December 2011 Archives
Money And Happiness: The $200 Link
This article by Regina Barreca, Ph.D raises two very interesting points about money and happiness. She questions how much money matters to a person that it would affect their happiness level, and what truly defines a person as happy.
The first point Dr. Barreca addresses is the amount of money required to change a person's mood and make them happy. She first cites a Princeton research study that claims money only affects happiness up to 75,000 dollars per year in salary. After that amount, money has no correlation to happiness. This addresses the upper limit of the question, but Dr. Barreca goes deeper and attempts to address the bottom end of the question. What is the smallest amount of money that would make a person happy? She describes a hypothetical experiment, where a researcher goes up to random people in the street and gives them $200 in exchange for a description of their happiness level after receiving the money. However, she from here goes on to say that money, most of the time "makes life easier. But an 'easier' situation isn't always equal to a 'happier' situation.
From here on Dr. Barreca debates the differences between an easier situation and a happier one. She discusses the complexities society tends to have when asked if they are happy or not, and how defensive some can be when asked this question. Finally she concludes that even if happiness and easiness do not always go hand-in-hand, refusing one or the other because the two are not included together is simply foolish. For example, if one of the people were to refuse the $200 because they claim it would not make them happy, Dr. Barreca thinks this would be foolish because an easier situation can always lead to happiness at some point, even if not initially.
My view of this article is incredibly favorable. Dr. Barreca does a great job of addressing the differences between happiness and money and the ease that money can create to a situation, but not always create happiness. I completely agree with her that even if something does not bring you happiness, but makes something easier, that thing should always be taken advantage of, and the same vice-versa. Much of today's society is focused on the here-and-now lifestyle, while not paying much attention to the long-term consequences. Most of the time, easy situations will make a person happy at some point or another, so these opportunities need to be relished. This applies to money as well.
Five years from now, after I'm hopefully well equilibrated financially and enjoyably stimulated by my career, I will likely still benefit from lessons learned in PSY 1001. In particular, remembering the upsetting results of the Milgrim study may help me to be a better leader and moral individual. The striking results of the Milgrim study, which reported that 50% of its participants while under the instruction of a single researcher administered potentially dangerous voltages of electric shock to confederate participants, revealed man's tendency for unquestioning compliance to authority. These findings are quite disturbing and unsettling to me because, when honest with myself, I admit that I am compliant to authority. I feel I would be susceptible to control by an authority figure, and I would likely push myself passed my moral boundaries by the instruction of a higher rank. Acknowledging my susceptibility to this form of control is the first step to avoiding its affliction. Consciously defining my moral boundaries and determining when or if I should ever overstep these boundaries may also help safeguard me from authority influence. Also, the lessons in our textbook describing the roots for bystander non-intervention help by dismissing pluralistic ignorance and the diffusion of responsibility. Remembering that others may feel the same way and that I am partially, if not equally responsible, for the outcome produced by a group in which I participate, may help my avoid authority influences that might otherwise have caused me to act in a manner against my moral nature.
After learning the topics of social psychology, I have a clearer understanding about our behaviors in daily lives. I think this is more like an anatomy lesson but for the behaviors. What I have learned doesn't change my understanding of myself or to the world. They just help me to look through the reason of why am I doing that.
Conformity is one of the most memorable ones for me. For example, if it is the time for psychology discussion and the classroom is empty. I might wait for a while. As time flies, I might leave if I am still the only one in the classroom. However, if there is someone else waiting in the room, I might wait for a little bit longer. Before learning social psychology, I will just do them without having any thoughts. But now, I know that it is because of conformity. People are tend to conform themselves under group pressure. That is how this concept of psychology shaped my mind.
I think I will remember conformity in five year or even more because we are not living alone. Everyone has the unbreakable bonds with the outside world. Therefore, every move we make will have something to do with the social environment. On the one side, conformity will always reminds me of being one of the social groups. But on the other side, it reminds me that I cannot be like someone else or I will just be normal. If I want to be unusual, I need to have my own personalities. I have to avoid conforming for something even I have to stay under the group pressure.
It is humbling to see how many variations that the human brain is capable of creating through just these two things. This forces the realization that it will be impossible to see eye to eye with some people. They have different predispositions based on genetics and then have learned information potentially completely contrary to what I have at several to many points in time. This is why some people can have similar ideals, and others polar opposites of them.
Five years from now, I know that I won't remember most of the classes I've taken or even most of the things I've learned in these classes. What I will remember are the things that really affected the way I think about life now. Based on all the lectures and discussions we've had in the past 9 weeks of taking this introductory psychology course, I feel that what really stuck with me is what we learned in this past discussion on social psychology.
As we were sitting in class watching the Milgrim experiment that occurred in the present day, I could not help but put myself in the shoes of the "teacher" in this situation. All I could think about was how hard it must have been to deal with causing someone pain such as that demonstrated in the experiment.
On a lighter note, watching the videos of the elevator scene, I could not help but relate myself to the situation. I know that if I were the one in the elevator, I would most likely follow suit with the guy in the hat. I feel that the reason this lesson will stick with me most is because it is so relate-able to so many people. Nobody likes to feel excluded, but to learn that exclusion or not fitting in affects the same part of the brain as the part that causes physical pain is fascinating to me. Though I do not personally feel physical pain in these situations, I do feel uncomfortable.
Think about the last time you have witnessed a seemingly pointless argument; one where the points being argued were so asinine, or the topic so pointless. Now think of such an argument where you were the one who was so hopelessly wrong. Slightly harder to do? This is a common phenomenon, called the argumentative theory of reasoning, where it is harder to find fault with your own views that it is with others'. Psychologist Hugo Mercier from the University of Pennsylvania claims "It [arguing] was a purely social phenomenon. It evolved to help us convince others and to be careful when others try to convince us. Truth and accuracy were beside the point."
phenomenon is part of the reason that it is so hard for everyone to
admit they are wrong. It is also due in part to this phenomenon that
many biases in thinking exist. So if evolution had sculpted our
brains with a consistent need to win, regardless of truth, how can we
continue to seek and obtain knowledge? It certainly won't be easy, as
in the days of our ancestors being wrong meant you were bred out of
the gene pool. Being aware of the biases that surround our judgment
may well be the first step to working around them. And until we lose
this pathological need to win, good experimental design will have to
tide us over. This is what psychology has taught me.
When I consider where I will be in 5 years, I think Developmental Psychology will have the most lasting impact. I hope to be a practicing RN by then, and there are many areas of nursing that require an understanding of children and the ways in which they grow. Perhaps I will even work in pediatrics and work with children daily.
I was especially astounded by Dr. Melissa Koenig's presentation of the
concept of object permanence. As a young parent, I spent hours gazing at my infants, wondering what could be happening in the tiny mind behind those eyes. According to many pseudo-
scientists' books claiming "this is how to be the best parent and this is what babies do at various stages," infants don't have nearly the brain capacity that Dr. Koenig and our textbook asserted, which is tremendously comforting to a mother. I now know that my children knew whether or not I was in their presence (or any other particular object, for that matter), they preferred my voice over anyone else's when they were born, and that they were much more aware of their surroundings than I previously thought.
When I encounter children in my nursing career, I hope to appropriately assess their
intellectual capabilities so that I can care for them in the best manner. Understanding the ways in which children think (such as was shown in Piaget's four operational stages), perhaps I can better relate to them during their times of need.
Is it nature? Or is it nurture? These are two questions that have been burning in people's minds over the past how many years. Many people out there believe that it's all nature (our genes) that explain our behaviors while many people believe that it's all nurture (our environment) that explain our behavior. You also have the in between who believe that both play a role. The Nature vs. Nurture debate is one concept that I will remember from Psychology 1001 five years from now as I took great interest in the topic over the course of the semester. I often think about this debate when I am around my two little nephews. They are two of the most energetic, entertaining children I have ever seen, and I often think to myself: Is it their genes that allow them to act this way or is it the environment they are being raised in that affects their behavior? I personally think that both play a role in their actions. In the future, when I have kids of my own I will probably think of the same questions and I will be able to remember where I learned of the debate. I am glad that I learned about Nature vs. Nurture, because it's one of those topics that you can never really have an answer to. This is what will make it so easy for me to remember five years from now because of its ongoing discussion.
While there are many good concepts that caught my attention in Psychology 1001 the one that I will most likely remember is false memories and the concepts that come with it. This is largely because the idea that I may be tricked into believing something that never really happened, even by myself, bothers me in many ways. While I hope to never be in a scenario where suggestive memory techniques are used against me in some form, this isn't exactly what I'm afraid of as I know the chances of this happening are slim.
What I do see in daily life is a lot of source monitoring confusion and cryptomnesia. While this may not be the easiest thing to prevent, save for possibly adapting better encoding techniques, it should make people less certain of concepts that they remember but cannot place origins to, and make people boast less about accomplishments that they can't even recall being their own (I think we've all claimed to have done something that we cannot recall doing).
The misinformation affect is also interesting because of the ways it can be manipulated. When trying to recall past events I often throw out "maybe" events that I recall without knowing why, and these could be completely fabricated events. As such it is a factor that must be taken into account in crime, as details can easily be added or subtracted from our memories without our knowledge of the manipulation. The benefits of writing down things either on lists or in journals are evident because of false memories.
Its eerie how similar the findings of this study were to the horrible things that happened at Abu Ghraib, the acts were nearly identical, both put bags on the prisoners heads, stripped them, and made them imitate sodomy. My uncle is an MP, I have talked with him on a few occasions since the things that happened at Abu Ghraib became public and he said that he doesn't know how it could happen or why people would do such terrible things. He also said that it must have just been that certain situation that made it happen, and that it probably doesn't happen very often.
While reading this chapter the point that the author made that an attempt to replicate the study yielded different results. It seems to me that it would be rare that this action would happen on a regular basis in prisons. So maybe it is a rare event and whatever it is that causes these terrible things to go on just happened to be present in the Stanford study. I think it would be very interesting to see if more studies were done what we could find out about how often things like this happen, or if we could single out a factor that causes the events to happen.
In such a short amount of time we have learned dozens of psychological concepts and theories; after the section on memory I learned that it is impossible to retain all of the information in the future. However there is a concept which I feel I will remember for much longer. Classical Conditioning; which is defined as a form of learning where we come to respond to previously neutral stimulus that have been paired with another stimulus that elicits an automatic response. This concept was something I have already experienced prior to taking this class, I just didn't know about it.
Throughout middle school and high school I was part of a boxing gym, and for about 6 years my friends and I would listen to the same playlist whenever we trained for a tournament. The playlist consisted mostly of Eminem and soon enough we developed certain conditioned response whenever we heard his music. Now whenever I hear songs by Eminem I have a feeling of aggression and sort of fighting spirit; this was due to the learned condition response. I have also used the method of reinforcement and punishment. Last summer I helped a friend teach his dog to fetch him a drink from the fridge whenever he whistled 3 times. It took practically the whole summer; using different schedules of reinforcement we were able to teach him the trick as well as preventing extinction.
I plan on using more of these concepts and techniques to help me in the future...
Ken San Juan
The one thing that will always stick out in my mind from my psychology class is the debate over nature vs. nurture. This concept can be explored in many different ways and with many different approaches. There will always be controversy over this topic because many believe that nature is the only influence, while others strongly believe that nurture is the only influence, and yet others believe both have an effect. I have strongly shown an interest when it comes to this debate. Twin studies, family studies, and adoption studies really sparked this interest. I loved learning how they differed from and correlated with each other.
I think that information that you enjoy learning about is information that will stick with you for long periods of time, maybe even for a lifetime. If you are excited to learn about something and have a positive attitude toward learning that information or concept, you are more prone to remembering it, whereas, if you have a negative attitude toward a certain concept and are not excited to learn it, you will most likely not learn or remember it.
Throughout Psychology 1001 many different interesting and fascinating topics were covered, which will forever have a lasting impact on my life. One of the most captivating concepts that I've learned is the mental state of "Flow". Flow simply put is a state in which a person is fully submersed in something they enjoy doing, so much so, they don't even really care about time or effort required. An example of flow in everyday life is when athletes become fully "In the zone" during sporting events, and nothing seems to phase them at all.
Flow has made a lasting impression on my life already; I found one of my first experiences with flow while I was singing in choir. I realized I enjoyed choir so much that I didn't even care about how much longer it took until class was over every day. Soon after this realization, I never stopped singing because I understood that I enjoy singing so much, it would only bring positive things into my life from doing what I love. This is one of the most important things I took away from Flow. When you find yourself in a state of flow you will have an unwavering ambition and passion to get the job done, which only leads to accomplishments in the future! So next time you are feeling the flow... go with it!!
This semester psychology has been a really huge struggle for me compared to my other classes. However, I find that certain knowledge will resonate into my future life and career. One of which would be the topics discussed in chapter 3 entitled Biological Methods. As a pre-med student, anatomy is something that will run parallel to the rest of my studies. Not only did I find it to be the most interesting chapter but I find it will be one the topics I will remember in 5 years. But its not just about how the body is set up but how that structure influences thinking, behavior and all other aspects of psychology. That correlation is something that sparks my curiosity. When I am in medical school, I am sure that I will be sitting in lecture relearning that exact same chapter. It'll come as a connivence because I will be able to use the knowledge that I've learned already for my further development. Lastly, I will remember that chapter simply because I found it to be the most interesting out of everything we have learned thus far.
When one looks back at all of the coursework that has been assigned to us over the past semester, there is one thing that definitely plays a role in my future within the next five years. The role of Skinner's Operant Conditioning will always be something that I will remember because I enjoy playing sports, and I my family just invested in a dog.
When it comes to sports, I have played hockey and will continue to play hockey until my legs are too weak to skate on ice. Skinner's Operant conditioning, where learning is controlled by consequence of the organism's behavior, is a thing I will always think about when it comes to shooting hockey pucks (lilienfeld 211). Every puck I shoot I am conditioning my shot to be even better, and I understand how this works because it has been proven over and over by Operant Conditioning.
Also, my family just bought a dog. At one point I wasn't a dog person in any way, but I find it very interesting to apply Operant Conditioning to my families new dog, and I think of B.F Skinner every time I play with her. I find it so enjoying that I plan on getting my own dog. The understanding of how Operant conditioning works has helped me understand why my coach would always tell me to "practice practice practice!" because Operant Conditioning works, and people can thank B.F Skinner for making this discovery.
Breaking up is hard to do. Yet having some ideas we learned about in Psychology this semester will help me to grow as a person and better understand what I want out of a relationship. Particularly the concepts of classical conditioning and emotional attachment styles are things that I will continue to have in mind in the future.
Back in October, my boyfriend of ten months decided to break up with me. We were primarily in a long-distance relationship, and I found that the sudden change in my life was extremely traumatic. I found that anything that reminded me of him was exceptionally painful - I couldn't listen to any music on my ipod, I had a hard time sleeping alone in my room because of the nature of my dreams, and I would break into tears any time I saw an affectionate couple on campus. I realized how much these simple things had really been associated with my strong positive feelings at first. I found that I continued to feel such a strong emotional response, this time in a negative manner, after the break up. I realized that I just had to wait for extinction to happen and realizing that these things would go away made me feel hopeful about the future.
The second concept that was helpful for me was to realize how emotional attachment styles work and how any relationship begins and ends. Having that knowledge is very comforting in making the change less traumatic. I saw that around my friends and family, I had a very secure attachment. However, in that relationship, I had a very anxious attachment, which I find to probably be the effect of a long-distance relationship that didn't meet the level of intimacy and attachment I expected. Being that our relationship spanned ten months, but I only had three months where I was geographically close to him, I translated that disparity into a very stressful fear that we would never be together.
For these reasons, I think that these psychological concepts will be very influential in my ever-changing life and help me cope with whatever intimate relationship difficulties I may have. I feel that I have become a stronger and more informed person, which makes me feel that this event, that was initially quite traumatic, has been made a positive change in my life.
The rigor of college courses demands that students learn class material effectively. Prior to this semester, my study process consisted of rote memorization through militant repetition of vocabulary, equations, and concepts. However, after taking psychology and listening to lectures on memory and learning, I have discovered ways to enhance my study process. It is the material that I learned in our unit on memory (Ch. 7 in the Lilienfeld text) that I will most take away from psych 1001. In the next five years I will doubtless encounter even harder courses that demand memorization of many challenging concepts, and concepts such as mnemonic devices (an aid or device that increases learning), distributed studying (spreading study time out, rather than cramming), and elaborative rehearsal (connecting new knowledge to preexisting knowledge) will be vital to my success.
In fact, leading up to midterms, I decided to put these memorization techniques to the test. Not only was my studying process a lot more efficient, but I found that I was able to extract the material with much more clarity when taking my tests. Additionally, I making use of these methods, I find that the material learned is a lot more meaningful as opposed to boring repetition of material. In the future, I will expand my use of these psychological tools to better enhance my studying process.
The concept that I have learned in Psychology class that is most likely to stick with me five years from now is the three systems of memory and the techniques for better remembering information. The three systems of memory include sensory memory (.5-2 seconds) short-term memory (15 seconds) and long term memory. Knowing that my memories can be divided into different sections helps me think about how to better encode memories that are important from short to long term, like remembering someone's name after I learn it. In addition, I use many other mnemonic devices to increase encoding and recall. When I have to memorize a large amount of memorization I use either chunking to simplify the amount of information, or acronymns as boost recall. When I have to give short speeches in front of a group, I use the Method of Loci to mentally map out the order of main topics that I plan on speaking about. When I face new vocabulary words in my coursework, I use the keyword method to tie new words to words I am already familiar with. The lessons related to how memory works will be the most influential to me because they are useful in everyday learning, and enhance my studying habits.
In five years I will remember quite a few things from this class due to it's extremely informative nature. But, I believe the most important concept I will remember is the concepts of falsifiability, replicability, Ruling out other hypothesis, correlation is not the same as causation, and Occam's Razor. Those concepts to me are the most important idea in any interpretation of experimental results. Throughout my college career I am sure to run into times where the knowledge of these concepts will be needed and extremely helpful. They may even give me an advantage to those who aren't aware of them. The concepts don't only refer to psychology either, which is one of the most important reasons I will not forget it. In fact, even if I don't take another psychology course I will still have opportunities to apply these ideas in other areas of study. The concepts are extremely important in mathematics as well, which I am sure I will continue to take throughout the years. Overall I will take quite a few things from this class but I believe that the most important will be the Experimental Concepts.
One concept that I believe I will remember 5 years from now is classical conditioning, a concept I have noticed taking effect in my life. I have always been a fan of Coldplay's music because it tends to calm me down in stressful situations. This is why when I started running track in high school I would listen to Coldplay before I ran in meets to relax my nerves and focus my mind. For a while this strategy worked fairly well. I would listen to Coldplay, relax, and run with much more controlled breathing and much better form. Pretty soon, however, I noticed something else happening. When certain Coldplay songs would play on my iPod on shuffle when I was driving in my car or doing homework, I would start to feel the same nervousness as I did before I would run a race. I realized that I had begun to associate Coldplay music with track races. The unconditioned stimulus was the anticipation of running a race, and the unconditioned response was increased heart rate, quickened breathing, and a nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach. Now certain Coldplay songs had become a conditioned stimulus, and the conditioned response was the physical effects I experienced before a race in a milder form. My solution? Listen to more Coldplay music when I wasn't about to run. Now my classically conditioned response to Coldplay is extinct!
The one thing that I know I will definitely use in the future is the things I learned about human development. I know that one day I will have kids, and the valuable knowledge I learned in psychology about how children learn and develop will help me understand my own children a lot better. One thing I will especially remember is that children learn specific things at specific ages, I will be able to understand their intelligence, and I may even be able to help them learn things at an earlier age. I know that when children are born, they can tell the difference between different languages, they will be able to learn and retain material from a second language easier at a young age.
There are many more things I will definitely remember about psychology, but these specific things will forever last in my mind. Psychology is a very influential subject to learn, especially in college, and I appreciate the fact that I was able to participate and learn in such a influential class.
The obvious cure for depression would be happiness, but what is not so obvious is how or where to find that source of happiness. Psychology has provided me with clues of how happiness may be obtained, but not exactly a strict road map to where it may be found. In particular, the concept of flow has been very helpful and I will probably remember it for life. For one, it implies that happiness is not something to be searched for, as this rarely works. My interpretation of flow has taught me that if I stop wondering how I can become happy again, but instead give all of myself to what I do best, pretty soon the gears will turn again, depression will whither away, and I'll be out of the doldrums before long.
There are many things that I have learned from this psychology class. The wide range of knowledge that we covered was incredible. One of the most important concepts that I enjoyed learning about was the functioning of our own brains. It is incredible how many functions that our brains are able to do.
One concept that I found stuck in my brain the most was our chapter on memory. I find it amazing that we are constantly able to learn all of these new things and continue to store them in different parts of our brains. The capacity of our brains is almost never ending. I was really intrigued especially how we have different ways of remembering things for short or long periods of time. Also the fact that we are able to remember parts of memories from when we were as young as two years old is incredible.
The ideas and concepts that I learned in this class about memory I will continue to remember for a ways into the future...partly because I rehearsed it! But mainly because this chapter will help me better my memory and learn how to focus and remember certain things that I need to. The processes of memory helped me to understand why I remember certain things and not others.
According to Elaine Hatfield and Richard Rapson, there are two major types of love: passionate and companionate. Passionate love is marked by a powerful longing for one's partner. It's similar to typical Hollywood romance films that display some kind of obstacle between two lovers, or that the parents of both partners disapprove of their love. It's like when you're with the one you love, you feel very happy, but when you're apart you desire them and feel miserable without some form of presence. Companionate love is marked by a sense of deep friendship and fondness for one's partner. This is more of like a marriage relationship where at first it's all about passion and having a great time to where the relationship progresses into something more based on trust and commitment. Most older partners tend to have a companionate type of love in their relationship.
The reason why I can most likely remember Sternberg's love concept is because I'm a person who has always been interested in human relationships - especially when it relates to having an intimate relationship. And I believe his triangular theory of love is something that everyone should know about because it helps separate and categorize how people love one another, what kind of relationships are created, and what to generally expect. Romantic relationships are my passion because I love listening to other people's lives, I enjoy giving my advice and opinion to get people started on generating how they really feel in terms of emotion.
Taking this course was fun and I learned plenty. But I am more than likely to remember Sternberg's theory of love because it deals with the things I have a passion for.
Half a decade later...I wonder what that would feel like.
This course has been packed with a ton of interesting information. I think the concept that I will remember most in five years is the attachment theory. It's interesting to think of the care my parents have given me and how it has affected my relationships with others. It's also interesting to see how my parents care have affect my sibling's relationships with others.
My sister and I have different fathers and so she not only received different care before my mom had me (when she was a single mom) as well as different care from my dad (who she grew up with for most of her life). I feel that I'm pretty secure in my relationships with my parents as well as others and I'm a pretty trusting person. My sister on the other hand, is pretty anxious when it comes to relationships and she definitely uses dysfunctional conflict resolution tactics when trying to resolve relationship problems.
In five years I will likely be getting ready to start my own family and so the concept of attachment theory will likely be on my mind as a try to raise my children and have the best possible relationship with them that I can.
Video about bonding with ones children: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6fY6RchNk4&feature=relmfu
Aggression- refers to behavior between members of the same species that is intended to cause humiliation, pain, or harm. How often do you come to the point of anger that causes you to want to put damage on another person? Although it does happen, anger or aggression is relatively rare. Yet, it is more likely that you have been on the receiving end of a person's dominance behavior. Dominance is intended to achieve or maintain a high status, or control. Within this dominance behavior is prejudiced beliefs, such as racism, sexism, nationalism and classism, are all manifestations of this same system of social dominance. These prejudiced beliefs are what cause aggression, or more often than not, dominance. We put our selves above someone else on a scale, whether it is skin color, gender, or etc, and allow that bias to determine whether or not we have the right to inflict harm on others. There is a theory called "Lorenz's Theory of Motivation." Lorenz believed that aggression or dominance in animals and humans is inherited, such as the motivations to eat, drink and make love. He believed that anger, aggression, or dominance accumulates in a reservoir until released by an appropriate external stimulus. This would suggest that we really have no control over our expressions of anger and that it is a natural thing that must take place, but how could harm towards another person, on any level, be humane?
The idea of positive and negative reinforcements and punishments will be the idea that I remember five years from now. The reason behind this is simply because I will definitely understand how to treat and teach my children. More importantly, I will have a better understanding of why they are behaving a certain way and what I can do about it to change or continue the behaviors.
I feel like this is definitely the idea that we can definitely take to heart and apply to our daily lives when we are older. If we cannot find ways of how to teach our children we can fall back to these ideas in order to find the needed answers.
As college students, we have all came to school to learn and apply what we acquire as knowledge to our future lives. I never think about having a family because I'm so busy in trying to do everything I can for my future. Thanks to this psychology course, I now know helpful ways to teach my children how I believe they should be acting.
Many topics throughout this semester have caught my interest. While one of the more basic topics, Pavlov's discovery will be the subject that I remember five years from now. I have gone through psychology classes in high school as well as college and have learned about how important his discoveries were to the world of psychology. Without Pavlov, the idea of psychology would be completely different in how we understand learning and behavior. Pavlov's contribution to psychological science has shaped how researchers approach the learning process through unconditioned and conditioned stimuli. After learning how we respond to conditioned stimuli, I started making connections to real-world situations. This specific topic will stay with me for a long time because I can see how his idea of conditioned stimulus applies to my own life. An example of a conditioned stimulus in my life would be a simple alarm clock. The sound of the alarm alerts me to wake up for class and get ready for the day. We overlook the fact that conditioned responses and stimulus encompass areas all throughout our lives. With Pavlov's help we can better understand how the human mind functions with simple and automatic functions that happen in everyone's daily life.
Link describing Pavlov's findings:
The idea of defense mechanism will stick with me for a long time. Defense mechanisms are ways we unconsciously reduce anxiety. There are many defense mechanisms but the most common in my life are denial, displacement and rationalization. After learning about these it was hard to turn my defense mechanism detector off. So many behaviors can be explained from this idea. Almost anything you do can be attributed to a defense mechanism. It really made me question mine and others behaviors. When I get in a fight with my mom, am I really fighting with her? Or am I just upset about something else? It awoken great self awareness. First denial, "No, I didn't get a 47 on my math test. They must have graded it wrong." Then rationalization, "Well, it was really hard and I didn't get enough sleep and I don't even really care about this class so I didn't study." Lastly displacement, "Wow I really need to go on a run." I believe being able to identify these situations have made me grow much more aware of my feelings and actions leading to better control over my behavior. The information I gained about myself will last well into the future.
What I will remember most five years from now is actually a topic we have just learned about - conformity. Conformity is defined in our Lilienfeld textbook as "the tendency of people to alter their behavior as a result of group pressure" (500). There can be positive and negative conformity - it's the negative we need to worry about.
Now that I have learned what this topic is I have thought back to so many different times in my life when I have conformed with a group for no reason at all except to feel that I wasn't missing out on anything too important (informative) or to not feel socially rejected (normative).
This week about an hour before I read the chapter on conformity and obedience, my roommate, Laura, came home furious after a group exam. She started ranting on about a problem that they had gotten wrong and saying that she knew the right answer. However, when she quietly stated her answer to her group mates, they insisted they already had the right answer, so Laura just went along although she knew it was wrong. She said she didn't want her group to be annoyed or mad at her, but she knew her answer was correct.
As soon as I started reading about conformity, Laura's example kept popping into my head. Then I realized that conformity happens all of the time in our everyday lives, sometimes without us knowing. People should be aware of it because it decreases our individuality as people in a society, creating a bland environment. So, as my years progress I think that whenever a situation comes about, I will definitely take into consideration the question "am I conforming?"
1. Get Active - Research has shown that people who work out- especially light working out like walking - have better memory than people who are inactive. A recent study found that exercise counteracts the brain from shrinking due to age. The older subjects who exercised gained two percent of their brain volume while the non-exercisers lost brain tissue.
2. Eat your Fruits and Veggies - Fruits and Veggies contain loads of healthy vitamins for us but they also contain a lot of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Since oxidative stress and inflammation are thought to be involved in dementia, these food groups can help with controlling memory loss.
3. Reduce your Risk Factors for Heart Disease - By exercising and controlling your diet you decrease your risk for heart disease which has been linked to dementia.
4. Got Culture? - Being open to new ideas and being curious leads to a stronger mental activity. Those who participate in cultural activities and reading have been shown to have a delay in dementia.
5. Brush your Teeth -Going to the dentist actually does pay off! Twin studies have found that the twin with more tooth loss have a higher increase of having dementia or Alzheimer's disease.
6. Got a Difficult Job? Perfect!- Having a stressful job dealing with people boosts your mental activity which helps prevent memory loss. Jobs that deal with persuasion, mentoring, instruction, and supervision have been shown to protect memory.
The concept in psychology that I will probably remember the most is obedience. I've always thought that it was crazy that someone would be able to cause harm to an innocent person just because someone told them to. I understand that the power of authority is extremely strong, but you would think that people would react differently than they actually do. I just don't understand how someone can kill someone or cause severe damage to another human being without feeling guilt or remorse and that their only reaction is that they were doing what they were told to do. I thought that our conscious would send a red flag in our brain saying "Hey don't do this, it isn't right!" but it doesn't seem to work that way. I think I will remember this concept for forever. There will always be people in the world that want to cause harm to others and will get people to follow in their footsteps. I will never fully understand why and I will never agree with what they do, but I will know that for some random reason we have an urge to do what we are told to do by our superiors whether it is right or wrong.
Classical conditioning is defined in our book as a "form of learning in which animals come to respond to a previously neutral stimulus that had been paired with another stimulus that elicits an automatic response." Operant conditioning is similar but has to do with reinforcement. For me, when I think of an example of reinforcement, I think of the different ways in which animals in the wild learn things. An example is bright coloring being associated with bitter taste. After several times of eating a colorful bug that tastes bitter, maybe even one time, the organism may avoid all colorful bugs.I imagine this first because not only has classical conditioning and operant conditioning been drilled into my head in this course, it has also been reinforced in my biology classes.
The picture below is my favorite one of classical conditioning that we were shown in my Biology lecture. The blue jay eats a colorful butterfly only to puke it back up because of bitter taste. The bird hadn't yet associated the color of the butterfly with its taste.
In this course I learned what hearing colors is actually called, synesthesia. I also learned that I am not that weird, more unique actually. Less than 1% of the population has synesthesia. I just can't believe how there can be so many types of synesthesia, grapheme-color synesthesia (numbers seem a color) and lexical-taste synesthesia (words have tastes), and yet less than 1% of the population has it.
Sir Francis Galton may have been the first to describe the phenomenon of synesthesia in 1800, I may not have learned about synesthesia till 2011, but I know in five years I will look back at this course and remember that synesthesia is the condition in which people experience cross-modal sensations.