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Nature vs. Nurture

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I recently read an article about two 35 year old women that discovered they were "identical strangers" or in other words, twins separated at birth. Both women were adopted when they were new borns, but neither of the adoptive families knew there was a twin. The adoptive parents were told their new adopted baby was apart of a study but was neglected to be given any detail about what type of study. Once grown and curious, one of the women went in search of her real mother, but when calling the adoption agency for detail, discovered an identical twin sister instead. She was able to get enough information to find this twin sister. When the two met at 35 years old, after growing up on opposite sides of the country with no contact, discovered they were "identical strangers." They had everything in common that you could possibly imagine. This deals with the nature vs. nurture concept because it manages to prove that no matter how you are raised, nature has a huge part in how you live. These two women didn't even know eachother existed but yet were almost a replica of eachother. The way these two were "nurtured" or raised could have been similar but not similar enough to make them have identical personalities. This story really involves the concept of how nature or genetics has a huge part in your life. This story was very interesting to me but yet very sad. These two women missed out on 35 years of their life together due to a psychologist wanting to be able to observe his two variables from a distance in the quiet. I'm just glad they were reunited.

http://www.snopes.com/science/stats/dead.asp

Myth: The number of people currently living is greater than the number of people who have ever died.

This claim seems possible, if unlikely, especially because it supports popular notions of world overpopulation that became popular in the 1970s and have been circulating, more or less, ever since. However, there are two methods of scientific thinking that can be used to determine the validity of this claim.

The first applicable principle is that of falsifiability. This is something of an issue in this situation because it is impossible for us to know exactly how many people have died in the past - we can estimate population size going back to the time of the first modern human skeletons that have been found, but we can't be positive that there weren't earlier individuals that we haven't found evidence of. Still, let's assume our estimates are close enough to use for these purposes.

The biggest problem with this claim is based in the principle of extraordinary claims. Essentially, extraordinary claims, such as this one, would require extraordinary evidence in their favor in order to be considered sufficiently supported. Thus, even though we don't know for sure that there aren't more dead people than we can be aware of, we would need to have reason to believe that there were considerably fewer than there are people currently living in order to accept such an extraordinary claim. Because our estimates actually suggest that there are considerably more people that have died in the history of the world than there are currently living (between 12 and 110 billion being the widest range, with consensus tending around 60 billion as opposed to nearly 7 billion living today), there is hardly any evidence to support this claim, let alone enough to support such an extraordinary claim.

Confirmation Bias

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In the world of sports entertainment, a big part of the production, other than the lights and the cameras and the actual games being played, is commentary. Commentators come in all shapes and sizes but all have one thing in common, they are biased!
Whether it was because of a team they previously played for, coached, or grew up cheering for, commentators are cheering for certain teams, and when that team isn't winning, it was bad luck, or some other non skill attribute that affected the team not playing well. This is also evident in officiating of sports, not only in the officiating itself, but in the fans, including myself, that are on them all the time for missed calls, but rarely do we praise the refs for their correct calls. Because of our confirmation bias, our predisposition that officials are bad at their job and only make incorrect calls, we look for them to make those incorrect calls to confirm our theory.


Terror management by is described as adopting theories regarding the afterlife in order to give more meaning to life here on earth. This topic is interesting to me as someone who isn't an incredibly religious individual. I support every ones beliefs, no matter what they are, and even if they contradict my own. To give context to my post and my opinions however it seems important to state that at the moment I am an atheist. One big misconception about atheism is that those who believe it, believe that God doesn't exist. What it really means is that we as human beings are constrained by what we know, and the idea that God exists cant be proven nor is it falsifiable.

The point of this post is as an atheist I've often thought about what the meaning of life is from a practical point of view. To me since I don't gain much self-esteem or self worth from God, life is what I make it out to be. To me that way of thinking that we all control our own destiny makes me aggressive in pursuing my goals and tenacious in completing tasks that I enjoy which makes me a better person. I feel like life is tough enough, that it doesn't make sense to worry about a super natural power that I have no control over. This way of thinking makes me truly unafraid of death because I have no say or control over when I pass. I'm worried about what I can control, and doing my best not to take any precious moments for granted. This mood is a mixture of control and abandon, and centers around an awareness of the inevitability of death. Once we accept that our death is completely inevitable, and really but moments away, we are free to live life to the full.

Anyway, when I read about the terror management concept I thought it would be interesting I give a perspective of someone who isn't overly religious.

Conscious vs. Unconcious

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Sigmund Freud argued that one's behavior was a result of unconscious desires. I do not thing Freud is either right or wrong. Recent science has showed that unconscious actions make up a great deal of who or what we are. For example if you wanted a dog as a pet you would be more inclined to pet a dog rather than a cat. Is this because you dislike cats, no it's because you like dogs more. Freud postulated that sexual drives were the primary motivational forces of human life. A point I disagree with, because in the end he usually wound up telling his patients they had sexual tension towards their mothers. As these two previous examples show the unconscious definitely plays a part in your everyday life. But I believe you unconscious mind works in tandem with you conscious, blending into your everyday behavior. Like many topics in psychology there is no one cause for a certain behavior, rather many factors that work together. The picture attached is synonymous with Freud because it represents our conscious and unconscious mind. Freud believed that the unconscious mind was much greater in size and importance, but was hidden (by the water). Freud was an interesting man, going as far as to use cocaine as an antidepressant. In conclusion I believe Freud made many great contributions to Psychology furthering research outside the ID and super ego.

Illusory correlation is a rather common phenomenon that shapes society and people's actions and decisions. It is the belief or perception that two nonrelated events or occurrences are measurably and statistically correlated. These strange links are definitive and exemplary of superstitions such as thinking that opening an umbrella indoors will bring one bad luck. There is no actual evidence confirming that performing this action will truly affect how well one's day or week will go following the action, however many people make it a point to not open umbrellas indoors. Furthermore, if something unpleasant or bad does end up happening to them in close proximity to the time that they opened the umbrella, it "fits their expectations and causes their confirmation bias of the correlation to kick in" (Lilienfeld 58). I think that this phenomenon is important because the more people there are who participate in illusory correlation and believe in superstitions, the more likely they are to partake in certain activities, which ends up largely defining a society. Illusory correlation plays a role in shaping people's beliefs and can go unnoticed as being a big contributor to the patterns in how members of a society conduct their daily lives. This phenomenon applies to my own life because I find myself having expectations resulting from the superstitions I believe in, such as expecting to have a male visitor if I drop a knife on the ground, which is one that my grandma always repeated to me. As I reflect on this concept I wonder about how many superstitions began and why particular ones, such as the umbrella example, have stuck around with so many people for so long.

http://www.lifescript.com/Soul/Spirit/Beliefs/10_Common_Superstitions.aspx

"PLEASE BRIEFLY DESCRIBE THE EMOTIONS THAT THE THOUGHT OF YOUR OWN DEATH AROUSES IN YOU" This was a question that researchers asked several research participants in order to study the Terror Management Theory. This theory was based off of a cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker's works, and was made into an empirical analytical theory in the late 1970's by Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, and Tom Pyszczynski. Terror Management Theory(TMT) is a theory that looks into how humans react to the concept of death. "Man has an inherent tendency for self-preservation and has cognitive capabilities in awknowledging life's impermanence." This self-preservation underlies mankind's existence, and is supported by what the theory believes to be culture and beliefs. Death correlates with cultural values and beliefs, and the people who are exposed more to the idea of mortality are more likely to hold strong cultural values and beliefs to give them a reason to live, and judge views different from their own to protect their own ideals. Culture ends up "[serving] as a death-denying function", making the nature of reality more "meaningful, orderly, and stable and that provisions for immortality." An example that many of us students may have had is right before (or sometimes during) taking an exam. You think of the death you face by your parents if you fail this exam, class, and school. Fear of this death immediately gives rise to a short prayer to God to help you ace this test. This is a simple example of using our faith as an escape from the thought of death. Another example would be cases of cancer victims who hold on to their last breath of life until they are certain that a priest has blessed and forgiven them before they enter Heaven. The reassurance of their continuity after death is enough let them leave the world in peace. Some criticisms to this theory is that these motivators can also be due to a controlling or social factor. I wonder if key historical figures were influenced to hold stonger to their passions and leave a mark on history because of their fear of mortality as well. Whether you are afraid of dying, or are conditioned to the idea, a comment I remembered reading summed up the theory well: "when you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice." (clip from the Hitchkiker's Guide to Galaxy) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aboZctrHfK8 http://helpingpsychology.com/terror-management-theory http://www.deathreference.com/Sy-Vi/Terror-Management-Theory.html

Fright Night

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I have a friend from high school who regularly experiences night terrors. He usually sits up in bed, screams uncontrollably for a few moments, and then lies back down. In the morning he has no recollection whatsoever of these events, and would deny their existence but for their reoccurring nature.
The first time I witnessed this was as a freshman in high school when he was sleeping on the floor next to my bed. In the middle of the night, hours after we had gone to sleep, I awoke into terror as I heard screaming and saw my friend standing upright directly in front of me. I surveyed the scene and realized that nothing terrifying was happening (other than the screaming teenager) and promptly told him to shut his ugly face (in uglier terms no doubt). A minute or so later, he lay back down and returned to slumber - never waking to my repeated shouts. In the morning he simply said "Yeah, I do that sometimes."
The Lilienfeld text doesn't do much explaining on this topic, so I went to a source outside the book: http://www.nightterrors.org/mot.htm. On this site I found out that night terrors happen only during the fourth stage of sleep, when the brain is least active. People who remember often "see" images of animals, spiders, snakes, or shadowy figures, and report feeling threatened. However, the images in the night terrors are not necessarily images that would insight fear during the waking hours.

Nature and Nurture

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In my opinion, nature is which means genes, and genes is which means what you get from you parents, and maybe you have the same characteristic . Nurture is what means environment around you , and environment is which means the people around you or something will effect you. It is important to resarch the nature and nurture, because if we know which part plays the more important role in our daily life, then we can figure out which one is more significant, and which one will effect us more.
There is a example in my daily life, one of my friend can play piano well, and guess what? Her mother is just a artist, and her major is music in her university. So her mother can play piano even better than she does. So maybe her mother' genes just inherent her that she can play piano more easy than others.For another part, two of her friend play piano as well, and when they get together, they always talk about piano and practice together. So i think it what i mean environment. Two of her friend, is just the people around her and effect her a lot.
All in all, both nature and nurture are all very important, and i can not figure out which part is more important, but in my opinion, i think they are just important as the same level.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aNaMISc3Ag

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