closed.jpgA few of you have managed to sneak in entries after I finished grading... After this entry posts, I am declaring the blog closed. This mean that if you post any late entries or comments after this time, they will not be graded! Have a great summer!

Take home message

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college lecture_hall_teaching.jpgWow, what a year! Freshman year has had its mix of fun times with friends and pulling all-nighters, eating late-night and booking it to St. Paul for a 9 am class. But what I will take home from PSY 1001 is increased understanding about social interaction - how others affect us and how to better understand others through application of psychological principals.

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My favorite lab was the one regarding obedience of social norms, watching a recreation of Solomon Asch's line experiment and the horrifying results of Migram's "electric shock" study. The results of both these experiments were disturbing, but they gave me a new understanding for how much society relies on conventional behavior and adherence to norms. If anything, now I feel like I am more likely to feel comfortable dissenting from groupthink because I can draw upon these examples of how social pressures and norms might lead someone awry rather than the right way.

Also, I now am able to better distinguish pseudoscience from research-based studies and findings. This in itself is a helpful life application of psychology and science in general, because the media does not always report accurate or unbiased information and it is my job to be an informed consumer and citizen.

empty-nest-syndrome.pngEmpty-nest syndrome is a psychological condition usually affecting mothers around the time that their children leave home. This period of adjustment following their children's "flight" is sometimes accompanied by mild depression or feelings of identity less to those parents who defined themselves largely based on their roles as parents.

First world problems...

Interestingly enough, this condition tends to affect a very specific demographic most commonly: Caucasian women who don't work outside the home. However, empty nest syndrome correlates more reliably with socioeconomic status than race or familial status.
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When a woman is at the stage in life where her kids are leaving, she may also be going through other major changes, such as dealing with the menopause or trying to cope with dependent elderly parents. It can be a difficult time, and it's natural for a parent to feel some sadness when children leave home.


But, wait a minute!! Why is there an elliptical in my room?!?

Contraray to popular belief, most empty-nesters experience an increase in life satisfaction following their new found flexibility and freedom. yoga-boom.top.jpgWhole women's book clubs and exercise groups are devoted to new empty-nesters. In fact, whole blogs and home improvement websites are devoted to helping empty-nesters figure out what to do with the new "extra bedroom." Most women take up new hobbies or social causes. Personally, my mom is now taking painting classes and my bedroom has easels and oil paints on my desk and dressers.

What do you think aout empty-nest syndrome, real or invented condition? And what is your experience with your parents after moving out for college?

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One thing that I will definitely remember from Psy 1001 is the Six Principles of Scientific Thinking. Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence, Falsifiability, Occam's Razor, Replicability, Ruling out Rival Hypotheses, and Correlation vs. Causation. Learning about these six principles have really changed the way I think about and see things. Although I believe that all of them are very important, the principles that I usually focus on and use in my daily life are Falsifiability, Ruling out Rival Hypotheses, and Correlation vs. Causation, but mostly Correlation vs. Causation. These principles have really helped me to keep my mind open when learning or perceiving new things. Several times I have caught myself falling prey to conventional thinking but because of these principles I was able to stop and reevaluate the situation. Overall, the Six Principles of Scientific Thinking is one thing I found both extremely interesting as well as being able to apply my life intimately.

Although I have learned numerous things during this semester in psychology, I believe that in 5 years what will still be in my mind is the six principles of scientific thinking: Ruling out rival hypotheses, correlation vs. causation, falsifiability, Occam's Razor, extraordinary claims, and replicability. These are principles that I have found can be used in many situations and all throughout life. I will most remember correlation vs. causation, though, because that was one principle that took me a while to understand. When I did understand it, however, it made so much sense to me and can really benefit me and everyone else.

Should IQ tests be used to apply for a job? Why not? Employers want the smartest people to work for them and make their company successful. But is being "smart" the only qualification someone should have? For certain jobs, sure. Being a genius could be the only thing they are looking for. IQ tests, however, can only measure a certain level or type of "smartness". Take Chris Langan as an example. He has one of the highest IQs in the United States, but he can hardly hold a job, and these are not high profile careers. He has worked as a bar bouncer, firefighter, and construction worker. Not exactly jobs you would typically associate with a genius. Chris, however, has people problems. He has dropped out of two colleges and can't hold a steady job. Based on this example, I do not believe IQ tests should be used to determine qualified applicants for a job.

System for Belief

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Skeptical Hippo 2

There are many things I think I will remember from Psych 1001 five years from now. The most frequently applicable topic that sticks out in my mind is from way back at the beginning of the semester when we looked at the chapter about critical thinking and the six principles of scientific thinking... as lame as that sounds. Ruling out rival hypotheses, correlation and causation, falsifiability, simplicity (Occam's Razor), extraordinary claims, replicability- all of these things are, in a general sense, relevant on a daily basis... or at least they should be.

I don't think it was until well into my adolescence that I began really questioning the world around me. This American culture is especially good at presenting everything as fact (remember the section on pseudoscience). Imagination in the way of wondering why things are the way they are isn't entirely or overtly encouraged- even the most basic things, i.e.- why parents follow a certain system of beliefs, why school starts at 7am, why people treat other people badly, why our government is the way it is, why we all want to watch tv all the time, why Mcdonald's makes us happy, why we eat what we eat, why we can't fly etc. etc. I think the six principles are excellent lenses through which we can look at the world- and they should probably be taught from day one (though I'm sure those of you who paid careful attention to the chapter on childhood development might disagree).

They also give me a greater sense of how much I (and the rest of the world) don't know. There are so many possibilities in any (or most) situations that being very careful and thoughtful about the information we're presented with can help us keep our minds open and fair.

The End of Psych 1001

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The photo above is what I remember most from this class... just kidding. It's almost difficult to try and think of something because we learned so much over the past 16 weeks! One concept that probably sticks out most in my mind-as of right now-would be our segment we did with behavior. I think about this one quite often actually, because I'm quite the dog fanatic and it was cool to learn about classical and operant conditioning... Ok, ok it was more fun to learn about Pavlov's dogs.26938_384152195682_531510682_4363538_7837628_n.jpg
So, when I start training my other dogs, I think I'll be able to dub myself master dog trainer, since Psych 1001 has informed me on some new ways to obtain behaviors I want! I could even use the information we learned in class to probably help me learn some new habits, or rid myself of a few undesirable ones ;)

When someone says the word bulimia, it brings about a sort of taboo that most people are afraid to talk about. In reality, bulimia is the most common eating disorder affecting one to three percent of our population. It is described as a pattern of binging and purging. Someone with this eating disorder may eat up to 10,000 calories in one sitting and then use a variety of means to exit the food from their body including vomiting or abusing laxatives. This disease occurs most often in adolescent girls faced with society's pressure to look and to feel thin. The media plays an enormous role in this pressure by showing the glamorous lifestyles that characters on television shows like Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, and The O.C. portray. Every character looks more beautiful and thinner than the last giving girls standards that are next to impossible to compare too. However, the media is not the only factor that may lead to bulimia. Genetics, trauma, and family, among other things are all factors that contribute to the disease.

American Idol runner up, Katherine McPhee, confessed that she suffers from bulimia. McPhee became obsessed with her weight at age thirteen, and ever since, it has been a constant, uphill battle. Through auditioning for American Idol, she has had to learn to cope with multiple triggers including stress. She continued to lose weight throughout the season, and it became evident that McPhee was not healthy. She is now open about her condition and is promoting others suffering with eating disorders towards healthier lifestyles. It was extremely brave of her to be so open about her personal life on such an openly televised show. It opens the door for parents to talk to their children about eating disorders, the pressures that can cause them, and how to avoid these pressures.



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From what I heard from my friends about psych, I expected it to be a hard class with material that wasn't interesting and tests that were impossible to do well on. However, neither of those things were true. Psych tests were hard yeah, but with enough work I found that any grade you want can be achieved. I also found that Psychology is one of the most interesting subjects that I have ever studied. Three of the most interesting topics that I found interesting were sleep, classical and operant conditioning and child development.
I found sleep interesting because sleep should take up around a third of your day and its something that I overlooked previously. Learning about the theories behind how we dream was something that I found interesting as well as how sleep schedules work. In all actuality, that was probably one of the most useful thing that i've ever learned in school. Both types of conditioning were very interesting to me as well. I can see how they can be used in work, family, and with animals. The last of the three, child development, is actually the most important thing that I have learned. In the future, I do plan on having children and I definitely see myself using as much of the child development section that i can remember in order to raise my children.
As the semester ends and I review for the final and look over all the material, I get a chance to reflect on what I will take with me after I finish this class.

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During this semester, we were introduced to many concepts in psychology, but the on that I will remember five years from now is the idea of intelligence testing. Our textbook explains the changes to the process that have occurred over the last hundred years that have made them more useful in identifying a broader definition of intelligence. Scientists have yet completely define and identify the location of intelligence, but we still attempt to measure it. These tests also have drawbacks as they have been used in eugenics. This is because they look at problem solving skills as well as test taking and fact retention. Because of their application in hiring and other aspects of job performance, I have been reminded of them almost weekly since they were introduced to us. I help a lot with human resources tasks at my job, and we use integrity tests and interviews to make decisions, but my HR manager has had trouble hiring committed workers who are able to quickly learn job duties. Lillienfeld cited studies which show that intelligence tests are actually better predictors of job performance than interviews, but not as good as the integrity tests. Though we found in our discussion section that relying exclusively on intelligence tests is not an effective way to hire, but I do wonder how their use would help with our employee retentionNot-Hiring-The-American.jpg

The topic I believe I will remember most in 5 years is the Big Five personality traits. I was initially surprised to find out that psychologists believed there were such a limited number of crucial features of the human personality. In case anyone needs a reminder, the Big Five personality traits are as follows:
Openness to experience-open people tend to be intellectually curious and unconventional
Conscientiousness-tend to be careful and responsible
Extraversion-tend to be social and lively
Agreeableness-tend to be social and easy to get along with
Neuroticism-tend to be tense and moody.
When we took the survey for class to find out which traits we ranked high or low in, I had no idea where I would be ranked. I was pretty sure I would be highly ranked in extraversion, because I usually am on other personality tests, but otherwise I had no idea. I found out that I am low in neuroticism, high in extraversion and openness to experience, and somewhere in the middle for agreeableness and conscientiousness. I realized that I thought this was actually really accurate for my personality, and was impressed by this fact. If anyone wants to retest themselves for these five traits, here is a link to a test online.
http://www.outofservice.com/bigfive/
I've also included a video that talks about the five traits, as well as a discussion of the traits celebrities possess, such as Tom Cruise and Paris Hilton.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vm2vafSHf_U

What traits were you ranked high or low in? Were you surprised by the results?

Does Reality Even Exist?

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We all like to think of ourselves as level-headed individuals who can look at things from an even-keeled perspective. We don't think we have biases, because we see things as they are. The thing that stuck out to me the most this year in psychology is how untrue this is. Like Chris French's post about a man who was convinced he had undeniable evidence that there were weird spirits occupying his home, I've come to realize how many things I think are simple facts but really are results of my own biased perspectives. I think a lot of this is from the Correlation vs. Causation fallacy. I see test scores of people who are poor and assume that their lack of intelligence causes them to have no money. I decide to see it this way because it offers me comfort in knowing that my high ACT score will guarantee me success in life. I WANT to see it this way. The reality of the situation is that just because low test-scores are correlated with poverty, the cause probably lies outside both realms. Being born into underprivileged situations denies poor people proper education, health care, and safe environments, all of which are things that contribute to high test-scores and success in life.
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(http://nerdtrek.com/false-perception-modern-philosophy/)

Psych 1001

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I have learned a lot of things in Psych 1001but the biggest thing that stood out to me was the survival exercise. I really enjoyed learning how to think outside of the box and get rid of item use stereotype. I can't believe that Crisco could be that useful. Overall I think that there was a lot of content in this class but most of it was very interesting and applicable to real life!
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Psychology has proved to be a very interesting subject and class. I am very glad to have taken it. All the reading and quizzes proved to be very strenuous at times but it was a very fun class. The things I will carry with from this class would have to be first be the first date techniques we learned. Im definitely going to use this in the future. I thought it was funny but very true that having a first date be exhilarating and adventurous to build attraction. The second thing I will carry with me is the stuff about training and reinforcement. I think that it will help a lot in raising kids as well as having a pet. The third and final thing I will remember is the effective ways to learn. I have already applied many methods in my studies and they proven to be extremely efficient as well as effective. I used it for my past two psyche exams and they have helped me a lot. The most effective way I have come to use has been spreading out the studying over more time than just cramming last minute. Studying a little each day or doing one chapter of the study guide each week really helps to achieve the grade you want and I suggest it to anyone who wants to get good grades.

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Cravings Out of Situation

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tumblr_lytirgVKm11r6hkry.jpgThe topic of learning as it relates to the physiological responses that occur when paired with triggers has been the most interesting to me. In our text it was most related to drug use and how triggers such as settings or rituals that accompany the physiological changes that using the drug causes trains the body to anticipate the drug when a trigger is presented. This is commonly experienced as withdrawal or to a lesser degree cravings. We used the examples of more severe or illegal drugs in class but when you think about it we consume lots of different drugs as a society. How many people start their day off with a coffee or need that cigarette when stresses pile up? We are probably dooming our selves to be sleepy at the wheel if we routinely have that energy drink before drives. Our bodies CRAVE homeostasis. Sorry to anthropomorphize a bit here, but our bodies like to run within the same conditions and they learn remarkably well; you would be surprised what the little devils pick up on. So when we introduce a substance to upset that base line we create an imbalance in our bodies which we feel as the "high" or what ever the effect the drug is supposed to have. Over time our bodies begin to anticipate the effects of the drug based on the conditions that are present to our senses before we take the substance.
8510837-comic-book-drawing-of-an-intense-race-car-driver.jpgWe are taking the unconditioned stimulus of taking the drug having the effect of the unconditioned response of the "high" and pairing it with the conditioned stimulus of driving. Basically we are training the situation of driving with the expectation of the high. Our bodies say to themselves, "oh i remember this, when ever this happens I know to expect an energy drink." The problem with this is the body also wants to be in a homeostasis condition so it says further, "Since I know I get the energy drink I also want to be a bit more tired so that as the "high" of the drink kicks in I still maintain my operating conditions. This all works well until we stop giving our body that drink. When we do and our body realizes we are not getting that "high" it has already started us down the path of maintaining homeostasis. It responds, "well you normally give me a drink, not sure why you didn't, but I already started the "chill out" procedure so we are going to super tired now. Way to screw up the plan." And now we have to deal with what our body expected. dring sleep.jpg
I have related this to drugs and energy drinks, but I am left wondering what other things our bodies figure out. Does our body expect more than we think. If we go to the gym a lot and smell sweat do we kick into a work out mode? If we are constantly learning in a class room would we be more receptive to a calm well listened to conversation about a controversial topic in that room? We habituate to so much all the time I am left to wonder what really controls our reactions to things how we see it currently our how our body relates the stimulus to its experiences. Are we in control of our bodies or do our bodies dictate our perception and actions? Can we anticipate this and use ot to our advantage?

One of the most interesting topics or sections I enjoyed in Psychology 1001 was "Major Freudian Defense Mechanisms." I found this really interesting because while reading this I really thought about how I react to situations and while reading the examples, it seemed like I have done one or more of them most of the time. The most common defense mechanisms I usually have seen from my friends and myself are:
1. Rationalization - I have seen this when a student for example wanted to get into the College of Design, and if they were rejected they would say they never really wanted to get into the school anyway and it's not that good.
2. Intellectualization - like the example in the book, I have noticed that some college students tend to be naive when it comes to relationships and come up with some ridiculous fact as a scapegoat.
3. Reaction-Formation - Lastly, this last defense mechanism I notice is this one because when a girl "likes" a boy, some will react in a way that seems like they are not interested because that is how they defend themselves.

While all of the other defense mechanisms are practiced daily in college life I'm sure, the ones that I notice the most as a college freshman are listed above.
Lastly here is a clip from a newer show Happy Endings, that in the opening, shows how one character, Penny, reacts to meeting her ex-boyfriend's old girlfriend. Enjoy!


The truth about IQ

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I think the concept that I would remember in five years, is the concept of IQ; I thought chapter 9 was the most interesting read in the whole book. In this chapter, the author was able to convince me that, even if IQ is mainly heritable, the environment plays a major role. However, what I thought was the most interesting is that even if IQ correlates with the amount of education people obtain and the intellect of their jobs, it still does not correlate with other significant traits. For example, IQ does not correlate with creativity. I thought this was surprising, since it shows that average people have more creative ideas than a person of genius IQ. I also enjoyed the fact that wisdom is not related to IQ. For me, this makes a lot of sense, since there are a lot of scientists,that are smart people, but still don t have good ethics. In the end, the author considers creative and wise people equals to ones with a high IQ. The author also argues that people with a high IQ can still be tricked by average people. In summary, I think it would be nice to be in the range of geniuses, but if you don't fall in that range you may still be a wise or creative person, which is as valuable as anything else.

Scientific Method

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The thing will stay with me the most from psychology is the scientific method. Using all of the different modes of the method such as falsifiability, correlation versus causation and replicability are not only extremely useful in psychology, but also when assessing other arguments in everyday life. I have found myself drawing on this knowledge when I am in everyday conversation, and I have won several arguments as a result of my knowledge in of the scientific method.
Relating to my major, I have learned that the scientific method can be used in the business world as well. When you are making a purchase or assessing advertisements, the scientific method can come in handy as to if you should make that purchase. If a claim on an advertisement is used that uses anecdotal evidence, for example, I would rely on my knowledge of the scientific method not to buy that product. This knowledge makes me a much smarter purchaser.
Lastly, knowledge of the scientific method would help me validate arguments made my candidates running for political office. In debates, especially, there are many arguments made that, to the general public, seem very valid. In fact, however, many times the politician's arguments are very weak below the surface. Being informed puts me ahead of the general public in this area as well.

Placebos in the Future

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ff_placebo_effect_f.jpgAn interesting thing I'll remember five years from now is what the placebo effect is. All of my life, I've been given medicines that will "drain out my sinuses", or "cure this headache". After reading chapter 2, I have realized that this is not necessarily the case. As defined by the book, the placebo effect is "improvement resulting from the mere expectation of improvement".

Although I know drugs such as Advil are pain relievers, I am also aware of the fact that at least a little part of me starts feeling better before the drugs really kick in. The throbbing pain in my temples begins to go away simply because I swallowed the Advil, because I'm expecting a relief to my pain. Because of this information, I've already noticed a decrease in the amount of Advil I consume. I am now aware that simply thinking about something else in order to get my headache out of my mind will help me feel better. This will be important for me to remember in the future because taking too much of one drug can be harmful for a person's health. For example, taking too much Advil can lead to stomach ulcers, which I would really prefer to avoid. Reading this little bit out of the textbook may lead me to better health in the future.

We almost finish Psychology 1001 course this semester. For me, the concept in psychology that I think I will remember five years from now is pseudoscience, because it is in the Chapter one that impressed me first and really shocked me when I read it.
I still remember that answers of first ten questions at the beginning of the Chapter one are all false. I was really surprised by the answer--I thought there are two or three correct statements at least, but the result is none. From that point, I realized the pseudoscience is really everywhere. It makes so many mistakes that we cannot distinguish which information is scientific right.
From the textbook, we know that about 95 percent of self-help books are untested, that is most suggestions from self-help book are probably wrong. If we read it, we waste not only time and money, but also our trust in it because it is not the scientific knowledge, only the entertainment. For example, there are too many books about the astrology. I was very interesting in it because people in different constellation will have different personality. I even spent a lot of time on studying my constellation and my boyfriend constellation to understand our relationship. It is stupid. Constellation cannot affect our relationship. It is just a kind of pseudoscience.
While I thought maybe pseudoscience was only a kind of waste and would not affect our life directly, the example in textbook told me I was totally wrong. The tragic story of Candace Newmaker made me angry. Because of the pseudoscience--rebirthing therapy, a innocent child lost her life. It made me feel sad and hate the pseudoscience. The pseudoscience is the true killer.
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After that, we learned a lot, such as the types of memory, the different definition of intelligence, the development of personality, but nothing made me so angry as the harm of pseudoscience. This example reminds us never believe the pseudoscience. After learning psychology, we have responsibility to spread the disadvantage of pseudoscience.

One Against Many

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One topic that we studied in class was the idea of conformity. Whether or not we would just go with the crowd even if it something we do not believe in. This concept is very important, and we face it all the time. I think I will remember this idea for several reasons. First of all, we studied it for an entire discussion period, and looked at several studies. Also, I think I will remember it for the reason that I mentioned above: we are faced with it all the time. Every day we encounter countless situations in which we have to make decisions. Many of these decisions have to do with conformity.
After looking at some studies, I was astonished to see how many people will go against their own beliefs just because someone tells them to. Thinking about my own life, there have definitely been times in which I am guilty of this. But I think just by understanding the concept, I will be more likely to stand up for what I believe in. I will definitely remember this concept for the rest of my life, and use my knowledge to stand up for what is right!
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Wonderful Memory

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The introduction of psychology class in this semester is almost end, and this is also my first psychology class. I found some topics of our Psychology class is really fascinating and useful. For me, Chapter 7 "Memory--Constructing and Reconstructing Our Past" impress me a lot. This chapter discussed how our memory form and change from a science and biology view, and it talk about how memory operates, the three stages of memory, the biology of memory, and the the development of memory.
Memory is defined as the retention of information over time. The definition is somewhat abstract but it is obviously important for everyone. Memory let us recall the happiness, excited and enjoyment of past, even the sadness part of memory is treasure for me, as well as the memory of this class. :)
Our memory always process though three stages--encoding, storage and retrieval. The textbook vividly describe these stage similar in some ways to the process of filing and fetching a library book. Our brain is like a librarian to enters the cataloging information for a book into the our brain's database, and this step is called encoding. Then during storage step, our brain puts every memory in the proper "section" of our memory library. When we want to access some memory, our brain looks up the cataloging information and then to the the appropriate location the retrieve the memory parts.
Our brain is no doubt the most magic computer in the world!
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College students sleep...?

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The thing that I will remember most from psychology is probably the section we learned about sleep. As college students we all know that sleep is a rarity and something that we lack, so I was eager to learn more about it. I never realized that there are four stages of sleep and that only one of them includes REM sleep. I knew a little bit about REM sleep before but I thought that it was super interesting to learn more about it and how it affects your dream cycle and how rested you are. I never realized before that you generally don't dream unless you are in REM sleep. For me personally that makes a lot of sense because when I don't get a lot of sleep due to homework I don't generally remember having any dreams. In this section of the book, I learned these and many more sleep tips and pieces of information that I will most likely always remember.

Personality Psychology

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The topic of personality psychology is of importance to me because of its personal impact. From the unit, I not only learned one large, complex aspect of modern psychology, but also, a lot about myself. So much of personality is the way we carry ourselves, the way we act around certain people, and our reactions and responses to our environments - in other words, something that isn't readily understood or spoken about, because its tacit, effortless, and automatic. But, because we learned about personality in a social environment of the classroom we understood personality in a unique setting than what many of us are used to. I believe I will understand my knowledge of personality after five years as the time spent learning personality psychology has inspired me to find out more about myself and taken personality tests (I'm a split between INFJ and ENFJ on the Meyers-Briggs test) and explore different parts of my and other's personalities. Doing so not only changes the way I view social interaction and interpersonal relationships, from friends to dating, but taking advantage of my knowledge to become a better learner in social environments and in group activities or projects. Within personality psychology there is endless relevance to everyday life and applications to real world problems, which is something that is unique to so many things we learn whilst in college.

Eric Best