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

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:

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


Detecting Lies

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

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

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

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

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

Liar Liar

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

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

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