Recently in Writing 3 Category

Autism is Treatable Through Shaping?

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JoeMohs.jpgStudies have suggested that as many as 1 in 150 children are diagnosed with Autism in the United States, more than previously thought. Due to that staggering statistic, many are becoming incredibly concerned for the future generations and there are several questions as to whether or not the prevalence of this disorder will continue to climb. There is also dispute regarding whether or not the number of Autistic children is growing or if the techniques for diagnosing and researching Autism have improved.

The cause of Autism remains unknown, but there are unproven hypotheses that point fingers at diet, digestive tract changes, mercury poisoning, the body's inability to use vitamins and minerals normally, and vaccines, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Also, it seems to have some ties to genetic factors. It is significantly (3 - 4 times) more prominent in boys than girls. Autism is typically diagnosed by age two, when parents notice that their child has difficulty with pretend play, social interactions and communication.

In one of Professor Peterson's lectures he showed a video of a former University of Minnesota student named Joe Mohs. The video told about Joe's childhood diagnosis with Autism and his astounding recovery. This genuinely stunned me, as I was completely unaware that Autism was treatable in any way. Joe recovered after he underwent an intensive, 8-hour-a-day therapy program at age three from Dr. Lovaas at UCLA. The Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) techniques used by Dr. Lovaas involve a modified version of shaping (among other therapy techniques), a version of Operant Conditioning first discovered by B. F. Skinner. Shaping involves rewarding desirable behavior. ABA at one point also used aversives, which involves punishing unwanted behavior. ABA no longer uses adversives and the use of adversives was very controversial. Psychology is constantly evolving and making remarkable breakthroughs that affect the quality of life for countless individuals, a feat not easily accomplished.

More on Joe Mohs:

A Funny Take on Operant Conditioning (a clip from Big Bang Theory)

Linguistic Determinism

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Linguistic Determinism is the view that all thought is represented verbally and that, as a result, language defines thinking. In other words, without language one has no thought. And the language one speaks defines the way one speaks. This is a compelling view because adults have no clear memories (generally) before the age of three. This leads me to think that, if linguistic determinism was completely supported by the scientific community, it would explain why as children we cannot form memories.
baby talk.jpgChildren are not able to form words until the age of 1 without the ability to form speech, according to linguistic determinism, a child would be unable to form thoughts. Without a thought process or any sense of self, there can be no memories. Linguistic determinism explains the absence of memories before the age of three.
I believe that an interesting topic of research would be a study of the correlation between memory and language.
I find this link compelling based on my own life experiences. I have almost no memories before the age of four. The hazy memories I do have before the age of four are snap shots at best. The understanding behind the events is also non-existent. I find a direct correlation to the vividness of my memories based on the rate of speech production I had. As I aged my memories become more and more understandable.
It occured to me while writing this that perhaps a study has been done related to what I am suggesting. Upon researching this, I have found several studies that support my belief that this needs to be researched in some way.

Downhill Skiing Interference

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Proactive Interference occurs when someone has old information about how to do things or how to think that interfere with how they learn new tasks or thought processes.

I believe this research finding is important because it explains why some simple tasks can be extra hard for some people. It is one of the factors for why even a professional athlete might struggle to be successful in another similar sport. I have personally experienced this research finding while downhill skiing.

When I was young I was taught how to ski by my grandfather and dad. The way they taught me worked great and I was able to get down the hill like a speed demon. When I was in high school I joined the downhill ski team and was met with a big surprise. Although I was able to ski fast, my form was completely wrong. The way my dad and grandfather had taught me wasn't completely wrong, but it was limiting my potential to be even faster. My coach's main criticism was that I was not leaning forward enough in my boots. I found this to be one of the hardest things to change about my skiing form. It felt so uncomfortable and unnatural. Trying to change caused me to crash a couple times.

Today I am able to easily ski with my weight in the front of my boots and I find it very natural. I can tell that by changing my form I can ski even better, but it was not easy to change my old habits. I had to endure many frustrating practices before I was able to ski confidently with my weight shifted forward.

After learning this concept I have wondered if there are techniques for dismantling your old memories faster. I feel that many people experience proactive interference and the frustrations associated with it. Because so many people have experienced it I wonder if there is a more systematic approach someone can take to learning a new task that helps you forget your old memories.

RE: The Night Terror Strikes back!

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After reading this, I can personally say that I used to have night terrors. When I was younger, my dad would tell me of the many nights that he would wake up I would be standing there, in front of him, looking extremely distraught and making weird noises. He would then have to get up and lead me back into bed, where I would sleep for the rest of the night. When he would tell me what happened the next day, I would have no recollection. Eventually, these have gone away, as you stated, and I have not had one of these episodes in a long time.

That said, this article claims that night terrors are mainly found in boys ages 5-7, which coincides with when I had my episodes. I found it quite unusual that your 17-year-old cousin would suffer from these, even though it was still entirely possible. Looking into the subject, it was interesting to see documented night terrors on film. I found it odd that through all of the apparent distress the subjects are going through, they usually don't remember it, and seem to not even know they do it. In the case of children, it is exponentially more common for the parents seeing it happen to be more scared than the child experiencing it.

It was also interesting to find out the reason behind children suffering from night terrors more than adults. This is due to the fact that children spend more time in non-REM sleep than adults, and the fact that night terrors occur in non-REM sleep. It was also interesting to see that nightmares occur in REM sleep, so there is really no link between nightmares and night terrors.

For the Love of the Game

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Everyone has experienced at one point or another. Whether it's watching the football game on television or a sad movie. I'm talking about the emotional feelings you get when watching someone else, perhaps on television. The moments where you feel like you're actually in the game or you find yourself smiling or crying while watching that heart-wrenching movie. One of the more recent explanations for this is the discovery of the function of "mirror neurons" in the brain. The textbook briefly covered the basic idea of mirror neurons and the affects they may have on human behavior. Mirror neurons may be responsible for feelings such as empathy and may play an interesting role in learning.

These mirror neurons were originally found accidentally in an experiment with monkeys. Scientists at a laboratory in Parma, Italy, where researching a neuron that fired every time the monkey grabbed a peanut. One day the monkey was just sitting there when he observed one of the scientists grab one of the peanuts. When the scientist grabbed the peanut, the same cell that fired when the monkey grabbed the peanut also fired when the scientist grabbed the peanut. This implies that one of the same neurons is used whether watching someone do something or actually doing it yourself.

Similar results were found in humans. In this video a man is shown multiple pictures of people with different facial expressions and asked to imitate each one and his brain is scanned. The activity is then repeated except he simply looks at the pictures and doesn't move. The results of the scan showed that the "mirror area" that is busy in the brain when he made the facial expressions was the same area that was busy when looking at the pictures.

These mirror neurons may explain why we get so excited watching sporting events. Our brains are firing in ways similar to the players in the game so we too feel like we are actually in the game. We feel stressed or sad when our team is losing and shout and scream when our team is winning. It's the same with movies, when we see a sad scene, often times we too feel sad. Our brains our linked to the emotions portrayed by the actors on the scene. Is this why we also wince at the sight of other people experiencing pain? Do we actually feel a little bit of their pain because or brains are acting in similar ways?

One other interesting finding that I found interesting in the above video was the connection between mirror neurons and autism. The video explains that children with autism may not have the same mirror neuron activity as people without it. The video explains that maybe people with autism don't have the additional mirror neuron help to assist in reading others emotions and body language. This finding has not been proven, it is simply a suggestion that would have to be further experimented.

False Memories and "Shutter Island"

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Movies for years have referred to psychological concepts in order to proceed with their stories, often tampering with memory in some way or another. Most recently we've seen "Inception", and even movies like "Sucker Punch" take a crack at at least loosely basing parts of their story on psychological facts, whether it's the mental escape referenced in "Sucker Punch" or the potential implantation of ideas in "Inception". We've all seen the media project these ideas on the screen and it continues to astound us.

jpgAmong these processes we have viewed and adored (or hated, depending) are suggestive memory techniques. These have been demonstrated perhaps most recently in the film "Shutter Island", and for those of you who have yet to see the film and still want to, NOW would be the time to discontinue your reading. In "Shutter Island", a man named Teddy is shown as a U.S. Marshall attempting to solve the case of a missing patient on Shutter Island, which was a facility for treating the criminally insane.

However, in the end you find out that Teddy is in fact himself a patient of the facility, and the U.S. Marshall act has been a construct of his mind which was then further encouraged, so to speak, by the doctors at the facility in an attempt to help him realize that the U.S. Marshall act was an illusion, that he had, in fact, committed a terrible crime and they were simply trying to get him to realize the truth and who he really was. In order to "encourage" the illusion, the entire facility set up a 2-day-long roleplaying act, in which they came up with the patient escapee scenario and let Teddy believe he was a U.S. Marshall and gave him full reign to "solve" the case. In the end they break the truth to him, showing him fact after terrible fact to try to get him to, well, face the facts.

According to our book, however, and the section about implanting false memories, IF this scenario with Teddy had actually happened it could have actually harmed his ability to realize the truth. They were, essentially, encouraging false memories, false realities, which as our book has told us has been proven to cause people to misremember events that had happened.

There are many, many more represented in this movie, particularly the idea of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which we don't learn about until chapter 12, and Delusional Disorder, which we don't study until chapter 15, though if you would like a sneak-peak at how these are portrayed in "Shutter Island" check out THIS article. However, this particular psychological idea I believe is more or less accurately portrayed. After this dramatic roleplay Teddy briefly states that he believes their version of the truth, but ultimately drops back into his U.S. Marshall self, and unwilling to give up that version of his reality. In a way, though no doubt his Delusional Disorder plays a part, it shows that all of this work to promote his version of reality and then shatter it with the truth only promoted his delusion.

All in all, though I question how broadly this concept would be able to be applied. Would it be possible to potentially get someone to believe an entirely different past than what they truly experienced? Possible to replace every previous memory with something different? And what sort of effects would that have on a person? Could it change who they are entirely?

The Circadian Rhythm and Delayed Sleep-phase Syndrome

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One important concept that I am interested in is circadian rhythm, which is a 24-hour cycle that rules all organism, including human being. There are many types of circadian rhythm sleep disorder, and delayed sleep-phase syndrome (DSPS) is one type of them. As a college student, I have gone through somewhat mild DSPS. People with DSPS generally fall asleep at almost the same time after midnight and have difficulty waking up in the morning.

One of my friends has been in a strong disorder for a long time. She usually goes to bed at 3:00 in the morning and gets up around 5:00 in the afternoon. She tried to go back to the normal life, but she found that it was more difficult than what she expected. Gradually no one invited her to take part in social activities any more; in some extent, she became isolated.

Sometimes people may not pay attention to this common problem, whose prevalence was calculated to be 0.17%, according to a nationwide epidemiological study performed in Norway (1). However, it is an invisible disability. Patients with it have trouble both in their daily social life. It has been referred as "social jet lag" and here is a video about this. Keeping life in a normal cycle is crucial for everyone because abnormal circadian rhythms have been associated with depression, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder, etc.

After knowing this, I think, in order to keep healthy, I will not delay my sleep any more, even before midterm seasons.



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The feeling of love is one that has always fascinated me and puzzled scientists. The book states that according to Elaine Hatfield and Richard Rapson there are two types of love; passionate and companionate. Last semester I took a class called Intimate Relationships and we looked a lot at both of these types of love. Passionate love is the typical "hollywood romance", movie type of love. It is romantic and all-consuming. Companionate love is love as a friendship. It is common for couples to gradually move from passionate to companionate love, but I also believe you can move from companionate love to passionate love. I think it is common and even healthy to start out as great friends and then late develop romantic feelings.

There are several examples of passionate love in the media. One of my favorites is Big and Carrie from Sex and the City. In this clip, one of the final scenes of the series, Big finally tells Carrie she is "The One" and they have a passionate, romantic kiss in Paris after six seasons of a will-they won't-they relationship. While I love Sex and the City and The Notebook and all things romantic, I think that the media definitely makes our expectations of love too high and unrealistic. The chances of the loves of our life telling us were "The One" in Paris under the moon or in a downpour by the lake are highly small. In intimate relationships teacher noted that hollywood has made it so much harder for all the guys out there because women expect "sparks" and grand gestures. I think that while it is fun to watch these shows and fantasize about love, in real life we have to remember to be realistic. A song example of passionate love is Grenade by Bruno Mars.

A good example of companionate love in the media is Monica and Chandler from Friends. They were best friends for years until they finally felt that passion at Ross's wedding, their first kiss is shown in this clip. When going in the friends turned lovers route you do have to be careful though, because you can risk losing a great friendship if the romantic relationship does not work out. A good song example of companionate love is My Best Friend by Tim McGraw.

I think that to have a great relationship you need elements from both passionate and companionate love, but there is no perfect combination and one is not greater than the other. It seems that for now the love-at-first-sight feeling will remain a mystery. And I almost kind of hope that it does, we've got to maintain a little mystery in this scientifically driven world!

The Power of "No"

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Mark Twain left us with these wise words, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. . . . Explore. Dream.''

Every time I hear this quote I can't help but to feel a sense of motivation. But this article caught my attention by posing the idea that failures and other people doubting you may be the driving force behind success as well as motivation. Instead of following our "dreams" maybe we are motivated to prove people wrong. I believe every single one of us relate to this particular sensation.

If anything, we've learned that human beings are complex individuals. It isn't until Chapter 11 that we learn about the theories of emotion and what drives us. Our book talks about defensive pessimism about "looking on the bright side of life" yet even the research suggests that this positive psychology is merely a fad. Moreover, problems of "individual differences" in Chapter 1 remind us to be careful about applying a "one size fits all" approach to human behavior. Also, the broaden and build theory proposes that happiness predisposes us to think more openly. But the article argues that we can derive happiness and success as a result of past failures. There may be a connection between failures and our ability to capitalize and grow from these experiences. Ultimately, this theory contradicts defensive pessimism. Obviously, replicability is not easily achieved because it is difficult to assess a person's life and compare it with another person in terms of how they reacted to failure and doubt.

As for personal insight, I remember my Dad telling me that "there would always be someone faster than me." As an avid running throughout middle and high school, these words haunted me. I set out to prove my dad wrong. Like the article mentions, "many people cherish their motivational insults." It took me a few years, but I managed to start winning races. I placed in the state and regional meets, but I never was the fastest. It seemed my dad was right, there always seemed to be someone better than me. Yet, I'm not mad. If it wasn't for my dad's words, I wouldn't have pushed myself as hard as I did.

Humans are not rational beings, the psychological landscape has debunked this notion. But I ask of you to figure out what motivates you. What "no" do you cling to? Who do you want to prove wrong? I believe Steve Jobs exemplifies these characteristics of adversity - despite dropping out of college and being fired from his own business, he was able to overcome previous failures to create one of the largest companies in the world. I find this element of human behavior to be both inspirational as well as necessary. Imagine if you gave up on something every time if someone doubted you, told you that you couldn't do it or said you weren't smart enough. Don't give up.


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220px-Stomach_colon_rectum_diagram.svg.pngAs a child, i was always told not to jump after a meal because i'd get appendicitis. The appendix is a small tissue pocket that extends from the large intestine. This myth started because jumping after a meal cause lower abdominal pain which is mistaken for appendicitis pains. It is also believed that the myth is still believed because people think that the appendix gets infected when food goes into eat because the person jumped after eating.

The principle of thinking which is used to prove this myth wrong is falsafiability. After much research, it was found that appendicitis has nothing to do with jumping after eating at all. It is actually caused by the infection of the appendix when it gets clogged with faeces or growth.

The claim of food going into the large intestine is also an extraordinary claim because the large intestine is the last step of digestion. By the time the food reaches this part, it would have already been converted to faeces. It would be impossible for the food to enter the appendix from the stomach even if you do jump immediately after you eat. By using the principle of Occam's Razor, we decide on the more logical option of the appendix getting infected by faeces of growths instead.

Learning to Face Media

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alcoho5.jpg When a neutral stimulus is paired with a stimulus that educes a reflexive response, overtime the individual will display the same response to the neutral stimulus alone. This was Ivan Pavlov's idea of classical conditioning. Advertising in the media uses the idea of classical conditioning to generate an audience and a consumer population and due to the prevalence of media in society it is important for individuals to understand this learning idea. When an individual knows that neutral stimuli are not related to responses that unconditioned stimuli provoke, he or she will know not to combine the disparate elements like media does. The advertisement for Jose Cuervo uses this idea to attract consumers. Jose Cuervo, the conditioned stimulus, is paired with the image of a happy male and female in contact with one another as well as the words "Pursue Your Daydreams," the unconditioned stimuli. When an individual sees this advertisement, he or she will feel a sense of desire to have what the individuals in the picture have. This feeling will create a conditioned response that leads to believe that the beverage will create this experience for him or her when if fact this is a false claim. I wonder how far advertisements can go in blending unrelated elements while remaining successive.,r:0,s:0

RENT: Portrayal of Drug Abuse and Withdrawal

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The movie RENT covers many topics that could be considered controversial, including the concept of substance abuse and dependence. One of the main characters, Mimi, is a regular user of Heroin. Heroin, being a highly addictive narcotic, leads Mimi to experience Heroin withdrawal syndrome, showing symptoms like cramping, sweating, and chills. In the movie, Mimi starts out by occasionally using the drug, which shows how she just was abusing the drug, but due to the fact that Heroin is extremely addictive, the abuse soon turned to dependence. While watching it is very apparent that she craves the drug psychologically and physically, for she cannot stop herself from continuing to abuse the drug.

From 0:47 - 2:05 this clip shows bursts of how Mimi is so dependent on the drug that she is going through withdrawals. The way that the concept of drug abuse, dependence, and withdrawals is very accurate, due to the properties of Heroin. Heroin users can not go very long without the drug before they experience "heroin withdrawal syndrome", as described earlier. Usually, one can only go up to six hours without an additional dose before the negative symptoms start. Due to the fact that at this point in the plot Mimi is trying to get away from the drug all together, her symptoms are very extreme.

Even though the concepts are portrayed very well, I would not necessarily recommend watching the movie for this purpose, or just to see the effects of the heroin, because it is a subplot and does not focus on the drug abuse very much. In the movie, you can see that Mimi is not in a good state. You can tell she is in pain by the way she is shaking and is sweating and is bent over in agony. Although this may seem extreme to those who don't know about the drug, this is accurate to what withdrawal may be like for those dependent on heroin.

Consciousness: Sleep paralysis

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We spend as much as one-third or more of our lives in one specific state of consciousness- that is sleep.
Although it's clear that sleep is of central importance to our health and daily functioning, psychologists still don't know for sure why we sleep. When we sleep, why we will feel something was on top of us.
It is an interesting and important topic for our daily life, for many people who suffer from this situation. Many people not in the US, but also in China, many of people shared a history of sleep paralysis.
What is sleep paralysis? That is you cannot move after falling asleep pr immediately. Now, we know it is caused by a disruption in the sleep cycle and is often associated with anxiety or even terror, feelings of vibrations, humming noises, and the eerie sense of menacingfigures close to or on top of the immobile person.
Here is an example for sleep paralysis. He went to bed early for he finished his last final exam, he was so tired. He woke up when he heard someone went into his doom. He heard foot steps came across the room, but he can't move. Then he felt someone pressed down. He think it is horrible. After a few seconds, he can move, and find noone in the room. This video tell us about the sleep paralysis. (I tried many times for the link, it still doesn't work)
This phenomenon is surprisingly common, which is I think important to us. We should have a good time management to help us feel better.

The Persistence of Trauma

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The case of Paul Ingram as presented in our discussion section was both disturbing and fascinating. The notion that a man could be accused, in the total absence of physical evidence and based only on highly inconsistent testimony from the alleged victims, is both frightening and revealing in terms of the strengths and weaknesses of human memory. The fact that he could be convinced of his own guilt is even more shocking. I wondered about accusations of serious wrongdoing and how they are affected by the passage of time. While the events in the Ingram case were relatively fresh when the accusations were made, in other cases much longer periods of time have passed. How reliable is human memory when the infliction of serious injury is combined with the passage of many decades? Is memory enough to stand on alone?

This brought to mind the cases of individuals accused of war crimes many years after they had occurred, when the passage of time had brought changes in appearance, location, and political situation. One of the most famous of these cases is perhaps that of John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian immigrant to the United States who was accused of being a notorious death camp guard during the Second World War. Demjanjuk was first accused of being "Ivan the Terrible", an infamously cruel guard at the Treblinka camp, in 1977.


In Demjanjuk's case, he was first identified by survivors during the investigation of another accused (and later convicted) war criminal, Feodor Fedorenko. During the course of trials spanning the 1980s until just this past year, Demjanjuk was identified by survivors as the man responsible for mistreating them and killing so many others decades ago. How could they be so sure? What role did suggestibility or so-called "herd mentality" play in his case or in the cases of others similarly accused?

A major difference in the nature of the cases of Paul Ingram and John Demjanjuk, in addition to the type of accusations made and the length of time involved, is the presence of documentary evidence in the case of the latter. The case against Demjanjuk did not just rely on the decades-old testimony of traumatized survivors but was buttressed by an extant (though controversial) "paper trail". It seems that this is a key distinction between wild accusation and measured prosecution. Additionally, Demjanjuk had many accusers; Ingram had only two.

Demjanjuk was ultimately convicted for war crimes in May of 2011. He maintains his innocence, while his accusers maintain his guilt. Even the most skilled psychologists cannot see into the minds of Demjanjuk or those who claim to be his victims, but even if they could, how much of what they could see could be trusted?

The importance of physical or documentary evidence remains as strong as it has ever been.

Amnesia: are Hollywood movies close to reality?

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Amnesia is one of the favorite themes of Hollywood directors. For instance, The Great Dictator, Memento, Mulholland Drive, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, or the Bourne Trilogy, talk about memory, and especially about amnesia. Some are close to reality and some are really far from reality, driving myths about memory and amnesia.

jason bourne.jpgIf you have watched the Bourne Trilogy, you know that amnesia is the main theme of these three movies. And these movies are pretty accurate about memory and the effects of a loss of memory. Indeed, even if it deals with retrograde amnesia - the loss of some memories of the past (and here all of the memories of the past, which do not seem very realistic) - which is a really rare kind of amnesia, most part of the movies promote true ideas.

For instance these movies make a distinction between implicit and explicit memory. Implicit memory includes all memories we do not deliberately remember or reflect on consciously. Explicit memory includes all memories we recall intentionally and of which we have conscious awareness. Remember the beginning of the first movie of the trilogy (use your memory!), first scene, when Jason Bourne is able to fight, and have exceptional skills in this field, even if, as we'll see right after, he does not remember anything of his past. This is a perfect example of implicit memory, which is not affected when someone suffers from amnesia.

The Bourne Trilogy is also close to reality about the recovery from amnesia. Recovery occurs gradually during all the three movies, Jason Bourne learning little by little who he is really, a former CIA secret agent, and scientific studies prove that, indeed, memory recovery from amnesia tends to occur gradually, if at all.

On the other hand Hollywood creates movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Everything in this movie is totally crazy. It is obviously impossible to come into someone's brain and erase memories which are linked to a specific person. Indeed, even if it is proved that some drugs like propanolol can hide traumatic memories, until now no one found how to erase painful memories. And as it is shown in this movie, maybe it would be a very bad idea to be able to do it.

The Night Terror Strikes back!

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After read the concepts in the textbook about sleep disorders, I was surprised to learn that what my cousin often does during the night is not planks intended to scare me and my parents: what he does is he would suddenly awake during the sleep and sit straight up on his bed with his arms waving around, and mumbling as if someone is forcing him doing something, few seconds later he would landed heavily on bed again.
The eerie behavior of my cousin has a name called the "Night Terrors", which can happen in about 15% of younger children. Children who is having a night terror is often reported with their eyes wide open, screaming, perspiring and confused, these reports largely describe my cousin's late night actions except the kicking and griping he usually did. There were few times I waked him during his night terror and tried ask him what's going on, but he seems so tired to react to anything that he fell right back to sleep. To be honest, I was too scared to look at him on face, so I couldn't tell whether his eyes were open, but it seems that he can't recognize anyone, and he was not able to recall what happened the next morning.

I learned with relieve that the night terror is not a serious psychological disorder and it is normal among the children, with no need of special treatment but some good, regular sleep. It says that children will outgrow night terrors as they get older, but as I founded out personally, the night terror did not go away as my cousin growing up. I had a chance to share a same bedroom with my 17-year old cousin during a family trip. As the night goes deeper I heard someone talking angryly, then I felt someone is touching my ear. I turned my head around slowly:

Yes, it was my cousin, again...

But thanks to what I had learned about the night terror in psychology 1001, I'm no longer having nightmare about it.

Look Who's Learning

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The Lilienfeld textbook shared that by the fifth month of pregnancy infants' auditory systems are developed enough to hear sounds from the mother. This sound of course is muffled, but nevertheless they are learning the vocal rhythms and patterns they hear. This concept is important because it explains why an infant is pre-disposed to a specifc language - they are already hearing the characteristics of that language before birth. Being one of those people who fall into the category of having a difficult time learning a foreign language, I wish my mom had been bilingual.

What about playing Mozart to an infant before it is born? Studies show that although fetuses do respond to music rhythms, because of the embryonic fluid the melody wouldn't be recognized. This means they aren't able to distinguish between different types of music.

So if you are wondering if infants are learning before they are born, studies show that the answer is yes. But if you think you are going to give them an advantage in life by playing Mozart as opposed to any other music at this early stage, there is no scientific evidence that reflects this. This concept does make me wonder if infants that are exposed to musical rhythms before they are born are more prone to being able to keep a beat.

If you have 3 minutes, watch this short clip that explains why babies can recognize their mothers native language and other interesting facts about babies and learning. main1421648.shtml

Also, here's a Youtube commercial for prenatal music. Can you see how they are attaching scientific findings such as "unborn babies respond to various rhythmic qualities of music" in their ad?


Prompts for Blog Entries 3 and 4

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psychology-joke-pavlov.pngBlog entry 3 is due by 11:59 pm on Sunday, October 23 (right before the second exam), while Blog entry 4 is due by 11:59 pm on Sunday, November 6. In addition to the three prompts listed in the syllabus (also listed below), as announced in discussion section on the 12th, I've added a new fourth prompt for blogs 3 and 4. Please no longer use the fourth prompt that was given for blogs 1 and 2. If you have any questions about the blogs or prompts, please let me know! Happy writing! (Note: the cartoon has nothing to do with this post; it amused me and goes along with what you've been learning recently...)


Pick one of the following topics and write ~250 words about it. Feel free to add images, videos or links (include at least 2 of these 3!).

1) Identify one important concept, research finding, theory or idea from Psy 1001 lectures or the Lilienfeld text from the past two weeks. Summarize the concept in your own words and explain why you believe this concept research finding, theory or idea is important. Apply this to some aspect of your life (real life example are an excellent way to learn. Photos, You-tube videos, etc. are encouraged.) As you reflect on this concept, research finding, theory or other idea, what other questions occur to you? What are you still wondering about?

2) Provide a link to an article, hoax or claim that has been made in the media and evaluate the claim using one or more of the six principles of critical thinking. (You can find a rich source of urban legends at

Apply a concept, research finding, theory or idea that you have learned about in Psychology to provide an alternative explanation. Which principle is most useful for evaluating this particular claim? Remember to cite your sources.

3) If you can think of a different explanation or want to support something one of your classmates has posted, you can respond to a classmates post with a post of your own. Be sure to provide evidence to support your response.

4) Write about a psychological concept covered in lecture or the text that has been shown in a movie or TV show/episode (include video, pictures, link). Was the concept correctly portrayed? What could have been done to make the presentation of the concept more accurate? Would you recommend this movie or TV show/episode to a fellow psychology student interested in an accurate portrayal of the concept? What questions do you have about the concept, given how it was shown?

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