March 2012 Archives

Detecting Lies

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When I read the section about the polygraph test and detecting lies, it reminded me of the funny scene from the movie Meet the Parents when Robert De Niro gives Ben Stiller the test himself.
I think that it would be kind of scary if tests like these were actually very accurate, as it would reveal a lot of secrets that people do not and would never voluntarily reveal. It would be very helpful in solving crimes though, and it would save the justice system a lot of time and money.
I don't think that there will ever be a way to perfectly tell whether a person is being honest or whether they are lying. As explained in the book, the test can confuse arousal with guilt and this leads to innocent people being accused of things that they never did. I don't think there is really an accurate way to determine what someone is thinking because the brain is so complex and carries out so many different processes at once. Some people may claim that they can spot a liar, but no one should ever be accused unless there is sufficient evidence that shows they did something, not just an unreliable test or method.

How does your personality from the past compare to your behaviors today? Do you believe that the basic principles of our personality come directly from our genes, or is your personality shaped through your experiences?

The section about temperament and babies' emotional styles was particularly interesting to me. I had no idea that a baby's social and emotional behavior is so largely genetic in origin. It says in our book that most infants' basic personality styles emerge almost immediately after birth. Environmental factors can play a role, but mostly come into effect later on. This makes sense, because obviously, as newly-borns, infants start with zero environmental influence (apart from intrauterine experiences).kd6336.jpg

This relates directly to me, because I had a very different personality as a baby than I do now. I have heard many horror stories of myself as a youngster, torturing my parents with screams of my demands that they could not understand. Apparently my attitude was so bad that my uncle became scared of me and never wanted to have a girl after spending the day with me. I stayed this way until I could walk and talk with ease, when I could get what I wanted myself, and tell others what they needed to be doing. Clearly, I was all about control as a child.

I'd like to think that I am very different from the difficult child I used to be, and therefore also support that people grow, learn, and change from their experiences. Of course, young infants have little or no experience, in which case genetic factors play most of the role, but as you gain more experience, so does your personality and your attitude.

Liar Liar

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mri-lie-detector-1.jpgAfter reading the section of our textbook on lying, and ways to detect it, I wonder if it will ever be possible to detect if one is lying, with 100% accuracy. I find it interesting that one of our main lie detecting techniques, the polygraph machine, was invented almostone hundred years ago, and we still have not found a more accurate way to detect lies. How many things that were invented one hundred years ago have not been improved to be more effective? Especially one as important as a polygraph machine, that has the power to determine the guilty and the innocent!
Imagine if we were able to develop some way to determine if someone was telling the truth, by simply asking them? If we could determine someones guilt, or equally as important, there innocence, think of all the time and money that could be saved by not having so many long, and drawn out court cases! If this was possible, we could eliminate the possibility of sentencing innocent people to prison! prison.jpg

Whether or not it will ever be possible to test if someone is lying is unknown. It is very possible that this idea is nothing more than a dream. But I believe that more time and energy should be invested in to determining the possibilities because the results of this discovery could lead to extraordinary things.

Everyone thinks their sibling, cousin, or child is the cutest and smartest baby, but really I think my 3 year old cousin is the smartest AND the cutest. In Chapter 10, you can read about Piaget's Stages of Development: Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete Operations, and Formal Operations. Reading this made me think of my little cousin Elizabeth immediately. When she was about two, I was playing with her outside. I picked up a rock and pretended it was a cookie, then pretended to eat it. She looks at me and tells me "thats not a cookie thats a rock". I thought she was so smart for being so literal, but after understanding Piaget's preoperational stage I have come to realize that she had not yet developed any symbolic behavior. A couple months later when I saw her, she put on one of my old Arby's hats and we started role playing, she asked me if I wanted curly fries, what I would like to drink etc. When I asked her if I could have a sandwich with onions on it she replied "I suppose so", then pretended to right down the order. Now she has gone deeper into the preoperational stage by being able to see the world from a different person's point of view, known as egocentrism.DSC02307-2.jpg

While looking for topics to choose through in our large selection, one caught my eye immediately. When I saw the role of fathers, I knew that this would be an interesting topic to do further research on. When I have a problem with school or friends, I go to my mom. But, if I need help fixing something or wanted someone to play with when I was little, I turned to my dad. Why is that?

In our Psychology book for this class, it explains in four ways how mothers and fathers differ:
1. Fathers tend to be less attentive and affective when the the baby is still very little.
2. Fathers tend to spend less time with the baby, even if the parents are home an equal amount.
3. When fathers interact with their children, they are the more playful then mothers usually are.
4. Lastly, both young boys and girls go to their father first, oppose to their mother, as a playmate.

So maybe that is why many kids would go to their mom for emotional things and their dad for physical work. But you need your father just as much as you need your mother! So, I looked up some facts about Fathers that were pretty remarkable:
- Odds that the average man will become a father: 1 in 2
- Number yearly who take permanent leave to become stay-at-home dads: 143,000
- Number of current fathers who would still want to have kids if they could do it over again: 19 in 20
These are only a few, where the rest can be found here.

To leave you with a small clip, fathers play a key role in the lives of his children, while some go above and beyond, the smallest gesture means a lot!

Obviously, we all are students at a great University, so our parents must have done something right!! But do you ever run into people and think-- "Wow, what did their parents teach them growing up?" When reading the section on the different types of parenting styles, I started by analyzing my parents' style and then compared it to other parents I know. Using the three main parenting styles developed by Diana Baumrind, Permissive, Authoritarian, and Authoritative, I can clearly pin point how I was raised compared to some of my friends. I find this so interesting because even though we were brought up completely different we all turned out to be similar enough that we became close friends. My parents were more of authoritative, they showed me lots of affection and allowed me to be independent, but also made clear to me what was and was not acceptable behavior. I get along great with my parents. My best friend grew up with pretty Authoritarian style parents. They are not very affectionate, extremely strict, and punish her often. She has a rocky relationship with her parents, but because of their strict rules she learned great study habits which she appreciates now at college! It is fun to compare how each of my friends views the world based on how we were taught and treated by our parents. This is an important thing to study, because it can be helpful to develop a better technique to raising children. I know that I already have some sort of idea of what to do when I start having children in the DISTANT future just by reading this chapter and comparing parents I know.

Become a new parent can be very stressful and not knowing how to raise your child can be detrimental to how they will act as they grow. Knowing the different parenting styles studied by Diana Baumrind can be very eye opening for new parents and to become aware of what parenting style they want to partake while raising their child. From Baumrind's study, she concluded three major parenting styles which are permissive, authoritarian and authoritative. Later on, a fourth style was identified as uninvolved. A permissive parent will be lenient with their child and allow them to have a significant amount of freedom both inside and outside the household. Discipline is not a priority and the child is showered with affection. supernanny.jpeg Authoritarian parents will be stricter with their child and punish them quickly if demands are not fulfilled quickly or in a timely manner. Little affection is shown and the child has little ability to explore. An authoritative parent is a good middle between permissive and authoritarian. Authoritative parents will provide affection and support while still getting ground rules. Lastly, an uninvolved parent simply neglects their child but giving zero affection and paying little attention to them in general. This video shows the different parenting styles in action. Now there isn't necessarily a right or wrong way to parent a child but there is of course a more effective way. Every family is different and every child has different psychological needs. A very popular show on ABC called "Supernanny" is a British reality TV show that profiled parents and their troubled children. A professional nanny, Jo Frost, steps in to help and teach the parents how to become better parents. Many parents are permissive because they simply give in to their child's demands in order to avoid conflict. From personal experience, I think that the authoritative parenting style works very well. My parents raised me with very set rules about curfew, homework and chores but they always supported my passion in art and any crazy idea I had as a child. This made me have a very strong bond with my parents because I could trust them and I knew that they always wanted what was best for me. Even though I may not always have liked having to be home earlier than some of my other friends, this taught me responsibility and reliability.

Kamikaze Pigeons!

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We have all heard of monkeys going into space, but who has heard of pigeons controlling missiles! Ever since our lecture on B.F. Skinner and conditioning i have not stopped thinking about his somewhat failed contribution to national defense, with pigeon guided missiles. If you missed this lecture let me give you brief description of "Project Orcon". During WW II Skinner used operant conditioning to train pigeons to help control missiles as to more accurately hit their target. The pigeon was positioned with a lens in front at which it could peck, if the pigeon were to peck the center the missile would continue strait, but when pecking away from the center it would cause the missile to change course as directed. A bomb in the hands, or more literally, the beak of pigeon! Before we discuss a bit a more, the following video gives us a great look and explanation of Skinners project:
As was said in the video, Skinner received funding from the government, $25,000 actually, but the idea was never really taken seriously. Also as they described in the video, the results that Skinner was able to produce and repeat, clearly showed that a pigeon could accurately guide a missile to its intended target. But why then was the project shut down on October 8th, 1944? Well according to the military they believed that "further prosecution of this project would seriously delay others which in the minds of the Division have more immediate promise of combat application." But Skinner had proven that this was a viable method of warfare, his methods of conditioning were clearly shown in multiple other projects as well, but he could not convince the National Defense Committee to implement Project Orcon. I have to admit that the idea of a pigeon controlling a bomb, being the deciding factor of who might live and die is a scary one. Trusting that much power to a pigeon seems a bit unreal and that is in the end what shut the project down. But this was just one more example of the power of conditioning that Skinner provided us, this fundamental psychological concept has a lot of power in it, enough power to a make a pigeon control a missile! What are your thoughts, would you trust a pigeon to control a missile? If you would trust them, think of the ethical implications of simply raising and training to pigeons to be nothing more than a kamikaze pilot. Also how would you feel knowing that your comrade was killed by a pigeon? Maybe the government was right to shut down the project, just for the wrong reasons. Commence commenting!

Problems in Business

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Within the past few years, business theorists have found that in comparison to Eastern managers of business, Western managers often rush into solutions before defining a problem 100%. I believe the main reason this issue has arose is due to the fact that our money-woman.jpgcountry and many others are becoming more and more power hungry as each new day goes by. There is no time to waste when money could be made, which is why many people use the phrase "Ready, fire, aim" when referring to how people usually approach problems these days. This can cause many additional problems when it comes to final decisions. Business people could not fully think things through, and be stuck with the consequences in the long run.
I find it interesting that this way of thinking could be applied to my future major and career, as something to steer clear of. I am majoring in interior design which the main focus is taking a problem with space planning and creating many different solutions. It is absolutely essential to choose the correct solution to the problem, otherwise you will be left with unhappy clients and extra issues you will not want to deal with.

Problems in Business

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Within the past few years, business theorists have found that in comparison to Eastern managers of business, Western managers often rush into solutions before defining a problem 100%. I believe the main reason this issue has arose is due to the fact that our money-woman.jpgcountry and many others are becoming more and more power hungry as each new day goes by. There is no time to waste when money could be made, which is why many people use the phrase "Ready, fire, aim" when referring to how people usually approach problems these days. This can cause many additional problems when it comes to final decisions. Business people could not fully think things through, and be stuck with the consequences in the long run.
I find it interesting that this way of thinking could be applied to my future major and career, as something to steer clear of. I am majoring in interior design which the main focus is taking a problem with space planning and creating many different solutions. It is absolutely essential to choose the correct solution to the problem, otherwise you will be left with unhappy clients and extra issues you will not want to deal with.

The topic of aggression caused by video games interested me when we talked about it in discussion. As a topic akin to different mediums - involving music/sound, visual video elements, from a variety of sources, violent video games are a difficult topic when it comes to our discussion of regulation or censorship. Our group agreed with the rating system of video games today (E, T, and M usually). But the danger of these games is their power to "arouse" aggressive behaviors. We saw that Power Rangers, a generally violent or fighting action-oriented program, aroused noticeably more aggressive behavior in small children (which may not have been the appropriate age according to the rating).
I remember watching "The Mummy" series of movies as a child and fighting with my brother with their combat moves, or even wrestling moves from WWE shows - which aroused a more aggressive behavior in me. These programs took advantage of impressionable children (along with children who seek to build their own gender through strong cis-gendered characters).
This brings up the question of whether these programs should, in fact, be censored. They certainly are simple enough to be understood by children, so it seems dangerous for that type of behavior to be displayed so readily and easily. Yet, the individual liberty of the parents should be the ultimate factor in what children end up watching (along with obvious restrictions by the government to certain media).
But my question is in the different types of arousal - as arousal just describes our reaction to stimuli. By watching cooking shows I want to cook more, if I see a political ad I want to get up and vote or feel a certain way; there is a type of arousal in most media sources we interpret. I think if we think of arousal in a scale of "gray area" rather than "on" or "off" we can more easily understand human's reaction to stimuli - such as the Csikszentmihalyi mental state map, shown below. In this way, we can more accurately categorize what types of media could be considered arousing the wrong type of emotions or actions - which should be used more in the regulation of media (like the FCC, etc.)
arousal map.png

A Changing Society

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As America has developed as a country, especially in the last 50 years, the idea of the family has constantly been changing. From the typical two children household with a working father and a stay-at-home housewife in the 50's as shown in the television series Mad Men, to the modern family today where women are more encouraged to work and the responsibility of making the families income doesn't only fall on the man. As a result, is it possible that not having these stereotypes around works against the natural biological influences that the text discusses such as the fact that boys instinctively play with guns and girls play with cookware? In my opinion and in most cases, if nature makes a species the way they are, there is a pretty good reason for it and that, as a culture, we shouldn't work against nature. I'm getting at the fact that, and in the most delicate way possible, we should go back to something that favors our natural tendencies.
Another interesting thing that has been happening recently is that as a whole, the younger generations of kids, those in elementary and middle schools, are being brought up in ways so as they are more safe and in essence, coddled. Is that a realistic way to raise children? When they have to leave these 'safe' environments and live in the world today, will they be ready for it? One of the worst examples that I can think of is here

divorce.jpg Divorce rates these days are much higher than they used to be. Though some people are better off getting a divorce than trying to make their marriage work like they were required to in the old days, are their kids better off? According to our text, "studies show that the substantial majority of children survive their parents' divorce without long-term emotional damage. The apparent effects of divorce depend on the severity of conflict between parents before the divorce... Still, divorce can surely produce negative effects on some children" (Lilienfeld 391). As someone who has personally experienced divorce, I can say that I've had my fare share of emotional ups and downs, but all in all, I know that I can one day have a functional relationship even if my parents could not. child-split-in-two.jpg
Like this boy on the right, the big problem that I've had with my parents' divorce is balancing my time that I spend with my mom and my dad. I was lucky enough not to be apart of a family whose parents absolutely hate each other, but I always worried about one getting jealous of me spending more time with the other so that was a huge stressor put on my shoulders. As I mentioned before, some say the severity of conflict between parents before the divorce can have an effect on the child's emotional "damage," and I'd have to agree with that. My parents fought a lot before they decided to separate, so in the end, the divorce was almost a relief to escape the fighting. Though it was a huge struggle for me at first getting used to my parents being separated, I whole-heartedly believe that some people are just not meant to be together, my parents included. Having that optimistic point of view has helped me cope with the fact that when I have kids, they will have to deal with divorced grandparents.

According to some business theorists, Western business people tend to rush into decisions without first looking at the real problem. I think that this is because as Westerners, we use our emotions too much in business. Everything becomes an emotional matter and often even political. There are so many cliches telling us to use our hearts and our gut reactions, although sometimes this doesn't always produce the best situations. In Eastern cultures, they are much better at separating their business from pleasure and I think that is our problem here. We often make good friends, golf with co-workers, and share our personal life with employees.. from my personal standpoint I am a supporter of this, but sometimes it can be a downfall. Maybe if we can somehow change this we can get rid of the sayings like "Ready, fire, aim" and be more productive as a community of business people.


video games.jpg In discussion we talked about whether violet video games and TV shows cause violence and aggression in kids. Our group concluded that yes, these shows and video games do cause aggression in kids. To support our conclusion further, I remembered watching an E! True Hollywood Story about young people who killed. The one that stuck out to me was about a boy named Daniel Petric, who was 16 years old and become obsessed with the very violent video game, Halo 3. However, his parents forbade him from buying the game, but he went behind their backs and bought it anyways and played it without them knowing. Eventually his parents found out and took it from him. Angered, he went and stole his father's gun and shot both of his parents. (Go to the link to read the full story)
So the question is, was it the video game that drove Daniel to shoot his parents, or was there another factor? My opinion on this is that obviously the video game was a factor in driving him to shoot his parents. He had been consumed by this video game, playing it daily that his mind had been filled with anger, aggression and violence. And because his parents took away this game he became even more enraged that it pushed him far enough to get a gun and shoot his parents. Some other factors could be that Daniel was depressed, which was the leading factor in the article we read " Violent Games Not to Blame for Youth Aggression, Study Suggests". What are some reasons you believe Daniel was driven to shoot his parents? What is your opinion on whether violent video games cause violence in kids and teenagers?

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For as long as I can recall, one of the distinctions of being fluent in Chinese was that relatively few people in my environment were able to understand it. Of course, that's not to say that there weren't some great advantages accompanying the relative obscurity of a language--whenever, for example, I didn't want people listening in on phone conversations, I would simply switch to Chinese to fend off eavesdroppers. But imagine my surprise, then, especially in recent years to discover that increasing numbers of people of non-Chinese descent were capable of basic Mandarin. Many of these speakers were not simply educated through college courses, but were the products of years of assimilation in Chinese culture and language tutoring.


These speakers represent the growing population in the US that realizes the importance being multilingual. This trend certainly has its advantages; scientific research has indicated that children who learn multiple languages from an early age have an increased sense of creativity and improved critical thinking skills. Although bilingual children can sometimes confuse the varying grammar rules across languages, overall, polyglots have improved communication skills.

From a personal perspective, I've always believed in the importance of being multilingual because of the immense benefits that accompany language-learning. As a kid, I remember spending my summers in Shanghai and learning to speak nothing but Chinese for months at a time. Chinese was difficult to master but ultimately, provided me with greater memorization and reasoning abilities.

Overall, being a polyglot has major advantages in terms of gaining critical skills from language learning that are only now beginning to be recognized in society today. To end with a fun fact, the Broca's area, an area of the brain responsible for language, of polyglots is organized differently than those of monolinguists.

Animal language

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Do animals has their own language? This problem is seemingly innocent, naive, but it relates to our discussion about the "language". Some studies have shown that animals have language like human, and they also have emotions. From my point of view, laughter and joy is not the unique human ability. Maybe long before humans can laugh, the other animals already have the original form of laughter.
Animals of course have their own language, but may not necessarily with a voice to express. Different animals have different ways to expression themselves, for example, ants exchange message with antennae dancing, bees exchange message with different flying route, squirrels exchange message with their tail waving.
I own a cat at home. I really think sometimes we can understand each other. In order to built a good relationship with her, I find some ways to understand cats emotion on internet. That's petty useful.
Another example of animal language is dolphins. Nowadays, people also began to understand the language of the dolphins, rather than just think that as a discordant percussion, beat or whistle. The new study suggests that when dolphins encounter each other in the sea, they use whistles which they both familiar with to introduce themselves and greet to each other. Here is one video I found on which talk about language of dolphins.

In the end, a picture of my cat.:)


Would you fall in love with the same person after erasing all your memories? The movie, "External Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", shows you:" Yes, you will." It tells a story of a pair of couple--Joule and Clementine. Actually, due to the flashback starting, I had felt confused and misunderstood the whole story. Fortunately, I found a clear clue after reading some useful comments on the Internet. So, here is the whole story. Joule and Clementine fell in love at first sight in a party on the beach. The boy, Joule, is kind of shy; but the girl, Clementine, has her own understand of this world. We can realize it from her changing and colorful hair. She has passion for almost everything in her life. However, the difference between their characteristics made them break up. Clementine impulsively decided to delete all her memory with Joule to begin her new life. After knowing this truth, Joule was so angry and disappointed that he also determined to give up their memory through an operation. The doctor collected all things related to his memory with Clementine and all stories behind these things. It turned to some points in his brain. This operation would give him a dream of all experience that they were together. The therapists would erase every point of his memory; and Joule would forget everything contained Clementine in the next morning. During the operation, Joule was forced to face all fragments of their memory and he regretted this decision. He tried to escape from the operation, but failed. The only thing he remembered in the next morning was the last sentence that Clementine told him in last night's dream: meet her in Montauk. So, he ditched work and took a train out to Montauk even though he didn't know why he wanted to do that. And then they fell in love again until both of them received a tape which recorded their complaint about each other. However, they still chose to be together at last. There is another example in this movie is that the young nurse in the hospital fell in love with the old doctor who had wife and children again after erasing their memory. On the contrary, she chose to leave after the doctor's wife told her the truth. So, even though you will always love the same person after all memory that you experienced together disappeared, the reaction after you knew your past from other person or the record may be totally different just like these two examples.External.jpg
This movie shows us a chance that maybe we can erasing a painful memory. However, the consequence of this chance is hard to say. "Is erasing all traces of pain in life always a good thing? Or is emotional suffering instead an essential part of being human?" (Psychology From Inquiry to Understanding P267) From the textbook, we can understand that it is still a problem in psychological study. Until now, people already created the drug that inhibited people's adrenaline to block people from the disappointed period. At least, this drug could prevent people from remembering their traumatic experiences in a short term. Yet "this pill only dampened the effects of traumatic memories; it didn't erase them." (Psychology From Inquiry to Understanding P267)

smart-money-saving.jpgLanguage (through speech) is by far one of the most effective and quickest way for humans to communicate to each other. It is faster than communicating through writing or body language. Yet we take language for granted, because we have grown up speaking at least one language from as young as age one and recognizing language by the fifth month of pregnancy. Language consists of about four levels (phonemes, morphemes, syntax, extralinguistic information) for it to be communicated effectively.

Being bilingual has both its pro and con. The con is that bilingual children have shown to have languages delayment in the syntax (grammatical order) area when compared with monolingual children. The pro is that bilingual children can communicate in two languages and are also aware of language structures and usages.

I grew up as a bilingual child, learning English in school and Hmong at home. Growing up I always struggled with grammatical errors in the English language. Eventually though I finally got the hang of it. Then at the age of twelve I started learning Thai by myself, by watching Thai dramas and music that had English subtitles. It took a few years before I could finally watch the dramas without and subtitles, but what really made learning Thai effective was its similarity with the Hmong language. The first step I took to learning Thai was just getting use to the sound of the language. Then paying close attention to the subtitles and looking for any one word or phrase I heard such as, "No, Where, What is your name?" etc. I would Imitate these words and phrases, until I could recite it from memory. Then I would look up each individual English word (from subtitle) in the Thai-English dictionary. If the English word yield a Thai word, and that Thai word sounded similar to what I heard, then I just learned a new vocab in Thai (I would also be on the look out of encountering these new words again in other Thai movies). Next I would listen to the phrase multiple times again (till it's no longer strange), now knowing all if not most of the words and trying figuring out exactly were that one word was placed in the sentence, at beginning, end, middle, etc and refer back to its English subtitle. This made learning the sentence patterns easier which made learning Thai easier and more effective more me. For example, in English we say, "What is your name?", in Hmong we say (word for word), "Your name is called how?", and in Thai, "You name what?" Both Hmong and Thai have the question particle "how" and "what" at the end whereas English has it at the beginning.

50 First Dates Though?

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Can you imagine, being unable to remember meeting someone, and continuously seeing that same person over and over again? Personally, that seems so depressing. Our memory is a constant source of entertainment and pleasure and a dysfunctional one makes life a lot more challenging.

In the movie 50 First Dates, Adam Sandler stars alongside Drew Barrymore in a great example of the impact of memory loss. In the plot, Barrymore's character was impacted heavily by a devastating car crash and had no short-term memory capabilities. Sandler's character attempts to woo Barrymore's throughout the movie and in the process, he gets closer to the rest of her family while realizing how much they do for her to try and keep peace in their lives. At the end of the movie, Adam came up with the idea of a video tape to remind his new "wife" what she has missed and this enables the happy couple to live peacefully in love.

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Berrymore's character suffered from short term memory loss and anterograde amnesia. She loses all recollection of each day's events and believes that each day is the day of her accident. Her memory problems are due to an extreme amount of damage to her amygdala and hippocampus.


When animal speaks

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Well, if you identified the six foreign languages without looking them up, that is great. However, if you speak all those languages fluently, a similar number of languages or more then you are a polyglot.
Therefore a polyglot is a person who is able to speak multiple languages. I personally, can identify the French, Italian, Spanish and Romanian easily. However, I only speak English, French, Arabic and Darija fluently. So hopefully one day, my Spanish will get above the intermediate level, and then maybe I will call myself a polyglot. I was lucky since bilingual parents raised me, and at a young age I was introduced to multiple languages. It was always hard for me to get interested in languages in school. I felt that the instructors were just overwhelming me with homework and therefore I did not learn anything from them. It is travelling to other countries, meeting new people who did not share the same language that forced me to put the effort to learn new languages. For me you cannot learn a culture without learning the language. It does not only help you get people 's joke but it helps you understand them and their culture. I will encourage all of you to learn a new language. Even if scientists claim that learning new languages has to do with the structure of your Wenicke and broca's area; I will try to persuade you that you do not have to be a genius to learn a new language. And the best way to learn a new language is to go to a country of your interest, make a new friend who speaks the language.

In 2010, 94,000 people in Minnesota were diagnosed with Alzeimer's Disease. Alzeimer's is a disease that eventually leads to the destruction of brain cells, memory loss and the loss of other brain functions. It is not a natural part of aging but is the most common form of dementia (general term for diseases that damage brain cells). Alzheimer's is characterized by certain changes in the brain, including: plaques (clumps of protein beta-amyloid peptide), tangles (twisted strands of protein tau), loss of connection among brain cells, inflammation and death of brain cells. SInce the Alzheimer's Association was founded in 1980, many milestones have been made toward its treatment and possible cure and there are now 5 FDA approved drugs to slow the progress of this disease. Hopefully we are close finding an effective cure but for now, we will just have to wait.

Understanding and Attacking Alzheimer's Part One

In 2010, 94,000 people in Minnesota were diagnosed with Alzeimer's Disease. Alzeimer's is a disease that eventually leads to the destruction of brain cells, memory loss and the loss of other brain functions. It is not a natural part of aging but is the most common form of dementia (general term for diseases that damage brain cells). Alzheimer's is characterized by certain changes in the brain, including: plaques (clumps of protein beta-amyloid peptide), tangles (twisted strands of protein tau), loss of connection among brain cells, inflammation and death of brain cells. SInce the Alzheimer's Association was founded in 1980, many milestones have been made toward its treatment and possible cure and there are now 5 FDA approved drugs to slow the progress of this disease. Hopefully we are close finding an effective cure but for now, we will just have to wait.

Understanding and Attacking Alzheimer's Part One

A Loss of Memory

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Alzheimer's is a disorder that affects so many people across the United States and the world. I have personal experience with this dealing with my grandpa. He has it mildly but it is very noticeable. At times, I get a good little laugh when he asks me or my family members the same questions over and over. But most of the time, it makes me sad seeing him how he is. He sometimes forgets or calls me by my cousins name and he also never can remember what I am doing for college. He also always asks me if I am still playing football and it hurts that football is such a huge part of my life here at the University of Minnesota and it is something he can't remember. Even with the stuff he forgets, he remembers a lot of other things and it makes me happy to see him remembering things about me when I was younger and the experiences we have had together.

Dealing with the disorder Alzheimer's,it is the most common form of Dementia. Dementia is the decline in mental ability sever enough to interfere with daily life and activities, such as memory loss. Alzheimer's is caused by damage to brain cells. The damage affects the brains ability to communicate between cells. The damage to different parts of the brains determines how the damage affects the individual since different regions of the brain are "in charge" of different functions.

Treating Alzheimer's is possible although there are no cures for the disorder at this time. Treatments include medication for different effects of the disorder. Effects of Alzheimer's can change behavior, memory, or sleep changes and medication is used accordingly.

Prevention of Alzheimer's is difficult and there are no clear cut ways to prevent it. Some ways include eating right, exercising, and keeping your brain healthy (head trauma can cause Alzheimer's),


What if one day you wake up and you forget the conversation that you had during dinner the night before? What if you suddenly keep losing in a game that you mastered? What if you take longer time to perform a daily task? These might be some early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia that affects humans' memory, language, and behavior over time. The cause of AD is not very clear. Individuals are more likely to get the disease when they are in their old age and if they have relatives with the disease. The disease can also be caused by genes. Other factors that might also increase the risk are gender (a woman is usually more prone to the disease than a man) and previous exposure to head trauma. Many research have been done on the disease, but until today, there is still no cure for the disease. There are medicines available to slow the rate of they symptoms become worse, such as Doneprezil and Memantine. However, patients who take the drug will not get much benefit as they will not see a lot of difference. Beside the difficulty in its treatment, it is also hard to prevent AD. A health journal suggests to eat less fatty diet, increase antioxidants consumption, and maintain a normal blood pressure to prevent AD. To learn more about the disease, Alzheimer's Association has a wonderful website that provides many information about AD.2397.jpg


Heuristic is an adjective for experience-based techniques that help in problem solving, learning and discovery. A heuristic method is particularly used to rapidly come to a solution that is hoped to be close to the best possible answer, or 'optimal solution'. Heuristics are "rules of thumb", educated guesses, intuitive judgments or simply common sense. Heuristics as a noun is another name for heuristic methods.

Heuristics are a type of mental shortcut that people use to simplify information harvested from our surroundings. Scientists have identified several kinds of heuristics including (but not limited to) Representativeness Heuristics and Availability Heuristics. This concept can be found in chapter 2 of the Lilienfeld text book. The reason why our brains use heuristics is because it will conserve mental energy (which our body does naturally) if we simplify the information that we intake from the world.

Ever since watching the "Witch Village" video from the movie Monty Python in the lecture, it has really stuck with me. It just baffled me that people could be so ignorant. Even though it was just a movie, the idea behind this scene can be applied to our world.

Monty Python's "Witch Village" scene:

I believe that the concept of Heuristics is important because our society keeps telling us to not "judge a book by its cover." But after learning about heuristics, it seems that our brain does this naturally. So to what extent is it alright for us to "judge a book by its cover", especially if we have mentally evolved (stance is one is a functionalist) to do so naturally.

Going back to the "Witch Village" video, the mob firmly believes that the woman they wish to burn is a witch! Their justification for this is that she fits their heuristics for what a witch should look like, or in their words "She looks like one." They classify her as such because she dresses like one, she has a long pointed nose, wears a pointed hat, possesses magical powers, and weighs as much as a duck. This makes me ask myself more question, how would we know when our heuristics are wrong? Are they more wrong than right? Should we live our lives vigilantly trying to protect ourselves from our heuristics (because society tells us to).

The principle that I believe to be the most useful for the evaluation of this claim would be Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. This is because although the theory that the woman is a witch is one that goes against what society would consider normal, and thus the proof required to determine that the woman is a witch should be much more thorough and have extraordinary evidence instead of simply weighing the woman.

How great would it be to have an unlimited amount of first dates? Sounds ideal, huh? Watch the movie 50 First Dates and you'll soon realize that this isn't quite as hyped up as it sounds.

In this movie, Drew Barrymore plays a girl who suffers from anterograde amnesia after getting into a car crash. When I say suffer in this sense, it's not an understatement. Throughout this movie, there are cute scenes where she falls in love, but there are the parts where you see the pain and suffering she goes through every time she finds out that she has no recollection of what happened after the accident.

Although this film does not necessarily portray every aspect of what it would be like to suffer from this condition, it gets the point across. Each day, her family makes sure that she doesn't have to go through the shock everyday. In this film, Barrymore's condition works in a way where she remembers a sequence of 24 hours.

This clips embodies what Barrymore is going through as well as a short clip at the end of a patient who has been suffering from a more severe condition of anterograde amnesia, Ten-Second-Tom.

So, as appealing as it may seem to have an unlimited amount of chances to make a first impression to someone, helping them through the realization of their condition does not seem like a price worth paying.

Photograph Man

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Momento See preview here.

Hollywood loves to take real life to the extreme. In the movie Momento, a man named Lenny has "short term memory loss". Although this works beautifully in the movie to make a interesting plot it is hardly a model of real life. In the movie his short term memory last for minutes, if only we were all so lucky. The average person's short term memory last for only a couple of seconds. How do you think life would be if human's short term memories lasted that long?

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