We usually use our sensation and perception to sense our environment and interpret what is meaningful to us. We can sometimes deceive by our brain. The motion blindness (also known as akinetopsia) is disorder which a person can't perceive motion in visual field. They can't easily convert still image into ongoing images. However, they still can see stationary object very well. The motion blindness can cause from brain lesion in posterior side of visual field and in MT/V5 (Medium Temporal lobe V5, the part of brain is responsible for controlling motion). From our environment, we send stimulus and converted it into neural message to transfer it into MT/V5 for further processing but when we damaged this part, it will become unresponsive so the information that we receive in environment get delayed. People with this disorder have hard time to perform simply task like pouring a glass of water or a cup of coffee. Since the people with motion blindness can't detect motion, they couldn't aware that the water actually pours from a pitcher to a glass. If they don't stop pouring water to a glass, the water will spill over the glass and onto the floor. They also run into trouble when crossing the street, they see car is stationary from far away but it actually moves through specific time and space. When they realize, there won't be enough time for them to response and the car actually hits them. The importance of this disorder is that we can see how our brain deceives us and makes us run into illusion and not be aware the surroundings. One example in the book (Lilienfeld, page 147) described Gisela Leibold is unable to detect motion so she concerned about the information that she may miss riding down escalator in Munich. The same idea of illusion also presents in motion induced blindness. I found The Troxler is one of the example of motion induced blindness. When you looked at the center of rotating blue crosses for long time, you will notice that 3 yellow dots disappear. Why was this happened? What specific genes were responsible for this action? We are not currently know the answer because we didn't have knowledge about our vision system to evaluate which genes were turned on/off during this action. All we know is that our vision deceived us to make us think as they were not there. By learning about motion blindness, we can learn our own vision system and how it actually perceives things in the world. From this disorder, we can develop methods to treat other disorders that caused by our illusion.
September 2011 Archives
Extrasensory Perception (ESP) is also known as the "sixth sense." It is sensory information or events that humans can perceive outside of the five senses that are sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Investigators who study ESP, also known as parapsychologists, have divided ESP into three major types: precognition, telepathy, and clairvoyance. Precognition is defined as predicting events before they occur. Telepathy is defined as reading people's minds, and clairvoyance is defined as detecting the presence of objects or people that are not in view. Although there have not been many reliable studies done to accept or deny the idea of ESP, there are still many people that believe in ESP or believe that they have had a psychic experience. I think this is the reason why this idea interests me so much. Many people say they have had dreams foretelling events that came true, so when I hear stories like this, how can I not think ESP is real? However, after hearing concepts like illusory correlation, it is easy to think go back to the idea that ESP is one big fraud. For example, have you ever been in a new place and thought of an old friend you haven't seen in a long time, and a few hours later you run into that friend? Would you think that was due to ESP? In the moment, I probably would, but after considering the concept of illusory correlation, I do not think it is a good chance it is ESP. If you apply the idea of illusory correlation, you begin to realize that you probably have been in a new place and thought of an old friend whom you never encountered. We tend to underestimate the frequency of coincidences, which is a major factor that contributes to the belief in ESP.
I found this video on YouTube, and it truly got me thinking about ESP. Moreover, it brought me to the question, do we all have innate psychic abilities? If yes, do you believe some people are able to control these abilities? Or are they out of our control?
Reading through chapter four (sensation and perception) of the psychology text book, I came across an interesting topic about the pupil. The pupil is the circular opening in the center of the iris that lets light enter the eyes. The pupil constricts as a reflex response to light or objects approaching us, causing it to appear smaller. For example, after being inside a building and walking into the bright sunshine outside, our eyes have a pupillary reflex as a response to decrease the amount of light allowed into them. This happens in both eyes simultaneously. Shining a flashlight into one eye triggers the reflex in both.
Our pupils appear lager by dilating when we try to process complex information and when we view someone physically attractive. This finding helps to explain why someone would find a person with larger pupils more attractive than a person with smaller pupils, even when they are not aware of the difference.
Reading about this from the text book really caught my attention. It had me very curious and asking myself questions about it like "Does my boyfriend have big pupils? If yes, since he has big pupils, is that a real reason why I would find him attractive?" I explored my curiosity by researching more about this topic online. I came to find that pupil size is affected by ones general state of arousal. The eyes are a key signal in courtship. If a woman is attracted to a man, she will dilate her pupils at him and he is likely to decode this signal correctly without even noticing that he is (this can be related to flirting). When lovers look deep into each others eyes, without even knowing it, they are looking for pupil dilation signals and become excited by the dilation of the other person's pupils, hence feeling that attraction.
Applying this research to the business world, we can see how ads found in newspapers, magazine's, etc increase the appeal of their models by enlarging their pupils. Altering the pupil area in the photograph to appear larger, causes people to rate the models in the photograph as more attractive. Therefore, this can be a good way to increase sales of any product using a close up of the face with an enlarged pupil. Looking at the ad of a product that has your interest, is the product truly effective or does the attractive model in the picture persuade you to like it?
After learning all this I find myself trying to see if I notice the increase in my pupil size after being around someone I'm attracted to or when looking at ads. Its amazing how the dilation and constriction of our pupils is connected not only with different light conditions but also with mood.
In Psychology, one often asks questions about how the brain works, how society works, why certain people do something, and so on and so forth. A way for psychologists to be able to answer these types of questions, is to do studies, and follow different research designs. A few different research designs are "Naturalistic Observation", "Case Studies", "Correlational Designs", and "Experimental Designs".
Each research design is special and important in their own way. In "Naturalistic Observation", psychologists are able to watch the behavior of people or things or animals in the real world, and see how they naturally behave without any intervening or outside influences. In a "Case Study", psychologists will examine a single person or a small group of people for several years, documenting their lives, and further more find existence proofs, which are "demonstrations that a given psychological phenomenon can occur" (Lilienfeld, pg 51). "Correlational Designs" are also used because psychologists can use them to see how closely related two variables are such as seeing how well a person's performance is on an exam and how much sleep they got the night before.
"Experimental Designs" are special though. While the three previous research designs are often used, and are liked, none of them can allow us to infer causation like an "Experimental Design" can. The reason being is that in an experiment, as the researcher, you are the one who is manipulating variables and seeing which variables make a difference in behavior.
Like anything, it is not perfect because if you do not take extra precautions, you could make an inference on something, and it could turn out to be completely wrong due to a third variable or interference such as the placebo and nocebo effects, the experimenter expectancy effect, and demand characteristics. Which is why it is important to have blinding, and to have your independent variables set, along with your controls.
I personally know this from experience. For my 9th grade science class, I had to partake in the science fair in order to not get a failing grade. My experiment involved having a typing class, taking typing tests while listening to different songs that had different beats per minute, and then recording each person's words per minute. Each person had to take three different tests, with one time listening to a song with a high wpm, another with a slow wpm, and then one time without any music at all. However, something that I didn't account for was the demand characteristics taking place. Without thinking, I told the entire class the entire experiment and what I was hoping to happen. As a result, looking back and people's previous typing scores, they somehow dramatically improved. In the end, I had to use a completely different typing class, and this time without saying any details. Funny enough, I still managed to win a medal for it.
Despite the mistakes that can happen without precaution, experimental designs are very important because they are the only ones in which you are able to clearly see a cause and effect, and able to make those inferences.
The article makes the claim that there is a correlation between people's intuition and their religious beliefs. It states that people who are more inclined to go with their intuitions are more likely to go to church every Sunday and vise versa, thus making religion boil down to a gut feeling. In this instance the researchers used the correlation between people that answer questions with their gut feelings to connect it with their answers of how religious they are, there though lies a problem in that. In no way can the researchers really tell if a person is answering the question intuitively or not because there is no know way to measure instinctive behavior on survey without there being limiting. In other words the simple counter argument of this being correlation without causation could work. Also this is can be considered an extraordinary claim since there hasn't been a claim like this made in about this subject that is quit this controversial. So extraordinary evidence is needed in order to prove that such a claim like this is accurate, in my assessment of the evidence presented in this article by the researchers, there is not enough concrete evidence to prove that this correlation is nothing but that a correlation. Which leads me to my third point which is Occam's razor, the simplest answer is usually the correct one, and in this case the simplest answer would be that religious affiliation is something that is gain through one's environment and not one's intuition.
If you try reading the words in the above picture out loud you are likely to say the color the word is written in. For instance upon trying to say yellow you might actually say green. This shows how sensory inputs can become confused in the brain while trying to interpret a scene. For some part of the population the picture above can be some what similar to how they view the world. Synesthetes as they are called have a cross over of sorts in their senses which cause strange things to happen. The most common form involves numbers and letters taking on specific colors to person with synestesia.
In the picture above you can see an example of this, when staring at the field of black numbers in the left image, most likely saw only 5's; however, a person with synestesia would view something more in line with what is seen in the right picture. In other cases sound and color also experience a cross over, producing affects that range in magnitude depending on the person. For some it is only certain sounds or pitches, for others music will produce vivid color displays. These are some of the more common manifestations of synestesia, but many other variations are possible. While it is not know what exactly causes synestesia, it is thought that when viewing a number for instance other areas of the brain associated with color are also activated due to over active or extra synapses.
Despite the causes behind it synesthetes tend to become artists or head into creative lines of work due to their condition. Many famous artists are known to have been synesthetes including Billy Joel, Aphex Twin, Duke Ellington, and Richard Feynman.
Searching for connections in experiences is one of the human natures to explore the world. Sometimes it really helps in our daily life, such as trying to remember the word on the top by connecting it to the funny picture below.
However, the "face" above is an illusion made by someone's breakfast. This kind of illusion of interpreting a meaningless connection to be meaningful is an ability possessed by us called apophenia. It is really interesting and also makes money sometimes.
I used to see a popular movie called "2012", which earned about 770 million dollars in cinemas. The claim of "2012" came up with the assumption from the Mayan Long-count period calendar, which ended on Dec. 2012. So the rumor started as a lot of people tend to believe that the Maya's ending date predicting the end of the world. The connection was built up. And then a lot of "supporting evidences" just followed up, such as the coming collision with the planet Nibiru and the polar shift theory, which is impressive of its performance in the movie.
According to NASA(http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012.html), all of the above turns out to be false. Starting from the "supporting evidences", there is no observation suggests the threats from any planets. Fortunately, the magnetic reversal in the polar shift theory does happen, but for every 400,000 years on average. And finally it comes to the core of the theory, the end of the Mayan Long-count period calendar. There is also an Occam's razor for it. Just like we need to buy a new calender at the end of a year, the Mayan calender also need to be updated after it ends. The end of the calendar doesn't mean the end of the world.
The "2012" is one of the famous apophenia. Actually, most of us do know it is not true. But we still keep talking about it. Because the apophenia like "2012" provides a great platform for us to design the fall of the world, which is really exacting and attractive. But please keep in mind, never take it seriously.
Can you come up with any other famous apophenia?
Could you ever imagine not recognizing your own mother? Maybe your father? Even your boyfriend or girlfriend? The sad fact is that many people with a specific type of temporal lobe damage fail to recognize the people they love. This type of temporal lobe damage has been termed prosopagnosia. This disorder arises from either acute brain trauma to the temporal lobe or it can also be congenital. Prosopagnosia affects people by enabling them the recognize the faces of others. Being that these individuals are not capable of recognizing faces they become keen on identifying people by clothing or different extremities on the body. Prosopagnosia is a difficult type of brain damage and is detrimental to families with members afflicted by the brain damage.Children fail to recognize their nurturing parents, causing heartache for the family.
When we were young, we always played the guessing game where one person would have something in mind and the other would keep asking how hot (how close) or how cold they were! I would ask my friends, after every guess I made, am I hot or cold? As I got closer to 'solving the mystery,' they would say to me you're getting warmer, or you're burning up! As I was reading, I came across the passage about Cold Reading; cold reading is, as the book puts it, the art of persuading people you know everything about them when you have only just met them! The book highlights various techniques that are used by cold readers. The book describes six techniques that can be used to train any person to duplicate cold reading! They include:
- Tell the person at the outset that you won't be perfect! This would include saying something like 'I have a lot of different vibes because there are a lot of people in the room, so maybe you could help me find out which ones are accurate to you.'
- Stock Spiel: say any general statement that would apply to anyone! This includes saying something like 'You've been struggling emotionally lately.'
- Fish for details with vague questions. This would sound like 'Your father 's name began with M, yes? How about N?
- Sleight of Tongue Technique: rapid fire-guesses. This sounds something like, 'Your boyfriend owns a red car? Your brother? Okay, well someone in your life is thinking of buying a car...'
- Use a prop. Use crystal balls, tarot cards, or a horoscope to make it seem like you're basing your information on something special!
- Population Stereotypes: make a general statement reported by many or most people. This sounds something like, 'You suffered the loss of an animal...maybe a dog?'
- Look for physical cues that can identity with part of the individual's life history. This sounds something like (based off of a large amount of shiny jewelry), 'Your personality is eccentric, you like to draw attention to yourself.'
- Remember that flattery can win anyone over. This sounds something like, 'I see success in your future.'
This seems like a bunch of bologna to me! It's also a little freaky because the people who perform cold readings seem so convincing, but after I read these techniques, it was obvious how many of them they were using! As I thought about the guessing game I played as a child, this 'cold' reading truly seemed so cold and off! It's as if I am making guesses, and the entire time, my friends are telling me I'm cold and completely off- this is what this seems like to me! I think this phenomenon is one of many that corresponds with our need to find connections among what we perceive to be coincidences! So often we confuse coincidences to be meaningful, when in reality, we forget the probability of an event occurring and someone predicting it/having it happen to them.
The thing that was freakiest for me was this link. These cold readings appear to be identical to pseudosciences because this one 'psychic' was able to convince one woman to deny her son legitimate care because of some fake prediction...that reminded me of one of the dangers of pseudosciences that we read about in Chapter 1.
If you want more information about famous self-proclaimed psychics and cold readers, watch this video of John Edwards and this video of a fake psychic reading!, which despite how fake it is, appears so convincing, it's actually uncomfortable to watch!
Now that I've seen the fake cold reading and how well it was pulled off, the most prominent principle of scientific thinking that runs through my mind is extraordinary evidence for exaggerated claims! The techniques named above make it extremely easy to forget this necessity! In addition, we forget how convincing someone can be and we forget to rule out how easily it is to purchase a copy of a Cold Reading book, learn the techniques, and then even make serious money for it! And lastly, talking to the dead is a metaphysical claim, so because we can't necessarily falsify it (especially if someone is skilled at the art of cold reading), we can't accept it to be true either because then we run into the Appeal to Ignorance Fallacy!
In PSY 1001, we've recently learned about "inattentional blindness". Inattentional blindness occurs when our brain fails to recognize or perceive something that is in clear sight. Obviously, this is a necessary function for us to be able to focus. Without inattentional blindness, we would have a very small attention capacity--we would be distracted by lights, colors, sounds, and more. Watch THIS VIDEO to see an example of inattentional blindness. It is amazing how few people notice the man in the gorilla suit. However, when reflecting on a summer job, I wondered how much is inattentional blindness and how much is due to our frantic lifestyle.
This summer, I sold tickets at the Minnesota State Fair. As jobs go, it was very high-paced. We stood on a road, selling tickets out of a box around our waists. We had no cash register, no calculators; only our minds. Obviously, we sold hundreds of tickets to hundreds of people every day. The job quickly became a set routine: smile, greet the customer, ask how many tickets were needed, quickly do math, rip off the tickets, accept the money, do more math, get the change. I remember several experiences that seem to signify inattentional blindness. Sometimes, something would go wrong with the transaction, and we would need to be called back to the same car to fix something. When this happened, I could scarcely remember the people's faces or cars, much less what I had just sold them. This would happen literally within a minute of selling tickets to them. Secondly, a man commented that I had sold tickets to him earlier that day. I just fake-laughed and acted like I remembered, but I really didn't.
I know that much of this was probably simply inattentional blindness, due to an overload of information. However, I wonder how much of "inattentional blindness" could actually be attributed to a simple lack of attention and courtesy. Everyone deserves a look in the eye and a smile. And they deserve to be remembered within a span of a few minutes. I realized that too often I'm just like the people in the "gorilla video". I'm too focused on myself or my problems or the task at hand to look people in the eye, greet them, and remember their face. I am determined not to let "inattentional blindness" take over-- yes, we do need it, but just not in large doses! I don't think a gorilla will come through and buy a State Fair ticket, but if one does, I need to be ready!
Inattentional blindness happens all the time. It occurs when our attention is focused elsewhere and we are unable to notice objects that are in plain sight. Inattentional blindness is also known as selective attention. People tend to select one sensory channel and block out everything else. People will focus on what they are told to focus on, or on what they want to. An object is usually undetected because your attention was on another task or event. We are unaware of these events because there is many different things are happening in the world and it's impossible to notice everything. I believe that this phenomenon is important because it proves that people are unaware of such obvious things. This explains why people don't hear you or see things that are in plain sight while they are concentrated on something else. This has occurred in my life when I was watching a hockey game. There were kids starting to fight in the stands about 10 rows below me. Cops came and took them out of the arena and it was a big scene. But i was so focused on the hockey game that I didn't notice anything. I had no clue that it even occurred. I am wondering how this happens? Things occur that are so obvious and you think that you would see these events, but somehow you miss it all. It's weird to think about because think how many different things in your life so far you have unintentionally blocked out. Here is a picture from the 'Invisible Gorilla' video. This picture is when the gorilla was in the scene. Although the gorilla seems so obvious now, almost no one saw it while watching the video for his or her first time.
Typically when someone says blind spot, they are referring to a blind spot when driving a car. However, blind spots are actually a phenomena that occur in humans. Blind spots are human nature. They occur in regions in our eyes where our retina meets our optic nerve. A blind spot is a part of the visual field we can't see because of an absence of rods and cones. Our brain fills in the gaps created by our blind sports, so that is why we don't notice them daily. Our brain creates an illusion in our blind spot, so that is why we never see a blind spot in everyday life. Blind spots really are the most extraordinary illusions.
Below is a picture that shows you your blind spot. Cover up your left eye and focus on the cross hairs while looking at the black dot with your peripheral vision. Slowly move your eye closer to the screen. At a point, the black dot will disappear; thus, your blind spot.
Correlation between two variables doesn't mean that one directly causes another, because it can be a possibility that a third variable exists. So we can have variable A, B and C although not always a third will exist, but the possibility can be there. The correlation cannot demonstrate a cause and effect relationship. Sometimes we interpret things in a way that we assume two things are related, that's when we commit the correlation-causation fallacy. In conclusion, we need to have in mind that a correlation between two variables doesn't always demonstrate connection between them.
It brought to my attention an article named "TV in Excess Causes Depression", which describes that the more children spend seeing television, the possibilities of being a depressive adult increase. The believe that TV causes depression in a society that revolves around technology is scary, because through this media we typically get informed, entertained and even it helps to break the routine of daily life and relax. Don't you think we need to focus on what really causes depression? Everything in excess causes bad consequences. We know that seeing TV in excess can be bad because sometimes it results in avoiding exercise time and the hampering of social contact sometimes, but Excess of TV Causes Depression? Really? Shouldn't we be doing something different to control the time people spent seeing TV if it is that bad?
On 9-11-2001, terrorists hijacked four airplanes aimed for the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the last was headed for Washington, D.C. The attacks killed almost 3000 people. Responsible for the attacks were Osama bin Laden and his group al-Qaeda. Shortly after, President George W. Bush and the United States declared War on Terror. Years later, reports started to come out saying that the September 11 terrorist attacks may have been preventable. This is an epitome of the hindsight bias. The hindsight bias, according to our book, is the tendency to overestimate how well we could have successfully forecasted known outcomes. The hindsight bias is common when it comes to sports, politics, and many other things. Like when a big upset happens in a sport, and someone says that they knew that the upset would occur. Did that really know that it would happen, or did they fall victim to hindsight bias? The answer is pretty clear.
Regarding the terrorist attacks on September 11, the same things were happening in the media. Reports were saying the FBI and CIA didn't do their part in preventing these attacks, or they should have known something was going to happen. Moreover, should we have had better security in airports before the attacks happened? We also could have cracked down on terrorists before the attacks because something like this was bound to happen. Did President Bush ignore the threats of terrorism, or not make them a big enough priority? Maybe the United States should have done some of these things to prevent an attack, but by saying that, I have fallen victim to hindsight bias myself.
It is extremely easy to predict something that has already happened. We just have to accept that an event like 9-11 has happened, and make strides to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Walking down the street, you see something out of the corner of your eye that catches your attention. "What was that?!" You say to yourself as you double-take in order to make certain you saw exactly what you thought you saw. One of the ideas of Perception that I found interesting examples in real life was the concept of Depth Perception which is defined as our ability to see spatial relations in three dimensions. The intriguing aspect of this is our tendency to trick out brains into seeing something that isn't actually there.
This is an image of a street that has been turned into an enormous piece of art. This street appears to have fallen to pieces, leaving individuals stranded, but it is simply an illusion that was created by chalk. From the correct angle you see a three-dimensional scene, while from a slightly different angle you can clearly see a distorted and altered image. When we perceive this image, we are not capable of recognizing that it i simply an illusion and in that instant it seems as if the image in our vision is actually a three-dimensional object or scene, not simply a side walk chalk drawing. In this way, our minds allow us to see extraordinary things. What illusions have you seen that deceived you?
Correlation between two variables can help us predict the causation between the two variables. However, correlation is not causation. Sometimes, the correlation between two variables can be due to a third variable. As we all know, it is easy to neglect the third variable, whereas the third variable plays a key role. Therefore, we should have scientific thinking when we meet correlation versus causation questions.
For example, most of high IQ students can achieve a great result in the exam. High IQ and high score is positive correlation, which means as IQ goes up, scores increases, too. However, can we conclude the factor to have a high score is high IQ? No. The third variable is diligent. Some students do not have a high IQ, but they read a lot of books and do a lot of exercise before exam in order to get a high score. In this case, if we conclude all high score students have high IQ, the result is against the scientific thinking. In reverse, we still use this case. Can we conclude that all high IQ students get a high score? No. Some high IQ students may be additive into Internet. Even though they are smart, yet they do not study. In this case, the third variable is that smart students do not focus on studying. Therefore, we cannot say high IQ causes high score or high score due to high IQ.
When I studied this concept, I came up with a question, which is "Is causation correlation?" I searched some information online, and I realized we could conclude that Causation is correlation. Causation happened when two things have a relationship with each other. Unlike the concept we stated above, there is not a third variable. Therefore, correlation is not causation. However, causation is correlation.
This link of article helps me understand the difference between causation and correlation better.
This is a drawing illustrating the relationship between correlation and causation. It depicts a correlation between ice cream consumption and crime, but shows that the actual cause is temperature.
All across the world, people believe strange events occur when there is a full moon in the sky. I was also a believer in the correlation between strange occurrences and nights with a full moon. It turns out, this is a perfect example of illusory correlation, which is, the perception of a statistical association between two variables where none exists. To prove this, a survey was conducted about crimes committed on nights with a full moon. This study provided overwhelming evidence showing that there was no relation between a full moon and strange occurrences. So why do so many people believe in this statistical mirage? The answer is the fact that we tend to pay more attention to strange occurrences simply because they happened on a night with a full moon. In reality, the amount of crimes committed on nights without a full moon are very similar. Our confirmation bias comes into affect and we see a correlation between crimes and full moons because we believe they will take place. This video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J__i_LmHZYo) shows what cops and nurses think about the full moon and how it effects their jobs. Nurses believe they have more visitors and people with more injuries on these nights and police officers believe more there are more arrests. Experts state the exact same information that our psychology book does. This video reports how many studies have been done to prove strange events do not occur more often on nights with a full moon. This illusory correlation is very interesting to me.
For many of us we grew up hearing superstitious stories from relatives, friends, or the media. For example after saying something you do not want to happen the common phrase is "knock on wood", and a grandparents swears they can tell when it is about to rain because their joint start to hurt. Friday the 13th is another common superstition people hold to be true and fear bad events are bound to happen on this date. At one point or another we probably believed these notions to be true, but as we have learned we were prey to illusory correlation. Illusory correlation is perception of a statistical association between two variables where none exist.
Now knowing this fact why do so many people still believe in superstitious thoughts and become victims of illusory correlation? In our Psychology book the authors make this question clear in the case of weird events happening on a night of a full moon. People are not going to get excited that NOTHING unusual happened during the full moon, and they will tend to forget about it. If something by chance does happen when there is a full moon they will remember this event which is the basis of most illusory correlations. In summary we tend to forget all the times nothing happened, the "nonevent", and only focus on the exciting part when the superstition deems true. So now after thinking about all the illusory correlations you have believed throughout the years are you going to change your ways... or still let your intuition lead you to illusory correlations? It may be easier said than done!!!
Inquisitive to test this research and check whether I and our society as a whole had a confirmation bias, that states that we seek information we already believe, I asked questions to fellow students at the U, about the common and the uncommon traits they share with their partners. Some common traits that one might find between couples are their taste for music, art, cuisine and other areas of interest. This they claimed to be the initiator of one's interest for the partner. While the uncommon traits didn't exactly compliment them, but they adapted to; the uncommon traits were the ones that caused disagreements or some type of annoyance. So when I asked the simple question whether they were opposites, the common answer was no. Thus supporting the research that theory that "opposites attract" is not true.
Suppose here come two guys, one is gorgeous while one is homely, if you're ladies. And suppose there come two ladies, one is beautiful while the other is not that comely, if you're men. What are your impressions towards them if they do the same thing that counters your discipline or ethics criteria just a little bit?
Of course some of you who are extremely upright will say, "I will dislike all of them if they do so". But I believe that most of us who are just psychological common people will distinguish between them. It seems that we have more endurance and tolerance towards the people with better looking especially who are heterosexual with us.
Having learned the first several chapters, we know that this is due to the halo effect, which is the tendency of ratings of one positive characteristic to "spill over" to influence the ratings of other positive characteristics, and our Belief Perseverance, one of the most profound biases, which refers to our tendency to stick to our initial beliefs even when evidence contradicts them. When we find someone physically attractive, that leads us to have a positive impression on him or her unconsciously. And because of Belief Perseverance, we enhance our positive view about them. Thus, when they did something that counters our belief, we'd have much more endurance and tolerance for them than those who are not as physically attractive as them. In this way, even when evidence comes we'll keep stick to our own belief until the negative evidence is overwhelming.
So although our first impression on people can help us filter what kind of people we're going to meet in most of the times, we should remember that there are a few biases and fallacies that might confuse our views on people. There's a traditional proverb in China, saying "Never measure people by their appearance, and never measure ocean with dou (an old Chinese volume unit)". Knowing this phenomenon we will be more likely to avoid deceptions, and view the world among us more rationally. Although not everyone can come to be a scientist, we do have the ability to think like a scientist, or even better than some of them.
Confirmation bias is the tendency to confirm that something is true by finding things that support our hypothesis and discarding anything that contradict our hypothesis, in other words, a selective thinking. Without us human realizing it, confirmation bias always help to satisfy our curiosity. Why? Most of us might already have encountered a situation where we were so caught up in proving that we are right. Let's take me as an example, whenever my friend's opinion contradict with mine, the first thing that I do is listing all the points that strengthen my opinion, there is no way that I would list all the points that weaken my opinion. If there is anyone who always lists the point that weaken their opinion first, please meet me, I would love to befriend you. Befriending that kind of people will give me a higher possibility of winning every arguments, it would be like winning without even fighting!
So, now that we know that we might have confirmation bias, what is the worst thing that would happen to us? For sure, we would not die but we will be inclined to have belief perseverance. Belief perseverance is the tendency to stick to our belief even when there are evidences contradicting them. Note that belief perseverance is different from confirmation bias. We don't have to conduct experiment to proof that we are right to have belief perseverance. We can have it by listening stories from our mother or father or other people that we trust. For example, you will have bad luck if a black cat crosses in front of you. Have we ever let a black cat cross in front of us to confirm it? Since that will bring bad luck, why bother testing it out? This has already discredit the belief that we will have bad luck because we might not, but still there are people holding onto this belief even after knowing the facts. So, this is what we called belief perseverance.
Welcome to the world of Blogging!
For many of you this will be a new experience and hopefully a fun creative way to communicate, introspect, and reflect on ideas that will be generated by this course and your daily lives.
The word "blog" is the byproduct of "web" and "log" and is an interactive website somewhat like an online journal with diverse subjects where people can post ideas, articles, commentary, videos, music, links and controversial topics.
Our hope is that this blog can help you develop critical thinking skills and have fun doing so!
Some good tips for writing a good blog post:
1. Pick a concept or idea from Psy 1001 lectures or the Lilienfeld text that you found interesting over the past two weeks. Summarize this in your own words and tell your readers why you think this is important, interesting, or why you might challenge it.
2. Apply this to some aspect of your life or someone else's life that you know personally. Tell us why you think this is relevant and what interests you about this.
3. Make your post creative! Use a variety of media such as photos, videos, and other links as a way to entice your readers.
4. Reading others' blogs and commenting on them is a good way to stimulate thinking about your own blog.
5. Write clearly and precisely. Posts should be short and focused and on topic.
6. Ending your blog post with a question will encourage other readers to respond to your blog.
This link will also provide good tips on how to write a good blog:
WRITING #1:DEADLINE CHANGED to OCT 2 (from Sept 25)
Blog entries are worth 6 points each:
Concepts (0-3 pts), Mechanics (0-1.5 pts) Clarity of writing (0-1.5 pts)
Please read your syllabus for more details
And have fun!