olso6188: October 2011 Archives

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

Bloody Mary

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http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/horrors/a/bloody_mary.htm
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.

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.

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