perki284: November 2011 Archives

The Big Five

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While psychologists have never been able to pin down one specific model of personality, Paul Costa and Robert McCrae's Big Five theory has been adopted as the most widely accepted. The Big Five Model of Personality was formed by factor analyses of trait terms in literature and dictionaries. The Big Five are as follows:
-Openness to Experience: People who are open to new events and are curious
-Conscientiousness: People who are careful and responsible
-Extraversion: Interpersonal people who are lively and social
-Agreeableness: Social people who are able to get along with many others
-Neuroticism- Usually tense and moody individuals
An easy way to remember the Big Five is with the acronym OCEAN. The Big Five traits can be used to describe all humans, including those with psychological disorders. The Big Five traits have been used not only in psychological studies, but also websites and social networks like the dating website It has been hypothesized that there is also another trait, Dominance, when studying chimpanzees. However, chimpanzees and humans are quite different, so this trait may not be easy to bring over to homo-sapiens.
The Big Five are often good indicators of real-world behaviors, like job performance, grades in school, and health. While the Big Five is just a theory, it is still a widely used and respected test of personality around the globe.

The Mozart Effect

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All parents hope and dream for their children to some day grow up to be smart and successful adults. Most of these parents try to ensure their children's future intelligence by enrolling them in good schools and making sure they do their homework. However, many new parents try to get a head start on the process of learning, starting before their child is even out of infancy.
In 1993, a publication reported that college students who listened to 10 minutes of a Mozart sonata showed a large improvement on spatial reasoning tasks compared to students who listened to a different tape for ten minutes. This discovery started the fad of 'The Mozart Effect', wherein there is an increased amount of intelligence after listening to classical music.
Despite the study being only done on college students, and saying nothing about long-term effects of spatial intelligence, toy companies and parents ate The Mozart Effect right up. CDs and cassettes filled with classical music suddenly started being marketed more to babies than their adult counterparts, in parent's hopes that these classical tunes would increase their baby's intelligence.
A few years later, studies unearthed the discovery that these tapes didn't actually do that much to improve intelligence or spatial reasoning. However, it was hypothesized that this effect could be due to emotional arousal that may simply increase alertness, making performance on the spatial reasoning tasks better. In the end, while having your children listen to Mozart at a young age is a great way to introduce them to music, which has been shown to help children in areas of math, it is not likely that it will make them baby geniuses.

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