Writing 2: October 2011 Archives

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

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"



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.

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!

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.

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.

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?

Want to learn more about dream analysis? Click Here


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?

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.

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



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

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.

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!

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.

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