Classic condition was first discovered by Ivan Pavlov. The idea is simple: pair two stimuli together to create the same reaction. The most famous example of this is his experiment with dogs. He paired to stimuli, food and a bell. He would ring the bell and shortly after give the dog food. Eventually the dog would hear the bell and think this means I'm getting food and would cause the dog to salivate.
This made me think, what stimuli make me react falsely like the dog to the bell? Here's one that came to mind: picture yourself in the shower. When the water gets too hot you step out from under the shower. Seems simple right? Now you hear a toilet flush and if you're smart you'll step out of the water. This seems unnatural though. Why does a toilet flushing make me step out of the water? It's simple. Just like the dog learned that the bell meant food humans have learned that a flushing toilet means hotter water.
Next time you react, no matter how simple, I challenge you to consider and question why you reacted in the manner you did.
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Classic condition was first discovered by Ivan Pavlov. The idea is simple: pair two stimuli together to create the same reaction. The most famous example of this is his experiment with dogs. He paired to stimuli, food and a bell. He would ring the bell and shortly after give the dog food. Eventually the dog would hear the bell and think this means I'm getting food and would cause the dog to salivate.
Do you ever wonder how your life would change if you could not remember your childhood, or if you can't form new memories? Well if you had amnesia, those possibilities might become a reality. There are different types of amnesia. The two most common types are retrograde amnesia and anterograde amnesia. Retrograde amnesia is where you lose part of your memories of your past. The amount of memories you lose is different in each circumstance. Retrograde amnesia is often caused by an injury or by the onset of a disease. Anterograde amnesia is the loss of the ability to create new memories. Damage to the hippocampus is a common cause of both retrograde amnesia and anterograde amnesia. Alcohol intoxication can cause anterograde amnesia, usually known as a blackout. Rapid rises in blood alcohol concentration over a short period of time can block the brain's ability to transfer short-term memories during intoxication. Studies have showed that drinking slowly decreases the chance of experiencing amnesia. During college, many students make the mistake of drinking more than their bodies can take, which often results into a blackout. According to education-portal.com fifty four percent of binge drinking college students black out and forget what they did or where they were at some point in the year. Another example of amnesia is the movie "50 First Dates" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErjP5xMTc8I). In the movie, Adam Sandler falls in love with a girl with anterograde amnesia. The girl he falls in love with believes it is the same exact day every day she wakes up. All her memories are forgotten when she falls asleep. So eventually, Adam Sandler makes a tape of all their experiences together and eventually makes her fall in love with him every day even though she feels like she just met him today. Korsakoff's syndrome can also cause anterograde amnesia. Korsakoff's syndrome is a neurological disorder caused by the lack of thiamine in the brain which causes you to have apathy, delusions that form invented memories, and anterograde amnesia. I feel that amnesia is a dreadful disability that can ruin the life of a person. Forgetting your past can not only hurt yourself, but also your family. The trauma amnesia can bring towards your family can be devastating. Imagine developing retrograde amnesia and forgetting the names of your kids. There are some questions I still have about amnesia. I wonder if different forms of amnesia are easier to recover from. I also want to know if having both retrograde and anterograde amnesia would be possible. Living without a present and a without a past would be horrifying. Living would be pointless if you had both retrograde and anterograde amnesia. Overall, I feel that amnesia is a devastating disorder that can drastically alters a person's life
Who ever thought technology would allow us to read minds. While it is true that we may not be able to communicate direct sentences, today's technology does allow us to detect when someone is using a certain part of his/her brain. Not only does this help scientists learn more about what we use each part of the brain for, but it has also become useful in detecting consciousness. Consciousness is described in our book as "our subjective experience of the world and ourselves." It includes things like the voice inside one's head, one's emotions, and one's actions. Brain function might seem like an implausible way to detect if someone's "still in there," but the key is in the word "action." The thing that I found most surprising from the BBC video "Horizon - The Secret You" was that people still activate the same areas of their brain when thinking about an activity as when they're actually doing it. Because scientists can measure brain activity, the only thing a person has to do to prove his/her consciousness is respond to a command with his/her brain. Scientists can see (as shown in the picture) if the correct parts of the brain (if any) are responding to the given command.
It's not far-fetched to say that losing my memory is probably one of my greatest fears. But what would happen if only select memories from my mind became erased? In "The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", staring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet (arguably Carrey's best performance) a couple undergoes a voluntary procedure to erase each other from recollection. In theory, the idea of terminating bitter memories in one's mind sounds fantastic; but the power to control retrograde amnesia-the loss of memories from our past-comes with great responsibility. As the movie goes, while the portions of their memories are being erased, both Carrey and Winslet begin to realize how much they don't want to forget each other: the irony of the movie is that there is no eternal sunshine from a spotless mind, rather the sunshine from each mind comes from the memories in them. I understand that every memory in a person's life is not all milk and honey, but experiences and coinciding memories exist for a reason! The memories we hold help shape who we are, for better or worse, and nothing on Earth could convince me to delete a single memory from my mind. Amnesia, Alzheimer's, and all seven sins of memory are demons each person should fight off for the rest of his or her life. I highly recommend "The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", but I equally discourage the attempt to control memory loss.
When I was seven my parents moved our family to Wisconsin to be closer to my grandfather who had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease (AD). I didn't know at the time, but this disease would change the man we all knew and loved into a person who couldn't recognize his own wife.
Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia, and causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Although scientists are still trying to fully understand the cause or causes of Alzheimer's disease, its effect on the brain is clear. During the course of the disease plaques and tangles develop within the structure of the brain. This causes brain cells to die. Patients with Alzheimer's also have a deficiency in the levels of some vital brain chemicals which are involved with the transmission of messages in the brain - neurotransmitters. Some risk factors include: Increasing age, family history of Alzheimer's, and head trauma.
There is no cure for AD, but but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. One form of treatment is taking drugs that act as cholinesterase inhibitors which improve the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. The medication contains a chemical that inhibits the cholinesterase enzyme from breaking down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Those who suffer from AD often go through a series of stages (usually 7 stages) with the first stage having no impairment and the last stage when body systems start to fail and health deteriorates.
The University of Minnesota continues to be a frontrunner in Alzheimer's research and great progress has been made to prolong and improve the quality of life of those who are inflicted with this terrible disease. Studies have shown that challenging your brain daily with puzzles or memory games can help prevent Alzheimer's. So after you watch that marathon of The Office, pick up a Sudoku or crossword and give your brain some exercise. For more information, check out the Alzheimer's Association's website.
For a long time I have always wondered how animals talk to each other and how they try to tell us what they want. After living with two dogs for three years I have come to notice that it is impossible to tell if there is an actual animal language but they do have various forms of communication.
1. Gaze: I noticed whenever my dogs are about to wrestle with each other they'll just sit there and stare at each other for about 30 seconds without moving an inch and then whoosh they'll just run after each other. Are they actually exchanging their thoughts?
2. Smells: Ever heard the phrase "marking your territory"? While we identify others by their looks, smells are how animals can identify others. Some smells can even have pheromones that can be threatening and lead to a fight. That's why if you bring your dog to a dog park they spend the first five minutes probably just sniffing the ground.
3. Gestures: Even to humans body language can be more powerful than what we actually say and it's the same with animals. For example, when a dog goes into a "play pose" (front legs are on the ground and back legs are fully stood up) or by simply wagging their tail lets the other one know if they're in the mood to play or not.
Now unless you have some superpower that allows you to read minds I doubt anyone will know what animals are actually saying. We can guess and assume but until they create a some sort of collar that can read and pronounce animals thoughts like in the movie Up!, I think animal language will remain a mystery.
For more reading here's a link to an article about the ways different animals communicate with each other. Tell me what you think of it!
There are many popular films these days that deal with memory loss, but one that has struck me as particularly interesting is 2009's 'The Hangover.' For those who are unfamiliar with the film, it follows four friends who party way too hard in Vegas who must use clues to piece together what happened during that night in order to find their friend who is missing.
This film portrays the humorous aspect of memory loss, but does not overlook the possible dangers that it can cause. It is easy to watch 'The Hangover' and laugh at the situations these men find themselves, ignoring the true danger of having absolutely no idea what you may have done the previous night. People often find themselves in jail cells after a long night of drinking, with very little memory of what had happened. This makes it extremely difficult to defend oneself or to cut a decent plea bargain, because you have very little credibility when it comes to having an accurate account of what really happened.
Please party responsibly.
Every kids done it. They have this great idea and have to go see this cool toy! Once they have finished their playtime, they go back to find mommy and she's not there! Where did she go? They figure she would've been right where the child left her. Then soon the child realizes, they're lost!
Often times my mom and I talk about when I was a young 5 year old and had gotten lost in the grocery store. What I remember from that normal trip to the store is different from what my mom remembers though.
What I remember: Oh it was a great time going to the store seeing all the people, picking out my favorite foods and toys. I was at the age where i no longer could fit in the shopping cart, so I would walk alongside my mother to the certain locations in the seemingly massive store. All of the sudden my mom was gone. I actually didn't think much of it at first and just walked around to try to find her. I even checked the car to make sure she wasn't there. Soon enough I go look at the checkout lanes and walk over there and she was there waiting. I run and meet her arms.
What my mom remembers: She was having a normal run to the grocery for the usual family foods. Soon she realizes I am no longer following her. She looks around through the aisles, going up and down all of them, heart racing. She then goes to the front of the store to customer service and reports a lost child. They announce it over the intercom and she waits eager to see me show up. The store sends employees to go look for me and eventually the employee finds me walking around crying profusely. She is very upset and happy at the same time and walks me to the car.
Clearly our two minds recall the event in different light. But why? Well one reason for the difference could be that I don't recall the events in chronological order as I was a child and still had a developing brain. The store says that no child would have made it outside of the store to the car alone because they always have someone at the door checking for shoplifters. So I must have been with my mother when I "checked" in the car. Another reason for the difference may be because of what I think a child being lost in a store would be like, I try to project that to my instance of being lost. This lack of consistency between my mother's memories and my memories is based in the mind of the 5 year old that I once was. For more information on the reliability of childhood memories click here.
Advertisements, on the outside, seem simple and straightforward. The advertisers create something that showcases their product so that you want to buy it. Simple right? Not exactly. For decades, advertisers have been inserting things into advertisements to make you feel specific emotions, to which you are unaware the advertisement is actually doing, regarding the product(s) being shown. Things like car and sport advertisements tend to create a sense of excitement and thrill to emphasize their products, while beauty and decoration advertisements often exhibit feelings of calmness and serenity to get their point across.
This advertisement by Apple is no different. Apple is clearly trying to portray a sense of fun, excitement and enjoyment in this advertisement. The goal of the advertiser is to make viewers feel like buying/using an iPod will make them more happy, more excited, more fulfilled. Also, the advertisement prominently displays people wearing up-to-date, "cool", clothing. This, along with the focus on solid black, white and a single bright color, also adds to the effects of fun and excitement.
In the BCC's video The Secret You, the question is explored, who is in charge of your decisions, you or your neurons, and is there a distinction between the two? This question , and the rather grey answer that was presented at the end, makes me think about our decisions in lovers. While it's clear that there very much is a subjective, conscious decision making process when determining a "mate", it's undeniable that biology and a subconscious decision making process influence our decision. In the article, The Biology of Attraction by Helen E. Fisher, Fisher writes about "Odor Lures" and "Love maps". Women are much more sensitive to odor than men, such that we can smell a mild sweat from three feet away. Generally speaking, men are drawn to good-looking, spunky women while women are drawn to men with money and/or property. Biologically, it makes perfect sense. Men want women who will produce viable offspring, and women want men that can support their children. I've been taught that I should not choose a partner based off of income, but I cannot help but find someone more appealing if I know that they are successful. So if I consciously know that I should not find interest in someone based off of money, but am attracted to success, then is my conscious part of my brain choosing my lover, or is my neurons making the final decisions for me?
After our dialog about advertising in psychology discussion section, I began wondering if many of the principles used in advertising today have roots dating back many years. Themes such as emotional transfer, sex, stereotypes, and nostalgia are common in ads today, but what about say 50 years earlier? Surprisingly, I found many of the same themes in the ads from the 1960s era that I looked at. I wanted to comment on one particular ad that I found interesting.
Many things about this ad popped-out right away for me, however I probably noticed the phrase "Keep her where she belongs..." first. This phrase says a lot about how women were viewed in society at the time, it phrase suggests that women are below men in social stature, similar to a pet. Advertisers included this line in order to play on the stereotypical gender role of men being above women. The ad is for a feminine product marketed towards men, which suggests that men were the primary purchaser of shoes in the 1960s. This could be due to a number of reasons though I would guess it is because men were in the workforce proportionately more than women at the time. Another aspect of the ad is that it features an attractive, presumably nude woman fixated on a shoe. Sex is being used hear in order to sell the product to male consumers. Another interesting possibility is that the ad suggests that beautiful women are one dimensional and only care about material goods, shoes in this case. This could be another part of gender stereotypes that I mentioned earlier.
After analyzing this ad and others like it, I noticed many similarities between vintage and modern advertisements. The key link that they all share is that advertisers try to sell products emotionally rather than logically. Rather than listing all of the reasons that you should purchase their product, advertisers instead use powerful visual elements such as sex and gender roles to sell their product. If you would like more information about the influence of advertising, visit here.
Thanks for reading and if you have any questions/comments be sure to leave them below!
Ivan Pavlov, a famous psychologist and physiologist, lived from 1849 to 1936 in Russia. Pavlov theorized that he could make a dog drool by simply ringing a bell. He was able to do this by employing the technique of classical conditioning. Pavlov repeatedly rang a bell before he would feed his dogs. By doing this Pavlov's dogs were conditioned to drool every time they heard the bell.
Though this discovery may seem quite simple it is one of the most important discoveries in the field of psychology. In fact, this discovery formed the basis of what we now know as behavioral psychology. Without this discovery we wouldn't have ways treat various psychological disorders such as anxiety and panic attacks. We also would have a much tougher time training our animals.
There are countless cases of people using classical conditioning to train their animals. An example of this is that when fish hear footsteps on a dock they come to the surface and wait for food. The reason they do this is that they are so accustomed to getting food when they hear footsteps that they automatically surface even if there isn't any food.
When thinking about growing up and having children, many of us are afraid of having a child with a disability, like autism. Many people believe that they can't take care of a child with autism; the truth is: it doesn't matter; they are just like anyone else.
The number of individuals diagnosed with autism is growing, but the number of individuals affected is unknown. However, professionals are sure if this is due to an increasing growth of illness or if it is due to the ability to diagnose illness.
Professionals aren't entirely sure of the cause autism; yet, they know that lifestyle, family income, nor education affect the chances. Boys are three to four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. Genetics is a major player in the chances of autism. In fact, identical twins are more likely to both have autism than fraternal twins or siblings. Other possible causes include diet, digestive tract changes, body's inability to properly use vitamins and minerals, and also mercury poisoning. The debate over vaccines has a lot to do with the mercury that is in some of the vaccines that take multiple doses.
I know that genetics plays a large part in autism; however, I have always wondered if it is by simple mutation during meiosis or a mutation that is genetically passed down.
For more information about Autism click here:
I hate the situation when my puppy, Happy, pees and poops everywhere on the floor. The task of cleaning the floor belongs to me because I promised my parents, who are not the big fans of animals, that I would take full responsibility of raising my naughty pet. To be honest, I have been lazy to train my animal to behave herself, but how can I train my pet??
With the help of shaping, conditioning a target behavior by progressively reinforcing behaviors that come closer and closer to the target, animals can perform amazing tricks that many people marvel at. Here is Jesse, the World's smartest dog, which is trained using exclusively positive reinforcement and clicker training. To employ the 'positive reinforcement' technique on animals, a trainer should prepare a reward, which is generally their favorite food. For Jesse, however, the 'reward', is the clicker (of course food is another types of reward she receives). The Clicker is a small plastic box with a metal strip that makes a sharp, clicking sound when pushed and released, allowing the trainer to mark with great precision the behavior for which the dog is being reinforced. As Jesse hears more clicker sounds in the process of training, she is approaching to the goals, such as walking back or jumping rope. see more information
Now, I know the technique to train my puppy. I only wish that she is able to defecate on the right spot. Alas, I feel lazy again!
Jason McElwain's life changed on February 15, 2006. After being the Greece Athena High School basketball team manager throughout his high school career, he was finally given the chance to suit up and play in a game his senior year. During the last four minutes of the game, Jason McElwain managed to score 20 points, with six of those shots being three pointers. On top of that, Jason won an ESPY award for his feat and became a hero to many, but not for the sole reason that he had scored so many points in such little time. Jason McElwain also has high-functioning autism. Jason does not let autism control his life. He was able to prove that autism does not have to noticeably hinder any part of his life. And for that, he became a hero and role model to many autistic children.
According to Autism Society, autism can be described as a developmental disability that affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others. It affects each individual differently, but some popular symptoms of this disorder include: little or no eye contact, lack or delay of language skills, and lack of peer relationships. In addition, autism affects about 1 in 110 children and it is about four times more common for males to be diagnosed with the disorder than females. Unfortunately, this year autism will affect more children than AIDS, cancer and diabetes combined do. Yet according to Autism Speaks, autism still only receives about 5% of the research funding in relation to these other disorders and diseases. Fortunately though, there are many ways that we can personally help this cause. To help people like Jason McElwain, we can donate money, participate in autism events, or fundraise. To find out more information about these programs or to learn more about autism in general, click here.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both disorders that affect millions of American kids. In fact 1 in every 110 children are placed on the autism spectrum. But boys are three to four times more likely to have autism than girls. It affects more children than cancer, juvenile diabetes, and AIDS combined.
There is not one cause of autism, but many scientists believe that it mostly has to deal with a mutation or abnormality found in a gene the child receives. In addition to a random genetic mutation, factors during pregnancy also play a huge role in whether a child will be diagnosed with autism or not--the parent's age and if the mother gets sick while she is pregnant that causes oxygen deprivation to the brain. These factors alone do not cause autism, but play a role in addition to genes gained from both parents. The processing of information in their brains also affects autism, as in how nerve cells connect and organize information.
Being on the autism spectrum is just that, a spectrum. It comes in a wide variety and each case is unique. 40 percent of people on the spectrum have average to above average learning capabilities. Autism is widely publicized, but not may average Americans fully understand the disorder. Although it is a learning and social disability, there are many who are able to fully function in society. People who have autism only demand respect and acceptance.
To find out more information about autism, click here.
As we look at every person or object, specific neurons in our brain fire for each separate memory we store. It's hard to believe that billions of different neurons fire for each individual memory, but a professor at California Institute of Technology found ways to prove the theory of concept neurons. The professor, Christof Koch, argues that everyone has these so called "concept neurons", which help us remember things, especially people. He used new advances in brain surgery to perform his experiment. While two different subjects were under open brain surgery and still conscious, Koch placed images of actresses in front of the subjects. For one subject, a single neuron fired when images of Jennifer Aniston were placed in front of their face, but didn't fire when images of Jennifer and Brad Pitt were shown to them. The other subject's single neuron fired when pictures of Halle Berry were flashed in front of them. Another interesting aspect of the second subject was that the neuron also fired when the word "Halle Berry" was shown to them. This experiment at least brings into light how our brain stores specific memories with single neurons. I think with improved methods of research, we will continue to find out how our brain stores memories and recalls them. You can read more about concept neurons here.
Advertising these days became so manipulative that people are convinced to purchase even harmful products. The article by Arnold Anderson present four types of manipulative advertising: Expert opinion, Attractiveness, Lifestyle, and Fear.
The first one uses the "Expert" opinion which manipulates the trust people have on the experts who present the products. This particular advertising uses doctors as the experts and manipulates smokers to choose Camel cigarette over other cigarette brands.
The second uses attractiveness. As men have the desire for women, presenting an attractive woman and convincing that smoking appeals to women manipulate to purchase Tipalet. When men see Tipalet, they would feel the same desire that they feel for attractive women.
This advertising is an example of Lifestyle manipulation, which tries to associate the product with a particular lifestyle to target a specific audience. In this case, smoking is represented as coolness and popularity, which many people have desires for.
The last advertising uses fear as featuring the image of a burning cigarette with a gun to emphasize that smoking is the same as pointing the gun to yourself.
As shown here, these cigarette advertisings are so manipulative that promotes people to smoke although we all know that smoking cigarettes are bad for the health. Should we allow these advertisements on certain products such as cigarettes that can harm people? Or do we all know we are manipulated to avoid ourselves from purchasing?
Advertisements are ubiquitous. They're everywhere and there's nowhere to hide from them. They can be seen on virtually everything, such as TVs, magazines, newspapers, buses, billboards, etc. Advertisements are a prime example of classical conditioning, especially higher-order conditioning. By repeatedly pairing their products with certain images and sounds, advertisers are trying to establish classically conditioned connections between their brands and certain emotions.
An example of this is the famous ASPCA ad with Sarah McLachlan, which can be seen here. The commercial displays heartbreaking images of animals in distress while McLachlan's ballad "Angel" plays in the background. The images of the abused animals evoke emotions of sympathy and compassion. The ad is trying to pull at your heartstrings and also your wallet. In the commercial, McLachlan asks viewers to join the ASPCA and to subsequently donate a monthly gift of $18. By using the devastating images of the animals, the ASPCA is trying to "guilt" viewers into donating money to the organization. The commercial portrays the ASPCA as a solution to fighting animal cruelty and the "humane" thing to do is to support their organization.
However, the commercial just seems morally wrong. In a desperate attempt to raise funds, they're exploiting the very animals they're trying to help. They're compelling people to donate, out of a sense of guilt, and I believe that it's a cheap methodology.
It has long been my opinion that cats are better pets than dogs. They don't have to be let outside to relieve themselves, you can leave them alone for a few days with ample food and water, and they don't bark at or try to hump every person that walks through the door. I love dogs as well, but when it comes to a pet a cat is more self sufficient and calm.
And now, more proof as to why cats are the ultimate pet. Cats can be trained! I found numerous videos illustrating cats doing the normal dog tricks such as high five, shake, play dead, etc. Then I came across this - a cat using a toilet, and flushing!
We are currently learning about, well learning. One area that caught my attention was how shaping principles are used in animal training. Shaping is done by conditioning a target behavior by progressively reinforcing behaviors that come closer and closer to the target. Where animal training is usually associated with dogs, I found ample examples of cat training, parrot training, even fish training! Yes, fish. Don't underestimate their awareness or intelligence. (I have included a fish trick example for your viewing enjoyment. In this example I'm sure training was done through chaining in conjunction with shaping. Chaining is when a number of interrelated behaviors are linked to form a longer series.)
These examples prove that more than just dogs are 'smart enough' to be trained. In the cat verses dog debate, the greatest dog lover objection is usually that cats are not as smart, and that litter boxes are gross. Well, not anymore.
My next cat will definitely be trained! Thanks PSY 1001!
Just for fun.....
Watch the ad here:
The use of advertisement servers as the foundation for modern television. Clearly, without advertisement, television would be a much different arena. Of the many types of advertisement, some of the most impactful ads center around themes of cultural identity, pride, and integrity.
Chipotle released a stop-motion ad based that centered around the values that Chipotle has as a brand. Titled "Back to the STart", Chipotle aimed to establish itself as an honorable brand by showing a pig farmer giving way to industrialization only to return back to good ole' fashioned farming. See below:
Chipotle drew in quite a large audience with their "Back to the Start". Using classical conditioning, the ad uses stimulus such as Willie Nelson, Coldplay, modern cinematography, and work ethic as it establishes an emotionally invoking sentiment in an unrelated brand. As the commercial nears the end, the pig farmer realizes the dangers of abandoning ethic, and exhibits pride in his work.
However, Chipotle orchestrates this entire ad without presenting an evidence. They don't say their products are chemical-free or American-grown. In fact, when you consider Chipotle as a subsidiary of the McDonalds corporation, the evidence would seemingly show Chipotle to the contrary seeing as McDonalds is known for their additives and mass production. Furthermore, Chipotle was created in response to trending local restaurants. This means that the local businesses that bought homegrown, healthy ingredients were put out of business by franchise operations underselling the local businesses.
What do you think of a Chipotle misrepresenting itself? Should deliberately vague ads such as this one be allowed to run without some truth to their advertisement?
Most people have fond memories of learning to ride a bike. They also probably remember their parents reminding them to wear a helmet. And that seems like good advice. Riding your bike can be dangerous, especially in traffic, and if you fall a helmet can protect you from serious head injury. But there is a debate going on about how necessary bike helmets really are.
To a lot of people this may be a surprise. How could someone argue against the benefits of helmets. One article shows that of 653 bike related deaths in 2008, only 8% were wearing helmets. This would suggest that a lot of deaths could be prevented by wearing helmets and they should be mandatory.
But the opposing side has a strong argument as well. Another article shows that less than 1% of head injury deaths each year in the US are bike related. Driving and even walking are more dangerous in this respect and no one is suggesting mandatory helmet laws for those activities.
There is also the argument that mandatory helmet laws decrease the likelihood that a person will choose to ride their bike. This is of course a bad thing as cycling is both great exercise and good for the environment. An article looking at mandatory helmet laws in Australia showed almost a 30% drop in the number of cyclists after the law was passed.
Clearly it's a complicated issue and it will likely be some time before it's decided. For now the best thing to do, whether you're wearing a helmet or not, is to follow traffic laws and pay vigilant attention
In "Out-of-body" experiences, an individual has a sense of our consciousness leaving our body. Often related to drug use and associated with a "paranormal" experience, out-of-body experiences provide us with an obstacle in thinking; they are a mystery to comprehend how perception can take us away from our own body.
It has been a common judgement to label people who claim to have an "out-of-body" experience as dramatic and exaggerating, or even crazy. How can one actually find themselves looking at their own body? This cannot be a possible perception of reality even in people whose vision is altered in some way. Unless someone is tricked by mirrors, how can one actually have such an experience?
In a New York times article from 2006, studies illustrate the science and explanation showing the brain's role in perceiving out-of-body experiences.
Neuroscientists have found evidence that these seemingly mystical experiences are actually induced by electrical currents traveling through the brain. By stimulating specific patches of brain tissues, scientists have been able to initiate these experiences in subjects.
By tricking our senses, our brain has the power not only to alter what we view around us.. but where our consciousness stands in relation to our own body.
Why are we so addicted to sugar? In the 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year. Today, however, more than 50% of all Americans consume one-half pound of sugar PER DAY (that equates to some 180 pounds of sugar per year). Obviously this is detrimental to the health of the population, seeing as 74.6% of all Americans are either overweight or obese. But why the sudden spike? And is sugar the only thing to blame?
We all know that sugar has become a constant presence in most of our foods. Has our addiction to it, however, gotten so severe that certain experts are proposing treating sugar as a controlled substance?
The first article I found takes a relatively reasonable stance on the subject and outlines the facts of our addiction to sugar. It is well known that sugar is an addictive substance, and according to this article, the same neurotransmitters in our brain are released when we consume sugar as when a person consumes certain drugs. This leads to a video outlining the dangers of sugar and how the substance should be more strictly controlled.
Lastly, an article that takes a strong stance against the control of sugar uses some degree of an emotional reasoning fallacy. Do you think that the article loses some of its validity because it includes emotional reasoning even though the author of this article provides several great reasons for his case?
It's incredibly fascinating that scientists still do not understand the true purpose of something as important as sleep. Instead we have a variety of explanations claiming it may help memory consolidation, neural development and connectivity, and the immune system among many others. Lilienfeld et al. mentions studies done on rats showing that they die after about two weeks of sleep deprivation, although they fail to mention how this form of chronic sleep deprivation affects humans. There is in fact a human disease where this happens.
In the prion disease fatal familial insomnia, patients possess a mutation that manifests in middle age as the inability to fall asleep. People who possess this mutation only live for about nine months before going into a coma and dying. Here is a link to a 20/20 episode on the disease: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIeTVVAEFn8. While this disease is rare, the symptoms experienced by patients can certainly be used to help further our understanding of sleep as well as prion diseases and other neural wasting diseases like Huntington's and Alzheimer's.
As stated in the video, patients who have died of the disease have donated their brains to research, and I find it somewhat baffling that we are still in the dark (pun intended) when it comes to why we sleep. About one third of our lives is spent sleeping, and we don't even have a firm grasp on what is a healthy amount of sleep to get per night let alone why it's necessary for life.
Street Artists are known for their ability to create works of art that defy logic by playing with our perception. For many of these sidewalk street art pieces, the artists take advantage of monocular depth cues to create a sense of distance and relative size in their art, thereby adding an illusion of a deep chasm in the picture displayed above.
The artist behind the chasm image played with relative size of the objects in the image to create a sense of depth. By drawing the stalagmites smaller than the stalactites, the artist created the illusion that there is a steep drop down to the base of the chasm.
The artist also used lighting and shadow to add to the illusion. The darker shadows on the water cause the viewer to perceive that the water is far below them, and that the lighter colored stalactites are closer to the viewer.
While we know that this piece of art is really a 2-Dimensional representation of a 3-Dimensional occurrence, the use of monocular cues skews with the viewer's relative perception of the objects within the image to create depth. Street artists take advantage of the monocular depth cues to change their art from a flat drawing to a piece that messes with the perception and minds of the audience.
More examples of street art are available here
I have a stereotype that left handed people are geniuses. However, it turn out that they are just thinking differently. According to new research reviewed in the December issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, one of important factors would be our own bodies. Cognitive scientist Daniel Casasanto has shown that quirks of our bodies affect our thinking in predictable ways, across many different areas of life, from language to mental imagery to emotion. People come in all different shapes and sizes, and people with different kinds of bodies think differently. He defined this hypothesis as the 'body-specificity hypothesis.' Handedness influenced to our decision making and his colleagues explored whether being right-handed or left-handed influence our judgments about abstract ideas like value, intelligence, and honesty. Through many experiments, they proved that most people prefer the things that they encounter on the same side as their dominant hand. When participants were asked which of two products to buy, which of two job applicants to hire, or which of two alien creatures looked more trustworthy, People who are left-handed preferred the product, person, or creature they saw on the left side of the page while right-handed people preferred the one on the right. These kinds of preferences have been found in children as young as 5 years old. Casasanto explained that people like things better when they are easier to perceive and interact with. Right-handers interact with their environment more easily on the right than on the left. We could apply it to the real world. 90 percent of the population is right-handed, so people who need attract from others should consider that the right side of a page or a computer screen might be the 'right' place to be.
Click here to read the article.
Many of us go through life taking sight and vision for granted. But what about those people that do not have eyes with which they can see? Perhaps there is another way in which these people can "see" the world around them. This is the case for a boy named Ben Underwood. Due to cancer, Ben lost both of his eyes at the age of two. By the age of six, Ben started using "clicks" that he would produce with his mouth in order to "see" objects around him. Ben uses these clicks to bounce off of objects and then listen for the returning sound waves. By doing this, Ben is able to produce a mental picture in his head of the relative sizes, shapes, and locations of what is around him. Echolocation, as this phenomenon is called, is also used by animals such as bats and dolphins.
Ben's ability to use echolocation is just one of the many examples of how humans are able to concentrate more on one sense to compensate for the loss of another. I do not want to give the false impression that Ben has a superhuman sense of hearing. In fact, Ben's hearing is very similar to the range of an average human's. Rather, Ben has been able to concentrate more attention to his hearing capabilities to compensate for his loss of vision. This phenomenal ability allows Ben to participate in many activities he might otherwise not be able to enjoy such as karate and rollerblading.
If you are interested, you can watch a clip and read about Ben's amazing story if you click here.
In terms of science, humans themselves are considered animals too. An animal with efficient language, high intelligence by comparison, complex social networking and specialized tasks for each individual within the network. Because of the complexity of human social networks, it is really hard to develop a model that explains human behavior. In psychology, we've learned that we can use animals to conduct experiments to get simpler model of human behavior. Furthermore, we should use animal behaviors to reflect our own behaviors, and question ourselves: are we logical?
When we look at the evolution process in nature. We can see that though natural selection, some species become stronger by fight over the right to mate, and some become more colorful by picking the most colorful male/female to mate. I think many people will agree, that the selection where the stronger traits get selected is more useful than the selection towards colorful in terms of which trait will be more likely to survive in nature.
If there were a traits of lions that pick the most colorful mate instead of the strong ones, it would not win the competition to the traits that picks strong ones.
Now when we look at our own evolution, how do we pick our own mates? Should we pick the smart ones? Or the rich ones? Is richness determined by genes at all? What about our muscle size? Are those mainly the result of working out or genetic factors played a major role in that? Are picking the ones that have pretty face to be our mate really benefit our species? Should Love be the main factor of picking our mate instead of genetics? Because of our complexity, the evolution in human is quite messy in comparison to other species. The future of humanity, still an uncertain.
In a recent experiment, Marcus de Sautoy traveled to Wisconsin to find an answer to the question, "What does the difference in consciousness between waking and sleeping tell us about our sense of self?" In the experiment, scientists were able to use transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in brains that were either asleep or awake in order to develop the key to consciousness. TMS is a discharge of a series of electrical shocks in a particular region of the brain. The results of the studies show that the difference between a conscious brain and an unconscious one is the location of different activity, or integration, in the brain. In a brain that is awake, a single shock initiates a series of responses in different areas of the brain including the stimulated area as well as non-stimulated. This communication allows the cerebral cortex to communicate with the rest of the brain, resulting in consciousness. However, in a brain that is asleep, activity in the brain is located only at the point of stimulation and not moving around the brain like it does when awake.
The information presented in this video provides a major find in the way our brain works. However, this test almost seems to be too simple to base a theory on. Although these scientists have created a reliable test of consciousness, is there a more valid test to come in the future? Would this test show the same results in people who sleepwalk?
The pieces of art done by this artist are perfect examples of how artists use some perception principles to enhance their work. In both pieces, there is an element of bottom-up processing. In bottom-up processing the entirety of the image--or in this case, art--is processed or constructed by the parts that make it up. In the first piece of art, the individual flowers stems, buds, leaves, and butterfly are essentially meaningless individually. But when seen together they portray a scene. In the second piece the tree and three flying birds do the same thing. Working with this bottom-up processing is the figure ground concept, which is one of the six Gestalt principles. As seen in the first artwork, the viewer can either draw their attention to the garden scene (the figure), or to the face of a woman created by these things (the background). Once again this concept is evident in the second image as well - the viewer can focus on the nature seen (figures) or the background that creates the image of a woman's face. As is evident in these pieces of art the perception principles of psychology are used by us everyday, whether we realize it or not.
If you're ever prompted with the word "supertaster," I'm willing to assume that you'd immediately respond expressing your jealous since they enjoy food on a whole new level. Just because the word super- is attached to the beginning is quite deceiving! According to the article Being a Supertaster is no Piece of Cake, Diane Mapes says it is a terrible thing. According to research done on supertasters the usual food they cannot stomach to consume is green vegetables. The surprising foods Mapes mentioned was that she could not stand eating cake or beer; in fact, she said her favorite meals are plain turkey sandwiches and macaroni and cheese. If you ask a supertaster what they enjoy eating they will probably respond by saying "the blander the better" because of their sensitive taste buds. Supertasters will stay as far away as possible from anything with large amounts of sugar, salt or spice. If they are not careful with spicy foods they could get the burning mouth syndrome and according to Dr. Hirsch, it's horribly disabling, you can't eat food, you can only drink water and it can be extremely painful--it feels like your mouth is literally on fire. So the next time you're consuming your favorite treat, take a minute to really appreciate the fact that you can eat that piece of cake and enjoy every single bite of it without hurting your tongue!
We've all been asked this question once, whether it was during an awkward ice breaker during or a personal questionnaire: If you could have one superpower what would it be? While most people answer, super speed or mind reading or telepathy, hardly anyone wants super taste. Maybe it is because super testing is not all it's cracked up to be! Before you can understand the problems associated with super tasting, you need to understand what a super taster is. A super taster is a person who can taste saltiness and bitterness more intensely than a regular person due to an increased density of taste buds. About 25% of the population is believed to have super tasting abilities, and women are more likely to be super tasters than men. Because of this they have different perceptions about food, and spicy foods are spicier.
There are several problems that actually occur for people are super tasters. For example, they aren't able to enjoy certain foods as much. For example one super taster is unable to taste cake and they think that beer tastes like urine. The major health risk that rises with super tasters is that they require more salt to taste saltiness which means that the level of sodium they intake is far above the daily recommendation.
For More Information CNN and MSNBC Have Great Articles about supertasting.
Cornell University also created a quick 5-minute test to see if you're a super taster!
What truly happens when we fall to sleep? Does the brain ever render unconscious? The answer is essentially yes. In the BBC Horizon video, consciousness is tested through a transcranial magnetic stimulation test. The subject wears electrodes on their head, and those then act as microphones that record the "voices" moving through the brain. Interestingly enough, the results show that our brains network is extremely diverse, as well as integrated. While awake, the brain takes in the stimulus (an electrical shock) and sends it to different parts of the brain at different times. However, while sleeping the shock enters the brain, but the signal remains localized. So what does this really mean?
It means that while we are sleeping our brain in sense disconnects itself from the other functioning lobes. The part of the brain that receives the signal, keeps it within itself and does not transfer the message to other portions. It seems as though our brain shuts down completely almost, but in reality it's just regenerating itself. I find this completely fascinating because it shows us just how intelligent our brain is. It's a global network that communicates with itself so intricately. Imagine what our lives would be like without our network. Our degree of awareness would be completely off-kilter and each part of the brain would need to be individually stimulated. We'd be the walking dead!
Most everyone knows that the canine's most powerful sense is its smell, but they don't realize that a dog is reliant on their hearing as well. Despite being cute and furry, a dog's large open ears contain at least 18 muscles which cause them to hear frequencies between 40 Hz and 60,000 Hz; whereas an average human can only hear between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz. Because of their hearing ability, canines are prone to loud sounds which hurt their ears, which contrasts many people who think "the louder, the better," due of our limited auditory capabilities.
When annoyed by those around us, most humans try to unsuccessfully block out the incessant noise. Dogs on the other hand have exceptional selective hearing and have the ability to ignore the obnoxious noises humans make and can focus on the sound and exact location of something up to four times farther away than their master. So when you order your dog to 'sit' or 'stay' and it seems like they can't hear you- the truth is, they are probably just ignoring you. So next time your canine seems to be barking at nothing up a tree, chances are they can hear something you can't. For more details, Sarah can give you more information!