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Speed-reading consists of a number of reading strategies that attempt to make people read faster, while still being able to interpret and retain the information they are reading. Many people cannot grasp the concept that they are reading unless they read it slow and allow their brain to process it. Who wouldn't want to be able to read at a fast pace and save time, while gaining just as much knowledge as if a person were to read slowly? There are a number of advertisements that promote courses designed to teach people how to speed up their reading rate. Is it possible that a course can really speed up people's reading rates and allow them to fully comprehend what they are reading? It has been proven that reading is subject to a speed-accuracy trade-off: the faster we read, the more we miss. There have been numerous amounts of people who claim they are able to read between 15,000 and 30,000 words per minute when the average rate ranges between 250 and 300 words per minute. These extraordinary claims are yet to be proven. This is an important theory because speed-reading classes are very expensive and make promises that don't come true a lot of the time. In the article attached below, Gordon Legge, a vision researcher at the University of Minnesota said, "Although you might have the illusion that you see the whole page, you can actually only see small groups of letters at the point where your eyes are focused. Only eight or 10 letters fit in this tiny window, called the visual span. The rest of the letters are just a blur." Legge is saying that even the actual idea of being able to speed-read is bogus and that it is impossible for our eyes to really see enough words to be able to read them at such a fast rate. If this is true, there is no way that a course would be able to help people learn how to speed-read because it is physically impossible. But what about the people who claim that they can speed-read and that the courses are effective? When tested, most of the people who have made these claims fail to prove their extremely fast reading rate, while still comprehending the material.

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

Early Onset Dementia

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

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

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

Pavlov's Discoveries

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Classical conditioning, also referred to as Pavlovian conditions is a way of learning in with animals/organisms incur stimuli that illicit an automated response, which they were previously neutral to. Key elements involved in this are, Unconditioned stimulus, Unconditioned response, Conditioned stimulus, Conditioned response. To give some background information, and explain further on how this process works, you should check out this video!

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

For a more fun example, here is a video that a student made for his Intro to Psych class!
I personally don't think my roommate would appreciate me using classical conditioning on her!

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

The 10% Myth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Facts and Information can be found at:

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

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

How fast can you read?

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Many advertisements explicate that they are capable of increasing your rate of reading by 15,000-30,000 words per minute in order for you to succeed on any test, such as the A.C.T or any college exam. But can they actually do it? The answer to this question is no. In reality, the average reading rate is 200-300 words per minute and through tons of research, scientists have proven that speed-reading is one of the largest hoax claims that the media attempts to sell. This extraordinary claim explains how most "speed-reading" derives from skimming: which is a process of searching for key information to gain clues about the meaning. This underlines the idea that skimming is not actual reading, thus you cannot improve your reading rates because it weakens your comprehension levels significantly. Ironically, the faster you are able to read, the less information you are likely to take in, which results in a decline in your learning. According to the controlled studies by Cunningham, Stan Ovich, and Wilson, reading faster than 400 words per minute leads to less than half of your overall comprehension. I believe this is an important hoax claim to eliminate because people are wasting their time and money on something that our mind is physically not proficient in. Also, In the long run, speed-reading has a negative consequence on our comprehension. I went to some expensive tutoring in preparation for the A.C.T, in hope of improving my reading skills. The pricing was ridiculous and in the end, it did not increase my reading score in any shape or form, it actually decreased it. Ultimately, speed-reading has more negative effects than positive ones, thus, our society should attempt to avoid these hoax claims at all cause.,r:14,s:0 LILIENFELD TEXT. (Second edition)

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