Writing 4: November 2011 Archives

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.



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

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.

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.
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.

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.


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.

The five second rule?

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Almost every person at some point in their life has been told about the five second rule, where a piece of food that has been dropped on the ground, stays germless for five seconds. That means that you would have five seconds to pick up your dropped piece of food before it would become "bad to eat", but how much truth is in this statement?
Through some of the principles of critical thinking, this statement can be evaluated. The most important principle for this claim is principle #5, which states that extraordinary claims must have extraordinary evidence. A correlation, between the amount of time a piece of food has spent on the ground and illness rate after consumption, has caused people to believe that the five second rule is true. However, since correlation does not equal causation, there needs to be more evidence, because there could be an unidentified third variable that is the foundation of the correlation, the third variable problem. Studies have also shown that bacteria diffuse at an almost set rate, so the longer something is on the ground the more bacteria it will pick up. These studies bring up arguments that lead to confirmation bias, where the researchers unknowingly support their views by denying evidence, dismissing evidence, or even distorting it to fit their own theory. In this case they often times say that the food is safe, because the bacteria count is negligible. This extraordinary claim, however, requires extraordinary evidence that is more meaningful than a correlation, with no further data, and an open ended study to prove it true, and that is why this principle of critical thinking is the most useful way to evaluate the claim.
Recent experiments have shown that there is some truth to the five second rule, but if the piece of food is dropped on a site of E. coli or salmonella bacterium, it will diffuse at a rate that would make the food very dangerous, therefore, if the food spends anytime on the ground, it is unsafe!

Learn more at http://www.snopes.com/food/tainted/dropped.asp, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/07/04/health/webmd/main1774287.shtml, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/01/science/01qna.html, and https://docs.google.com/a/umn.edu/viewer?a=v&q=cache:BrqynEsaiVYJ:depts.noctrl.edu/biology/courses/101/handouts/AR2.pdf+dawson+cox+black+simmons+journal+of+applied+microbiology+2007&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESiNzTjLZtZf1gSr5sS8yQPVciuArzJabBpzPAWPqdf7_2atJiIFVAAEhZ-gLfk2h0Xe4UK043KWIHSW5P-7WEAmgIaVtOQE55XNNYja9Mgmr0K8OtV3aWq6cJNt63BWpdDXoicZ&sig=AHIEtbSVFJOOgBX7Fhd2p_WDzSL0NG4UnQ

During my time reading the chapter on Emotion and Motivation, I came across a section of information addressing proxemics-the study of personal space and measurable distance. According to Anthropologist Edward Hall, there are four levels of personal space, however the separations between these levels are not clear-cut. The first is Public distance, which is usually used for public speaking (12 feet or more.) The next is Social distance, typically used for conversations with strangers or casual acquaintances (4-12 feet.) Thirdly, there is Personal distance, the space used for conversations with close friends or romantic partners (1.5-4 feet.) Lastly, is Intimate distance, used for kissing, hugging, whispering or affectionate touching with a romantic partner (0-1.5 feet.)

The information is truly interesting as it brings a common, "real world" situation into our class with scientific thinking. Everyday, we all get up and bring ourselves into the world. With each step, we occupy space that many others do as well. However, this is not something we all think about and has become routine in our daily conventions as citizens in our society. Proxemics makes it clear that our distances differ depending on who ever we are speaking to or with.

The idea of proxemics reminded me of a video I once saw on Saturday Night Live with Steve Martin and Will Forte. In the sketch, two old friends bump into each other and decide to catch up. However, instead of speaking at a Social distance, the two old friends enter into an Intimate distance and carry on with their conversation. The sketch immediately becomes awkward and strange, as the audience doesn't understand why these men are so close to each other. One of them, Forte, comments on the very little space between them and decides to make some room, but nothing happens and the moment further adds to the comedy of the scene. The two decide to part ways but before they leave each other they share a goodbye. The audience is tricked to think the two are finally speaking at the normal, Social distance, but it is reveal at the end that the two are really much father away and at a space that Hall would label as a Public distance.

Proxemics will forever be a pivotal role in the functioning of humans. We must understand the appropriate distances and respect each other's personal space. I will never forget the time in Elementary school when the teachers called all of us students into a meeting to speak about personal space as our ragging hormones were just about to start to take over. They called it "bubble space" back then, but now I know they were just trying to explain proxemics. If only they had the SNL video to demonstrate it further...

Here is a link to the video on Hulu:

ppprogmozartmstitle.jpgIn this article, the author discusses the "Mozart effect," which is the belief that listening to classical music--such as Mozart's compositions--can lead to long-term improvement in brain function. The author argues that Mozart effect is just a common case of correlation, and not causation.

The Mozart effect dictates that people who happen to listen to classical music happen to be more intelligent, but studies tell a different story. Studies show that passively listening to music is has little to no effect at all. The author states that the measurable increase in brain function--like solving mathematical problems--are caused by the positive mood set by listening to music in general. She states, "positive mood, in turn, increases focus and attention, which improves performance on many tests of mental sharpness." Instead of listening to music, studies show, "learning to make music changes the brain and boosts broad academic performance."

This Mozart effect can be the result of the environment and the opportunities in which the kids are given. It could be that babies or children who listen to classical music happen to grow up in households where the parents/guardians rate education very highly. With this in mind, these children are most likely to learn how to play music because learning an instrument is part of a healthy education; learning how to compose/produce music is the real cause of brain development.


Animated Aggression

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video games.jpg
I believe playing violent video games and watching violent television programs led to a rise in aggression levels of the victims. Even though I think they both contribute to violence, I think video games cause more violence and aggression than television shows. The player is able to actually interact and simulate the violence. They become one with the game. Research has shown that there is a strong correlation between the violent nature of video games and the aggression levels of the players (Serendip). Our Psychology discussion group watched a study where kids at a daycare watched the friendly and calm show, Barney, one day, and watched the violent show, Power Rangers, the next day. The day they watched Barney the kids sang along and played nicely with each other. The day they watched Power Rangers, the kids got up and began hitting and kicking each other. They also all picked a power ranger they wanted to be and pretended to fight just like them. This study shows that watching violent shows goes hand in hand with aggression levels in the viewers. Also, if parents let their children play violent video games as much as they want, they would become accustomed to that behavior and it might make it seem like it's an okay thing for them to do. If they are young children, they might think the characters are cool and want to be "just like them". In an article we had to read for discussion from www.sciencedaily.com, it shows that the brains of violent video game players become less responsive to violence, causing an increase in aggression. In this article it talked about a study involving monitoring how these games affected the victim's behavior afterward. Half of the players were asked to play nonviolent video games and half were asked to play violent video games. After they were done playing, they were paired with an opponent and got the chance to play a noise in their opponent's ear. The violent game players played louder and more aggressive noises than the nonviolent players. This study is another indication of how playing violent video games leads to aggression.

The truth of detecting lies

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I was really excited when our psychology textbook and Professor Gewirtz mentioned the Fox television show, Lie to Me in our unit of emotion. I absolutely love this show. It's well written, has many interesting and developed characters, and is based on science!
Now our textbook says that "even professionals with substantial expertise in detectng lies have high error rates", but the main character Cal Lightman, who almost never messes up a facial reading, says that "his" techniques are based on 70% science. The show is even based off the research of Paul Eckman, who worked as the scientific advisor. So I decided to dig a little deeper.

As it turns out, renowned psychologist Paul Eckman indeed did comment on every script of the show. While the show was running, he had his own blog about every single episode and the science used in each one (every dilated pupil, facial expression close-up, etc).

I also found some information about another character on the show, Ria Torres who was a "natural" at detecting lies (almost a 100% catch rate). In this study, The Wizards Project, psychologists found out that "naturals" do exist! According to Dr. O'Sullivan, "Of those 13,000 people we found 31, who we call wizards, who are usually able to tell whether the person is lying, whether the lie is about an opinion, how someone is feeling or about a theft".

So everyone should definitely look into this fictional tv show to pick up some tricks when it comes to detecting lies. I know I did!

Cracking Knuckles

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From a young age i learned that there are certain things you shouldn't do without being given an explanation that makes sense. One of these things was cracking your knuckles, and the reason being is that it gives you arthritis when you become old. Due to this explanation i refrained from doing such a thing. Joints are the bony parts of your body held together by ligaments that are able to bend. After taking this psychology course i realized that to learn things you must go and do some research,
Arthritis can be caused by crystal formation in the joints. Cracking your knuckles doesn't necessarily give you arthritis, but it does weaken your joints over time.
This is a clear case of how extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence and the evidence itself proves that there is not enough information to show that cracking your fingers gives you arthritis.

Here are two links that provide information on this link1 and link2

One of the most interesting things that I happened upon in my reading of this weeks Chapter was the controversial studies looking at the differences between men and women in terms of mental ability.
Although there are some studies that have presented findings to indicate that men may have a slightly higher IQ then women (Lilienfeld p 343), such results have been questioned in terms of replicability. What is far more interesting is the specific mental abilities that differ between the sexes and the implications of such disparities. I think that these specific attributes that separate the sexes play an important role in the formation of gender stereotypes. For example, in the Lilienfeld text it states that women are far better then men at recognizing and empathizing with the emotions of others. This could scientifically explain the cultural assumption that women are gentler and more emotional then men; whereas simultaneously explaining why males are glamorized for being tough and unsentimental.
dirty harry.jpg
The age old cliche that women aren't able to follow directions could also be at least partially substantiated (though strictly on the basis of looking at numerical data and averages) by the fact that Men excel at tasks associated with geography and spatial representations.
women reading a map.jpg
However, despite these findings it is important to maintain the principles of scientific thinking. Due to doubt surrounding the replicability of many studies, one must consider the other factors at work when dealing with such broad assumptions. For example, environmental components could play a huge role in the development of different mental skills in either gender. Also education levels and social class as well as family history could effect an individuals IQ in a much greater more profound way then is predisposed by their gender.
As a whole, I think that the results of studies that look into differences in sex could have weighty and very controversial implications, especially in todays world where some minorities are still fighting for equality. It is possible that discovering a genetically predetermined strength in either men or women could widen the gender gap and fuel discrimination.

Emotion and Choice

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What role does emotion play in our concept of choice? Wouldn't it be easier if we could get emotion out of the way and use rational analysis to make our decisions? I recently listened to a podcast from Radiolab on choice that explored the answer to this question:
Radiolab: Overcome with Emotion
Also, for the full podcast on choice:
Radiolab: Choice

You would think that choices would be made easier if emotion did not conflict with our ability to reason, but Radiolab concludes that this is not the case. They wonder if a "Spock" or "vulcan" like person who is completely logical would actually be beneficial. They bring the question to a neurologist and psychologist named Antoine Bechara. Antoine then tells the story of Eliot who is a completely normal man, but had a tumor in his orbitalfrontal cortex that was removed. This part of the brain plays a key part in decision-making and emotion.250px-OFC.JPG After it was removed Eliot was still relatively normal but took a long time in making the most simple decisions. He couldn't even decide what color pen to use at work. It would take him half an hour to decide. Eliot eventually visited a neurologist who realized he spoke normally but had no emotion to it. So the neurologist presented him with disturbing images and saw that he had no emotional responses in the brain.

As a result of all of these effects, we can see that Eliot is pathologically indecisive. The answer to the original question of whether it would be beneficial to be completely logical is no. The only way to cut down to a choice is to go with a feeling. The feeling of emotional yeses and nos is what allows us to make a decision. Without emotion we would be stuck. This could be supportive evidence for the evolutionary basis of emotions. If we always got stuck on making simple decisions, it would be an evolutionary disadvantage.

The podcast also discusses how emotion plays other key roles in choices with how emotions are attached to past experiences and then affect future decisions.This is essentially the same concept as classical conditioning, although Radiolab does not make this comparison. It also discusses how emotion affects our decision of whether or not to keep gambling in a casino and how this is exploited through loyalty cards.

Overall, I highly recommend that you listen to this podcast. I attempted to relate it to what we are learning in psychology, but it is very interesting to explore what we are learning through a different perspective: how emotion plays a role choice.

Article by Dr. Phil

In discussion this week, we watched clips from Power Rangers and Barney. We were then asked to rate what we felt to four questions, after watching each clip. This activity and studies also show, that more violent television shows/video games make your child more aggressive. Dr. Phil also supports this theory in his article in the above link. I find this theory to be true in children because of their young age and how they are at a stage in their lives where they absorb knowledge like a sponge. They haven't matured enough yet to know all the difference between right and wrong. We also see that at a young age they tend to mimic their peers and other influential figures in their lives. This is supported by the video we watched in discussion, where the kids sat in a nice circle and were calm while watching barney, but when they were watching Power Rangers they were up and about physically hitting or kicking each other. So it seems to be true that the more violence children see, the more aggressive they are.
What I don't find to be true is that children will stay aggressive for the rest of their lives. As we grow older we learn that things are fake like television show and video games. We learn that physically aggression towards one another is not acceptable in society. We can't expect to go around shooting people and think that it would be acceptable. I have heard from many of my friends that video games don't make them anymore aggressive. They can take all their anger out on a fake video game rather than a real person. That may sound atrocious and wrong, and I know how bad this can sound, but at least it's not a real person. Studies may show that violent television shows/ video games make children more aggressive, but I believe that children will grow out of that phase.

Body Image & Eating Disorders

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anorexia.jpgMany people suffer from eating disorders, namely bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. Bulimia is the most common eating disorder, afflicting 1 to 3 percent of the population (Lilienfield). Anorexia is less common, with numbers ranging from 0.5 to 1 percent of the population. Either way, these eating disorders are scary and can be traumatic to the health of those suffering. For example, women who suffer from anorexia who continue to sustain a low weight can result in having a loss of menstrual periods, hair loss, heart problems, and fragile bones. These disorders are likely to be triggered by sociocultural expectations of what people's body image should be. Many women that are featured in the media typically weigh 15 percent less than women's average weight. This shows how women that are exposed to these images can feel that this is what they are supposed to look like. If they do not look like these extremely slim women, many feel that society will not accept them. Therefore, they acquire these eating disorders to fit this distorted image of what is "beautiful." Women who already are concerned about their body image may lean towards media that features these distorted images of women, so the media may not completely cause these disorders to be triggered, but there is still evidence that there is some causal effect of the media on eating disorders. Women aren't the only ones that suffer. Men suffer too. They are faced with images of muscular, in-shape men and feel that the only way that a girl will be attracted to them is to obtain this body image. This is unrealistic, but it is what a lot of media today portrays. In my opinion, airbrushing and Photoshop completely distort our views on what we should look like. The real question that people should think about is this: why should we try to look like these men and women in the media, when in reality, they are not even real themselves?

Here is a video targeted towards parents to help stop their kids from obtaining these negative body images from the media:
The Psychology of Beauty - Media affects body image

The Mere Exposure Effect

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The Mere Exposure Effect, as discussed in Chapter 11 on emotion and motivation, can be described as having a more positive view on something after it has been in our presence and affected our lives in numerous occurrences. It seems obvious that we would prefer to be associated with things we enjoy rather than things we despise, but studies have been conducted using objects that the majority of us had no prior association with. Over time, those who participated in the studies developed more of a fondness with these previously neutral objects, faces included. Studies on the Mere Exposure Effect have also shown that most people believe they look better in the mirror than they do in a photo, whereas we believe the opposite for other people. I have definitely experienced this theory and always feel as though I prefer how I look in the mirror since I spend a significant amount of time looking at myself each morning. I often believe other people tend to look better in photos than they do in person. The Mere Exposure Effect is an important concept to analyze when exploring how people develop likings of stimuli and reasons for these likings. I would be interested to know whether this phenomenon applies beyond faces to the actual like or dislike of a person, as well as if changing our minds from totally despising something to totally loving it can be accounted for by the Mere Exposure Effect. I am also curious as to how gradual this process is and the time frame of development.

Growing up in liberal Madison, Wisconsin my neighbors Chris and Paul lived in a pink house across the street and my sister's best friend, Caitlyn, had two moms. One of my mother's favorite anecdotes to tell about my childhood was my telling her "I didn't know if I am gay yet, I have to grow up and find out" when I was five years old. Honestly, from birth I never viewed homosexuality as a choice, but merely something that couldn't be controlled and did not need to be. Shortly after I (supposedly) made this remark to my mother, my family moved to a smaller more conservative town in Wisconsin where I discovered for the first time that not everyone saw homosexuality the way my family and I did.

The debate about differences in "gay" and "straight" brains is long running. LeVay's research found measurable differences in the size of the hypothalamus between the two sets of subjects, but as his research included mostly corpses of AIDs patients his results would need to be replicated to come to any even preliminary conclusions. All sorts of myths have spread about what "causes" homosexuality, but scientists have yet to discover a dependable biological marker of sexual orientation.

Below is a clip from the Canadian sketch comedy "The Kids in the Hall" and their movie "Brain Candy." The context of the clip is that the father character has been told by his doctor that he is in denial that he is, in fact, homosexual. The doctor prescribes him "Gleemonex" to extinguish any denial and the father proceeds to blame the drug for his "gayness."

Results are inconclusive to show whether or not being gay can be caused by any one specific factor, including any one difference in the brain. Yet, as people continue to place a gap between homosexuals and heterosexuals and continue to distinguish between the two, this is certainly a concept that will continue to be explored. In my opinion, it all has much more to do with an Occam's razor... The simplest explaination is to just let everyone who is gay--- BE GAY!

One of the most interesting concepts to me discussed in Chapter 10 was the idea of imprinting. It can be easier observed in animals suck as ducklings as explained in the textbook or in pigs or geese as explained in the article I read about newborns imprinting on not only their mothers but other "mothers" of a different species Link. Konrad Lorenz, Nobel Prize recipient work his work with imprinting, discovered that imprinting only happens during a specific window of time in a newborn. So when the mother is not around during this critical period, animals automatically imprint on the closest moving thing in front of them. Though humans don't actually imprinting like the ducklings in this picture here, 93406898_a1ee3e9a2a.jpg
there has been argument that even human infants bond with their mothers or anyone else that takes care of them at a very young age. Many experiments have been conducted that show babies have a preference for the face and voice of their mothers. And there has been proof that separation from attachment figures can lead to detriments in psychological adjustments. Researchers have claimed the development has something to do with protein synthesis and changes in synaptic transmission. Whether these claims are true or not, I believe the possibility of animals bonding to their mothers or anything else that it grows accustomed to during the critical period is a crucial adaption for all animals. Because most baby animals are born helpless, the fact they can grow used to another mother is very important to secure its survival.

Do Diet Pills Really Work?

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There are many products out there that claim to help you lose weight and body fat fast, but are these extraordinary claims true?

Lipozene is a diet pill that makes such extraordinary claims. The fact that it's an infomercial that plays on tv all the time makes me question its reliability in the first place. It also says that you will lose weight or they'll send your money back. The website claims that Lipozene really works and says clinical studies have proven the effectiveness and point to "success stories". These testimonials don't take into account other confounding factors such as if that "successful" person started their own heavy workout routine, or had an illness that caused the weight loss. There are other claims that push you to think it's a legitimate claim, "Lipozene is 100% Natural" made from natural roots that are a source of dietary fiber. Just because a source claims to have natural ingredients that have a long name, doesn't mean the product is effective.

The product puts a gold seal saying that millions have bought the product and has been labeled a "product of excellence" by the Obesity Research Institute. The most questionable claim is that "Lipozene is safe" because they say there are no known side effects when taken as directed. They don't say their intensive testing or long term studying of the side effects show no side effects, but rather there aren't any side effects as of now.

Overall, I wouldn't trust this product to work effectively, or safely for that matter. There are too many claims against it's legitimacy, and no support or research studies showing that the product is in fact safe or effective.

Is it really true that applying generous amounts of Vick's VapoRub to the bottom of one's foot with a sock can stop nighttime coughing? The lack of concrete evidence points towards no. This myth originated in an e-mail stating that the Canada Research Council discovered that putting on Vick's VapoRub on the soles of your feet can stop even the worst nighttime coughing better than any medicine. It also mentions that this method works better with children than adults. The first problem with the myth is that whoever wrote the e-mail used the improper name for the National Research Council Canada implying a lack of true evidence. The second problem is how the myth has varied since its origin. One variation is putting Vick's VapoRub on your feet to stop coughing but it originated on a weekly show of NPR instead of the National Research Council Canada. The Vick's usage instructions say to apply the solution to one's chest and throat to make a cough due to a common cold subside but say nothing about feet. The part about wearing socks was only mentioned to protect people's sheets. The third problem with the article is the idea that it works better with children but this may be dangerous for children. Some major health agencies have said that camphor-containing products should not be used with children. The New York City Health Department said that products with camphor should be kept away from children as it can cause seizures. Finally, the fourth, and most important, problem with the myth is that the National Research Council Canada has denied ever doing any type of research or study having to do with Vick's and its effects on nighttime coughing. Due to the fact that the National Research Council Canada has denied all claims and that the New York City Health Department says it's unsafe for children to put Vick's on their feet, when children supposedly respond best to this treatment, proves that the myth is most likely false.


Are Credit Scores and Personality Linked?
The article states that many employers now use credit reports as a screening tool before hiring. This goes back to a myth that many employers believe. They think that there is a correlation between poor credit scores and bad behaviors, including theft around the office. Contrary to this belief, the article states that researchers found no correlation between the two variables. There was, however, some other interesting results.

Sixty percent of employers perform credit checks on their potential employees. Jeremy Bernerth, an assistant professor at Louisiana State University says that agreeableness is negatively correlated with credit scores. Berneth says that "that suggests easygoing individuals actually have worse credit scores than disagreeable and rude individuals."

This is an obvious issue of correlation vs. causation. Despite the popular belief that poor credit score means bad employee, the recent research says otherwise. This means that a high credit score does not necessarily mean that they will be a good employee if hired. Also, bad credit scores has no connection with theft as well. It's also possible that Occam's Razor applies in this situation. The employers could look at credit scores as the simplest quantitative method of determining if an employee will be good and righteous. With the given research, we now know this is not a good assumption to make.

Down Syndrome

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After reading and learning about human development in the text book and in lecture, I was happy that Down Syndrome was mentioned. It was only mentioned in one paragraph, but it was mentioned nevertheless. My mom, who is a para-professional at the elementary school in my hometown, has had experience working with kids with Down Syndrome. When I was in high school, I would go to her class room after school and spend time with the kids. One kid in particular, Kathy, had Down Syndrome. Let me tell you, she was a joy to be around. She was always spunky and upbeat and always had a smile on her face. After spending time with Kathy, I realized that even though some kids may have a disability, they are kids, just like us. The only difference is that they have specific facial and body malformations.

Here's a little background information about Down Syndrome: it occurs when people have three, rather than two, copies of the 21st chromosome. That's it. There really isn't any precautions that mother's need to take when pregnant, it just happens. The extra chromosome causes facial malformations, and alters the course of development. It's amazing how one little thing can cause something that's sometimes so detrimental. Living with Down Syndrome can sometimes be difficult, but in society today, it is more widely accepted. In my opinion, people with Down Syndrome always live life to the fullest and never take anything for granted. They are the most inspiring and energetic and happy people I have ever been around.

A few weeks ago, my mom posted this story on my Facebook page. It's about a girl named Katie, who has Down Syndrome, and she is on the swim team. She finishes last, every time. The crowd cheers, every time. When I was reading this story, I felt so inspired by her motivation and her sense of being. Regardless of her development issues, she lives life just like any other kid, and to me, that is truly something to look up to.


Framing and Advertising

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Can the way something is worded change your decisions? Even if they're very subtle differeces? The answer is yes based on a psychological phenomenon called framing. In this video "How Framing Changes Your Decisions" an experiment is conducted to try to determine if the way a situation is presented changes your outcome. (Watch 1:27 to 3:58)

This video shows that the same situation with the same possible outcomes are not perceived the same by our brains when presented differently. The majority of people presented with a gain situation (just gained 20 for free) decided to stick with the money and not gamble. However the majority of the people presented with the loss situation (gained 50 then 30 taken away) decided to gamble to 'gain back' what they had lost. If our decisions can be manipulated by the mere wording of something, how many of our decisions are affected by the wording of advertisements?

I believe that how marketers present their product definately affects our decisions. A couple examples of this is in another video. (Watch 1:18 to 3:30)

This video shows how the stock market and graphs can be especially misleading. Advertisements and businesses take ahold of the psychology technique of framing to their advantage, so we must be careful. When making any decision in life it's best to evaluate the whole picture.

Child Development

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As a child it has been noted that one must travel through many different stages during their lifetime. The various "mile-markers" and landstones that one reaches has been marked by multiple psychologists. One in particular, a Swiss Psychologist, Jean Piaget was one of the first people to present an account of comprehensive development. His idea was that children have four different identified stages, The Sensorimotor Stage, The Preoperational Stage, The Concrete Operational Stage, and the Formal Operations Stage. Within these children are noted to think differently and percieve the world with limited functions. The first stage, Sensorimotor, the child virtually has no thought beyond physical objects that are clearly present. With this comes the idea of object permanence.
As seen in the image, a popular game of "Peek-A-Boo" plays a key role in the sensorimotor stage, particularly object permancence. Despite the mother staying right in front of her child, when her face is no longer visible it appears that she has disappeared. Babies are unable to grasp on to the concept that they are still directly in front of them, despite not being able to see their face. The idea of object permance then clearly displays why children react in such an amused manor when the mother's face is finally revealed again. The common game of peek-a-boo leads us to believe that children going through the sensorimotor stage find it difficult to percieve images that are not in clear sight. Objects disappearing from sight however still exhist, which children soon learn as their brain begins to develop more. Following the Sensorimotor stage children enter the Preoperational stage. During this stage children have somewhat mastered the here and now idea but become very egocentric and are unable to perform mental tranformations.
"Preoperational Stage"
As seen in the children in the video one can note that children have trouble looking beyond the size or rearrangment of objects and are virtually unable to focus on quantities. In one scene in particular, the little girl watched the woman poor the same amount of juice in to the cup, however the young child was unable to look past the fact that the shape of the glasses made one cup look like the liquid was higher. Although the cups held same quatity of liquid, youth going throught the preoperational stage find it nearly impossible to grasp to realize that each glass contains the same amount of juice. These tasks, known as conservation tasks are quite difficult for children going through this stage to master. As we progress through Piaget's final stages one can not that children breeze through conservation tasks, and their ability to grasp on to various concepts increases more and more. While Piaget's stages have been picked a part carefully by other psychologists and theorists, it seems plausible to conclude that the four stages he has developed mark clear check points in the cognitive development of our youth.

A recent research study called "Violent games lead to desensitization" has concluded that playing violent video games makes one more tolerant to other forms of violent imagery. Psychologist at the University of Bonn in Germany studied 21 hardcore gamers, playing violent games on average of 15 hours a week. Next they looked at how their brains reacted to a standardized emotion-triggering photos. Next they compared those results to how the control group fared in the experiment which consisted of 19 adults who had never played violent video games. The results showed that the video gaming players do not respond as strongly to the real, negative image material because they are used to it from their daily computer activities. However they cannot just relate the conclusions on video games as they psychologists have to factor in books, movies, and real life experiences as other factors of exposure to violence. Which is one of our six scientific thinking principles "Correlation vs. Causation." media_httpfarm3static_pIpip.jpg.scaled500.jpg

As a child I played violent video games but they were not nearly as graphic and realistic as they are today. Video games today make you feel as if your are actually murdering someone due to how graphic and vividly detailed they are as to video games when I was growing up where the characters were still animated. I think my brain today would would not respond as strongly to real imagery just as the video gamers in the study, because of resent games such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto where the objective is to kill people. I believe I too have been desensitized by video games. This makes me think how much pre-teenagers will be desensitized by the time they our my age?Hollywood today is able to reenact death so easily it would almost seem normal to wittiness a death. We desensitize our society in ways we do not even know. Our society is becoming desensitized more and more each day, which is something that needs to change.

Anxiety and Exposure Therapy

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Red_milk_snake.JPGOn last Fridays lecture, on 11-4-11, about emotion there was an interesting segment on anxiety and how it is treated. What I got out of it was that they are treated by an interesting procedure called Exposure therapy. Exposure therapy involves having a person gradually be exposed to what they are afraid of in small steps. An example might be having a person, that is afraid of snakes, look at pictures of snakes at first then move on to videos of snakes. After that they might get the person to visit snakes inside of containers and lastly they might end up getting the person to hold the snake. The reason for doing all of this would be to inhibit the person's fear by reducing the conditioned fear responses to the snake. I found this article about a drug that helps speed the therapy up. It works by activating the mitochondria in the brain. It targets the mitochondria in the area of the brain that are active while the person is thinking about what they are afraid of. It keeps those areas more active to increase the inhibition of their fears with a lot less effort for the person with the anxieties.

Currently, there's a common argument that whether or not playing violent video games (or watching violent imagery on TV or movies) causes aggressive behavior in children. The video of this week's discussion showed that, when children watched the video "powerful rangers", they became aggressive and fought with each other but when they watched the video Barney dinosaur, they became happy and danced together.
It seems that violent TV shows are positively correlated with violent behavior. However, in my opinion, they just imitate the performance of the TV show but not actually have violent tendency. In my view, playing violent video game maybe cause the aggressive behavior to some degree, but the genes of the kids and the environment they grew up play a more vital part in aggressive behavior.
Why some people prefer to play violent games? I have two main reasons.
The first one is due to the environment they grew up. If the parents always punish their kids like punch or hit them at home and the classmates of the kids always tease them in the school, they will feel depressed and angry and need some way to let off steam. This kind of people will choose to play violent video games. Since they are not given enough love and care from their parents and peers, they become aggressive.
The other one is because some kids born to be aggressive and they just have aggressive genes. They choose to play violent games because they have aggressive personalities and they love those violent things.
Overall, I think in many cases aggressive people choose to play violent games so there's a positive correlation between violent games and violent behaviors. But we still have to design experiments to explore if playing the video games will improve the level of aggression of people.

What are you afraid of?

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Everybody has fears, but when that fear becomes so overwhelming that it prevents us from completing normal tasks it is known as a phobia. A phobia is properly defined as, "a persistent irrational fear of an object, situation, or activity that the person feels compelled to avoid." Phobias are often the root of an anxiety disorder, or based on a traumatic experience. Someone dealing with their phobia will most likely feel panic, dread, or horror, automatic uncontrollable thoughts pertaining to the thing they fear, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, trembling, and extreme measures being taken to avoid the object of fear.

Many people have similar phobias. Do any of these freak you out?
If you felt any sort of anxiety towards these photographs you probably weren't alone.

One good thing about phobias is that they can be treated. Through behavioral and exposure therapy, one can learn to not be so afraid when they come in contact with their fear. The person becomes desensitized to their fear as the therapy progresses. Other methods of treatment include medication (to reduce anxiety) and hypnosis.

Fear is an amazing thing. Although it doesn't seem like it, it is astounding the way our bodies respond to dealing with fear. What is known as the fight-or-flight response is the "body's primitive, automatic, inborn response that prepares the body to "fight" or "flee" from perceived attack, harm or threat to our survival". Our bodies release chemicals like adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol into our blood stream. These nerve cell firings cause our respiratory rate to increase, our pupils to dilate, our sense of awareness to heighten, pain perception decreases, and impulses quicken; all of these changes act to protect and prepare ourselves against danger. This response is often experienced in people when facing their phobias.

The Mozart Effect

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According to this site about the Mozart effect, music can help stimulate the brain and improve cognitive function for a very short period of time, but does not have any significant, long lasting effects. Several studies have been done and they all show such small changes between the control group and the experimental group that no conclusions can be drawn to support the idea of the Mozart effect.
There are many theories being developed in order to explain the large differences seen in some experiments. One of these theories is that music excites the brain, which in turn keeps neural pathways strong and stops them from deteriorating due to sensory deprivation. Brain efficiency dramatically decreases when deprived of a stimulus to each of the 5 senses. Therefore, adding in consistent stimulation from music would keep the neural pathways active and could even create new neural pathways.
This research claim appears to be fairly reliable, because it is unbiased and it also does not make any ridiculous claims about the idea of the Mozart effect. The site shows both sides of the argument-for and against the Mozart effect-and supports them with research and results from studies that were done.
While it is stated that the Mozart effect does not have any concrete evidence to support it as of yet, the author of the site does not say that there is no way music has an effect on the performance of the brain and cognitive functions.

The Mozart Effect

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The Mozart Effect is a claim stating that listening to Mozart's music may effect children's mental development by "making them smarter" or enhance people's intelligence and spatial reasoning. This has been a much disputed claim since it has been made. In Nature, it is explained that investigators randomly gave standard tests in relation to spatial reasoning after subjects either listened to Mozart, relaxing music, or silence. They found an enhancement in those who listened to Mozart, however all they have shown is that there is a pattern in neuron firing sequences. In addition, there were no long-term effects which could lead to an assumption of increased intelligence. After this hint of a possible intelligence booster was made public, the popularity skyrocketed.
Today, many expecting parents play classical music (especially Mozart) to their pregnant bellies. In the Washington Times, Brighid Moret discusses "Babies and Music". While playing classical music has had proven effects on short term memory, no long-term effects have been proven. Thus, Moret claims any type of music played to babies can improve their musical abilities. Musical abilities can later lead to improvement in hand-eye coordination and creativity.
This finding is important because while it agrees with the current Mozart Effect beliefs, some expecting parents may still believe their babies will be overall more intelligent with the aid of classical music. Although there could easily be a third factor in Moret's findings, parents may not be wasting their time by falling for the Mozart Effect. If children's creativity and coordination may improve due to exposure to music, they will be seen as better candidates for activities and indirectly judged as smarter.
While the initial Mozart Effect is proven false for long-term intelligent enhancement, these findings may not be far off.

There was a video clip that became extremely popular on the internet that sparked the question that there was a chance twins have their own language. There has always been a question in everyone's minds about twins having their own language. It certainly seems possible since twins are genetic clones of each other.


The first time I saw this video, I thought it was adorable, and the idea that twins could have their own language was fascinating. Psychologists that analyzed the video claimed that the twins were imitating the way they observe their parents communicate, some even claimed that it is possible twins can be communicating in their own language. However, research has shown that the phenomenon known as cryptophasia is only a myth. Cryptophasia has been disputed by research that states it is only a result of phonological impairment and other types of language delay. Since twins are more likely to make the same mistakes in articulation and pronunciation, they will be more likely to understand one another than other people involved in their lives. Even after reading about this research in the Lilienfeld text, I am a skeptic. I still think it is a possibility for twins to form their own secret language. It would only make sense since they share the same exact DNA.

Eating Disorders

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There are two main eating disorders in the world, bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. Bulimia nervosa is the eating disorder associated with a pattern of bingeing and purging in an effort to lose or maintain weight. This means that a person who is bulimic eats food then forces themselves to throw it up. Bulimia is the most common eating disorder, afflicting 1 to 3 percent of the population. Anorexia nervosa is the eating disorder associated with excessive weight loss and the irrational perception that one is overweight. Though 95 percent of bulimics are women, it affects both men and women in the world. In my opinion I believe eating disorders are centered around the "image" of a specific body shape of women that the media has set for people. It was stated in the Lilienfeld reading that between 1959-1999, Playboy centerfold models were below the average weight. Women are prone to eating disorders because they see other women portrayed in magazines or posters that are 5-11 feet tall and 117 pounds.
If the media would change the image of what they expect women to look like, and use average weight women with average height in their advertising, I believe it would lower the percent of people with an eating disorder. Within our reading, it states that "Anorexia is present not only in Western Countries, but also in regions that have had little exposure to Western Media," (Lilienfeld 437).

Sexual orientation has some foundation in biology. In a study conducted by Simon LeVay it was shown that gay men have a larger cluster of cells in their hypothalamus than heterosexual men. LeVay conducted his study blindly so not to bias the results. He examined the brains of patients without knowing which brains belonged to homosexual men, and which belonged to heterosexual men until after he examined all of them and recorded the results. The corpus callosum has been shown to be larger in homosexual men than in heterosexual men. This proves that genetics play some role in determining sexual orientation. It has also been shown that identical twins are more likely to both exhibit homosexual orientations than fraternal twins. This was demonstrated in a study done in 1993 by Bailey and others, and replicated by another study done in Australia by Bailey and others in 1997. The first study found that 52 percent of identical twin brothers of homosexual men were also homosexual, while only 22 percent of fraternal twin brothers were also homosexual. The follow up study concluded that 48 percent of identical twins were both homosexual while only 16 percent of fraternal twins were both homosexual.

Prenatal hormones have also been studied as a cause of sexual orientation. Some studies have shown that homosexual men have fingerprint patterns like those of heterosexual women. Homosexual women also have a more masculine ratio of the length of the index finger to the ring finger. Some scientists believe that when girls are exposed to more testosterone in the womb develop more masculine brains and that when boys are exposed to too little amounts of testosterone they develop more feminine brains.
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On April 29, 1999 the nation witnessed a school shooting that caught us all by surprise. There were 12 students and 1 teacher killed. Many wondered what could possibly drive these two young individuals to create such a massacre. After further investigation, it seemed that it had been a result of harassment from their classmates. However, investigators later learned that the boys had planned out the attack by using a violent videogame called "Counter-Strike". "Counter-Strike" is a video game in which the player uses realistic weapons to kill the opposing players before they themselves are killed. They created a map similar to their school, planned their attack, and rehearsed it time after time using this video game.
Many argue that violent videogames are to blame for violent acts such as Columbine. I believe that this is not at all the case. "Counter-Strike" was used as a practice tool, it was not the boys' influence. We must consider that the boys had many other issues involving why they were influenced to do such a thing. They were stressed with the harassment from classmates, poor parenting (some argue), and a sociopathic personality. Video games alone are not enough to drive one person to murder another. A normal person would have the sensitivity to know the difference between what is acceptable in a video game and what is acceptable in real-life.
Video games are only helpful to those that are already violent, it does not create violent behavior.

What about the children?

Violent Video Games.jpg

Many decisions we make concerned with the future focus on one important aspect; children are considered the future, and therefore we must consider their benefit when making decisions. One problem in particular concerns the role of violent video games leading to aggression in adolescence. Some research has shown that violent television programs and video games can prime the idea of violence as well as increase their overall arousal and energy. Children who have played violent video games also show less sensitivity to the negative aspects of violence. It is also plausible that these violent paraphernalia equip children with the strategies for becoming violent.

Contrastingly so, other research has put forward the idea that violence may be a result of a third factor. It is possible that a causal relationship between violent video game and aggression does not exist. One source states that depression may be a cause of aggression in children.

This matter prompts me to question the validity of tests. One researcher studied aggression by measuring how loud blasts were after playing violent video games however, how accurate are the measurements of aggression? How else can aggression be measured? Additionally, is it possible to have a participant play video games and not respond aggressively subsequent to the game? Are these participants further studied for other effects in response to these games? Furthermore, can parenting that includes reinforcement and punishment counteract the effects of violent video games on aggression?

Read more about video games and aggression here:
Violent Video Games Lead to Aggression in Youth
Video games do no harm to children

Theories of Emotion

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There has been much dispute over how our brains create emotion. As of today, there are two accepted theories of how this occurs, The James-Lange Theory, one of the oldest cognitive theories derived from William James but also accredited to Carl Lange who worked on a similar theory around the same time, and also the Cannon-Bard Theory developed by Walter Cannon and Philip Bard. The James-Lange theory depicts emotion as resulting from our interpretations of our physiological reactions to stimuli. In other words, we may hear footsteps behind us while walking in a dark alley, our hear rate quickens and our palms start to sweat, after that we experience the emotion fear. This theory is supported by evidence of patients who suffered from spinal cord injuries, creating less bodily functions, experiencing less emotion. However, this evidence could be biases because the researcher knew which patients had spinal injuries and the findings have not been replicated. According to the Cannon-Bard Theory, an emotion inducing stimuli simultaneously produces both the emotion and the bodily reactions. For example, you may be awoken by a loud crash of thunder and become frightened and start breathing heavily at the same time. This theory is less flawed that the James-Lange Theory in that most bodily functions take a few seconds to occur and emotion is experienced right away, also many of us are unaware of these functions making it impossible for us to interpret them. Neither one has been proven right nor wrong but they both help us begin to understand how our brain and body work with emotions.

harry harlow.jpgUnlike many animals, infant humans do not instinctively imprint to their mothers, however, they do develop a bond. For many years, psychologists believed infants bonded to the caregiver that provided them with food and nourishment, and this just happened to be the mother. Harry Harlow proved this assumption wrong.

In the 1950s, Harlow tested this assumption using infant rhesus monkeys. These monkeys have a close genetic similarity to humans, so they were desirable subjects to study. He took these baby rhesus monkeys and separated them from their mothers at birth, and kept them separate. They had limited contact with other monkeys.

In order to test if nourishment or comfort was more important to the baby monkeys, he created two "mothers." The mother that represented nourishment was a metal wired frame that had a bottle sticking out of it to provide food for the baby. The mother that represented comfort had a soft frame covered in cloth and was heated, but provided no nourishment.

After placing the infant monkeys in the cage with the two "mothers," he found that the assumption that baby monkeys clung to the mother that provided nourishment was wrong. In reality, it was the complete opposite. The baby rhesus monkeys clung to the mother that provided comfort, and only went to the mother that provided nourishment when hunger pushed them to. Not only did the baby rhesus monkeys cling to it under normal circumstances, they also tightly clung to the comforting mother when there was a frightening stimuli, showing that the comfort of contact with a mother provides reassurance.

This research is the basis of the term contact comfort. Contact comfort is defined as the positive emotions afforded by touch. This was an important finding in Psychology because it helps us understand why touch is so important to us, and that we have a desire and need for it. By looking at these animals that have a high genetic similarity to us, it gives us a greater understanding of why human babies create a bond with their mothers.

Click here to watch video footage of the experiment

Babbling Twins

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Video: Talking Twin Babies

This first time I ever saw the "Talking Twin Babies" I found it absolutely entertaining as well as fascinating, because there was a curious thought that maybe they were speaking their own language. The video has over 48,000,000 hits, as the world is just as entertained and fascinated as myself. The comments below the video are filled with different YouTube member's interpretation of the dialouge. After reading my psych book, I've learned that what we'd like to view as crytosphasia, an invented language, is rather an impairment and delay of language. Instead the twins are just babbling, in the attempt to use English. After learning about this, it takes some of the magic away from the video. Yet, the twins are more likely to understand each other's errors in speech while attempting to use English. So what we are experiencing is not a secret language between the twins, but a special understanding between the twins in what the other is trying to say in their native language. Even though my psych book has some what spoiled the curiousness of the video for me, I still find the video entertaining as ever.

spanking_0409.jpgSpanking is a long debated technique of parenting. Severity can range from a light tap to a few fierce slaps on the behind. Many people have a clear cut view on the issue, but what are the pro's and con's of each view? It's difficult to tell with all the ethics involved.

The most basic pro of spanking is that it likely stops the malbehavior and even that is debatable. Dr. Robert Lazelere of Oklahoma State University promotes the use of conditioned spanking in a light manner. Two open hand swats in a non-abusive way is what he advocates. This practice involves the use of operant conditioning. Spanking is the negative punishment of the situation. As pointed out by Lilienfield text (Pg 215) there are always a few negatives when it comes to punishment. These include, not showing the right thing to do in the situation and promotion of aggressive behavior. This must also be done within the appropriate age group for the punishment to be successful.

As expected there are many more reasons not to spank your child than to spank your child. Short term effects of one year-old's was showing more aggressive behavior at age two and performing worse on tests of thinking skills. However, these are merely short term effects and most definitely to not prove the emotional distress people claim of spanked children. Other studies have shown that there is a long lasting effect of spanked children in the form of antisocial behavior and being more likely to get into fights later on in life. This is a great example of correlation versus causation. Does the spanking really cause the aggression or is the child already being spanked because of aggressive behavior? Children who may need the corporal form of punishment may already be aggressively behaved children.

In short, the use of spanking is a personal decision, as long as it is used sparingly and non-abusively. Alway remember there is a fine line between abusive and non-abusive. The use of spanking will most likely remain controversial for a long time and it is unlikely one study will disprove or approve the use of spanking.

Police Ticket

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Have you ever taken a test and gone with the answer that is our gut reaction? Or have you ever chosen something because your gut reaction was to choose it? Every day we go through our day choosing something because our gut told us too. Antonio Damasio made the theory of somatic marker theory is the theory that proposes that we unconsciously and instantaneously use our "gut reactions"- especially our autonomic responses. For example, one day I was driving at night, and I had to get home as soon as I could. I had to get home on time before curfew, so I had the option to speed, but I had a bad feeling that I shouldn't speed. As I kept on driving, I saw a cop looking for people speeding. I went with my gut reaction that to speed would be a bad idea. If I didn't go with my gut reaction I would have regretted it later, by getting a ticket. Going with how you emotionally feel could pay off in the end. That our emotions play a big role in our decision making and how we respond to decisions.


Facial expressions play a crucial role when expressing one's emotions or thoughts. People tend to smile or laugh to express their happiness, frown or cry to express their sadness, scowl to express their anger, and so forth. Like this, some emotions can be recognized by almost the same facial expressions of most people in the world regardless of their cultural diversities, growth backgrounds, and/or disabilities.

The claim that some primary emotions are cross-culturally universal has made by Paul Ekman, a psychologist who studies emotions and the facial expressions related to them. Those primary emotions are said to be happiness, sadness, surprise, anger, disgust, fear, and contempt. The reason why they are called "primary" is because they are based emotions, which means that other emotions arise from them. Ekman and his colleagues identified six of these seven primary emotions.

Since we all know which facial expression indicates which emotions, feelings, and sometimes even thoughts, it has been an important mode of communication. This mode of communication is especially useful when one is a mute or when one is trying to express his or her emotions to a foreigner. Like this, since facial expressions play such a big role in human society, I want to know if there is one that might display different emotion(s) in different cultures, societies, or countries so that I don't give anyone a wrong expression by mistake.

Here is a youtube video clip of Dr. David Matsumoto of San Francisco State, researching on
Science in Action: Facial Expressions

According to the study of Judith Wallerstein in 1989, divorce causes long-term damage to children. Wallerstein did a 25-year study of 60 different families. She claims that the children of divorced parents had trouble setting their career goals as well as maintaining stable romantic relationships. However, Wallerstein's findings are hard to analyze because they don't know if her findings reflect effects of divorce itself or just the general effects of stressful disruption in families. According to a study done by Amato and Booth in 1997, and Rutter in 1972, the amount of conflict between the parents before divorce can cause more or less effects on the children. According to their study, if the severity of conflict is greater between the parents, the less severe the effects are on the children. This is true, probably because the children are just relieved that their parents stopped their intense conflicts. If the conflict wasn't as severe, the children are more likely to be effected long-term.


I myself have experienced what it's like to grow up with conflicted parents who later divorced. My parents use to argue a whole lot when I was young, and then they got divorced when I was 14. I don't know if all the arguing or the divorce even affected me at all, but I can see some signs of it. I'm currently an undecided student who hasn't established my career goals, so I kind of fit the mold with Wallerstein's findings of children with divorced parents having trouble establishing career goals and stable romantic relationships. After finding out about this claim, I wonder if there really is a correlation between divorce and children's futures.

Picture- http://www.agamecalledjustice.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/divorce_children.jpg
Source- Psych textbook chapter 10- page 391

Baby Einstein

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Walt Disney company is known worldwide. A lot of children have grown up watching Disney movies. Disney's main demographic is children. In the early 2000's Disney began marketing a product towards babies as young as three months old. This product, the Baby Einstein Dvd's, were purported to make babies smarter. It is clear that this is quite an extraordinary claim. Although on the current Baby Einstein website it is never directly stated that their products will make a baby smarter, it is heavily implied. Even the name, Baby Einstein, implies that should your baby use this product they will become a little baby genius. At the very least it implies that the Dvds are good for babies.

As we've learned all extraordinary claims should be looked at with a scientific eye. Parents and caregivers should do their research and look at the facts. They might stop and ask themselves, has the world been overrun by genius babies? Looking around they'll find that no, it has not. On a more scientific level however, they could talk to a pediatrician or do a little research and look at academic and scientifically reviewed sources. Take for instance, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). A study by the AAP found that electronic media for children under two is unhealthy. Furthermore they found that programing marketed at infants and toddlers as educational is not supported by evidence.

More parents are becoming aware that Dvds such as the Baby Einstein Dvds should not be used to replace actual learning interaction for babies and some have even filed a suit against Disney's Baby Einstein products. Because of this Disney has offered a refund on the products. While some see this as an admission of guilt Disney maintains that this is their way of showing they stand behind the Baby Einstein Dvds and likens the suit to a smear campaign.

Ultimately it is up to parents to decide whether or not the Baby Einstein Dvds are suitable for their baby. Hopefully through utilizing the scientific thinking principles by realizing that the Dvd's are making an extraordinary claim, they'll do a little research and be able to make an informed decision.


giacomo-jaquerio-the-fountain-of-youth.jpegIn the 21st century, people are living longer than ever, and a greater percentage of the population is elderly than ever before. Unfortunately, some of the physical changes we experience as we age are a decline in muscle tone, diminished sensory processes, and decreased flexibility in motor skills. The good news is, by remaining physically and mentally active, we can potentially affect our biological and psychological age, if not chronological age. But soon there might be another way to slow down or even remove some of the effects of aging.

According to the New York Times, scientists at the Mayo Clinic have determined that senescent cells, or cells that have stopped dividing, are responsible for promoting tissue aging. Their study was published in Nature. Senescent cells accumulate in aging tissues and cause inflammation. The research team experimented with two groups of fast-aging mice and created a drug that caused the senescent cells to self-destruct. The first group of mice had their senescent cells destroyed right away, and they did not develop cataracts, did not experience loss of muscle tone, retained fat layers and therefore avoided wrinkling, and their activity level was higher. The second group of mice weren't given the drug until they were middle aged. Although they had already developed cataracts, the aging process was still delayed in their muscles and they retained their fat. The bad news is, the drug didn't appear to work on the heart or liver. Also, the mice didn't live longer - they just lived healthier. Next, the researchers will perform the same tests with ordinary mice to see whether their lives can be extended through the removal of the senescent cells.fountain of youth cartoon.png

Although mice and humans age differently, this research seems promising to me. It shows that perhaps some human, age-related problems could be avoided or delayed through the removal of senescent cells. I hope that others will attempt to replicate these results. But scientists would also need to determine whether senescent cells provide any benefits before simply destroying them. Additionally, they'd need to consider issues like how to safely remove the cells from humans, whether there would be side effects, how many cells would need to be removed, whether they should be removed once or over time, and at what point(s) in the life cycle to remove them. Someday this may prove to be the answer for those looking for a way to reduce certain effects of aging.

One way to study emotion in the psychological world is through the use of the International Affective Picture System (IAPS). In this study, the experimenter shows a series of pictures to participants. The participants are observed based on their Fear Potentiated Startle, which is a measure of how much fear a certain picture evokes. Participants are shown three types of pictures: pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant. For most people, the pleasant pictures evoke pleasure, not fear. The neutral pictures don't really produce either response. As expected, the unpleasant pictures evoke fear in participants. The interesting part; how psychopathic people react to the IAPS test?

This is a graph of the responses. The top shows psychopathic responses and the bottom shows the non-psychopathic people. psychopaths.png

I think this is an interesting concept because if the affect the pictures have on psychopaths. Psychopaths produce the same responses for the pleasant and unpleasant images as other people. The difference is in the unpleasant pictures. Not only do psychopaths produce no fear when they see disturbing images, they feel pleasure. People in pain are pleasurable to psychopaths, which is probably why they put themselves in those types of situations. They get pleasure from other people suffering and from dangerous situations that are scary to most people.

I have always wondered how somebody could actually kill another human being. How does your conscience not kick in and make you realize what you are about to do? Whenever I see any type of torture of another person I think about this. The answer is simple; it makes them happy. In some sick twisted way, their brains send signals of joy and good feelings when they see horrible stimuli. Maybe some day we will be able to find a way to correct this problem and make the emotions of psychopaths the way they are supposed to be.

While it is easy to conclude that violent video games cause children to become more aggressive, perhaps there are alternative explanations to these claims. One example that involves multiple causes of aggression involves the shooting that took place in Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado in 1999. The two shooters were high schoolers who suffered from bullying, depression, and the need of belonging. In other words, depression could be a cause of violence that is often overlooked. Eric Harris who was involve in the shootings suffered from depression, anger, and suicidal thoughts. As a result his psychiatrist proscribed him with medications that are known to increase aggression. The shooters also were both victims of bullying for many years and were struggling to feel accepted by their peers. Perhaps, violent videos are not to blame and the source of aggression lied in the choice of music the boys choose to listen to or even the choice of books they decided to read. "Research is inconclusive," emphasises Patrick Kierkegaard of the University of Essex, England. "It is possible that certain types of video game could affect emotions, views, behavior, and attitudes, however, so can books, which can lead to violent behavior on those already predisposed to violence," he states. To conclude, violent videos games can cause aggression but the effect is extremely small. In addition, only certain individuals are prone to be strongly affected by video games. In the example involving the Columbine shooting there are multiple alternative explanations. Another could include gun control laws and the availability in firearms in the United States that allow under aged children to possess such weapons.

Somatic Marker Theory

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Car on Snow.jpg
There had been many theories and concepts that I like, but there is only one that I feel is right. Well, to me at least. The somatic marker theory is the only theory I feel that it would fit me out of all the other theories. The somatic marker theory is when you go with what your gut is saying or feeling. If your guts feel like doing it than you do it, but if your guts do not feel like doing it than do not do it. In other words, I think it is trying to say that if you feel right or good about doing something, than you do it, but if you have a feeling that something is going to become wrong or does not feel good about doing something than do not do it.

It was a cold snowy day on the year of 2007. My friends and I usually go to Forest Lake, MN every weekend to hang out with our other buddies. This one snowy weekend, I decided not to go because I had a bad feeling about going, so I held back and my friends left. It was the next day when my friends called me and told me about what happened. I was interested in their story of what happened, so they continued the story. Long in short, their car broke down because it was too cold and they was stuck out in the cold for a good 30 minutes waiting for a towing truck to come. I was happy that I went with my guts because if I have not, I would have a similar story like my friends to tell to people what happened.

This made me realize that I better start going with what my guts want me to do or act. If I go with my guts, I tend to not regret my decision later on, but if I acted the way I did because somebody told me too, I might regret it later on. For this circumstance, the gut feeling saved me from having to stay out in the cold. I could use this gut feeling for when I am choosing a degree because there is always time for me to get another degree after the first one if I do not like the first one, so might as well go with how my guts feel like.

Kardashian Fairytale?

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To read more, visit Huffington Post

There is no "happily ever after" for Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries who have filed for divorce after being married for only 72 days. This divorce was brought on by Kim, who claims she was motivated to make this decision by her 'intuition' and that she needs 'to follow her heart.' Unfortunately the sustainability of any celebrity marriage is questionable, but 72 days is extremely short. There were a lot of events that lead up to the marriage including: interviews, talk show appearances, reality show specials, and even a 4-hour wedding special. All of this hoopla surrounding the wedding and the relationship of the couple makes one wonder what went wrong.
During the interview, Kim was asked if she and Kris had taken measures to save the marriage like counseling, or talking to one another. Kim responded by saying that it was what she felt in her heart and she was just following her intuition. This statement is a suggestion of the somatic marker theory; she was following her "gut reaction" when she made this decision. However, not too long ago she claimed that she "married for love." The choice she made was solely based on her emotions.
During the interview, Kim shows one of the primary emotions of sadness that is also enforced with no facial movement or other expression of emotion. One hypothesis of why the couple did not last is that they did not know each other for a long enough time. This is supported by the mere exposure effect - they may be compatible but simply have not been around each other enough times to feel favorable to one another, especially because he lives in New York and she lives in Los Angeles. In all, the marriage was created from emotions and ended because of emotions.


Everywhere you walk on campus, you'll see people with headphones listening to music. Who doesn't love music? It's a part of our society today. Luckily, it has been shown in research that being a part of making music and playing a musical instrument can be very helpful if started early on in adolescence. Key word is early in adolescence, emphasizing that it's much more beneficial for the parents to put their kids into music at a younger age. It has constantly been proven that starting music at a young age mostly affects success in science and math. A study done by The College Board shows that high school music students score higher on the math portion of the SAT compared to those who aren't involved with music. Neurological research also shows that piano students have 34 percent higher on tests that measure proportion reasoning. Music can do 60% of the teaching work in just 5% of the time. It was said that Ancient Greeks sang their dramas because they understood how music could help them remember easier. Think about it, don't most of you remember words of songs very easily? When both sides of the brain are being used to do this, it causes the brain to be more capable of processing information. It's also been shown that not only does playing music help the brain with learning, but if you listen to it while studying it helps. Studying with music relaxes muscles, causes brain waves to slow down, and decreases pulse and blood pressure. However it needs to be played at a soft level. Listening to a piece such as one of Mozart's Sonatas before taking a test has been proven to improve test scores, this is called the Mozart Effect. What could sound better then being able to play a musical instrument beautifully, and getting good grades out of it as well? Talent at it's finest!


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Proximity is taken a little over board with the phenomenon of imprinting. Imprinting, in psychology, a form of learning in which a very young animal fixes its attention on the first object with which it has visual, auditory, or tactile experience and thereafter follows that object. The man most associated for discovering and testing his Nobel winning break through, is biologist Konrad Lorenz. As the book says, 99 percent of the time, the first object that is imprinted on by the offspring, is none other than the mother. The time which imprinting occurs is called the critical sensitive period, and in birds such as ducks and geese, the time for imprinting is 24-48 hours after hatching. During this time, duck and geese offspring will imprint on anything from a human, a dog, bouncing balls, or even boxes on wheels. There are numerous learning methods in our world, but imprinting is the most irreversible, as it is least likely to be unlearned or forgotten. Although humans don't have a finite critical sensitive period of 24 hours like duck and geese offspring, recent studies have shown that in human babies, there is some connection to critical sensitive period and fear of strangers--which occurs at roughly the eight month range.

The Mozart Effect

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- Can this music really have an effect on your intelligence?

As a society today, intelligence is something highly valued. The society is so competitive. Life, Education, Jobs are all places where IQ seems to be the most important factor, the make it or break it thing. Everybody wants to be as smart as possible, and if there are short cuts to increasing intelligence people want to know. But is the constant quest for easy ways to increase people's IQ just increasing the amounts of extraordinary claims?

The Mozart Effect is the claim that IQ increases after listening to classical music. Is there extraordinary evidence for this extraordinary claim? There are no definite results that this is true. The areas in the brain that are activated when listening to this type of music is the prefrontal and temporal regions. These regions are involved in music processing. Therefore, they suggest that this would prime areas involved in spatial reasoning. The enhancement at the most in studies lasts about 12 minutes. Many other studies there is no difference. Some studies have found that there's a temporarily increase of cognitive skills, but other studies have found no evidence of this effect. Since the replicable studies don't always have statistical evidence, there is no extraordinary evidence to back up the claim of the Mozart Effect.

Like many extraordinary claims, the media got involved and made up a pseudoscience. They made an industry out of it. They promote the unverified claims; yet continue to make a lot of money out of. It's not surprising that people are so quick to buy this though. Who doesn't want instant an increase of intelligence?

- An example of how this unproven claim is making money.


Researchers have now found that violent shooter games including Call of Duty, Halo, Medal of Honor and many more, have shown an increase in brain activity of arousal and decrease of brain activity in the areas of attention and self-control.
Vince Matthews and a group of his researchers did a study on teens using two video games. One which was violent (Medal of Honor), the other game which wasn't (Need for Speed). They made two groups each with 22 teens in it and let one group play the violent game and the other group the non-violent game. Right after the kids were done playing they were given a MRI. The results were that there was a negative effect on brain areas of the teens that played the violent "Medal of Honor" video game compared to those whose played the non-violent "Need for Speed" video game.
It is unknown if playing the violent game has a permanent effect on the brain, but it has shown that violent games do cause increased brain activity in arousal. But it is shown that correlation does not equal causation.
I do believe that violent video games cause arousal in the brain compared to other non- violent video games, but it doesn't mean that people can blame the video game industry for teen violence in the real world. A lot of times for kids that are to young to play these violent video games they are allowed by their parents to play them.


Interpersonal Attractions

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Interpersonal attraction is the attraction between people which leads to friendships and romantic relationships. Three major principles guide attraction and relationship formation: proximity, similarity, and reciprocity.

One of the major influences on interpersonal attraction is proximity. Proximity is a physical nearness that can be a predictor of attraction. For example, people who work together, live by each other, or are in the same classes would typically be more attracted to each other. The mere exposure effect helps play a role in this principle of attraction because our attraction to someone increases the more we see them.


Proximity has played a key role in my current relationship. My boyfriend lives in my neighborhood which resulted in us hanging out every day. Because we saw each other so much and became really close, our attraction of each other increased.

Have you ever heard the saying opposites attract and likes repel? Well, this isn't necessarily the case. Similarity is another predictor of attractions. Those who are share the same qualities and like the same sorts of thing are more likely to become attracted to one another. Online dating services have caught on to the fact that similarity raises content which is why they try to match up people that have things in common.


The last predictor of attraction is reciprocity. Reciprocity is the give and take in a relationship. We tend to feel obligated to give what we get and maintain equity in a relationship. It reflects the idea that people feel better about themselves knowing that they are likeable and they enjoy the company of those who give them positive feelings. So for example: if someone told you they liked you, your attraction towards that person would increase.

To get more information you can go to this link.

During this weeks discussion we debated the long time dispute of violent video games and their affects on behavior. While some say that violent video games are positively correlated with violent behavior I would have to disagree. Instead of the video games causing the behavior I would infer that it is the environment and the lifestyle of the gamer that affects behavior.
Those who play countless hours of video games lack the interaction with others unless it is done through gaming and the attendance of school. Those who play video games for a majority of their time also lack interaction with their family in which they may only see them at the dinner table or any other required family tradition. My point being is that the lack of emotionally pleasing interactions can lead to depressive and or self-destructive behavior which can then lead to violence.
However, this isn't necessarily the child's fault. The potential reason for playing video games in the first place is due to a hostile home environment where the parents either neglect or abuse the child when interacted with one another. Bullying may also be a cause in which the child continuously goes to a hostile school environment and the only way to cope is to stay home and play in his or her fantasy as a level sixty warrior in World of Warcraft. These hostile interactions can lead to self destructive behavior as the child has no one to turn to but only the gaming console that has always been there for them.
So with these thoughts in mind who could blame a child for showing aggressive behavior when they have no emotional connection in their life. Now granted I am not saying this occurs with every child who plays video games but I am saying that those who believe that video games cause violent behavior need to account for other variables. I myself am a gamer and yes even though I get angry like every other human being I have not been involved in any juvenile or violent activity due to the healthy environment that I was raised in. Therefore, violent behavior is not caused by the content but the environment in which the games are played in.


weighing the chances

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According a myth found on snoops.com A woman over the age of 40 has a better chance of being victim of a terrorist attack than getting married. There are a few principles of scientific thinking that would prove this to be an unproven claim. Firstly, terrorist attacks are so rare and usually not specifically aimed at 40 year old women, so it would be hard to replicate any kind of testing to see which is more likely. Also this is a pretty extraordinary claim, and so it would require extraordinary evidence to prove. There's no real evidence that supports this other than maybe the number of women over 40 that get married vs. the number of women over 40 that are killed in an attack, but even then that leads to causation vs. correlation, meaning was it that those women were over 40 that caused the attack, or is it possibly that being over 40 is the reason they get married. Bottom line there's so much randomness and variables in either situation that this wouldn't be a scientific fact.
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A love addiction

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Elaine Hatfied and Richard Rapson emphasize that there are two main types of love: passionate and companionate. Passionate love is described as being a romantic and powerfully overwhelming longing for ones partner. Many people who've experienced passionate love know how hard it is to get over a long-term relationship. Evidence has proven such that dealing with romantic rejection is similar to kicking an addiction. One study that was conducted consisted of heartbroken men and women viewing pictures of their previous partner. Results showed that regions in the brain that were activated while looking at the pictures associated with rewards, addiction cravings, control of emotions, feelings of attachment and physical pain and distress. These findings could be correlated to why people find it hard to move on from the break up and in some instances people are propelled to act upon extreme behaviors, such as stalking and homicide, after losing love. The next study was similar to the previous one except it asked participants to think about events that had occurred with their partner while looking at photos of them. Following that the participants proceed to complete a math problem to suppress romantic feelings. Then they were presented with a familiar neutral stimulus, such as a picture of a classmate. Results showed that regions in the brain called the nucleus accumbens and the prefrontal cortex were activated during the study. These regions are correlated with intense cocaine and cigarette addiction. There was also show of increased activity in the brain's insular cortex and the anterior cingulated, regions associated with physical pain and distress. Even though there is no concrete causation from the studies, it still can be used to decipher why the end of a romantic bond can seem like enslavement to your partner. Although it seems as if it will never end, time is the only treatment. The more time that passes after the break up the less activity requested from regions in the brain associated to attachment.

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