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Studies have observed that watching violent television can lead to more aggressive behavior. In the effects of "The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" children were significantly more aggressive after watching power rangers. This is referred to the "Bobo Doll" experiment that showed that children imitate aggressive actions of a model. Therefore after watching the power rangers fight of evil young children will then want to fight and pretend that they are Power Rangers.

This discovery is important because young children in general spend the majority of their free time engrossed in their favorite television show. Since the more violent and action packed shows are often more popular, television for children is often violent, exciting and action packed. My younger brother spends the majority of his time watching Nickelodeon in which the shows including Avatar are based on fights and battles between good and evil. After he watches these shows I observe that he is more easily agitated and aggressive. Since adolescence is the time period in which children learn their values I think that television should focus on instilling good morals in children instead of an aggressive attitude.

I think the solution to this problem would be restriction on television by parents. Parents know their children the best and they should be able to decide how to raise them. Although they should have this power it would be ideal if television shows encouraged kindness and good social skills.

http://facstaff.unca.edu/tlbrown/RM1/VideoGamesAggression.pdf


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I have had the phobia of spiders and bugs for quite a while. I don't know when I developed these phobias, but just like anyone else I experienced my fair share of fear episodes.
For instances, whenever I see a spider or a bug I become a paralyzed on the spot and I lose ability to speak. Or sometimes, I do the exact opposite, if I realize that the bug/spider is on my body, I would scream and start jumping around crazily.

Like most people, I know how limiting phobia can be. It often effects our lifestyle and stresses us. For example: Whenever I go camping, I always end up not enjoying the experience as much as everyone else. I would worry about what I eat, where I sit and constantly check if the bugs/spiders are not on my body. Also, I don't get much sleep during the night because I feel like the bugs and spiders might start crawling on my body without my knowing if I fall asleep.

So how can I and how can you overcome this phobia and avoid the anxiety, stress and fear that it brings us? According tot eh arcticle posted on helpguide.org, the best way to overcome a phobia is to face your fears, one step at a time. Exposing yourself gradually and repeatedly to what you fear is the most effective when it comes treating phobias, because you learn to ride out your anxiety and fear until inevitably passes away. However, exposure must take in a safe and controlled way. Also overcoming your phobia takes time, planning, patience and of course practice.

Here is an sample ladder example of dog phobia treatment:
Facing a fear of dogs: A sample fear ladder
Step 1: Look at pictures of dogs.
Step 2: Watch a video with dogs in it.
Step 3: Look at a dog through a window.
Step 4: Stand across the street from a dog on a leash.
Step 5: Stand 10 feet away from a dog on a leash.
Step 6: Stand 5 feet away from a dog on a leash.
Step 7: Stand beside a dog on a leash.
Step 8: Pet a small dog that someone is holding.
Step 9: Pet a larger dog on a leash.
Step 10: Pet a larger dog off leash.

Make a list, Build your fear ladder, Make your way up the ladder and Practice!

The two most commonly occurring eating disorders are bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. Bulimia is characterized by a pattern of bingeing and purging, while anorexia by extreme starvation. Both disorders, however, share several aspects, including; obsession with weight, low self-esteem, and irrational perceptions of their bodies. These eating disorders are much more common among females than males, and often begin during adolescents.
I myself am very interested in the social psychological factors contributing to such disorders. Our text explains that many bulimics are perfectionists with low self-esteem and a strong need for approval. Additional research shows that eating disorders are often results of many psychological factors. Some of the most common include; depression, anxiety, anger, loneliness, and a quest for perfection. Social factors include; cultural pressures that glorify thinness, narrow definitions of beauty, and the growing cultural norm that values people on the basis of physical appearance. The media has been proven to also play a large role in "causing" eating disorders. Like all other aspects of media, these social pressures are beginning to appear on the internet.
"Pro-Ana" blogs and websites are becoming more and more popular. These sites romanticize eating disorders and refer to anorexia as Ana, a friend who will accept you as long as you follow her rules. Tips for curbing cravings, foods with negative calories, pictures of celebrities for 'thinspiration', as well as praise for fasting and weight loss are the staples of pro-Ana sites. The rise of these sites led to an immediate backlash, with many protesters trying to get them banned. These sites and their impact on eating disorders is an area that will yield much research in the future.

The Mozart Effect

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preg.jpgSomething I remember from my Childhood was my mother telling me why she believe I was so smart. She told me that while she was pregnant with me she would clamp some headphones around her belly and play classical music, similar to the included picture. I was much to young to understand the reasoning behind this but even today I still have a taste for Classical piano pieces. Today, I understand that what she was doing is known as the "Mozart Effect" and was discovered by Rauscher, who actually first saw this effect displayed in adults who listened to a specific piece by Mozart and who had increased spatial reasoning skills for some time after listening.

Now the effects were not permanent and only increased spatial/Temporal skills by a certain amount. The study was plauged by controversy and some other researchers were unable to reproduce the effects of the study. There were Impressive Results, Therefore, equally impressive evidence was necessary.

Some disputers of the study suggested that the after-effects depended on enjoyment arousal, meaning the subjects had to enjoy this genre of music to be able to get the effects. Other studies have proven that humans can perform mental tasks with more efficiency when a stimulus is present, such as enjoyable music. This is a possible rival Hypothesis to this study. To combat this, some studies were done with Mice. Mice were exposed to Mozart and several other genres of music and even white noise or Silence while in utero, and 60 days after. When the Mice were tested on completing a maze, the Mozart group finished significantly faster and with less errors. This makes enjoyment and unlikely factor.

Sometime after, The long-term effects of this music were studied in children. Musical Instruction was given to the children along, while another group learned computer skills and yet another had no training at all. The group who received musical instruction for six months got a 30% higher score on a spatial reasoning test calibrated for their age than the children who learned computer skills, and this remained unchanged for 24 hours, effects after that were not tested.

These such studies lead to the explosion of the popular "Baby Mozart" trend. Many CD's containing classical music meant for fetus' and infants were produced. I have found many conflicting results of these products, some saying they were effective and some saying that this is pure myth. In either case, I am thankful my mother took the initiative and tested it out. No harm done but it very possibly gave me an advantage over the other preschoolers. :D

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One major hoax in the media today is that violent behavior is highly correlated with children that play violent videogames. After discussing this issue in class, I decided to further investigate this claim. We read two articles in class that were both for and against this issue. The articles that were for this claim, stated that there is a correlation between aggressive behavior and violent videogames, but it does not necessarily cause violence. Saying that videogames cause violence, is violating one of the principles of psychology, which is correlation does not necessarily cause causation. So just because a child plays a certain violent video game, he or she will not necessarily become violent because of the game, but it could happen. The articles that were against this claim, stated that violence and videogames are not connected, but it could be due to other factors, such as the level of depression in teenagers that can cause aggressive behavior. I found this video on this study by Dr. Lawrence Kutner that surveyed a large number of teenagers that play violent video games, and found that videogames may not cause violence, but it could be because of other factors, such as violent children are attracted to violent games, and are already violent prior to the games.
Video

Many people claim that eating disorders are a direct cause of the pressure media puts on us, especially young women. However the Lilienfeld text claims that eating disorders are present in countries that have little to no exposure to western media. So what is causing eating disorders?
There are many different things that could cause an eating disorder, each individual is different. However, I would like to discuss a particular situation. For Mexican singer and actress, Anahi, the reason was the recent passing of her grandmother. Now, it's true that she was constantly under the scrutiny of the media -- she was in the process of filming a very popular television show when her disease first started. She was only 16 years old and had filmed many scenes in nothing but a bikini.
Anahi1.jpg
Many times Anahi has claimed she is a perfectionist and this may have led to her eating disorder. After her grandmother died, she wanted to fix things, she needed something to control. The only thing she could think to control, was her weight. The actress went for days without food, then would go on extreme binges before purging all of it. Her conditioned spiraled so quickly out of control, that she ended up in the emergency room after passing out. While in the emergency room, her heart stopped beating for 8 seconds, as a result of what she had done to her body.
She dedicated the next 4 years of her life to getting healthy and undergoing treatment. She states that she will forever battle with anorexia and bulimia, but that she is now healthy. She has even created a foundation where young girls and boys can go to talk to somebody who has gone through the same things she has. Her foundation, Salvame (Save Me) runs commercials in Mexico, urging people to get help for their disease and to not be afraid to talk about it, like she hasn't been since undergoing treatment.
She now looks healthier than ever, having battle a serious psychological disorder and attributes her physique to eating well and getting plenty of exercise.
Anahi2.jpg

Sir Francis Galton, cousin of Charles Darwin, was a highly respected scientist and inventor. He proposed a hypothesis stating that intelligence is the by-product of sensory our sensory capacity. In other words, Galton claimed that people with highly sensitive capacities, such as better eyesight and hearing, acquire more knowledge than others. Although Galton's hypothesis was later disproved, with the help from cases such as Helen Keller and how great of a scholar and successor she was, this hypothesis is important because it gives a relationship between biological factors about our sensory system and intelligence. It also initiated research about the correlation between biology and intelligence and excavated our understanding about the relationship between the two.
There is a correlation vs causation issue that goes along with this hypothesis that could explain a 3rd variable that I thought of when reading this section in the textbook. In earlier times, where poor eyesight, hearing, taste and other senses couldn't be fixed with the technology we have now, people with poor senses may have been less motivated than others to learn. Now that we have ways to adapt, such as glasses and hearing aids, people with poor senses can bring in more information and have the sensory capacity of a normal person.
This is particularly interesting to me because my sister, one of the smartest people I have ever met, has very poor vision. Although Galton's theory was disproven, new research suggests that although sensory capacities and intelligence don't go hand in hand they do have some relation to one another. From this, I wonder if she was born in a different time without the technology we have now, would the third variable I stated above cause her to not fulfill her intellectual potential? Again, there may be some correlations but there are always cases such as Helen Keller (blind and deaf), Ray Charles (Blind), and Beethoven (deaf) proved to be very successful in their practices.

The Mere Exposure Effect

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There are certain things in life that would never think about, but once someone brings it up it makes so much sense. An example is the Mere Exposure Effect. I would have never thought of that on my own, but once it was told to me, it explained a lot and reflected to be fairly true. The Mere Exposure Effect states that the more you see a person or thing, the more attractive or preferred they will be to you simply because they are familiar to you. In the rules of attraction, this plays out to be very true. The more you see someone the more attractive and pleased you are likely to become of them. Therefore, first impressions cannot be a deciding factor all of the time and love at first sight may be true, but someone you do not find to be initially very attractive could become more and more attractive with further exposure to them. In dating this is important because first dates will not necessarily tell the whole story of what could come about in regards of attraction to each other. In regards to attraction, this effect is exemplified in the link below. The Mere Exposure Effect also works in advertising, being that the more you are exposed to an advertisement for an item, the more likely you are to want to have that item. I am much less likely to go to a store and buy an item that I have never heard of because I probably have the intention of going to purchase an item I have seen advertised or have a familiarity with. As humans, we simply tend to choose the things we are familiar with rather than the unknown or unfamiliar. It is interesting to become aware of this effect because it rings true in our lives more than we realize, but we rarely consciously witness this effect.

Link:

In our most recent lecture, we discussed the idea of the drug, D-cycloserine, aiding in people's ability to overcome fears. This idea of a drug being able to speed up the learning process and counter our natural human instincts of fear is amazing. Some say science goes against human nature and that anything that tampers with our natural reactions shouldn't be used but I think differently. A finding like this could allow major developments in numerous fields, one which I thought of was military training. If the drug can decrease fear in those suffering form acrophobia (as seen in experiment with virtual glass elevator), then perhaps it could also be applied to a virtual battlefield. Being able to control yourself and think clearly in the middle of high stress and fear situations could mean the difference between life and death for a soldier. Although basic training does instill the same type of calmness in stressful situations, perhaps that level of calmness could be increased or reenforced even more with the use of the drug. It would make training faster, more effective, and have higher results. Although this may be controversial and may be opposed in politics, perhaps it would be worth the outcome. The overall idea is intriguing and could be expanded on even beyond the use in the army and I just found it incredibly interesting. US-soldier-in-Afghanistan.jpg

Eating Disorders

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Eating disorders are one of the biggest problems in America. Many people think that they are overweight, because of the picture above. I always wonder, if there are so many American's and people all over the world that have eating disorders because of unrealistic views of how humans should be, why doesn't the media, modeling, and fashion industries stop making their girls so skinny? If so many people are overweight, why don't they try and find a way to control how much each American eats considering we have the biggest population of obese and overweight people? I think that it is very scary that some people starve themselves to death, or eat so much that they become so obese that they don't even want to leave their house? Some people who are obese get stuck to their couches, and cannot move even if they tried. I think that this is a major issue in society today and somebody needs to do something about it. I hate seeing my friends think that they are to fat, because of some super model that they see on television. My friends are average size and should not be worrying about their weight, yet I see them eating grapefruit everyday at lunch. This is a sign that America needs to do something about the big eating disorder situation. I think that obese people should get extra help, because there is a big chance that they are depressed. When people are depressed they stay at their house and eat, considering food is a huge comfort to them. I think that there are way too many people with mental issues and we all need to figure out a way to help them.


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