Recently in Writing 5 Category

Practice [doesn't always] make perfect.

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The optimist in me would like to believe the man (or woman) who puts in the hard work will ultimately achieve success. But in this New York Times article, one thing is clear - sometimes practice isn't a perfect predictor of future mastery of a subject or activity. As the article bluntly states, "Sometimes the story that science tells us isn't the story we want to hear." Which is more valuable practice or pure talent?

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The inevitable confirmation bias presents itself again. As I mentioned before, I would like to believe that the person who works the hardest should perform the best. Therefore, if I were a scientist, I would have a hard time accepting this very fact. From my own personal observations, I've witnessed students who put in a tremendous amount of hours studying for a test only to receive lower scores than the brainiac who always gets the highest score without studying. How can this be? There is something inherently unfair about the individual who works harder, yet doesn't find the same success as someone naturally talented. I realize this is life, but for some reason it irks me.

Recently, we have been discussing intelligence in human world. And as we know, intelligence is just as difficult to define as it is to measure. Nevertheless, this articles touches on the unfortunate truth that some people are just smarter than others...and those that are "smarter" by today's standards, naturally tend to "earn a doctorate, secure a patent, publish an article in a scientific journal or publish a literary work." And frankly, the article tells us, there really isn't much we can do to change it.

Yet on the other hand, recall that our book mentions Chris Langan. Even as the smartest man in the world, Langan still chooses to work as a bouncer at a bar rather than pursue something higher or more scholarly. Therefore, while a high level of intellectual ability gives you an enormous real-world advantage, it doesn't necessarily imply that you will win the Nobel Peace Prize.

This doesn't mean that we should just stop practicing and give up all hope - just that talent or genes may play a larger role than most people anticipated. I believe the original author sums it up best with: "Nor is it to say that it's impossible for a person with an average I.Q. to, say, earn a Ph.D. in physics. It's just unlikely, relatively speaking."

Here is an intriguing video that discusses the role of parenting with this dilemma:






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Practice [doesn't always] make perfect.

| No Comments

The optimist in me would like to believe the man (or woman) who puts in the hard work will ultimately achieve success. But in this New York Times article, one thing is clear - sometimes practice isn't a perfect predictor of future mastery of a subject or activity. As the article bluntly states, "Sometimes the story that science tells us isn't the story we want to hear." Which is more valuable practice or pure talent?

basketball-practice.jpg

The inevitable confirmation bias presents itself again. As I mentioned before, I would like to believe that the person who works the hardest should perform the best. Therefore, if I were a scientist, I would have a hard time accepting this very fact. From my own personal observations, I've witnessed students who put in a tremendous amount of hours studying for a test only to receive lower scores than the brainiac who always gets the highest score without studying. How can this be? There is something inherently unfair about the individual who works harder, yet doesn't find the same success as someone naturally talented. I realize this is life, but for some reason it irks me.

Recently, we have been discussing intelligence in human world. And as we know, intelligence is just as difficult to define as it is to measure. Nevertheless, this articles touches on the unfortunate truth that some people are just smarter than others...and those that are "smarter" by today's standards, naturally tend to "earn a doctorate, secure a patent, publish an article in a scientific journal or publish a literary work." And frankly, the article tells us, there really isn't much we can do to change it.

Yet on the other hand, recall that our book mentions Chris Langan. Even as the smartest man in the world, Langan still chooses to work as a bouncer at a bar rather than pursue something higher or more scholarly. Therefore, while a high level of intellectual ability gives you an enormous real-world advantage, it doesn't necessarily imply that you will win the Nobel Peace Prize.

This doesn't mean that we should just stop practicing and give up all hope - just that talent or genes may play a larger role than most people anticipated. I believe the original author sums it up best with: "Nor is it to say that it's impossible for a person with an average I.Q. to, say, earn a Ph.D. in physics. It's just unlikely, relatively speaking."

Here is an intriguing video that discusses the role of parenting with this dilemma:






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src="http://cdn.abclocal.go.com/static/flash/embeddedPlayer/swf/otvEmLoader.swf?version=&station=wpvi§ion=&mediaId=7497537&cdnRoot=http://cdn.abclocal.go.com&webRoot=http://abclocal.go.com&configPath=/util/&site=">

To Test or Not to Test? That is the Question...

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Take a second and go back to high school, sometime probably middle-to-late in your junior year, possibly even early senior year. Right about when you're trying to figure out what to do with your life after the year or so you have left of sheltering under this comfortable wing that you've built your entire life.

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At this point in your life, my guess is you were probably thinking about the ACT or SAT, freaking out about having to pass it at a certain level to get into the college of your dreams. I wasn't any different when I was at that level either. What's interesting about these tests, to me, is something that was pointed out in chapter nine of the Lilienfeld book, about whether or not these tests actually predict grades (or, as I interpreted it, vice versa). These tests, as stated by the book, are "either to test overall competence in a specific domain or to predict academic success". So, ideally, these tests that we all stress about, and ultimately that little number we receive at the end of it all, is supposed to be an ultimate indicator of how good a student we are and can be. The problem with that is this: While these numbers may somewhat relate to our overall abilities as a student, they are not very accurate.

Here's a real-life example from my own experience taking the ACTs. In my high school, I with a 3.7 GPA and mostly As. I rarely did any hard studying, mostly getting by pretty easily with just doing the homework and accepting a few wrong answers here and there. When I took the ACT I came out with a 32 (out of a potential 36), which is a pretty high score for this particular test. One of my best friends, however, who was top of our class with a 4.2 GPA, studied hard every night, talked with teachers on her own time if she needed help with something, you know the drill. However, her ACT score topped at a 28.

Now, arguably if the ACTs, or conceivably any other admission test, was going to work as it's supposed to then my friend, through all her hard work, should have received, if not a 36, at the very least a higher score than I did. I would say that she could have arguably received a 36, with her GPA and grades up as high as they were. Clearly this isn't happening. Even in the graphs presented in our textbook, while there is an upward correlation between GPA and the SAT score, in this case, it is very general and can only be seen when looking a large range of SAT scores (700 to 2300 vs. cutting that in half to a 1500 to 2300 range).

What does this say? Well, that in a very, very generalized way the standardized tests can predict grades, but only in that if you have a significantly higher test grade than someone else that your GPA is likely higher as well. Not a really huge correlation, I would say. Better tests are being formed, as seen here, and some more interesting facts about it all here. But in the meantime, don't judge your IQ, or your ability to get a good grade, just by your test scores.

Pavlov, Siegel & Four Loko

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4loko.jpgI first heard of Four Loko through a TV news story about young people drinking it and ending up in the hospital. Four Loko is a sugary, caffeinated beverage containing 12% alcohol; basically, it's a big alcoholic Red Bull. Below is a sample news story that came out when the drink was popular (it has since been banned in several U.S. states, prompting the manufacturers to remove it from the market and replace it with a no-caffeine version).

The newscasters and interviewees attribute Four Loko's dangers to its high alcohol content (well-disguised by its sweetness and flavoring), the stimulating effects of sugar and caffeine, the sheer size of the cans it comes in, and the irresponsible way it is often consumed.

In a recent issue of Scientific American, there's a short essay about Four Loko (actually taken from a Scientific American blog and available here). The author suggests that the drink's dangers have little to do with its caffeine content, and more to do with classical conditioning. dog.jpg

I'm skeptical that this explanation fully accounts for Four Loko's purportedly extreme potential for intoxication; I think the main reason it has caused so many problems is that people who drink it simply ingest more alcohol than they realize, and that Four Loko drinkers tend to be on the young side--beginner drinkers, with little tolerance for the stuff. But the essay does point out another interesting dimension to the issue.

The author discusses Shepard Siegel's 1976 paper, which attributes drug tolerance effects to classical conditioning (this is the same theory we learned about in our fourth behavior/learning lecture). His idea was that once you've taken a drug a few times, your body begins to respond not only to the drug itself, but to the environmental cues that normally precede your drug-taking (like a loud party if you're accustomed to drinking in such settings). These body responses pre-compensate for the effects of the drug, and ultimately reduce the effects the drug has on you.

The Scientific American blogger argues that since Four Loko doesn't taste like alcohol, it may fail to trigger this compensatory response, so that even seasoned drinkers can react to it as if they have no alcohol tolerance at all. It's an interesting thought; I wonder if there are any published studies that might shed light on this idea.

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Personality is people's typical ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. One research, which is based on Big Five traits model, has shown that personality is not distributed even across the US; the Big Five traits differ across geographical regions. Here is a video to show the results. The Lilienfeld textbook says that culture has influence on the Big Five, which may be one explanation to this phenomenon. The article also says that research data has shown that culture do shape both individual behavior and collective personality traits in a region. However, Personality similarities among people in close geographical proximity may have different explanations.

On one hand, the arrow may reverse. It's possible that birds of a feather flock together. People go and live in places that meet their needs. For example, people who concern safety may prefer to live in small towns, while people who desire extravagant life prefer to live in big cities. Besides, there's also empirical evidence that attitudes, opinions, and emotions are contagious. Perhaps we all have experience of catching negative emotions which are hold by someone around us and becoming depression without specific reasoning.

On the other hand, People from a specific region are more likely to share a single gene pool; geographically proximate cultures often have common ancestor. Therefore, it's possible that not the culture, but the genetic factors lead to personality similarities. Obviously, we go back to the question of nature and nurture--the big topic in psychology.

Imprinting: Fly Away Home

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One of my favorite films growing up was a movie called, "Fly Away Home." In the story, a young girl moves to Canada to live with her father, and there she finds a group of abandoned goose eggs. She takes it upon herself to care for these eggs and make sure they hatch accordingly. As the goslings hatch, she comes to find that they have taken her to be their "mother." This is a standard psychological concept come to be known as "imprinting." The young geese become largely fixated on the first large, moving object they see after hatching. In this case, the little girl was this object; therefore the little geese followed her everywhere. In the movie, the geese must migrate south or they will not survive the winter, but they do not have a real goose mother to follow south. The little girl takes advantage of the imprinting and builds a flying device that the geese follow, and they make it successfully south for the winter.

In this clip, at :58 seconds imprinting is described, and it is shown throughout the clip how the goslings attached themselves to her. In this film however, it seems as though the girl attached herself to the geese in a manner similar to how they attached themselves to her; she became there mother as much as they thought she was.

Although it is hard to say whether imprinting will lead to a flock of geese following a flying contraption shaped like a goose, the concept of imprinting in the movie is accurately portrayed. When the goslings hatch, they immediately attach themselves to the young girl, making her the "mother goose." I would like to see if imprinting would go so far in real life as to see if baby geese would follow a plane if they did in fact imprint on it.

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Its interesting to see that geese will not only imprint upon their mother, but that they will imprint on anything that they see in the first few hours of their lives. It goes to show that interpersonal relationships are very important if not essential to most creatures, even if they are not as abrupt or strong as geese.

Stereotype Threat Good and Bad?

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One of the topics covered in chapter 9 is stereotype threat. The textbook defines stereotype threat as "the fear that we may confirm a negative group stereotype." In other words, if a person stereotypes another or a group of people then he or she is more likely to find evidence that supports that initial stereotype.

I believe that stereotyping can be both good and bad. I know we have all heard the saying that states that we should always follow our initial instinct. For most people our initial instincts are stereotypes. For example, in downtown Milwaukee most of the population is African American. African Americans cause most of the crimes in Milwaukee. Therefore, it would be safe for me to assume that a specific African American is more likely to commit a crime than a Caucasian person in Milwaukee. Also, I was walking down an alley with one of my friends on UW-Milwaukee's campus when it was starting to get dark out and wouldn't you know it, we got jumped by 3 African Americans. All that did was support my stereotype about African Americans in Milwaukee. So now this just leads me to believe that African Americans are likely to jump me when we're alone in an alley so I won't be doing that anytime soon again.

An example of a stereotype being good is in the case of Packer's Wide Receiver Jordy Nelson. A recent article pointed out that most African American cornerbacks in the NFL do not respect Jordy Nelson's athleticism or speed. Many of them assume that he is slow and cannot play as well as the African American receivers. This allows Nelson to make big plays because he is not respected as much and the corners do not play him as tough as they would for other receivers.

What I am trying to say is that stereotyping might not always be fair, but I believe it is essential. I do not think stereotyping should be taught to children other than the actual definition of what stereotyping is. Everyone should be allowed to form his or her own stereotypes.

The last aspect of stereotyping that I think would be interesting to learn about is how stereotypes of people vary in different demographics It could be from populations living in an urban area vs. people living in the suburbs or people from different countries. If we were able to a bunch of different case studies on these various stereotypes we would actually be able to determine which stereotypes are closest to the truth.

Here is the article about Jordy Nelson.
http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/dish/201111/green-bay-packers-reciever-plays-race-card

Savants - An Anomaly of Intelligence - Replicability

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Savants are people who lack many attributes across the spectrum of how humans view mental capacity, however they are extremely skilled in one or two areas. Savant syndrome can be congenital or brought on by injury/disease, and is often compounded with autism. Prodigious savants normally lack in emotional intelligence, but excel in crystallized intelligence in specific areas. One skill that shows up most often in savants is exceptional musical ability. Rex Lewis-Clack is one such example. He shows exceptional skills with the piano, while also being blind, autistic, and relatively unsociable. These skills are replicable in other savants, although areas of interest differ from person to person.

According to this article, around 100 prodigious savants have been recorded in the last 100 years. The qualities in many of them are replicable in other savants as well. They all show enormous talent in some specific area and are, in many cases, more talented than average people in the savant's area of expertise. Take for instance Daniel Tammet, who is a mathematical savant. He is capable of doing huge calculations in his head and can out-calculate calculators and computers. His exceptional skills in one area of his intelligence does not transfer over to other areas.

Although it is possible that supposed savant syndrome sufferers achieved their exceptional skills through years of hard work, it is extremely unlikely. The skills that savants have develop quickly and it is almost impossible to replicate through training. It is truly like their brains are able to tap into something most humans can't.

Sources:
http://www.savantacademy.org/myths.php
http://www.autismtoday.com/articles/SavantSyndrome.htm

Savants - An Anomaly of Intelligence - Replicability

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Savants are people who lack many attributes across the spectrum of how humans view mental capacity, however they are extremely skilled in one or two areas. Savant syndrome can be congenital or brought on by injury/disease, and is often compounded with autism. Prodigious savants normally lack in emotional intelligence, but excel in crystallized intelligence in specific areas. One skill that shows up most often in savants is exceptional musical ability. Rex Lewis-Clack is one such example. He shows exceptional skills with the piano, while also being blind, autistic, and relatively unsociable. These skills are replicable in other savants, although areas of interest differ from person to person.

According to this article, around 100 prodigious savants have been recorded in the last 100 years. The qualities in many of them are replicable in other savants as well. They all show enormous talent in some specific area and are, in many cases, more talented than average people in the savant's area of expertise. Take for instance Daniel Tammet, who is a mathematical savant. He is capable of doing huge calculations in his head and can out-calculate calculators and computers. His exceptional skills in one area of his intelligence does not transfer over to other areas.

Although it is possible that supposed savant syndrome sufferers achieved their exceptional skills through years of hard work, it is extremely unlikely. The skills that savants have develop quickly and it is almost impossible to replicate through training. It is truly like their brains are able to tap into something most humans can't.

Sources:
http://www.savantacademy.org/myths.php
http://www.autismtoday.com/articles/SavantSyndrome.htm

Obesity: Biological or Psychological?

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In America, almost 2/3 of the population is overweight. You can't walk anywhere without seeing someone that is obese or overweight. With the oversized portions we serve in the US it is all to easy to eat more calories than what our body really needs.

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Genetics can be to blame when it comes to being overweight. According to our book, our bodies have a natural set point. This means that once we reach a certain range of body fat and muscle mass our body works to maintain it. If you eat too little your metabolism will decrease. This means that an obese person has a higher set point than a thin person. This could mean they were born with more fat cells, lower metabolic rates, or less leptin sensitivity. It can be hard for people who are genetically linked to obesity to know when it is time to stop eating. Many popular TV shows have been made from obese people wanting to lose weight, such as The Biggest Loser and I Used to be Fat.

In my opinion, I think that genetics can play a role in obesity and being overweight, but in the end it is up to each individual to control their weight. I think that the psychological need they feel to eat far overrides any genetic reasons. Obesity is one of the main causes of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and so many other things that could be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking control over your eating habits. Luckily for those of us in the Twin Cities, there are plenty of places for us to get outside and be active. Forbes actually just recently named Minneapolis the #1 healthiest city in America! I truly believe that if you lead a healthy lifestyle, obesity will not be a problem. you can blame genetics all you want, but it's a decision to eat McDonalds and not work out. It is up to the person to change their habits.

Is Your Destiny Under Your Control?

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Locus.jpgI often find myself looking for someone else to blame when things go wrong, but more often than not I conclude that I had at least some control of the outcome. This is the idea of "Locus of Control." If you believe the outcome of an event is because of your own decisions, then you have an internal locus of control. If you believe the outcome of an event is due to luck, fate, or someone else, then that is external locus of control ("Locus of Control & Attributional Style Test").

Take this quick test to see if you have an internal or external locus of control:
Click Here ("Locus of Control").

Understanding the idea of locus of control is important because it says a lot about how you view the world and your role in determining what happens throughout your life. People with an internal locus of control tend to work harder and longer in order to get what they want. This often contributes to people with an internal locus of control being more successful than people with an external locus of control. However, if you have an external locus of control it is not all bad. People with an external locus of control can be easier to get along with because they don't feel the need to control every situation. (Neill)

The video below provides a more detailed explanation of locus of control: (Aidanrbf).

Research shows that people with internal locus of control are more successful, but that doesn't mean that if you have an external locus of control you can't be successful (Neill). Recognizing this is actually an important step to taking control, it can allow you to consciously adapt to a situation. Remember choosing not to do anything, is actually making a choice; so anyway you look at it, your destiny is under your control.

Being a Christian, I wonder if internal locus of control conflicts with Christianity. I do believe in turning to God in times of trouble (an external locus of control) but from a psychological perspective an internal locus of control is linked to greater success. I'm sure if I research this further I could make sense of the apparent conflict.

Works Cited:

Aidanrbf. "Locus of Control Video." YouTube. 27 Apr. 2009. Web. 20 Nov 2011.

"Locus of Control." Psych.uncc. n.d. Web. 20 Nov 2011.

"Locus of Control & Attributional Style Test." Psychology Today. n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2011.

Neill, James. "What is Locus of Control?" Wilderdom. 06 Dec. 2006. Web. 20 Nov. 2011.

Imprinting

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The concept that find important from the Lilienfeld text was the concept of imprinting. As a child, I owned a book written by Philip D. Eastman called "Are You My Mother?". The book is about a newly hatched bird who enters the world to find that he's in the absence of a mother. He then falls out of his nest and asks anything that moves the question "Are you my mother?".

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Before reading the text, I dismissed the book as being ridiculous because a bird would never mistake a tractor for it's mother! However, i now realize that there's more truth to this story than i thought. The concept of imprinting from the Lilienfeld text refers to the bonding of a newborn, usually birds that leave their nest shortly after hatching, to the first moving thing it sees. After imprinting occurs, the newborn becomes extremely attached and fixated on the object or animal that it has imprinted on.

The example given was the imprinting of goslings on the mother goose. Goslings that imprint on the mother goose will then follow it around. However, in the absence of a mother goose, the goslings would imprint on the first thing they see that moves, even bouncing balls or dogs! However, the period for imprinting on lasts for a critical period of about 36 hours after hatching. After that, the goslings would no longer imprint on anything. It is also true that imprinting does not happen as strongly in intelligent animals such as cats, dogs and humans.

However, it is shown that most mammalian infants do form a strong bond with those that tend to them shortly after they are born. It is also thought that infants who lack physical attention up to 6 months after birth develop serious emotional problems later in life. These findings may, however, be caused by other unknown factors. As I reflect on this research finding, I wonder how one can prove whether having infants that lack physical attention up to 6 months after birth will develop serious emotional problems. I also wonder, if it is true, whether these emotional problems can be overcome by getting to the root of the problem when the infant becomes a young adult.

Lie detection: myths and reality

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TV shows and movies drive some false ideas about lie detection. Shows like Lie to me or movies like Harry Potter use lying detection methods without strong scientific supports in their plots.

In Lie to me Dr Cal Lightman is able to detect lying by observing people's nonverbal behaviors. And he is almost always right. Yet as some researches suggest, even groups of people we expect to be the most accurate in detecting lies, like psychiatrists, do not have a better rate than the rest of us at this exercise. They do not detect lies at better than chance rates. So Dr Lightman should not be as confident as he is in his ability to find who lie and who do not. Some researches say that verbal cues stay better indicators of lying than nonverbal cues. For instance it is more useful to try to detect if a suspect gives few and inconsistent details, which would prove that he is lying, than to observe his behavior when he gives these details.

Another kind of lie detection largely used in TV shows and movies is the polygraph test. In movies suspects who lie about crimes they have committed cannot resist to the "lie detector" test. The lie detector test is even used in the TV show Exposed in order to see if your date is lying to you. The polygraph test is based on the Pinocchio response: it detects physiological changes (like an increase in heartbeating), which would prove that you are lying. Yet this test is not really accurate. Indeed it is more an arousal detector than a lie detector. So it is possible to pass the test even if you are lying. For instance people with psychopathic personalities can be labeled as "saying the truth" because their low levels of guilt and fear make them able to show low levels of arousal when they reply to incriminating questions.

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The last myth about lie detection drives by movies is the "truth serum". Used in Harry Potter movies or in Wonder Woman comics (Wonder Woman's lasso forces criminals to say the truth), truth serums have been used in reality. Indeed, some US government organizations like the CIA used drugs called barbiturates to extract confessions from terrorists. But scientists discover that such drugs do not enhance memory, so they are not a good way to obtain true information.

As we saw, in contrary to what we can see in TV shows, it is not possible to distinguish with certainty true information to lies. So lying is still a domain in which we can improve our knowledge.

Sources:
Psychology: from Inquiry to Understanding, Second edition, Scott Lilienfield, 2011


Stereotype Threat

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Stereotype threat, according to the description in text book, is the "fear that we may confirm a negative group stereotype." And the book uses stereotype threat as an environment factor to explain that the African American students tend to perform poorer than Caucasians on IQ tests because African Americans tend to hold the view that they belong to a group with reputations for doing poorly on IQ tests. And this concern in turn, actually impeded their performance on tests.Stereotype_threat_bw.jpg

To add to the description about this topic in textbook, I think the stereotype threat can also works in an opposite way: sometimes is the fear that we may not be able to confirm a positive group stereotype that hindering us to do our best. And I shall call it the "Positive stereotype threat".

Personally I have been victim of this "positive stereotype threat". One time I was taking a Chinese test (which I always good at) with other students who I believe to be weaker in this subject, I feel confident at first however interestingly, as the questions became more complicate, the thought that "I must do well on this test or I would failed my reputation" became stronger and I found it becoming increasingly distracting as I trying to focus on the questions. And later on I found out I could scored higher in other similar tests if I did not emphasize the difference between me and my classmates.By forming a stereotype and overly emphasize it when the situation seems relevant, I had fell prey to stereotype threat and it had exert a negative effect on my performance.

Just as the fear of confirming the negative group stereotype may increase anxiety and effect people's performance; the pressure of trying to maintain a positive figure of ourselves is also strong enough to go backfire and to distract us in our tasks.

After doing some background readings, I have also found out that the stereotype threat has a much boarder area of impact on our daily life than just on tests scores, it can cause many negative long-term consequences such as leading individuals blame themselves for the failures, drop in self-confidence level and withdraw from the environments in which they perceive the threats.

To intervene the stereotype threat from effecting people, psychologists have developed ways to help foster the integrity of the self by self-affirmation process. But a more direct and maybe more effective way to intervene this threat is to teach people what the stereotype threat is, and the fact that intelligence is malleable and can be improve through exercises. People would become better against this lurking yet ubiquitous threat by raising their awareness and knowledge of it.

Graph created by Futurebird, based on data from The Effects of Stereotype Threat on the Standardized Test Performance of College Students, J Aronson, CM Steele, MF Salinas, MJ Lustina - Readings About the Social Animal, 8th edition, E. Aronson, quoted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stereotype_threat_bw.jpg#file 11/18/2011

Rorschach Inkblot Test

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The Rorschach Inkblot Test is one of the most common projective tests in psychology. It is also one of the most controversial. Projective Tests in general are typically administered by a psychologist with the purpose of discerning something about the subject's personality. They work by asking the subject to "make sense" of ambiguous stimuli such as incomplete sentences, drawings of social situations or in the case of the Rorschach Test, inkblots. How the subject "makes sense" of each stimuli is suppose to say something about their personality. However, recently the test has come under increased scrutiny as its validity has been challenged.


Take a moment to watch the video below:

Online Rorschach Test


From the above video, you can see how conclusions are drawn about someones personality based on interpretations that one gives to the different blots. It is a little scary to think that because you saw a "mouthman" in the first blot or "bat creature" in the fifth blot you might be labeled as crazy by the examiner.


Scientific studies have also looked into the validity of the Rorschach Inkblot Test. What most have found is that the test provides limited validity and no advantages over the much easier to administer and less time consuming MMPI test.


This link will take you to an article in the scientific journal Psychology that concluded the Rorschach Test was no better at predicting the interpersonal skills of popular versus unpopular elementary and middle-school students compared to the MMPI. You must be signed into your x500 account to view the article.


Creative Thinking

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Divergent Thinking: The ability to come up with multiple solutions to a problem. Creativity. It is important to note that being creative does not make you intelligent. The correlation between the two is fairly low. Someone can be extremely intelligent but heavily lack creative thinking.

I believe this concept is important because it describes how we make decisions on a daily basis. In real life when we are faced with a problem we must come up with a solution. Sometimes we find that our solution to the problem is not correct and so we need to come up with a second solution. We typically call this problem solving and it is how we work through multiple solutions to solve a problem.
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Divergent thinking has also been described as "thinking out of the box". It is the creative ability to provide a solution different than the common solution. In my everyday life I have to use divergent thinking when confronted with a problem. This happens most often at my job where I am part of a marketing team. I have to constantly think outside of the box to solve market problems or figure out a unique way to reach our customers.

Here is an article that talks about creativity in business. It notes that creativity is not just fonts and colors, but coming up with unique solutions to real world business problems.

http://www.forbes.com/2010/10/04/facebook-zuckerberg-twitter-wendy-kopp-creativity-advertising-cmo-network.html

For The Kids

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Development begins long before an individual is born. Throughout pregnancy an unborn baby starts to perform movements, learn, and make preferences. The rate and extent of these abilities depend on many factors, one of which is the mother. The mother makes the decision whether or not the child will be exposed to drugs, cigarettes, and X-rays, a few examples of teratogens, environmental factors that can have a negative impact on prenatal development (Lilienfeld 366). The mother can avoid many harmful environmental factors, however, not all can or are as easy to control. One example is the mother's psychological state. Research has shown that the mother's mental state affects her unborn baby's development.
Researchers at the University of California-Irvine performed a study in which pregnant women were tested for depression before and after birth and their babies' development was checked after birth (Science Daily). Results showed that the consistency of the environment was most important for the babies. Babies performed best if the mother was healthy before and after birth or depressed before and after birth. To my surprise, it was better for the baby to be in a depressed environment before and after birth than in a depressed environment before birth and a healthy after.
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I believe it would be beneficial to perform this study again using different tests on the babies after birth. Would this finding be consistent for all areas of development? If so, I think more studies should follow that study whether or not there is a certain point during pregnancy in which a change in environment can safely occur. This research could improve the development in children growing in a negative environment for that, as stated in the article, neurological problems and psychiatric disorders can arise in the long term if a mother is depressed. The mental state of a pregnant woman is a complex factor that impacts a baby's development and further research can increase its beneficial affects.


Sources
Association for Psychological Science. "Can fetus sense mother's psychological state? Study suggests yes." ScienceDaily, 10 Nov. 2011. Web. 13 Nov. 2011. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111110142352.htm

Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding. Lilienfield, Lynn, Namy, Woolf.
Image: http://www.metrolic.com/babies-capable-of-complex-reasoning-170206/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBtZl5UcTt0

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