A mnemonic is a learning aid, strategy, or device that enhances a recall. We use them to help remember certain things. An example used in the Lilienfeld text is "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally". Chances are while in elementary school that you learned this to help remember the order in which to do mathematical problems, and it has stuck with you ever since. Mnemonics are important because it is proven that people are able to remember better when they have some sort of reference to it. Re-reading a list of random letters is much more difficult to do when they are not grouped in a special fashion. Chances are when you were learning the alphabet there was a letter line around the classroom that also showed pictures of objects or animals starting with that letter.Thumbnail image for M.gifIt's interesting to learn about this aspect of one's memory because I have been using devices such as these my whole life and never really noticed it. Here is a link to a website that generates mnemonic devices for you:


Something that I found to be important from discussion was the misinformation effect. The misinformation effect is where someone creates a memory because they are given misleading information about an event. I found it especially interesting and shocking that one can create false memories and truly believe that they happened.
http://faculty.washington.edu/eloftus/Articles/sciam.htm In this article by Elizabeth Loftus, she talks about cases where people are made to believe, by their psychiatrist, that they have multiple personalities and have been involved in satanic cults. The psychiatrist was then sued. There have been multiple cases similar to this and it makes me question, how is one supposed to know what really happened and what didn't? It's frightening to know that someone can create a memory and basically implant it into your head. This was definitely an important discovery in the world of psychology because it needs to be taken into account when looking at cases where eyewitnesses are interviewed as well. (http://www.psychology.iastate.edu/~glwells/wellsandloftus.pdf) Eyewitnesses can be lead to think something else happened during a crime or event while being interviewed because of the way that the questions are worded. Police need to make sure that they word their questions in a way that would not suggest something else has happened, giving them false information.
False memory and the Misinformation Effect are important discoveries in psychology because they really change how criminal cases can be dealt with.

A study was completed to see how effectively a false memory could be planted in a subject. The researcher spoke with the relatives of the subject to get important details of an event in the subject's childhood, like a wedding. The researcher would then relate the story to the subject and see how much of the event they remembered. The researcher would then add a false event, such as spilling a large punch bowl on the bride's parents, and see if the subject would recall it. In the first interview, the false event was always realized. This makes sense because the event is completely foreign to the subject. When the same situation was brought up in a second interview, 18 percent of the subjects claimed to remember the false event actually happened! This increased to 25 percent in the third interview.
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This is a case of source monitoring confusion, where the subject doesn't recognize the origin of the memory. They are confusing the actual source of the memory, the previous interview, with the reasoning that the memory was formed at the wedding or whatever event was being relayed to them. It's a case of cryptomnesia, where the subject is taking memories generated by their relative's (although false), and thinking they generated the memories themselves. The subjects can't find a reason why their relatives would all lie about a situation and that helps to strengthen their belief in the event. This very study was mentioned in the book, and I have linked to the actual article in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN. This is incredible proof of the malleability of our memories.

Memory Study

Memory Illusions

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I found this link off of the internet. It talks about why humans use memory illusions or go through memory illusions in our everyday lives. The article does a pretty good job of explaining what memory illusions are and why we experience them without realizing it. Some memory illusions could be the fact that you thought or heard something that wasn't actually there. Psychologists have been able to trick people into thinking things that never happened to them, but the people they trick actually believe these events happened to them. Some people claim that they remember seeing Bugs Bunny at Walt Disney World. This would never be true because Bugs Bunny is a Warner Bros. character and not a Disney characterbugs bunny.jpg. Memories can be tricked and that is what memory illusions are. When a group of words are related to one specific item, odds are that someone listening to the group of words will claim that the related item about the group was part of the group when is actually wasn't. The reason why our brains go through this process is because it is trying to make the best sense of the world. Without this process, we would be totally clueless of what is going on and what we need to do. It would be very difficult to live our everyday lives. So some may find memory illusions to be tricky and often unfair, but without them, we would live a confusing and difficult life.

Computer Vs. The Brain

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Computers vs. the human brain has been a worrisome topic, every since digital computers were being used over 60 years ago. This topic has been heavily depicted in movies like 2001 Space Odyssey, Terminator, and I, Robot. This topic raises a lot of thought-provoking ideas on the comparison of the human brain and modern computers, which has a higher "Intelligence". The link I have provided and the book also go into some detail on this question. The main thing I think that should be focused on is, what do we describe as intelligence. There are some things like according to our book that we do flawlessly and make it seem easy like depth perception, while a computer can do something that we find incredibly extraordinary like beating the world's greatest chess player in chess with relative ease. I define natural intelligence on a human beings survival IQ, because that is what our intellect was naturally created for. Small things that we find simplistic, like reading someones body language or mood, is almost impossible for a computer to comprehend. These subtle inferences our what I deem more intelligent, because they help us survive. In our current society these adaptive qualities rarely come into use. Today's intelligence has been redefined by our societies in a matter of factual recognition and number crunching. These are the categories in which computers are superior. Our invention of these so called "Electric Brains" have capabilities that aren't even fathomable with a human brain. The amount of knowledge today's computer can access in matters of seconds is extraordinarily sophisticated when compared with our brains. This though is not what I deem to be the higher intelligence. I go back to the primal nature of intelligence. The reason that we have intelligence, is for methods of survival. Our intelligence models for us a organized manner in which we can reason, think, and problem solve in seconds fact, which in turn increases our survival rates. Computers have not reached even close to the level of sophistication that our brains are at.

Did that really happen?

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As we learned from the Lilienfeld text, researchers have come up with existence proofs, demonstrating that it's possibly to create memories in someones mind that actually never happened. Before starting the experiment, they ask the family members about an event that never actually happened during the subjects life, so that they know this event is made up. Then, they sometimes make fake evidence (a fake photograph of them as a child on a hot- air balloon ride) and they show it to the participant. In this experiment, over 50 percent of subjects recalled at least some of this hot-air balloon ride that never occurred. Some even went into elaborate details about what they saw, smelt, felt and who they were with. In another study they showed subjects an ad with Bugs Bunny promoting Disneyland. When they were asked about their childhood Disneyland experience and who they saw, 16 percent of subjects said they saw Bugs Bunny there. The experimenters knew from this that they could implant false memories into their brains because bugs bunny isn't a disney cartoon. These findings demonstrate that suggestive memory procedures can affect not only our recollections, but our behaviors. After reading about this I always wondered how these people could just believe that this event actually happened and start to "remember" and tell stories about these events. It just seems crazy to me how they make up a memory, because someone told them it was true.
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When you can remember a lot of detail from a certain moment or incident which occurred in the past, then one tends to assume that the memory is accurate. There are many possible trains of thought which might lead to this assumption. It is possible that one thinks "I remember this happening so clearly, therefore it must have happened exactly as I see it in my mind." It has been assumed that flashbulb memories stay the same over time; that these memories cannot be falsified.
However, researchers have proved that these assumptions are false by studying the details which people recall regarding an incident very soon after it occurred, and then after a considerable amount of time has passed. Our textbook provides several examples of such studies. Here is an article about a study conducted on students from Duke University after the terrorist attacks during 9/11; this study was conducted to determine the accuracy of these memories.
Another much debated issue surrounding flashbulb memories is the claim that flashbulb memories are not a different kind of memories. We cannot argue that a memory is accurate by virtue of the fact that it is a flashbulb memory. It seems more likely that flashbulb memories are different from others only in the vividness and intensity of the memory- accuracy is not affected in the least by whether a memory is a flashbulb memory or not. Here is an article that further expounds this hypothesis.

Mouakoon Yang
Writing 3

Suggestive memory techniques is an important and most interesting concept we have learned too me. The suggestive memory technique is a type of technique that people use to enforce false information into someone else's memories. This technique forces the victim to think he or she has really done what they have said he or she has done. I believe learning this concept is important because of what these false memories can change a person. For example we have read the story of Paul Ingram who confessed to raping his two daughters when he really had not. In the article we have read it talks about how Paul is a good person who is also a law-enforcement officer. He was accused of rape because his two daughter have told the police he have raped them for several years. But truth he have not done any of this to his daughters, but because he was isolated for interrogation by the police and they have made him confess and have planted false memories into his mind by interrogating him and forcing him to remember the events of the rapes on his daughters. We have found out that all this was a lie because there where no evidence show to prove he was guilty but because of the suggestive memory techniques used on him he had confessed to the charges. That's why this concept is important to help us understand and stop ourselves if possible to fall into these situations or to put people in these situations, like I have done before to my dad by forcing fake ideas into his memories to make him believe he was the one who left his socks in the laundry room sink which caused it to flood.

Source - psy 1001 text, and article Imagining Satan: How invented memories and a modern-day witch hunt landed one Spokane man in prison.

In today's society, there are many different products that people put out in order to help people get over their addiction to tobacco. However, a great deal of the time, many of these products can be ineffective. That brings up the question: what makes some products more ineffective than others? Can hypnosis be used to help cure one's need for a cigarette?

Hypnosis can be used to treat many different kinds of problems, ranging from asthma to weight loss. It works by making the hypnotized person more suggestible, and then in turn changing their perceptions on different things. One must keep in mind however that the person who is hypnotized still has free will over what they think/do. If a person truly wanted to quit smoking cigarettes, and used hypnosis to do so, that person would be more succeptible to the idea of quitting. That would greatly increase the chance that he or she would stop smoking. I believe that one's will power plays a huge role not only in the use of hypnosis, but for all kinds of treatments. If someone really wants a change and believe the treatment they are getting will help them, they will have a greater success rate of it actually working.

It is possible that you have a friend or relative who has an irrational fear, or phobia. Common phobias include mysophobia (fear of germs), arachnophobia (fear of spiders), and cynophobia (fear of dogs). You may be able to see how classical conditioning would play a role in developing those phobias. For instance, an individual might have been bit by a dog and developed the conditioned response to fear all dogs because of the fear instilled by the first dog bite. Classical conditioning explains how many phobias develop, but remember that there are other examples that seem to have started from childhood instead of classical conditioning.


In the following video, a woman claims to have been deathly afraid of clowns ever since she can remember. She suffers from coulrophobia and her anxiety causes severe panic attacks.


This woman admits that she will not go to the circus and avoids any interactions with her fear. This is an example of negative reinforcement, in which she removes the stimulus of anxiety, which makes her more likely to avoid being in the presence of a clown. By using negative reinforcement, this woman was, and many other people who suffer from phobias are operantly conditioning themselves to enable their phobias to continue and influence their daily life. By facing fears and attending therapy sessions, one may be able to eliminate their phobia, but many people continue to enable their life of fear through negative reinforcement.

Scientists have found that age acquisition influence language learning. The critical period for language learning is between the ages of one to seven. This means that children are better at learning new language than adults. However, an article written by Mary Schleppegrell present contradicting results from current theory. In "The Older Language Learner" Schleppegrell wrote, "there is no decline in the ability to learn as people get older". The article went on to cites researches done by Krashen in 1979 to indicated that adult may have an easier and rapider time than children when It come to communicating a new foreign language (Krashen, Long, and Scarcella, 1979). Schleppegrell also incorporate Walsh claims that, "in important respects adults have superior language learning capabilities"(Walsh and Diller, 1978), which stated that the neural cell responsible for linguistic process develop with ages. Thus adults can make "higher order association" to the stuff that they had already acquired. This means that adult have a larger resource center for reference which contribute to ability to rapidly learn new information. In essence, adult can learn a new language at the same rate as children given the right condition. There may be some true to this, but the article fails to take into account the proactive interference in the processes of acquiring new information. As shown in the example of a tennis player who is trying to learn to play racket ball. The similarity between the two sports may cause the player to utilize their tennis skill rather than the new rules just as a new language may inference with the old.


Scientists have found that age acquisition influence language learning. The critical period for language learning is between the ages of one to seven. This means that children are better at learning new language than adults. However, an article written by Mary Schleppegrell present contradicting results from current theory. In "The Older Language Learner" Schleppegrell wrote, "there is no decline in the ability to learn as people get older". The article went on to cites researches done by Krashen in 1979 to indicated that adult may have an easier and rapider time than children when It come to communicating a new foreign language (Krashen, Long, and Scarcella, 1979). Schleppegrell also incorporate Walsh claims that, "in important respects adults have superior language learning capabilities"(Walsh and Diller, 1978), which stated that the neural cell responsible for linguistic process develop with ages. Thus adults can make "higher order association" to the stuff that they had already acquired. This means that adult have a larger resource center for reference which contribute to ability to rapidly learn new information. In essence, adult can learn a new language at the same rate as children given the right condition. There may be some true to this, but the article fails to take into account the proactive interference in the processes of acquiring new information. As shown in the example of a tennis player who is trying to learn to play racket ball. The similarity between the two sports may cause the player to utilize their tennis skill rather than the new rules just as a new language may inference with the old.


Scientists have found that age acquisition influence language learning. The critical period for language learning is between the ages of one to seven. This means that children are better at learning new language than adults. However, an article written by Mary Schleppegrell present contradicting results from current theory. In "The Older Language Learner" Schleppegrell wrote, "there is no decline in the ability to learn as people get older". The article went on to cites researches done by Krashen in 1979 to indicated that adult may have an easier and rapider time than children when It come to communicating a new foreign language (Krashen, Long, and Scarcella, 1979). Schleppegrell also incorporate Walsh claims that, "in important respects adults have superior language learning capabilities"(Walsh and Diller, 1978), which stated that the neural cell responsible for linguistic process develop with ages. Thus adults can make "higher order association" to the stuff that they had already acquired. This means that adult have a larger resource center for reference which contribute to ability to rapidly learn new information. In essence, adult can learn a new language at the same rate as children given the right condition. There may be some true to this, but the article fails to take into account the proactive interference in the processes of acquiring new information. As shown in the example of a tennis player who is trying to learn to play racket ball. The similarity between the two sports may cause the player to utilize their tennis skill rather than the new rules just as a new language may inference with the old. The below video elaborate on Schleppegrell's claim.

Implanting False Memories

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It's not hard to make someone believe something is true if you were to manipulate a memory in the distant past or something that could be true. If you were to reinforce to your roommate that when you moved in she said you could have the TV on whenever you want, it would be pretty hard for her to disagree with you and pretty soon she will believe that it is true. It's not kind to manipulate your friends just so you can watch the reruns of the Jersey Shore every week but it is defiantly possible.
Providing people with misleading information can cause the subject to feel as though this could be possible. They recall a memory of something however they forget that it was only suggested to them previously rather than the event actually occurring. Case Study of False Memories Looking at this link, In these instances the first two girls were led to believe brutal and terrible things because they trusted their psychiatrists. Trusted sources can often lead us to be fooled. Once a misleading piece of information has been reinforced it is more difficult for the subjects to believe that it was false.
In a research done by Ira Hyman, Hyman researched childhood memories that happened to subjects. During a series of interviews she questioned her subjects whether or not the instances happened. In the first interview Hyman asked her subjects about something that did happen and that did not happen. 84 percent of the true events in the first interview and 88 percent in the second interview were remember by the subjects. None of the participants recalled the false event during the first interview, but 20 percent said they remembered something about the false event in the second interview. By implanting the false memory, the subjects remembered the subject but could not remember the source and thus believed that it was true.


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Dawit Wage
Psychology writing # 3
Date- 10/20/2011
Memory is an organism's ability to store, retain, and recall information and experience. Individual attention is necessary to store memory in the first place. Failure to retain the information can result failure to retrieve the information later. The content of the information can also determine the individual's ability to recall the information. As we know the information which is exciting is more remembered than the information which is ordinary. Psychologists divide memory in to three categories based on their capacity and the length of time each memory is expected to last, even if the distinction among these three memories are not always clear. These three memories are: sensory memory is the shortest memory which stays only a few second but it contains detailed information. The perceptual information in sensory memory appears in different forms like as iconic, echoic, and other forms of memory. Short term memory stay for 10-15 seconds little bit longer than sensory memory and has limited capacity like seven plus or minus two, however it is possible to remember more digit by using the system " chunk" that means by organizing information in to meaningful groupings. It is also possible to extend the duration of information in short term memory by "rehearsal" that is repeating the information over and over again like a phone numbers until we dialed. It is also called working memory because it contains the information that lets us remember that we are on the process of working. Its process takes place in hippocampus. Long term memory is memory that last for years or even longer. It contains a lot of information about something we know since from our child hood age. The long term memory is so fascinating because it reminds me about neurons long -term potentiation that we learned in unit three. According to Hbb's rule "cells that fire together, wire together", this means the activity of one neuron will tend to produce the activity of the other neuron. This is the reason why Taxi drivers developed the large hippocampus. The process of long term memory starts in hippocampus and stored permanently in the brain cortex. The reason I chose this topic is memory is very essential to our daily life in order to survive.large hippocampus of london taxi driver.jpg

large hippocampus of london taxi driver.jpg Source - from Lilienfeld psych# 1001 text


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Dawit Wage
Psychology writing # 3
Date- 10/20/2011
Memory is an organism's ability to store, retain, and recall information and experience. Individual attention is necessary to store memory in the first place. Failure to retain the information can result failure to retrieve the information later. The content of the information can also determine the individual's ability to recall the information. As we know the information which is exciting is more remembered than the information which is ordinary. Psychologists divide memory in to three categories based on their capacity and the length of time each memory is expected to last, even if the distinction among these three memories are not always clear. These three memories are: sensory memory is the shortest memory which stays only a few second but it contains detailed information. The perceptual information in sensory memory appears in different forms like as iconic, echoic, and other forms of memory. Short term memory stay for 10-15 seconds little bit longer than sensory memory and has limited capacity like seven plus or minus two, however it is possible to remember more digit by using the system " chunk" that means by organizing information in to meaningful groupings. It is also possible to extend the duration of information in short term memory by "rehearsal" that is repeating the information over and over again like a phone numbers until we dialed. It is also called working memory because it contains the information that lets us remember that we are on the process of working. Its process takes place in hippocampus. Long term memory is memory that last for years or even longer. It contains a lot of information about something we know since from our child hood age. The long term memory is so fascinating because it reminds me about neurons long -term potentiation that we learned in unit three. According to Hbb's rule "cells that fire together, wire together", this means the activity of one neuron will tend to produce the activity of the other neuron. This is the reason why Taxi drivers developed large hippo campus. The process of long term memory starts in hippocampus and stored permanently in the brain cortex. The reason I chose this topic is memory is very essential to our daily life in order to survive.

Source - from Lilienfeld psych# 1001 text

The Secret Language of Twins

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The majority of us who has surfed YouTube to waste time may have came upon this video of two adorable twins talking to each other. Perhaps they were arguing if they should raid the refrigerator or do something about the mess on the kitchen floor. Whatever the case may be they seemed to have a language of their own that they can only understand- known as cryptophasia (Lilienfed, 2010). However, the secret is out. For those who believe that this bond helps them invent secret, they are wrong.

Although, around 40% of twins have this phenomenon, it usually disappears later on (Bakker, 1987). This babbling between siblings is not limited to twins; Bakker suggests that children who grow up together during the language acquisition period use each other as model to practice their language skills. However, this can result in long-term language impairment. If they are only talking to each other, they are using language with significant amounts of error. Additionally, the twins can't correct each other because they tend to make similar kinds of errors so that speech is only understandable to them, but not to us. Therefore, encouraging them to play with other kids and correcting them on their speech helps develop their language skills.

As for their funny hand gestures, the twins may have picked this up from their own parents or other adults by observational learning- learning by watching others. Even though this video may have provided us with two minutes of mindless entertainment, we have to remind ourselves to take a step back and realize that they don't have a secret language. We have to evaluate these extraordinary claims using our knowledge about learning, language and reasoning to help us understand what is going on and why it occurs.

Bakker, Peter. Autonomous languages of twins. Acta Geneticae Medicae et Gemellologiae: Twin Research, Vol 36(2), 1987, 233-238.

Lilienfeld, Scott, Steven Lynn, Laura Namy, and Nancy Woolf. Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding. Custom Edition for the University of Minnesota ed. Boston: Pearson Learning Solutions, 2010.

Near-Death Experience

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This article describes a recent study with an explanation for near-death experiences (NDE's). It suggests that the experiences are tricks the mind plays on itself as a result of a large amount of carbon-dioxide being released into the bloodstream.
There is evidence that people, who have either inhaled excess carbon-dioxide or been at high altitudes, have experienced sensations similar to NDE's, giving more credibility to the study. Anything that damages the brain can account for this experience, including excess carbon-dioxide.
Articles found here and here give similar views of the study.


There does not appear to be enough evidence to support this extraordinary claim. A scientist, who disputed this claim said, "There is no coherent cerebral activity which could support consciousness, let alone an experience with the clarity of a NDE. I'm sure it would be very easy for the researchers in charge of this study to fall victim to the confirmation bias. Of the 52 patients who were admitted to one of three hospitals after having a heart attack, only 11 of them reported a near-death experience. It seems likely that the researchers are looking for a correlation that might not be there. Not only is there evidence, in their own study, that the correlation may not exist, but it is based on some immeasurable variables. Yes, they can measure the carbon-dioxide levels, but to pair high levels with NDE's, how can the researchers tell if a patient actually experienced a NDE except by asking them and hoping they'll answer honestly? There will be instances where patients will experience a NDE and not remember and times when they don't experience a NDE and report that they did. This study seems flawed because it is based on the patients memory, which may not be flawless all the time.

A subject that the Lilienfeld text touched on in chapter seven was memory pills. Apparently there is a huge market for "smart pills" with dozens of brands and different remedies. One of the most popular brands of memory pills is Ginko. The "secret ingredient" in Ginko is an exract of the leaves of the Ginko tree. The Chinese have used ginko trees for centuries as a medicine. Various studies done on the effects of ginko show that it is no more effective in helping improve our memory than drinking a glass of ice cold lemonade. Ginko can also become harmful becuase it can interfere with the effects of blood thinning medicines and cause you to bleed excessively. So why do Americans spend several hundred million dollars per year on this stuff? I believe that it is due to a concept described in previous chapters known as the "placebo effect". People buy these magic memory improving pills and because it says "memory enhancer" on the bottle, they think they're memory will improve. They could begin going out of their way to look for the effects of the drug. For example, they could have a retrieval cue on something and remember some odd, quirky piece of information and since they are already assuming that their memory will improve, they could accredit this finding to the drug.

Every night I work at an all Somalian daycare. I have worked there for nearly a year now and am the only caucasian. I have learned a little Somalian language from my families and am teaching English to them. Some of the children in my class of 30, have a terrific grasp of English and some struggle. Every night I have 8-10 kids who sit at the homework table and become quite frustrated with there assignments. Homework has to be done before they go home as there parents are not able to help them.
There are so many times I am in the middle of a conversation with a parent or fellow teacher and realize they are not saying what I think they are saying. There are other times that I realize they have no idea what I am saying. Linguistic Relativity going on right in front of my own eyes.
Sometimes I'll tell my kids to sit down and if I don't say the word with the correct intonation they are quite taken a back. They'll correct me. I enjoy my job because it's a complete education. I love to learn and to teach.

False Memories

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False Memory.jpgOne of the topics I like the most so far has been the false memories: when good memories goes bad topic. Soon as days ago I was studying for another class test using an old test provided as reference by the instructor. While I review the practice test I notice that some of the questions were not covered in class. I keep studying and reviewing the test while moments later I imagine the professor lecturing about the topics 'not covered in class'. I said: "yeah she covered but I was distracted and I don't copy any notes". False Memory! Later at the week the instructor email the class noticing that the practice test was a guide of the format of the test, not the topics the test will be about. I was right, the topics were not covered yet, but I have the false memory that they were..
Like in my recently case, our brain creates false memories that appeared to be 100% real. What cause or produce these false memories? Schemas and memory mistakes; "schemas can sometimes create problem for us, because they lead us to remember things that never happened"(Lilienfeld, 2010).
In other different cases of false memories we can have other factors causing it. In summary, are memory mistakes, we need to be aware that our brain is very powerful but it can have some mistakes including false memories. To know more about the imperfection of memory we can study the seven sins of memory and being aware of what can happen to us one day.

Misinformation Effect

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Misinformation effect is an event where fictitious memories are created from misleading information about the event after it has taken place. I believe this concept is extremely important because this concept is frequently used people in the judicial system, persuasive speeches, and everyday conversations.
Throughout history lawyers and prosecutors have used the misinformation effect to implant fictitious memories to prosecute or acquit people. As shown by Elizabeth Loftus and John Palmer, by inserting different words in the phrase "About how fast were the cars going when they _____ each other?", such as hit, bumped, collided, or smashed; lawyer can create different assumptions and or memories by changing how they phrase their argument. Lawyers are not the only ones guilty from using this, government and influential groups have used this to spread fictitious propaganda about events past.
Personally I am a victim of the misinformation effect. Like many parents, my parents have used the misinformation effect to scare the crap out of me or influence me to do things. They would recreate elaborate stories to convince us not play in the dark, swim in the lake; hang out with friends, etc. They would tell us stories about people who drown because their friends "pushed" them in or by use other fancy words when it was merely an accident. As a result, majority of my siblings, including me, do not know how to swim.

A subject that the Lilienfeld text touched on in chapter seven were memory pills.

Memory Deterioration is the process of memories deteriorating by means of aging, injuries and accidents, or brain diseases. But why do these causes make our memories worse? Is it the only cause? Many people try to come up with only one conclusion or two, but there are actually many reasons for why our memories deteriorate, and there is usually not just one hypotheses explaining this. This is important for studying the effects of memory on humans/animals, also for studying certain diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and many other brain problems relating to memory. In real life, one America acquires Alzheimer's disease every 72 seconds. But why? Is it only because we age? As we take a look at this video, it explains how Alzheimer's is another progressive neuro-degenerative disease, through the views of the patients, doctors, and results.

As we can once again tell, it is evident that the actually cause of Alzheimer's disease hasn't been established yet. Will we ever know the cause? There are causes such as neurofibrillary tangles which create the loss of synapses, but this isn't the cause of memory deterioration, because correlation doesn't equal causation. There could've been an alternative reason to why patients that have those diseases, lose memory. This could be because with a loss of synapses comes a death and deterioration of acetylcholine neurons.
Some common myths of Alzheimer's is that "Memory loss is a natural part of aging." Although this can be seen to be true by many, it has not yet been scientifically proven,and the research still needs to be addressed. Also, there are people in real life that don't lose much of their memory as their age(but we should still keep in mind that their memory isn't always as reliable as it should be).

Lillenfield Textbook

Many of us may have memories of our past that we think are 100% valid, but in fact, are generally not accurate recollections of what actually happened. Because of this, one must wonder if the testimonies of eyewitnesses can be considered valid.

Here is a link to an article about false memories and eyewitnesses. The article discusses the idea that it is easy to implant false memories into people to make them remember what certain people want them to remember.

The testimonies of eyewitnesses heavily influence juries, yet they are rarely accurate. The memory of the witness is almost never completely true because when witnessing a crime, it is hard for the witness to calm his or herself down so that they can take mental notes of everything about the criminal/scene of the crime. Also if a weapon is involved, that makes it even harder for a witness to concentrate, because they're eyes will be drawn to the weapon.

Not only can eyewitness testimonies be unclear and hazy because of the reasons mentioned above, but when being questioned by certain people, the questions they are asked can influence and reconstruct their memories to what the interrogator wants.

Because of these reasons, the justice system isn't always right, but sometimes about who has the better psychologist to influence the court.

Memories are usually what remain over time to help us remember events, right? Well believe it or not, some of your memories could be false memories. False memories are memories that did not actually occur; you just think that they happened. One example of this would be having a parent or guardian tell you vivid details about how you were lost in the mall as a child. At first you do not believe them but then you start to picture yourself in the situation and soon enough you believe that it happened. Surely, it never did. Details were just planted into your head and you believed that they were true. This is what Elizabeth Loftus did in a study at the University of California.
My question is though, are false memories and déjà vu linked? Some scientists say that on can experience déjà vu after doing something that they were unconscious of at the time of the event. So it makes me wonder. Can false memories also be a part of déjà vu? I think that it seems pretty plausible. Obviously false memories do not cause déjà vu (correlation vs causation) but it could be an explanation.
A real life example for myself is that I imagine that I am snowboarding in Colorado, something I have never done before. I think about all the details ranging from the temperature to my apparel I'm wearing. It's so vivid that I imagine that I actually was there. Then three months later I'm actually snowboarding in Colorado and I experience déjà vu. Did my implantation of a false memory spark an episode of déjà vu?

Memories: Are They All Real?

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False Memory.jpgFor last week's discussion we were assigned to read an article on the Paul Ingram case. The tragic story started when Paul's daughter, Ericka, went on a church retreat and was confronted by a speaker, Karla Franko. Franko insisted that she, "felt the Lord prompting her with information," and proceeded to tell Ericka that she had been sexually abused as a child. Once home, Ericka and her sister, Julie, began making accusations against their father, Paul, claiming that he had in fact molested them as children. Paul eventually confessed to the events after he had been manipulated, brainwashed and interrogated while secluded in jail.

This particular case arouses the question; did Paul actually sexually abuse his two daughters? Many may answer this question without any hesitation saying, "of course he did, he admitted it." However, they fail to acknowledge other very important aspects concerning the case.

In chapter seven of the Lilienfeld text, it introduces the idea of suggestive memory techniques and false memories. Suggestive memory techniques are described as persistent methods that work hard to assist people in recalling their memories, often creating recollections that were never present to begin with (false memories). These two concepts or ideas played a huge role in the Paul Ingram case, starting with Franko planting false memories in Ericka's head. Then while Paul was in jail, his Priest would relay the daughter's most recent story in full detail and constantly urge him to confess which caused him to also develop false memories. Furthermore, Dr. Richard Ofshe conducted an experiment that would test Paul's false memories. The study consisted of Ofshe explaining in vivid detail an event to Paul that never actually took place and then asking Paul to pray on it that night. The following day, Paul gave Ofshe a three-page confession of the event. Although this study proved of great significance, it was ignored due to Paul's inability to admit that it was not real.

I think that these concepts are very important and they should have been taken into greater consideration during Paul's case. Because police failed to further evaluate these concepts and how they related to Paul, an innocent man was forced to serve fifteen years of his life behind bars.

Paul's confession was heard well over the lack of evidence and the questionable stories that his daughters provided. Why? Was it because the girls made multiple, detailed claims? Or was it because Paul failed to deny any of the claims? Is everybody susceptible to false memories? Do false memories have enough validity to be used in the justice system?

Click here to watch an experiment about creating false memories.

Memory and Justice

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Professor Randy Fletcher discussed the wide field of memory during lecture. He mentioned that memory can be changed or influenced by many factors such as people or events. One example that we looked at during discussion section was that of Paul Ingram. One important outcome of this case was his confession to a crime that he did not commit. Dr. Richard Ofshe, a social scientist, had designed an experiment that would help prove his innocence, but ironically, this experiment solidified Paul Ingram's belief in committing the crimes alleged by his daughters.
A specific aspect that I was interested in was the fact that the authorities were convinced that Paul was guilty. This is significant to other real-world situations because authorities should be on the side of justice. Innocent suspects should not have to go to jail or prison. I thought the saying was "innocent until proven guilty." In this case, the authorities seemed sure that Paul had committed the crime. I thought about the many TV shows about crime that I watch occasionally, and I wondered if instances like Paul's could apply in this context. Could it be possible that some of the people that are put are actually innocent? It's important to realize that not all people convicted of a crime are guilty, and that corrupt parts of the justice system do not actually serve justice in the sense that we as a society hold in such high regard.

black-cat.jpgResearchers from Kansas State University developed three reasons for superstitious behavior: to gain control over uncertainty, to decrease feelings of helplessness, and because it is easier to rely on superstition instead of coping strategies. One of the major discoveries was that people who believe that chance and fate control their lives are more likely to be superstitious.

In the first study done, the researchers conducted questionnaires with 200 undergraduates, asking about how pessimistic they were, whether they believed in chance or fate, if they liked to be in control and other questions. In order for these discoveries to be credible, other researchers should be able to replicate these findings. For the results to be more reliable, the questionnaires could have been sent out to people of different ages, and more than 200 should be used. These suggestions could help to eliminate bias. In the second study, it was found that when faced with death, people are likely to abandon superstition altogether. Thinking about death would make people feel helpless, and would actually reduce their superstitious belief. link to article

In contrast, according to the Lilienfeld text, superstitions are due mostly to operant conditioning. Shown by a study done by Skinner involving pigeons and food, superstitious behavior is caused by actions linked to reinforcement by sheer coincidence. The pigeons received reinforcement no matter what they did, but the behavior that the pigeons performed right before being reinforced was strengthened, so they kept on doing it-thinking that that behavior would increase the chances of receiving the food. This reasoning of operant conditioning could be seen as one of the six principles of critical thinking- Occam's Razor, because it is a more simple explanation.

Do you remember way back in 3rd grade when if you answered a question right in class, or helped a classmate out voluntarily, or picked up a piece of garbage in the hallway and threw it out your teacher gave you piece of candy as a reward? Yeah those were the days. Well, this is an perfect example of a positive reinforcement. A positive reinforcement is a reward given to increase the likelihood of good behavior in a given situation.
This doesn't just apply to 3rd graders it applies to everyone. I think this is important, especially at a young age, because it teaches our brains to associate doing something good for our surrounding community or ourselves with a good feeling or sense of well-being after we do it. I feel positive reinforcement is one key feature in a child's development in order for them to grow up understanding the whole concept of "work hard, play hard". If you work hard and apply yourself, you will be able to someday live your dream. In this case, the 'working hard and applying yourself' is the positive reinforcement for being able to someday live your dream.

Here is an excellent/funny example of positive reinforcement from the T.V show The Big Bang Theory


This not to be confused with negative reinforcement, which is the removal of something that increases the likelihood of good behavior. Like a police officer removing a taser from a caught suspect after a wild police pursuit. The removal of the taser would give the suspect relief and therefore lead them to now stop fighting with the police.

False Memory

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false memory.jpg

In our small lecture on Tuesday, we were read a list of similar objects. When told to recall, we would write down as many as we could remember. One of the lists consisted of words such as valley, hill and hiking. Many people recalled hearing mountain when it was not actually on the list. What is going on here is memory illusion. The Lilienfeld text describes memory illusion as "false but subjectively compelling memory" (Lilienfeld, 244). Basically, we created a false memory. All of the words on the list were associated with the word mountain so we assumed it was also on the list. Personally, I thought that word was for sure on the list. Since the other words sounded so similar, I guessed mountain was one of them. Before the experiment, many of us thought we had never experienced false memory. I, for one, thought it was crazy that people would remember things that did not occur. When I found out mountain was not actually on the list, I could not believe it. It made me think, how many other times have I remembered something incorrectly? False memory is important because everyone experiences it. As much as people like to think they are immune to it, but that is not the case. I fell into the "not-me fallacy" thinking I was a special case and never experienced such a thing as remembering incorrectly. It is good to be aware of false memory so we can accept it when it does occur.



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One of the most interesting concepts of memory that I remember learning about is chunking. It applies directly to short-term memory, which is where we store a majority of our information we acquire for 3-15 seconds.

Hypothetically let's assume a teacher assigns you to memorize the first and last names of 5 presidents. Abraham Lincoln, Chester Arthur, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Richard Nixon. The initials of their first and last names are ALCABOBCRN. If you were to try and remember the 10 letters of both their first and last names in random order, you would most likely fail at putting that information into your extended short term memory. On the other hand, using chunking would help ingrain that information into your extended short term memory and even better, help you pass the task that your teacher has assigned. My best example of chunking this data would be CAR-NBC-BOAL. Chester Arthur, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Abraham Lincoln.

This is a great example of using a memory concept to help train your brain to remember information. Anyone can memorize tons of information if they just put meaning behind it. My favorite example to date is Rajan Mahadevan who memorized the first 31,811 digits of pi by using chunking and linking all the numbers with important historical numbers and dates.

Intent vs. Impact

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For anyone who watched the Lions/49ers game last Sunday afternoon, it is clear to see that one's initial intention can be taken the wrong way. Last week, after the 49ers upset the Lions with a victory, the head coach took the walk across the field to do the traditional post game handshake. In all of excitement, the 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh shook Lions' head coach, Jim Schwartz's hand "too hard." Following the game, Harbaugh admits "Personally I can get better at the post game handshake" (NFL.com). Following the handshake, the two head coaches were involved in an altercation that overshadowed the actual game.

The dispute that took place over the handshake is an example of how one's intent can be interpreted differently depending on the situation. After reading chapter 8, we have all learned how complex language is and how there are many different ways to interpret others' words and actions. Interpretation is made even more unclear with the amount of technology surrounding us. Facebook, texting, emailing, etc. present even more difficulties in realizing one's intention because we do not hear the person's tone. For example, one could wrongly interpret a friend's text if that text has only periods, or a brief answer. The person receiving the text may believe that their friend is mad without knowing why, which could lead to hurt feelings.

So the next time someone steps on your toe, spills your drink, or in the case of Jim Schwartz, shakes your hand too hard, don't fret about it. Although the impact may come off as intentional, you don't actually know the thinking behind that person.

Intent vs. Impact

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For anyone who watched the Lions/49ers game last Sunday afternoon, it is clear to see that one's initial intention can be taken the wrong way. Last week, after the 49ers upset the Lions with a victory, the head coach took the walk across the field to do the traditional post game handshake. In all of excitement, the 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh shook Lions' head coach, Jim Schwartz's hand "too hard." Following the game, Harbaugh admits "Personally I can get better at the post game handshake" (NFL.com). Following the handshake, the two head coaches were involved in an altercation that overshadowed the actual game.

The dispute that took place over the handshake is an example of how one's intent can be interpreted differently depending on the situation. After reading chapter 8, we have all learned how complex language is and how there are many different ways to interpret others' words and actions. Interpretation is made even more unclear with the amount of technology surrounding us. Facebook, texting, emailing, etc. present even more difficulties in realizing one's intention because we do not hear the person's tone. For example, one could wrongly interpret a friend's text if that text has only periods, or a brief answer. The person receiving the text may believe that their friend is mad without knowing why, which could lead to hurt feelings.

So the next time someone steps on your toe, spills your drink, or in the case of Jim Schwartz, shakes your hand too hard, don't fret about it. Although the impact may come off as intentional, you don't actually know the thinking behind that person.


This article, is all about sleep. it goes on to say how important good sleep habits are and what it can lead to if you aren't on a regular sleeping schedule. This article states how not getting enough sleep can lead to; decreased performance and alertness, stress, poor quality of life, injury, and even obesity. It also states that there are over 85 different kind of sleep disorders in the world today affecting over 70 million americans. It shows how sleep disorders are related to many other more serious conditions. Chronic snoring and sleep apnea can be associated with heart and brain disease. There are so many problems in sleep out there today and less than 10% of the population with these disorders have been diagnosed.
This article pertains to my life in may ways. I am now a full time college student so I need sleep. this article helps me realize how truly important sleep is. Getting enough sleep helps you physically and mentally, from staying alert in class, to performing well on activities and other jobs you may have. Getting enough sleep is also very important to stay healthy. It maintains a stronger immune system and helps with obesity in the long run. Getting enough sleep is also gives you a better chance of not getting any heart/brain related diseases. This article makes me wonder if I have any sleep related illnesses that should be looked at by a doctor because of all the statistics they mention.


'Behavioral learning' is the nice name that the slave masters have found for 'consumer conditioning'.
Classical conditioning - behavior is influenced by a stimulus that occurs prior to the behavior and elicits it in a manner that appears to be a reflex. Advertisers try to identify messages, sights or sounds that will elicit positive reactions from consumers to associate their product with a positive stimuli - thus eliciting a positive reaction to the product (half-naked babe on the car roof). svedka_bot_15nyc102610.jpg
Stores and mall all over the world know that the tempo of music played in the store resulted in various shopping speeds by consumers. The slower (and rithmic) the music, the slower (and almost trance-inducted) the shopping speed, the more (up to 40% !!) groceries purchased. La va sans dire that the customers would NOT have purchased this surplus if they could have maintained self-control. It is also obvious that music is only ONE of the 'hypnotizing' factors in play. Note that customers are completely unaware of any differences in music cadence, since the effects of music operate at below consciousness levels. Music is also used purposely elsewhere: take restaurants: although customers take more time to complete their dinners when slow music is played, liquor sales increase. Every time the consumers take longer to eat, the time spent waiting for food increase the sales of liquor & aperitifs & second bottles of wine or mineral water made while waiting for the food... a trade off between number of times a table can be used and higher recipes per consumer... so to say a "slow food benefit" vis-à-vis fast food joints.

This article suggests a very interesting way to improve your memory. It states that simply moving your eyes back and forth in a horizontal movement will strengthen your memory skills. This is very interesting, and seems to make logical sense. Especially when even our textbook states that there is a large amount of evidence that both the right and left side of the frontal lobe are involved in memory, therefore linking the two together would strengthen what we remember, right?


The main focus of this article is how these eye movements affect recall and recognition memory. The main experiment that they talked about was the "Lure" test. In this test they presented college students with lists of words that were all focused around a word, without actually saying that word. This tested both their original recognition abilities, and also how likely they were to fall to prey to memory illusions. They actually found that about 10 percent of those who used the eye movement technique ended up being about to retain more words and 15 percent were less likely to fall prey to those dreaded lure words. This is very exciting news, because it means that we are making progress in finding ways to help us improve our memory.

However, even the main researcher behind the article states that this information is simply speculative. Therefore, we cannot prove much of anything just yet. What we can conclude from this article is that we may have more plasticity in our memory than originally thought. Taking on memory one step (or eye roll) at a time.

50 First Dates

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In the film 50 first dates, Adam Sandler plays a character that meets a girl played by Drew Barrymore named Lucy. In the film Lucy is portrayed to be suffering from anterograde amnesia. The effects of this type of amnesia include the inability to create new memories, while holding on to other long-term memories. The film uses the fact that Lucy suffered terrible brain damage in a car accident a few years back. Brain trauma is a common way that people can be inflicted with anterograde amnesia, and the film effectively portrays this in an accurate fashion.

Although this movie is meant mainly to be a comedy they do a good job of portraying anterograde amnesia pretty accurately. Lucy has as much knowledge of her long-term memory prior to the accident as any person not suffering from amnesia. She remembers all the details of her family, and what she did the day of her accident, but is just not able to recall any recent memories. Throughout the movie Adam Sandler's character Henry tries to help Lucy remember how they met, and that they were currently seeing each other, but never makes any real progress in creating any new memories in Lucy all throughout.

In the movie 50 First Dates Lucy is unable to build any new memories past the day of her accident, and at the end of every day she goes to sleep and wakes up with no knowledge of the previous day, or any day following her accident. This part of the movie is border line inaccurate for the reason that a lot of the people that suffer from anterograde amnesia have trouble remembering what they did even earlier in the day, while Lucy finds no struggle with this, but magically when she goes to sleep all of her memory is lost. Her span of memory is a bit too exact to deem this film entirely correct on how people suffering from anterograde amnesia would carry themselves through a day. A better representation of a daily pattern of someone suffering from anterograde amnesia would be Dory from the film Finding Nemo. Dory continues to forget information she had learned earlier throughout the day, and this more accurately reflects anterograde amnesia, rather than the retaining of memories and information until bedtime.

The film 50 First Dates represents a relatively accurate portrayal of how people with anterograde amnesia are affected. Although there are a few parts of the film that can be pointed out to be a little fictional, for the most part the film reflects the condition quite accurately, especially compared with a lot of the other options for films with people that suffer from amnesia, and more specifically, anterograde amnesia.

Through the class lectures and videos, and keeping up with the book, I have become interested in the split-brain procedure. The split brain procedure involves severing the corpus callosum and separating the right and left sides of the brain. This procedure was done a long time ago without knowledge of the affects, and it would not be completed in present day solely for research purposes. Split brain surgery is done to cure epilepsy, and is best to be done at an early age, so each part of the brain can accommodate and learn functions of the opposite side.

Roger Sperry did experiments and discovered that the left and right brains do serve specific and different purposes. When the corpus callosum is severed, the two sides are unable to communicate. This was found through the inability for items in the left visual field to be spoken about, because the language center of the brain is on the left side, and the visual fields pair up with the opposite side of the brain. It was also found that our brain recognizes items in both visual fields, but only items on the right can be spoken aloud. We know they are recognized because patients could draw items that were shown on the left side, but they didn't know why they were drawing them. They were unaware that they had recently seen a picture of that item. This article talks about this topic and explains the experiments. (I don't know how to do an actual link, I copied and pasted the url, and that usually creates a hyperlink in other things.)


I think this is a very interesting topic and could correlate with the question of "Are some people left brained or right brained?"

The most interesting thing that I learned from the Loftus's article should be people's memory can be planted by others. The subjects from psychology experiments were persuaded by investigators that they had experienced something but actually they never did. Those investigators were using fairly strong suggestions to make the subjects confidently and the false memories were given persuasively. The strong suggestions involved family members construct scenarios and mix true and false memories together and feed them to subjects. This procedure is called ''familial-informant false-narrative procedure'' but it's also called "lost in the mall procedure" for short. In the real world, people use a technique which is called guided imagination. This can increase people's confidence to believe that they have had experience which actually they have not. This is a seriously problem in our society, according to the beginning of Loftus's paper. A lot of innocent people went prison and spent very long time because the victims had false memories.
My best memory is that I and my parents had a vacation on an island. It was very good of course but the reason why I think that is the best is that it is the only vacation we have ever had with each other. Every time I tell that to other people, I always add some "extra juice" that I was not sure that have happened and when I look at the pictures, I did not find the actually evidence. For example, I remember I have seen an elephant show that allow audience to go on the stage and lie down, they will make an elephant to pretend step on his body but without pain, so that people can take pictures. I barely remember that I went on the stage and let the elephant do that to me. I can even remember I felt worried and excited at that time, but when I asked my parents, they told me that I only fed the elephant and didn't take the picture that elephant step on me. I was shocked when I heard that, because I can even feel my mouth felt bitter when I tell that story.
In my opinion, it is really important for people to recall past experience accurate. A lot of people go the prison because the victims' bad memories and their wrong recollection of past experience and this tragedy is only the tip of the ice-berg. 733_elephant_rex_18c0d9b0a23313b71.jpg

Memory is a funny thing. There are times when you can remember a certain event like you're watching it on TV. But there are also times when, unless there's something making that memory reappear, you can't recall that same memory whatsoever. By definition, memory is the ability to retain certain knowledge and occurrences over time. It is commonly known that the older you become, the worse your memory becomes. But is memory loss truly inevitable?
Yes there are certain conditions where you cannot escape memory loss, like amnesia or Alzheimer's; but in general, you are the only thing standing in the way of a healthy, life-long memory. A few ways to help improve your memory and keep it healthy include your general health: making sure that you are consuming the necessary vitamins and minerals that help create and maintain strong and healthy memory, and practicing your common knowledge by continuously testing the brain. This website provides a list of vitamins and minerals, as well as safety precautions for these vitamins and minerals, that the authors established, through numerous tests, can help improve your memory and overall brain function.
There are other ways you can strengthen your memory. One very good way is by using memory games and tests. For example, one website that will help improve overall brain function and memory is that of Lumosity. It is a website that creates a personalized training program for you to improve your memory. I have personally tested it. I was able to tell through one session that if one were to make these sessions a daily thing, they would help improve memory and brain function in the future.
By strengthening your memory and brain as you age, you're more likely to be an elderly person who is still able to communicate with their families, still has their personality and loves life just the way it is. Don't let yourself succumb to the possibility of forgetting your loved ones and all of your knowledge that took you years to learn; protect your brain, keep it healthy and agile. When you're older, you will look back and say "Man, I'm glad I did that!". For what's a few little memory tests as opposed to years of forgetting?

Impact of False Memories

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430.jpgMemory illusions. Before the topic arose in class, I believed anyone who came up with "false memories" had to be crazy! Now I see how easy it is, according to Loftus's findings as well as the tragedy of the Ingram case. False memories can be implanted and encouraged through suggestion, or simply misleading information. This article says even watching a simple video of someone can create a false memory of yourself doing the action! This finding is incredibly important to take into consideration when it comes to heavy court cases that effect the lives of those involved. As we had experienced in class (refer to above picture) we could see that a list of words could create a false memory, but think about if we were to enter a court case similar to the Ingram family? Or any case that needs vital information for that matter... False memories have the potential to impact any court case because of how convincing the information seems. In other words, other people have potential to control situations of court if they use the right technique. This, in my opinion, should be taken into deep consideration for law review, so that any type of suggesting a false memory should be struck down by the court because it is completely invalid. The only problem is, who knows when it is a false memory or not? Those same suggestions and memories are what the court is trying to determine, anyways. I wonder if more research could help identify what constitutes a memory as being "false" if we had no prior knowledge to the suggestion of that memory. For now, however, we should stick to hard evidence as the courts are supposed to be.

Memento.jpgIn the movie, Memento, Leonard, played by Guy Pearce, is an ex-insurance investigator who is hunting down his wife's murderer. Leonard's problem does not stop at searching for his wife's murderer, Leonard also has anterograde amnesia. He is incapable of creating new memories and he can only remember things for no more than a few minutes. Memento follows Leonard as he struggles to contain and remember the information that he collects that will lead him in finding his wife's murderer. He does not know who to trust but himself, the comments he wrote prior to forgetting on photos, and his own judgement. In the end, through all his struggles and difficulties, Leonard finds out the truth and discovers the person who had murdered his wife. (It's shocking to find out who it is!)

Memento fantastically portrays the life of a man who lives his day to day life with anterograde amnesia. They not only show how instantaneous his disorder effects him, it also shows how he manages and bypasses it day by day. For example, Leonard can only remember something for a few minutes, about ten minutes max. To bypass this difficulty in not remembering anything for more than those precious few minutes, Leonard takes photos of people and objects he encounters. With these photos he quickly scribbles down comments and his thoughts within those moments before he forgets. After those few minutes are up, Leonard forgets everything that has just occurred but all he has to do is look at these pictures and these notes to know where to continue on in searching for his wife. Just like Clive Wearing who also jots down notes after every several minutes because he feels he's just woken up, he is clueless as to what is written and why it was written. Also like Clive, Leonard recognizes that it his handwriting but unlike Clive, he tries to figure out the meaning behind what is written.

Not only does the movie show him jotting down things quickly in urgency he also tattoos them to his body. The movie shows Leonard's fight against this disorder, strongly depicting his emotions and reactions as he reads the words, phrases, dates, and names tattooed all over his body. There are times where Leonard awakens and is afraid because he does not understand and know his whereabouts but when he looks in the mirror, his prior self from hours or even minutes before has tattooed onto his body what has happened, in addition to the photos and post-it notes. Every time he looks in the mirror he goes through the same emotions of learning how his wife died, what he should be looking for, and to avenge his wife.

The emotions depicted within this movie shows the clueless innocence of a man struggling with the anterograde amnesia and how difficult it is to live day by day never remembering anything new. It is just as our psychology textbooks depicts, a person with anterograde amnesia is unable to create explicit memories. But unlike our textbooks, it portrays and reveals a life of man with this problem, trying to move on with life and find a solution to what he remembers last, his wife being murdered. This film is a fantastic choice when wanting to depict the struggles of someone with anterograde amnesia and how they bypass & live life with this problem.

I strongly recommend those who haven't seen yet to watch this movie, it is in many ways impactful and makes us realize how we take our memories and remembering for granted. You can see the trailer here.

Do you ever forget about an upsetting memory, but then the next time you are in a sad mood; you can't help but remember it? If you have, you're experiencing mood-dependent learning. This means that people find that when they recall memories that are bad than good when in a bad mood, and good rather than bad when they are in a good mood. To me this is so true, because it literally is the story of my life. Every time I'm in a bad mood, I can't help but reminisce on the memories that I thought I had finally forgotten. The memories are the ones that are full of heartbreak and tears. There are specific ones that never even cross my mind until I'm in a sad mood. I find it so interesting that our minds are able to do this to us. I mean they are so good at tricking us, then bam! those memories hit you like a bus. Penelope A. Lewis and Hugo D. Critchley wrote an article explaining the whole concept of mood-dependent memory very well. They go back all the way to 1917, the first dated time that mood influenced memory was noted. They all talk about the evidence that has been used to support this concept. To me this concept is very applicable in everyone's life. I think if people actually think of they realize that this concept does truly affect them. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=MiamiImageURL&_cid=271877&_user=616288&_pii=S1364661303002183&_check=y&_coverDate=2003-10-31&view=c&_gw=y&wchp=dGLbVlV-zSkWb&_valck=1&md5=183b8bdfa9f336cbe98306de250d87cd&ie=/sdarticle.pdf

solitary-show.jpgOur short term memory retains information for only short periods of time. In fact, it is probably no longer then 20 seconds. The television show Solitary is a reality show that takes nine participants and challenges them both mentally and physically for a cash reward. In the second episode of the second season, participants are shown a message one word at a time and asked to memorize it and then repeat it back. However, if they want to see the message again, they have to move a stack of bricks across the room.

The first time the participants saw the message, it went too fast for them to read all the words. So, they asked to see it slower the next time. However, the next viewing went so slow that the entire message took around 4 minutes. Many of the participants said that this was actually worse. Why would that be? After all, they could clearly see every word. The problem is that the message took so long that it wasn't in their short term memory anymore. An explanation for this is decay. Decay is when the information from our memory fades over time. Another explanation is interference. Interference is when we lose our short term memory because there is too much competition from other information that we are acquiring.
In order to prolong their short-term memories, many of the participants used rehearsal. Some used both rehearsal and chunking. In the end, the participants finally memorized the message using these popular techniques. Knowing how our short-term memory works is very important because it allows us to use techniques to better our short-term memory. I would like to know, however, what the exact reasons are for why it took some participants longer than others to memorize the message.

A Feature of Language

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One of Jesse McCartney's hit singles is about body language. He makes it clear, when reading through his lyrics, that he (like most teenagers) needs some help on reading certain forms of body language.

Body Language is defined as a form of nonverbal communication consisting of body postures, gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, and eye movements.
This can also be defined as extralinguistic information.

Teenagers struggle, now more than ever, on reading body language.
This is due to many new technologies, including:



An example was given in the book of a simple situation including a girl just saying "It's just awful in here!"

How do we figure out what she's referring too? This is where body language interpretation is a necessity.

Is she in a hot room?
Is she on a crowded bus?
Crowded Bus.jpg
Or is she smelling something fishy?

We would only be able to determine this by reading into her body language or by viewing the extralinguistic information that is being given.

One of (possibly the most important) features of language, is as simple as body language.
So turn the phones off and close the computers, even you, Jesse McCartney.

The article that I recently found was describing why children should be taught a second language early in life. The article "Can Preschool Children Be Taught a Second Language?" explained how it is much easier for a young child to learn a language than an adult. First, they explained how children are totally immersed in the language, it is easier to learn. According to the article, "when people immerse themselves in a language like children, through play and exploration, they can learn a language quickly and easily."
The article also gives tips on how to allow the children to learn a second language easier. Some examples are learning by doing, learning by talking to each other, and learning by having fun.
This article also includes vocab such as babbling, which happens in the first six months of life. This is one way the child learns the language, and therefore, it could transform into any language the parent wants it to. During the first few years of life, children form their main learning pathways.
Learning a new language is by far easier to do when one is younger because they are already leaning one language, and an easily transfer that into learning a second language. Also, it becomes much harder for one to learn a language when one starts high school, which is when most Americans start learning one. Learning at a younger age is much easier than at an older age.

Children are known to have wild imaginations, and, beyond that, they are known for being easily influenced and vulnerable. What others say and do, especially those that children look up to as authorities, can change children's actions and ideas. Beyond that, they can influence a child's own thoughts and memories through suggestibility.

Problems have resulted due to children's susceptibility to others, especially among cases involving sexual abuse. Generally, sexual abuse of children leaves no physical evidence, leading to a case solely revolving around the child's word against the accused. However, it has often been found that investigators using leading or suggestive questions may change the child's explanation and accusations. In cases such as these, it is incredibly important that the truth be told as real abusers need to be caught and those that are falsely accused be set free instead of facing jail time for a crime that they never committed. Research has been conducted to see how suggestions from adults can lead children to admit to things that never actually happened. For example, in the study found HERE, it was found that children would accurately answer questions before the leading questions, but, once the leading questions were presented, children (especially those ages 3 and under) were much more likely to make mistakes in their recollections.

Clearly, this is a very important issue as it is vital for children to have accurate interpretations of memories in order to give the true description of events that may or may not have led to their harm. The presence of suggestive questions can hinder or help an investigation, depending on whether these questions lead to the actual truth or simply a false conclusion due to the direction the questions were heading. Questions for further consideration include: What types of suggestive questions are alright? When are leading questions too much? When do they simply lead a child to give incorrect answers? Deriving the truth from memories should always be an important focus for investigators, especially when dealing with those who are impressionable, such as young children.

While reading the section of chapter seven about false memories, I was reminded of a movie called The Fourth Kind. In this movie, a psychologist uncovers her patients' regressed memories, of being abducted by aliens, while the patients are under hypnosis. This movie claims to be one-hundred percent backed up by real case studies, which I find hard to believe. If these events really did happen, however, there is a more parsimonious explanation to these "memories" than an alien abduction. The text book claims that false memories can be induced under hypnosis. The patients didn't remember being abducted by aliens before they were hypnotized, only after. The book also states that false memories can seem to be very real, in some cases subjects of an experiment insisted that the memories they had actually happened (Ceci et al. 1994), (Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding, p. 274). In my opinion, if these events actually happened, which I doubt they did, the memories where convincing false memories, not in fact real alien abductions.

Classical conditioning happens so often, that usually we don't even understand why we react a certain way to the things we react to. Classical conditioning is when someone or something (like an animal) reacts to a normal stimulus that was paired with another stimulus, sometimes an odd one, until we always get the same response for the previously normal stimulus, even without the odd stimulus. Have you ever reacted to something, thinking "Oh, that happens all the time"? Now think, have you ever thought about if you react to that stimulus the same way every time? For example, if we hear a bell behind us and we assume it's a bicycle, wouldn't we try to move out of the way? The original stimulus was a bell, and it was paired with the stimulus of a bike driving past us, and since we always needed to get out of the way, we assume we have to get out of the way for anything that could be a bike. This is an example of classical conditioning.

Watch the following video of classical conditioning on the very funny show the Office.


Although this is a bit farfetched, it's not too far from the truth of how classical conditioning really works. This is such an important concept in Psychology because we can be classically conditioned to do something, with no awareness it's even happening. This makes this a source of power in many circumstances, because in the right situation we can make someone react to a stimulus in the way we program them to (a very scary thought). Classical conditioning, although not generally a part of everyday thoughts, is a very powerful force in everyday life.

aphasia:i can't speak!

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Sarah Scott,a 19 years old girl who suffers from aphasia, a communication disorder.She find she can't speak any word after she get an unexpected ischemic stroke.
Aphasia is a kind of impairment of language ability which is caused by the advantage hemisphere damaged.As different area and extent of brain is damaged ,aphasia is divided into several types such as anomic aphasia、receptive aphasia and global aphasia and so on.
Lots of reason can make us get aphasia like cerebrovascular disease and craniocerebral trauma.
They make our advantage hemisphere broken and we can not find the word we want to say.
For example,if our brain is Wikipedia,the database is run but there is some trouble with Search tool .We can't find the information we need though we know the word.
Aphasia patients are suffering because they are still smart and have their own mind but they can't show it and talk with others.
Up to now ,scientists are still discovering effective way to cure it and improve patients' life.


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Iridology is the idea that areas of the body are represented in a particular part of the iris. In the study of iridology, each section of the iris in both left and right eyes is divided up almost like a pie into different parts of the body, and from that iridologists can then determine which part of the body is diseased or not functioning properly. Examination of the eye, including the iris, by a trained physician can at times be an indication of diseases that affect the eye, for example diabetes. However, there is no evidence that each part of the iris represents different organs and other parts of the body. Iridology charts, which can vary greatly depending on the chart, are referred to by iridologists to determine which organ is diseased. Though in double blind placebo-controlled studies, a trained iridologist has been able to correctly diagnose the disease. In these studies, iridologists examined the actual iris of both diseased and healthy patients, and recorded their diagnosis. In all of these clinical studies using correct scientific procedure, the iridologist could not produce a correlation between specific patterns of the iris and the presence or absence of disease, besides chance. Therefore the examination of the iris is of no clinical use in diagnosing disease in other parts of the body not relating directly to the eye itself. There has never been a proven correlation between the presence of patterns on the iris and disease in other parts of the body. So I think it would be wise for everyone to stick to their normal diagnostic processes.


Goo Goo Ga Ga

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Babies are known to babble which is considered a form of language due to the fact that they are producing a sounds like words. Babies begin to use babbling around 4-6 months old. This is when they say things such as ga goo da ma pa etc. It has been stated in our textbook that the babbling does not have meaning until it is a word, but I now question whether or not a baby's babble has meaning after watching this video.
This video shows to twin babies babbling to each other and laughing. They use extralinguistic language by using gestures with their hands and fluently babbling to each other and showing reactions such as laughing after each "babble sentence". The babbles even have a pitch difference as if they are actually communicating with each other. I believe babbling is a language that just babies can understand, especially in this case in the video where the babies are twins. Twins are known to have a bond and a language of their own, cryptophasia. This language between twins has been said to be caused by language delays in the production of language center, Broca's area. The Wernicke's area is the center for language comprehension. These both play off each other for babies producing words. Babies are known to comprehend words before produce them, such as how they listen when their name is called. They understand and comprehend (in this case in the video) and also produce sounds showing an intelligent insight. This viral video really precisely captures two twin babies having a conversation with each other. Sometimes science is falsifiable, and we must use critical thinking Occam's Razor to simply find what is happening to be true. These twins are having a conversation, and there I have no doubt about it.

Upon searching the web for an interesting topic to write this blog about, I found a humorous parody of the song "Memory" from the well known musical, "Cats." This video features a talented cabaret singer, Pam Peterson, as she spoofs on the slightly comical challenges of growing old. The song focuses on Pam's "senior moments" as she refers to them. Although the video's main purpose is to entertain the audience, the video contains a few scientific truths that deal with the aging brain.
The most repeated challenge that Pam depicts is the difficulty with remembering things. For example she sings phrases like , "What did I walk in this room for? What was that man's name? What was the question?" These are all common questions asked by the typical aging adult. As we discussed in class (also supported in a mental health article), the aging brain experiences several changes. The change most associated with memory loss is the weakening of the hippocampus. This creates a problem in both the retrieval and formation of memories because the hippocampus plays such a crucial role in directing information from the short-term memory to the long term. Without the hippocampus at full strength, memories can essentially be erased or tossed out. Pam continues in the song to sing, "I remember the old days. I was sharper back then." Very true when considering the science of the deteriorating hippocampus!
Not only does the hippocampus play a role in the aging memory, but other factors do as well. These factors include a decreased level of certain proteins and nutrients in the brain responsible for brain cell stimulation/survival and decreased blood flow throughout the brain. Unfortunately, once these processes begin, they are pretty much irreversible. So when Pam pleads, "If I eat fish and do crosswords everyday, will he brain cells grow back again?," the answer is an unfortunate no.
However, there is good news for those experiencing some of the misfortunes of aging. Although, different aspects of both short and long-term memory may not be as sharp as they once were, aging contributes to both an increased semantic memory and an increased procedural memory!

Circadian rhythem

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sleep disorder image.jpg Dawit Wage
Psychology writing #2
Date - 10/8/11
Circadian rhythm is the internal biological clock that regulates approximately 24 hours cycle of biological processes. It is monitored by the hormone melatonin which is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. It is so incredible how this small tissue has a significant role in our body system. It is stimulated by external cues such as sunlight and temperature. Circadian rhythm is important in determining the sleeping pattern of human being. Could you imagine that what happen to our sleeping pattern if the circadian rhythm is not performing its function at all? I guess, we sleep all 24 hours a day without conscious awareness of our environment. We do not able to focus in our daily activities and we remain unconscious forever. What about for those who lost circadian rhythm due to Brain injuries or diseases? Do they have other mechanism to accomplish their daily activities or they just simple set up an alarm every day. I am just wondering what happen to them; do they stay conscious and be able to perform the physiological activities without the biological clock? What do you think? People with circadian sleep disorder unable to sleep and wake up at the time required for normal work, school, and social needs. We need to get enough sleep in order make our biological clock work properly so that we are able to accomplish the physiological activities in a time manner.so if we have such a dynamic tissue in our brain why we need an artificial alarm today? We do not need to spend our money for nothing. What we do is just get enough sleep and make our circadian rhythm work well.

Source - www.sciencedaily.com


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Out-of-Body experiences have surprisingly happened to many people. An out-of-body experience is when a person senses their consciousness leaving their body.
Many people describe them to happen when they are under an incredible amount of stress. Such as in the textbook, the example used is about a female police officer on the first day of her job. As she was apprehending a criminal she felt as though she was watching the entire episode from above the actual scene. OBE.png That leads me to question if what they are experiencing is actually happening or if it just seems like it. Our bodies react to things in astonishing ways so part of me definitely believes this is possible, however; I am skeptical at the same time. This type of experience seems to be similar to how the brain fills in information in different situations. For example when your brain fills in a pattern of a picture that is not really there. Numerous studies have been performed to try and replicate an out-of-body experience. In these studies, researches project an image of the subject about six feet in front of themselves. The subjects wore virtual reality goggles that allowed them to see the back of themselves. They then perform touch tests on the subjects, for example, stroking their back with a stick. When the strokes of both the subject and the projected image were synchronized, the subject reported feeling a sense of being inside the image of them. This information was found from an article about out-of-body experiences in the New York Times; http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/23/science/23cnd-body.html. There are many different claims about these experiences and we may never know if it is true or not, but it certainly is interesting to think about!
Here is another article from the New York Times concerning out-of-body experiences: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/03/health/psychology/03shad.html?pagewanted=all

Adrenal Glands

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Adrenal Glands. What are they and why are they important? Adrenal glands are often referred to as giving you the "fight or flight" response. There are two that are situated right above each kidney. They produce adrenaline and cortisol hormones that boost energy production in muscle cells. You might have heard the story of a woman lifting a vehicle off of her baby. This feat is obviously impossible without the help of some adrenaline. How crazy is it that two little parts of our bodies can give you the strength to do something seemingly impossible? This topic stood out to me because my younger brother had major problems with his adrenal glands shutting down. It got to the point where he could not get out of bed. Most doctors thought he was faking it. Is it true since they are greatly affected by what's going on in our head? How do we decipher the difference between a mental illness and physical illness when they can be so closely related? If this part of our body is so important, why don't we know more about it? Naturalnews.com states that modern day living is very stressful which often puts the adrenal glands under constant stress that should be counteracted. I think more people need to learn about this part of our bodies in order to live a healthier lifestyle. Adrenal glands also affect the salt content of the body, which in turn affects the measure of one's blood pressure. They affect many aspects of our lives. Right now, I'm sure mine are pumping out stress hormones about this psych exam tomorrow..


The Razor and the Spaceship

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In the year 1969, on July 20, Neil Armstrong took his first step onto the moon. He looked at that first step he took, than turned to the camera and spoke the famous words, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." Audiences were enthralled with what they were seeing, a man was walking on the moon! Yet even with video footage of the event and public knowledge of the space program there were those who doubted that Neil Armstrong had actually landed on the moon. They claimed it was an elaborate hoax to try and look better than the U.S.S.R. rather than an actual amazing feat of science and engineering. If they had known the scientific method perhaps they wouldn't have reached such a radical and wrong conclusion about what they were seeing. Occam's Razor is the key. Occam's Razor states that if two hypothesis' fit the data equally well than the simpler or parsimonious one is most likely the answer. In this case The simpler answer is that NASA had indeed performed an amazing feat of engineering rather than government conspiracies, coverups, and power play. While this doesn't necessarily prove that a space shuttle had landed on the moon it does give us an easier hypothesis to test first. The evidence for the shuttle landing is overwhelming and easily falsiable which further strengthens it's claim. On the other hand, although the conspiracy theory does explain and account for the phenomena it is neither falsifiable nor replicable which makes it violate more principles of the scientific method. In this case, Occam's Razor shaved off excess detail to give a straight forward answer which later can be tested to find out for sure if the hypothesis was correct or not. Parsimony is a wonderful concept as it closes the door on cluttering and overcomplicated ideas. Could you even imagine life if every idea we tried to prove was as complicated as a conspiracy theory?neil_armstrong_auf_dem_mond.jpg

Creating False Memories

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I was inspired, but mostly suggested, to write a blog post about today's discussion section. The topic of discussion today was memory, especially the ability to modify and even create false memories.

In the example of the Paul Ingram case, he was convinced through psychological methods, that he raped and sexually harassed his two daughters. The daughters created stories and told the police, but their stories continued to change and there was no real evidence to support their allegations. Through misinformation and suggestibility techniques, Paul started to believe and even "remember" committing the crime. He felt that he was being possessed by the devil and that there was a dark side of him he was previously unaware of. There were many reasons that it was made possible, and it shows how real and applicable the concept of creating false memories or altering people's memory is. Here's the link to the Paul Ingram case.


Today in psych discussion, we did a memory experiment to test the concept of creating false memories. We were orally given lists of words and had to recall as many of them as we could after. The words in each list were related, and most of the class added words associated with the list that were never spoken by Julia. This proves that people can create false memories very easily.

The second link talks about the phenomenon of creating false memories, and also has the exact experiment we did in class. It proves the same results as we encountered in class. I find this to be very interesting, because we don't expect this to be possible. We think our memories are so clear and concise, but they are often inaccurate. I will try to keep that in mind next time I argue with a friend about a past event "i remember like it was yesterday"


While looking online, I recently found an article about how false memories affect behavior. First of all, false memory is the act of recollecting an event that did not actually happen. I think that it is so interesting that this memory technique can have such powerful affects. In the article, psychologists did a study on students where they falsely told them that they had gotten sick from eating an egg sandwich when they were younger. In an experiment, they offered different types of sandwiches to the students, one option being the egg salad sandwich, and asked the students to evaluate the sandwiches. When observing students in four and eight month increments, research showed that the ones who had been told they had gotten sick still had a distinct change in attitude and behavior toward the egg salad sandwich. These results go to show that false suggestions about events can impact the way one acts in the future, hence why the students still believed that they had a negative experience with the food and therefore gave it lower evaluations than the other sandwiches. Also, I found it interesting that these psychologists said that using this false memories technique could help reduce obesity in people, by falsely leading them to believe that they had negative experiences with unhealthy foods in the past (steering them away from wanting to consume them in the future).

Here is the website for the article:


There is no true clear cut between fact and fiction when it comes to hypnosis, and whether or not it is the only hypothesis. One good thing that hypnosis has been proven helpful for is the removal of habit disorders. In this Youtube video, Denise Richards visits a famous hypnotist, Kevin Stone, wishing to fix her cussing problem. He has Denise close her eyes and visualize herself controlling her cussing. Her tells her to picture herself in an out of body sort of way, and has her visualize herself carrying on the same conversations without the cuss words. When Denise awakens she's hopeful that this technique works and expresses that she feels very relaxed.

Hypnosis is defined as a set of techniques that provides people with suggestions for alterations in their perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This is exactly what Kevin Stone performs on Denise. I'm hesitant to use the word performs though because the way the definition phrases hypnosis as a "set of techniques" makes me feel as if Stone simply told Denise an idea of how to fix her cussing habit. The idea of hypnosis, especially in Denise's case, makes me question the scientific principle of ruling out rival hypotheses. Can the resolution to Denise's cussing problem be solved via a different solution? It doesn't seem likely that the only way to stop her from cussing is to put her in a trance like state and tell her the same things you could tell her while she is wide awake.

Left Brain Vs. Right Brain

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Right Hemisphere vs. Left Hemisphere?

Is there such a thing as being "left-brained" or "right brained?" In class and through the Lilenfeld text, it has come up several times that the left and right hemisphere of our brain each controls different ways in which we think. The left hemisphere of our brain is known for its fine tune language skills, while the right hemisphere is better known for coarse language skills. Being known as "left brained" means that you are logical, objective, scholarly, and you look at the pieces before the whole picture. On the other hand, a "right brained" person is more random, artistic, emotional, and tends to look at the whole picture first. Even though being "left brained" and "right brained" is only a myth, many people revolve their life around it. It helps them understand what kind of person they are and how they learn best. For example, many schools focus on teaching in a "left brained" manor. They concentrate on the reasoning behind the basics and fundamentals rather than the roundabout ways to answer a question.
I took a quiz online to see whether I was "left brained" or "right brained," and my results showed me that I was 51% "left brained" and 49% "right brained!" My results were very similar. I'm not surprised to see this though because I already knew that I don't fall into just one category. Feel free to take this (short) quiz and find out whether you are "left brained" like me or "left brained!"
-Sarah Duever

Bilingual Babies

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chinese_bilingual_baby_on_board.jpgWhile recently looking through articles online about studies involving language and psychology I came across a study that involved bilingual babies and if the brain is altered based on knowing one or two languages. The study involves analyzing infant's behavior based on where they turn their gazes and how long they pay attention to find out the infants perception of sound, words, and language. Also, they use this data to find out what is familiar or unfamiliar to the infant. However using these types of signals from the infants makes it very hard to replicate the experiment.

During the study they used this data to also discover if monolingual infants or bilingual infants had different developmental trajectories. The bilingual babies at six to nine months couldn't detect phonetic sounds in either language they were exposed to while monolingual babies could. However at ten to twelve months the monolingual babies could only recognize phonetic sounds in the language they were exposed to while bilingual babies could recognize them in both. These results make logical sense and very simple. This is an example of using Occam's razor.

At the end of the article it is discussed how being bilingual allows children to learn in a variety of ways and how they are prone to prefer certain languages based on ones that are similar to the ones they heard while in their mother's womb. These ideas are very similar to the ones discussed in the textbook. The textbook says that a certain language is typically dominant to a bilingual person which in this case would be the language heard by the child in the womb. To learn more about this study visit,

my mother forgot me!!

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Are there any old people which were rational and smart before but now are starting to forgetfulness 、 restless 、 emotional and language expression is difficult, even forget the way home or forget his family member? !!!!!
If have, so they may They might get alzheimer's disease.Zhang Li, an 82 years old women who are Living in Beijing, China, and have the disease. she started forgetful and also always crying and angry. However, these has not aroused the attention of the family until she got lost in the way to home which she walked before.Let her daughter shocked that she didn't even know who is that when her daughter went to police station to pick up her
This pathological will lead to the cerebral cortex atrophy, and accompanied by beta amyloid/beta AP deposition, neurons fiber tangles (neurofibrillarytangles, NFT), a lot of memory, and to reduce the number of neurons senile plaques (senileplaque, SP) formation.PSYW3Sissi.jpg
Chinese people net survey found twenty percent of north China 80 years old man with alzheimer's disease, and the age of the patients in the shrinking. And this kind of disease is almost impossible to cure. So if your side of the older memory and mood problems, please take him to the hospital!

I'd Rather Be Dreaming

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Wouldn't it be nice if you could put away all of those college textbooks and learn all of their material while snoozing?! It sounds crazy, but that is what a lot of companies are proposing. They call it sleep-assisted learning. In their advertisements, they say that by listening to their CD's while you sleep, you can learn to speak a new language, stop smoking, or even reduce stress.

One website, called Sleep-Learning-Guide.com, says that you can, "learn almost anything while sleeping." (the website can be viewed here) It also says that, "Sleep-learning can aid greatly in time-saving, in increased efficiency, and in improving general knowledge."

This idea sounds absolutely insane! Learning while sleeping! Because this idea seems so out of the ordinary, we must evaluate it with a few of the principles of scientific thinking.

First, we must look at the principle of Extraordinary Claims. This principle means that when we evaluate claims that seem to contradict what we already know, they must have persuasive evidence to support them. In the early investigations of sleep-assisted learning, there did seem to be some evidence to support it.

However, the first reports failed to rule out other explanations for sleep-assisted learning. This is where another principle of scientific thinking comes in. They failed to use the principle of Ruling Out Rival Hypothesis. One possible explanation for sleep-assisted learning is that the recordings may have awakened the listeners. When experimenters improved the experiments and used EEGs to make sure the subjects were sleeping, they found little evidence to support sleep-assisted learning.

So according to what researchers have found, sleep-assisted learning programs do not actually work the way they are supposed to. One may only learn from the recordings if they continually wake up while listening. This is a good example of how we need to learn to evaluate all scientific findings with the six principles of scientific thinking. And the next time someone asks you if you would like to learn while sleeping, you can just respond, "I'd rather be dreaming."

Picture taken from:

Flashes of Light When Blind

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According to the website above, on July 16th, 1945 an atomic bomb went off at a testing site in Socorro, New Mexico. About 50 miles away from the testing site, eighteen-year-old Georgia Green was riding in the car on a highway and saw a flash of light at about the same time the bomb went off. This wouldn't be so fascinating if Georgia Green hadn't been blind. How could it be that she saw the flash of light when she was legally blind in both eyes? Well maybe she didn't. This is an example of correlation vs. causation. Did the atomic bomb really cause Georgia Green to see a flash of light or are the uncorrelated? The flash of light could have been caused by something completely unrelated. It's hard to say and it's impossible to test because it was such a brief moment and you cant go back in her memory to test what caused her to see this flash, but it is curious that both these events happened at almost the same time. Another type of scientific thinking this should bring up is Occam's Razor. Is there a simpler explanation that works just as well? For example, blind people have been known to see random flashes of light that have nothing to do with anything going on around them. Similar to the brief flash of light you might remember seeing if you hit your head really hard. Maybe the fact that Georgia Green saw this flash of light near the time the bomb went off is a coincidence, and it is a more probable explanation.


In Lecture, we learned about Pavlov's Classical Conditioning. There are four parts to this; unconditioned stimulus, unconditioned response, conditioned stimulus, and conditioned response. The unconditioned stimulus can be something like food for example. The unconditioned response is how a person responds to the unconditioned stimulus. In class, we learned an example of this may be a dog salivating around food. The conditioned stimulus is something that is present every time the dog eats, like a sound made right before his food is served. The condition response is his response to the sound made; he salivates. Since he always hears the sound before he eats, he knows food is coming by the sound. The thought of the food causes him to salivate.
I went to camp one year, and before every meal a bell would ring. The bell always made me hungry, because I knew food was coming. Eventually, the bell started being used for other things, like when free time began or when we had a meeting. At first, I would always feel hungry and expect to eat. After a while, I grew accustomed to the bell being used for different things and no longer felt hunger after every ring.
We become familiar with certain sounds at certain points in are day. We begin to associate them with things like food or people. Classical conditioning is all about how we respond to our environment. It is natural to respond to food by salivating. The reason the dog salivated when he heard the metronome was because he associated it with the food. Just like he grew accustomed to the sound coming before a meal, when the meal stopped coming after the sound he eventually became accustomed to that too. So, if we associate something with something else, but they no longer are together, we can just as easily unassociated them.


Circadian rhythem

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Dawit Wage Psychology writing #2
Date - 10/8/11
Circadian rhythm is the internal biological clock that regulates approximately 24 hours cycle of biological processes. It is monitored by the hormone melatonin which is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. It is so incredible how this small tissue has a significant role in our body system. It is stimulated by external cues such as sunlight and temperature. Circadian rhythm is important in determining the sleeping pattern of human being. Could you imagine that what happen to our sleeping pattern if the circadian rhythm is not performing its function at all? I guess, we sleep all 24 hours a day without conscious awareness of our environment. We do not able to focus in our daily activities and we remain unconscious forever. What about for those who lost circadian rhythm due to Brain injuries or diseases? Do they have other mechanism to accomplish their daily activities or they just simple set up an alarm every day. I am just wondering what happen to them; do they stay conscious and be able to perform the physiological activities without the biological clock? What do you think? People with circadian sleep disorder unable to sleep and wake up at the time required for normal work, school, and social needs. We need to get enough sleep in order make our biological clock work properly so that we are able to accomplish the physiological activities in a time manner.so if we have such a dynamic tissue in our brain why we need an artificial alarm today? We do not need to spend our money for nothing. What we do is just get enough sleep and make our circadian rhythm work well.

Source - www.sciencedaily.com sleep disorder image.jpg

Freud's dream protection theory states many things about dreams such as fulfillment theories, wish fulfillment, and dreams being the protectors of sleep. But are these theories correct? Have these claims been disproved? The answer is yes, and they are false or are only closely true to what they're trying to interpret. Despite the validity of this theory, it is important because dreams have a lot to do with our daily lives. And by that, I mean that most people interpret their dreams without thinking scientifically. That's important because it can lead people to believe that their dreams have meaningful relations to their life. It's not true that it doesn't have any meaning at all, it's just that scientific evidence, and biological psychology studies ( such as activation-synthesis theory), has proved to show that most dreams don't depict hidden messages, but very obvious messages. If we take a look at this video, at the end of it is a man who says he saw a dream about a bloody man running through the church where him and his mom were at the time. He woke up and 5 days later his mother died.

Can we say that this had to be because he dreamed of a bloody man? What does the bloody man have to do with his mom dying? We have to think of the scientific principle " Correlation Vs. Causation". We can think of many instances where we had people being involved in a scary dream, and there are many people who die. We can think of it more like a coincidence. This is important to think about, because things like this can factor in everyone's life, and can affect it drastically. To think scientifically about it, we can avoid ignorant decisions that we make, and we can think about things that actually make sense. If we don't, we might just end up believing the wrong things that can dramatically alter our lives ( such as having a dreams that can bias our decisions and have a negative effect in our lives).
This picture symbolizes Lucid dreaming. I find this interesting, because I was unable to find articles or research that relates Lucid dreaming to dream protection theory. It makes me question if our dreams actually do have meaning if we lucid dream. Or if our decisions that we make while lucid dreaming depict our personality, daily decisions, life choices, etc... because that would mean we actually do have control of our dreams, and that what we do could effect our real life decisions, despite it being a dream ( because you can control a dream while lucid dreaming).

Sources: Lillenfield text Psych 1001




"Realistic perceptional experiences in the absence of any external stimuli," is how Liliendeld defines hallucinations. Brain scans during visual hallucinations have reported that the visual cortex becomes active, just as it would if it were actually processing visual stimuli. 138_dilatingeyedrops2.jpgDuring a hallucinogenic drug-induced trip, pupils become extremely dilated, as seen above.

There are several causes of hallucinations; for example, lack of sleep and mental illness have been linked to hallucinations. According to Wolfe and Pruitt, after four days of severe sleep deprivation may cause hallucinations. Drug use, such as acid or psilocybin (found in "magic" mushrooms) also causes users to hallucinate. In some cultures, hallucinations are viewed as gifts or religious/spiritual communication. Many who believe this try to induce such "trips" through prayer, fasting, or drug usage.

CNN aired a video of a 50's housewife who voluntarily took Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (acid) under a controlled study. The hospital where the experiment was held was considering hallucinogenic drugs as a form of psychotherapy. The experimenters thought that the psychedelic experience would help the users to become more spiritual, to come to a better understanding of themselves, and possibly treat those suffering from depression or addiction.


When the video above was filmed, the hallucinogenic drugs used were legal. Now that they have been made illegal, the effects of taking such drugs would presumably be more harmful than helpful. In some cases, flashbacks occur, which can persist and cause significant distress or impairment in social or occupational situations. A condition called hallucinogen-induced persisting perceptual disorder, also known as "perma-tripping" can also occur. Many individuals who suffer from HPPD cannot maintain normal relationships or careers and do not function well in society.

Because of the possible negative effects, inducing hallucinations through the use of drugs in individuals that are struggling to come to terms with themselves or that suffer from addiction/depression would likely be a poor choice. Looking at HPPD and how it makes fulfilling a "normal" life extremely difficult, it would more likely have negative effects on individuals who are seeking help rather than benefit them. Hallucinations involved with drugs had the potential to be a very dangerous form of psychotherapy, but the risks had been noted and the drugs were made illegal.

To many, not feeling pain would be ideal; However, to individuals with pain insensitivity, the inability to feel pain threatens their safety as well as their life. Normally, the somatosensory system (the body's system that senses touch, temperature, and pain) would react to dangerous stimuli applied to the skin by producing the sensation of pain in order to warn the individual of the harm being done to their body. In contrast, a person who suffers from pain insensitivity does not have a normal somatosensory system to protect them from damaging their body.skinandnerves.png
In the figure above, you can see that the skin contains both specialized and free nerve endings that detect pressure, temperature, and pain. For example, the Pacinian corpuscle is specialized for sensing deep pressure and the Meissner's corpuscle is specialized for lighter touch. Sensing pain and temperature is done by the free nerve endings. Normally, if the free nerve endings detected pain, they would send a message to the brain that travels through the spinal cord. This activates spinal reflexes that pull body parts away from the object causing the pain to prevent further damage to the body. Unfortunately, as you will soon see in a video, the somatosensory system of people with pain insensitivity does not work properly and everyday activities may become life threatening.

The video talks of Gabby, a young girl who suffers from hereditary sensory autonomic neuropathy, which inhibits sensation. Her condition puts her in extreme danger of hurting herself. As a baby, she chewed her fingers and tongue until they bled and her parents were encouraged to have her baby teeth removed to prevent her from biting them off completely, as some children with this condition do. She must wear goggles at all times because she has problems with scratching her eyes, which caused blindness in one of them. Without a functioning somatosensory system, your life is a constant struggle for safety.


The video gives a visual of how serious pain insensitivity is. Without pain, your appendix could burst and kill you without giving any signs that something may be wrong. In reality, the ideal life without pain would be a life-long curse of severely damaging your body and possibly death. Pain insensitivity could cause premature death by something treatable in people with functioning sensory nerves. Though nobody enjoys the sensation of pain, it is incredibly important and keeps us both safe and healthy.

Where is Consciousness?

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The brain is a very complex network that just works for most of us, but why and how? How and where does consciousness come from? Our brains work without us being aware of their functions and we go about life not really knowing about how our conscious are formed.

Professor Marcus du Sautoy goes about to figure out where our consciousness comes from. He does and dissects a brain to show us exactly what is happening. He concludes that consciousness comes from the brain stem, in a system called the Reticular Activating System. This system sends projections to the thalamus that then send them out to everywhere. These projections activate the cortex and allow us to be conscious. This documentary concluded that the key to consciousness was activation and whenever an activation occurs, you are being conscious of your surroundings.

I think it is amazing that people are aware because of one part of the brain, rather than prior being told that our consciousness is just there. Now I know the exact cause and how
. The instant thought that comes to my mind, though, is how can they tell for sure that this is what creates consciousness. It is something that you really cannot test and I am wondering how they came up with their explanations of consciousness.

Blinded by Our Emotions

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One of the concepts from the sensation, perception and consciousness chapter involves ESP, extrasensory perception. ESP is the ability of perceiving things or events that are outside of the known channels of sensations; it does not use any of the five senses. The three major divisions of ESP are precognition- the ability to predict things before they occur, telepathy- being ale to read someone else's mind, and clairvoyance- being able to detect things that can't be seen. Although, scientific testing has not shown that these phenomenons hold true, there are some that still claim and believe in it. Perhaps, one of the major reasons why many people believe in ESP is their tendency to believe it, in order to make sense of things they can't explain. This in turn helps fuels illusory correlation in which we tend to remember events that are coincidences and forget about the rest.

Understanding that ESP has not been proven to be real is important so that we are not fooled by those who try to take advantage of us, especially during a time when we are most vulnerable. There are many shows on television that have hosts who claim they can talk to there dead loved ones by doing cold readings. Additionally, there are also magicians who claim to have telepathic powers and can predict the card in your pocket. We have to understand that as humans, we are prone to intentional blindness because we are so focused on other things, like believing how the psychic so much about your dead grandmother, but we forgot that they asked us similar questions earlier, or try so hard to remember our card that we didn't realize that the magician switched the cards he initially had to make "your card" disappear. By diverting our attention and being consumed on another task we allow our chances to be fooled. Some can be harmless, but other phony deceptions can cost us time and money- as with phony psychic readings that charge money. Dateline's Chris Hansen exposed some of these so-called-psychics. When it came time to confess that and that the legal implications might be involved, these psychics changed quickly denied they were psychics and that it was all just for fun and entertainment. Learning to think critically and knowing that we are prone to, we can better analyze situations so that others can not fool us by our own blindness.

Split brains

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A topic covered in lecture and also in the Lilienfeld text this past week was the Split brain subject test. This test is performed on someone who has had a procedure done to their corpus callosum in which the fibers connecting the two hemispheres of the brain are split. This procedure typically offers relief from epileptic seizures. The studies done on these individuals offer an interesting insight into how the human brain works. Basically, the left side of our brain is responsible in forming the words around what we are seeing. This is validated in a test performed, where a subject with a split-brain is instructed to focus on a dot in the center of a projection screen. Then for a split-second an image is flashed onto both sides of the screen. The subject is then instructed to choose from a group of cards what best represented the image they saw. In the test that was demonstrated in class, an image of a snowy scene was flashed on the left side of the screen while a picture of a chicken was flashed on the right. When the subject was instructed to select a card from the group it selected a shovel while saying the word "chicken". Although the subject was unaware of why they made this choice, they still tried to rationalize their choice by saying that you need a shovel to clean out a chicken coop. This test confirms that the left side of the brain is used for speech because it was the subjects left hemisphere that would process the image of the chicken on the right side of the screen.

Source: Lilienfeld text, Lecture

What Just Happened?

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We hear many stories about people claiming to have left there body while being fully conscious or experiencing an out-of-body experience (OBE). While many times the argument comes down to "your word against mine" there is a lot of scientific evidence against these so called out-of-body experience. In one particular case a Dr. Garth C. claims to have left his body while lying down in bed one night. He insists that just as he laid his head down on his pillow he left his body in an upright position and traveled into space. Once in space he claims have a seen many events like great migrations, wars, and land movements. Upon first hearing this story you might think this guy is joking around, as I did, but as you read further you see that this guy really believes he was consciously awake through this experience. It is obvious that Dr. Garth is breaking many of the principles of science. First and foremost he is ruling out any rival hypotheses. How does you know that he had not fallen asleep and this was all a dream? This would be a much more believable explanation for what he experience/saw. And even if he believes he wasn't asleep, there is no scientific research proving that consciousness exists outside of the body. Dr. Garth is displaying strong belief perseverance when still believing his hypothesis is right, even with scientific evidence proving him wrong.
Someone leaving his or her body is a pretty extraordinary claim and one needs to be able to back it up with extraordinary evidence. The only evidence that Dr. Garth has is his word. There is no way prove that this actually happened to him, so this brings us to yet another scientific principle being broken; falsifiability. Because there is no way to test his hypothesis for incorrectness it is not a valid hypothesis or claim.


I recently read an articles called "Obesity linked to dangerous sleep apnea in truck drivers." The theory of the article is that commercial trunk drivers who are obese are more likely to crash because of they are more likely to have sleep apnea. To test this, 456 commercial drivers were given the OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) test. The results showed that 17 percent suffered from sleep apnea. With these results, employers are able to tell the drivers to get the help that they need, so they have less of a chance of crashing.
A strong correlation is shown between obesity and truck crashes, however, there are a lot of other outliers that could play into affect in whether they will crash. How much does the driver pay attention? Does he talk on his cell phone? This study did not prove that truck drivers who are obese would crash their trucks more often, but that the companies are trying to identify those drivers who may suffer from sleep apnea so they can correct the problem. This study is important because now, employers can find those who have the sleep apnea, and get them the help they need so the roads are safer.
Two years ago, my father used to suffer severely from sleep apnea. One day, while he was driving to work, he fell asleep at the wheel, and drove his car into a ditch. Thankfully, he was still in the neighborhood and was driving about 20 miles per hour. This was a wake-up call for him. He went to the doctor, who told him he needed to lose weight, and after he lost 100 pounds, his sleep apnea is much improved.
Weight plays a pivotal role in sleep apnea, and therefore, truck drivers who are over weight, should be wary of their sleep habits. They are on the road more often then other drivers.
link to article


sensation becomes perception when "a stimulus at the skin triggers an impulse that travels first to an area at the top of the brain called the primary somatosensory cortex. The information then moves to other parts of the brain, where it can contribute to memory, decision-making, and motor outputs."
In this research finding, it states that a monkeys perception of touch matches brain activity in the frontal lobe. They also found that the activity in the somatosensory cortex neurons, where the touch first arrives, is directly related to how strong the stimulus is. When the stimulus is more intense, the neurons fire more rapidly. However, the found that the neurons activity did not relate to the monkeys behavior. These findings conclude that a monkeys perception comes from the frontal lobe and not the sensory cortex.
This research is important so we can now understand how monkeys brain activity works even better. We know where certain perceptions are sent to through neurons, and how fast they might be firing. This helps confirm other information we have found about monkeys with replicability.

When reading this, I was wondering if this were the same for humans. That if it would make a difference where the activity in the brain would occur. I was also wondering if this had any correlation for humans or any other animal or being.

While eating dinner with your parents, they bring up the topic of getting a new dog and discussing what kind. You are suddenly overwelhmed with the feeling that you have already had this conversation with them, eating the same meal, and debating the same things. Or as you are out enjoying the day you have an odd sensation that you have already lived through this moment, and have seen the same children playing across the street. Anyone who has experienced déjà vu will tell you of the unsettling feeling that something has already happened before. There is an overwelhming sense of familiarity with something that should not be that familar. Seven out of ten Americans will report to having some form of these experiences mainly in the age range of 15 to 25 year olds. It can occur in anyone with or without a medical condition however it is usually related to the frontal lobe. Several pyschologists attribute it to wish fulfillment and fantasy. There are claims that the brain confuses the past and the present making someone to feel as though they have already experienced what they are experiencing at that moment. Other pyschologists claim that it is caused by an excess of dopamine in the temporal lobe.

I have personally had my own déjà vu experience last christmas when I was sitting at my Grandparents house for dinner. We all stood up to say a prayer and as I looked around the room I felt as though we had already said this same prayer and had already sat in the same seats. While the dinner served on Christmas at my Grandparents house does not usually vary from year to year, the room that we were eating in and the place I was sitting was new that year. It was the first Christmas since my Grandpa had passed yet it felt like he had never been there with us. The unusal feeling was chilling and disturbing as though I had forgotten the presence of my Grandfather. The question of how at that moment I could remember him so little still lingers in my mind. I don't understand how someone who could never be forgotten could feel as though they were never there. Could I have been forseeing the future Christmases sitting in the new room without my Grandfather and have been confused with the past? The experience was shortlived however it still left a lasting impression on me.


Death By Asphyxiation

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In 1964 actress Jill Masterson painted her entire body gold while portraying a secretary in the James Bond movie Goldfinger. The secretary in the movie was supposedly murdered by entire body asphyxiation, or the suffocating of the body's pores, when her entire body was painted in gold paint. The supposed murder stretched a lot further than a movie plot when Life Magazine published a "dead" Jill Masterson painted entirely in gold on its cover. It was soon believed that the actress had actually died from painting her body gold. This death scare shows an example of a falsely believed correlation versus causation, and extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence.

The extraordinary claim that Jill Masterson had died from skin asphykiation due to painting her body in gold required some extraordinary evidence. First off, Jill Masterson was still alive while this myth was circulating the media. This proves that the claim can in no way be true, because Jill Masterson had actually just retired from her acting career to spend time with her family. The claim can also be proven wrong by the fact that the body does not breathe through the skin, but instead through the nose and mouth. Even if all of your body pores are covered up, you can still breathe through your nose and mouth.
This myth can also be explained as false causation versus correlation mix up. People who incorrectly believed that Jill Masterson had died quickly jumped to the conclusion that It must have been from her body being painted gold. Just because Jill Masterson had died in a movie from skin asphyxiation due to gold paint doesn't mean that she had actually died in real life from the same cause.



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Hypnosis, also known as hypnotherapy, is a trance-like state in which one have heightened focus, concentration and inner absorption. When one is under hypnosis, they usually feel calm and relaxed, and you can concentrate intensely on a specific thought, memory, feeling or sensation while blocking out distractions. Under hypnosis, one is more open than usual to suggestions, and this can be used to modify one's perceptions, behavior, sensations and emotions. Therapeutic hypnosis is used to improve one's health and well-being and is different from so-called stage hypnosis used by entertainers. Although one more open to suggestion during therapeutic hypnosis, their free will remains intact and they don't lose control over your behavior.

What is hypnosis used for if not only entertainment? Hypnosis is intended to help one gain more control over undesired behaviors or emotions or to help them cope better with a wide range of medical conditions. Hypnosis can be used to help treat things such as pain control, allergies, asthma, skin conditions and also gastrointestinal problems to name a few. Hypnosis isn't considered a treatment or a type of psychotherapy. Rather, it's a procedure typically used along with certain treatments and therapies to help a wide variety of conditions. However there are some risks to hypnosis. Hypnosis that's conducted under the care of a trained therapist or health care professional is considered a safe complementary and alternative medicine treatment. One should use special caution before using hypnosis for age regression to help you relive earlier events in your life. This practice remains controversial and has limited scientific evidence to support its use. It may cause strong emotions and can alter your memories or lead to creation of false memories. Overall, hypnosis can be beneficial if used under the correct circumstances by a trained professional. It may be helpful for some things, but certainly isn't going to cure cancer anytime soon.

Addiction to Crack Cocaine

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In the satirical clip of Chappelle's Show we can see a drug addict in the form of Tyrone Biggums. Although the show is completely fabricated, there is still a glaring example of how one's environment can cause them to be addicted to drugs. In this specific case we are not shown the true beginning of Tyrone's addiction, but we are able to see some of his current activity and what has lead to his continued addiction. From the clip we see that the couple Rob and Jenny are acting as enablers of sorts for Tyrone by giving a free place to live in and giving him money to support his habits. This is the equivalent to having people around him approve of his actions in ways. Rob and Jenny helped fund his activities by just giving him money even though they were well aware of his drug issue. For a lot of drug addicts this just helps to aid their addiction and prolong their problem. Another factor in why Tyrone seems to be so incredibly addicted to drugs has to do with his age. Although we do not know his real age, it is acceptable to assume that he is in his early adulthood, which is usually the peak for illegal drug use and addiction. The skit reflects that Tyrone is at a stage and also addicted to the stimulant crack cocaine. This is the most powerful of the stimulants so his addiction is one that will affect his daily life even more than say another stimulant like nicotine. Tyrone also reflects the drive to use crack cocaine as much as possible. This can be attributed to the short lived high of the substance and the skit reflects just this as Tyrone comes into the room desperate for more crack cocaine, and at the end of the skit when he gets desperate enough to try to flush himself out of the room.

Tyrone Biggums may be a completely made up character, but he still reflects a lot of the real life reasons why people can become addicted to illegal drugs, and more specifically illegal stimulants.

Link to Clip: http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/index.jhtml?videoId=11888&title=tyrone-biggums-crack

The Secret You

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The above video discusses consciousness and the sense of "I" in the world - some of its nature, causes, and explanations. The video addresses some very real issues, but is not free of the classic pitfalls of logic fallacies.

Most importantly, we may inspect that the man collecting evidence is on the look-out for an answer. That, in itself, may cue to us that he has already fallen into belief preservation. Therefore, we must be especially careful to inspect his confirmation biases. For example, we can observe his predisposed ideas when he says things about his atheistic belief, and that some certain experiment may be able to disprove the existence of the soul. Whether or not the existence of the soul is real or not is irrelevant in this case: the relevance rests on the fact that he does - in fact - have an agenda that should be carefully counter-acted with.

Similarly, we can observe his tendency to equate correlation with causation; and to draw casual conclusions from insufficient evidence. For instance, when he went through the experiment that allowed the researcher to predict his actions "6 seconds before he consciously decided them," he decided that the idea of determinism is irrefutable. He failed to examine other instances, and to see other hypotheses before ruling this theory the best one.

Along that line of thinking, he does not consider other hypotheses in general; therefore, he does not rule out rival hypotheses. He pursuits endeavors which he hopes will support his belief (belief preservation), but does not consider alternative answers to his findings.

In short, although the information presented is insightful, it is not in-depth. We need to demand more evidence (from a more objective perspective), before considering the findings of the experiments to be true.

Bloody Mary

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This urban legend claims that if one was to turn out the lights, look in a mirror and chant "Mary Worth, Mary Worth, I believe in Mary Worth," some type of supernatural sign or being will appear. This legend comes from the story of Mary Worth. Mary Worth was a beautiful young girl who was in a terrible accident that disfigured her face so badly that no one would look at her. She was banned from looking in mirrors for fear that she would lose her mind if she saw her reflection, but one night she snuck into a room with a mirror to look at herself and was so dismayed she walked into the mirror and vowed to disfigure anyone that looked in the mirror for her. Children have claimed that they have seen glows coming from the mirror or in one such case a girl was scratched across the face after performing the alleged ritual. This legend demonstrates replicability since it is dealing with a world not yet proven or unproven scientifically, but there are other explanations to the scenarios. Perhaps the glow came from their eyes adjusting to the darkness, or the scratch on the girl's face could have come from herself or one of the other children present when they got scared.

Sleep Paralysis

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Sleep Paralysis the condition when you are unable to move after you have fallen asleep or upon waking up. Also, hallucination and severe sense of dangers are may also occur alongside this condition. This condition is a sign that our bodies are not progressing smoothly though the stages of sleep causing brief paralysis of partial or the entire skeletal muscle system. Factors which may increase the probability of experiencing sleep paralysis include: sleeping in the upward position, if there has been sudden changes in our lives or environment, stress, lack of sleep, and experiencing lucid dreams proceeding afterwards.
I believe this concept is important and extremely interesting, because it has happened to many people including 33-50% of college students and 20% to 60% of people worldwide have stated they have experienced this, excluding myself. In my culture, we believe this phenomenon occurs when a spirit, preferably evil comes and squishes us during our most vulnerable state. My father who has experienced this phenomenon stated it was my step-uncle who has passed away recently when it occurred. Where in other cultures, as in Newfoundland where they believe an "Old Hag", a witch would sit on their chest.
My question: "Is it possible that a spirit or ghost was the one behind this phenomenon?" By the principles of critical thinking it can't, because it violates the six principles: Correlation vs. Causation, Falsifiability, Reliability, and Extraordinary claims; but by any chance even 1% that it is because of a ghost?

Sleep Paralysis With David Hufford

"Violence Vanquished"

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My dad often finds articles in the newspaper or magazines that he thinks I will be interested in and sends them to me so we can later discuss. This week I received an article titled "Violence Vanquished" from the Wall Street Journal (link to the article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904106704576583203589408180.html?KEYWORDS=violence+vanquished) written by Harvard Psychology Professor, Steven Pinker. Pinker explains how, although it often does not seem this way, the amount of violence in our world as drastically decreased, with comparisons being drawn as little as decades ago.
Most of the article (adapted from his book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)is dedicated to specific statistics proving Pinker's claim, however, the part that most interested me was his speculation and analysis towards the end of why violence has declined and poses the question, "Is it because violence has literally been bred out of us, leaving us more peaceful by nature?". Pinker says that it's very unlikely and I certainly agree. As Pinker mentions, children still have to be taught to not bite, kick and injure their friends simply over disagreement. People who have no neurological disorders still are capable of committing horrendous crimes due simply to anger or jealousy. But it is no longer exactly beneficial to be violent. As Pinker says, "Violence is often reframed as a problem to be solved rather than as a contest to be won," and one should have no trouble brainstorming the numerous groups and movements against violence including the Civil Rights Movement, groups like GSA and more recently school-wide as well as governmental attempts at curbing cyber-bullying. The article is definitely worth a read to understand our other solutions (purposeful or accidental) to violence including democracy, international relations, technology to help us be more aware of other cultures. I wanted to conclude my blog post with a connection to my previous entry about reality TV.
Television, especially reality television, is very often linked to violence in youth or throughout society. I wonder though if the argument couldn't be made, looking at the clear facts that violence has decreased even in the past decade, that although we do witness this public violence in high quantities, maybe it's more of a release for us normal citizens. I feel like it is pretty likely that someone would feel angrier after watching their favorite sports team lose than seeing a fight on "Jersey Shore" (which, really, and perhaps disturbingly, is meant more to illicit humor). Maybe I'm wrong but I know that I often just see people fighting on TV, whether it's on "Dr. Phil" or "The Real World" and find myself feeling embarrassed for the arguers and thinking how I hope to never catch myself behaving like them.

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Many times we hear people believe others "have an addictive personality" to drug and alcohol abuse. Addictive personalities, as the Lilienfeld text states, are more likely due to personality traits predisposing the individual to abuse, rather than having a single outline of an addictive personality. Personality traits, such as impulsivity, seem to direct people towards abuse. These traits may instead be a result from substance misuse. No test has yet falsified this research. However, this article shows the GABRB3 of chromosome 15 has some sort of connection to alcoholism. Understanding addictive personality traits is incredibly important, where it affect the population either directly or indirectly. I cannot even fathom the fact that over 15 million people are dependent on alcohol (source: drug-rehabs.org). My family has battled alcohol/drug addiction for five generations. My own brother, with a college career down the drain and no contact with my family, suffers addiction. These situations are incredibly tough, so if there is a way to scientifically figure out this "addictive personality" concept, maybe more help could tend to people like my brother, your uncle, or your best friend's mother. I wonder as this newfound GABRB3 gene is examined, whether they will even be able to find something to counter it? I suppose just understanding something is the first step... hopefully they are on the right track.

Another neat thing I found: This website offers a test in which you can see if you are prone to addiction, rather than going by popular culture magazines determining your health.

Alcohol my only friend

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Alcohol the most widely used and abused drug. Alcohol is a drug that varies in the effect that it causes on people based on the amount of beverage that is consumed, the alcohol concentration, the body weight and the stomach context of the person. It is being researched as how much experience has to do with the way in which people act, but the best theory is that people act in the way that they are used to acting under the influence. Alcohol sometimes to provide people as an excuse to engage in actions that are socially unacceptable, but as the posters are the U provide "But I was drunk" is not an excuse. Although it seems that alcohol is a stimulant, it is actually a depressant. It acts as it at a lower dose because it depresses areas of the brain that inhibit emotion and behavior, then at higher doses there becomes slower thinking, impaired concentration, walking and muscular coordination, and at some higher doses people can sometimes experience a mix stimulating and sedating effects. At extremely high doses people can experience "blacking out" which is a loss of memory, and passing out, which is like falling asleep. The problem is that some people don't appropriately handle their consumption of alcohol and do bad things, such as driving, while intoxicated. Also some people become dependant on alcohol and a challenge for people in collage is that most people either don't know when they are alcoholics or they say an excuse like, that's what collage is for. As this article shows, the newer technology can help people know if they are alcoholics, and although it is hard to tell the cause even though there is a correlation, it is a good start. http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Health/20111005/student-drinking-social-media-profiles-111005/ And Here is a picture to leave you with: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_KEDScn-6OGA/TDTb6J4LhLI/AAAAAAAACto/AtSG5U1Zo88/s400/beer%2520addicted%2520funny%2520picture%2520deep%2520thoughts%2520stick%2520figure.jpg


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Magic mushrooms, shrooms, or boomers are hallucinogens that produce extreme sensations and perceptions. They are a fungus that is can be produced naturally in nature. Mushroom motifs have been found in Mayan ruins in Guatemala, where the psychoactive drug can be naturally found. People who take shrooms feel fascinating changes of their consciousness, seeing illusions and having thoughts that they never would have thought about before. This is a very powerful hallucinogen that extremely alters ones consciousness. My friends and I went on a road trip this summer in a 1970's Volkswagen to the shores of Lake Superior. We brought up shrooms to take one of the days on the lakeshore of Madeline Island. The experience was not life changing, but it was a substantial life experience for all of us. During our "trip" it start at as the stereotypical trip where your visual perceptions become significantly alter and colors become distorted or incredibly vivid. This stage resulted in little conversation between each other, except for comments on what we were perceiving. The next stage brought about paranoia, (like in this article http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-395143/Magic-mushrooms-help-depression-say-scientists.html); this was a brief twenty minutes of the trip caused by upset stomachs of two of my friends. An upset stomach is a common side effect of shrooms, and that's where it gets the nickname boomers, because there is a booming feeling in your stomach. The next stage and last stage was the best stage for all of us. We all experience genuine happiness and a state of bliss. This was the life reflection stage for all of us as well, where we reflected on our lives, society, and just the world overall. It was a very spiritual moment, not in a religious context, but in a common perception context. We all felt as though we had a better understanding of ourselves and our lives. Our perspectives on life were altered that day creating a more positive outlook on life. This is what the article mentions that magic mushrooms can cure depression, and although it was a positive experience for me and slightly changed my behavior for the better, this could have drastic results on others trying to use this as a cure. While tripping one really reflects on their life, so if what they uncover is bad, it could have disastrous results.

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Sleep and Consciousness?

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Curious question: How does brain functioning between being awake and being asleep differ? Or more importantly, how does it differ between being conscious and unconscious? If we can come up with a logical answer, what will the new knowledge tell us about consciousness as a whole? Luckily, the documentary "The Secret You" addresses this question through the use of modern science.

In the documentary, (which primarily talks about different studies about consciousness), the question about brain activity and consciousness arises. The narrator then volunteers for a research study conducted by Professer Marcello Massimini where brain activity is measured through an EEG while both awake and asleep. The data gathered shows a strong network within the brain during consciousness where the stimuli causes communication throughout the brain, whereas there is only activity at the location of stimuli during unconsciousness.

Looking at the data, the findings make sense to me. While conscious, a single stimuli enters the brain and is processed by it's respective sensory brain lobe. While being processed, the information is instantaneously communicated throughout the brain as a whole, giving rise to a thought process. Example would be how a thunderclap can cause somebody to be startled. The auditory stimulation enters the brain, and somehow an emotion of fear arises through the instantaneous communication within the brain! Even more fascinating is the fact that there are many stimuli bombarding a person at a single time, and through the processing power of the brain, we can form our behavior to adapt to all the stimuli through conscious decisions!

Now,while asleep, we can still have many stimuli affecting us, however no conscious adaptation is made. This would make perfect sense since the EEG shows that there is no communication within the brain while asleep. In other words, the brain processes the stimuli, and that's that. Nothing is done about it.

As I said, I'm pretty satisfied with the data from this experiment, however the documentary does propose an unanswered question: How do brain processes truly become consciousness as in electrical communication equal thought? But as quoted from the film "... consciousness is even MORE than the sum of its parts."


How important is our ability to taste and smell?
Well, as we studied in chapter four of Lilienfled's psychology book, gustation (taste) and olfactory (smell) are one of the most vital chemical senses in our body because chemical receptors allows us to interact with molecules that contain flavor and odor. Our ability to taste and smell helps us enjoy our favorite food and beverages. For example, eating is one of the most pleasurable experiences we can encounter throughout our daily life. Without smell, there is no taste diminishing our pleasure. In fact, eating is one of animal's (humans included) favorite activity, nobody ever complains about act of eating, people complain about many other thing in their daily life and it's greatly influenced by gustation and olfactory system. So what makes eating so pleasing to us? The ability to taste flavors and smell odors enables us to experience our everyday life with better perception to stay away from many things that are harmful to our body. Not only does it help our nourishments it's also vitally important for our health and well-being. I cannot imagine eating food without the ability to smell and taste. I wonder whether our ability to smell and taste influences our weight gain/loses?


The pleasure of eating brings satisfaction to the body which means eating is greatly influenced by our ability to taste and smell. The gustation and olfactory senses substantially impact our quality of life. Human bodies are sensitive to pheromones which are greatly influence our sexual behavior. People with smell and taste deficiency will not be able to enjoy the pleasure of food and beverage that we enjoy every day.


Alligators in the sewers

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Alligators in the sewers:
Thinking Principle #4 Replicability means that a study's findings can be duplicated consistently. Since there has only been a single instance that an actual alligator was found in the New York sewers I find it myself quote unquote impossible to duplicate the findings consistently. The lilienfeld text says we shouldn't place too much stock in a psychological finding until it's been replicated. There is no replicability to this theory, in other words, sewer workers have come across an alligator in the exact sewer consistently.
Since there has only been one instance that an alligator was found in the sewers of New York there is a tad bit of truth to this urban legend. A documented capture of an eight-foot alligator at the bottom of an East Harlem manhole in 1935 gave proof that there was at least (1) alligator underneath the streets of busy New York. To say that there are alligators underneath the streets of New York is to bold a statement, to be more specific, sewer workers would need to check every foot of sewer water in New York. According to the Scientific Thinking principle #3 Falsifiability this theory of alligators in the sewers would have to be falsifiable, that it is, capable of being disproved. To disprove this theory, sewer workers would need to check every sewer way and every inch of the sewer water to check for alligators all over New York. In order to check every sewer, sewer workers would need to block off sewer passages so if there were alligators they wouldn't miss them, or have them go unaccounted for. This theory is not capable of being disproved due to the vast passages sewer ways behold. On behalf of Scientific Thinking Principles #3 and #4 I find this theory bogus to the core.

Out-of-Body Experiences

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Out-of-Body experiences have surprisingly happened to many people. An out-of-body experience is when a person senses their consciousness leaving their body.
Many people describe them to happen when they are under an incredible amount of stress. Such as in the textbook, the example used is about a female police officer on the first day of her job. As she was apprehending a criminal she felt as though she was watching the entire episode from above the actual scene. That leads me to question if what they are experiencing is actually happening or if it just seems like it. Our bodies react to things in astonishing ways so part of me definitely believes this is possible, however; I am skeptical at the same time. This type of experience seems to be similar to how the brain fills in information in different situations. For example when your brain fills in a pattern of a picture that is not really there. Numerous studies have been performed to try and replicate an out-of-body experience. In these studies, researches project an image of the subject about six feet in front of themselves. The subjects wore virtual reality goggles that allowed them to see the back of themselves. They then perform touch tests on the subjects, for example, stroking their back with a stick. When the strokes of both the subject and the projected image were synchronized, the subject reported feeling a sense of being inside the image of them. This information was found from an article about out-of-body experiences in the New York Times; http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/23/science/23cnd-body.html. There are many different claims about these experiences and we may never know if it is true or not, but it certainly is interesting to think about!
Here is another article from the New York Times concerning out-of-body experiences: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/03/health/psychology/03shad.html?pagewanted=all

Dreams: Let's Get Real

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freud-dream-book.gifIn chapter five of the Lilienfeld text, it discusses the neurocognitive theory, the theory that dreams are a meaningful product of our cognitive capacities, shaping what we dream about. This concept illustrates that our dreams reveal to us what our brains are able to process from external stimuli during the day. It further explains that when we're younger, our dreams consist of more basic things or events and lack negativity. As we age and our cognitive abilities become more advanced, we will experience dreams of more complex things or events. Furthermore, it has been discovered that dreams mainly involve "everyday activities, emotional concerns, and preoccupations, including playing sports, preparing for tests, feeling self-conscious about our appearance, and being single." Learning about this particular theory has made me reflect on my recent dreams or nightmares and attempt to compare them to memorable ones from when I was younger.

The neurocognitive theory raises the idea of dream interpretations or analysis, which is shortly defined as the process of assigning meaning to dreams. Sigmund Freud, a well-known supporter of dream interpretation, named the hidden meaning in dreams as latent content. I find dream interpretation very interesting and I do believe that our dreams can assist us in tapping into our suppressed emotions. I also find this particular idea important in that if analyzed correctly, our dreams have the ability to help us make positive changes in our life. Furthermore, if remembered, dreams can contribute to ideas that you can apply in real life. For an example, author Stephanie Meyer wrote down her dream and it resulted in the best-selling novel series, "Twilight."

I'm still wondering about having dreams of events that actually really occur later in real life. Is this just coincidental? If children do experience more complex dreams, does that mean that their brain is well advanced and developing at a faster pace? Conversely, if adults continue to experience basic dreams, does that mean that their cognitive capacities are not improving? If you're thinking about something before you fall asleep, will you then dream about it?

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This picture has been circulating the internet for about 5 months. Sometime during the month of July in Buenos Aires, there was a report of nails being found in cheese given out at dog parks. Less than a week ago, another message was sent around through social media networks saying that this was happening in Chicago and Massachusetts. It also claimed that a dog park in Augusta Maine reported finding a lethal amount of antifreeze in water bowls.

Although this did in fact happen once in Buenos Aires, the claim that this is becoming a popular threat to be wary of is not true. This was an isolated incident and by reposting this picture, people are only encouraging a copycat.

This relates to what we talked about in class on Friday among other things. As far as the one confirmed incident goes, the person who targeted the dog parks understood Skinner's behavior analysis. Our dogs have received positive reinforcement in regards to getting treats. If we give them treats to reward behavior, who is to say they won't take a treat from someone else when they do the same thing? Fortunately, this appears to be a one-time occurrence, and at the time being, there shouldn't be any need to worry.

One suggestion made by the article, which I completely agree with, is that you should have your dog look up at you before they put something in their mouth. This will hopefully prevent them from eating anything that could be potentially harmful to them, since usually you are a better judge than your dog itself.

Every Seven Seconds

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You've probably heard someone throw out this stat.: "Men think about sex every seconds." It's important not to believe something to be scientifically proven just because whoever said it framed it as a statistic. I mean think about it, if the average man really did think about sex every seven seconds, how would any man get anything done? This particular statistic is really an extraordinary claim, and it turns out, there isn't a whole lot of extraordinary evidence to back this one up. The thought probably stems from the common belief that men's behaviors are more influenced by sexual drive than those of women. However, according to the Kinsey Institute's famous, and highly regarded, "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male", 54% of men think of sex at least once a day, 43% a few times a month or week, and 4% less than once a month. While you can't be exactly sure about what thought go through a person's head when, this survey alone does pretty well to throw out the myth that the average man thinks about sex every seven seconds.


This article discusses the case of a man who developed lung cancer, supposedly caused by consuming butter-flavored microwave popcorn. While it's true that diacetyl, a chemical used in artificial butter flavoring used on microwave popcorn, is harmful when inhaled in large amounts and has been linked to lung disease in workers of manufacturing plants that produce microwave popcorn, no significant evidence has been found to support the idea that consuming microwave popcorn is a cause of lung cancer.

The workers who developed lung cancer were continuously exposed to large amounts of diacetyl in their working conditions, inhaling large amounts every day at the manufacturing plant. The man discussed in the article consumed excessive amounts of popcorn, reporting that he ate something like two bags a day for ten years. Therefore, he is not an accurate representation of popcorn consumers, and one cannot infer that the amounts of diacetyl in the artificial butter flavoring of microwave popcorn cause lung cancer. Correlation does not necessarily equal causation here.

Doctors can find no other explanation for his lung cancer, that's true, but his ailment could have been the result of any number of other factors. He may be genetically predisposed to cancer. Perhaps he was overweight or had some hidden genetic or medical condition that made him a higher risk for cancer. Or perhaps the diacetyl in combination with something in the makeup of his body chemistry was the cause. We cannot know for sure, but there is certainly not enough conclusive evidence to say that the microwave popcorn itself caused his cancer.

I'd say it's highly unlikely you're going to develop cancer simply by enjoying a bag of buttered popcorn now and then. The diacetyl in the artificial butter flavoring may be harmful, but in such minuscule amounts present in a single bag of popcorn, it's probably not much of a health risk. Just don't eat two bags a day for ten plus years, and you'll probably be just fine.

I watched the video "The Secret You" from BBC Horizon on YouTube. The specific section that I focused on was on where consciousness resides. Humans want to know more about this aspect of consciousness because consciousness does not arise out of nowhere. Scientists want to know more about where exactly such a seemingly surreal construct can originate from in the brain.
Dr. Stephen Gentleman from Imperial College in London shows where consciousness comes from. He explains to us that the cortex is where consciousness resides. The reticula activatum system in the brain stem, made up of nerve cells, sends projections up to the thalamus, a relay station. The thalamus then sends projections to all areas of the cortex. Constant activation of the cortex seems to create consciousness or self-awareness.
This knowledge about consciousness is extremely important to our understanding of life as well as that of our world. Increased knowledge in this area allows us to expand our knowledge base in fields of science such as psychology. We can learn to understand about how self-awareness sets humans apart from other animals. Analysis of various animal brains can help humans learn about behavior and other aspects.
However, I still have other questions after watching this section of the video. If other animals have similar brains to humans, then why do humans have the unique characteristic of consciousness? Are other animals also "conscious" but in a different way? How can we be sure that consciousness is real and not just made up? These are only a few of the many questions that float around in my mind as I consciously type this blog.

Motion Blindness

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Walking through a crosswalk and pouring coffee into a cup emerge as simple tasks to most people. However, to someone with Akinetopsia, or also commonly known as "Motion Blindness", they would approach these situations with quite the challenge. Motion Blindness is affected by a change in brain structure, particularly in the lesions, that disrupts the psychological procedure of comprehending sensual information. Motion Blindness is instigated by a discrepancy from lesions in the posterior side of the visual cortex, commonly known as The Occipital Lobes. Overall, this means that the neurons of the central temporal cortex respond to moving stimuli and the middle temporal cortex is the motion-processing area of the cerebral cortex. Through one case study, only one patient, Gisela Leibold, has been reported to have Akinetopsia. Leibold's brain lesion was bilateral and symmetrical and it did not disturb any other visual functions. Some Unilateral lesions have been informed to damage motion perceptions. This disease is exceptionally rare and this is an important disease to learn about because as of right now there is no cure and it is considered to be traumatic brain injury. Also, it is essential in learning how to prevent one from damaging the occipital lobes, which corresponds with one's sense of motion. One question that I contemplate is how this disease does not affect people's abilities to see color, shape, size and only motion. Normally, brain injuries lead to more problems, but Motion Blindness only plays a role in how our brain perceives motion. I could not imagine my life without being able to detect movement, especially with the dancing and working out I enjoy to participate in. Most people forget how lucky they can be and it takes an injury for them to truly appreciate how fortunate they are to be able to see the world the way they already do.

One of the popular myths associated with the technique of hypnosis is that it can help to enhance people's memory. It has been said that under the influence of hypnosis people have been known to remember things that they did not know when they were in a normal state. More information can be found on this topic here.
This belief has only been helped by presentation of such cases by the media. Such instances have also been described in the fiction novels which so many of us like to read. Our textbook provides a brief review of instances in which hypnosis helped victims of crime remember information which helped the police catch criminals, though of course sometimes the information was completely inaccurate and did not help at all.
Hypnosis definitely helps people remember more information than normal but not all that they remember is guaranteed to be accurate. A large part of the U.S. legal system bans evidence based on memories recalled through hypnosis.
This myth is closely linked to another that is related to hypnosis, that the phenomena experienced during hypnosis are unique to it. It is not only hypnosis which helps people remember- in several situations, people find themselves remembering the answer to some question when they think about it a second time and this happens even when they are not under the influence of hypnosis.
Keeping all of the above in mind, several questions arise. Can information recalled under hypnosis be relied on? Is it an approach worth using when investigating a crime? Or is it a dubious way to gain information?

Ouija Board

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Ouija boards are used as a method of supposedly communicating with the dead. Written on the surface of the boards are the letters of the alphabet, plus a few simple words such as "yes" and "no", numbers 1 to 10, and usually good-bye at the bottom of the board. To use the board, two people hold a pointer together which is claimed to move under the influence of spirits to spell out answers to questions. There has never been a proven paranormal usage of Ouija boards under scientifically controlled conditions. The movement of the pointer can be easily explained. Users deliberately move the pointer generally to heighten the effects. The pointer is moved reflexively by way of the ideomotor effect, which is a psychological phenomenon where a person makes motions unconsciously. In fact, there have been scientific studies done to try and prove if there are in fact supernatural connections to the board. First the experimenters would have two people use it with there eyes open, normally, and then they would have them do it again, but bblindfolded. In both situations the pointer would move and answer questions, but in the first one the answers would make perfect sense and without any hesitance, while in the second one still moving but spelling nothing but gibberish. There is no evidence that supports that Ouija boards are anything connected to paranormal activity, the supernatural effects are due to psychological effects of the users. So I can't say myself that I believe in the Ouija board, it all depends on the users and the ideomotor effect.


Have you ever felt like you've already done something or have already seen what you just did? Then you have experienced déjà vu. Déjà vu is French for already seen. The psychological explanation for déjà vu is that you have been familiar with something that you weren't aware or conscious of until the moment you think you have déjà vu.Some believe that it is familiar-based experiences. One site that supports this belief is http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081118122146.htm
For me I wonder, what about experiencing déjà vu in a place that you have never been? For instance, you and your family are going on vacation to Hawaii, a place that no one in your family has been too. Your family has never gone on a tropical vacation, just to South Dakota. You haven't looked at images of Hawaii so it's a really unfamiliar to you. You get there and as you are driving you have an episode of déjà vu. What I wonder is using the psychological explanation, how would someone explain the whole "unconscious" thing? To me, I think there could be something more. Maybe people can predict the future in their dreams. However, it can never be falsified and it really can't be replicated because maybe it only happens to some people once while others multiple times. The people it does happen to, they cannot control it. I do think that the psychological explanation for déjà vu is the best explanation however it does make me wonder if there is a better one, even if it does defy the laws of scientific thinking.

Learning: Trial and error

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As we discussed in class this week the researcher Edward L. Thorndike believed learning occurred through trial and error. This means we humans (and other species) learn trying, if our try is an error we learn something too, we learn to not follow that method that results in error. That's why people said that there are no bad experiences, there are good ones and not too good ones. The not too good ones don't result in what we expect but teach us something new. That's why they are not bad experiences because we learn something positive from them.
The researcher Edward L. Thorndike creates a puzzle box for animals and studied the responses that animals make. Many of the responses were wrong or ineffective, and eventually the animals learned to repeat those that got desirable results. This is an example of trial and error. The animals try some strategies for escaping the box, many of their first strategies became ineffective (error) but eventually found a desirable result and learned to repeat those desirable results for escaping the box.
I think this study is very important because daily we are involved in a type of puzzle box and we use trial and error for these moments. For example simple things like how to turn on an unknown TV, how we make a call in a new cell phone and much more moments that we have to try and respond to the event. Using our experience with phones in the example of making a call with a new cell phone becomes the try, if we can't make the call at the first try we have error, but that mistake gives us the experience of not following that method again. We keep trying just as the animals at Thorndike puzzle box until we have desirable results. Then we know how making a call using that new phone thanks to the experience we have gained in the trial and error event. As this example, we encounter with bunches of 'puzzles' that we don't know how to solve them at a glance but we discover how to, using trial and error.
Now a question I am asking myself is if we humans transmit this knowledge through genes or is it totally experience knowledge. I think this is the same case as the behavior case, nature and nurture. We need the intelligence for solving these dairy 'puzzles' (nature) but we need to encounter these 'puzzles' first, to try them and learn (nurture).

Waking up on a couch downstairs when you had went to sleep in your bed upstairs is a frightening sensation. Sleep walking, is the act of movements and walking while one is asleep, unconscious of the fact that they are. Most common in children, "15-30%" (Mahowald & Bornemann, 2005) do indeed sleep walk occasionally. Adults as well sleep walk, "4 to 5%" (2005). But, should sleepwalking be a legal cause for murder? 697CB-sleepwalker.jpg

I myself have been a sleepwalker, only once though! One time, I did exactly as what I described earlier. I went to bed just like normal like every night, had not done anything different that day and woke up early the next morning to find that I was on the couch in our living room, down a flight of stairs sprawled out on the couch. When I woke, I figured that my mom had carried me downstairs for some odd reason, but this was not true. When my mom came downstairs that morning I asked her why I was on the couch and she replied, "I have no idea!" I unconsciously walked down stairs and lay on the couch, who knows what else I might have done. It is extremely creepy to think that you can be doing things with out any memory. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29658353/ns/dateline_nbc-crime_reports/t/deadly-dreams/#.TpIr0XY8jYA
Some criminal cases blame sleepwalking as their excuse for such things as murder, like this case, where a man and his wife were on vacation and he supposedly unconsciously killed her by stabbing her, breaking her jaw wrists etc. and hitting her in the head with a flower pot. The defendant was found guilty, as he should be. "McCall, Smith, & Shapiro" case found in our psychology textbook that a man drove 20 miles, removed a tire iron and killed his mother-in-law and seriously injured his father-in-law. The man was found innocent! I find that very unjust and should be looked into for replicability and falsifiability. Can that case be repeated and is their proof that this is a true claim? More evidence that there is a correlation between sleeping and violence needs to be given to prove that such cause can be used as legal blame.

Hypnosis is a method used to change a person's behavior, perception and/or feelings. The word hypnosis is derived from the word neuro-hypnotism, which is translated as nervous sleep. But contrary to popular misconception, hypnotism does not happen in an unconscious state. It happens when the subject is in his/her most relaxed state, but focused and alert.

Hypnosis is used in many ways, one of which is to nip addictions (i.e. Smoking, alcoholism, etc). Kicking-The-Bad-Habit-With-Stop-Smoking-Hypnosis.jpgBut the most common question is, how effective is hypnosis to those who wish to quit smoking? According to the statistics from Texas A&M University, Medical Center(2004), about 81% of hypnosis subjects report that they'd stopped smoking after their hypnosis.

According to this article, by US News Health, "patients are coaxed into a relaxed state and then provided with a series of skills for coping with withdrawal symptoms and the urge to smoke." The hypnotist(s) then gave the patients audiotapes of the session so that they could continue working on quitting at home.

This is an advertisement for smokers' who want to quit to look into hypnosis.
Whether it actually works depends on the person, and how willing the subject is to quit their smoking habits.

Does hypnosis have more of a placebo effect than anything else? Or is hypnosis a cure within itself?

Lucid Dreaming

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Our brain is a very complex organ. When we sleep, the brain processes many different bits and pieces of information that was processed in the previous day, and sorts through them. Humans dream multiple times per night, usually with each dream being about 10 minutes. The dreams can be about anything; they can be as boring as a repeat of what happened the previous day, to a reenactment of a favorite childhood show of yours. Lucid dreaming occurs when a person becomes consciously aware that he or she is dreaming. When this happens, most people end up waking up immediately. However, there are ways to train yourself to not wake up when this happens, and actually begin to take control of your dreams.

There are many different techniques that can be used in order to lucid dream. One important thing many people recommend is to start keeping a dream journal. Whenever you wake up, you should record as much as you can about what you dreamt the previous night. The next thing you need to do is train your brain to realize when you are dreaming. One way of doing this is writing something on the back of your hand, and throughout the day checking what it says periodically. If you do this enough, you will start to do this while dreaming. However in your dream, whenever you check your hand, it will always say something different. This should make you realize you are dreaming. The next thing is training yourself to stay awake. Keep in mind there are many different techniques of doing this. The main thing is practice and dedication.

In order to increase performance in our high school this past year, the school decided to push back the starting time one full hour. Of course as high school students, the students were excited about one more hour of sleep. But after some research, I learned that my former high school was not the only one introducing this new starting time. According to Valerie Strauss, writer for the Washington Post, Minnesota's Edina High School changed the school's starting time in 1996 for 3,000 high school students from 7:25 to 8:30. And just two years after, other high schools followed suit for more than 50,000 students. Valerie Strauss writes: "Teachers reported that students were more alert, and research conducted by Wahlstrom showed a range of benefits to students and teachers -- and contradicted some of the biggest fears about the change..."
Sleep.jpgAfter being a part of this starting time change, I would suggest any high school superintendent to take part in it. The majority of high school students split their time between school, sports, and their jobs-all major factors of sleep deprivation. Also, Researchers found that high levels of melatonin, a sleep promoting drug, affect teenagers later at night than it does for either children or adults. Which means, even if a high school wants to make it to bed early, some times it is physically impossible for her to do so.


Wingdings and 9/11

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In the time after 9/11, America was in panic and was searching for answers. The internet being an ever powerful place to find answers, good or not, quickly started providing 'evidence' of how there were many supposed obvious hints towards the attacks. The most widely sent chain email on the subject was of the 'Wingdings message'. These emails contained instructions on how to show a secret message in Microsoft Word relating the arrival code of one of the plans that hit the towers to a picture of the towers being attacked when using the font Wingdings. When typing Q33 NY in Wingdings, the following appears: Screen shot 2011-10-09 at 4.43.03 PM.png
Many were outraged at this discovery. However, as it turns out, Q33 NY actually has no relation whatsoever to either of the planes of 9/11. People were so eager to believe the hoax that they didn't stop to fact check, or as a psychologist would say, find extraordinary evidence for the extraordinary claims of the Wingdings hoax. This is a good example of Illusory Correlation. Many people were unaware that there was no connection between the supposed flight number and it's appearance in Wingdings, but they were looking for a connection so badly that they imagined one when it was shown to them. This was also the case in many of the other chain emails wherein mathematical 'calculations' of the number of letters in names or other dates related to 9/11 added up to 911, nine, or eleven. Illusory Correlation blocks us from thinking clearly and examining all the data. We forget all the times when Wingdings characters don't make sense in a sequence and only remember the times it seems to have a secret message.


Sleep walking is a disorder known all around the world, but sleep eating is not. Sleep eating formally known as SRED (sleep related eating disorder) affects millions, mostly women, around the world. Sleep eating is when one eats in the middle of the night while they are sleeping. The part of the brain that controls movement "wakes up" while the side of the brain that controls judgment and reasoning remains asleep. ABC did a story on two women affected by SRED. The first one, Amy, started sleep eating as soon as she was able to walk. She ate almost every night of her childhood. Amy suffered from this for two decades and didn't ever have extra weight gain. She was the lucky one, unlike Anna. Anna gained 60 pounds in a year and a half, without having any idea of how. Anna would just wake up and be exhausted all day with no clue of how. When she went to the doctor, they suggested she participate in a sleep study. By participating in the study, Anna realized she was eating in her sleep. Scientists are still unsure of what causes this disorder; most think it has something to do with genetics. They do however know medication usually helps cure it. Some patients don't respond as quickly as others, but eventually they always find something that will help them. I could not even imagine eating in my sleep and not even knowing it. If I was diagnosed with this disorder I would be afraid, half because of choking and the other half would be to not know what I was eating.

Sleep walking is a disorder known all around the world, but sleep eating is not. Sleep eating formally known as SRED (sleep related eating disorder) affects millions, mostly women, around the world. Sleep eating is when one eats in the middle of the night while they are sleeping. The part of the brain that controls movement "wakes up" while the side of the brain that controls judgment and reasoning remains asleep. ABC did a story on two women affected by SRED. The first one, Amy, started sleep eating as soon as she was able to walk. She ate almost every night of her childhood. Amy suffered from this for two decades and didn't ever have extra weight gain. She was the lucky one, unlike Anna. Anna gained 60 pounds in a year and a half, without having any idea of how. Anna would just wake up and be exhausted all day with no clue of how. When she went to the doctor, they suggested she participate in a sleep study. By participating in the study, Anna realized she was eating in her sleep. Scientists are still unsure of what causes this disorder; most think it has something to do with genetics. They do however know medication usually helps cure it. Some patients don't respond as quickly as others, but eventually they always find something that will help them. I could not even imagine eating in my sleep and not even knowing it. If I was diagnosed with this disorder I would be afraid, half because of choking and the other half would be to not know what I was eating.

shadow1big.jpg Hypnosis is a set of tactics that highlights the power of suggestion in people, and can change their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. There is not one "right", or universal theory for explaining hypnosis, although the main theories are the sociocognitive theory (based on people's attitudes, beliefs, and expectations) and the dissociation theory (based on a separation between personality functions that are normally well integrated). Hypnosis is not only for the entertainment of people, it can also be important in other ways. It can be used to treat pain, medical conditions, and some disorders such as an addiction. Hypnosis also improves the effectiveness of therapies for certain conditions. My only experience with hypnosis was at my all night senior party, when a hypnotist visited and hypnotized about 20 of my peers. He was able to change the way people behaved and thought about things. One example is when he told a girl that she was going to forget about the number 7, and then he proceeded to ask her to count her fingers. Each time she would skip the number 7, and then be super confused as to why she suddenly had 11 fingers. Another example is when he told a guy that when he heard music he turned into a ballerina, so as soon as music started playing he spun around slowly in circles with his arms above his head. I am very curious about hypnosis. How exactly does it work? Can you really make someone do anything you asked him or her to do by using hypnosis? To what extent would hypnotism not work?

Self Awareness

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In his journey to search for consciousness Marcus de Sautory examine the experiment call the mirror self recognition test. In this experiment a child was given the opportunity to look at him/herself in the mirror. Then the parent of the child would pretend to wipe their face with a tissue and place a mole like sticker onto the child's face. The child is then allowed to look at themselves in the mirror again. Sautory found that human became self aware between the age of 18 to 24 months old. Yet, the experiment only proves those human beings are capable of self-awareness, whereas animal's consciousness remains unanswered. So Sautory went to New York and meet with Professor Gordon Gallup Jr. to learn more about the mirror test result in Chimpanzee and other animal and founds that these animal also exhibit self awareness. Gallup concluded that individual with mental self aware can engage in mental time travel. This means they can think about the relationship that happen in the past, present and future opportunity. Sadly, death awareness is the price for self awareness.
I think that death awareness is a huge price to pay even if the mental awareness has served us tremendously. Death denial have polarize group and create many complication for our life. We become so reliance on the metaphysical world for explanation and reliance on non-testable prediction. Many religious promise answers into the mysterious world of the afterlife, but these answer become hostile even deathly when confront or contradicted by another group. It seems self awareness is a double edge sword in terms of helping us survive, but also contributing to warfare and distrust.

In this blog post I will be looking at cupping to relieve pain. To perform the procedure, one simply has to heat the air bulbous cup and attach the cup to the back of the patient. As the hot air cools it's volume decreases, creating pressure which pulls skin into the cup.

This supposedly opens the pores to let toxins out, improve blood flow, and restore "qi," an eastern measure of energy flow and well-being. Wet cupping is the same process, but you cut the skin on the back first so that the cup fills with blood. Using what we have learned in psychology, one must be skeptical of these claims. Let's look at qi. This can not be seen as scientific because it can not be disproved. There is no measure of qi or tangible evidence of whether it exists at all. There are no studies to prove toxins are released or that blood drawn in wet cupping is more toxic than the rest of your blood. All of the support is anecdotal! I found one research study, performed in Iran, that claims to scientifically quantify the benefits. They claimed that headache severity went down 66% and patients experienced 12.6 fewer days of headache per month. These results aren't reliable for two reasons. First; there is no control group. It's not even an experiment since we have nothing to compare the results to. The recovery could be due to the placebo effect, people feeling better because of treatment. Secondly, a person reporting their headache on a pain scale is not hard data, it is subjective to that persons perception. For these reasons I don't feel that cupping is a scientifically sound form of healing.

Here is a video of the procedure:
Video Demonstration



Self Awareness

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When do we become aware of self? 3:30 - 12:30 minutes
In his journey to search for consciousness Marcus de Sautory examine the experiment call the mirror self recognition test. In this experiment a child was given the opportunity to look at him/herself in the mirror. Then the parent of the child would pretend to wipe their face with a tissue and place a mole like sticker onto the child's face. The child is then allowed to look at themselves in the mirror again. Sautory found that human became self aware between the age of 18 to 24 months old. Yet, the experiment only proves those human beings are capable of self-awareness, whereas animal's consciousness remains unanswered. So Sautory went to New York and meet with Professor Gordon Gallup Jr. to learn more about the mirror test result in Chimpanzee and other animal and founds that these animal also exhibit self awareness. Gallup concluded that individual with mental self aware can engage in mental time travel. This means they can think about the relationship that happen in the past, present and future opportunity. Sadly, death awareness is the price for self awareness.
I think that death awareness is a huge price to pay even if the mental awareness has served us tremendously. Death denial have polarize group and create many complication for our life. We become so reliance on the metaphysical world for explanation and reliance on un-testable prediction. Many religious promise answers into the mysterious world of the afterlife, but these answer become hostile even deathly when confront or contradicted by another group. It seems self awareness is a double edge sword in terms of helping us survive, but also contributing to warfare and distrust.

The Power of Dreams

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Have you ever woken up in the morning after a great night's sleep and thought
"ARGH, I wish I could have finished that dream?"
Well, what if you could finish it.
Not even just finish it, but determine the ending, how would it look?
How would it end?

"Without a dream, without a belief, you can't act.
You must think it, you must dream it before you do it."
- Ryan Harty

Dreams don't have to only happen in our unconscious mind (mental phenomenom that occurs at a time which the person is unaware). Let these dreams propel you to believe that anything is possible in our absolute consciousness.
Ryan Harty and Clive Barker both took ahold of their unconcious and conscious dreams and beliefs and strived to reach them.

"A dream moves you whether you're sleeping, eating, thinking or awake"
-Clive Barker

If we stay mentally stable and always believe in ourselves, we are unstoppable. Dreams allow us to think of the impossible, but we, we have the mind-power to achieve these dreams.

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.
-Walt Disney


Is Obesity Contagious?

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This article states that recent research has shown a strong link between obesity and your friends and family. It says that if your friends and family are obese, then your likelihood of becoming obese greatly increases, even if you do not live near your friends and family.

All of this brings up the question that is raised by the Nature vs. Nurture debate. The Nature vs. Nurture debate looks at whether or not it is your environment, or your genes that make you who you are. Interestingly enough, most research seems to lead to the conclusion that both play a factor in your personality, and other traits. Twin studies, adoption studies, and family studies have all lead to somewhat of a similar conclusion.


Now, this article seems to be taking a look at both sides of the spectrum, while mostly focusing on the nurture side. This is because the article includes linkage to obesity among friends, when your friends do not have the same genes as you. This means that your genes are not solely responsible for your weight according to this article, because your environment seems to play a big role in it too.

As for the nature side of the debate, I feel that it addresses it when it looks at the trend between obesity and your loved ones, even when you are not around them. That means that genes may play a role, because you are being taken from the environment where the weight influence is. Although, they did think it had something to do with social class, which again goes back to the nurture side of the debate.

Therefore, conclusively, I think it is pertinent to look at both sides of the Nature vs. Nurture debate when it comes to this article, and other such research findings like these. A thorough analysis of the article and the debate that applies gives you an interesting way of looking at the findings, and putting them into perspective.

Our State of Consciousness

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In the BBC Horizon video The Secret You, mathematician Marcus de Sautoy shows us the major breakthroughs scientists have discovered in comparing brain activity when we are awake and when we are sleeping. We have all noticed that when we sleep we experience a state of unconsciousness; even though we may wake up to a startling noise, we are mostly unaware of stimulations occurring in our surroundings. Scientists have experimented on individuals using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to compare differences in brain activity in our waking and sleeping states. They have found that when we are awake, an electrical stimulation in one area of our brain can lead to the activation of many different areas, showing the true complexity and interconnectivity of electrical messages that occurs in the brain. When the same test was done on sleeping individuals, it was evident that the electrical stimulation remained confined to that area that was stimulated. There was no evidence of the brain sharing that information throughout its different parts. These results show us that there is a difference in our brain's activity between our conscious and our unconscious (or sleeping) states. Furthermore, it shows it is the brain's capability to share information and utilize its complex network of neurons that makes up for our conscious ability to act awake.

It is interesting to know how our brain activity is related to being asleep and awake, but is this the same reason why people lose consciousness when seriously injured or when in a coma? It also brings up the question of how our brain decides to "slow down" and not relay those messages of stimulation to other areas. If we were able to figure out how the brain induces these effects, could we be able to control when we are in conscious and unconscious states of mind? This could lead to groundbreaking medical research, allowing people to come out of comas!

The first picture shows the brain activity in the sleeping state, the second shows the enhanced activity in the waking state.

Sleep State.png

Wake State.png

Amber Schmidt
When most people think of sleepwalking, they picture the typical cartoon like figure with their arms up in front of them, walking like a zombie down a dark hallway. Sleepwalking, the act of walking and performing tasks while asleep, is something that is not uncommon. For some of us, we find it rather amusing to laugh at our siblings as they sleepwalk down the stairs and grab an apple from the fridge. This extent of sleepwalking is almost completely harmless. But for others, sleepwalking can turn into something a lot more dangerous. In this article (http://www.dana.org/news/cerebrum/detail.aspx?id=138), I read about a boy who proceeded to sleep walk right out of a two story window into a dark alley, receiving injuries that were potentially fatal. Also, in this article, I read about people driving their cars while sleepwalking, disregarding traffic lanes and signals. So, what is there to be done that can help control the extent to what people are capable of doing while asleep? According to the Psychology 1001 textbook, sleepwalking is most frequent in childhood. So, if adults are concerned for their child's safety, or their own if they are the sleepwalker, doors and windows can be wired with alarms. With this being done, it can help inform both the sleepwalker and the others in the house. Also, contradictory to what lots of people may think, it is completely safe to wake a sleepwalker up.

Which type of behavioral conditioning is more effective? Are they both effective in one situation or both ineffective in another? As it turns out, both are very effective, but there is one key difference to their effectiveness, and that is whether the behavior is involuntary or voluntary. If the action is involuntary (like the original discover made by Ivan Pavlov with the dog experiment) then the most applicable and effective treatment is Classical conditioning. Classical conditioning involves pairing a previously neutral stimulus (ticking noise in the original experiment) with an unconditioned one (dog receiving food). The continual pairing of the two stimuli leads to the brain unconsciously recognizing the originally neutral stimulus as the same as the unconditioned stimulus. On the other hand, operant conditioning results from the pairing of either reinforcement or punishment to increase or decrease a behavior's occurrence. For example, this couple used both operant and classical conditioning to train a rescued dog who was abused. The new owners looked to a psychologist who has had experience in this field before. the psychologist used both operant and classical to help fix some of the previous psychological damages the dog had faced before. By using positive reinforcement for repeating actions, and classical to break old habits, the new owners were able to turn their dogs life around


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Laurel Swendsen
Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler, and Kurt Koffka created the Gestalt's principles many years ago that allow us to perceive the world in many different ways. Many people do not understand Gestalt's basic principles in psychology. Also known as the "Law of Simplicity," Gestalt allows one to perceive the world in the simplest form. We visually and psychologically try to make some sort of order in the world where there tends to be chaos and uncertainty. This is a subconscious thing that we do and do not realize what we are doing. These are the way we group certain items. We group similar items together. This is called similarity. One groups these items together without realizing it. Proximity is when items tend to be grouped together even if they do not look the same or are the same. Closure is a subconscious aspect that allows one to see items as a whole. One may add an outline where one is not. When one continues objects beyond their ending point, this we can describe as continuity. Finally, symmetry allows one to see the world in perfect order and not out of balance. With all of these concepts, one can see the world more clearly and in a simple, less confusing way.


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I get up early everyday and since I do not have cable television, I generally listen to the radio. Both of the past two mornings I have listened to a commercial that talks about the brain benefits of taking a supposed multivitamin containing, KRILL.
What is Krill? They are tiny fish that swim in the ocean and are ruby red. Thousands of krill are put into these multivitamins. The advertiser says they help to maintain your brain, take away pain and improve your veins. This is a strange claim. If there was such a successful pill, why haven't physicians used it previously?
The Krill are small fish, a delicacy to the Japanese, and it is the tail meat, the hardest to get, that is the source of the oil. The claim is this oil is a source of Omega-3 fatty acids and it enhances the receptors in our brains. This led me to think abount falsifiability and can this claim be disproved.
The advertiser also made claims about the plasticity of our brains. Statements were made describing how our brains are changing all of the time and Krill can make those changes more efficiently. I am not an expert, but these claims about Krill sound like the old patent medicine days when most of those discoveries were filled with alcohol.

Keep your windows closed

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In the "Hurricane Mutiny" article on snopes.com, it is stated that leaving a few windows either slightly open or completely open helps reduce pressure buildup in your home therefore helping to ensure that your home doesn't get damaged during a hurricane.

What the author failed to realize is the principle of Occam's Razor. The simplest explanation is not that opening windows will help reduce pressure, but rather that opening windows will create excess pressure. Once air flow enters the house, it will want to find a passage to escape, therefore basically creating a tunnel to your roof so that it can fly away in airplane like fashion. Basically wherever the house's weak point is, the wind pressure will attempt to force its way in. So the simplest explanation is to keep all windows tightly shut and not allow any airflow.

The article also continues to emphasize that it was proven that the houses that seemed to be "blown apart," occurred from strong pressure build up in the house causing firstly the roof to fly off, and secondly the walls to therefore fall outward. To our surprise, this was once again caused by windows being open and not huge explosions from within the houses.

http://www.snopes.com/science/hurricane.asp is the URL of the article.

In Muslim law it states that the testimony of a man is equal to that of two women. Many people have questioned why this law exists. To explain, a Muslim Cleric described the "scientific" facts behind the law in the YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7x_I7tic_84.
In the video he explains that because women have to undergo menstruation, their endurance and mental capacity is diminished. He then showed a picture of both a male and female brain scan. In the male brain, only one area is lit up. In the female scan, two areas were lit up. He says that the reason only one area of the brain is lit up in the male brain is that men use that inactivated part for memory. So, women are unable to remember events when they speak because they are using the part of their brain used for memory in order to speak.
None of the "scientific facts" are backed up. This absence of connectivity to other research is a warning sign of pseudoscience. Also, when an area of a brain scan is lit up, it shows that it is activated. Therefore, the claim that that the part of a male brain that is not lit up is because it is working is inaccurate. Also, there are multiple places in the mind that are used for memory, not just one area. Lastly, there wasn't a study shown that correlated menstruation with a lack of endurance and mental capacity. Even if there was a study that correlated these two factors, it would not mean that there was causation. In fact, nothing that the Cleric presented could be used to draw a conclusion.
The most useful scientific principle for this claim is that of ruling out rival hypotheses. There could be many different explanations for the areas in the brain scan were lit up. For instance, maybe the man and the women were thinking or speaking about different things. However, if other hypotheses were to be created, more evidence would have to be presented and backed up with factual research. Overall, this entire argument is lacking any evidence.

Hallucinogen's are known to cause dramatic alterations of perception, mood, and thought. So when stumbling upon an article that was recently released in the online research news site, Science Daily, that the hallucinogen methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) or more commonly known as the drug "Ecstasy", has the ability to increase the survival of Dopamine neurons, it was quite shocking to think that a drug that is known to do great damage to our brains is instead found to help and enhance the neurons within our brains. MDMA is known to produce serotonin in the brain and cause damage to neurons that rely on those serotonin neurotransmitters, hallucinations, and euphoria.
In other words, MDMA is nothing to mess around with, but recently, research from the University of Cincinnati found that when MDMA was exposed to lab rats prenatally, it increased the growth of dopamine cells. Using the scientific thinking principle of Replicability when we look at the findings of this research we are led to find that this was the only research that has declared that MDMA enhances the growth of dopamine neurons rather than decrease them. No other research was found to have done the exact same thing. But if we look at what was declared as 'evidence' we found that the researchers who had exposed MDMA to the rats prenatally also exposed the drug to cultured embryonic cells, which too resulted in dopamine cells enhancing. Using the the scientific principle, Replicability, we can clarify that in some ways this experiment was 'replicated' but instead replicating it with rats, they replicated the experiment by using embryonic cells but obtained the same result. So does, MDMA in actuality result in enhancing dopamine cells? The researchers were able to replicate their own results but what this research is clearly lacking is peer review. No other researcher has had the chance to review this research and declare whether it is falsifiable or whether "they" themselves can replicate it. There is also larger evidence found in multiple research that MDMA causes depletion of dopmaine neurotransmitters rather than enhance them.
So can the hallucinogen MDMA enhance dopamine neurotransmitters survival? We can't exactly say until we know that this research can be falsifiable and replicated by other peer researchers besides the University of Cincinnati faculty. Until there is actual replication and can be falsified, we can only be scientifically skeptical about this finding.

Think Before You Drink

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v94-02-WineGraphic.jpgDid you know that switching between beer, wine, and liquor will make you more drunk than staying with one type of alcohol? Did you know that alcohol gives you more energy? Did you know that alcohol can't permanently damage you, it only temporarily impairs your sense of coordination? Did you know that taking a cold shower or drinking a cup of coffee will help sober you up? Did you know that both men and women react the same way to alcohol?

Did you know that all of the above statements are actually just myths about alcohol? They are all false, however, a large number of people believe these statements to be true.

But why? It is probably because people are falling prey to logical fallacies, specifically the bandwagon fallacy. Logical fallacies are traps in thinking that can lead people to mistaken conclusions. The bandwagon fallacy is the problem of assuming that a claim is true just because a large number of people believe that it is true. However, when people take a further look at these claims about alcohol and think critically, they will discover that they are all false.

Let's take the myth that all people react the same to alcohol as an example. The truth is that women will have a higher BAC (blood alcohol content) than men when they drink the same amount (even if they are the same weight!). This is because women tend to have more body fat, and alcohol isn't fat-soluble. And this means that women also have less water in which to dilute alcohol.

Analyzing each claim about alcohol allows us to use our sense of scientific skepticism. This means that we should approach each claim with an open mind, but insist on finding evidence that proves it. Otherwise, we will make the mistake of jumping on the bandwagon fallacy.

Other myths about alcohol can be explained here.


Pictures taken from:

ESP - Fact or Bull?

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Here at this website, one can learn how to enhance their "psychic" abilities, and share some of their own stories of ESP.

Now, while all of these stories make the case for ESP seem very believable, there is in fact no proof at all behind extra sensory perception. (For the few of you who do not know what ESP is, it is the apparent '6th' sense--the ability to see ghosts or see the future.)


Now, while all of these stories make the case for ESP seem very believable, there is in fact no proof at all behind extra sensory perception. (For the few of you who do not know what ESP is, it is the apparent '6th' sense--the ability to see ghosts or see the future.)

The concept of ESP violates at LEAST three of the six principles of scientific thinking. The first that it violates is replicability. When people who claim to have ESP try to repeat their feats for scientists, they cannot. They say that being studied messes with their powers, and that they really do have powers, just ones that cannot be studied.

The second is falsifiability. Falsifiability is similar to replicability, as when people who have ESP claim that when they are studied they cannot replicate results, and therefore ESP cannot be proved false.

The third principle is extraordinary claims. ESP violates this because it does not have the extraordinary evidence to prove the extraordinary claim of seeing the future.

The claims that we can see the future are either tricks that our minds play or a figment of our imagination. Although the details of the stories told may make it seem like there is no other explanation, it may be due to the fact that minor (or major) details are excluded that would help to explain these phenomenons.

ESP has not been proven. Not even close. But who knows, some day we may discover that the human mind can in fact see the future or that ghosts really exist..

Jani Lane -- lead singer of the band Warrant during its heyday -- died of alcohol poisoning, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office.

Lane died of "acute ethanol intoxication," which is when a person drinks alcohol to a level where he is poisoned, Assistant Chief Ed Winter of the L.A. County coroner's office told L.A. Now on Wednesday.

The rocker, born John Kennedy Oswald, was found dead in Room 118 of the Woodland Hills Comfort Inn on Aug. 11. A recording of the 911 call after his body was discovered by housekeeping -- obtained by TMZ -- revealed nobody willing to go into the room to check for a pulse.

Alcohol and sedative-hypnotics are depressant drugs, so-called because they depress the effects of the central nervous system. The effects of alcohol are remarkably wide-ranging, varying from stimulation at low doses to sedation at higher doses.

The feeling of intoxication depends largely on the rate of absorption of alcohol by the bloodstream, mostly through the stomach and intestines. In the BAC range of .20 to .30, impairment increases to the points at which strong sedation occurs; at .40 to .50, unconsciousness may set in. Blood alcohol levels of .50 to .60 may prove fatal.

I'm sure everyone has heard funny stories about sleepwalking (walking while fully asleep, the person doing it almost always completely unaware of their actions), or has even done it themselves. Sometimes people may even begin talking in their sleep, another seemingly harmless action. I personally have slept walked and talked multiple times, and at one point I even dragged (harmlessly) my best friend across the floor. Many people wouldn't consider instances like this uncommon at all. But there does come a point when this condition can become a very serious one.

People sleepwalking can unknowingly put their lives in danger, along with the lives of other people. There are many accounts of people trying to operate cars, leave the house through doors or windows, and even some people have injured or even killed others. For example, what if instead of harmlessly pulling my friend across the floor for a few feet I had pulled her down the stairs? The consequences would have been much more serious, and someone could have gotten hurt. Although instances like these may not be common, they are clearly important, because the more we can prevent things like this from happening the better.

Although not all sleepwalking can be stopped, there are things that make sleepwalking more likely to happen that we can prevent. Sleep deprivation is one of these things that can make it occur more often. Also, alarms on doors and windows at night can prevent a person whose sleepwalking from leaving the house and possibly harming themselves. It may seem silly to take precautions when nothing bad has happened, but it's better to be thankful than regretting if something ever does.

Salt water= free soda!?

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In psychology there are six scientific thinking principles that we can use to help us overcome our own biases. For this claim, I will first be using the first scientific principle, ruling out hypothesis. With this principle, we can ask ourselves is this the only good explanation for this finding? We need to think about other explanations and not rule them out right away. Do we really believe that pouring salt water into a vending machine will give us free product? Wouldn't we see a lot more people walking around with free soda and goodies if that were a true statement? With this claim, we can also use the fourth principle, replicability. Someone may get lucky if they try and pour in salt water and miraculously get free food, but could someone somewhere else have the same luck with this test? We can use replicability to see if the experiment can be duplicated, if it can't, then it increases the odds that the claim is false. The last principle that I will use for this claim is the sixth one, occam's razor. This principle state that with claims, we should generally pick the simpler one. In this case the two claims you can choose from are that salt water will give you free product, or it will not. If we would apply occam's razor, the simpler or more logical claim would be that salt water would not do this for us. We use these claims to help us generate the real claims vs. the false ones. In psychology this is a very useful tool to have because we are faced with these claims on a day to day basis. If we apply these principles, we may be able to decipher scientific claims and also ones from everyday life.

Can you imagine that there was time when we weren't aware of ourselves? One man tries to uncover the details about when we first become aware of who we are. He first visits an experiment where babies are the ones getting tested. In this experiment the babies first are just able to walk around and look at themselves in the mirror. Then the babies are turned away and the parents pretend to wipe their noses with a tissue, but really place a dot on the babies face right below the nose. Then the babies are allowed to go back the mirror, when looking at themselves they may or may not notice the dot on their face. If the babies do notice the dot, then they are self aware. This test represents that self awareness comes about when we are 18-24 months old. This man went and talked to another experimenter about an experiment kind of the same. This man does a mirror test, except with usually animals. The only animals that have shown remarkable results are chimpanzees, orangutans and humans. Through this test animals and humans almost go through "mental time travel". Where we can see things from our past, present and possibly future. Example: How we used to look, how we look now and what we will look like when we get older. Although this is great for learning more about self awareness, we also learn that death awareness is the price we pay for self awareness. We now can recognize who we are and what we look like, but we now can recognize that we will some day die.

Night Terrors

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It was a dark and stormy night, suddenly young Charlie screams out. His parents enter his room to find him sweating profusely, wide-eyed, thrashing, and breathing heavily. He recognizes no one; his face is filled with panic. However, he soon falls back into a deep sleep. By the time the next morning comes around, Charlie remembers nothing of what happened during the night.

How is it possible that this child who had been utterly terrified could also have forgotten about his outburst? The answer to this is a sleeping disorder known as night terrors. Night terrors (also known as "sleep terror") are most common among children, especially those of the ages three to seven years old. They involve a person awaking from sleep in a horrified manner (although they aren't fully awake), likely to produce the aforementioned symptoms, resulting from a person's emotional state of stress or conflict, lack of sleep, or from simply having a fever (PubMed Health).

Yet, this disorder may also be present in adults and as such is applicable to people of all ages. Studies have shown that adult night terrors may have genetic and/or developmental factors. Adults who undergo night terrors are more likely to express aggression, have trouble with anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and sleepwalking (Clinical Studies).

Therefore, night terrors should continue to be under scrutiny due to their hindrance in the lives of many. Further questions that should be explored include: Is there any way to defeat night terrors through therapy, thereby decreasing the stress in one's life and alleviating trauma? Or in some cases, is it simply a genetic trait that can't be overcome? Regardless of its cause, night terrors should be taken seriously due to the capability of injury, the night time disturbances, and the possible sleep irregularities that could occur to those who suffer from this disorder.

Many of us believe that someone who is sleepwalking is walking while fully unconscious and unaware of their actions. Many sleepwalkers tend to drive their car, eat, or have sexual intercourse, but is it possible to murder while sleeping?
In the case of Stephen Reitz, he woke up to see his girlfriend, Eva Weinfurtner murdered on the floor. His reason for her death was that he was sleepwalking and was unaware of anything that happened. Is this a valid legal defense for him to not be convicted of murder? knife.jpg

There are many reasons that can cause one to sleepwalk such as: lack of sleep, stress, and the use of stimulants. Does it necessarily mean that since one has symptoms that may cause sleepwalking, can they commit murder while sleepwalking? How is it possible for someone such as Stephen Reitz to violently murder his girlfriend by severing her spinal cord, stabbing her, throwing her around, and still be unaware of everything till he finally wakes up?

Watch this Video from NBC on the case of Stephen Reitz.
Other addition information on sleepwalking click here, and here!

In discussion this past week, we talked about the phenomenon of sleep in human beings and to what extent our bodies need the correct amount of sleep. In our class, each individual was given a sleep deprivation assessment and it was discovered that a vast majority of us were indeed sleep deprived.
This is no surprise as many articles give undeniable statistics about the increased sleep deprivation of college students (Ex. Sleepless at Sanford.) In fact, many people suffer from sleep deprivation either with a medical cause or without one. However, after stumbling upon an ABC news broadcast entitled "Medical Mystery: Sleeping Beauty Syndrome," I was reminded that sleep disorders don't only occur due to lack of sleep but also due to an overload of sleep as well.
The video depicts the extremely rare and unbelievable case of Kleine-Levin Syndrome. This disorder can be referred to as "Sleeping Beauty Disorder" because the patients it affects are forced into a deep sleep for many hours at a time-as much as 22! The neurological disorder arises from the body's inability to meet basic needs. In the case of this disorder, the basic necessity is sleep. The ABC video follows a girl who has been suffering from Kleine-Levin Syndrome for four of the twelve years of her life. For the past year, she has been asleep almost consistently getting up for only a few hours at a time. In those few hours she is lethargic and confused. As one can imagine, dealing with this syndrome has been both hard on her and hard on her parents. In fact, the ABC staff refers to the family's home as "silent" and "like a coffin". The video gives an interesting perspective on ways in which scientists are working in order to find a cure for this heart-breaking disaster. Check it out!

Adrenal Glands

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Adrenal Glands. What are they and why are they important? Adrenal glands are often referred to as giving you the "fight or flight" response. There are two that are situated right above each kidney. They produce adrenaline and cortisol hormones that boost energy production in muscle cells. You might have heard the story of a woman lifting a vehicle off of her baby. This feat is obviously impossible without the help of some adrenaline. How crazy is it that two little parts of our bodies can give you the strength to do something seemingly impossible? This topic stood out to me because my younger brother had major problems with his adrenal glands shutting down. It got to the point where he could not get out of bed. Most doctors thought he was faking it. Is it true since they are greatly affected by what's going on in our head? How do we decipher the difference between a mental illness and physical illness when they can be so closely relatd? If this part of our body is so important, why don't we know more about it? Naturalnews.com states that modern day living is very stressful which often puts the adrenal glands under constant stress that should be counteracted. I think more people need to learn about this part of our bodies in order to live a healthier lifestyle. Adrenal glands also affect the salt content of the body, which in turn affects the measure of one's blood pressure. They affect many aspects of our lives. Right now, I'm sure mine are pumping out stress hormones about this psych exam tomorrow..


I just realized I made my own blog instead of posting it here. I hope this is right. Sorry!

football.jpgIn a recent article in the Los Angeles Times Newspaper titled "There's no crying in football, or should there be?" it is discussed how if it is acceptable for men to cry. In the article it says that a study conducted surveyed 150 collegiate football athletes on whether crying was acceptable to them. The football players were given different scenarios about a character named Jack who cried or sobbed due to winning or losing a game. Those football players who viewed Jack's crying as acceptable had high self-esteem where as those who viewed Jack's crying as unacceptable had low self-esteem. Now if were to look at this study from the nature point of view it is surprising that the men who saw Jack's crying as okay had high self-esteem. Especially because society tells us that men shouldn't cry. Society stereotypes guys as being strong and people who don't show their emotions therefore as people who shouldn't cry. Now if one were to look at this study from the point of view of nurture it would make sense that guys who viewed Jack's crying, as okay had a higher self-esteem. They probably had a male figure in their life that cried and they think its okay therefore making their self-esteem high because they see it as being okay. It was also pointed out by Jesse Steinfeldt of Indiana University-Bloomington "that players who strive to be strong and are emotionally expressive are more likely to have a mental edge on and off the field." Even though this study shows that when men think its okay to cry they have a higher self-esteem doesn't mean society is going to be all to accepting of crying on the field. There are still football players and even coaches who get caught crying and are made fun of for crying. To read the full article check out this link, http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-football-crying-20111003,0,5562647.story.

Selective Attention - Cocktail Party Effect
by Anna Kasinski

Selective attention allows individuals to select or focus on one process while tuning out others. Donald Broadbent's "filter theory of attention" explains this phenomenon by stating that attention is a "bottleneck through which information passes", which then allows individuals to focus on the important. Related to these phenomena's is the "cocktail party effect". This refers to one's ability to hear something significant or important to them in a conversation that they are not directly involved in. I believe these theories are important because they are evident in our everyday life, and are a good example of how psychology affects people. Most of society would not realize why or how they heard their hometown come up in a conversation across the room. Most of society does not realize why we actually do have selective hearing. But psychology opens up our brains and makes sense of things that we encounter daily. I think that this is one of the most relatable to me, and would be to others as well.

Just the other day, I was eating lunch and I overheard someone talking about an organization I had been involved with in high school, it turns out we had mutual friends and experiences! The lunchroom was a noisy place, and this person was a table away, but because the filter in my brain thought that organization was an important term to me, it recognized this out of the distant conversation. To me, this is fascinating!

The book goes into some details about Selective Attention and the Cocktail Party Effect, but I would like to know more. I would like to see more studies, and how this effect and theory can be applied in areas like business.

Below I have linked to several articles and images for further reading and entertainment! Enjoy!





What Controls You?

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Do your days consist of an early morning meeting, all-day conference calls, and unlimited loads of schoolwork and many chores around the house? All of these can build up stress in one's minds if he or she does not take a course of action. The way to cope with these stress related issues is through exercising. According to The Mayo Clinic's article, "Stress Management", there is a direct (Correlation vs. Causation) relation on how exercising can reduce one's stress level. Some highlights the article emphasizes are how working out energizes your endorphins and sheds your daily tensions through movement and motion. The article also reflects and lastly it increases self-confidence, lower's symptoms of depression and ultimately improves one's mood. This is an important issue because there are many stress related issues that could easily be prevented through exercising. This topic is important to me because working out greatly helped me maintain calm and collect through my dad's battle with colon cancer and his passing two years ago. I do not know if I would be the same person today if I did not exercise the way I did. An alternate explanation for reducing stress is eating a well balanced diet. For instance B vitamins boost immunity, improve one's skin and protect the body against cancer. Another example is that Calcium prevents heart disease and reduces blood pressure. Maintaining a well-balanced diet is important because it's proven to reduce one's stress amount. Because ultimately in the end, it is our life, and stress should not control us, we should control our stress.stress/SR00036/NSECTIONGROUP=2">

My parent's generation is very critical of today's youth and our attachment to our "devices", more specifically our Smartphones. High school's now have rules in their handbook about the use of cell phones during the school day, something that wouldn't have been a problem a couple of decades ago. This is because teenagers can't seem to stand being without their phones for that length of time. What I find even more interesting is that those who are the most attached to their phones are the people who have internet access connected to their device, in other words, have a Smartphone. Blackberry's, one of the more popular Smartphones, have been given the nickname "Crackberry" because people seem to become addicted to them within a matter of days. I own a blackberry device and from personal experience can advocate for that nickname. Before I owned my Blackberry I had a very basic cell phone that I had no particular attachment to and never really had the urge to use it in class, and I didn't fret much if it ran out of battery. That changed completely when I switched to my Smartphone. Now I keep my phone so close its like a fifth limb and when the battery is close to dead I start feeling extremely anxious, almost as if I'm addicted. When I lose it or forget it somewhere, I feel withdrawal.
This relates to cognitive neuroscience, which looks at the relationship between the functions of the brain with ones emotions and thinking. According to the article I read in The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/01/opinion/you-love-your-iphone-literally.html?_r=1), the feeling people get for their Smartphones is not addiction, but rather love. A study was conducted where subjects between the ages eighteen and twenty-five were exposed to both the sound of a phone vibrating and ringing, and of a picture of a phone separately. When a subject heard the sound of a phone it activated both the audio and visual cortices of the brain. They had the same reaction when they were shown a picture of a Smartphone. What was even more revealing was the fact that the insular cortex of the brain showed a lot of activity during both these tests, which suggests that the subjects associated the sound of a phone ringing and a picture of a phone with feeling love and compassion. I argue that the reason we associate our phones with such strong positive feelings is not because of the phone its self, but what our phone does for us. When I feel my phone vibrate or hear it ring I have a positive reaction because it means someone is trying to contact me and that makes me feel important or loved. People are not in love with their phones, they are in love with being loved.

Our Mind is the Medicine

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Before reading this blog, I suggest that you watch this video as a precursor.


This video really astounded me ever since the first time I saw it, as it really brings up some interesting points about the placebo effect. As the video states, a placebo pill can work half as effective as aspirin, while the same pill can work half as effective as morphine. One might ask, "how can this be possible?"

Our brain is a very powerful thing. It can trick us in many different ways, and a placebo effect is one of the many ways it can trick us. The placebo effect is a very interesting topic to me. Let's take for example someone who has depression. The doctor prescribes them a placebo drug, ie. a sugar pill. As long as the patient believes that the drug he is receiving is good at managing depression, chances are that he will actually feel a lot better, even though it is just a sugar pill. That is why I named this blog "our Mind is the Medicine." Our mind and mindset plays a huge role in the well being of ourselves.

One thing that can affect how powerful a placebo is, is how real the placebo looks. If a pill is larger, it will have a stronger effect. However if a pill is blue, it will have significantly different effects than a pill that was red. All of these go back to tricking our brains into thinking a placebo is real; the more real it looks, the more effective the pill will be.

One more thing that really intrigues me about this video is also mentioning that placebos could be addictive. It is crazy to me how that is really possible. It just goes to show how powerful they actually are, that our brain can get addicted to something as simple as a sugar pill, in order to treat many different disorders.

Placebo Effect

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The placebo effect is defined as any substance that is not known to have any pharmacological effects, meaning it produces no meaningful changes in an organism, either chemically, or biologically, and is made to look like an active drug. The placebo effect coincides with the phrase "mind over matter." In a test done at Oxford University, it was found that patients, who had positive expectations of the treatments they were receiving, therefore had positive outcomes of the treatments. Where as, patients that had negative expectations of the treatments, therefore showed no improvement or had negative outcomes from the treatment. Placebos may work for mental obstacles, such as pain or even depression, but is it possible that placebos could contribute to a cure for cancer in the future? Pharmaceutical companies are now distributing placebos, as one such company is distributing a placebo to treat depression, as the actual, active drug is still in clinical trials. The brain is very complex, but if it is able to be tricked by placebos, then there would be a minimum need for active drugs, therefore lowering the risks of side effects. The downfall to placebos, is that some patients may have negative thoughts about the treatment before starting it, therefore turning the placebo effect into the nocebo effect.

The Anatomy of a Male Brain

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Male Brain

Hoax/Claim: "On average, men think about sex every seven seconds"

For decades, there has been a misconception that men think about sex every seven seconds. As in the movie "Mars Needs Moms" men are viewed as overly physically emotional animal that care nothing more than physical interactions. This belief became prevalent because it was widely believed that men are more sexually motivated than women, which can be concluded from years of marriage. This claim is false supported scientific evidence. According to Kinsey Institute's FAQ, "54% of men think about sex several times a day, 43% a few times per week/month, and 4% less than once a month." Research like these hold very little reliability since it asked participants to backtrack and see how many times they remember they thought about sex.
Terri Fisher, Ohio State University, Mayfield psychologist conducted a study composed of both men and women, using clickers to track the number of sexual thoughts experienced. After conducting the experiment the results ranged from 1 to 388 sexual thoughts per day for men. Although 388 seems a lot, but applying the arithmetic 388/day is much less than sexual thought per 7 seconds (12342 times a day). This study is more reliable than Kinsey Institute's report like many others who relied backtracking and remembering the amount of sexual thoughts experienced by the participant.
Men do not think about sex every seven seconds, as proven by many research studies like the one conducted by fisher and Kinsey Institute. Although men are sexually motivated than women it cannot be correlated to the amount of sexual thoughts experienced by men or women. There are many factors/variable that influence the amount of experiences by the participant such as emotional and environmental factors. In these studies, it has shown women are influenced more by the social acceptability which may cause them to admit having sexual thoughts less.

One things that's really caught my eye in recent years is the feminist movement: probably one of the most misinterpreted ideas in modern society. Perhaps it is best observed from this man's opinion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_jKNxM65Nw
Of course, what he thinks also reflects the majority of American's thoughts.
But what he doesn't know is that MOST of the things he talks about are things feminists are ALSO fighting to counter-act.
For example: "Why can only a guy ask out a girl?"
This IS a feminist point, but he seems to think that it's something feminists ignore.
Similarly, he seems to think that all feminists are women. That's a chauvinist statement in and of itself!

Feminism is deeply rooted in psychology, because it plays on the subconscious norms that most people blindly swallow. Take, for example, the power-house Disney. It's chauvinistic agenda with its Princess movies and its affects on children are earth-shattering.
Of course, to be fair, not ALL Disney movies are this way. In terms of the feminist movement, basically all the Disney Princess movies fall prey to this principle.
But other movies, such as Pirates of the Caribbean or My Neighbor Totoro ,don't apply as much to this principle.

As a patriarchal society, we must be careful to observe who we are discriminating against, and to what degree.
The evidence for the negative psychological effects in a suppressive patriarchy are self-evident:

Feminist literary criticism

The thought of being sexually aroused by the smell of a rodent is out of the question. The smell of most mammals, play a huge part in their sexual attraction towards each other. As humans, does our sense of smell plays a strong role in our sexual behavior?

For most mammals, pheromones play a huge role in their sexual behavior towards each other. They've developed a special sense called the vomeronasal organ, to help detect pheromones. Humans are able to detect pheromones differently through a nerve that is able to sense and trigger the arousal regions of the brain. This feature is unique to humans, for most other mammals the vemeronasal organ does this same job.

If you are one to purchase perfumes or colognes in order to satisfy others, don't you wonder why those other people are satisfied by your scent? Why are humans so satisfied by these fragrances?

Many companies producing perfumes and colognes believe that smell is the main trigger to sexual behaviors in humans. In fact, it is not the fragrance of products that triggers arousal, but it is the pheromones, an odorless chemical that sends social signals to one's species. Thus, the pheromones of monkeys will not sexually attract rats due to the distinct type of pheromone for each species.

The website,www.pheromonesattract.net, sells pheromone induced cologne and perfume products. They claim that the addition of pheromones will help seduce, attract and drive others irresistibly crazy for you! Their extraordinary claims mean they need extraordinary evidence!
The evidence is shown through testimonials from consumers who say that it actually works!
"I went out last night and used pheromones and I couldn't believe the attention I was getting from women... Truly Phenomenal! " - T.C-California
"I have always wondered how it felt to become more attractive with a scent of seduction. Pheromones really do work, Thanks!" -Michael- New York

*How is this company's testing of their product proving that it works? Since they rely on the statements made by those using their product. The fact is that in some cases people get what they are looking for simply by looking, so what if the product is simply a placebo?
There could be a confounding variable with the other factors that may have attracted the opposite sex such as physical attraction or the way they approached each other. The product is not an exact cause to "increase in sexually attraction...attention...arousal, affection, confidence" There is way more to sexual attraction than the release of pheromones.

Are you attracted by someone distinctly because of their smell? Next time you purchase a bottle of perfume or cologne, think about I how much it will truly help you meet the girl of your dreams. Don't rely on a bottle of pheromones to get you that sexy person from across the room. They could quite possibly help, but the reality is that smell only goes so far. Appearance, likability, and personality will go much further than smelling good.
"A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks." ~Charles Gordy

Check out www.pheromonesattract.net for an example of a company selling pheromone fragrances.

The nature vs. nurture assessment has always been a peculiar one and has deeply interested me. One way of studying the effects of these two factors is through the use of adoption studies. Adoption studies are a helpful to discover the impact that genetics (Nature) or environment (Nurture) have on a child. Through adoption studies researchers can study children who have been adopted, while carefully monitoring selective placement, and determine the degree to which each of these two factors have on a child. I have an adopted sister from China, and obviously she is living a completely different life now, than she would have at this time in China. When we got her at a year old she couldn't even sit up, and after two weeks with her she could stand with only little assistance. My theory is that genetics gives the potential of a characteristic physical or mental, then nurture provides the rest. Through my personal observations I have daunting bias and belief that it is primarily nurture that has created the person that she is. This though can never be proven, for we will never know who her parents were. In China it is illegal to give your child up for adoption and if we found out who her parents were we would have to return her and they would be severely punished. (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15629096) Studies like the one in this link can bring insight into this pressing topic. The psychologist way of thought in this nature vs. nurture debate is that it is 50/50, while the sociologist way of thought is that it is 75/25 in favor of Nurture. My bias leans the sociologist way of thought, because I have an extreme interest in behavior and no interest in science. My overall theory is that nature gives us a potential bar in each of our characteristics that how far we reach up the potential ladder depends on the environment in which we are raise. Nature gives us possibilities and Nurture has us reach certain levels of these possibilities.

Embarrassment: A good thing?

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According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word "Embarrass" means "to become anxiously self-conscious". Doesn't sound like a good feeling, does it? Well according to an article published by "HealthDay News", being easily embarrassed may actually be a good thing.

The article states that research performed at the University of California shows that people who are easily embarrassed are generally more trustworthy and generous. The results of this come from an "experiment" where individual students were rated on how easily embarrassed they were, and then each student played a game that was designed to show how selfless they were perceived to be.

At first, this seems to be a well thought out study, however the article doesn't seem to address anything dealing with correlation vs. causation. So, there is no information regarding whether trustworthiness is the cause of embarrassment or vise versa, or whether there is a different, unmentioned variable that could be affecting this.

There is also nothing telling how the selection process was done, meaning that we, as readers, have no further information regarding whether there was a true system of random selection done, let alone no mention of any form of random assignment or a variable, leading me to think that the title of "experiment" would be false. I'm not sure whether this is the media sources fault, or if this was truly a poor job on the researchers behalf.

I do believe however that this hypotheses could still be looked into by means of replicability where another research institution could perform their own research regarding this particular hypothesis. If another institution were to perform research in this venue, I believe that the problems I mentioned should be addressed to give this hypothesis some more believability in regards of critical thinking.

Who knows, I may just be over-analyzing this article, but then again, that's what critical thinking is for.


Embarrass Dictionary:

Subliminal perception

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Subliminal perception is when a person receives information without them consciously knowing it. This is a extremely important concept because it is possible that using subliminal perception people could be helped mentally or be forced to think or do things because they had ideas unconsciously put in them. There was this article http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070308121938.htm that said that some researchers proved that subliminal messages, and advertising do effect people in some way. It also said that some attention is needed for the message to have some lasting effect on the brain. This last part is rather interesting for advertising because it forces advertisers to gain the attention of the consumers, put in their subliminal advertising, all while making sure that the consumer is not so focused on the advertising that the subliminal message will be completely ignored. It is remarkable that the UK bans subliminal advertising and that the U.S. does not, because although it has not been proven that subliminal advertising can make someone think something up out of the blue it is likely that it can push ones thought towards a certain end. For example when I am hungry and get the urge to eat some chicken nuggets and the first place that comes to mind is the burger king that is right by my house, its unlikely that subliminal advertising made me think to go to Burger King but it is entirely possible that a subliminal message pushed me to have a craving for chicken nuggets which in turn made me think of the place I always go to eat chicken nuggets. This could have a huge impact on the way we live our lives.

We live in a day and age of technology. We constantly use our cellphones, laptops, etc. Is being linked like we all are today a good thing or a bad thing? Neuroscientists say that it's a good change but we are acting oblivious to the harms that it is causing according to this news article http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-565207/Modern-technology-changing-way-brains-work-says-neuroscientist.html.

Picture yourself living three decades ago. There were no cellphones, laptops, or lightning fast communication speeds. People survived just fine if not better than we do today. I see people addicted to their PCD's (personal communication devices). These people could not go one day without the conveniences they are accustomed to.

But what do we lose by relying too heavily on technology? We lose the skills that we are supposed to gain through interpersonal communication. Therefore social skills have been on the decline since then. This affect business relations, relationships and friendships. We rely more on what a message body contains than expressions in conversation through words.

Technology is beneficial to society because we lose less time transferring information, finding information and interpreting information. We are living in an age where we are swamped with distractions. We lose sight of what's important such as world issues and instead focus our interests and attention on video games, television shows, and other trivial pursuits.

It would help if people were not always connected to information or if people would reorganize their priorities. I believe technology can better us as a society, but only if we use it properly and do not allow it to become a major distraction.

Synesthesia can be defined simply as the mixing of senses within a individual. By mixing, I mean interchanging, or you can think of it as replacing. It's when people experience crossing sensations such as having the ability to taste colors, or being able to see colors when they hear sounds. This can vary depending on the condition and severity of Synesthesia within a person. For example, if a person looks at this picture with synesthesia, they will see colors for the numbers, and can easily differentiate the 5 and the 2.


This condition is very important, because it can explain many different theories and concepts, such as the process of Sensation and Perception. To simplify things, Sensation picks up what we receive from our environments, and Perception is how our brain processes that information. But what about Synesthesia? Why do we feel cold when we see something so irrelevant such as a table? Why do we see the number 5 and think of a color? There's a neurological explanation, "When you were born, you had far more brain cells than you needed. A period of pruning happens where only the connections and brains cells you need and use survive. This is a normal and vital part of all mammals' early development. " This is important to understand, because we can use this information to help solve this kind of problem, and it could possibly be a link to other neurological problems. As we see in this link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veoN1mh7RME , this young adult interchanges color with shapes and different words, letters, and even numbers! He states that it is a "feeling thing". This impacts his daily life because everything he does such as play music, it reminds him of color. This could help him remember things more clearly, or simply play better music with more feeling. But should this be cured? Is there a way to cure this? This is a good example of an article explaining synesthesia that can be disproved http://synaesthesia.com/en/information/syn-bewusstsein/, If you look at the video, it's promoting inattentional blindness, it's not a test showing that you have synesthesia. If that was the case, then most people would have synesthesia, and the ratio for people who have synesthesia wouldn't be 1/2500, it would be higher... This promotes the principle Occam's Razor, and Ruling out Rival Hypothesis, because there's a simpler explanation, and the claim was ruled out by scientific evidence ( the ratio of synesthetic people). In this case, ruling out rival hypothesis is the most important rule of principle to follow.


t032.jpgIs it founded in architectonic?I find it in a Chinese PSY club website and it created by Swiss artist Sandro Del Prete. Observer picture top half then without bottom-half, you can find something interesting! This is a kind of Optical illusion cuz there are lots of external factors mislead us like color,shape and light when we look at the picture . And i also think that we are also influence by cultural background ,memories,and the others(but i haven't find proof yet).
Actually,there are many Optical illusion around us such as Ames room illusion 、Ames Trapezoid Window illusion、Vertical-horizontal illusions 、Necker Cube 、Hermann grid illusion and so on.All of them are used Extensively and usefully.The best evidence is now very popular in the subway to create Enigma illusion based on the 3 d picture .illusion.jpg
Actually ,I am trying to apply these principles.l hang a mirror on the wall last week, and it make it really let me house looks bigger!
Optical illusion is my first use of psychology knowledge. It let me know that i can I can in the life applied psychology and not only can only take it write a paper (as irrational Numbers: p)

In the past few years the pit bull terrier breed has developed the fame of a very aggressive and dangerous dog. A lot of tragic deaths caused by these dogs temperament have been reported. As the debate of nature and nurture in humans, we can study and ask ourselves what causes the temperament and behavior of these dogs, that tend to attack people-(cases that attack their own owners)-unexpectedly.
It can be the nature of the whole breed but, do all pit bull terriers tend to attack unexpectedly? Is the pit bull terrier born with that temperament of an aggressive dog? Or is Nurture is the key for developing this dangerous behavior? It's the owner himself who teaches the pit bull terrier how to be brave and how to attack people, looking for his own protection or for owning a dangerous dog?
As we study the key roles in human behavior, we can use the same designs for studying these dogs behavior. For example we can have a group of five or six puppies from the same dog and raise them together trying to teach them the same manners and behavior; treating them good and giving no reason for them to be raised as an aggressive dog. When they grow up we can study how the behavior varies on these six dogs. If the temperament and behavior of the dogs vary significantly we can say that nature is a key factor because they were raised almost(because some can vary) on the same environment and treatment.
Another study to search key roles in the pit bull terrier behavior and in my opinion the best we can do would be raising two puppies from the same dog(looking for some similarity in their genetics) apart with extremely different treatment. The first one, treating him good, making them feel loved, the second one without attention, low food for example. Years after this different treatment, if we observe a different behavior between the dogs, we can say nurture was a factor in these dogs temperament and behavior.
As our debate of nature and nurture, that it's not over yet, we can say the behavior of these pit bull terriers is a combination of nature and nurture. In my opinion their nature, it's being a strong dog, and depending on the combination of nature and the environment they grow in, they will be raised as an aggressive, loving, defending or friendly dog among others. All of these depending on nurture and nature. Just like human behavior.

The Placebo Effect

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The Placebo Effect is one of many ideas expressed in the Lilienfeld text. The placebo effect falls under the category of "pitfalls in experimental design". This effect can be defined by your own thoughts "tricking you" into feeling better, when in actuality, there are no physical changes being done. This mainly involves medications but can be applied to other scenarios. The placebo effect obviously cannot work if the patient or whoever is receiving the treatment is aware of it. An example of the placebo effect could be as simple as a sugar pill prescribed by a doctor. In this case, if a individual told his/her doctor that they are beginning to suffer from depression, their doctor could prescribe them to a "placebo" pill. They would do this by telling the patient they are being prescribed a specific medication to treat depression. This causes the patient to get a sense that they will soon be cured due to the simple expectation of wellness from the new medication. When in reality, the prescribed medication is a "fake" pill and does nothing to help the depression. This will eventually "trick" the patient into thinking their symptoms are being cured and the new medication is doing its job.

Here is a link to a video that will hopefully further you understanding of the placebo effect and how it works.

I think this is an important concept because it can allow for doctors to prescribe placebo's to patients without using more expensive drugs that may and can have harmful side effects instead. Although I cannot directly relate to this phenomena, I do believe it is a breakthrough in psychological concepts.

There is a claim that there was a connection between the influenza outbreaks and the Chinese Zodiac calendar. In 2007 it was the year of the chicken, also the year of the bird flu outbreak in parts of Asia. In 2008 it was the year of the horse and there was an outbreak of equine flu in Australia. During 2009 there was an outbreak of swine flu, and quite coincidentally it was the year of the pig for the Chinese Zodiac calendar. If you think these claims are quite ridiculous than you would be right. The first mistake made by the creators of this myth is that they assumed that correlation was causation.. Another principle of critical thinking that can help to prove this claim wrong is that extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence. There is no real evidence that shows that there is a correlation between the Chinese Zodiac calendar and the outbreaks of influenza in the last few years.

Believers in this myth are making an illusionary correlation between the two events. Like most other pseudoscientific claims they also overlooked the fact that breakouts of these types of influenza happened at times when it did not correlate to the Chinese Zodiac calendar. The creators had confirmation bias when making the claim and ignored a lot of evidence supporting an alternative cause. In my eyes this is purely a coincidence and no real correlation exists between the two variables.


Placebo Effect?

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The Placebo Effect is defined as improvement resulting from the mere expectation of improvement. In psychology, it is seen mostly has a participant or patient receiving a placebo and because they expect to get better, they do. The only way this works is that the patients must remain blind to the condition to which they have been assigned, experimental or control. Most people associate placebos with a little sugar pill, but the most effective placebos are actually injected. A patient sees something injected into them and they believe since its being put directly into the blood stream it will have the biggest effect. Placebos, however, work better on things like depression and pain, but not as good on other things like cancer or heart disease. the effects of placebos may be more short-lived than those of actual medications. Placebos are not only used at institutions but also in everyday life. It doesn't even have to be a pill, the power balance bracelets that are supposed to improve balance. A piece of rubber and a shinny piece of plastic isn't going to change anyone's balance, but just fact that is supposed to, makes a person believe they have better balance, so they might show signs of better balance. The human mind has the biggest impact on a single person. As a personal example, whenever I start feeling sick I take medicine just so I think that I should be healthy and not sick. It is incredible how a person's thoughts control their life. This brings up questions about the human brain. What allows just simple thoughts to control pain, disease, and other physical aspects of one's life? Why do placebos work for some people but not others? Placebos can make even the largest of things diminish, or even go away.

Rubber Check

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It has been a common misconception that the rubber in our cars tires protects us from lightening strikes. Although we all may think that this statement is true, we have no evidence or knowledge about the subject to have reason to believe it. When analyzing the claim we can easily see that it breaks many principles of scientific thinking. The first principle that the claim breaks is ruling out rival hypotheses. When hearing that we are safer in the car than outside during a storm, we automatically believe it is because of the rubber in our tires. But have we ever considered other possibilities of why we are safe in our cars? It turns out that we are safer in our cars, but not because of our tires. We are safe because of the closed metallic composition of the car. This allows the electricity to be channeled into the ground.
Other principles of scientific thinking that are broken through this claim are both replicability and falsifiability. Because lightening is an occurrence of nature we cannot just set up an experiment inside a laboratory to test this hypothesis. Although we could send electrical shocks into the car, we could not fully replicate a lightening strike. The only way to test this would to be luckily (or unluckily) struck by lightening while in your car. If this were to happen it would lead us to another broken principle of scientific thinking; correlation isn't causation. If you were to be struck by lightening while in your car and survived, you could not prove that it was the tires that saved you. A lot of other possibilities could be the reason for survival, such as: the strength of the lightening, the position at which you were hit, and other materials in the car that could have saved you. We are to eager to accept anything that we hear in the news, without considering it using scientific thinking. If we all were to analyze this situation before believing it, everyone would know it is a misconception, not the truth.


For Lightning Strikes.jpg

More on Reality TV...

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I was spurred to write this post in response to blog posts by smit6600 and dingm052 both pertaining to reality television and its effects on viewers. Currently I am enrolled in a Cultural Studies class called "On TV" in which we investigate how television influences society and vice-versa as well as how meaning is created by shows, etc. One of the first things we've discussed is how, in fact, very little about TV is "real" anymore.
Smit6600 says that they don't believe their behaviors are affected by these shows because they don't 'idolize the characters or anything' they're just interested in the drama. This may be true for them but I'd argue that reality TV's impact on society is possibly more powerful (and perhaps more subliminal) than we first perceive. For example, think of all the Jersey Shore Parties you've been invited to, the slang (DTF, smush, guido) that has become so popular from the show. Clearly we know The Jersey Shore cast is wild and out-there and most of us would say we watch purely to enjoy their crazy antics but, I mean, there must be something in us that does actually admire something about them. Another extreme example comes from the influence of MTV's 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, shows that have unintentionally glamorized teen pregnancy when I'm sure their intention was to do just the opposite. Personally, I don't see the appeal but these shows combined with movies like Juno may have been part of the encouragement for many "pregnancy pacts" throughout the nation.
Basically, I agree with dingm052 that reality TV isn't going to necessarily make you less intelligent, it's just likely to influence behaviors and possibly relate to some bad decisions made by college students and confused teens. Frankly, I believe that all television is pretty constructed- even news shows. Like on The Today Show when the reporter wanted to make some flood look worse than it was but gets busted by two guys just casually walking in front of her canoe (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgm3_jzcNm4&feature=related).
One last thought on the subject- I know that the prevalence of some of my friends smoking is due to our love of the show Mad Men in which there is hardly a scene where someone isn't lighting up. As stated by my friend Tyler, "Don Draper just makes smoking look so cool." Although Jon Hamm (the actor who plays Draper) has responded in an interview when asked if the cast smokes real cigarettes, "Some people do, but not to the extent that we smoke the fake ones or else we'd all be dead." Anyway, people just need to be mindful of what they're taking in when they watch TV but I'm not into any conspiracy theory like it will significantly change your life.

Ear Candling!

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The process of ear candling claims to combine the sciences of pressure and thermodynamics to relieve your ears of unwanted wax. The process basically involves creating a seal on the ear with a wax coated cloth cone, referred to as a candle, which you light on fire. Supposedly the air in the tube is heated and rises, creating a vacuum that pulls toxins and earwax from your inner ear.



This is quite an extraordinary claim, but is there any proof? A proponent of the treatment will say that the proof is that there is a buildup at the base of the cone right next to the ear canal. Unfortunately the process does not work as advertised. In this case it was easy to prove the claim that earwax and toxins are removed from the ear was false. The simpler answer is that the buildup is just candle wax. The experiment, as told in link 1, was to simply burn a candle over an empty cup and see if anything collects at the base of the cone. The same buildup was there with or without an ear. This result is quite easily replicated. A rival hypothesis was that the burning cone could not heat the air enough to create a vacuum with the strength to remove anything from the ear. Another experiment, see link 2, was devised to take the temperature at different spots in the cone while it is burning. The maximum temperature reached was 22 degrees Celsius. This is lower than the core temperature of the human body; therefore a vacuum is not created. The only way a person could feel better would have to be the placebo effect, where they think they are getting better simply because they are receiving treatment. Otherwise the only possible results are no changes or getting candle wax in your inner ear!



For many of us who have siblings, there is no doubt that our parent favors one child over the other. Although, they may deny it, is there some logical explanation as to why they have a favorite? One of the reasons mentioned in the article pins favoritism on nature, stating that parent has a survival need to "replicate themselves through succeeding generations" so, they favor the child who "will be more reproductively successful and get more of the family's gene into the next generation." This explanation is similar to that of a functionalist perspective. Whether is biological or psychological, we have to sometimes take a step back and analyze what we read and compile our own thought so we don't have a belief that is skewed to one side.

There are many different types of theoretical perspectives that have developed over the decades that try to explain human behaviors and actions. These perspectives not only help us make sense of other people, but it also helps us understand ourselves. The five perspectives, structuralism, functionalism, behaviorism, cognitivism, and psychoanalysis, although different in their own way, give us insight into why we do the things we do. However, we must be careful to not accept only one perspective, as it will lead us to have a bias opinion. The article involving a question why parents has a favorite child, contained many explanations that were similar in thinking to one or more of the perspectives. Although, we may not agree with certain explanation, these perspectives are important because they help us keep an open mind to possible explanations, but it's up to us to think critically and whether we should decide to accept it.


Our Perception of Pain

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As we have read in the Lilienfeld textbook, our sensations and the related perceptions that we experience help us to interact with the world around us. The sensations and perceptions related to pain can be intense and give us very good reason to keep out of harms way. Sometimes our body allows us to control the amount of pain we feel by controlling our thoughts and emotions (Moore, 2008). The gate control model hypothesized by Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall says that the amount of pain we feel can be influenced by what kind of psychological state we are in. In other words, we don't feel as much pain if our mind is set on a different goal such as fleeing from harms way or accomplishing a very important task.

In the 2010 Winter Olympics, Slovenia cross-country skier Petra Majdic experienced first-handedly how pain in the body can be reduced due to a psychological state of mind. During a practice run on the ski course, Majdic slid off of a curve and fell into an empty creek bed. She was in a lot of pain, but still insisted on racing the four ski races planned for that day. Following the first race, Majdic, still in pain, was quickly examined by a doctor who then (incorrectly) determined nothing was broken. She continued on for the day's races and even refused to take pain killers thinking that they would numb the muscles need to complete the race. She ended up getting a bronze medal in her last race. It was found out later that day in a more thorough examination that she had broken five ribs and punctured a lung and had been racing all day through that pain. This makes me wonder that if she were told about how bad her injury was at the beginning would she have experienced the same amount of pain? Was it her drive and determination to win that allowed her to push through or was it just because she didn't know how bad it was? All of these factors may have played a role in how she had perceived the pain as tolerable and continued on to win a medal.

To read the full article:


When we talked about Twin Studies, we want to debate between the Natures vs. Nurture, I agreed with the blog from goodw140 but I would like to point out a few things that I run across and also happen in real life. I knew this couple since 1997 and they have Twins son. Right now theirs Twin Son is about 14 years old. They look exactly alike but they have a totally differences Personality, they live in the same house, have the same Parents and also eat the same food and grow up in the same environment. One is really girly, love to go to school, always take his time like a girl, and the other one is totally opposite, always dress like a "cowboy", hate to study and always naughty. They both were raised and taught the same ways by the Parents but they still turn out differences. With this Twins it is highly a Nature aspect. Could we determine whether differences in genes or differences in the environment really matter, and which one play an important roles in Twin Studies. In reality, I think with this family as Mass Ridley has put it "Genes, by themselves can't determine anything." And also environment plays only a small role in creating personality differences since they were born. Their Parent did matter, just in a way different than originally assumed. Genes matter to the extent that they support parenting in this scenario according to the blog created by Judith Rich.

Blog about Twin Studies, Genes, and Parenting

Only ten percent?

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Human beings only use ten percent of their brains has been a very popular psychological claim. It is a myth that has been passed around for years, most often used to explain psychic activity. Psychics will often claim that we only use ten percent of our brain so the other ninety percent must be used for psychic abilities. This argument for this is a logical fallacy of ignorance. In the text of our book it says that scientists have performed many brain scans and have never discovered any "dead spots" or unused areas in our brains. Even if human beings did not completely use 100% of their brains doesn't mean that the other areas are used for psychic abilities. To state this is to use a sort of correlation equals causation style of thinking that isn't actually based on any correlations. Another point to be made is that just because something can't be explained, doesn't mean that you should try to come up with a crazy explanation. As the text teaches us, "extraordinary claims need extraordinary proof." There is absolutely no proof to support this claim, so it becomes fairly easy to see that this is not a truthful claim. Also if we only use ten percent of our brains head injuries would be much less serious because you'd be able to damage over half of your brain and, according to this claim, would still be able to function without noticing any difference. The main reason that this myth is so popular is the idea that human might be able to develop psychic abilities or perhaps become smarter than others around you if you discover how to utilize the extra 90 percent. Snopes.com makes an excellent point that when someone states this myth to you, you should respond, "Oh? What part don't you use?"



Many of you may have followed the infamous Casey Anthony trial or most likely have heard of it at some point. Among the charges filed against Casey Anthony, homicide of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, was the most serious. I personally followed the case and although as a viewer it seemed obvious that Casey was guilty, the principle of correlation versus causation has become relevant in the final analysis. The textbook, Psychology From Inquiry to Understanding, states that, "Although a correlation sometimes results from a causal relationship, we can't tell from a correlational study alone whether the relationship is causal."

The prosecution would have had you believe that there was evidence of causation with the finding of the victim's body less than half a mile from the accused's home and the questionable Google searches of harmful materials and methods of murder found on her home computer. The District Attorney introduced additional evidence that she also exhibited unusual behavior, pathologically lying while being interrogated or questioned by her parents. She reported her daughter missing weeks after the disappearance and evidence of decomposition was also found in the trunk of her car. Despite all this mounting evidence as presented by the State, the jury found that though there may have been a strong correlation between Casey Anthony's behavior and Caylee's disappearance, causation could not be found.

Another concept that could possibly come into play is confirmation bias, the tendency to seek out evidence that supports our hypotheses and deny, dismiss, or distort evidence that contradicts them. When I first heard about the case and became aware that Casey did not report her daughter, Caylee, missing for four weeks, I was almost immediately convinced that she was guilty. This initial belief could have caused me to experience confirmation bias, dismissing any ideas that supported her innocence, including the possibility that someone else made the Google searches since she had been living with her parents and that although her behavior was questionable it did not necessarily make her a murderer.

Casey Anthony was found not guilty of first degree murder, second degree murder, and aggravated manslaughter of a child and found guilty of giving false information to a law enforcement officer on four accounts. Despite the verdict, the majority of the public continues to believe that Casey is guilty for the death of Caylee. However, factoring in the idea of correlation does not imply causation, there is no direct link between the evidence and Casey.

To read more about the case, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/10/17/48hours/main5393142.shtml


This hoax dates back to 1999 when an email chain was started, asking recipients to donate 7 cents to the Make A Wish Foundation to help a 7 year old girl, named Amy Bruce, pay for medical bills. The email states that she has lung cancer from second hand smoke and a brain tumor from being beaten. As recently as this past month, the chain gained momentum again, but in the form of Facebook statuses, rather than emails.
The photo on the right has been associated with the fictitious girl named Amy Bruce. This photo was taken from the UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund) website as a means to give more credibility to the hoax.
The following links are to the Make A Wish Foundations' websites in both the United States and the United Kingdom and reiterate the falsehood of the story.
The new method of Facebook statuses as a means of spreading Amy Bruce's story is a prime example of confirmation bias. When people read the post, they assume it to be true rather than thinking about the facts. The articles clearly state that the Make A Wish Foundation does NOT participate in any type of chain letter and discourages people who receive such an email, or see the status on Facebook, from forwarding the message.

For me, when the organization that is supposedly helping Amy Bruce denies her existence, clearly something is wrong. I still can't help but wonder why people continue to pass on these stories that have been continually disproved for over a decade. When people make the extraordinary claim that reposting the status will somehow get the girl $7, there must be extraordinary evidence. Knowing that the Make A Wish foundation doesn't participate in chain messages is assuredly enough evidence to refute this claim.


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Inattentional blindness is discussed in the Lilienfeld text of this course. We can define this idea as the failure to detect something obvious around us because our focus is directed elsewhere. Inattentional blindness is an important idea since it can be used to help explain everyday life situations such as accidents.
In the blink of an eye, an accident can occur. One relevant type of accident includes car accidents. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, at least 10.8 million motor vehicle accidents occurred in 2009. Keep in mind that this statistic only includes accidents that occurred on the road and that it is an estimate. In at least one of these accidents, inattentional blindness may have played a factor that led to it.
Inattentional blindess can be described by phrases such as "spacing out" or in this case "tunnel vision." Drivers can be so focused on driving that they fail to see dangers. These dangers include pedestrians and other motorists. Inattentional blindness can even be more dangerous in the cities where there are high populations and large amounts of traffic.
For example, I may be so focused on staying in my lane of traffic that I fail to see a mother and child crossing the road. I might have been looking at whatever was in front of me, but I was not looking for people or objects that could collide with my vehicle. My attention was on the lines and my lane. This is just a hypothetical example of course.
However, I was almost a victim of a similar circumstance. I was walking in the crosswalk in front of Appleby Hall, and I was almost hit by car. It stopped only five feet away from me. This personal experience shows that inattentional blindness can be hazardous especially on the road. Drivers need to pay attention when driving.
I wonder what other psychological terms or ideas can apply to driving. Another issue I know about is texting while driving. Can we apply inattentional blindness to texting while driving? We need to think about these kinds of problems.

Data taken from the U.S. Census Bureau:

I can see your halo

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The halo effect: is the tendency of rating of one positive characteristic to spill over to influence the ratings of other positive characteristics. To put this is simple terms; you're basically blinded by one's beauty or your love for them, to notice anything wrong. A classic example of the halo effect we've more than likely all have seen is from the TV show Friends, with Gunther and Rachel. Gunther is in love with Rachel. He thinks she is the prettiest woman ever, and he loves her. By him having these feelings, he does not see what a horrible waitress she actually is. She never gets people their right drink, sits down on the clock, and gives her friends free coffee. Gunther never fires her though, because he is under the halo effect. The halo effect does not let him see all the things she is doing wrong. Therefore, she gets to keep her job no matter how bad she messes up.
I think it is safe to say the halo effect, affects all of us at least once at a point in our lives. It is most commonly found in love. My time, in life, when the halo effect occurred was when I was with an ex-boyfriend of mine. I was in love with him, which caused me not to see he did not treat me right. He was constantly putting me down, ditching me last minute for no reason, and just being super cruel. I was in love with though so I stayed with him, because I thought he was perfect. It wasn't until I took a chance to step back and look at the relationship from an outside view, that I realized he was no good. So, I broke up with him and had no regrets about it. This just shows us that we all can be affected by the halo effect, but we can overcome it.

A study conducted in the mid 1980's determined that a woman over the age of 40 has a better chance of being killed by a terrorist than getting married. It showed that women over 40 have a 2.6% chance of getting married, and a higher chance of being killed by a terrorist. This study has since been proven false, because it violates many of the six principles of critical thinking. One of the major problems found was in the group of women surveyed. Instead of using a random sampling of women over 40, the survey asked only women over 40 with a university education. This much smaller group cannot accurately represent the entire population of women over 40.
This study was also proven to be non-replicable. During the same time period, the U.S. Census Bureau conducted a survey of all women over 40 and found that they had a 23% chance of getting married, instead of the 2.6% chance that the original study had suggested. The U.S. Census Bureau used a sample size of about 70,000 households, compared to the 1,500 surveyed in the original study. With both a smaller and less representative sample size, the 2.6% chance of a woman over the age of 40 getting married can be completely disregarded.


Feng Shui

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Feng Shui is a Chinese system of aesthetics used in interior design and architecture to optimize flow of chi. Feng Shui literally translates to "wind-water." Chi translates to "energy flow" and practitioners of Feng Shui believe that chi flows through everything, and people who use it will benefit from it in all kinds of ways. Such as physical and emotional well being and wealth. It makes sense when you think about it that people's lives can be affected by their emotional and physical environments. For example, would you rather be living in a jail cell or a suite in a super nice resort? For most, I would say they would prefer the resort suite. But Feng Shui is pseudoscience, meaning it has a sense of scientific claims, but it actually isn't. There is no evidence that can supports the existence of chi, and there is no evidence that a certain design to someone's home, office, any room, is greater to any other (not paying attention to taste). So when it comes time to decorate you rearrange your room, my advice would not be to research Feng Shui or hire a practitioner to come and redecorate for you. Instead, design what is most comfortable to you. If you are happy with the way your space looks, faces, or makes your energy flow, then you have created your own "Feng Shui," because in the end its up to you to like the energy and environment in which you live, not an old system of aesthetics that has no proof behind.

The Nature vs Nurture debate has long raged on in psychology. As we know, heritability is the percentage of the variability in a trait across individuals that is due to genes, and many studies, including twin studies, show that many personality traits are due to genetics and the environment. But many twin studies have shown that despite being separated for the majority of their lives, identical twins often have similar tastes, similar interests and similar personalities. These facts cause us to examine just how heritable a trait is due to genes and how much it is related to differences in the environment. Do twins have a higher chance of having genetic related similarities because of their developmental process? Even despite being separated for the majority of their lives?
In the book "Someone else's Twin" the author shows that more often than not, identical twins who have been separated often share many deep similarities even though their environments (nurture aspect) were different. http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/09/15/review-someone-elses-twin/
Another study shows that identical twins that share the same environment are more likely to have similar interests and personalities than fraternal twins who are also raised in the same environment.

more people die from...

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Statistics can be misleading. People will often use them to make a point, but you can't infer anything more from a statistic than what it explicitly says. You've probably heard a statement like, "more people die each year from swallowing ball point pens than from shark attacks." Some one could try to use this "extraordinary evidence" to back up a extraordinary claim like sharks aren't that dangerous, and it might seem convincing. But really this statistic doesn't mean anything at all.



Looking at the two images, which seems more deadly? Obviously the shark. If you've ever seen Shark Week, you'll know that sharks are nothing less than underwater killing machines. So how can this statistic be true? The claim falls prey to the base rate fallacy. A base rate is how common a behavior or characteristic is within the general population. Most people have a lot more contact with pens than sharks. I have held countless numbers of pens in my life, but have I ever been swimming anywhere near a shark? No I haven't. Of course more people die a year from choking on ball point pens than from shark attacks, but that doesn't mean that sharks are less dangerous than pens. Simply, a lot more people use pens than swim with sharks, so a lot more people are killed by pens than by sharks. Next time I have the option of jumping in a pool with a Great White, or putting a pen in my mouth, I'll choose the pen.

Heritability. It's that thing that we get from our parents, right? When most people think of heritability, they think of it as being something that is passed to us from our parents. However, heritability, in simplest terms, is the percentage or extent to which genetic differences contribute to individual differences. For example, take a mom and a little girl. They look a lot alike. The mom has red hair and hazel eyes and so does the little girl. Would you believe me if I said that they weren't related? Probably not because it is evident that this little girl's red hair and hazel eyes were traits that were inherited and displayed from her mother. Now, take a mom with straight blonde hair and brown eyes and a girl with curly red hair and brown eyes. Would you believe me now if I said they were related? You would probably have a harder time with this one. However, it is very much possible that they are related and the little girl just had a weaker heritability of the blonde hair.
The whole heritability thing is something that is very evident in my family and greatly seen through our phenotypic makeup. In fact, people call my brother and I mini images of our parents. It is important to understand the concept of heritability and it is very interesting to be able to relate it to everyday life.

Dawit Wage
Date - 9/24/11
Psychology 1001 writing 1

The experimental research study of psychology.
The experimental research is the study based on hypothesis and supported by evidences. In the early centuries psychologists had difficult to differentiate psychology from philosophy. There was no psychological department exists at that moment. None of them comes up with the clue of an experimental research method beyond the common sense ideas.
However, the modern psychologists developed the scientific approach studies in order to understand what human behaviors look like toward different situations that they face in their daily life. The experimental research is not an easy task to do it. It needs a great skills and strategies in order to reach on the desirable outcomes of the research. Sometimes it even obscures the researchers unless they choose the best effective methods for their researches. The experimental research must have variables that impact the outcome of the study. These variables must be operationally defined to make the study valuable and reliable. The variables have equal chances of participation in the study. It is important to control the variables under constant condition to eliminate the influence of extraneous variables which prevent us from getting the supportive ideas of our original hypothesis. The hypothesis is what we expect to happen during the experimental research study. Before conducting the research, the researcher needs to get permission from the institutional review board of the school to solve the ethical related issues problems. After collecting the data, the researcher needs to analyze the results of the study support the original hypothesis and determine if the results are statically significant. Statically significant means the results of the study are not simply by chance. Finally the results of the research study should be replicated to be universally accepted.
The reason why I choose this topic is that, it gives me the ability to evaluate claims and make a reasonable judgment based on well supported evidences rather than emotional reasoning. It helps me to analyze assumption and biases that we all see and hear through Medias today. It is the method that leads me to determine the cause and effect relationships. In general this system benefits me almost in every aspect of my life.
Link- from Scott Lilienfeld psychology text 1001

We encounter stressors in our life almost every day. Some days it's that project that is due in two days and others it is the twig that snaps behind us when we are walking outside in the dark. Our bodies have a developed a systematic reaction to when we encounter a stressful situation however it was meant to only be used once in a while. Back when humans were all hunter and gatherers, the main stressor would only be when in a fight or when hunting. The body reacts with a heightened blood pressure, paused digestion and a quickened heart rate among other things. The body would have time to recover itself from the momentary panic and would have time to flush out Corticotrophin Releasing Factor, a hormone which is released in the case of panic. The flight/fight response is only supposed to be used occasionally however modern life is filled with a sustainably higher amount of stressors then when humans first inhabited the earth. This causes it to be overactive and cause more stress related health problems. Just to name a few stress can increase emotional, psychological, and even physical problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pains, or irregular heartbeats. So the question becomes, have humans evolved at all to compensate for the overuse of the autonomic system. With 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month, as of a study done in 2009, it doesn't appear so. Here is a video also illuminating the issue in a stressful work situation:


Last year in my high school psychology class, we were discussing the extent of Nature vs. Nurture. After much discussion, my teacher introduced us to a man who was greatly involved in the debate; however, he wasn't a scientist and he didn't choose to be apart of the experiments. After some difficulties at a young age, Bruce Reimer and his twin brother were brought into the hospital to undergo circumcision. Unfortunately, doctors used a different method involving lasers and Bruce's penis was burned beyond surgical repair.
reimer2.jpgA renown doctor had been studying the extent of Nature vs. Nurture and suggested that the Reimer family raise the boy as a little girl. The family had come to terms that "he was a beautiful little girl" (CBS News). They changed his name to Brenda and gave him the life of a little girl. But once Brenda reached puberty, she became rebellious and stopped taking her hormone pills and they were unable to hide the truth any longer. After being told by his father, Brenda changed his name to David and underwent surgeries to fully become a man.1783_fs.jpg
I have always found the nature vs. nurture debate really interesting and after reading this story, I never realized how much not being able to be who you are affects you. The Reimer Family is a perfect example of how much our genes and environments factor into who we are to become. At the time of the accident, technology was not advanced enough to correct the incident immediately. Today, hormonal treatments are much more effective and doctors are more aware of the effects of our genes and environment. Another reason that David's initial sex change may have failed is the affect of having a twin brother to look to, and also having a mother who was not involved in wearing makeup, and dressing nicely.
The Reimer brothers' lives were a lie. After going public on Oprah about their story, both brothers committed suicide in their late thirties.


soap_under_the_sheets_for_rls_leg_cramps.jpg This article discusses the claims that a "reliable" cure for leg cramps is putting a bar of soap between the sheets of one's bed as they sleep. According to many who have tried this remedy, it works. The problems that arise when viewing this "cure" scientifically, however, are numerous. Not to mention, this "study" commits multiple logical fallacies.

As far as I can tell from the few minutes of research I did, no one seems to agree on precisely what brand of soap to use. The aforementioned article states that Dove and Dial are the two most commonly suggested, but this video claims Dove is the only soap that can't be used.

Personally, I think the whole buzz surrounding this "cure" has more to do with the placebo effect than anything else. These people are desperate, looking for some way to ease their pain, and when they hear that putting a bar of soap in their bed worked for other people, it sounds so crazy that it just might work. My opinion in this area was cemented by the comment section of this article, where after scrolling through multiple "It really works!" messages, one can come across several "It didn't work for me" posts. Perhaps those who didn't experience any improvement with the soap were simply of a more skeptical mindset, or maybe the people who were "cured" were so desperate for relief that they were willing to try just about anything, and their mindset made this one extremely unlikely cure work. Who knows?

Lastly, this claim is guilty of more than one logical fallacy, the biggest one being its over-reliance on anecdotal evidence. No scientific data exists stating a bar of soap is a legitimate cure for leg cramps; everything I've learned is from others' personal experiences. And on that same note, they've managed to combine anecdotal evidence with appeal to authority. This video shows a (supposed) pharmacologist outright endorsing dubious home remedies for leg cramps:

Overall, putting a bar of soap in your bed to cure leg cramps seems like a rather extraordinary claim, and so far I haven't seen any extraordinary scientific evidence that suggests it works. There doesn't seem any way to falsify these claims either. But hey, if you have leg cramps, feel free to try it out.

The Facebook Charge

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In a hurried panic, one of your friends hastily posted a status saying that they will not pay for Facebook and that they will not have to pay because they posted this status. Then you see the exact same status posted just seconds later, then another, then they start multiplying like rabbits. Before you know it, it has turned into a pandemic, spreading throughout the whole world. Anybody that uses Facebook has seen one of these threatening statuses. They all have something to do with charging monthly to use the site and they come and go every couple of years, but why does this occur?
facebook-anti-pay-_1557576c (1).jpgInstead of thinking about all of the reasons why this would never happen, people succumb to the trait of ruling out rival hypotheses. Through fear, they take the evidence of all of their friends copy-pasting about it as true and neglect any other possible options. Rational thinking would make people realize that if this were to happen, there are plenty of alternatives that people could go to like Google+, MySpace, or other social networks. Facebook makes all of their money off of ads and selling your information and Mark Zuckerberg has already stated that he will not charge for Facebook. Ignoring some facts to prove the hysteria is not the best way to go about it. If people would just use the concept of rationalism, this would not have spread as far as it has throughout the years and it would cut down on the panic.


This article states that drinking cold water after a meal causes cancer, stating the cold water will solidify the oily stuff you have just consumed leading to slowing of the digestion. In the next sentence it states once the "sludge" reacted with the acid will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster then the solid food, thus lining the intestine. Its last statement is that the sludge lining your intestine will very soon to fat leading to cancer. It also states drinking hot water or soup after a meal is best. Replicability to me, means that a study's findings (in this case drinking cold water after a meal=cancer) can be replicated exactly to show the exact results consistently. This claim can not be repeated consistently due to the fact that every person is different. Possibly one person could have had this happen to them but it wouldn't have been possible to repeatedly duplicate the results mainly because different experimenters have entirely different bodily figures all together. This claim is truly an extraordinary claim. Stating drinking cold water after a meal equals cancer; under how many circumstances have you drank a glass of cold water after breakfast, lunch, and or dinner throughout your life? Probably for most of us reading this number is in the 1,000's, in how many of those circumstances have you been diagnosed with cancer due to specifically drinking cold water after a meal? I am hoping you answered zero. Though this claim is extraordinary the evidence provided is no where near extraordinary due to the fact that is has no scientific basis backing it up. Overall, I find myself in one hundred percent disbelief with this claim due to the scientific thinking principles #4 and #5 used to tear this claim apart.

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