April 2012 Archives

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.


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!

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.


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.
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!

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!

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

Panic disorder

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We have learned many interesting and useful topics in this class but the most interesting topic that I will remember is the one about psychological disorders. I don't have any psychological disorders but I once had panic attack. It was only 6 months ago and it was first time that I had a panic attack. Fortunately, I didn't have any panic attack since then, but I can't forget the feeling of it. The panic attack came out of the blue like the textbook describes and it made me to want to kill myself. I was so scary and fearful and I couldn't sit still. I told my roommate I feel heavy in the chest and told him to call ambulance. But he said no and just told me to calm down. It was 3 in the morning so I couldn't go to Boynton. I really wanted to die at that moment. I had to live with the worry that panic will occur in any moment for almost a week. I am thankful that it was only a one-time thing. I can't imagine how people with panic disorder will feel like. It is so horrible that they have to live with the fear that panic will occur in any moment. Psychological disorders are much painful than people think. I will help people who have panic attack when I see them. I am not gonna see them as a crazy person like my roommate did. The textbooks says that about 20-25 percent of college students report a least one panic attack in a one-year period. Be careful! You might be the one.

I really enjoyed psych class this semester. It was really cool learning about the mind and all of the psychologists, but I think the idea that will stick with me for the rest of my life is social facilitation. This idea states that being that we are social creatures by nature, we perform better in the presence of our peers. This is such a interesting thing to think about because it makes total sense.I knew nothing of this topic before I took Psych 1001, but it totally explains why we compete on tests and in sports. We want to prove ourselves to our friends and peers. I plan to utilize this knowledge in the future by trying to schedule opportunities with my friends to compete together. Overall though, I thought that the format of my online psych class was excellent for achieving success and would definitely recommend this class and my TA Penny Nichol to future students and SigEps.

6316253_f248.jpg While there are many topics learned this semester that will always stay with me, something I found particularly interesting was the durability bias. The durability bias, as defined in our textbook, is the belief that both our good and bad moods will last longer than they do. This concept particularly stands out to me because I can think of so many examples where this is true.

A classic example is a child on Christmas morning with their presents. For the next week Santa's present might be the greatest, most amazing thing ever; however, two or three weeks later the excitement will likely have worn off. I am sure many people can imagine this scenario, or one like it, in their own lives.

Just as I can think of many Christmases where I thought I would never have a better toy, I can think of many examples of thinking my life was completely ruined by something. At the age of seven I thought I would never get over moving to a new neighborhood. Separated from my best friend and neighbor of six years by at least eight miles, my life was surely over. Again I was tricked by the durability bias. This concept will definitely be one I remember, or hopefully at least, the next time I have a life-ruining event.

Don't forget the baby!

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In a course that covers so much you have to pick and choose what the main points will be that you take away. One thing that has always been super important to me is having a family and kids. This course brought to me a lot of key points that will help me once I have my own children. The different emotions that babies feel as they grow up was very interesting to me. It was surprising yet relieving the find out that babies do not feel fear till after 3 months. I think that it's important that babies still feel protected at that age. I also would love for my children to be bilingual being able to speak both Laotian (my mothers native tongue) and English. Babies abilities to respond to people talking to them no matter what language is being spoken to them is not only impressive but helpful in this case!

Other interesting facts about children include the time in which they are able to recognize themselves. I will try the dot test on my child and see at what age they are able to see themselves in a mirror. I also think it's super important to understand that by the age of 4 children learn to lie. With that information you spare yourself from being shocked by the things your child says.

Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IkoPUAijXs. It gives a real insight on to how children from different countries still develop these same attributes around the same time and have the same emotions around the same time!

I found psychology an interesting subject and I was really fascinated by lectures and readings about emotion. It is something that everyone experience every day, every minutes and yet I didn't really know the psychological concepts behind emotion and feelings until I actually read about it. I really wish we had more time in class to discuss more about human emotions with relation to psychological disorder. What interests me the most was the topic about attraction - love and hate and I will certainly remember what I learn. Sometimes I feel like the explanations about attraction are common sense that most people already know or can figure out by themselves such as mutual affection generated by similarity and proximity. However, I did learn something new and interesting, for example things like the most average face is the most attractive and the misconceptions about emotion. I think learning about human's emotion will be really helpful for me as I will be more understanding about people and their feelings. Additionally, as many actions are emotional driven, knowing about people's state of minds or emotions and the psychological explanations will be useful for dealing with many events or incidents in life. I will definitely apply what I have learned about emotion in psychology to real life.

Five years from now, I will remember the section of the textbook that talked about the different parenting styles. Eventually, this will be extremely important to know in order to one day raise a healthy family.

No set of parents raise their children the same. As we learned in our chapter in human development, there are three types of parenting styles that parents typically fall into. Parents raise their children according to their morals, values, and beliefs.

Permissive: They avoid disciplining their child at all costs, which often means giving them the benefit of the doubt or simply turning a blind eye to what's really going on.

Authoritarian: In this style, parents are extremely strict and punish children whenever they deem necessary. In doing this they show very little emotional and are often distant.

Authoritative: Most parents use this style to raise their children because it provides structure as well as affection. They help their children be responsible for themselves and own up to any consequences that come their way. They want them to succeed in life, and be the best that they can be. They set clear guidelines for their children to follow, and praise them when they do well.

Personally, my parents raised me in an authoritarian home. The pushed me to have good grades in school, yet rewarded me whenever I came home with A's. I always had chores around the house, and rules about going out at night too. However, with these rules, I became a well-trusted daughter and was eventually given freedom to do my own thing without causing any trouble. This is how I plan to raise my family one day as well.


What I'm Taking With Me

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Of the many things that I believe I will remember from psych, I think that some of the most imgres.jpgimportant skills I have taken from this class are how to judge the results of different studies and research; like correlation vs. causation, replicability, falsifiability, occam's razor, and ruling out rival hypotheses. I think that these skills can be very useful when you aredetermining the validity of some type of research. I have already started transferring these skills into areas other than psych. I think that using these skills can be very helpful when you are given information, because you should not believe everything you are told, and you should be able to determine if something is true or not. But overall, I feel that there will be many little things that I learned in this class that will also stay with me for a very long time.

How to be a good parent

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parenting.gifIn five years or so, I'll probably be thinking of planning for marriage and starting a family. Something that I have learned in Psychology this year that will be helpful in this time is the various parenting styles that we learned about. The most important thing to think about when starting a family is agreeing with your partner on how you're going to raise your children. Keeping the four parenting styles in mind that we've learned about (permissive, authoritarian, authoritative, and avoidant) will help me figure out how I want or don't want to raise my children. According to the text, the most successful parenting style is authoritative. This parenting style gets the best qualities from both permissive and authoritarian parenting styles. They're supportive of their children but set clear and firm limits with them and that is exactly how I'd like to be with my children one day. Parenting-styles-diagram.jpg According to this article children of authoritative parents seem to have happier dispositions, good emotional control and regulation, and develop good social skills. Having learned these concepts in psychology this year will really come in handy when I decide to start a family.

We have studied countless concepts and read numerous stories throughout this semester, but one story that i wont forget is that of Paul Ingram and the chapter on memory. The idea that our memories can be manipulated so easily is a terrifying thought and one that i am not soon to forget. Looking back on Paul Ingram's distressing story, we can see how multiple peoples lives changed because of memories.

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Memories that may not actually be their true memories at all, but false memories that someone implanted into their mind. After attending a church retreat Paul's children returned believing they had been molested by him. It is shocking that something so devastating could be implanted into someones memory. We are slightly led to believe that the girls were lying, changing their stories multiple times and making implausible claims, but even if they did not truly have their memories changed it doesn't explain the effects shown by Paul. After his interrogations he admits to the multiple charges of molesting his daughters. He describes many instances in great detail, truly believing that he had committed these terrible crimes. A father, made to believe that he molested his children. It really made me think about my own memories, my own experiences and also those of my families. I like to think and feel that i control my thoughts and memories and that they wont change. They are a solid unchanging thing in my life. But after reading this story and debating it in class, it makes me question how much control we really have on our memories, it also makes me value them all the more! Hopefully this has made you think a bit more about the value and memories and thoughts, its can be a difficult realization. To conclude, if you don't remember Elizabeth Loftus watch the following video, or if you have doubts about creating false memories watch the video, and enjoy!
The insert live link won't work, so please go to the following:
Thank you.

In five years from now, I will probably remember many general concepts from this Psych 1001 course. The things I will probably remember the best, however, are the things we learned about child psych and their development and behavior. The concept of object permeance will definitely be something I remember, especially as I am a student working toward a nursing degree and could be working with children one day! And if not, it will be a concept I remember when I am raising my own children. It will also be beneficial to remember how children's brains work, and what their perceptions are at certain ages and how they see the world. I now understand why children are often selfish and upset if things do not go their way - they are egocentric! It will also be good to remember how their language skills develop. I'll be interested, one day, to watch my own children slowly learn to speak - first using small repetitive sounds (mama, dada, baba, etc.), to words, to sentences, and eventually to the point where they can hold a short conversation.
Child psychology was probably one of my favorite units because it made so much sense and the concepts are definitely ones that I will remember in the future, whether I'm working with them as part of my career, or identifying these behaviors among my own, future children!


Five Years from Today

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In five years I'm sure many concepts from psychology will still be somewhere in my memory bank, but one concept in particular I think I'll remember most will be the parenting styles. Five years from now, or very soon after that I hope to start a family. I think that my parents were a mix of authoritative and passive, mostly because they both worked full-time so they weren't always able to be there, and therefore were sometimes very passive with my brother and I.happy-family.jpg
Being an authoritative parent is very important to me because I want to make sure they my children are not only well adjusted, but also that they are not spoiled or starved for attention. I feel like parenting style plays a big part in a child's personality. So along with providing a safe environment and being able to allow my children to live a comfortable, being an authoritative parent is very high on my list of things necessary for successfully raising a child. This is why I know parenting style will be a concept still very alive in my mind in the next five years.

After exploring many different themes and topics in psychology this semester I found myself particularly interested in developmental psychology. I think a lot of this interest came from my liking of children and someday wanting to work with them. I thought the processing of the brain at different ages was fascinating. The differences between each age group and the way their brains worked were very large, I had never imagined differences this profound between ages. I was very interested in the idea of conservation in infants. I had always thought that infants were amused when playing peekaboo games because the were just a fun way to pass the time to them. It shocked me to learn that the infants actually see this game as an incredible magic trick. They believe that when an object is covered up or is no longer in sight, the object does not exist. Many other examples of the differences in brain processing among various age groups were presented in class; all of which were equally interesting. This summer I am nannying for a family that has two small children. After learning about developmental psychology I will be able to better understand how their brains work and understand their reasoning for doing certain actions.

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What I think I will most likely remember from Psych 1001 in 5 years is the chapter on personality. I really enjoyed the activity we did in class about this chapter and that we got the opportunity to get in groups, different from our usual ones, and solve a problem. It was interesting to see the different methods that the groups took to come up with ideas based on the different personalities. personality.jpg
Another thing I liked and will remember from this chapter is topic of birth order and does it matter? I found this to be very interesting and easy to relate to. Reading about this make me think about my brother and I, and if all the hypothesis out there were true in our case.
Overall, there are several things I have seen just this semester in my daily life that relate to Psych 1001. I have a much deeper understanding for certain topics, mostly those that interest me more. Personality is huge in the real world now. Whether you are making new friends, dealing with old ones or trying to get a job, personality is key. I can use personality in my future when applying for jobs. Many companies look for someone who will be the right "fit" into their company and they look for that in our personalities; therefore, knowing how you react or don't react to things can be very beneficial when looking for a place of employment or even a school to know if you ARE their "fit".

Why Follow the Crowd?

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Over the course of the semester, we have learned about many aspects of psychology that I have found extremely interesting. One of the concepts that I will remember in five years from now would have to be the idea of social conformity. When we watched the video in discussion of the Asch Experiment, it was interesting to see how individuals would go against their own correct belief because the rest of the group was answering incorrectly. From seeing how easily someone can conform, one must wonder if society could follow the "crowd" at a larger scale and adapt to rules that might be deemed as not the best idea. This type of behavior shows how people can stray away from staying true to their own beliefs in order to fit in and not seem like an outcast. If everyone begins to lose their sense of individuality, what would make each of us unique?conformity_115465.jpg I can see how conforming in certain situations such as when voting or with parenting styles would be an acceptable situation, but when it comes down to one's own individuality, staying true to yourself is the best idea. All in all, certain situations call for different types of conformity and in the future, I will think about whether something calls for me to follow the crowd or my own beliefs.

Through out this class there has been a lot of basic information being taught about Psychology, and how the Human brain actually work. The thing that caught my eye the most would probably have to be the intelligence and IQ testing. I found intelligence test very interesting because researchers can tell so much about someone from a basic test that is given. I have recently talk to my older brother who just got hired in a financing job out of college, and he said that they are required to take an Intelligence test. So intelligence test can be done by by employers, when looking to hire new people for there company. However he wasn't exactly sure what exactly they were looking for in the intelligence test. Another thing that caught my eye about Intelligence test and IQ test is how many different ones that are out there, and what the results show for certain ones.

I think that in five years the topic I will remember most from Psychology 1001 will be the topic of Relationships. In that chapter they talk about the three main principles of attraction: proximity, similarity and reciprocity. From my own relationships, I agree that these three principles are very important, but I would like to know more of the makings of attraction because I do not believe that these three attributes are the sole contributors to being attracted to someone. There are two relationships I have formed this year that both support these principles and defy them. The first relationship is with my sorority sisters. It makes sense that I have built a relationship to them because I hang out with them all the time, we are strikingly similar in personality, and they give me everything that I give to them. Although these three principles hold true, there are also girls in the house that I have become extremely close with that are extremely opposite of me.

The next relationship that has become very important to me this year is my relationship with my boyfriend. In terms of the three principles, we don't exactly fit the mold. For starters, he goes to Madison, which makes our proximity close to zero. Although we do reciprocate quite well with each other, our personalities, are the same in some ways and different in others. Despite the fact of not fitting into the three principles of attraction, we seem to be quite attracted to each other. This raises the question, what are the other principles of attraction? What is it that makes us so attracted to each other, if it's not proximity, reciprocity and similarity?
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There are many small and intriguing facts that I will definitely remember from Psych 1001. For example: the placebo effect. I will definitely remember the fact that placebo pills and real pills 'cure' depression to about the same extent. I will also remember that IQ tests are actually more of an indicator of job performance compared to in-person interviews. I found that amazing and interesting. However, there is one major concept that I will surely remember down the road; classical and operant conditioning. These were both things I had heard of and learned to an extent before this class, but the concepts were definitely cemented in my head thanks to this class. I think these concepts are important because I do believe that much of what we do is because of something that we learned through these interesting types of conditioning. I also find it amazing that Pavlov was able to make dogs salivate to the sound of a metronome. If one had no idea what classical conditioning is this would sound completely absurd! I also think that Skinners ability to shape the behavior of animals is insane. The story about him training pigeons to basically fly a missile is definitely one I won't forget!

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Things I Will Never Forget

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What I will never forget from this class would probably be Development and Learning. While we were going over these chapters over the semester I was particularly interested because I am expecting to have a daughter in August. So just learning about the way babies learn was very interesting. Something in development that stuck out to me was how the brain develops and ideas such as object permanence. As far as learning, conditioning stuck out to me because I began thinking of ways i could condition my daughter to do certain things. So these two chapters were the ones that stuck out to me the most.

article-new-ehow-images-a06-t3-q5-toys-social-cognitive-physical-development-1.1-800x800.jpg I have always been interested in how our minds work, and why we all differ from each other. It is clear that we all learn at different rates, and I found the different theories of cognitive development very interesting. I think the biggest difference in these views is where our principle source of learning comes from, whether from physical experience, social interaction, or biological maturation. Jean Piaget's model emphasizes physical interaction, i.e. how being introduced to new situations and and objects affects our learning progression. On the other hand, Lev Vygotsky emphasized social interaction, i.e. how people and cultural factors influence learning. This website does a good job of describing both theories: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_development . The reason I am interested in cognitive development is I am surrounded by children all the time, whether it's my niece, cousins, kids I nanny, or kids from my mom's elementary school class. Each child is entirely unique in every way, and I love watching them develop and grow. But, I also wonder how they become different and where they acquire their individual styles of learning. Chapter 10 of our textbook touches on many different theories regarding learning, memory, and cognitive development in general. I will definitely remember everything I learned and apply it to my every day interactions.

What truly guides attraction and relationship formation? Before taking this course I had an idea, but nothing to back it up. Why was I attracted to certain girls that my friends weren't? And why were they attracted to certain girls that I wasn't? Now, however, I have a much better understanding of attraction.


According to the textbook, proximity, similarity, and reciprocity are the three main principles that cause two people to feel attracted to each other. Personally, I am not in a relationship, but I can obviously see how these principles play a big role in attraction. For this post, however, I will use my friends as an example because the same principles apply. Most of my close friends here at school live close to me in the dorms, so the principle of proximity is in action here. In addition to living near each other, my friends and I have very similar personalities and/or interests (similarity). These two principles are key for friendships, but there is more that goes into relationship formation.

Physical attractiveness also plays a key role in the formation of relationships, but how big of a role? How much does proximity and similarity enhance the attractiveness of another person? And what if proximity or similarity starts the attraction between two people, and then it is later removed, e.g. not having the same class together or starting to like different things, can the relationship last? These are all good questions, and I think the answer will vary depending on the person you ask.

One of the things that stuck out to me the most during psych 1001 one was when we talked about where the consciousness resides "what makes you, you" self-awareness has always been an interest of mind. The idea of consciousness amazes me, how does it happen? Why is it unique to everyone? In 1001 we watched a short film "The Secret You" from BBC with Marcus de Sautoy. The film asks very scientific based questions and showed us the modern approaches we use to solve these big questions. "The Secret You" tries to explain where consciousness resides and explains that the cortex, located on the outer part of the brain, allows us to be self-aware. As far as evidence the show did a great job because they had and actual brain which was really interesting to see, also kind of creepy (which is another reason why the information stuck). But my interest wasn't quite satisfied; I wanted to go more in-depth because there are so many interesting theories and questions and the fact that there isn't a direct approach or solution to this. I've attached a couple videos of people exploring the philosophical side of consciousness what do you think of some of the questions they are asking?

The Persistence of Memory

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Ironically, the psychology concept that I will remember in five years is the concept of false memories. Oftentimes in the media, there are news reports on controversial trials in which star witnesses are called upon to testify as to what they remember about the crime. Before taking psychology, I used to believe these witnesses for the most part because their memories were extraordinarily vivid. After witnessing a crime, it seemed like witnesses couldn't forget those memories because of their sensational nature. But as it turns out, those vivid flashbulb memories were like any other memory in that they also could be wrong. Despite the level of detail recalled, memory reports showed that with time, distortions pervaded these recollections in a phenomenon called the phantom flashbulb memory.


Furthermore, the memory research completed by Elizabeth Loftus further proved that memories are unreliable as completely false memories could be planted. In particular, the experiment involving a photoshopped Bugs Bunny at Disneyland was particularly interesting. Despite the fact that Bugs Bunny isn't a Disney character at all, participants in the study "recalled" blatantly false details of their own experiences of meeting Bugs at Disneyland. One participant, in particular, even seemed to recalled squeezing Bugs' tail, demonstrating the incredible nature of implanted memories.

Overall, psychology has taught me to not regard memory as the absolute truth. As the Salvador Dali painting entitled "The Persistence of Memory" shows, with time, memory isn't quite as persistent as we once thought.

Mirror Images!

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mirror self-recognition.jpgIn this psychology book, the concept that I will remember in five years must be the mere exposure effect. Because this concept will always appear and rehearse in my mind when my friends around me tell me that they think they are prettier in the mirror than in the picture! In our psychology book, the mere exposure effect means the "repeated exposure to a stimulus makes us more likely to feel favorably toward it". As this concept helps explain why people think they are prettier in the mirror than in the picture, I will in turn explain this concept to my friends whenever I am told by my friends that they think they are prettier in the mirror than in the picture. Now instead of saying "I think so!" or "I don't know why.", I can tell them with confidence that they have got used to their mirror images than their photo images. I think mere exposure effect is one of the most interesting concepts that I learn in this psychology course during this semester. Actually, before learning this concept, I also have this kind of question as my friends have. Additionally, after I have a lot of rehearsals of telling my friends this concept, I don't think I can easily forget the concept of mere exposure effect in 5 years. And I am pretty sure that it will stay in my long-term memory!

Five years from now there will be a lot of things I will remember from Psych 1001, but to be honest I will probably forget more than I remember. One of the things that I am confident that will stay with me however is all of the biases that we as humans have, even though we never mean to have them. From the durability bias to the representative heuristic to the availability heuristic, our mind sometimes prevents us from seeing reality. As teenagers and young adults we probably have a strong durability bias. We think that the good times and the bad times will last much longer than they do. I can't speak for everybody else but I know I need to learn that "this too shall pass". I think I will remember these biases and heuristics because the examples that the book gave really made me think about them. For example, the book asked which was farther West, Reno or San Diego. Our mind tells us that California is farther West than Nevada and San Diego is in Nevada, so San Diego must be farther West. Our mind has tricked us using a simple heuristic.

Even when we don't intend to, our mind tries to simplify things to much and we must be aware of this and try to consciously correct ourselves before we accept what is not true.

Five years from now, I will remember many concepts from PSY 1001 because almost all the things that I have learned here applied to me as an individual. However, the concept that I have observed for a long time and applies to me the most is the parenting style (permissive, authoritarian, authoritative, and uninvolved). Permissive parents are lenient to their kids, giving them freedom and affection with rare use of discipline. On the other hand, authoritarian parents are strict to their kids, giving little freedom and affection and often use punishments to teach the children a lesson. Authoritative parents are the combination of the two parents mentioned before. They support their children but set a limit to an extent. Lastly, uninvolved parents are ignorant; they did not care if their children have good or bad behaviors. From the four styles above, I can conclude I have authoritative parents. They are very supportive of my education and career, but they set limit to my personal freedom. When I was in high school, unlike my classmates, my parents expect me to study hard and be involved in educational activities. They rarely allow me to play with my friends before I was done with my work. When I was a kid, I got punished everytime I rebelled or broke their rules. I felt that with this parenting style, I grew up to be a more studious than my friends, who mostly have permissive parents. I think from all the parenting styles, the authoritative style is the best because the parents are involved in the kids' life but in a supportive manner.


Of all of the topics covered this far, I believe that social conformity will stick with me the longest because it is something that happens to most of us everyday without realizing it most of the time. But now after covering social conformity in class I find ways in which I conform to others everyday.

Every day of our lives we all encounter situations of social pressure. Although one may not always be aware of it there is social pressure everywhere. One common example I can think of is going to the library, something we all can relate to because we are all college students. When going to the library it is just known that silence is expected. The library is a place where social conformity is expected. But how much would you conform in other situations?


One example of social conformity is this clip from show candid camera. The clip is a group of people in an elevator, one being a random person and the rest all actors. All the actors have been told to face the back and then turn to see if the stranger will conform. He does conform so they decide to see how far they can take it. The two other men in the elevator remove their hats and just to conform, the stranger does as well.

This is an extreme and comical example of conformity, but it shows just how much social pressures affect us. While most of the time these conformities are small and don't have any real side affects, are there situations where they could be potentially dangerous? How far do you think one would go to conform to social pressures?

zebras.jpgDuring this semester we have covered a lot of interesting topics. One that stood out to me a lot was the study of conformity. The video of the students saying the wrong answer to the line height question, really made me realize how much conformity affects people. Even though the students were positive that the answer the rest of the students were saying was wrong, they felt as if they needed to conform and not stand out to the rest of the group and chose the same wrong answer. I feel that many people at this age give into the pressure of conformity for many different reasons, especially in college. Many students want to make new friends and have people like them, and many people will do anything just to get people to like them, even if it means going against their morals and beliefs. I will definitely take this topic into consideration for the rest of my college career as well as my life. Although sometimes it is appropriate to conform, like behaving respectfully in class, other times you should make your best judgement to how to act in a certain situation. Sometimes the majority isn't always correct, and its up to you to go with your own instincts and beliefs rather than rely on others of what to do and how to act.

We have covered many interesting topics in psychology but one subject that I will remember from psychology in the years to come was the study of conformity. I found this to be a very interesting subject and at first when I was reading about conformity, I thought that I would never conform to other people's ideas. I couldn't believe that people would give the wrong answers just so they wouldn't be the only one answering with a different but right answer. I changed my mind on conformity when I saw the videos from our discussion section. We watched how people in elevators would turn all the way around just so they wouldn't be the only one faced a certain direction and how people didn't want to be the only one answering with a different answer than the rest of the group even when they knew it was the right answer. I realized that even I have conformed to different ideas throughout my life, even when I didn't want to. I think everyone conforms to other people's ideas at some point in their life because it is sometimes easier to conform than to fight for your own beliefs. People want to fit into groups and some people will do whatever it takes to fit in, even if it means changing their own beliefs.

The Business World

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As boring as it sounds, I imagine 5 years from now I will be working for some big corporation with a typical office, with typical business clothing, and with a typical day-to-day. Even though it doesn't sound like I would need to know anything but, let's say, accounting, I have a good feeling that psychology will play a huge role in my job. The concept that will probably stick with me is IQ, especially since we discussed what it would be like if it was the only thing determining whether we got a job or not.
Also, the idea of IQ is a disputed topic especially between different genders and races. I could see people wanting to take a break from work and testing each other's IQ by taking tests online (as lame as that sounds). Whoever had the highest would obviously have bragging rights, which no one minds in a competitive setting like accounting. Even if it's not the most important idea, IQ is brought up in almost every day. It might not be someone talking about "IQ" exactly, but I know I hear the word "smart", "intelligent", or even "genius" AT LEAST once a day. And, who doesn't mind being called intelligent?

Throughout this course of psychology there seems to have been a general trend that reaches across almost every chapter: things are not always as they first seem, and that it may take time to truly understand a situation that you are a part of. Looking back to 0001.jpgconcepts like inattention blindness, representative heuristics, confirmation bias, etc., it is imperative that we need to stay skeptical and understand that our 'common sense' may prove to be wrong.

Here are some general but interesting facts taken from our textbook:

-Parenting and childhood will have little effect on the personality of an adult.

- People are generally very resilient to stressors as well as traumatic events in their life.

- Most people can remember about 7 things at one time (+/- 2)

- You make most of your decisions unconsciously.

- Memories are not solid replays, we reform and recreate memories every time we recall them.

Many times, for example, we rely on our beliefs of the world to get us through the day. Some people may defend themselves saying they know exactly what they say and do at all times but the simple fact is that this is not really true. Of course, there is a lot we still don't know in the field of psychology, but what has been shown is that reality may be different from the way we perceive it. In five years I will be cautious of biases and heuristics, to take each situation with an open but skeptical mind, and realize that there may have been something I could have missed. sunday59.gif

The chapter and sections that I will remember five years from now were the ones on the intelligence and IQ testing. I have always found Intellect and IQ to be very interesting. Growing up it amazed me to see how certain intellects and behaved in our society. I was always fascinated to see that many of my friends who were intellectually brilliant were often socially awkward. Even so, that was not always the case. I also had friends who went to MIT, Harvard, and West Point who were very socially intelligent as well. By observing them and taking this coarse one I have found that one really can't make assumptions based on outward appearance or intellectual capacity. Like the ex-bouncer described in chapter 9, he may not have been identified as intelligent while working in the bars, yet he was one of the sharpest people in America.
I was also really struck by the use of intelligence test by companies. Initially I thought it might be a good idea, but as I thought about it, there would be some awful ramifications if it were the sole deciding factor for jobs. I had never thought about how the IQ test discriminated against certain groups. If jobs do start using IQ test they would have to make sure there were other factors considered as well.

Mental Illness Awareness

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One of the topics that will absolutely stick with me when I leave Psychology is the unit on Mental Illnesses. It is frightening to me that most develop when people are in their young adult stage, which is what I am in right now. I feel the need to be very cautious of myself, as well as, my friends to make sure to catch any warning signs of a mental disorder. One of the scariest that has stuck with me would be Schizophrenia. You become completely paranoid and even hallucinate along with many other awful symptoms. As of now, there is little one can do to prevent it or treat it. This illness is much more rare than others.
One of the most common I have become aware of is depression. Especially in college, kids can be really emotional and stressed when coming into a totally new environment. The pressure of good grades and detachment from home can be very hard on students. Students are making an effort to make it known that treatment is 100% acceptable and available for depression. In the next few years, I hope the fight against mental illness can improve!stressed.jpg

Mint, Dwight?

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By now we are all familiar with Pavlov's model of classical conditioning. This is one topic I will probably never forget due to the fact that there are so many good examples in television and movies. In lecture, we saw an example from the Big Bang Theory where Sheldon uses chocolate to condition Penny to behave as he deems fit. In The Office, Jim uses mints as the unconditioned stimulus and the sound of his computer as the conditioned stimulus which leads to Dwight salivating to the sound of Jim's computer, even when no mint is offered.
Initially, this was a difficult topic for me to grasp. I had trouble trying to decide which was the unconditioned stimulus, conditioned stimulus, etc. I believe that seeing examples in television shows helps to solidify this concept in my mind. I find it very fascinating that someone can condition another person into doing something or feeling a certain way. The little Albert example is especially interesting. It amazes me that someone can condition another person to fear something they once had no problem with.
Watch this clip from The Office to see how Jim uses Pavlov's model to condition Dwight! Can you think of any more examples in movies or television where characters use Pavlov's model?

As an athlete, I found I could really relate to the information presented by the Yerkes-Dodson Law. The basics of this law are shown in the figure below that plots performance versus arousal level. The inverted "U" shape of the curve suggests that there is a middle level of arousal that results in the highest performance in both simple and complex tasks.

Recently, we had a girl join our soccer team who had been playing only basketball for the past four years. She was a goalkeeper in high school, but now she was preparing to play in her first college-level soccer game. I talked to her briefly before the game, telling her to be not too high and not too low, and immediately realized that I was regurgitating psychology class information to her. I figured if I could get her to be in a medium state of arousal, she would be most likely to have a good performance out on the field.

As Minnesota residents, I bet most of us remember the 2009 Semi-final of the NFL playoffs. This was the game where the Vikings basically had their tickets to the Super Bowl booked, but then Brett Favre threw a game-changing interception. The Y-D Law can be used to explain this. Brett Favre was likely so highly aroused by the high-pressure situation, that his performance was low. Can anybody think of other situations where we can apply this concept?


It's All Around

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Psychology has been long, tough, and full of information. That is why it is so difficult to choose just one concept that is most memorable for me. But if I had to choose, I would probably pick classical conditioning. Why? For two main reasons: the first, is that it is all around us, the second, is the sheer power of classical conditioning. So how is classical conditioning all around us? Commercials, magazine adds, billboards, and just about every other type of advertisement work on the basic principles of classical conditioning, it's that simple. Often times ads use attractive people, or humor, to make the viewer feel longing, or joy. This longing, or joy, from the stimulus is often paired with the product of which is being marketed, in turn, making the consumer like, or have longing for, the product without even knowing it. It is incredible to see the power of classical conditioning at work. It can make dogs salivate to the sound of a bell, children fear white rats, and adults buy a certain type of beer. Can you think of any more examples of classical conditioning? Check out the attached video to see classical conditioning at its finest!


In making political decisions and any moral decision, people attempt to choose the action that will be the most correct; the one that will make them the most happy in the end. This is done, according to Haidt, by a more intuitive than reasoned process. He cites brain scan studies that have shown that people respond to questions about the morality of an action (incest for example) before any reasoning occurs, and that the reasons given are just justifications for a decision that has already been made. Further, people don't evaluate arguments based on reason, and that if people are given the opportunity to look into an argument for 2 to 3 minutes they often reassess strong convictions presented earlier. Haidt identifies six foundational values that people have. Care for others ,Fairness or Justice, Loyalty to your group, family, nation, Respect for tradition and legitimate authority, Purity or Sanctity, avoiding disgusting things, foods, actions, Liberty/oppression. Appeals to these six values are likely to impact people's actions. This is one of his explanations for the popularity of conservatism as it appeals to all six, while liberalism focuses on only care and liberty. Haidt offers solutions to the uncompromising nature of politics including opening up primaries to the entire electorate or preventing gerrymandering. Haidt offers interesting scientific explanations for moral phenomena that exist across cultures in The Happiness Hypothesis and in The Righteous Mind; he talks about the role of psychology in politics.

One thing that I think I will remember five years from now is one of the concepts that seemed to come up many times throughout the entire book, which was the scientific thinking principles. These principles are obviously very important in psychology and they can also be applied to everyday life such as the situations that you are put in and the judgements that you have to make. The principle of ruling out rival hypotheses might help me to broaden my perspective and look at other solutions. The theory of correlation versus causation will remind me that one thing does not necessarily cause another.
Falsifiability will remind me not to believe everything that I hear as some things can be made up and there is no way of proving them. Replicability shows how important it is to back up your findings and eliminate any things that may have happened because of chance. Extraordinary claims will remind me to look at the evidence of the claim and make sure that it is reasonable to make that claim. Occam's razor shows me that there may be simpler ways of explaining things and to not get to caught up trying to make a complex argument. These principles are simple and helpful ways to analyze the things you may come across in everyday life which is why I think I will remember them.

People often look at birth order as a determining factor in one's personality. Though these claims are widely unsubstantiated, a majority of people believe them to be true. Why? Well, because in some cases the stereotype matches the birth order, and with that come confirmation bias. The masses are willing to take the evidence that supports their belief in birth order's effect on personality, and dismiss information against those beliefs.
When I read this topic, I thought it would be a simple, cut and dry answer: confirmation bias, but after doing a little bit of research I found an article that has findings from two recent studies that may bolster birth order as a factor in personality. Citing the finding that when it comes to mabirthorder.jpgrriage, many people marry a partner who shares their place in the birth order. First-borns with first-borns, middle-borns with middle borns, even only children seem to seek out other only-children. Quite the interesting finding.
Though there appears to be some evidence backing birth order, it still is seen as much more influential on personality than it probably is. With more studies and experiments hopefully one day the public will have a realistic idea of the effect of birth order on personality.

Social contagion is a social psychology phenomenon which is described as the imitative behaviors of human being when the moods are spread from person to person. This social behavior is popular that there have been many sociological and psychological researches on the contagion of human's moods and behaviors.
During the first few decades of the 20th century, many sociologists began to create a sociograms that illustrate the maps of social network between people in the same cycle of friends or workplace. The Austrian sociologist Jacob Moreno discovered that the shape of
social connection vary by person. By examine the way talks and opinions flow in a particular environment, scientists noticed that social networks could affect people's thoughts and behaviors.
So, why does that happen? why do people start to think alike people around them?
One possible explanation lays in the evolution of human beings that mimicry is innate and it is closely related to evolutionary heritage. Organisms mimic the other types because of its adaptive advantages. Mimicry can help increasing the survival rates of a organism.
This explains why popularity is contagious.
Another possible explanation is the conformity of being the same as people around. Conformity introduces a secure feelings for individuals of a group and thus increase the chance of being similar in thoughts and behaviors.
"Buying, laughing, yawning and graffiti are all socially contagious. Now research says obesity is too. This has nothing to do with the power of suggestion or keeping up with the Joneses. To be influenced by others is genetically programmed in us and is an evolutionary hangover." - R. Alexander Bentley, Mark Earls and Michael J. O'Brien, I'll Have What She's Having: Mapping Social Behavior
Reference articles:

For this blog entry, I thought it would be interesting to take the Implicit Associations Test. I grew up in quite a diverse environment. All throughout elementary, junior high, and high school, I've been surrounded by a relatively culturally and racially diverse group of people. Also, I like to think of myself as quite the accepting person, but the IAT proved me wrong. I took the IAT test about African Americans vs. European Americans, and the test results showed that I had a slight preference for European Americans. The test records this data from your reaction time of several photos of European Americans and African Americans. Apparently, I reacted quicker to the European American pictures than the African American pictures. As I said before, this came as a surprise to me, because I have never thought of myself as a racist person. Although I am not proud of the fact that I preference white people over black people, at least my results stated that it was only a slight preference. My preference could have also been rated as moderate or severe. Because this test was a complete test of the subconscious, it cannot be "tricked". I think it is interesting to find out what you can reveal about yourself in your subconscious thoughts. I have attached a picture of my results, which further explain why I got the rating I did.

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Long Lasting Sleep

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There has been a lot that I have taken away from this psychology course over the last few months. I feel that the subject that will stay with me for the longest is the five stages of sleeping. I found this topic to be extremely interesting from the second I started reading it, because I never knew that there were different levels of sleeping. Before taking this class, I always assumed that the human body acted in the same process throughout the entire night of sleep. This is why I was shocked to learn about the variance of conditions within the five different stages. The stage that I found to be the most intriguing was stage 5, often associated with Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. This is the stage where people are in their deepest sleep and have the majority of their dreams.
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Every time I have dreamed since learning about this in class, I have woke up wondering if I was just seconds removed from the REM stage of sleep. I am excited to see what future research will further reveal about the topic of sleep. I also wonder if we will ever develop an advanced enough technology to record peoples' dreams.

I chose to do the Implicit Associations Test because it seemed very interesting to learn about what I am "bias" towards at times as well as how I think implicitly and to better understand my implicit cognition. I chose to do two tests. These included the Age IAT and Race IAT. Age IAT is described by Project Implicit as "An IAT requires the ability to distinguish old from young faces. This test often indicates that Americans have automatic preference for young over old". The Race IAT is described as "An IAT requires the ability to distinguish faces of European and African origin. It indicates that most Americans have an automatic preference for white over black".

The results of my first test, Age IAT stated I had a slight automatic preference for young people compared to old. This did not surprise me and I found it to be a valid statement because I agree with the results. The second test i took, the Race IAT said that I had a slight automatic preference to African Americans opposed to European Americans. I was not very surprised with the results and I agreed with them because I grew up with a multiracial family as my dad was born in Panama and I spent the most time with his family and his parents (my grandparents) who were all African-American. I found it interesting on the results page to learn that most people are more likely to associate the "bad" words on the test with African-Americans and the "good" words with the European Americans. Both tests I felt were valid and were fun to do and learn about. If you have to time to take a few tests I would recommend it.


Implicit Association Test

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From Wikipedia, IAT is "is a measure within social psychology designed to detect the strength of a person's automatic association between mental representations of objects (concepts) in memory." Simply, as we see from its name, because people always do not speak their real thought, Implicit association test (IAT) is a method that ask people some questions and analysis the answers to detect their real thought.
I choose the "Age IAT" for my first attempt. This test is try to find peoples' ability to distinguish old from young faces. After fill in some basic information, the test ask me to sort words and picture into categories as quickly as possible. For example, sort wolds like joy, love, peace, and pleasure into good group, and sort agony, terrible, horrible, and evil into bad group. By the way, some question about myself really make me feel wield, such as the current postal and the postal code where I've lived longest. All in all, the test really looks simple and you cannot figure out what on earth the test are looking for.
After the analysis, data gather from the test suggest I have a slight automatic preference for Young compared to Old.

The correlation between birth order and personality has yet to be proved accurate. In my opinion it is kind of interesting to see how accurate the idea of birth order affecting your personality is. Some researchers feel that birth order differences are as strong as gender differences. Although it may be a bit stereotypical and generalized, according to the textbook, first borns aim for achievement, middle borns toward diplomacy, and later-borns toward risk taking. According to research conducted and presented by CBS news, an only child is the equivalent to three times that of a first-born. They are likely to be even more responsible, and even bigger perfectionists. Interestingly enough, they are proposed parenting styles that should be used for each child depending on their birth order. For example, parents should lay off of the first born and not pile on too many responsibilities. With the middle child, parents should allow them to make their own decisions and make time to listen to them. As for the last born child, they should be encouraged to stick to a specific set of rules as well as be given responsibilities just as the older children were giving. If parents parent accordingly to birth order, some researchers believe that it is possible to avoid the stereotypes of the affects of birth order. I think that the reason birth order plays a seemingly large role in personality is due to the different parenting styles that are affected by time and conditioning. Take this quiz to find out if your personality is accurately reflected by your birth order: http://www.richardwiseman.com/oneshow.html .

The correlation between birth order and personality has yet to be proved accurate. In my opinion it is kind of interesting to see how accurate the idea of birth order affecting your personality is. Some researchers feel that birth order differences are as strong as gender differences. Although it may be a bit stereotypical and generalized, according to the textbook, first borns aim for achievement, middle borns toward diplomacy, and later-borns toward risk taking. According to research conducted and presented by CBS news, an only child is the equivalent to three times that of a first-born. They are likely to be even more responsible, and even bigger perfectionists. Interestingly enough, they are proposed parenting styles that should be used for each child depending on their birth order. For example, parents should lay off of the first born and not pile on too many responsibilities. With the middle child, parents should allow them to make their own decisions and make time to listen to them. As for the last born child, they should be encouraged to stick to a specific set of rules as well as be given responsibilities just as the older children were giving. If parents parent accordingly to birth order, some researchers believe that it is possible to avoid the stereotypes of the affects of birth order. I think that the reason birth order plays a seemingly large role in personality is due to the different parenting styles that are affected by time and conditioning. Take this quiz to find out if your personality is accurately reflected by your birth order: http://www.richardwiseman.com/oneshow.html .

Today, there is a lot of research going on in the field of genetics. Researchers are desperately trying to find, genes that are reponsible of every actions of a human being. Some researchs claim that they have already found a gene that they called the religious gene, in which it s abscence would make you an atheist. Some other researchers, are trying to find ou if there is a gene that is responsible of people alcoholism. Other researchers even speculate on gene of criminality which if exisitng on a people s chromosome would make them more prone to be criminals.
I personally do not see any opposition for these researchs. However, what scares me is what people would do with such findings and not the findings themselves. Humans always feel the need to play god, and therefore every time that there are new findings, they do not even wait for the alternative hypothesis, and start using those findings as a tool to wipe out other humans. We have seen such tragedy, on chapter 9, when we discussed IQ, and how decades ago, scientist just decided sterilizing african americans without their consent. People were blinded with their findings, that they did not see that they were doing is the same thing nazis have done to the jews, eliminating other people because they are considered inferior. I don t think this is a question of color, or race, I think all groups are capable of such atrocities, because people cannot help taht desire of wanting to feel superior, and that desire of having the perfect genes. People tend to forget holding a certain type of genes does not assure that does not assure the expression of that gene and that the environment play a role as well. But more important people tend to forget their mistake of the past. Therefore, having a board that decide of ethical implication of every genetic research is crucial to prevent tragedies.
I personally believe if for example a gene of criminalit existed, majority of the people will decide to put the person in jail even before it commits a crime. However, I think that is wrong and everyone should eb considered the same no matter what their genes are. The difference, is that for example you have a criminal gene, society should offer you help to prevent you from commiting crime, and not judge you on your gene. We all deserve to live and we all deserve the benefit of the doubt, no one shoudl judge you on your genes, or decide on waht to do with you genes.

The correlation between birth order and personality has yet to be proved accurate. In my opinion it is kind of interesting to see how accurate the idea of birth order affecting your personality is. Some researchers feel that birth order differences are as strong as gender differences. Although it may be a bit stereotypical and generalized, according to the textbook, first borns aim for achievement, middle borns toward diplomacy, and later-borns toward risk taking. According to research conducted and presented by CBS news, an only child is the equivalent to three times that of a first-born. They are likely to be even more responsible, and even bigger perfectionists. Interestingly enough, they are proposed parenting styles that should be used for each child depending on their birth order. For example, parents should lay off of the first born and not pile on too many responsibilities. With the middle child, parents should allow them to make their own decisions and make time to listen to them. As for the last born child, they should be encouraged to stick to a specific set of rules as well as be given responsibilities just as the older children were giving. If parents parent accordingly to birth order, some researchers believe that it is possible to avoid the stereotypes of the affects of birth order. I think that the reason birth order plays a seemingly large role in personality is due to the different parenting styles that are affected by time and conditioning. Take this quiz to find out if your personality is accurately reflected by your birth order: http://www.richardwiseman.com/oneshow.html .

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When To Spank
By: Dan Hodac


Growing up in a strict Vietnamese household, I was always spanked as a child and even into my early teen years. Thinking back, it was weird that I never resented or hated my parents for spanking me. This is mostly because of how my parents conducted each session of spankings. Unlike many other households, my parents used the traditional Vietnamese ways of disciplining a child. Whenever I was spanked, it would always be a formal "event" almost. They would make me lie down on the floor (in the carpet of course) and have me lie there until they were not as angry anymore from whatever transgression I had committed. After that, they would come to me and tell me what I had done wrong (with a calm and focused mind) and then spank me (It was always either on the hand or butt never anywhere else). They made sure that I knew exactly why I was spanked. I was never "grounded" and that was probably because my parents had never heard of "grounding" their kids. After recieving my punishment I was free to go, only after I apologized, of course.

This manner of disciplining me was very interesting, now that I look back on it, because they somehow did it a way that made me know that they still loved me and cared for me even as they are spanking me. As I got older and learned more about the different methods that other households have spanked their kids, this became more apparent. As said in the report When to Spank.doc by L Rosellini to the US News & World report, there is a right time to spank and a wrong way to spank. Beating a child senseless with a belt when the parent is in a deep state of anger is most likely the wrong way to discipline one's child, as seen in the picture below. Obviously, these kinds of senseless beatings will psychologically damage the child in the future.

When spanking, I believe that there are three things that are very important if you want the spanking to serve its purpose to the fullest.

1) Anger should not be the motivating force (or be involved at all) for spanking one's child. That would be venting one's anger, not disciplining.

2) The child must know why he/she is being spanked. This is another reason why parents should not spank their children when they are angry. The wrongdoings as well as the reasons as to why their actions are frowned upon must be clearly explained.

3) Make sure that the child knows that he/she is still loved. It is very easy to alienate children through senseless beatings/spankings.

Smokin' the Mary Jane

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What would you say if you found out that you had the gene for novelty-seeking? Would you want to prepare for it? Would you want to still have kids? Would you prefer to find a way to cancel or eliminate the gene from your DNA? The questions could continue forever, but the dilemma remains. How would you live your life if you knew that you were more at risk for substance abuse or accidents? Would that deter you from wanting to search out and enjoy new experiences?

I know that this gene would definitely have an impact on my life, but it would only be a small one. I would try to avoid the things that would embellish it or do them in moderation. I believe that people shouldn't ever let a disability or obstacle stand in their way from living life to its fullest. I would continue to use my intrinsic motivation as a driving force to obtain each and every one of my goals.

On the other side, what should society do to protect itself? Should they require people to have that gene removed from their DNA sequence to better protect everyone else in the world or should they let people live their lives freely? I believe that society might want to consider isolating the part of the novelty seeking gene that has to do with substance abuse because that is a huge and extremely common problem among us humans. We get addicted to drugs and alcohol,cost our employers and ourselves extreme amounts of money, and destroy relationships. The following link on substance abuse provides great information on the topic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substance_abuse

Regarding cognitive development, it would be interesting to track a kids growth if scientists could identify the gene in his DNA. However, this would create an ethical debate because it would create controversy about whether it is fair to tell the kid or not. A criminality gene would do the same thing. People would argue forever about whether or not everything regarding the topic is fair and it would be very annoying in my opinion.

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Let me know what your opinion is on the topic!

Eddard Stark (Ned) who has a pathetic life is one of the protagonist in the novel A Game of Thrones--book one of A Song of Ice and Fire written by George R.R. Martin. It is a splendid fantistorical tale. Ned was the Lord of Winterfell, however, because of the intimate relationship with the King, he became Hand of the King. He found the incredible secret of Queen and her children. Unfortunately, after the death of the King, he was framed up as a traitor and be executed by the new King.
Some people think his stupid put him to death. Here's a link of other people's analysis of Eddard Stark with interesting pictures.
On the contrary, I will use the Big Five model of personality to analyze Eddard Stark in the first Chapter to show you a true Ned. In the first Chapter, Ned stay with his sons who watch their father sentence an escaped Night Watch. After cutting the escaped Night Watch's head off, Ned comforts his second youngest son, Bran, who is only 7 years old. And he tells Bran:" Our way is the older way. The blood of the First Men still flows in the veins of the Starks, and we hold to the belief that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man's life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die. One day, Bran, you will be Robb's bannerman, holding a keep of your own for your brother and your king and justice will fall to you. When that day comes, you must take no pleasure in the task, but neither must you look away. A ruler who hides behind paid executioners soon forgets what death is." (A Game of Thrones P16)
From this conversation, we can infer that Eddard Stark is low in Openness to Experience ("Our way is the older way." He respects and complys with the old rules--a very conventional person.) In additionally, he is very high in Conscientiousness. Although he knows that the sentence will make him uncomfortable (" you must take no pleasure in the task"), Ned still teaches Bran to respect the criminal ("you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words") and introspect himself to keep impartial ( "if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die"). He is responsible to not only the rules, the criminal, the life and death, but also to his heart. He is kind of Agreeable person--after sentencing the escaped Night Watch, he did not forget to care about his little son and teach him the rules. We can see his deep love and hope to his son from this talk.
So, in the conclusion, Eddard Stark should be a person who is low in Openness to Experience, but high in Conscientiousness, and with some Agreeableness. He is not good at Extraversion (we can see it from the whole story) and not related to Neuroticism at all.

Personality or Situation?

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Everybody has an explanation for their behavior. Some people say its their personality others blame the situation for their actions. Many people believe that some situations bring out a persons true personality. Another group of people say that some situations can force people to do things that we wouldn't normally do. I believe that both personality and the situation has its factors on behavior. We have all been in a situation where no matter what happens we have to do something out of character to get out of a situation. There are also those situations that show people's character. For example, if a person confronts you with a problem then how you react is based upon your personality. But if that same person tries to fight you then in that situation you would fight back to defend yourself. So I think both situation and personality factor into behavior.

It's easy to think that the bystander effect isn't applicable to modern lives today. As humans, we have a tendency to be overly optimistic in the assessment of our hypothetical action. When we read about the Kitty Genovese's situation, we're quick to distance ourselves from those actions, saying outraged things like "Oh, I would NEVER do something like that."

In actuality, however, those are not isolated incidents as the bystander effect manifests itself in real world situations. To give a quick definition, the bystander effect is the phenomenon that occurs when people do not offer help in emergency situations because other people are present. Oftentimes, people in those situations are less likely to assume responsibility by believing that others will "take care" of the situation. However, when no one assumes responsibility, in the end, no help is offered.

Wang Yue.jpg

Recently, a tragic incident demonstrating the bystander effect triggered international outrage. In the Guangdong province of China, a two-year-old girl--Wang Yue--was crushed by a truck driver and later died of her injuries. The true tragedy was that as Wang Yue lay dying in the street, 18 passerbys skirted around her body without offering any form of emergency aid. In fact, it was after another truck ran Wang Yue over again that a female scavenger eventually helped her by calling emergency services. The entire incident was captured via security cameras and incited a hailstorm of condemnation.

I'll refrain from posting the video here as it is graphic, but the incident demonstrates the tragic aftermath of the bystander effect in the modern world. Furthermore, it horrifically establishes that the bystander effect can occur in everyday situations when we're least expecting it, and with devastating effects. As psychology students, the only way we can truly prevent terrible incidents like this from happening is to be aware of the effects of situations on our behaviors. By becoming aware, we gain the ability to fight these behaviors to make sure another Kitty Genovese or Wang Yue isn't made a victim.

Luck of the Draw?

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Are our lives decided by the second we enter the world? Some scientists believe so. Not only because of what you do but because of who is alive when you are born, your siblings. There is controversy on whether birth order traits actually exist. According to these traits first born are more likely to be the leaders of the family as well as somewhat close minded. Middle children are the peace makers and very diplomatic. Lastly the youngest is most likely to be a risk taker and to be more open to everything. These claims are not supported very well in the scientific community, however, they hold a big place in modern pop psychology. My brother and I do not fit into this birth order at all. I am more of the leader and also the risk taker but I am younger and my brother is more of a peace maker even though he is the oldest. What about you? Does your family fit this mold?

Altruism is a behavior that benefit others at a cost to oneself. For humans, most altruistic acts serve to relieve distress, experience the joy when helping others, or anticipate helps from the people they helped in the future. I previously learned about altruism in a biology class that I took. The class mostly talked about altruism found in animals. Most of the time, animals help their close relatives in order to benefit the survival of their kins. One example is the altruism observed in Belding's ground squirrels. The squirrels usually feed in groups with certain individuals spreading out as sentries and watching for predators. When a predator approaches, a sentry gives an alarm call and the other squirrels retreat into their burrows. The sentry has a higher risk of being attacked as its alarm call draws the predator's attention. The sentries' altruistic behavior might danger them but it increases the survival of their kins. Another example of altruism is shown in this video, showing food sharing between vampire bats. In here, a vampire bats observer shows that bats, which need to feed on blood to survive, could depend on their friends for food. If they could not get any blood, they could ask from their friends. Alternatively, their friends could do the same thing at other time. Those who are never willing to share their food would not be helped by others in the future. To apply the above examples to humans, I think most humans will be willing to share their food like the vampire bats because the task is fairly simple. However, most might not be willing to act as sentries like the Belding's ground squirrels. Imagine you are hiking with your sibling in the mountain and saw a bear. Would you immediately run away or attract the bear's attention away from your sibling?

In today's culture media often helps spread incorrect stereotypes about intelligence. For example very rarely in movies is the scientist or educated person from the south. For some reason every time there is a less intelligent character in a movie he or she is the one with the southern accent. The popular media also portrays large people as slow and dumb. For instance Fezzik in the movie Princes Brides was quite slow, yet in reality, size has no effect on inelegance. An Example was given in the text book on page 318 about the ex-bar bouncer that actually had one of the highest IQ's in America.
There are also many other types of inelegance such as social inelegance and common sense. Often the news stations are asking the "Experts" when all the "Experts" have is book knowledge. So often they have never been in the situation or are unaware of underlying factors. For example I play football here, and have come across many articles in the papers where an "Expert" gave his or her opinion about the team. More often then not they are completely off on what is actually happening. So often the media portrays certain aspects of intelligence that just are not true.

Bad weight loss plans

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In the US we have thousands of American struggling with there weight. America is overweight and people get upset with there body especially around summer time. So people try every trick in the book just to lose some weight for summer, spring breaks and a bunch of other reasons. This can actually cause problem for certain people because Believe it or not, there are bad ways to lose weight. The two terms that come to my mind when thinking about bad weight loss plans are bulimia and anorexia. The book defines bulimia as a eating disorder associated with a pattern of bingering and purging in an effort to lose or maintain weight, and anorexia as a eating disorder associated with excessive weight loss and the irrational perception that one is overweight. Bulimia (most common eating disorder) becomes very dangerous because after eating a big size meal the person will then force them self to vomit and when that happens they are making it so they do not get right nutrition. The people that have balimia are usually young women who are perfectionists with low self-esteem. Anorexia isn't as common as bulimia however it is just as dangerous. Anorexia is a mental issue when people who aren't overweight have the feeling or think that they are overweight so they try not to eat, or eat very little. Anorexia patients are very skinny and suffer from not getting the right nutrition. There are good ways and bad ways to lose weight. and unfortunately the easiest ways to lose weight (bulimia and anorexia) are extremely bad for you. So if you are looking to lose weight make sure you pick a healthy weight lose program. anorexia-2.jpg

Personality and Looks

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Think about the last time you were out, and saw someone you thought was absolutely stunning, handsome, gorgeous..whatever you like to call it. A "ten". In my case, lets say it's a guy. I finally get the courage to talk to him, and he seems great..at first. Then I realize something, he's dull. He's narcissistic. He's egocentric. He keeps going on and on and on about how amazing he is. His looks just dropped 3 points.

We learned in class that people generally get together with people who are relatively on the same scale looks wise as themselves, but what about those people whose personalities ruin their looks? Or those people who have such great personalities you don't care about their looks at all? It seems that more often than not, personality trumps looks to me. Funny, kind hearted, easy going guys beat out "hot" any day.

An example of a bad "date" here.

Anyone else met someone they thought was great until they opened their mouths? I'm sure you all have!

Why Do We Marry?

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Reasons for attraction to a certain individual is different across cultures, as well as within cultures. I recently was in India, and I learned many astonishing things about their different classes and marriage within them. I was working with low-class women, who were solely interested in finding a man who could provide for them and their future children. One of my friends was even being physically abused by her husband, but she thought it was a small price to pay for having food on the table every night for herself and her daughter. She does love her husband, but their relationship is very different from most couples living in the United States. Another Indian friend of mine is very wealthy, and he chose to have an arranged marriage. For him, marriage is an adventure of learning to love your spouse over time. Here is a picture of him at his wedding! Him and his wife had only seen each other a handful of times before the wedding. 377889_10150519719264665_507834664_10638267_1663394351_n.jpg

Although this is so different from what I believe marriage to be, I respect his views and understand the appeal of an arranged marriage. An article that compares arranged marriages in India with marriages of choice in America (download the PDF of the article from this link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/j.1556-6678.2005.tb00595.x/abstract), found that there was zero difference in marital satisfaction between the two groups.

What I'm getting at is there are many different studies about what makes people attractive and who individuals see as "fit to marry," but there will never be enough studies that include the reasons and characteristics of every relationship in the world. Love is love, and it can't be explained. I would even go so far as to say attraction cannot be explained either.

In our book we read about the Flynn effect. The Flynn effect is over time, the average IQ of the population will rise at a rate of about three points per decade. This suggests that, on average, our generations IQs will be a full ten to fifteen points higher than those of our grandparent's generation.
When researching the Flynn effect, I found that these results may be a result of environmental influences. When looking on the University of Indiana's website they talked about four of these environmental influences. The first one is better schooling and kids spending longer times being examined in formal educational settings. They are becoming better test takers and learning how to solve problems. The next influence is the societal changes occurring. We constantly have to process information quickly and learn how to use new technology. The third influence is better nutrition worldwide. When people are better fed, the cases of severe malnutrition declines, and kids are better able to focus on learning. The final environmental influence is home life. Parents are spending more time with their kids and helping them to become better problem solvers and provide their kids with resources to help them learn better.

I thought it was really interesting learning about the Flynn effect. It makes a lot of sense to me that all of those environment influences increase our IQ from generation to generation. The video I talks a little more about the Flynn effect and I was really surprised by their fact that someone that took an IQ test a hundred years ago and was in the top ten percent would be in the bottom five percent today.



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romantic-love-1.jpg Every culture has a different perspective of love and marriage, some places believe in arranged marriage and others believe in marrying someone for love. Popular American culture has very distinct ways of looking at love and marriage. I believe that as children we all grew up thinking about our marriages at least on occasion. I would also bet that most of us at some point dressed up as a bride or groom and imitated an american wedding as a game. I definitely did, I think by this point i've been married 4 or 5 times.

When looking at a show like Say Yes to the Dress, there are so many examples of how our culture thinks of love. The majority of women that go on that show tell a story of how they met their husband and when they knew that he was the one. A lot of those brides stories of how they met have to do with someone that they've always known or have worked with for years. This shows the affects of proximity on love and relationships. The more time that you spend with or around someone the more likely it is that you'll find them attractive.

For those of you in relationships, do they fit the classic american views? or if not, what differentiates you guys from it?

Cookie Diet

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Just look at the people you see every day in life. You can easily see fat people. According to cdc.gov, 65% of American adults are overweight and 35.7% of adults have obesity. So probably more than half of people you see every day are fat. Because there are so many people who suffer with obesity and overweight, there are many diet programs and diet products out in the market. There are good diet plans and products but some are ridiculous and not helping at all. One of diets that I got to know because of my friend was cookie diet. Yes, it sounds like a lie. When I first heard about it, I thought that was the stupidest way of losing weight. However, it was actually developed by a doctor, Sanford Siegel. It isn't the healthiest weight-loss plan but according to the doctor, you can lose weight with the cookie diet. Siegel's homemade cookies contain natural hunger-suppressing proteins such as oats, rice, whole wheat flour, and bran, but they lack the optimal amount of daily nutrients. Which is unfortunate because while Cookie Dieters can eat as many specially crafted cookies as they like during the day, they're allowed only one meal: dinner, which consists of six ounces of chicken, turkey, or seafood with one cup of veggies. I think it's a bad diet plan. What do you guys think? Would you try it if you are fat?

Millions of people across the world try new ways to lose weight every year. Some of these methods prove to be very effective, while others can end up being disastrous and even harmful to your health. But which diet plan is truly the worst weight loss plan ever? According to most of the research that I have found, one of the worst diet plans that has ever been introduced to the public is the Dukan diet. This was a celebrity diet that was said to be followed by the Duchess of Cambridge's mother, Carole Middleton, Jennifer Lopez, Gisele Bundchen, and multiple other well-known people.

The Dukan diet is said to be very complicated and ineffective, which is never good for a diet plan. Among other aspects, the diet includes a phase of only eating protein, and eating a low calorie diet during the day or week in order to allow for the majority of the calories to come into the body later through practices such as binge drinking. These phases of the diet sound extremely dangerous and can't be good for the human body in any way. This is probably why this diet topped the BDA's annual list of the five worst celebrity diets. If that doesn't convince you that this diet is the worst weight loss plan ever, consider that the even the creator of the diet, Dr Dukan, warns of the associated problems with the diet such as lack of energy, constipation and bad breath. All of this together shows why the Dukan diet is easily the worst diet ever.

The Atkins Diet Failure

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DrRobertAtkins.jpgFounded in 1972 by Robert Atkins and becoming really popular in the early 2000s with the update of his book. Focusing on limiting the body's intake of carbohydrates, the Atkins Diet makes the body enter the ketosis cycle, where the body converts from metabolizing glucose to fats. You are encouraged in the Atkins diet to eat a lot of red meat, other protein, and vegetables, and discouraged from eating carbohydrates such as sugars, bread and potatoes. The way Robert Atkins chose to market his diet, as well as the diet itself is very flawed. First, the diet commercials feature a couple of people making extraordinary claims of extreme weight loss. This kind of anecdotal evidence is without any kind of clinical or scientific research, and they do not mention any kind of adverse effects the diet may cause. There is also no mention of other factors that could contribute to weight loss. In addition, the diet itself is very illogical. Maybe the people exercised in addition to being on the diet. Taking yourself off carbohydrates can cause ketosis and eventual weight loss, however, the lasting effects may be very detrimental. If you were to ease yourself back on to carbohydrates, the ketosis cycle would end and you would possibly gain all of the weight back. Overall, the Atkins Diet is a very good example why you should always check into the validity of a diet before you devote your life to it. You never know what you are getting yourself into and what kind of irreversible effects you may be making on your body.

According to this article...

"Beauty: Culture-Specific or Universally Defined?"

in some aspects, NO, but in some aspects, YES.

For example, most Americans would not find large lip plates very attractive, but in Ethiopia, this is a very beautiful look for the Surma and Mursi women. 1944941_f260.jpg

Another example of atypical beauty the article mentions is neck elongation that the Kareni and Padaung women of Myanmar value. 1954896_f520.jpg

So across different cultures, some different things are considered beautiful. However, even though some cultures value skinny women and others value larger women, there is still a universal preference toward the 0.7 waist-to-hip ratio. Also, squared jaws for men and high-chek bones for women are universally preferred. Even more examples are provided in the article if you'd like to read for more detail.

So can beauty be universally defined? In all aspects, of course not. But there are some general, natural features that most people could considered more appealing to the eyes. Culture to culture and generation to generation will vary in regard to what is considered the most attractive way for people to dress, wear their hair and makeup, and to adorn themselves with jewelry. However, the natural basic features (such as the ideal waist-to-hip ratio and the symmetry of a face) will probably remain the standard for beautiful women worldwide.

There are a lot of theories out there explaining the influences of IQ and it all falls back on the big question Nature or Nurture.
Today, nearly all psychologists recognize that both genetics and the environment play a role in determining intelligence. It now becomes matter of determining exactly how much of an influence each factor has.
Here are some arguments for each side.iq-bell-curve.gif
Evidence of genetic influences:
• Twin studies suggest that identical twins IQ's are more similar than those of fraternal twins
• Siblings raised together in the same home have IQ's that are more similar than those of adopted children raised together in the same
Evidence of environmental influences:
• Identical twins reared apart have IQ's that are less similar than identical twins reared in the same environment
• School attendance has an impact on IQ scores
• Children who are breastfed during the first three to five months of life score higher on IQ tests at age 6 than same-age children who were not breastfed
I found it very interesting that there has been significant data proving Genetic influences on IQ. The article I posted below shows this direct prove of Genetic influence "Large sample size studies in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins raised together show an average correlation of .86 for MZ twins, while the correlation for DZ twins is only .60." Over all if I had to weigh it out I believe that environmental factors influence intelligence significantly more than genetics, What do you guys think?



Tough guys, macho men, and meat heads, we all know them. Some of us love them, and some of us don't. These three descriptions all have something in common: they are all directed towards men, and not women. Why is this the case? There could be several reasons, but one main reason is aggression. Generally, men are more aggressive than women.Macho men.jpg This fact has been proven across several behavioral studies. But why are men more aggressive? Some say it is the increased levels of testosterone in men compared to women. Others argue that it is the way boys are brought up. We all saw the video in class where baby boys were talked to differently than baby girls. The people would say things like "aren't you a tough guy" or "you are going to grow up to be big and strong", versus more soft and innocent comments to infant girls. Could this be the reason males are more aggressive? I guess it all comes back to the great nature-nurture debate. What do you think? Do you think increased aggression in boys is from nature, or nurture, or both?

Air Diet or Anorexia?

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It's official... you can literally find a way to make anything sound better than it really is. While looking into possible diets to get ready for summer days at the lake, a website actually tried to persuade me to go on the Air Diet!! I decided to read further to make sure it was serious, and the answer was yes--the creators of this diet really were suggesting that eating only air would make you lose weight. Thank you Captain Obvious. As far as I am concerned, "Air Diet" is synonymous to anorexia. The proponents of this new fad diet just forgot to mention the negative effects of hair loss, heart problems, and fragile bones that can come along with anorexia.

Even though this diet is just a clever way of inducing anorexia in vulnerable targets, it is based in a real scientific phenomenon. In our textbook, the author argues that with feelings of hunger, "the brain is far more influential than the actual stomach." This diet clearly utilizes this fact. It has its participants prepare food and even put it near their mouths (like Madonna is demonstrating above). However, instead of actually eating the food, they do a form of breathing meditation that convinces their brain that consuming air will fill them up the same as food. The stomach will obviously catch on to this trick when it does not receive any food meal, but the stomach is not in control. If the brain, specifically the hypothalamus, can be convinced that food entered the system, it will decrease hunger sensations.

So how about it? Would you ever hop on the Air Diet bandwagon?

An Office Romance

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Office romances seem to be all too common in movies and TV. But one romance sticks out as one of the most successful: Jim Halpert and Pam Beasley in The Office. There are three reasons as to why their relationship has been so successful. Proximity, similarity, and reciprocity are the three major principles that guide the formation of relationships and attraction.
The most obvious reason people fall in love is that they work, live, or study in the same environment. Jim and Pam worked at Dunder Mifflin for years before they became a couple. Just seeing someone everyday allows for the opportunity for a relationship to blossom. index.jpg
Pam and Jim are very much alike and have a lot in common. Their degree of similarity allows them to understand one another and to enjoy doing similar activities together. When you share things in common with your partner, the chances that you will have a successful relationship greatly increase. If you and your partner have nothing in common, it will be difficult to establish a personal connection.
Reciprocity is the third principle in guiding attraction and relationship formation. There must be some give and take in every relationship. For example, Jim and Pam have meaningful conversations which bring them closer together.
The Office is full of romances. Some work and others don't. But, if there is proximity, similarity, and reciprocity, you are on your way to a relationship.
The 3 principles can even be seen in this short clip.

Kohlberg attempted a tall feat indeed when he thought to quantify morality in individuals of different ages. He posed complex situational questions and asked his subjects to make a decision based on what they personally believed. It is an interesting approach because it allowed for the analysis of how different aged individuals typically view situations and what is "right" to them. Form his results he classified morality into three different groups. First Preconventional Morality, where right and wrong is based on what we are punished or rewarded for. I got yelled at for taking cookies from the cookie jar, so that is wrong. Second Conventional Morality, This is more on what is praised or rejected by society. Everyone in the family gets upset with me for taking the cookie out of the jar because there was not enough to share later. Finally Postconventional Morality, here right and wrong go beyonfd society and speaks form the essence of human rights. Everyone in the family deserves a cookie form the jar and should have an equal opportunity to get ones share.
superimages.jpgHis finding tell us that morality is not the same for everyone and that there isn't a consistent rule set that can be applied to every situation. Superman may make for a great story telling, but his adversaries are making it too easy on him. the real world is more complex and as we age and experience more complex situation our ability to analyze and judge become more refined.
This can be a complicated lesson to learn. It is not always easy to decide right from wrong even when we are present as there are so many other factors outside the actual incident it can be impossible to ever be truly sure. Entrepreneur.gishortcutsf.gif This brings up a powerful criticism with his analyses. With all of the different situational exposures we face and how those can be different across cultures, generations and even genders. It is unlikely that the people measured could be controlled for all of those factors given that there is inconsistencies even within those classifications. there is also the question of whether people would actual be honest in their answers or are experiencing a level of conventional morality in their answers playing to what they think is expected of them by those analyzing the tests. It would be hard to prevent this completely.
While there may be question about the data collected this does bring about some interesting question about how people develop their morality and the role empathy plays in that development. As we grow and experience are we collecting data so that we can better relate those around us to the point we have the ability to look past all the factors that surround a situation and truly tell right from wrong?

It is strange to think about how different my life would be had I been raised with a different parenting style or different parents altogether. It is hard to imagine because I believe my parents raised me the best they could. Of the three major parenting styles identified by Diana Baumrind--permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative--my parents mostly used a permissive style. From a young age, I was well behaved at home and in school, so it made sense for them to raise me this way. It allowed me to make my own decisions, and it was nice to know that my parents trusted me to do the right thing. Yes, I may have made some bad decisions, but I was able to learn and grow from these mistakes; mistakes I would not have had the opportunity to make had there been strict household rules, which are often associated with authoritarian parenting styles.

It may be a cliché for me to say that you need to make mistakes in order to learn, but I think it is true. By making mistakes I taught myself valuable life lessons that my parents couldn't have taught me. But while I feel that a permissive parenting style was perfect for myself, I know it is not the best for every child. Because of this, parents need to change the way they raise their child depending on the child's behavior.


One of the things concerning lie detection that really stuck out to me was how lie detectors are often most successfully for their ability to elicit confessions from someone who has failed a polygraph test and actually was lying in the first place. Often when someone is in fact lying when they take the test and then end up failing it, they don't know that they could make the argument that the test is far from conclusive or that it is inadmissible in court. Once they fail it they panic and assume that their act is up and then proceed to spill the beans.
This makes me wonder if a better way to detect lying is to not solely trust the results of the polygraph test itself, but see how people react when the test is over. If someone fails the test and starts insisting that something must be wrong with the test, they're probably an honest person. If someone fails the test and then admits to their lies, then they're probably lying after all. Although, even this method seems really easy to fool.
I think another interesting thing about polygraph tests is how they can sometimes convince people they are lying if the test says they are. For instance, I remember watching this T.V. show where a woman was asked if she loved this specific man and she said no but the polygraph test said that was a lie. Suddenly, she questioned if she did love the man and fooled herself into thinking she loved him.
Overall, Polygraph tests seem to be a big waste of time to me. They're hypocritical in the sense that they might be telling the biggest lie of all when deciding if someone is lying.

Punishing a child brings up many controversial methods. What is considered appropriate? What is crossing the lines? Which type of punishment is actually effective? Spanking is a well-known "positive" punishment that is used here in our society, but it is also one of the most controversial.

Young children are the most susceptible to punishment as they are still learning right from wrong. There are many methods that are useful in punishing a child, positive punishment being one of them. Positive punishment means that a person or animal experiences something they wish to avoid that weakens the chances of their behavior of happening again. A few examples of positive punishment would be spanking, yelling, and physical shock. When is enough though? Spanking is thought to be an effective form of punishment in our society, but is it? Research says otherwise.

To set up a situation, lets have Betty be a young child, 3 years of age. Betty really wanted a piece of chocolate, but it was only 9 am, too early for candy. When Todd, her father, says she can't have candy this early, Betty throws a fit and calls her dad "stupid." Todd wants Betty to know that calling people names is not okay, so he gives her a few spankings and leaves her crying in her room until she calms down. Is Betty less likely to call her father names in the future?

Research shows that this type of "positive" punishment is ineffective and can have long-term psychological effects on the child, in this case, Betty. Some of these effects include aggression, antisocial behavior and mental health problems in the future. This type of punishment is also said to conflict with learning how to deal with problems in an acceptable way. Many more effects of this type of punishment are listed in these two articles.

Although "positive" punishment may have immediate results, the long-term affects of positive punishment are not worth the spankings. Todd in this situation needs to find other ways to punish Betty for calling him names. A form of "negative" punishment may be more effective although there may not be immediate results. In this case, taking away Betty's favorite toy would be a more effective and less harmful punishment than spanking. The following video gives other examples of effective punishment techniques that would be considered "negative" punishment; taking away something that the child wishes to experience to weaken the chances of that behavior happening again.

Growing up, my parents were pretty permissive. I've never been grounded, and I was rarely restricted from any activities. In my opinion (and hopefully everyone else's), I've grown up to be a mature, responsible, and well behaved adult. But according to Diana Baumrind's three major parenting styles, I should have grown up to be a rebellious teen with emotional and behavioral problems. Below are listed the three parenting styles, along with the child's predicted behavior that corresponds with each.

jpgPermissive: Permissive parents are lenient with children, rarely discipline them, and shower them with affection. According to Baumrind, these children should be rebellious and unstable.
Authoritarian: Parents are strict and give little opportunity for free/play time. They also show little affection towards children. Baumrind claims that these children also have behavioral problems.
Authoritative: these parents combine the best features of permissive and authoritarian parenting. They are supportive of their children, but set firm rules/limits. Baumrind found that children of authoritative parents are found to exhibit the best social and emotional adjustments.

However, these findings clearly can't be applied to every family, mine included. There are other factors that influence behavior, such as genetics. Also, a child's behavior influences the parenting styles that their parents use. For example, if the child is naturally calm and well behaved, parents may not have to set so many rules. In my opinion, every family should find a parenting style that best suits their child. No one child is the same, so parents must adopt techniques accordingly to keep their children healthy and happy.

book.jpg Yes, you did read that title correctly. According to Jonathan Haidt in The Happiness Hypothesis one can actually calculate their happiness. How? Simply put: H=S+C+V. But, what does that really mean? Happiness equals set point + conditions of life + voluntary activities. Haidt breaks it down into our biological set point as one of the characteristics that determines happiness. You are born with a set of genes that help determine how happy you are and how you bounce back from bad situations. Haidt describes how people with a larger left frontal lobe are more likely to become happier after a sad situation than those without. Not only does ones biological sets determine their happiness but so does their life conditions. That is if you are living in a situation with a lot of death around you, if you are poor, or if you live in a high crime area this can all help or hurt your happiness. That along with your voluntary actions equal your happiness in total. Your voluntary actions mean what you choose to do daily. In the book, Haidt speaks about how those who volunteer, especially the older they are, the happier they are. So taking all of this into consideration you can't blame yourself if you're not always happy or if you don't have the ability to become happy like others do- that is determined by your biology. What you do have a choice over is the rest of the equation the conditions in which you set yourself and the voluntary actions you choose. Happiness is all about what you make it individually. No formula will be the same for two people. Haidt really brings this idea and so many more to life in his book. I have read his book in full and suggest for others to do. It helps you reflect on your life and the subconsciousness and unconscious choices you make everyday that help determine your happiness.
Check out his website for more awesome information: http://www.happinesshypothesis.com/

The Role of a Father

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In chapter ten, the authors address "The Role of the Father" in families and children's development. They pin point four crucial differences between the role of the mother and the role of the father. One, fathers are generally not as affectionate towards their children compared to mothers. Two, fathers generally spend less time with their children than mothers. Three, fathers tend to engage in more physical play with their children than mothers. Four, children generally choose their father over their mother as a playmate. These are all important differences that I believe emphasize the importance of both parents to be present in a child's life. While there are many strong mothers who single-handedly support and raise their children, they cannot completely replace the role of a father. In this article, Mr. Hollis comments on the decline of the traditional family and the role of fathers in recent decades. I found his article appealing because he too agrees that the role of a father cannot be easily replaced. Overall, while I understand there are often circumstances that prevent a father from being a part of his child's life, I think the child is truly at a loss for not having that relationship their life and vice versa.

I don't think anyone can deny that everybody lies. So why haven't we figured out how to detect when someone is in fact lying? It shouldn't be so hard right? Well, research has shown otherwise. There are several types of lie detecting techniques, yet none have proven to be trustworthy. In my opinion, lying is something that no one will ever be able to figure out. People are too good at it, which is really quite sad if you think about it.
After some research, I found that lying begins at an incredibly young age. Most children fib by the age of 3. When I read that piece of information, I was shocked, even questioned it. However, after thinking about my little sisters (still very young) it made sense. They both started lying at around that age. It just makes me think that they must have picked it up from the rest of the family, including me.
Obviously we should keep researching the topic, even if we will never figure it out (which is just my guess) we can still learn a lot more about the topic. For example, even though we know that modern lie detector tests are not super effective, we have still learned from them.


Kohlberg's Conundrums

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During the course of our lifetimes I'm sure we've all been asked a question to which there is no true right or wrong answer. Lawrence Kohlberg asked quite a few of these questions over the course of his lifetime to different age groups. But he didn't ask these questions to stump his participants. Kohlberg wanted to know how and why people think the way they do.

Kohlberg Picture.jpg

However his work wasn't perfect. There are a few criticisms of his work. Even one of his own students, Carol Gilligan thought that his studies weren't perfect. Gilligan's main gripe was that the questions favored males. Because it is generally accepted that males are more justice-orientated and females are more caring orientated, Gilligan thought that Kohlberg's test made it appear that females were okay with stealing or breaking other laws, when in reality they cared more about the dying wife. However, according to the textbook, there has been little evidence to confirm these beliefs that men score higher on Kohlberg's tests.

Overall situations like the one Kohlberg presented his subjects are a true lose-lose situation. I know when I read the story I couldn't come up with a definite answer myself. Every answer I came up with ended with "yeah, but...". What does everybody else think?

To Catch a Liar

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As with many studies in psychology detecting whether or not someone is lying isn't black and white. There is no formula to calculate whether someone isn't telling the truth.

The polygraph test has long been considered the best way in mainstream psychology. However, our text points out that it does no better than chance. The textbook made one other point that I found interesting; people get better at detecting lies with experience. Federal officers and sheriffs are better than the majority of people at detecting lies because they have a vast pool of experience.

One other topic that I came across and found interesting is the concept of micro-expressions. These are facial expressions that last a mere 1/25th of a second and convey Ekman's list of basic emotions and are also useful at detecting lies. The show Lie to Me was based around this phenomenon, as well as a novel that I read by Robert Ludlum call The Ambler Warning. In both the main character is able to easily read these expressions and therefore determine whether someone is lying.

A study was conducted called The Wizards Project. This project was designed to test people abilities to detect whether someone was lying.. By 2004 they had tested 13,000 people and only 31 were able to accurately determine whether someone is lying. Among the tactics those 31 used were micro-expressions.

Below is a video that shows some examples of micro-expressions that can portray a lie.

After reading the facial expression section in the textbook, I find out more about Ekman's research on facial expression of emotion. I read a chapter of facial expression of emotion that written by Dacher Keltner and Paul Ekman. As I dug out the chapter, I gradually found out that facial expressions are associated with some autonomic physiology. For example, the oblique eyebrows and concerned gaze of sympathy decreased heart rate and distressed facial expression increased heart rate (Eisenberg et al. 1989). And also, respiratory response of laughter was related to increasing heart rate (Ruch, 1993). Apart from those stuff, Ekman also talked about the accuracy in facial expression judgment. According to his paper, accuracy in facial expression judgment was quite high when people being judged were being truthful and poor when the people were lying. In this material, Ekman and Keltner also claim the cultural variation in facial expression. There are four points arguing cultural differences in facial expression. What makes me interested in is that actually, people from different culture have different inferences they draw from facial expressions of emotion. Here is an example that explains this point. U.S. as compared to Japanese college students were more likely to infer that an individual displaying a Duchenne smile was highly sociable (Matsumoto & Kudoh, 1993). Before studying this chapter, I never think about facial expression can convey this amount of information. It is interesting to "decipher" people's faces and know more about their mind! faciale.jpg

Reference-- http://www.paulekman.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/Facial-Expression-Of-Emotion1.pdf

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