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Take home message

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

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

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

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

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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!


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

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:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il0u2s_WGXA
Thank you.

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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.

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

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