October 2011 Archives

Conditioned Taste Aversion

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Conditioned taste aversion is a form of classical conditioning in which someone has a bad experience with a food and avoids it because of the experience. Even if someone has loved a food for there whole lives, a bad experience can cause conditioned taste aversion.I found this concept very interesting because it applies to me. When I was younger I used to love Taco Bell and eat there all time. After eating there one time, I became very sick from food poisoning. To this day I will still not eat at Taco Bell. Even though the food poisoning came from a Taco Bell in California(where it happened because I lived there), I refuse to eat at any Taco Bell which many psychologists would say is very irrational because the odds of it occurring again are very slim.

http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v11/n5/images/nn0508-527-F1.jpg

Conditioned taste aversion is a very unique form of classical conditioning. Classical conditioning usually requires close timing between conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus for learning. One example of this is Baby Albert, who after constant CS and UCS came to fear bunnies. This is not the case for conditioned taste aversion. There is a long gap or lag of time from when the person eats the food and then becomes sick(often hours). Classical conditioning also requires repeated pairings of CS and UCS. However, conditioned taste aversion does not require repeated conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus, it takes only one instance. It takes only one bad experience, which is why it is very odd.

Deja Vu

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Deja vu is the idea that you have experienced or previously seen something that you actually have not. Deja vu is French for "already seen." Most people, including myself, have experienced(or thought we have) deja vu at one point in their lives. Deja vu experiences can seem can seem extremely familiar which is why people believe the idea of deja vu to be real. It is a very popular idea in our society and culture. There was even a movie based on the idea of deja vu(it is actually called deja vu).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2eUopy9sd8

While some deja vu experiences seem unmistakeable, there are many explanations to it. Deja vu illusions are more likely to be reported by people who remember their dreams, travel often, are young, have liberal religious and political beliefs, a college education, and a high income. An excess amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the temporal lobes is known to play a role in the occurrences of deja vu. Seizures also play a large role. The right temporal lobe is responsible for feelings of familiarity so people who have seizures in the right temporal lobe can experience deja vu before a seizure. I think that the most reasonable explanation is that people don't consciously remember an experience, setting, or event. it is easy for us to get distracted and forget what we are seeing. We can forget that we have been to a certain place and then return(maybe years later) and think that the familiarity we feel is deja vu when we have actually been there previously.

Heuristics

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A relevant, real-life topic of discussion is the concept of heuristics and our tendency to sometimes ignore logic when answering questions/problem solving. Humans use heuristics (mental shortcuts) everyday, and for the most part they serve us well. We can flip through the t.v, and quickly identify what we are seeing, and decide if we want to watch it, all pretty quickly. Sometimes though, heuristics can lead us away from the truth by over simplifying and not using concrete logic. Here is an example:

There is a game show where there are three doors. One has a prize behind it and two don't. You have to choose a door, then the host will open another door to reveal a room with no prize. You must then decide whether or not you would like to choose the other door or stick with the one you already chose. Heuristics tell us that it doesn't matter which we do, we have a 50/50 chance of getting the prize. In reality you have a 66% chance of winning if you switch from your original answer. Here is a video that describes why.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6VnakgK99Y&feature=related

Lucid Dreaming

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This is a clip from a movie a friend once loaned me called "Waking Life", which is made to resemble what a lucid dream would look like to someone who is awake. I have yet to get through the movie without feeling sick and ending up asleep on the floor.

A lucid dream is a dream you dream and you know while you dream that it's a dream. There are two types of lucid dreams: A person can be having a normal dream, and something in the dream happens that makes them come to the conclusion that this couldn't possibly happen in real life and therefore they must be dreaming, or a person can walk themselves from a state of consciousness into a dream state. The good thing about lucid dreaming is that, since you are aware that you are dreaming, you can control what you do and what happens in the dream.

At some point, everyone has experienced a lucid dream. There aren't very many personal examples that I can recall off the top of my head, since I usually can't remember my dreams after I wake up. I do, however, remember that there has been a recent instance where I didn't like what was going on in the dream, was suddenly able to recognize that I was dreaming, and began changing around what was happening in order to prevent it from turning into a nightmare.

Flashbulb Memories

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Something that really interested me was the topic of flashbulb memories. Flashbulb memories are emotional memories that a person can recall in vivid detail, usually for the rest of their lives. They can tell you exactly where they were, what they were doing, and who they were with, when a certain event occurred in their lives.

I believe flashbulb memories to be true, because there are certain events in my life that I can remember so vividly it's like they happened only days ago. One of the easiest to remember, as it is possibly the most traumatic event to happen in my life and never too far from my mind, is when I watched my grandfather die from lung cancer when I was eleven.

I'm twenty years old now, and I can still remember what I was doing when my mom came to get me from school to take my brother and myself out to Wisconsin, where my grandpa was in the hospital (I was watching the clock intently, and counting how much longer I would have to be stuck in class for. Not joking.) I still remember how it felt to go to my grandparent's large, empty house, what it felt like sitting in the hospital waiting room, what my grandpa looked like hooked up to machines, where I would hide away to get a moment away from my family, what I did the night before he was taken off life support.


It's not something I think I'll ever forget. I can't tell you what the date was that he died on, but I remember it was a Sunday, because a woman from my father's church joked early on that morning that my brother and I had "a good excuse to be late for Sunday school", and I've hated her ever since for saying that and for implying that we would show up for church that day at all. I remember that when we got home, I went downstairs and immediately started calling my friends to find someone to play with so I wouldn't have to sit there and think about it, but I don't remember what I did once I found someone to hang out with.

There isn't anything I wonder about when it comes to flashbulb memory. I think it's fairly self-explanatory. The events that happen during a person's life time that impacted their lives in a big way is going to stick with them, in detail, for the rest of their lives. Mostly, I just wanted to write about this because I thought it was interesting. That a person can remember so clearly what they were doing when a certain thing happened, but they can't remember what they did with the rest of their day, or what happened during the days proceeding or following said event is... kind of weird, for lack of a better word.

Animals and Human Language

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A concept that has interested me is animals and learning human language. Humans give animals less credit than they deserve for understanding and being able memorize certain things to be able to communicate with us.
Throughout history, scientists have tried to communicate with animals though voice. Specifically, they have tried this with our closest animal relatives, chimpanzees. It turns out that although they are very smart animals, they do not possess a vocal apparatus similar to ours. Chimpanzees' vocal apparatus does not permit them to create the vocal range and coordination that we can create with ours. Because of the differences in vocal apparatuses, scientists took a more realistic approach, which was using either sign language or lexigram boards. Lexigram boards allow them to point out certain shapes or symbols that stand for specific words.
Besides chimpanzees, Bonobo monkeys have shown to be able to memorize and understand the way that humans communicate. Kanzi, a male bonobo has exhibited advanced aptitude for language. As an infant, Kanzi was taught how to communicate though lexigrams. Learning each of the symbols, he was able to string them together to create conversation. According to one psychologist, Kanzi once touched the symbols for "marshmallow" and "fire", and once he was given these things, he snapped twigs for a fire and lit them with a match, then roasted the marshmallows on a stick. This shows that instead of just pointing to random symbols for just food or just for playing, Kanzi is able to string words together to carry out tasks.

I think this would be very cool if in the future we were able to communicate with animals more than we are now. We could see what other animals thought and felt, even past just scientific experiments.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/speakingbonobo.html
Lilienfeld text

Conditioned Taste Aversions

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Discovered by psychologist Martin Seilgman, conditioned taste aversion shows that classical conditioning can cause us to develop an avoidance to the taste of food. Although this response to food is classically conditioned, it is different than other instances of classical conditioning. Conditioned taste aversions tend to only require one trial to develop, while most classically conditioned reactions requite multiple repeated trials. Conditioned taste aversions also tend to be very specific and show almost no evidence of stimulus generalization. These differences in classical conditioning are actually a good thing. If there were multiple trials, we would be experiencing events such as food poisoning multiple times.
I believe that this research finding is important to know because almost everyone has at some point experience food poisoning, and it is important to know what foods to stay away from. Knowing that it also creates problems for cancer patients going through chemotherapy is also important to realize why they experience nausea and vomiting.
When i was about 7 years old i went to a restaurant named Islands with my family for dinner one night. I clearly remember eating chicken tenders for that meal. A few hours later i was up out of bed with terrible food poisoning. From that day on I would not dare to touch chicken tenders not only from Islands, but from any other restaurant. Over time i have overcome this conditioned taste aversion, but I still have never forgotten it.
brocolli.jpeg

Alzheimer's Disease: The Global Epidemic

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Alzheimer's Disease affects our society today, because the disease is incurable and degenerative. While there are treatments available even for cancer-- there is no known cure to Alzheimer's, and the disease is still not widely understood. And although there have been recent attempts in the medical lab to slow the disease's progression, we are still far from curing Alzheimer's.

The burdens that Alzheimer's has placed on our society are tremendous. Families with someone diagnosed with Alzheimer's are faced with a lifelong commitment to take care of them in every respect, including costly healthcare expenses. The disease progresses slowly, so it is emotionally very hard for the family. In the United States, our culture has emphasized the use of nursing homes to house Alzheimer's patients. Our culture has basically evolved into "dumping" our family member in a housing facility--so that we don't have to care of them on a daily basis. This system in my opinion is somewhat to an extent practical, yet at the same time unethical.

As Grim as the topic is, Alzheimer's Disease needs to be recognized as the top priority in medical research. Learning and memory are very complex, so that is why research on Alzheimer's is so complicated, there is just so many memory system configurations and so many learning connections wired throughout our brains. When we study learning and its complex functions, we need to take a look at an epidemic that is affecting our own families.

Alzheimer's Disease has affected me. My grandmother recently passed after nearly 10 years of not recognizing her family or name. It was a heavy burden on our family. The healthcare costs were unimaginable, but nowhere near the emotional strife that we all faced. I am not alone though, as many many families have lost loved ones to Alzheimer's. One notable American example is former president Ronald Reagan having passed from the disease. While learning about learning and memory, we should keep in mind the burden of this destructive disease. Hopefully we can find new ways to battle this epidemic.

Classical Conditioning

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These past few weeks I have really enjoyed reading and learning about. It did not even feel like I was studying because it was all so interesting and relatable. Psychology is amazing in that it really breaks down the human mind and human actions and explains the little details that we don't even think twice about or truly appreciate. One of the things that I really related to and thought of multiple examples times this concept applied to me was in the Learning section of classical conditioning. Classical conditioning is a form of learning in which animals and humans come to respond to a previously neutral stimulus that had been paired with another stimulus. This was first discovered from Pavlov's experiment in which he would ring a bell every time he gave dogs meat powder, which caused that to salivate upon just hearing the bell. The meat powder was the unconditioned response, which is a stimulus that elects an automatic response. The unconditioned response was the dogs salivating. Pavlov repeatedly paired the neutral stimulus with the unconditioned stimulus, thus causing the conditioned response. The conditioned response, which is a response previously associated with a no neutral stimulus that comes to be elicited by a neutral stimulus, which was the drool. The conditioned stimulus is the bell. I can relate to many happenings of this classical conditioning in my life. The most recent one is happens when I walk to class on Mondays and Wednesdays. I have class on west bank those two days. When I cross the bridge I see this boy that I like every time. The boy to me was the unconditioned stimulus and the quickening of my heartbeat when I would see him and he would say hi was unconditioned response. The bridge soon became my conditioned stimulus and right when I would get to the bridge my heart would beat faster eliciting my conditioned response. This is just one of many experiences I have had with classical conditioning.

Pages 204-205 from the text book

Modeling in Child Behaviors

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Modeling in children is a form of learning. It is learning by observation, then imitation of the adults around them. Modeling seems to be one of the most prominent ways of learning for babies and toddlers. For example, when a two year old sees her mother vacuuming the living room, she will likely find her toy vacuum and move it back and forth like she is vacuuming the living room as well. We all find this adorable. Now what if this same mother, instead of vacuuming, flipped off the mail man every time he dropped off the mail? The child may associate the mail with this and begin this behavior. Still just as adorable? Some might say well, "do as I say, not as I do." This just simply is not how it works.

Slate Magazine wrote an article titled, "I Spy Daddy Giving Someone the Bird." The emphasis this article is trying to convey, is that your children, or children in general, watch you more than you think. The things you do and say in front of them influence their development and their actions greatly. Understanding that modeling or imitation occurs should be used as a tool to influence children to do the "right" or even the "responsible" things. For example, saying please and thank you, holding the door for someone, or wearing your seat belt. Children are very impressionable, and your actions "rub-off" on them. Who knows, by paying more attention to how we act when children are around might teach us as adults to act in more polite and responsible ways.

Anterograde Amnesia

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When ever I think of short term memory I think of the movie 50 first dates. Drew Barrymore's character has Goldfield syndrome which is a made up form of anterograde amnesia. Anterograde amnesia is when a person loses the ability to form new memories after a traumatic event. They are usually still able to remember their memories from before the accident but are not able to create new long term memories because they cannot connect their past to their present. It is usually caused by a traumatic event that effects the hippocamus in the temporal lobe but less severe forms of this are sometimes caused by exteme alchohal consumption, sometimes called a "blackout." When someone blacks out they are unable to take short term memories and store them in long term memory. I didn't realize that "blacking out" was a form of amnesia. I find this really interesting and I think if more people thought of consuming too much alchohal and not remembering it as amnsia they maybe wouldn't drink as much. I think that it's interesting that anterograde amnesia can either be very short term or permenant.

State-Dependent Learning

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State-dependent learning is the concept that learning and retrieval are affected by the internal state that you are in when you first begin learning something. This means that if you are under the influence of something while studying, such as caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol, you should take the test in the same state. It is similar to context-dependent learning, where you should be in the same physical setting during both. There have been studies done investigating whether people who learn a task under the influence of alcohol tend to remember it better when drunk than sober that had a positive outcome, but researchers haven't always been able to replicate the results.
I think this is very interesting. tumblr_lkj48oCGZV1qhhw28o1_400.png

I'm wondering if this concept goes as far as this picture suggests.
This can be applied to my life because I have ADD, and take Ritalin to help me focus when I study. If I were to only take my Ritalin when studying, without taking it for exams, it wouldn't be as effective as it could be.
http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2007/08/how_to_take_ritalin_correctly.html

This psychiatrist explains the 'right' way to study, taking into account both context-dependent learning and state-dependent learning.

Glossolalia and Xenoglossia: Phenomena or myth?

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What cannot be explained is captivating to man kind. What we cannot disprove is often the subject of fascination and debate. What frightens us mesmorizes us. It is for these reasons that humans refuse to cast aside the concepts of Xenoglossia. Xenoglossia is a phenomenon that occurs when people begin speaking in a language they have never encountered. It is the stuff of horror movies and campfire tales.
One of the most popular horror movies, The Exorcist, is a perfect example of the captivation that Xenoglossia can ensue. In this film, a young girl possessed by a demon screams curses and profanities in strange languages she has never known or heard. This symptom is used as proof that she is demonically possessed. Although the movie is based off a true story, could this actually happen in real life? Science says no, yet the idea will not die. Millions of people believe without a doubt that Xenoglossia can and does occur. Languages take years to master. They shape our entire perceptions of the world around us and frame our day to day life. Suddenly being fluent in a language would change the way our brains work drastically, not to mention the way our textbooks are written. However, like thousands of other pseudoscientific theories, Xenoglossia cannot be disproven. There are cases when it has appeared to have occurred but skepticism surrounding the details. Xenoglossia begs a common scientific question: Just because we cannot disprove something, should we believe it to be truth. Below is a video of a scene from The Exorcist depicting a dramatic occurrence of supposed Xenoglossia.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Zo1icEQL7U&oref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fresults%3Fsearch_query%3Dexorcism%2Bscene%2Bthe%2Bexorcist%26aq%3Df&has_verified=1

Classical Conditioning

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Classical conditioning is a way organisms learn things by connecting Condition simuli and response with unconditioned stimuli and response. One of the most common examples is Pavlov's experiment with the german shepard. A conditioned stimulus-CS (a whistle) that is neutral and produces no response, is paired with an unconditioned stimulus-UCS (meat powder) to create a conditioned response. Whats happening is the meat powder, the UCS, automatically makes the dog salivate, this is known as the unconditioned response-UCR. By pairing a neutral stimuli to the UCS, over time the dog is conditioned to respond not only to the UCS but the CS alone. In the end you have a dog salivating to only the sound of a whistle.

If i where to apply this to my own life I could make the example of eating at a mcdonalds. Over the past few years I spend most of my time out and about driving and skateboarding wherever and whenever. Combine that with having little money and needing food to live I find myself at mcdonalds frequently. They have good (tasting) food at cheap prices. Over time just being in a mcdonalds made me happy. The CS was the atmosphere of a mcdonalds, the UCS was buying the food and eating it, the UCR was satisfaction and happiness, and the CR was happiness.

Why is classical conditioning important? Because it can bring light on to many daily situations such as my mcdonalds one, and explain why we behave in certain ways.

History of Opium

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History of Opium

Opium is a plant that is cultivated and turned into drugs such as heroine, morphine, and codeine. All three drugs are narcotics, which relieve pain and induce sleep. Due to their addictive nature, it is also difficult to stop using them and heroine withdrawal symptoms may occur as soon as 4 to 6 hours after not using the drug. These include cramps, vomiting, sweating, chills, and cravings.

Opium has been used for both legal and illegal uses since the Neolithic Age. The most prominent use was for pain relief. It was a very widespread drug, Sumerians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Indians, Minoans, Greeks, Romans, Persians, and various Arab Empires all using it especially for medical purposes and continued on until the 1860s. Other uses of Opium in ancient times include putting people to death, to stop a child from crying, and cultivating, trading, and smoking it.

Modern problems exist in the production of illegal drugs from opium. In South America opium is illegal but still found in some nurseries. Majority of the illegal production and use however was in China until 1906. After that Opium production has gone down from 41,000 tons to 39,000 tons since majority of it was used in China. In 1980, 2 million tons were produced world wide for both legal and illegal use and it has gone up to 5 million tons in 2002.

Opium Plant

Token Economy

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The topic of focus for this week is the word "token economy." The term "economy" implies that there will be trade among the participants. The participants are the subject for whom there is a targeted behavior and the coordinators. These coordinators govern the economy by producing and distributing the tokens to the subjects. In this definition the tokens can be anything such as fake money or points which is one of the variables of trade. These tokens are also known as primary reinforcers. The second variable of the trade is the secondary reinforcer which can also be anything such a favorite food or toy. The economy works both ways by allowing the subjects to have a chance to get tokens to exchange for the secondary reinforcers which is anything they like and the coordinators to try and get the subjects to achieve the target behavior by using this system.
I think that this idea is important because it seems to work well on patients in psychiatric hospitals in producing the appropriate behaviors. This idea is also a good idea in juveniles and group homes. I do also agree with the skepticism that the long term affects will not be guaranteed and the change in environment will neutralize the affects.
In my personal experience with this "token economy," my elementary teacher had set up this system in my classroom and in the two neighboring. I know her intentions were good but after about half the year, it seemed that my classmates started to abuse the system by overdoing the behavior to the points where it became pointless to use the systems anymore. In the end, the systems was removed the children went back to childlike behaviors.

How Could I Make That Mistake.....?

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        Reading the chapter in the Lilienfeld textbook on how memory works has elucidated so many instances in my life for me that before I didn't understand at all! For example, why sometimes when I'm writing something quickly in English I'll accidentally conjugate a verb in French. Instead of writing "she dances" I would write "she danse". I would always quickly realize my mistake however, and rewrite the verb correctly in English but I'd be puzzled as to why this occurred. I figured as much that it had something to do with my learning of French intervening with my English. However, until I read the Lilienfeld textbook I didn't know that what happened to me had a real term, it's called Retroactive Interference. A simplified definition of it is that learning something new can potentially interfere with something you've already learned.
       Retroactive interference is an important concept and research finding. One reason it is important is because it helps in part to explain why we forget. Researchers have found that it is a major factor in forgetting. It explains why when read a list of items we have trouble remember the ones further to the end of the list. Also, Retroactive interference can apply to just about anything you learn not just languages!

thesis-paper.jpg

I'm sure scientists don't know everything there is to know about retroactive interference and I still have some questions as well. Something I'm still wondering about is how it may possibly connect to bilingualism and language learning. I wonder if it and Proactive interference(the opposite of retroactive interference) play a part in why second languages are so hard to learn. Do young kids not have this problem since second languages are significantly easier for them to learn and with no effect to the language they learned first?




Here's a link to a video that can demonstrate visually the concepts of retroactive interference and proactive. <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Py9N1wbAsrw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Framing Effect

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Framing Effect
Here is an interesting but confusing math problem: suppose you are a rational businessman who is facing two deals. The first deal is already fixed. You can earn 850 dollars for sure. Another deal you have 85% possibility to earn 1000 dollars, but leaving 15% possibility that you earn nothing. If you are a risk aversion type, you probably prefer to take the first deal. Actually most people will take the secured option when encounter the same situation because people like to choose "off the peg" good. By calculating the actual earnings of deal 2, we can learn that actual earning is the same as 850 (1000*0.85+0*0.15=850). Then let's focus on another situation: you are still the rational businessman but now facing another two different deals. The first deal is also very fixed: you are going to loss 850 dollar for sure. the second deal you have 85% possibility to loss 1000 dollar but leaving 15% possibility to loss nothing. Most people will choose the second deal cause when facing the "losing situation" people has a fluky psychology to avoiding losing. Although by calculating the actual losing of deal 2 we can learn it equals to the same result just like deal 1(-0.85*1000-0.15*0= -850).
According to the definition from "Lilienfeld text", "Framing" refers "the way a question is formulated which can influence the decisions people make". "Framing effect" is well applied to different areas: marketing, advertising, political election campaign and so on. People always are more sensitive to "losing" than "achieving". Based on this psychology, marketing strategy always connect the "buying our products" to "saving more or getting more". I felt very interested in this phenomenon because I am majoring in economics. There are many decision-making situations which applied the "framing effect". People are always ignoring the actual results hiding behind the delusive description. What we really need to do is just keep remind to ourselves "Being rational!"

Unexplained Fears

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In a lifetime you may meet a handful of people that have irrational fears, and when asked why they are afraid, they will respond with "I don't know". Well we do know why they are scared. They have suppressed a memory in their subconscious mind. They are unable to remember that memory, but their brain still knows that it is there. Such a thing may be caused by trauma as a child or even as an adult, something that scared them or hurt them emotionally. For example, a young child being bit by an animal, or someone seeing a loved one pass away. This extreme fear is also known as a phobia. Our text book uses the example of a person with a phobia of being attacked by a dog. When the person sees a dog, they get anxious, but if they can avoid going too close to the dog, their level of anxiety reduces. By avoiding their fear/phobia, they're actually making it worse by negatively reinforcing the fear. Because of this behavior, only about 20% of people get over their phobia.(American Psychiatric Association, 2000). So a solution to these fears is to face them and to use positive reinforcement to help them to conquer said fear.

Hypnosis

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Hypnosis is an interesting state of mind. It is a trance state characterized by extreme suggestibility, relaxation and heightened imagination. It is compared to daydreaming, yet it still remains a mystery for the most part. The hypnosis we are most familiar with is what we've seen from stage performers hypnotizing people from the audience. Under hypnosis, the subjects become highly suggestible and this state makes them follow every order the hypnotist tells them to. All kinds of reservations and embarrassments are eliminated which contribute to an interesting show on stage. Some Hypnotists say that "subjects under hypnosis are a lot like little kids: playful and imaginative, fully embracing bizarre suggestions." That's all good and well, but we often don't realize that we hypnotize ourselves daily without noticing it. Reading, driving, mowing the lawn, and watching movies are all forms of hypnosis. We are fully conscious but we tune out most of the external stimuli around us. We are completely focused on the book, movie, or the task we're performing, sometimes so intently that we nearly exclude other thoughts. This makes us very susceptible to suggestions that only our subconscious state of mind can pick up. Advertisers who understand the influence of hypnosis during movies have integrated subliminal advertising. By inserting a single frame advertisement, because it's such a quick flash only our subconscious mind knows we've seen it and we are influenced to buy the product that's been flashed. This is similar to how subliminal messages on self-help tapes work, though our book clearly stated that scientific testing has disproved its effectiveness.

http://www.sykronix.com/researching/tscope.htm
http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/extrasensory-perceptions/hypnosis.htm

Autism and Behaviorism

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Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. The reasons of this disorder are not well understood. An autistic child is generally withdrawn, aloof, and fails to respond to other people, and even make eye contact. They may also engage in odd or ritualistic behaviors like rocking, hand flapping, or an obsessive need to maintain order. Many children with autism do not speak at all. Those who do may speak in rhyme, have echolalia (repeating a person's words like an echo), refer to themselves as a "he" or "she," or use peculiar language.

This severe mental disorder can be partially treated and improve the general condition of the patient using behavioral treatments. Specifically, when an autistic child achieve the wanted behavior (e.g. sitting on a chair, making an eye contact with his therapists) then is given to him a reward such as a candy (reinforcement). On the other hand, to decrease an unwanted behavior (e.g. bitting others, self injuring, screaming) then he receives punishment that is the removal from him something pleasant, such as a favorite toy.

Treating an autistic person is a very challenging process for the whole family. Except of patience, love and time it is also required special knowledges and economic well being. Unfortunately, nobody is ready to come up with an autistic child and actually only a few people can face it effectively. As the video bellow presents, a lot of social problems might occur in such a family (e.g. divorces, economic break down, even committing suicide). So it is imperative that university organizations and government to support these families financially, psychologically and providing them with scientific knowledge.

Placebos: Ignorance Could Be Bliss

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The act of getting high with the aid of drugs is a well-researched field with medical data to back it up. However, the concept of getting high without the use of drugs is a particular area that we as human beings have only begun to grasp an understanding of in the scientific realm. According to sources, placebos have been around for centuries (snake oil, magical remedies, etc.) whether they have been intentionally deceiving or not. On page 190 of the Lilienfeld text, the Balanced Placebo Design is addressed. It discusses how a participant in a study can receive a liquid to taste just like alcohol, and then they will begin to act as if they are drunk. According to the text, "culturally learned expectancies influence mood and complex social behaviors". In other words, if we are given something that isn't what we think it is, we can convince our mind and body to react as if it is the thing that we expected.
I have always wondered about the concept of placebos and planting information in other people's brains. I have seen my fair share of people who drink a relatively small amount of alcohol, but seem to convince themselves that they are "so drunk". Such weird mind tricks bring mind games into the discussion. I remember when I was in grade school, I wanted to fool some people into thinking that there was a boy that they had met, but the truth of the matter was that this boy was made up. So I approached a friend, "Hey, did you ever know Tom Johnson? He was about this tall, blue eyes, pretty cool guy."
"Hmm...Well yea, I think so. Did he have a brother?"
This is the point where I would burst out laughing and tell her that this was a totally made up person and he never existed. Her only response was, "I thought his dad died or something!"
The mind has the uncanny ability to convince itself of odd things. A placebo could be described as a misleading activity in the brain that can bring forth physical and mental reactions to an idea that was presented to the brain, but is not physically there. Whenever I have falsified a placebo, I almost feel guilty as if I shouldn't have pointed out that it is a fake. I found a Richard Cabot quote that encapsulates these feelings, "I have not yet found any case in which a lie does not do more harm than good". Such are the thoughts in my mind whenever I see people taking multiple multi-vitamins a day (a similar topic is addressed in the second paragraph in the link below). Are they feeling good because of the vitamins? Or are the vitamins just going through their system, but their mind is convincing them that they are being "rejuvenated". No one wants to find out that they have been waisting money on these vitamin-filled capsules, so their mind tells them, "Don't worry. You aren't waisting your money. It's working and it's worth it!"
So when it comes to your brain, is honesty really the best policy?

http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/8/theplaceboeffect.php

Great Wall of China: Visible from the moon?

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The claim that the Great Wall of China is the only man-made object that can be seen from the moon is a false "fact". This statement is an extraordinary claim because there are many different factors that prove this "fact" in incorrect.

First, it is not the only visible object from 160-350 miles above the earth. In NASA's Earth from Space photograph there are bridges, dams, highways and airports visible. Even though you can see these other objects, the Great Wall of China is hardly visible from space because of the material it is made from. It is made from earth; stones and wood, which makes it blend into the surrounding land formations, therefore making it very hard to see from space. Things that can be seen from this distance is space are airport runways because they do not blend into their surrounding environments. From a higher level in space, like from the moon, you can't see any man made structures. All you will see is the white clouds, blue ocean, and rich green vegetation.

The origin of this claim is unknown but can be cited in other people's books. Richard Halliburton's book Second Book of Marvels: The Orient (1938) stated, "Astronomers say that the Great Wall is the only man-made thing on our planet visible to the human eye from the moon." Another source is Henry Norman's The People and Politics of the Far East (1904) stated, "Besides it's age it enjoys it's reputation of being the only work of human hands on the globe visible from the moon."

No one is sure of where the rumor started, but the claim about the Great Wall could have been created to show people who had never seen it before how grand it truly was. Beside the lack of facts that could make it true, and the prominence of the facts that could make it false, I would say that it is an extraordinary claim that the Great Wall of China is the only man-made object that can be seen from moon.
greatwall.jpg

Is It Worth The High?

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Drugs affect our consciousness in a number of ways. Depending on the drug being used, a person will experience certain side effects. The three drug categories discussed in the Lilienfeld text are stimulants, narcotics and psychedelics. Stimulants increase activity in the central nervous system, including, heart rate, respiration and blood pressure. Popular stimulants include nicotine, cocaine and amphetamines. Narcotics produce the opposite effect, relieving pain and inducing sleep. It is important to note that narcotics are made from the opium poppy. Opiate drug examples include heroin, morphine and codeine. Psychedelics, or hallucinogenic drugs, cause dramatic alterations of perception, mood and thought. Marijuana, one of the most frequently used drugs in America, along with LSD and Ecstasy are considered psychedelics.

Personally, I am astonished by how drugs are able to strongly influence our physical and mental capacities. I can not believe how easy it is for a person to become addicted to drugs, more specifically amphetamines. You are able to go from living a healthy lifestyle to becoming dependent on drugs in a span of a few doses. A family friend's daughter is currently suffering through a heroin addiction. She has been continually in and out of rehabilitation due to relapses. In addition, she is now prescribed withdrawal medication to take for a long period of time, possibly, her entire life. I saw how heroin took over her personal life, as well. Before her addiction, she was enrolled in school and working multiple part-time jobs. Now, however, it is difficult for her to hold even one job. Interestingly, I noticed physical side effects, including decay of her teeth, which leads me to the conclusion that she may have been doing other drugs, such as meth.

Bilingualism

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Being that I would like to double major with Psychology and Spanish, I was interested that there are many benefits to being bilingual. bilingual shit.jpg Not only can one communicate with people who speak two languages, but being bilingual helps you better understand your own language. When a person knows more than one language, the structures and words of languages become understood more easily.

There are many positive side effects that come with being bilingual. Knowing multiple languages helps your organization and listening skills. It helps people become better at multi-tasking and can even ward off symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in the elderly as well. One that speaks multiple languages has a much more impressive resume than someone who only speaks one.

Another benefit about my situation is that in order to major in a language, one must study abroad. That's like a vacation and an education all in one! While studying abroad, one does not only learn in class but they also learn much about culture and customs of the country that they are in.

The main point is that being bilingual has pretty much no negative side. You are able to take knowledge in one thing and use it in many parts of your life! Being Bilingual is awesome!

links:
http://www.asha.org/about/news/tipsheets/bilingual.htm
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/feb/26/health/la-he-bilingual-brain-20110227

Food: Friend or Foe

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Conditioned Taste Aversion is the fact that classical conditioning can lead us to develop avoidance reactions to the taste of food. It does not necessarily replicate the exact method of classical conditioning. It differs from the fact that usually in classical conditioning the conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus are paired multiple times before the conditioned response happens. Also the CS and UCS are usually within seconds of one another. In the case of conditioned taste aversions it contradicts this, because usually it only takes one time to create an avoidance or response to the food, and there typically is a long delay between the food and the reaction. This is because it teaches us to avoid dangerous foods we might have ingested hours earlier. It is our body's way of protecting us.
Taste aversions are a common problem among cancer patients who are doing chemotherapy. Chemotherapy causes frequent nausea and vomiting. Health Psychologists have developed a solution to this commonly occurring problem. They tell the patients to eat food that they never usually eat before coming for their Chemo treatment. This way they are only developing taste aversions to food they usually never eat so it does not interfere with their favorite foods or eating habits.
I can definitely relate to this topic. When I was younger I ate Macaroni and Cheese and an hour later I was sick with flu like symptoms. Ever since that day I cannot make myself eat Macaroni and Cheese. It makes me feel sick just thinking about it. This is also the same situation for Lasagna.
preventing_food_poisoning_9gj8j.jpg

How much of our brain do we really use?

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This myth has been circling around time and time again. "Have you heard you only use 10 percent of your brain?" When someone first hears this, they think about it rationally and for some people, they think it makes sense! For all of the things we experience in life, we only remember a small amount of it. When some people hear this "10 percent myth," they think of how we can only remember a small amount of memories from our lives, and it would make sense that we only use a small amount of our brain.
This is an example of confirmation bias, because we think of evidence to confirm the claim and dismiss evidence that would contradict it. There is overwhelming evidence to contradict this claim, for example if someone is shot in the head they are almost guaranteed to die. If humans only use ten percent of their brains, it wouldn't be as likely for the person to die if they were shot in the head because most of the brain isn't used, according to this myth.
This claim is obviously false, and the extraordinary claims scientific principle can be used to evaluate this myth. The ten percent myth is an extraordinary claim, and if it was proven to be true, it would be all over the news and would rewrite the books on the human brain. So for an extraordinary claim to be proven, there must be extraordinary evidence. There is no extraordinary scientific evidence to confirm this claim, so it cannot be true. Also, there is overwhelming evidence to disprove this claim, like PET and fMRI scans that show activity in all parts of the brain.

http://www.snopes.com/science/stats/10percent.asp

Alzheimer's Disease

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Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a form of dementia, loss of brain function. Alzheimer's disease causes the brain cells to die, which leads to a decline in memory and mental function. Alzheimer's affects memory, thinking, and behavior of the individual. Most people begin to experience symptoms of Alzheimer's disease after 60 years of age, but it is not a normal part of aging. AD is a result of both environmental and genetic factors. The only way to determine if an individual for sure has Alzheimer's disease is to sample their brain tissue after death, and examine certain changes. Memory problems are usually one of the first symptoms an individual experiences while developing AD. Mild symptoms include languages problems, misplacing items, losing interest in things, getting lost in familiar areas, and personality changes. Individuals with severe Alzheimer's can not understand language, recognize family members, or perform everyday tasks, such as eating, and bathing. The first diagram below gives an example of individual's brain affected by Alzheimer's and how it spreads from mild to severe. The second photo is a comparison of a individuals brain without Alzheimer's to one with, and the build up of plaques.

ADfactsheetbrainimagesfull.JPGUnknown.jpeg

Although Alzheimer's disease can not be cured treatment is down to slow the rate at which the symptoms worsen. Two examples of drugs used to help treat Alzheimer's are Donepezil, affects the level of acetylcholine in the brain, and Memantine. Other medication used to control aggression and dangerous behaviors are also sometimes given in small doses.
Alzheimer's disease - PubMed Health.webarchive

Photographic Memory

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Imagine being able to look at a page in your textbook and remembering every word on the page. This would make test taking a piece of cake. However, there is no way this would be possible, or is it? Some people have been believed to have "photographic memories," also called eidetic imagery. That is, remembering images and sounds with such great clarity and detail, that the person can practically remember the information as a "picture," recalling nearly every aspect of the event.

One prime example of photographic memory is an individual known as Kim Peek, more commonly known as Rainmain. From memorizing a book at 16 months old, to knowing virtually every trivia question known to man, Peek is the best example of someone with a photographic memory. His ability to recall so much information is uncanny, and is a testament to how powerful the brain really is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u6Y8FQGSf8&feature=related


Like most unusual theories in science, there is always a fair share of controversy. There have been some studies where a subject is able to recall nearly every piece of information of a visual. However, the problem with testing on the subject of eidetic memories is that it is linked with the principle of critical thinking called falsability. As of now, it is impossible for scientists to prove, or disprove, that an individual has a photographic memory. This uncertainty has led scientists to believe that a person who claims to have an eidetic memory only has a larger capacity for information. In addition, minor errors are almost always found when people are trying to recall information. This also supports scientist's skepticism on the validity of eidetic memory.

If photographic memories are real, how is it that some people has this ability? During birth, does something happen that gives people an enormous capacity for recalling information? Scientist continue to research this topic and are finding new information everyday. Discovering the mystery to this awesome phenomenon would be extraordinary.

http://kathrynvercillo.hubpages.com/hub/Eidetic-Memory-Is-It-Real

Nonhuman Communication

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Human language is a complex puzzle of words and syntax with structured grammatical rules that we can use to convey a vast array of thoughts and concepts. But generally, the best way to grab anyone's attention (especially college students) is by merely mentioning the word "sex", or other related words.

Lionkg2.jpg

Animals also use sex and aggression to communicate with one another. Beyond that, though, many species also have more complicated means of communication. Some species of mammals use unique scent markings to claim their territories, while others use body language to acknowledge where food can be found.

Over the years, humans have attempted to teach one of our closest relatives, bonobos, how to communicate like us. As the video below shows, bonobos have a very high ability to comprehend as many as 200 symbols and their meanings. They also show very similar learning pathways to humans. They learn better at younger ages and they learn through observation and show the cognitive abilities of that of a 5 - 7 year-old human child!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3FLor3-jLg

So while humans may be unique in our very complex ability to communicate intricate concepts, other species of animals have developed their own systems of communication that prove to be just as effective.

Man or Alien?

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The Egyptian Pyramids, Greek Temples, the Stonehenge, only some examples of our ancient landmarks built thousands of years ago. The magnitude and detail in some of the monuments leaves people in awe, but how did these ancient civilizations build these structures and why? As we learn throughout our school years, most of these landmarks are made through hard labor, and their purpose tends to be to honor the gods and the dead. However, some disbelieve that men alone created these massive shrines alone, but in fact, were helped by extraterrestrial life forms.
pyramids.jpg

A recent show on the History Channel titled, "Ancient Aliens," brings forth evidence that aliens helped or built our ancient monuments. Evidence they have found suggests that these monuments are linked with electromagnetic energy. Also, they believe that aliens even used them as navigational beacons, which can explain why they are all connected by straight lines geographically. Lastly, some of these landmarks are encoded with advanced mathematics some believe too advanced for those time periods.

The idea that aliens came to our planet and helped us build our monuments is definitely an extraordinary claim and the evidence may not be strong enough to support it. Although there is a possibility that aliens could have had a part in the creation of these landmarks, it is highly unlikely; there is no evidence even proving they exist. Although specialists believe that the structures are encoded with higher math, maybe the simpler explanation is just that the symbols aren't codes at all but just markings these civilizations used to decorate. Also, the idea that they are all connected by straight lines is quite a stretch since the lines are scattered and don't make any connections or patterns. However, there is strong evidence towards the electromagnetic field I cannot try to simplify. In conclusion, this extraordinary claim does not have strong enough support, and simpler explanations can be made from these coincidences.
alien.jpg

http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/videos/ancient-aliens-aliens-and-the-secret-code#ancient-aliens-aliens-and-the-secret-code

http://www.coolchaser.com/themes/keywords/marvin+the+marsion

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:All_Gizah_Pyramids.jpg

http://megablaze.com/tag/ancient-aliens-s03e04-aliens-and-the-temples-of-gold-hdtv-xvid-fqm/


Writing #3

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Hollywood has consistently persuaded the public, myself included, that there is only one type of amnesia through various films and television shows. Prior to reading Chapter 7 of the textbook I had not known that "general" amnesia was very rare and that retrograde (in which people cannot remember items of their past) and anterograde amnesia (when people lose the ability to form new memories) are much more common.
One of Hollywood's mainstream films, "50 First Date", starring Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler deals with anterograde amnesia. After Barrymore's character is in a car accident, she can no longer remember her accident or anything that occurred after the accident after a day's time. Her family fails to explain what happened to her day after day up until she meets Sandler's character and he proceeds to tell her everyday what happened to her and who he is.
Barrymore's anterograde amnesia is unrealistic because there is no such form of anterograde amnesia in which one can recall information and then lose it the next day. It is also unrealistic because she remembers what happened to her each time after she is told. According to the text memory recovery tends to occur gradually, if at all, unlike Barrymore's character who seems to recall things after being told or viewing a video that her family has made for her to watch everyday. However, the film shows another aspect of amnesia with Ten Second Tom, a patient at the institute for those who have memory loss. Tom has extreme memory loss in which he can forgets things after ten seconds. The textbook does not say if this is possible and I could not find anything related to repeat memory loss in seconds, but I assume tom's case is fictional just as Barrymore's type of anterograde amnesia is.


Stress and Short-Term Memory

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I am very intrigued by the power of memory. Long and short term memory plays an important role in our lives, allowing us to recall previous knowledge and accomplish day-to-day activities. I found an interesting article about the effects of stress on our short term memory as I was scoping around on the web. We all experience stress but it is important to find ways to deal with the pressures of life because too much stress can seriously effect one's health. Many people note the long-term effects of stress, but this article points out a serious short-term effect.
The article discusses a study that was conducted to see how stress affects short-term memory and they found that the release of CRH, instigated by excess levels of stress, led to the disintegration of the dendritic spines that play an important role in the connections of the synapses that facilitate short-term memory. Though stress had immediate negative effects, the study showed that when the CRH was removed the dendritic spines were able to grow back. This study gives yet another reason to live a stress-reduced lifestyle.
This article is applicable to everyone's life, including my own, because we all encounter stress in our daily lives. Especially as a college student who is running on little sleep and busy with academics and activities, this article gave me a good warning to relax sometimes and not overload my schedule. The research conducted in this study offers solid evidence for the importance of stress-reduction and thanks to the rats and mice that were used for these studies people are now on their way to creating possible therapies to block the release of CRH, helping to address stress-related learning and memory loss.
Here is the link to the article: http://psychcentral.com/news/2008/03/12/stress-affects-learning-and-memory/2031.html

Suggestive Memory Techniques = Inception!

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inception.jpg
Suggestive memory techniques are procedures that encourage a person to recall memories that have been supposedly suppressed. This technique, Elizabeth Loftus found, often creates recollections and memories that never actually existed. This can be achieved in several ways:
The misinformation effect, in which a participant is shown a scene and later asked to recall it: the key is that when the participant is asked to recall, the tester can lead the participant to believe that they saw something they didn't, just by twisting a few words in a question, "How fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?", elicits the response that the cars were going fast. Using bumped rather than smashed produces the opposite effect. Thus, a memory is modified.
Lost in the Mall: Experimenters obtained several memories from relatives of participants, as well as the confirmation that a certain memory did NOT exist (being lost in the mall as a kid), and then gave the written memories to the participants. Upon being asked to recall, many of the participants "recalled" the false, impossible memory, with surprising detail. They insisted that the memories were real, even after the experimenter told them otherwise. Thus, a memory is created.
These two methods, memory modification and memory implantation, show that memory is far from infallible, and actually quite malleable/unreliable. This is important in that many falsely convicted criminals have sat in jail for years because of this property of memory. A prosecuting attorney, believing that a suspect is guilty, leads the witness with suggestive memory techniques and implants memories, which leads to a false testimony and a false conviction. Psychologists need to/have had an effect on these sorts of court cases, informing juries of the effects of suggestive memory techniques.
Now for the cool part: INCEPTION!! Inception is a sci-fi movie in which the characters go inside someone else's subconscious, down to the roots of the subconscious, and plant a memory, an idea, in the target's mind. They have to make it realistic (according to the event plausibility effect, it's gotta be plausible to be successfully implanted) and misleading in the target's interpretation of a memory.
It's a great movie, a great idea, an idea that has scientific backing. I'm not saying that it's plausible to go inside someone's mind like that and stuff, go in their dreams and mess with their minds, but the idea behind it is scientifically backed. The characters used the misinformation effect to lead the character to believe that his dad meant a certain thing in his last dying actions. The characters used event plausibility and simplicity to avoid detection of a false memory implant. The whole idea of inception is also known as suggestive memory techniques!!! I bet Christopher Nolan and Co. took a psychology course, or knew about suggestive memory techniques.

Shaping

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One of the most interesting topics to me we have learned about in the past two weeks is B.F. Skinner's discovery of shaping, right here at our very own University of Minnesota. This is particularly interesting to me because this discovery was made literally in my backyard, at the General Mills flour mill.

Shaping itself seems like common sense, but before Skinner it had never occurred to psychologists to reward 'just part' of a behavior. It had generally been assumed that eventually, with enough waiting, all possible behaviors would occur, and the correct one could be rewarded. Skinner, simply out of boredom, decided to reward behaviors that only resembled the desired behavior. Gradually, they rewarded actions that more closely and closely resembled the final form. They were amazed at the results, being able to train pigeons to 'bowl' in just a few short minutes.

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It was amazing to me the implications such a discovery so close to home could have on the entire world. Shaping would become the basis for a revolution in behavioral psychology. It led to the famous 'clicker training', mostly for dogs, but also for horses and even children. It works by telling the animal they did the right thing with a short distinct click, simultaneous to the action. They associate the click with doing the right thing, and this when paired with positive reinforcement is a very effective training technique. This discovery also showed the power of the "social dyad". Shaping can be used to retrain the limbs of stroke patients, or even remove someone's fear of spiders.

This video outlines some of B.F. Skinner's accomplishments with respect to shaping.

Speed Reading: Is it too good to be true?

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Speed reading is a dream many college students wish to accomplish to be able to "speed" through their text books well in advance to their next mid terms and still be able to fully comprehend it. There are plenty of advertisements, books, courses and videos that explain the concepts of speed reading in a "simple" way so that anyone can do it and soar to incredible reading speeds. The average college student reading speed is around 200 - 300 words per minute and speed reading courses claim to increase that rate to thousands or even 15,000 words per minute!

But sadly, the effects of speed reading are too good to be true. "Reading" at high speeds always comes with a price. There have been studies of supposed speed readers and regular readers being tested on specific words and comprehension within a text and the results show that the regular readers scored higher than the speed readers. According to the textbook, when one reads over 400 words per minute (wpm), their reading comprehension dramatically decreases down below 50%!

Why do people still fall victim to speed reading courses then? Its because at the beginning of a speed reading course when they test a persons reading and comprehension capabilities they are usually tested with a hard and difficult test that the reader will almost guarantee score low on. But towards the end of the course when the reader takes his/her final exam/test, the test is made to be easier and less difficult than the 1st one to give the reader an illusion that he/she has improved his/her reading speed and comprehension drastically by scoring high on the test.

So in conclusion, Speed Reading is possible up to 400 wpm to still have good comprehension but after 400 wpm, it decreases drastically so I'd say speed reading is one thing people shouldn't spend their money on.

http://magicspeedreading.com/articles/read129[19785].html
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/863/does-speed-reading-really-work

David and Goliath

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Do you ever remember hearing from your schoolmates or family that elephants are afraid of mice? Sounds ridiculous, right? The thought of something as big as an elephant being thwarted off by something as small and furry as a mouse doesn't seem plausible. As implausible as it has sounded my entire life, there has never been an opportunity nor the means for me, or anyone i know for that matter, to test this extraordinary claim.
http://youtu.be/WpTSA_25wGE
As intimidating as it may be, once invulnerable urban legends can be supported with extraordinary evidence. It is understandable, however, that not everyone has access to semi-wild elephants and a large supply of dung. In short, extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence in order to support it. Without proper support we should all be skeptical of it's validity.

Do you remember going to dolphin shows at the Minnesota Zoo back when you were little? Back then, they seemed like magic, almost like the trainers were able to speak to the dolphin by just telling it vocally to do a cool flip. Now, looking back at watching these, as well as the clip that follows this post, I can see the dolphins being shown hand signals, and being given a reward for doing the specific trick. Furthermore, the dolphins learn these tricks using classical conditioning. They learn that they will receive a reward for doing a trick, so they do the trick to receive a tasty snack. But in order to do the trick, they must learn it. Humans developed conditioning to teach them, by breaking it down, all the while communicating to them in a way that the dolphins understand what they need to do. In this video clip, pay attention to the trainers. They will give a hand signal to the dolphin, who will then do the trick specified to the hand signal, and then they will receive a reward. It is very simple, but very ingenious.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkTMuKELjLE

Withdrawal Symtoms

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Withdrawal is the effect of not having something in your system that you always need to feel good. Taking out a substance that a person is dependent on causes withdrawal. There are many forms of withdrawal; the mild cases of withdrawal are from caffeine. People who drink caffeine, and need it to be able to go through the day, everyday, will get the effect of withdrawal if they do not get their caffeine fix. Caffeine withdrawal effects are usually headaches and sluggishness, people feel fatigue and drowsy and need their caffeine. The stronger effects of withdrawal are from drugs, alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, heroin, marijuana and other drugs with people get addicted to. Those drugs have a stronger effect, some being seizures, confusion and sometimes hallucinations. The effects of withdrawal can even lead to death, in some cases. Caffeine and drugs both have the effect of highs and lows during the day. The adrenal glands are creating too much adrenaline without the person actually needing it; it creates a lower low point in the body and then causes the dependence of the substance. Over-stimulation of the body leads to the addiction and the dependency of the substance in their body. This leads to the need to have the substance and when they finally feel the need to stop their use of the substance, it comes to the withdrawal stage and the person needs to go to rehabilitation to get help from people who know what they're doing, or they will not be safe on their own if they want to end their addiction.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y1L2QWiJwY&NR=1

50 First Dates

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Amnesia is portrayed by Hollywood in most instances in a comical manor. I mean who wouldn't want to make fun of someone then not have them remember it a minute later, no harm done right? Unfortunately it is almost perceived that this crazy memory loss only happens in movies and it is not a huge issue to worry about. More people should understand that amnesia is a very serious disorder that can have a drastic effect on someone's life.

In the movie 50 first dates Henry played by Adam Sandler is chasing after this hot girl named Lucy who is played by Drew Barrymore. At first Henry does not understand that she is suffering from anterograde amnesia, he soon realizes that this is the case. Henry then proceeds to learn about her condition and try to approach it so he can get with her.

What makes that movie an interesting topic is that Henry seems to deal with the fact that she has amnesia. Although her case is fictitiously designed for the movie, in most instances people with anterograde amnesia cannot remember most things past a one- ten minute duration. As we can obviously tell in the movie it would be almost impossible to live with this situation, it paralyses you from building relationships, having a job, and functioning normally in society. In this rare occasion they seem to make it work in the end by giving her a 3 min recap video of her life every day, but for someone like Clive it would not be feasible considering his memory only last for a few minutes at most.

Pop Rocks, Soda, and...Death?

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Perhaps one of the most feared urban legends that I remember hearing when I was a kid was that if you eat Pop Rocks and drink soda at the same time, you will die in a brilliant explosion of carbonation and sugar. The first time I remember hearing this claim I was about kindergarten age, and susceptible to believe almost anything. What's so remarkable about this myth however, is that it never really went away. I can remember hearing variations of it throughout middle school, and even high school, and although I never fully bought into it, I never bothered eating pop rocks and drinking soda at the same time, just in case there was some truth to it.

As I got older, the idea of Pop Rocks and soda causing death seemed more and more like a tall tale, but it's not something that I spent a lot of time analyzing. However, if I had sat down and thought about it or done any research at all, I would have found that Pop Rocks and soda have never been the cause of death for anyone. The idea that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence should be enough to deter anyone from believing this urban legend, but unfortunately it still persists. Last summer I tried Pop Rocks and Coke together, and found them to be a terrible combination, but they were far from deadly. What people need to remember is that when somebody makes an extraordinary claim, like candy causing death, there should be extraordinary evidence to support them, and if there isn't, then their claim probably has no bearing at all.

http://www.snopes.com/horrors/freakish/poprocks.asp

Language Begins in the Womb

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http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091105092607.htm


After reading about how babies learn language even before they are born I thought it was interesting that could recognize the sounds of their mother's voices and learn characteristics of their mother's native language. Babies prefer their mother's native tongue and they also begin to learn elements of their native language even before they utter their first babble and coo. Many scientist have believed that prenatal exposure to their mother's native tongue influences a newborn's perception, and scientists have also thought that babies' sound speaking production begin later, but studies have shown that they influence their language learning skills much earlier in life even when they cry and utter their first babble.

The production of melody from babies shows their preference for the surrounding language and their ability to tell the differences between difference languages and pitch changes. In the link attached above from the news article Science Daily studies from Kathleen Wermke of the University of Wurzhur in Germany have shown that infants can imitate and match vowel sounds as early as twelve weeks on. Wermke's team did an experiment where they record and analyzed the cries of 60 healthy babies. Thirty were from French speaking families and 30 were from Germen speaking families. When they conducted their experiment they were able to tell the differences from the melodies of the cries of the babies based on the language the baby was exposed to. They concluded that French babies cry with a rising melody contour, while German babies cry with a falling melody contour. Theses differences in the melodies represent characteristics that are present in the native language of the babies.

Wermeke also concluded from her study that babies produce the melodies because they are highly motivated to imitate their mothers and get her attention to create a mother-child bond. I think from this study that babies listen to their surrounding auditory environments and learn to produce sounds and pitches to adapt and to speak their native language, but to also create a bond with their mother.

Short-Term Memory Experiment

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recall_(memory)

A topic that I find interesting that we have been learning about in the past two weeks is short-term memory. Short-term memory is the second stage in the memory system, which comes right after sensory memory. It retains memories of our experiences, conversations, etc., for brief periods of time before passing important parts onto our long-term memory. Specifically, what I found most interesting about this topic was the duration of short-term memory. The actual duration of short term memory is about 20 seconds, and we know this thanks to a study done in the 1950s by Lloyd and Margaret Peterson. In this study the experimenters presented participants with lists of letters and made them wait different amounts of time and in some cases making them count backward before asking them to recall the letters that they saw. (See attached article for more information on this study.) Anyways, I had a hypothesis that many people underestimate the fact that our short-term memories are so very brief. So I thought I would ask around and conduct a small experiment of my own to test this. My friend and I asked around our sorority and friend groups what they thought the span of short-term memory was. We found that almost everyone perceives our short-term memories to have a much longer duration than it actually does. The most common answer that we received was that the duration was 24 hours. This obviously is off by an extreme amount. Other responses we got were three hours, nine hours, and everything in between. We both found it really interesting that almost everyone was very off in their guesses and many people have little to no knowledge about this topic, which is exactly where I would be too if I wasn't taking this course. Thank you Psychology 1001 for broadening my horizons to the world and extence information on memory.

Classical Conditioning in Real World

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The most interesting topic I have learned for this week was Pavlov's study which is a form of learning in which animals come to respond to a previously neutral stimulus (Metronome) that had been paired with another stimulus (Meat power) that elicits an automatic response (dog's salivation). According to the law of contiguity, when one stimulus (CS) is closely followed by another stimulus (UCS), the first will come to evoke behaviors (CRs) much like those (UCRs) elicits by the second. The law of contiguity also indicates that repeated pairings are typically required, with the learned behavior becoming progressively stronger or more likely overtime.
The model of the classical conditioning can be written as following:
CS - (UCS) - (UCR) - CR
Classical Conditioning.gif
I think classical conditioning is quiet common in everyday life. For example, I have a dog and I feed it with canned pet food. Every time I hit the can opener, the dog come running even if I am opening a tuna can with my sandwich in the morning.

We also can see many beer ads apply classical conditioning to increasing sales. For example, in the ad, the attractive young woman wearing bikinis (unconditioned stimulus) elicit a favorable feeling (unconditioned response) in most men. The beer is simply associated with this effect. jessica_simpson_beer_ad.jpg


Here is an interesting video which is made by a student from BGSU to test Pavlov's theory of classical conditioning on his roommate Bryan.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo7jcI8fAuI

He shot Bryan with the sound, "that was easy" (CS) for several times. Every time Bryan was shot (UCS), he jumped up from his chair (UCR). Then, after that, Bryan only plays the sound," that was easy", Bryan jumps up from his chair again (CR).

In conclusion, classical conditioning helps to explain many behaviors' learning in the real word, and has been applied to the areas of everyday life include classroom learning and business communication.

Dissolving Dust Cloud

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http://www.snopes.com/science/dustcloud.asp

Attached is the link to an article that I found that claims that a 10 million-mile-wide planet dissolving dust cloud will completely destroy the solar system by 2014. This finding also claimed that the cloud was discovered on April 6, and is currently moving at the speed of light straight for our solar system. It has been called a "chaos cloud" wiping out everything in its path. Using a couple of the Scientific thinking principles I was able to determine this claim was completely false, and then read later in the article that indeed it was incorrect. The first most obvious principle that I could use to prove this theory wrong would be that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The definition of this principle is that the more a claim contradicts what we already know, the more persuasive the evidence for this claim must be before we accept it. In this instance, the claim that a dust cloud would wipe us all out in a matter of 3 years was extremely odd and extraordinary. With that being said, we would need more facts and persuasive evidence to be sure what these researchers are telling us is true. Another principle of the scientific method that we could use in this case would be ruling out the rival hypothesis. Thinking to our selves while reading the article, "Is this the only good explanation for this finding? Have we ruled out other important competing explanations?". The answers to those questions would be no. There could be a thousand other explanations for this dust cloud finding other than it's going to be the end of mankind as we know it. In conclusion, the principles of scientific thinking helped me to come up with my own opinion about this topic and decipher that the claim was false.

Short-term Memory

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Short-term memory, is memory in our brain that will only last within a limited time. After this duration, the memory(information) will just disappear without any specific repetition. In my daily life, the most thing I can relate to this short-term memory is that when I remember a phone number, I can remember this clearly if I keep repeating the words and once I stopped repeating or after I dial the number, I cannot remember this number anymore. When I need to remember this phone number, my short-term memory is working and this can also be explained that short-term memory can be called as working memory. I believe that the duration of short-term memory is no longer than 10-15 seconds because when I am doing the experiment below, I cannot remember the words after 10 seconds and in the last trial of the experiment, I barely can remember letters more than the letters in the first several trials because of the time I need to read the letters in the last trial takes me more time(longer than 15 seconds). () However, I sometimes get confused with the paradox of memory. If we are particularly good at remembering one thing, does this mean that our short-term memory's duration would be extended to more than 15 seconds?

I found a video that is discussing about a man's amnesia. This man has a serious problem in remember things and the only thing he remember is his wife, even when his wife is talking to him, he forget the conversation immediately. His short-term memory has been damaged therefore when his wife is asking his questions about a party his wife is attending, he cannot think of the reason. When his short-term memory is damaged or no longer working good, he has amnesia. In order to explain short-term memory's duration has only about 10-15 seconds, psychologists have to duplicate the experiment to prove this research finding.

Does drinking bleach help a drug user beat a drug test?

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bleach.png

In chapter 1 we learned about all the scientific thinking principles that evaluate scientific claims and claims in every day life. The scientific principle of extraordinary claims is one of the most interesting ones to evaluate. The rule for an extraordinary claim is when evaluating a claim we need to think about information we already know and if it counters the claim and how much evidence supports the claim. The claim I found online said, drinking bleach can help a drug user beat/pass a drug test. This claim is crazy because we know that bleach should never go into your body because it is a very dangerous chemical especially in our body. We also know that if you do drink bleach it is very harmful to our throats, stomach and lining in our digestive tract. In the article people think this works because if bleach can clean clothes it should be able to cleanse our urine just as well, but like I already said past knowledge counters this claim. The story inside the article was mainly focused on a juvenile defendent that passed out in his court trial and he claimed to have drank bleach earlier so he could pass his upcoming drug test. We do not know if his claim/explanation was even the truth or not and if it was the truth the fact that he passed out in court supports the past knowledge we know about bleach and the effects it has on our body. Another spot in the article said that even pouring bleach in the toilet after you go to the bathroom will not even cleanse the urine. Overall there is a lot of evidence that shows how bad bleach is for your body and how it does not work to cleanse urine and there is no evidence that proves that bleach will help cleanse your urine.
http://snopes.com/crime/clever/bleach.asp

Sleep Assisted Learning

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My first encounter with Sleep Assisted Learning was in an Anne of Green Gables book. Anne was teaching herself some type of math, calculus I think, and she was having difficulty solving the problems because she'd not gotten much sleep in the prior week. She remembered a friend telling her about "sleeping on the problem-" taking naps when she encountered a problem she couldn't solve so her unconscious mind could work on it while she slept.
I've always wondered if this were possible and the only thing that stopped me from trying it was the thought that it wouldn't be an efficient way of working. If it takes an average time of 14 minutes to fall asleep, that puts working out each problem at taking more than about 20 minutes. And then you'd have to wake up after a specific amount of time, and do this under the pressure of figuring out the solution. This was all just too much effort for me.
The Lilienfield text tells me that I saved a lot of time in not trying out this approach. The sleep assisted style of learning is highly popularized by self-help and easy-learning books, but studies have shown that you are not truly learning the information while asleep. As given in the Morse code studies, evidence has shown that the participants are not truly learning Morse code in their sleep, but are probably being woken up briefly by the audiotapes and learning the material they hear before falling back asleep. With this in mind, I'm only left to wonder how much of an effect sleeping right after studying has on retaining the information.

Maintaining Rehearsal

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I found the paragraphs about rehearsal and the different types of rehearsal to be interesting. Rehearsal is the continuously repeating information to make it easier for us to remember. There are specific types of rehearsal though, such as, maintenance rehearsal. This is when we repeat the information in the exact form we were given the information to help make it stay in our memory. Another form is elaborative rehearsal. This is when we connect the new information to something meaningful to help us make the information stay in our memory longer. I think this concept is important because it is an easy way for us to help our memory. We often used this concept in our welcome week groups. When we had to learn everyones names we would use a popular name game. sometimes you would have to go in a circle and one person would start with their name and then next would have to say the all the people's names that were in front of them plus their name. Or we would have to associate ever ones name with a animal. These are both examples of maintenance and elaborative rehearsal. I wonder how effective this concept really is? Is this concept only used for short term memory?

Conscious Awareness (Writing #2)

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I watched the BBC video (the 15:50-26:20 clip). The question I am blogging about is "Can we know whether someone still has conscious awareness?"

In the clip, a man was being tested to see whether we could see conscious awareness while he was under anesthesia. The level of consciousness was being measured by giving him a command and seeing if he responds with a conscious decision. This allows us to see if he is consciously aware. In this particular study, the command was to imagine you are playing a game of tennis. They gave this command to him while he was completely conscious and watched his brain activity. Then they tested him again after he had received anesthesia and was heading towards a "uninhibited state of delirium," as he worded it. The study showed that, although his brain activity was slower and a bit more relaxed, he was showing the same amount of brain activity than when he was completely conscious. The brain scanner showed that his activity was the same as when he was conscious, however, his reactions and activity was slower, more relaxed, and slurred. This study was basically measuring conscious awareness and acting as a "consciousometer." This study was also done before with a woman who was actually in a vegetative state. They measured her conscious awareness at different times while she was sick. Each time, her brain activity came out as the same, just more relaxed or slower. One important thing to know about brain activity and consciousness is brain parts need to be active in order to stay conscious. By giving the command of "imagine yourself playing a game of tennis," it keeps your brain active and allows you to stay conscious and concentrated.

Terror Management Theory (Writing #1)

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Terror Management Theory has to do with human behavior being motivated by the fear of mortality. Some people spend their entire lives trying to make sense of their presence in this world because of a very profound anxiety that takes over. This theory has to do with self-esteem. People measure their own worth based on how well they live up to their culture's expectations. Being aware of our own death leaves many people with a sense of terror. By adopting cultural world views that reassure us that our lives have meaning and a purpose, we are able to cope with this terror. Terror Management Theory can help explain certain beliefs such as astrology, ESP, and communication with the dead. This could potentially be important in different situations of crime or shocking deaths. If people can get in touch with the dead, they can find out information they never knew. I can apply this theory to my life in relation to astrology. I believe in reading horoscopes every day and what they have to say. Since Terror Management Theory can explain beliefs about astrology, I am able to learn more about it through this theory. One question I have is, in the past, how has this theory applied to people's beliefs? For example, paranormal beliefs. I found this theory very interesting to learn about because I didn't know anything about it before.

http://www.socialemotiveneuroscience.org/pubs/hj_etal97tm.pdf

Sleep-Assisted Learning

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Chapter 6 in our textbook talked all about different ways of learning. The area that I found most interesting was the section that talked about learning fads, specifically sleep-assisted learning. Sleep assisted learning is the exaggerated claim which states that while you are asleep, you could learn all kinds of new material. There are all kinds of companies that market CD's you play while sleeping, which can teach people new languages, help them to lose weight, stop smoking, and to reduce stress. This is a very tempting way of learning, as who would not want to just play an audio recording of a book, or other types of self-help tapes and learn all of the material, rather than spending hours and hours reading.

As good as this may seem, there is no real scientific evidence to prove it. In the text, it states that some early findings on sleep-assisted learning were promising. However, all of the early reports failed to rule out rival hypotheses. The rival hypotheses claimed that while the recordings were playing, they may have woken up the subjects. This means that they were not really asleep while they were learning. The early studies showed positive effects because they did not monitor their subjects' electroencephalograms. This is just a fancy way of saying that they did not monitor if the subjects were asleep throughout the entire study. In the studies that proved sleep-assisted learning wrong, they monitored EEGs to make sure the subjects were still asleep, which they were not.

In conclusion, the only way sleep-learning tapes work is that people hear bits and pieces of information as they are coming in and out of sleep. This is really too bad, I know that if this was proven to be a real way of learning that I would use it. It would make life so much easier, and give people so much more free time!

Lilienfeld Text

sleep-learning.jpg

How Do Children Learn Language?

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One important concept from the Lilienfeld text that I found really intriguing was how children learn language. Language is among the few documented cases in which children are more efficient learners than adults. It is said that the language-learning process starts before children are even born. That is amazing if you really think about it. According to the text, the auditory systems of unborn infants are developed enough that they can begin to make out their mothers' voices, learn to recognize some characteristics of their mothers' native language, and even recognize specific songs or stories they've heard repeatedly.

In the video above, a four month old baby is recording as saying the words "momoma." That is pretty ridiculous if you ask me. Most babies at this age haven't even begun babbling, which refers to any intentional vocalization that lacks specific meaning. By the end of their first year, infant's babbling takes on a conversational tone that sounds meaningful even though it isn't (Lilienfeld text). Children are learning to recognize and interpret words well before they can produce them. This is because babies have only a limited ability to coordinate sounds to produce recognizable words. smart-baby1.jpg One of the first words that children understand is their own name. Although most infants don't clearly start comprehending words until nine or ten months, they recognize their own names by as early as six months. By ten to twelve months they pick up on other important words like "bottle" or "doggie." I think its weird to think about how the human brain can do so much at such a young age.


baby-reading.jpgDo children sometimes misinterpret what some words mean? The simple answer to that question is yes. children typically make mistakes in interpreting what words mean and how to use them. They often over-extend, applying words in a broader sense, such as calling all adult men "daddy." The concept of children learning to speak as infants is important because it just goes to show how advanced the human brain is, and how productive our brains are. For example, children start to produce their first words around their first birthdays. Between age one and one and a half, they will have accumulated a vocabulary between 20 and 100 words. And by the time they turn two, most children can already produce several hundred words. It's undoubtedly fascinating that infants learn to speak that quickly. It is truly amazing what the human mind is capable of doing.

Do we need language to think?

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In psychology, linguistic determinism is the belief that our thoughts are represented by our language; therefore, we require language to form thoughts. This concept is supported by Hellen Keller's account of having no sense of self-awareness prior to learning sign language. Furthermore, this could account for a lack of memories in the early stages of life as language takes years to become fully developed. Similarly, this would also explain why our memories become more detailed as we get older, and shift from random images/feelings to complex, episodic memories. While this theory is, for the most part, not accepted, one finding by psychologist Peter Gordon may donate some validity to this concept. He studied a Brazilian tribe that didn't have any words to describe numbers past "two". Any number past it, was just "many". His finding, however, that supports the linguistic determinism view is that the people of this tribe couldn't reliably tell the difference between four items placed in a line and five of the same items in a line. They also had trouble replicating numerical concepts such as listening to many taps on the ground and producing the same number of taps. Gordon noted that as the number increased (in any given test), they deviated more and more from the correct response. This finding provided much-needed evidence for the view of linguistic determinism which has been debated since it was first introduced. Like many theories in psychology, certain aspects of linguistic determinism likely hold much truth; however, there are definitely other theories that may better explain the affect of language on our thought process.

Peter Gordon's Study:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6303-language-may-shape-human-thought.html

Insomnia

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Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disturbances. A few "symptoms" of this disorder are having trouble falling asleep (taking more than 30 minutes), waking too early in the morning, and waking up in the middle of the night and have trouble returning to sleep. It is said that people with depression, pain, or other medical conditions report higher rates of insomnia. There are many things that can contribute to someone having insomnia including taking naps during the day, drinking caffeine, medications or illnesses, or stress. Avoiding drinking caffeine during the day, avoiding naps during the day, and sleeping in a cool room is supposed to help if you suffer from insomnia. I know that I have experienced sleep insomnia before many times. I sometimes call it "Sunday night insomnia" because I feel like many Sunday nights I find myself having trouble falling asleep because I slept in late that day or had a lot of homework to catch up on or finish and I was stressed. Also, I definitely can tell that on days that I do take naps, that night it is more difficult to fall asleep. In the summer, when my sleep schedule is not constant and varies a lot, I sometimes have sleep insomnia. I think it is just because I go to bed really late and will wake up really late and then the next night I try and go to bed earlier and it is impossible to fall asleep. I know many people who suffer from insomnia. Some are able to deal with it and don't really need that extra sleep and others get in really bad moods or are very "cranky" from their lack of sleep. I know there are many different sleeping pills out there and other medications, but besides using those, what are other cures for insomnia? Is there an actual "cure" for insomnia?
To conclude, insomnia can be caused from taking naps during the day, drinking caffeine, stress, etc. To help reduce your insomnia, stay away from drinking caffeine during the day, taking naps during the day, and try sleeping in a cool room.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZNBPZLdP2U

Have you been reinforced or punished?

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Have you ever been given money when you got good grades in school? I never did, but I know some kids do, and it seems to work. How about this, have you ever had T.V. taken away for not having your room cleaned? I know I have, and it sucks. These are examples of positive/negative reinforcement or punishment. I am going to explain to you what each of these mean.

Reinforcement is when you want an outcome to be strengthened. Positive reinforcement is when you add a stimulus to the equation to increase the outcome occurring, like the above example of your parent giving you money to keep your grades up. On the flip side, negative reinforcement is when you take something away to increase the outcome. An example of this would be allowing a child to be off of time-out when she stops crying. The parent wants to increase the act of not crying, so she takes away the time-out.

Punishment is when you want an outcome to be weakened. Positive punishment is when you add a stimulus to stop an outcome from happening. For example, a parent that gives out spankings to stop a behavior is using positive punishment, because you are adding violence or anger to stop that behavior. Negative punishment is when you take away a stimulus to stop a behavior. An example of this would be taking away a toy or something that the person desires to have in order to stop a behavior, like to stop the fighting between siblings.

One major issue of parenting is whether or not to use punishment or reinforcement. Most researchers would say that reinforcement is the way to go. Punishment has four disadvantages, according to the textbook: "1. Punishment tells the organism only what not to do, not what to do, 2. Punishment often creates anxiety, 3. Punishment may encourage subversive behavior , 4. Punishment from parents may provide a model for children's aggressive behavior" (Lilienfeld, 215). However, we should not only resort to reinforcement, we should use punishment sparingly, and use it when it is consistent follows undesired behavior quickly, not delayed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_9ZZaPDtPk&feature=related
This video shows examples of reinforcement and punishment.

False Testimony

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Chapter 7 included a topic about how the memory makes tons of errors. I found this really interesting, especially on the subject of false testimony. False testimony is when someone mistakenly reports someone as being the criminal when they aren't. There are several reasons why this happens. One is because people are more focused on the weapon, their fear and the situation than the face of their attacker. Another is that it can be harder to remember a person of a different race or if they only got a short glimpse of them.
According to the text, 255 prisoners have been victims of false testimony because their DNA didn't match the DNA in the crime. Many more have probably been victims of this but they were not acquitted. Because this is a big issue in our legal system, it seems odd that they would not wait until thorough evidence had been provided, including matching DNA testing.
Fortunately, the courts have taken steps against this by using psychology. By changing the way that victims of crimes try to identify their attacker, they can improve their accuracy. If the victim views the potential people one by one instead of in a lineup, they improve the accuracy.
In an article from the Houston Chronicle, it cited two examples of men who had been wrongly convicted of crimes, bud hadn't been released until much later (19 and 27 years served in prison). The article goes on to discuss that false testimony is far too common.
http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/False-witness-Mistaken-eyewitness-testimony-is-1609181.php
It is my hope that the courts will continue to take into account the lapses and changes in the human brain, and make steps to eliminate false testimony altogether.

Does Classical Conditioning Really Works?

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Before reading chapter six, I didn't know that the topic learning can be so complex. In chapter six, it talked about different kinds of studies that happened in order to study learning. Out of all the studies, the one study that really grabbed my attention was Pavlov's studies with his dogs.

In Pavlov's study, he discovered that paring a neutral stimulus with a stimulus that creates a response, over time the neutral stimulus itself will cause the subject to respond. Pavlov demonstrated this using dogs. Pavlov used the sound of metronome as a neutral stimulus and food as the other stimulus because food causes salivation in the dogs. Pavlov presented the food and the sound of the metronome over a series of time, of course the dogs salivate. Afterwards, Pavlov presented the sounds of the metronome with out the food and the dogs also produced saliva!images.jpg

In Pavlov's studies, the metronome served as the conditioned stimulus. A conditioned stimulus is a neutral stimulus that is paired with a stimulus that creates automatic response and over time the conditioned stimulus causes the subject to response. The food presented to the dog, on the other hand, is the unconditioned stimulus. An unconditioned stimulus is a stimulus that produces an automatic response. The saliva of the dogs in this study served as the unconditioned response and also the conditioned response. An unconditioned response is an automatic response to unconditioned stimulus and conditioned response is the response that was created after the unconditioned stimulus and the conditioned stimulus were paired together.

Today, Pavlov's study is known as classical conditioning. Classical conditioning really interest me and I wanted to classical conditioning worked with my own two eyes.

So, I decided to try classical conditioning my brother. I used knocking on the table as my conditioned stimulus and tickling him as my unconditioned stimulus because tickling him causes him to be jumpy. My brother being jumpy is the unconditioned response. First, I knock on the table and then tickle him about ten times with about two to three minutes of interval time between. Then the eleventh time, I just knocked on the table and he jumped and moved away from me! My brother jumping and moving away from me is the conditioned response to my study. I was amazed by how classical conditioning works on even a simple knocking and tickling experiment!

Sources:
Psychology text book (Psychology from Inquiry to Understanding)

Is There a Critical Period in Learning Language?

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Is there a Critical Period to Learn Language?

Over many years, psychologists have been fascinated with language and its components. Learning language is one of the more complex parts to research and discover how our brains develop parts of a language. One of the widely recognized debates to learning a language is the critical period hypothesis. The hypothesis states that learning language is biologically linked to age, and there is a "critical period," in which one must learn in the window of time, otherwise acquisition of language after this ideal window will be difficult and never develop correctly.
There are not very many examples of widely accepted evidence to support or deny the hypothesis, but one of the best examples comes from feral children. One such feral child is Genie, a remarkably tragic case study. Genie spent the first twelve years of her life locked in her bedroom, with little to none language development. She was kept tied to a potty chair, and when she attempted to speak, her father growled at her or beat her to keep her quiet. By the time she was rescued, Genie's vocabulary amounted to twenty words.
With the help of psychologists and therapists, Genie was able to develop some communication skills and could verbalize her thoughts with adults she was familiar with. However, after failed foster homes and finally being placed into a special care home, Genie's skills regressed and no longer communicated. After seven years, it was deemed she had never really learned these communication skills.
Although the case of Genie and other feral children can provide insight and possible support into the critical period hypothesis, it still cannot be falsified or replicated, due to the unethical conditions. One day, it is hoped for, that psychologists will be able to discover if those first few years of life are really as important to learn as we think.

Genie's story http://youtu.be/bWzO8DtRd-s

Chunking: A Helpful Memory Technique

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Prior to reading chapter seven of our textbook, I never realized that there is a name for that 'thing' I always do when I need to memorize information. Everybody's done it: a silly game of sorts where you group together words, letters, or other bits of information to memorize something as a whole. It makes our lives a bit easier. I never knew there was a name for it: chunking!

I wonder how effective it would be to use chunking with learning a new language. Could a method be created for chunking together a bunch of foreign words and somehow memorizing them by using English, or would that be more along the lines of using the Keyword Method? Perhaps the two techniques could be combined to create a new method of memorization.

While chunking is said to be effective for brief periods of time, I wonder how we may effectively transfer this method so that it sticks in our long-term memory. Even if you rehearse the chunks of information created repeatedly in your head, it seems that it is easier to recall the information later on. I suppose by using encoding and rehearsal repeatedly, the chunking would 'stick in your memory'. What do you think?

Above is a link to a Youtube video about chunking. This video explains in a simple manner the way in which chunking functions, and it gives an interesting array of suggestions for its usage. Who would have thought to use chunking while performing a simple task such as grocery shopping?!

50 First Dates & Short-Term Memory Loss

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Short term memory loss, described in the book as the memory system that retains information for limited durations. The durations usually last about 20 seconds, but can also last throughout the day or week. There are different interferences, like retroactive and proactive, which describe the loss of short-term memory due to new information coming into the brain, and pushing out the old information, or new information getting confused with the old information. While damage to your short-term isn't deadly, the results usually bring about a harder time functioning in society.

This youtube video is a clip from the movie 50 First Dates, starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. In the movie, Lucy (Barrymore) was in a car accident and suffered brain damage. She can no longer retain any long term information. In the movie, they describe her as being able to remember things during the day, but at night her slate is wiped clean, and she forgets everything for the next day. Because of this, her father and brother Doug, have her believe that its the day of her accident (almost a year before the present time in the movie) day after day. She wakes up thinking its her father's birthday of the year before, reads the specially-made paper, and goes to her usually Sunday breakfast. Henry falls in love with her, and gets her to fall in love with him, day after day.

The morning before this scene, Henry has shown Lucy a video of her life since the accident, and informs her of her brain damage and short-term memory loss. She demands that they go to the hospital, where the doctor (Dan Aykroyd) explains the damage to her temporal lobe. The scar tissue is impairing her from turning her short-term memory, into long term memory. He tells her she has a disease called Goldfield Syndrome, which does not actually exist. Lucy takes things well, and decides to start keeping a journal of everything that happens day-to-day.

Also in this scene, the doctor introduces the characters to "Ten-Second Tom" a man who suffers from even worse short-term memory than Lucy. He was in an accident, and can only recall information for 10 seconds, before his slate is wiped clean. This relates incredibly with the video we watched in class. The musician who lost his short-term memory. He would write in his journal every time he thought he was "awake," and would ignore his previous writings, claiming that they didn't count since he wasn't conscious.

While Tom's condition is incredibly real outside the movie realm, as seen in the video in class. I have to wonder if Lucy's condition could actually happen, or has actually happened. Since short-term memory is only supposed to last about 20 seconds, then is converted to long-term memory, according to our textbook, I know there are things that I have remembered for a week, or for a night, to prepare for a test, but then could not remember that thing a month later. Is there another form of short-term memory that lasts longer?

-Sam Peters, section 18

False memories and misinformation effect

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In chapter 7 while Reading about memory, I found it interesting when the author talked about the misinformation effect. This effect happens when we are presented with misleading information about an event that creates a false memory. I think this topic is very interesting because if creating false memories is that easy, I wonder how much of our memory and the way we think is fictitious. I have no idea how or if that could ever be measured but for all we know, most of our memory of the way people act, events that happened a long time ago, or how we learned something could not be what we think they are. Or our memory could be impaired because we guess on many things we are unsure of? I think have more research done on this topic is important for understanding how we act and respond to certain things.
An example of misinformation effect and creating false memories is the one we had read for discussion about Paul Ingram. A completely innocent man believed he himself raped his daughters repeatedly; he believed from what others were saying that he was guilty of being an abusive father. He got so confused and didn't know what memory was real and what one was fiction that he testified guilty. Here is a link to the article on what happened to him and even the aftermath of everything. If people know now he is innocent, I don't understand why he is still in jail. It makes you wonder how much damage can be done with false memories and misguided truth.

Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism

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Over the past few years there has been a large increase in the awareness about autism in the United States. More specifically, people have been trying to find ways to help people who have autism be able to live more normal lives. The Applied Behavior Analysis method has been trying to help autistic people develop normal social skills by using operant conditioning. Applied Behavior Analysis relies heavily on shaping and giving food as reinforcement to children with autism as they learn how to use their words in meaningful ways, and to make sentences.

This video is of a child who is going through Applied behavior Analysis treatment for his autism. The child is shown cards of objects and has to point to the card that has picture pertaining to the question that the teacher asks, such as point to the picture of something you wear. When the child picks the rights picture he is rewarded with candy. Applied Behavior analysis works because the child is being rewarded for using language and eventually making sentences. The instructor also uses techniques to keep the child focused and engaged by having him look at her and count to three.

Applied Behavior Analysis is important because it helps children with autism enhance their communication skills and be able to live a more normal life. Applied Behavior Analysis uses positive reinforcement to reward children for using good communication skills and for putting together meaningful sentences.

Flashbulb Memory: What Really Happened

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When reading Chapter 7 I was very interested in the idea of memory and how it works. Although all of the sections really intrigued me the one concept that really stood out to me was flashbulb memory. Flashbulb memory is emotional memories from past events that seem extremely vivid and detailed in our minds, almost as if they happened yesterday, yet in reality they usually are not as accurate as we think.

I think that this idea is very important because it shows us how even though we may think we remember an event perfectly clear, we may be surprised that it could actually just be the work of our imagination and may not always want to be so confident about it. A real life example of flashbulb memory is people's memories of 9/11, or any traumatic event for that matter, and how they seem to remember precise details such as where they were when it happened, when in reality they usually are wrong.

This You Tube video helps further explain peoples false memories of 9/11 and helps us understand that although we truly do believe that's what happened, our memory may be flawed. It explains how during an emotional event different parts of our brains are working and are so focused on the actual event itself, we are more unaware of our other surroundings. One thing that I am still wondering about is how are we able to create such a real and detailed picture in our brain and completely convince ourselves of what happened, when nothing of the sort actually occurred.

You Tube Video:

Can twins really develop their own language?

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ERETTHFPbM&feature=related (4:19-4:45)

Many people believe that twins can do incredible things like speak to each other through thoughts (telepathy). The clip above is from a 1995 movie called Escape to Witch Mountain. In this movie, twins Danny and Anna have extraordinary, yet extremely exaggerated powers like telepathy and the ability to move things with their mind (as well as a mysterious purple light that emits from their hands). We know that feats such as these are not possible, but what about a secret language between twins?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JmA2ClUvUY

Here we see two twin boys who seem to be carrying on a conversation in their own type of made up, baby language. Can we really prove that there is no meaning to what they are saying? According to the Lilienfeld text, no such language exists between twins. When we see videos like the one above (video 2) it is actually the act of the children attempting to use language to communicate, but with poor articulation and pronunciation errors. One type of common "second language" is called a shared understanding. This is when twins are able to interpret the others immature, unclear, or imperfect speech. People often interpret this as a secret twin language because the children themselves are usually able to understand each other before you can. This type of babbling (made up words and phrases) is recognizable to the other child and therefore they may respond as if there is a solid point of communication (Tinglof). In some cases, twins may have a longer time in developing full range of speech because of the shared communication impairments. Thankfully for parents, "twin talk" only sticks around for a short period of time while the child is still learning their native language.

While it is shown that twins do not develop their own language, it is safe to say that the relationship created between twins start very early on in a child's development. It is this phenomenon of "twin talk" that connects and bonds the siblings together for the rest of their lives.

Citations

Tinglof, Christina Baglivi. "Double Talk: Do Your Twins Share a Secret Language?" Twin Pregnancy, Twin Bond, Twins in School: Talk About Twins. Talk About Twins, 2011. Web. 20 Oct. 2011. http://www.talk-about-twins.com/html/double_talk___do_your_twins_sp.html

Mnemonic Devices

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Mnemonic devices are a type of memory aid. They are a way of encoding information in an easy to remember construct. Mnemonic devices can be used to remember anything. There are many types of mnemonic devices. Some include: acronyms, acrostic, method of Loci, and the peg system. Acronyms are made up of taking the first letter of each word or phrase you are trying to remember and making a new word from those letters. An example of this would be, NEWS. NEWS is an acronym for the directions on a compass; north, east, west, south. Acrostics are created by making a full sentence using the first letter of each word as indicators for the words you are trying to remember. An example of an acrostic would be, "My very energetic mother just served us nine pizzas." This acrostic is used to remember the planets. The method of Loci uses visualization of places to recall information. An example of this would be linking something you want to remember with a location you know well. This place will later cue you what you needed to remember. The peg system is a mnemonic device used commonly to memorize lists of things. An example of this would be remembering 1 and gun, later associating the first thing on a list fired from a gun. Second, remembering 2 and zoo, associating the second thing on a list and a zoo. This can go on and on. As I said before, mnemonic devices can be used to remember anything.

I have even used mnemonic devices as a short cut to recall things. I recently have used an acrostic mnemonic device in my psychology class, in order to remember the six principles of scientific thinking. The sentence I used to remember this was, "Rival causes falsify repeated claims (Mr.) Occam." I have found that mnemonic devices are a very important type of memory aid. They may not help you understand the material you are studying, but they do help you remember key words or phrases quickly and easily.

Here is an example of an acrostic mnemonic device used to remember the alphabet.
alphabet.png

Mnemonics

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A mnemonic device is a learning aid, strategy, or device that enhances recall. Often times, mnemonic devices can help with studying, remembering a list, or specific information. For example, many children learn their ABC's through a mnemonic device, such as singing. The reason why mnemonics are used is because they help us remember memories in a way that makes them easier to recall. Frequently people use virtual recall boosters such create lists, writing appointments on a calender or portable computer to help us remember things. Mnemonic devices work so well because they are based on internal mental strategies, mainly strategies we use during encoding that help us later retrieve useful information. In school, we use mnemonic devices more than that catches the eye. Mnemonic devices could be the proper order of mathematical operation, rhymes for the months of the year, ROYGBIV-for the rainbow, and every good boy does fine ( EGBDF) for the treble clef. We can use mnemonic devices for just about everything. The names of the planets, elements on the periodic table, and the bones in your body are all ways you could use mnemonic devices to help yourself memorize and recall the information needed. Because of these mental shortcuts, we are able to recall information that we have already learned and discussed.

Here are an example of 9 different types of mnemonics-
http://www.learningassistance.com/2006/january/mnemonics.html

examples of a mnemonic
http://www.fun-with-words.com/mnem_example.html


Classical Conditioning

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Classical Conditioning
Classical conditioning is when we experience a stimulus and respond to it and eventually stop responding to the stimulus after the repeated exposure to it. It was discovered by Ivan Pavlov who repeatedly paired a neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus. He tested this theory on dogs in his laboratory.

Classical conditioning begins with a neutral stimulus that doesn't create a response and then pairs a neutral stimulus repeatedly with an unconditioned stimulus (stimulus that creates an automatic reflexive response) the end result is a conditioned response to a stimulus.

The components of Classical Conditioning:

1. Unconditioned stimulus - stimulus creates an automatic response
2. Unconditioned response- automatic response to non-neutral stimulus that doesn't need to be learned
3. Conditioned stimulus- initially neutral stimulus that comes to create a response due to association with unconditioned stimulus
4. Conditioned response- response previously associated with a non-neutral stimulus through conditioning

This idea is important because it is used as a form of learning, first in animals and later followed by humans. Learning is a change is an organism's behavior and classical conditioning is what some people believe to think how we acquire all of our knowledge. "The most basic type of learning is associative learning or making a new association between events in the environment" (Classical). Demonstrating things as simple as tying our shoes to more advanced things like driving a car require learning. Learning is a key aspect in our lives and can be done through classical conditioning.

Real Life Application:
Classical Conditioning can be seen in our lives when it comes to trying new foods. If one tries a new food and then gets sick after they tried it, people tend to not like that food anymore because they think they will feel nauseous after eating that food every time or even smelling it.

Here is an experiment using classical conditioning:

Youtube Video


Work Cited

"Classical Conditioning (Pavlov)." Learning Theories. 2008. Web. 18 Oct. 2011. .

Does microwave compromise the structure of the water?

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Lots of us have already received an e-mail that states that microwave compromise the structure or the energy of the water. According to this e-mail a woman have made the following experiment to prove it: she took filtered water and divided it into two parts. The first part she heated to boiling in a pan on the stove, and the second part she heated to boiling in a microwave. Then after cooling she used the water to water two identical plants to see if there would be any difference in the growth between the normal boiled water and the water boiled in a microwave. She demonstrates some pictures that saws that the plant which was watering with microwaved water stopped growing and finally died although the other plant with the purified water kept growing.

This claim is not supported well by scientific evidence as other experiments, which have been taken place in more controled manner, have already falsified it, demonstrating that there is no significant difference to the plant's growth between the normal boiled water and the water boiled in a microwave. Of course for the results of the first experiment could be some other more simple explanations: the plants may were not identical that's why they had completely different growth or the container used to store or boil the microwaved water could have introduced a residual substance into the water that hindered plant growth (occam's razor and ruling out rival hypotheses). Since the experiment was not conducted "blindly", the possibility that the experimenter is some way influenced the results cannot be ruled out.


http://www.snopes.com/science/microwave/plants.asp

When do we become self-aware?

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This video really caught my attention. Even with my lack of time I couldn't help but watch the whole video, the human mind is incredible. The man in this video went to a number of experts, to dig into the truth about the mind. He even found that while a person is in a vegetated state, the scans as a healthy average person are the same when they are asked to imagine playing tennis. This was just one of the amazing things he discovers in the video. The question I am explaining from this video is, "when do we become self-aware?". This video was very interesting and explained some of the phenomena of the human mind that we tend to under appreciate. In order to discover whether someone is self aware or not they use what is called, the mirror recognition test. This test consists of placing a dot onto a child's face then placing them in front of a mirror. If they child immediately recognizes that the dot is there and moves there had to touch it, the child is thought to be self-aware. The first time they tested a little boy and he did not notice the dot. The second time they tested it on a little girl who immediately recognized and removed the dot, passing the test and presumably considered to be self-aware. They concluded that in humans between the ages of 18-24 months we become self-aware. They also have tested this mirror recognition test on many animals and have found that the only ones with ability to pass it were chimpanzees and orangutans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Biv_8xjj8E

Swallowed Lipstick: Extraordinary Claims

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It has been long thought of that women consume six pounds of lipstick in their life times. It has even been in various articles and magazines, when in fact, this theory is completely false. The articles claim that it is a fact but all the articles have a different amount stated, amounts varying from three to ten pounds. Approximately 151.2 tubes of lipstick add up to a pound, which means, a woman would have to eat hundreds of full tubes of lipstick ranging for 454 to 1,512 tubs to amount anything close to that supposed "statistic". Scientist have determined that for a woman to consume just 3 ounces she would have to apply at least 410 coats of lipstick. This myth is a very good example of one of the six principles, extraordinary claims. Whenever we evaluate a psychological claim, we should ask ourselves whether this claim runs counter to many things we know already. So with this claim, it is necessary to realize how much six pounds of lipstick really is. There is no well-supported evidence of this claim of consuming six pounds of lipstick in a lifetime, however there is evidence against it. The evidence is nowhere near as strong as the claim. Therefore, when coming upon claims similar to this lipstick example, we should use scientific skepticism, meaning to stay open minded but to find persuasive evidence before accepting the claim entirely. Scientific skepticism is the best way to not let yourself be fooled into believe a false claim.

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

Sleep Disorders

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Importance of Sleep Disorder

Definition: A sleep disorder is a medical disorder regards to the sleep patterns of a human or animal. Sleep disorders come in various forms. Some include insomnia, narcolepsy and sleep apnea.

Insomnia: difficulty falling and staying asleep

Narcolepsy: disorder characterized by the rapid and unexpected onset of sleep

Sleep Apnea- disorder caused by a blockage of airway during sleep, resulting in daytime fatigue

Importance:
This idea is important because it allows humans to understand what is going on with their bodies and have a sense of knowledge as to why they wake up extremely tired and sometimes don't understand why. In addition, the concept of sleep disorders is important because once we know what is happening within our body, we can find a way to treat it and continue a life of normalcy.
Related to Life:
My aunt recently found that she had sleep apnea, a disorder caused by a blockage of the airway during sleep. Before she knew she had this sleep disorder, she couldn't figure out why she would be so tired during the day. She went to bed at a decent hour and woke up with about 8 hours of sleep. Through the observation of her husband, at night he would hear her stop breathing for short periods of time. This was concerning to him as he knew it wasn't right for a person to stop breathing during sleep. My aunt finally went to the doctor and took a sleep test to see if that would solve anything. It was here that she found out she had sleep apnea.
Once her sleep study was over, the doctor had some options available to her that would help with this sleep disorder. Now, she wears a mask at night which helps her sleep with more ease and is less tired during the day. Because she found out that she had a sleep disorder, she was able to seek treatment and is now able to live life without being so tired. As we all know, when we're tired, we tend to get absolutely nothing accomplished. That's how she felt about 100% of the time, unaccomplished. Finding out about sleep apnea has changed her life for the better.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmA3C1pqcHQ&feature=fvst

Naive Realism

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Concept: Naïve Realism

Naïve Realism is the belief that humans see the world just as it is or that "seeing is believing". We tend to trust our perceptions of the world for what they are.
Chapter 1, page 5
This concept is important because it points out that we are not always right when we use, what we think to be, our common sense. The following youtube video does a good job of explaining that what we see isn't always the right answer. If "seeing is believing" was how we lived life, there would be a lot of problems and science would lose significance.
Often times we, as humans, rely on our common sense, and we can't live by our common sense alone. Sometimes we can get by on just common sense, but we need facts to back up our decisions and ideas other times. Humans rely on common sense because they are prone to naive realism. The use of common sense or Naïve Realism, tends to make humans write things off such as "psychology being easier than physics, chemistry, biology, or most other sciences" (Lilienfeld 5) because we think that is the most logical conclusion based on other common knowledge we have accumulated over time.
Real Life Example:
An example of this would be when one fills a glass with water half way. There would appear to be a glass that is partially filled with water and we are commonly asked whether the glass is half empty or half full. People tend to pick one answer or the other based on the sight of the glass being half filled. The real answer to this question is that the glass is completely full. Based on knowledge from chemistry, one should know that there is air that occupies the space that is not occupied by water. Naïve realism comes into play in this situation because we used our common sense to come up with an answer that made sense based on what we saw. Science and facts should back our answers to make more accurate conclusions.

Limited Perception
This youtube video explains that our common sense or naïve realism tells us that there is a half a glass of water, but science or the facts tell us that the glass is completely full with both water and air. The guy in this video is trying to make a point saying that we believe what is seen or what makes sense to us, but seeing isn't always believing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqpHbIry4I8

Sensation & Perception (YAN LI)

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Psy 1001

According to the "Sensation & Perception " chapter, I got the idea of "sensation" which indicate the detection of physical energy by sense organs which send messages to brain , and the definition of "perception" which refer to the brain's interpretation of raw sensory inputs.

As far as I am concerned , we can view the "sensation & perception" process by the following way :as one stimuli reach the JND, the sense organ detect the stimuli by vision , audition , touch , smell, or taste this process is so called " sensation" , and these five way to detect stimuli is called the five sense.After the receiving process finished , the sense organ convert these external energy or substance into electrical activity within neuron(this process is recognized as transduction). And our brain can perceive the information through the transduction, which is so called "perception".

There is some evidence to support my opinion:
http://www.metacafe.com/videos_about/sense_organ/

There are several examples in my daily life persuade me believe this theory , I would like to pick some typical one to talk about . when I see the food , I will smell the spice of the food , then , I will touch my stomach and think : I want to eat it . when I touch the water in the sink , I can feel the temperature of the water and to decide if I can put my towel into the water and use the water to wash my face. According to my experience , I can tell it is true that I need to sense the external stimuli first and think in order to make decision.

Well , there is one thing that I have mentioned above ---JND , the smallest change in the intensity of stimuli that we can detect , which bring out one idea that the sense organ can detect the stimuli only the stimuli reach one fixed intensity . for example , the sound of mosquito is really exist but human can hardly sense it , cause the frequency of the sound can not evoke enough intensity to let people's sense organ to detect.

There is a link to tell us the exact and accurate definition of Just Noticeable Difference :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-noticeable_difference

There are some videos can show the JND and to prove my hypothesis.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAnMJOAbzEs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kepd6JOwswU

DEJA VU: SCIENTIFIC OR NON-SCIENTIFIC

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bstn2312.jpg

Deja vu is actually quite common subject which is french for "already seen". It refers to the feeling of having experienced a new situation before. In my lifetime, I have experienced Deja Vu many times. For example, I feel like I know the place since it has appeared in my dream at least once. Even though I have never been there before. I also had an experience that I familiar with a stranger as if we had met before. Moreover, sometimes, I have a feeling that what I am saying and doing having been said and done before.
What is "Deja Vu?" The textbook says that "an excess of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the temporal lobes may play a role in Deja Vu." It may be the closest scientific explaination, but there is still no definite answer for Deja Vu.
Some philosophers say that Deja Vu is simply your memory of a previous life. It can be explained by spirit, parapsychology, dreams and reincarnation. For instance, Deja Vu can be described as "remembering of future." Philosophy identifies that we are more than phsical body; we are body, mind, soul and spirit. Spirit has the ability to be in more than one time and place. " Sometimes the spirit pat jumps ahead a couple of seconds. Information is passed back." (Angel, 2007) Therefore, when we encounter the same event in real time, the mind recognizes the event as having already been experienced. Deja Vu is also related to past-life memories or the memory of dreams. Moreover, Deja Vu may be caused by out-of-body experiences (OBEs). It is possible that individuals have visited places during sleep because the sense of consciousness leaving the body. In conclusion, those explainations are unfalsifiable. They are just outside the boundaries of science (Stevenson, 1960).
Both scientific and non-scientific explainations about Deja Vu experiences are valuable because most of us have experienced Deja Vu; those explainations can improve that we are not mental unbalanced.

Déjà Vu

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"I feel like I've been here" or" I remember I've done" or "I think I've seen it before but not sure when" - have you had these moments? I have, even more than once. Nothing is wrong with having this experience. We're just having déjà vu experiences. There is not an exact answer why we experience it. It may be that a present experience resembles an earlier one or a memory from a past life. This is a still mysterious unproven scientific question. The term was introduced by a French psychic Emile Boirac in her "The Future of Psychic Sciences". There are so many theories that try to explain the experience. Early 1884, it was explained as one hemisphere of the brain received information a split second earlier than the other half. English research Frederic Myers explained it as the subconscious mind registered information sooner than the conscious mind. Some of the scientists say it's a result of precognitive experiences. Also, it's been explained in a religious way, such as a memory from a previous life in Buddhism. We still don't have the right answer. The closest is mentioned in the textbook. According to the book, an excess of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the temporal lobes play a role in this experience. However, it continues being an attractive topic in psychological and the real world.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/5041824/Deja-vu-and-Precognition
http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/extrasensory-perceptions/deja-vu.htm

deja vu.jpg

Hypnosis

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Hypnosis is a mental state or imaginative role-enactment induced by hypnotic induction which is a series of instructions and suggestions for relaxation and calmness. Hypnosis can be induced by a hypnotist or it can be self-induced. The use of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes is called hypnotherapy and use of hypnosis for entertainment purposes is called stage hypnosis. There are many myths about hypnosis such as: hypnosis produces a state in which amazing things happen. Movies, shows, and other media shows us that people who are hypnotized do crazy things but that's all purely entertainment. People who volunteer to be hypnotized in a show are prone to do crazy things with the intention of entertaining the crowd.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Recently I went to the Renaissance Festival and was hypnotized while watching a hypnosis show. Previous to being hypnotized I thought that hypnosis was fake but after I realized that it isn't fake it just isn't exactly what people think it is. You don't lose control or become out of touch, you simply just slip into a state of total relaxation while still being conscious and because of that state of relaxation you may be more prone to do things your asked. I think that the hypnosis made me much calmer and relieved some stress.

Why should we care about hypnosis? Because hypnosis is a legitimate form of therapy and could be effectively used to relieve stress and could be used for other therapeutic purposes.

Lucid Dreaming

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Lucid Dreaming

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Ethics in Psychology

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What is psychology? As we have learned in this class, it is the scientific study of the mind, brain, and behavior of human beings. Also, we've learned many ways of researching and studying to reach this ambitious goal. With the great contribution of many intelligent and determined researchers, the field of psychology is where it is today. We know so much about why we think the way we think, why our brains work the way they do, and why we do the things we do. Probably, a century ago, psychologists would have never guessed any of the answers we have today. Through many creative researches, we've found the theories and concepts that we know today. However, when do we cross the line? When does it go too far? Even it's with a good intention, researchers must keep their research study in the ethical boarder. Whatever the research hypothesis is and wherever the result might lead to, a research cannot be performed in any way that could hurt and abuse the participants. Ethical guidelines must be concerned as the first priority. One research that omitted the ethicality is Stanford Prison Experiment. The experiment was conducted 14 - 20 August 1971 by a team of Stanford researchers to study the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard. Participants were all college students. Even though it was planned for last two weeks, it ended after six days. The students who randomly selected to be prisoners was abused violently and believed that we were real prisoners. They reached the psychological level where they were unable to distinguish the experiment and the reality. According to the official website, "Our guards became sadistic and our prisoners became depressed and showed signs of extreme stress."


Prison

Everything has to have a boundary!!!

Circadian Rhythm

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The Circadian Rhythm can generally be called the cycle of everyday life. This rhythm is the combination of all the changes that occur on a 24-hour basis in many of our biological processes. These include hormone release, brain waves, body temperature, alertness, appetite, and drowsiness.
The 20,000 neurons in the hypothalamus are responsible for making us feel drowsy during lecture times and other various parts of the day. At night we feel sleepier because the hormone melatonin is released, which triggers increased drowsiness after dark.
A Circadian Rhythm sleep disorder exists as part of a family of various sleep disorders. People with this disorder can't sleep and wake up in normal times for work, school, and social events. Dictated by their body clocks, these people usually get enough sleep if allowed the time. The quality of the sleep is equivalent to a person without the disorder.
There are two subscripts of this disorder, extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic includes jet lag and things such as night shifts. An extrinsic disorder is caused by external influences. Intrinsic disorders are further divided into four subscripts. One of them seems to fit the description of many college students, including myself. DSPS stands for Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. It is characterized by a later than normal timing of sleep and a period of peak alertness during the middle of the night. With all of this reading and blogging, I'm sure I'm not the only one experiencing this syndrome.
People with various sleep disorders such as this one should seek treatment and try to restore their natural Circadian Rhythm.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WOCoGutTKc

The Real Rain Man

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Many people have seen the 1980's Dustin Hoffman hit Rain Man. In this movie, Dustin Hoffman plays a character with a rare form of autism where he is known as a "savant". Savantism is when the autistic person excels beyond regular standards in a given area. The most famous case (the one in which Rain Man is actually based on) is about a man by the name of Kim Peek. Unlike Dustin Hoffman's character, however, Kim Peek had FG syndrome, not autism. FG syndrome is a sex-linked mental illness that can affect the individual much more than autism.In Peek's case, in resulted in a damaged cerebellum, which explains why he learned to walk so late, and why his physical dexterity was so limited. Furthermore, his hemisphere's lack the fibrous connectors that are collectively known as the corpus collosum. This is very strange because it makes one wonder if it is connected to his savantism in some way. He had the ability to recall 12,000 (yes, twelve-thousand) entire books from memory with 98% accuracy. He also had the incredible ability to read two pages of a book at the same time, using an eye for each page. This takes him about 10 seconds. It's very interesting because the information entering his left and right visual fields is not being shared between the hemispheres. This raises the question: is it possible that his brain has a speech are in the left AND right hemisphere? Due to this mystery surrounding savants, and their inexplicable proficiency in different areas, our fascination with these prodigous few will probably never wane.

Kim Peek:
http://www.mymultiplesclerosis.co.uk/misc/kimpeek.html

Another Interesting Savants....
Daniel Tammet (math genius, has personalities for numbers):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Tammet

Derek Paravicini (blind, musical prodigy. perfectly recites complex pieces after hearing once and never forgets them):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Paravicini

What is conciousness??

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Biv_8xjj8E&feature=player_embedded
47:53-end
In this segment Marcus de Sautoy looks at the question who "I" is and what consciousness really means. He is tested to see what portions of his brain are active when he makes a decision. The test concluded that he could tell what decision de Sautoy was going to make a whole 6 seconds before he was even away that he made a decision! So the scientist was concious of the choice before de Sautoy himself was! WHAT?!!? that's so crazy! There are so many factors that go into "conscious thought" it's such a confusing mix of biology and free will. Research has really come a long way in recent decades. It is a very recent question to be asking so there isn't a lot of conclusive research(will there ever really be conclusive research???) The brain is such a facinating thing and there is so much we still don't know! How can someone know by looking at a computer what decision you are going to make before you know youself??! If that's true then are you really making it or is your brain just deciding for you. I think it has to be both, you're brain is yours so your beliefs and ideologies are centralized in your brain and your thoughts so it has to be a combanation of both!

Meth

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Why is meth so bad? The devil made it. And because it messes with your dopamine and makes you a fiend. When you take Methamphetamine your brain releases large amounts of dopamine. The dopamine is then taken by receptors but there is excess dopamine in the synaptic gap. When the dopamine is being collected back up, the meth molecules are brought back along with excess dopamine. Meth works as an antagonist and takes up areas that dopamine should be picked up. When the excess dopamine is left in the synaptic cleft, your levels of dopamine drop sharply, rendering the user an addict for life in exaggerated terms.

Lucid Dreaming

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Can we control our dreams? Is there a way to take control of what we dream about? Many people, including the man in the following video, have seemed to gain complete control of their dreams through Lucid Dreaming:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeEp9CRO3ds

Lucid dreaming is the act of actively participating in your dream. It is when you realize you're in a dream and you're able to control it. In order to achieve the goal of lucid dreaming, you need to train yourself to be good at it. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years to master the art of lucid dreaming. Some people, however, may never be able to have a lucid dream. During a lucid dream, you become aware that you are not awake and you can actively participate in your dream and manipulate situations. Having the power to manipulate your dream lets you do anything you want. If you want to be a gorilla, then you can be a gorilla. It gives you the opportunity to do the impossible.

I think lucid dreaming is important because it has been proven to reduce the frequency of nightmares and other things related to a high level of anxiety. If you are able to control your dreams, you can potentially avoid dreaming about things that cause an individual anxiety or stress. A great example of lucid dreaming is the movie Inception. In the movie, the main goal of the characters is to enter other people's dreams to manipulate the outcome. While in the dreams, they are aware that they are not awake (but they do have to keep a special item to let them know it isn't reality). Even though entering other people's dreams has not yet been achieved, it proves how manipulation of dreams can cause an individual to potentially make a decision based on what they dreamed. Lucid dreaming can give an individual to make the impossible, possible...at least while sleeping.

The Beneficial uses of Higher Order Conditioning

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Imagine being a child again. When you threw a temper tantrum, you were punished with a timeout. From this experience you learned, maybe after a few times, not to throw this kind of fit. This is an example of Higher Order conditioning. Higher Order conditioning is defined in our textbook as developing a conditioned response to a conditioned stimulus by virtue of its association with another conditioned stimulus. This is, more simply put, learning from experiences. Higher Order Conditioning is an extremely important concept to understand and can be applied to scientific advances as well as everyday lesson learning.
Higher order conditioning should be focused upon while raising children. It is a very affective way to teach children right from wrong. For example, giving a child a piece of candy after their first time using the toilet will remind them, hopefully, to repeat this behavior in the future. Thus, teaching the child a life long, necessary lesson. This sort of lesson teaching effectively uses the way the brain naturally learns. This conditioning also is effective for punishment. Not giving a child what they want when they throw a screaming fit is a way to teach them that screaming is not the way to get what they want.
As we have learned from psychology lectures, higher order conditioning is very effective in understanding the way animal brains work in a lab setting. We have witnessed the way a dog's salivary gland increases production when it thinks it is going to be receiving food. This was a scientific advancement that helped us to more thouroughly understand the mind.
We must not think that higher order conditioning is flawless, however. It should not be the only test done when examining the complex machine that is the brain. We must continue to examine the positives and negatives of higher order education. Below is a video of training a dog which displays higher order conditioning in progress.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfAPyaNz0Uc

Touch and Pain

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What in our body is responsible for the sensations of pain and touch? Our nerves sense when our body parts make contact with something and transmit a signal to our spinal cord and up to our brain. The somatosensory cortex, however, is the body system that is activated upon stimuli being applied to our skin. The stimuli being applied can be very detailed, such as a blind person reading brail by feeling the pattern of each letter, or can be on a much broader scale on the body.
Specialized nerve endings, such as mechanoreceptors which are responsible for the sensation of a light touch or a deep pressure, are each sensitive to a different set of stimuli. Free nerve endings, which are far more abundant than the specialized nerve endings are responsible for the sensation of touch, temperature, and pain. There are nerve endings throughout our body, which is why we can sense things even on a small scale on any part of our skin. However there are some spots where there are far more of them in a certain area, like our fingertips, which is why we are so much more sensitive to pain, temperature, and touch on this part of our body.
Okay so now that we know how our body senses certain stimuli applied to it, how does this travel to our brain so we can perceive it? Our somatic nerves, nerves that are outside the central nervous system, transmit the information from our nerve endings to the spinal cord. Pain stimuli travels slower than touch stimuli across these nerves, which is why we feel the touch of a burning hot stove top before we feel the pain of it. Before the information of the stimuli is transmitted to the brain, it goes to the spinal cord where one can have local spinal reflexes. This is why a person would pull their hand away immediately after touching the burning hot stove.
Although the feeling of pain is not pleasant and can sometimes be intolerable, it is extremely important in which it is a way of your body letting you know something is wrong. If we could not feel pain, one would not know if they are getting frostbitten and would have their skin damaged for life. Knowing how our body senses pain is also important and helps us understand how our body works, and why certain phenomena happen, like our body feeling touch sensations before pain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_R69--wjoY

Deja Vu

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Throughout my life, I have experienced the unsettling feeling of deja vu many times. I have been in new places that I have never been to before and see images that seem familiar to me. Sometimes, I have feelings or even oddly enough smell things in my experiences of deja vu. I would say that about half the time, I can trace these experiences of deja vu back to my dreams. This is strange to me though because I usually cannot recall my dreams after I have woken up. The text associates deja vu with people who "remember their dreams, travel frequently, are young, and have liberal political and religious beliefs, a college education, and a high income". I am a young person with liberal beliefs and can sometimes remember my dreams. I however do not see how any of these qualities correlate with one having deja vu experiences.

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A study conducted in the United Kingdom by University of Leeds' Dr. Chris Moulin found that chronic deja vu exists. (I know, its difficult to believe that this could be an actual disorder.) In the study, participants with "chronic deja vu" are told to remember certain words shown to them. They are then hypnotised to forget the words and shown the same words to "induce" the feeling of deja vu. The participants are asked to recall their feeling of deja vu and if and what they can remember. I myself am skeptical of hypnosis. However, Dr. Moulin is not and believes that there may be a separate area of the brain for sensations associated with memory, separate of the contents of memory.

According to the textbook, "more than two-thirds of us have experienced at least one episode of deja vu". Due to this statement, I think that deja vu should be studied. It may well be an important part of memory or separate from it as Dr. Moulin theorizes.

Consciousness

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Since we are human being, we would have consciousness--ourselves' points towards the world, including physically and mentally experience. Mostly, we tend to focus on someone's EXPERIENCE to describe the core of consciousness. Someone's consciousness is important for me because from my point of view, consciousness can help us to gain knowledge and know self dignity. Losing consciousness can make life meaningless. However, I have question about consciousness is that whether consciousness is important to us or unconsciousness can guide us to do right things? About the importance of consciousness, we have to keep in mind that consciousness is an important part of our daily life. For example, when we are experiencing something, for example an activity, you know what you are experiencing. One of the most famous experimental psychologist and cognitive neuroscientist, Endel Tulving, he has a case that N.N., refers from Tulving's description, has lost the ability of experiencing things. In this case, N.N. had injured from a serious accident and therefore he hurt his head. Tulving pointed out that N.N. have the ability to keep memory in his head, get to know the world and keep this in mind, to express himself but "he seems to have no capability of experiencing extended subjective time" (page4). Moreover, he cannot remember any particular part from his past life. He is always spending today, cannot be aware of yesterday and tomorrow. N.N.'s consciousness has stop! He cannot experience the world properly.No experiences from yesterday, how do you spend the rest of your life? While considering this claim, consciousness is important to our daily life, I want to point out that N.N.'s case is a disprove of that people cannot lose consciousness.


Source: http://alicekim.ca/17.CanPsy85.pdf

Déjà vu

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Chances are that everyone you know has had a moment in time where they felt like they have been somewhere or seen something already but knows that there is no way that is possible. It is when you are talking to someone you've never talked to, yet you feel like somewhere, at some time, you have already met this person. This feeling is called déjà vu. This topic interests me because it is a topic that many people wonder about. Scientists through time have wondered what the cause of such instances could be, but to this day there is no scientific proof to why we experience déjà vu. Many theories have come up to why people experience déjà vu but so far they consist of ideas that cannot be backed up by simple science experiments. Some theories consider déjà vu to be a talent of psychics or that they are memories from past lives, but most scientists believe it to be familiar based recognitions, which mean that they are just similar memories that seem the same.

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As I said earlier, many people experience déjà vu on a regular basis. According to the text book, two thirds of all people experience it at some point. I personally get the feeling of thinking I've already been there or seen something at least once every two weeks. Although it is not life threatening, déjà vu is a topic that makes us question how the brain works. We should look more into déjà vu as it can open doors to how we think and how our subconscious works.
I would like to know of all the different techniques that we could use to find out what makes déjà vu happen and why it happens. Or why it happens to some people and not to others.

Sources
Lilienfeld Text
http://science.howstuffworks.com

Out-of-Body Experiences

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An out-of-body experience (OBE) is a sense of our consciousness leaving our body. OBE have been around for many many years. Many different cultures experience them and all people have different experience but the same effects.
Like it said in Lilienfeld, "About 25 percent of college students and 10 percent of the general population report having experienced one or more of them." People have described them as observing themselves while also being present and floating above themselves. Many times these occur spontaneously but some situations occur under certain drugs. like in the link that is below Charles Tart did a experiment on a women for 4 nights and ran lab test to determine what kinds of correlations they can determine during OBEs. In the experiment Dr.Tart put a different number every night somewhere in the that was a substantial distance away. And every morning Ms Z was able to tell Dr. Tart what number was in the room. I've never had a out-of-body experience but i find the experience people have very interesting. I've sill wondered why experience like this only happen to certain people and why it happens more in others. Since psychologist are still not able to identify what it is that triggers them exactly i still wonder why it happens. I still wonder why it happens and if any experience people have lead them to things of the future or past happenings.

http://www.near-death.com/tart.html

Extraordinary Claims: Lake Creature

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The Loch Ness Monster is a story that we may never figure out. Since 1933, the Loch Ness Monster was brought to people's attention, with pictures and sightings. Many people are going to Scotland to try to find the Loch Ness Monster. There have been many claims of people seeing the Loch Ness Monster, many crews have been using sonar contact to find it. In 1954 a crew found a large object, and detected it for half a mile before they lost it. All of the attempts to find the Loch Ness Monster are inconclusive or have no luck with finding anything resembling the creature. The first picture published in the newspaper was called the "Surgeon's Photograph" in 1934. It turns out that the picture was a hoax. It was actually a toy submarine with a serpent head and it was only a few feet long.
People may say many things, but we need proof to be able to know it is there. In life there are things that cannot be explained, but people still believe in it. The Scientific Principle connected with the Loch Ness Monster claim is Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The Surgeon's Photograph was the evidence that many people believed in, letting many people believe that there is a real Loch Ness Monster. After the photo was found out to be a hoax, people still believed in it because of the idea and the claims made by people who saw it, even if they had no evidence. This case has an extraordinary claim but no evidence to prove that it is real. The Loch Ness Monster is a myth, it is an extraordinary claim that has no proof. This coincides with how people think, if they are exposed to something for a long time, they try to find something that presents itself as evidence. In this case, people claim to see the Loch Ness Monster because they believe that it is there because so many other people have told them that it is.

http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/photo_database/image/the_surgeons_photo/

The Power of Pheromones

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I read an article about pheromones and found it very intriguing. Pheromones are naturally occurring, odorless chemicals in a person's body that act as a signal to members of one's same species. They are known for triggering responses and interest in people of the opposite gender. Many studies have been conducted, showing that the application of pheromones will increase one's attractiveness to people of the opposite sex. The youtube video linked below is of an experiment conducted with identical twins in a speed dating situation, showing that the twin with the pheromones on attracted a greater number of people. Further, the article that I read showed that people are attracted to like-scented people. A study was conducted with men's worn t-shirts and how attractive like-pheromone women found their shirts. It showed a positive correlation between men with similar pheromones as the women that were attracted to the scent of their shirts.
Applying pheromones has been proven to not only attract the opposite gender, but also to increase the happiness and libido of people who are deprived. This was discussed in the article, exemplified through an experiment with a deprived woman who applied pheromones each day and noticed a change in herself. So it has obviously been proven that pheromones can strongly affect a person, but I wonder if perfume can have a similar affect. I have heard that people often choose scents that reflect their own natural scent....how is this connected to pheromones? Do some perfume makers concoct scents to reflect one's pheromones?
Article: http://www.perriconemd.com/category/dr.+perricone/case+studies/pheromones.do
YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m66q0bAWEpI

Sleepwalking

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http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Tg1Dhr8kbc8/TJ0Gh5DiqNI/AAAAAAAAAxQ/PqxlF2AViZc/s400/sleepwalking.gif

Adults and children worldwide suffer from sleep disorders night after night. Some disorders are quite serious and require more attention than others, for example, patients suffering with Nacolepsy will be administered Provigil to reduce attacks. Sleepwalking, however, affects all ages and is considered typically to be a harmless sleep disorder. Sleepwalking is simply what it appears to be, walking while fully asleep. Well within a person's third and fourth stage of sleep, they begin to circle their surroundings, normally engaging in little to no activity. Although rare, sleepwalkers can participate in dangerous activity, such as, climbing out open windows, starting vehicles or even committing violent acts. This disorder affects mainly children, but is not uncommon for adults. Sleepwalking can occur once to hundreds of times within your life. Sleep deprivation is known to cause or increase the chances of sleepwalking.

I think that it is important for people to be aware of the dangers of sleepwalking. I have participated in dangerous activity while sleepwalking, thankfully I was awoken before I became injured. Usually when under a lot of stress or sleep deprivation, I will wonder around my house. Since I have tried walking outside, my parents have installed deadbolt locks on all of our doors. Additionally, I am unable to sleep in lofted or bunked beds because I will jump out. I have also found my sleepwalking to increase when in an unknown location. Meaning, I tend to sleepwalk more when in hotels, sleeping over at a friend's house or on a mission trip. I wonder if this is due to the normal factors, sleep deprivation and stress, or caused by an outside factor.


Sources:
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Tg1Dhr8kbc8/TJ0Gh5DiqNI/AAAAAAAAAxQ/PqxlF2AViZc/s400/sleepwalking.gif

the conscious

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The idea that consciousness is not as fundamental to behavior and more of product of it than a cause stood out to me in lecture. In general we really don't have the control over our actions. This idea was test by experimented with patients who had their corpus calasum severed by having them look at a dot on a screen and for brief moments images would come up on either side of the dot but would only be aware of what he saw on the right. Then the patients would be asked to identify one image with the right hand and the other with the left hand. The patient with his right hand identified the object by drawing it and consciously aware but when asked to draw the other object with his left hand he has trouble at first but then draws it correctly. When asked why he drew it he comes up with a reason that seems wrong. What the study concluded that the conscious part of the brain was the left side, the hemisphere that controls speech was only aware of what it saw and not the right side, implying that the brain isn't as unified we feel it and that the corpus calasum helps the with the communication of the brain. In essence maybe we don't really control our actions and perceptions and we make up reasons for our actions even though they aren't true

When I was taking the 1st exam I felt liked I wasn't really aware of the choices I was making that some other force was controlling what answer I was choosing and going back over my answers it was sometimes hard consciously to come up with reason. In conclusion I felt like a puppet.

How many spiders have you eaten?

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In the article I read, it talked about how an average human swallows about eight spiders a year. In 1993 a writer named Lisa Holst wrote a list of facts that were passed through e-mail but really the so called "facts" were nothing but made up statistics. Holst wanted to make a point that people were gullible. In the statistic Holst made up, extraordinary claims, falsifiability and replicability can be applied from the six scientific thinking principle.

The statistic that was mention is out of our basic knowledge which made it more interesting to the point that people didn't bother researching the topic before believing it. The statistics also did not have evidence as extraordinary as the claim. Yes, the claim mentioned eight spiders but how would any one find that number and how can any one prove that the number of spiders was correct? The spider statistic is similar to the alien abduction. Alien abduction where people believe that other people have been abducted by aliens like the spider statistic, there is no extraordinary evident to prove this extraordinary claim. We can also apply replicability in the statistic. If the claims was actually researched, the researcher has no way to replicate the studies because the statistics itself is very sketchy. Like how would you find your variable which is an average human and what are the requirements to be considered as an average human? For exmaple, are they suppose to be 5'2 in height , 130 in weight has a job and married? Or is it 5'5 in height, 140 in weight and single? Another factor is the location to do the study again, you can't have the subject be in a controlled room because how will the spider get in the room ? These factors such are the room and the variable makes it impossible to replicate the study for the statistic. Which makes replicability the most useful when it comes to evaluating this claim.

Sources:
http://www.snopes.com/science/stats/spiders.asp

Sleep Paralysis

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Sleep paralysis is an extremely common condition, occurring in four out of ten people. It is a condition when you have the feeling of being awake but you are unable to move or speak. This condition can occur in one of two times during the transition between sleep and wakefulness. It can occur as you are falling asleep, a condition called Hypnagogic Sleep paralysis, or as you are waking up, Hypnopompic Sleep paralysis. Most people who experience sleep paralysis first experience it during their teen years. It may be reoccurring or it may only happen once in a while. Experiencing sleep paralysis can be frightening and hallucinations may occur resulting in reports of alien abductions or being visited by an evil spirit.

I myself have experienced sleep paralysis. I have experienced it on more than one occasion, and on each occasion it has occurred as I have been waking up; Hypnopompic Sleep Paralysis. This experience has never resulted in me becoming frightened or having hallucinations, I have just simply become aware that I'm still sleeping but want to get up and can not. It has happened at times when I am on my back. It's odd that I even know this because I am still sleeping, but I always remember recalling not being able to move and it's almost as if I can feel myself laying in my bed on my back. It is an extremely weird feeling. Almost out of body if you will.

I have however, now learned why I might experience this condition every once in a while. I work at night and I attend school during the day. I have had the same crazy, inconsistent work hours for the last 7 years and it has caused my sleep to usually be very little and irregular. I did not realize that this experience was actually a condition had among so many people. It is comforting to know that sleep paralysis is usually not a life threatening condition and usually needs no treatment. However there are some extreme cases of sleep paralysis, as seen in the posted video.

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleep-paralysis

Night Fright

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Reading about sleep paralysis and the fear that often results from it was especially interesting to me, as I have heard multiple stories of good friends experiencing this same phenomenon.

The last two summers I have been on a two week long mission trip with my church to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Haiti is considered the voodoo capital of the world. It is extremely hard to put it into words, but there is a very strong feeling of spiritual oppression in the country. I truly believe that there is constant spiritual warfare occurring there.

One of the first nights we were in the city, one young lady woke up in the middle of the night, lying on her side, and was physically unable to move at all. Just outside the window she was facing, she saw the silhouette of a menacing-looking being. From deep in her stomach, she felt the most intense fear she had ever felt, but the scream she felt coming on was never able to make it past her throat. She laid there terrified, and closed her eyes and prayed until she could move again, at which point she woke up a friend of hers to talk to, in order to suppress her anxiety.

Similarly, the same night, one of the leaders had a nearly identical experience. He woke up, physically unable to move, and in the window in his room saw a frightening silhouette. He too closed his eyes and prayed until he was able to fall back asleep.

Both these experiences occurred on the same night, and likely around the same time. Neither person had ever experienced sleep paralysis before. There could not have been anyone physically standing in the window, as the house was surrounded by a tall wall with razor wire, and another outer wall with barred windows and doors (Port-au-Prince is not a particularily safe place).

I believe that these experiences were the result of the spiritual warfare occurring in the country. Our group, as followers of Christ, are not particularly welcome in a country that Satan has such a strong grip on. Given that this is what I believe, it was interesting to read in the textbook and online about the different explanations people give to this phenomenon. I found this article about sleep paralysis interesting. It explains some common occurrences, and gives a biological explanation as well. It says that this may often occur as people experience part of REM sleep, and are literally awake in their dream. In essence, this is when one is unconscious, yet experiencing a wide gamut of sensory input, which translates to a very real feeling of fear.

Whichever explanation of sleep paralysis one chooses to believe, there is no doubt that is is an incredibly interesting and complex phenomenon.

Craziness while sleepwalking

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jpgThere are many crazy stories of sleepwalking that have been told. For me, I have a story that happened to me. When I was in my teen years, I fell asleep watching a movie, my brother "woke" me up, and I ended up going up the stairs, when the bedroom was in the basement where I was. My brother yells at me that our room is downstairs, and I went to my room. My brother comes to our room and sees me lying on the floor asleep, so he puts me on my bed. Now, I have no recollection of any of what I just told you, my brother told me everything. Why was this? Because I was sleepwalking. Sleepwalking is when people walk while fully asleep. People have done crazy stuff while sleepwalking, like drive cars, go on the computer, and even murder. Thankfully, I didn't do anything like that. Well if I did do stuff, I wouldn't remember unless if someone would have told me. Sleepwalking occurs mainly in children. According to our textbook, 4 to 5% of adults sleepwalk, while 15 to 30% of children sleepwalk. People who are sleep deprived are the people who will sleepwalk more. A quick question, is it really true that if you wake a sleepwalker that it is dangerous to do so? According to the textbook, it is not.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2BgjH_CtIA

Learning a new language made easier

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A study done by Édouard Gentaz, a CNRS researcher at the Laboratoire de Psychologie et Neurocognition in Grenoble, France, indicates that using the sense of touch improves learning methods, both for children and adults in learning a foreign language. To learn a language, the researcher says we have to learn to associate a visual stimulus (the word) with its corresponding auditory stimulus (the sound). But by adding the sense of touch, it plays a "cementing" role between sight and hearing associations in the brain. The experimental method they used to come up with these findings involved thirty French- speaking adults that were tested on learning fifteen Japanese symbols. It was unclear in the report as to how the researchers were able to figure out how much better using touch improves learning. However, they are planning to develop a method using fMRI to locate areas of the cortex that are stimulated in learning process that involve touch in addition to visual and audible stimuli. Reflecting on the findings of this study, it only makes logical sense that touch will contribute to learning. By combining three of the five senses together, the brain makes three times as much connections than by using only one sense for example. It makes me think that if there was a different smell in my language class every day, it would make learning new words even easier. The word will be associated not only with sound and sight, but also with a movement (touch), and a smell. In other words, a new word is coded in the brain by four different methods, making it much easier to remember and harder to forget.

Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090318112937.htm

In Your Dreams

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I think it's safe to say that most, if not all people, know the basics of dreaming. A general definition would probably state something along the lines of, "visions a person has of...well anything and everything their unconscious brain can generate." That would be my version of the definition anyway, and dreams, like the definition itself, vary from person to person. I think that dreams can be reflected and influenced by things like your mood before you go to bed, or a good or bad experience that happened recently. In my mind though, usually when I remember dreams, they are things that I want to have happen in real life. My own dreams will usually be things like winning the lottery or playing basketball for the Gophers. (yeah that gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "in your dreams" I know...). I feel fortunate whenever I have a dream, because it will give me something to smile about, because I can see firsthand things that I know that I will only see "In My Dreams."

Article explaining the more "scientific" persepective of dreams: http://www2.ucsc.edu/dreams/Library/purpose.html

Overconfidence

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http://fearthesfgblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/overconfidence1.gif?w=484&h=388
We've all seen it, the overconfident young child who thinks that they are smarter than everyone in their class and isn't afraid to brag about it. It doesn't take too long before this child will meet a worthy opponent and will quickly make up an excuse as to how the other person is faking or cheating. Why is it that humans have a tendency to think that they are far more talented, athletic, or intelligent than they really are? Some scientists are saying that it is an evolutionary trait. Researchers at Edinburgh and University of California San Diago used mathematical tests to simulate the outcome of those who are overconfident. Wency Leung states that individuals that are overconfident tend to excel in sports, business, and war. Yet, too much overconfidence is a bad thing. One example of a bad amount of overconfidence is when one is confronted with a task that they think will be easy. They get the mindset of "Why do it now when I can easily throw it together last minute" and that is when they realize that they have overestimated their abilities. How can one avoid being overconfident if it is human nature? One should know the limits to their knowledge. Figure out which things you know and don't go outside of that range. "It's not what we don't know that gets us in trouble. It's what we know that ain't so." If you question weather or not you are correct, don't pretend like you know for sure.

Cites:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/study-finds-overconfidence-beats-being-accurate/article2171120/
http://www.whatithinkabout.com/the-weakness-of-overconfidence/
http://www.expectationsinvesting.com/pdf/pitfalls.pdf

The Conscious: A separate entity?

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The video posted on WebVista about consciousness was highly intriguing. At one point, Marcus Sautoy underwent an experiment in which his conscious brain activity was compared with his unconscious brain activity, by way of performing brain scans in both situations. It was shown that, while awake, when a specific area was electronically triggered (via magnetic currents), the brain would exhibit signs of communication across the whole brain. That is to say, brain activity was not restricted to the area of activation, because the various areas of the brain, which deal with various functions and ideas, ect., could intercommunicate with each other. Conversely, when the brain was unconscious and sleeping, the activated area was the only area in which the brain cells were firing. There was no activity outside the activation zone.

That inspired the thought, "If our sub-set areas of the brain cannot communicate with one another when we are sleeping (i.e. dreaming), and we normally cannot control our dreams, does this mean that the conscious is entirely deactivated?"
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This brought the realization that, yes, when I dream, I cannot control my dreams. Furthermore, I don't know that I'm dreaming, and nothing in my dream strikes me as odd. After watching the video, it makes sense. The conscious, wherever or whatever it is, makes us realize when something is not normal, our brains (or we), realize that hey, this isn't right. But that's when we're conscious. In the dreaming world, consciousness is not present, and our brains never tell us that anything, like us flying without any apparent mode of propulsion, is wrong.

The brain's inability to intercommunicate during sleep also explains why our dreams seem to be so smooth-flowing. Even though we jump from place to place, we never notice or realize until after we've woken up that anything was wrong. This smoothness is an illusion created by the absence of the conscious saying "hey, this ain't right. I was at home, and now 5 seconds later, I'm downtown." Our conscious has the ability to analyze perceived data and make sure it's rational. Our rational thought goes out the window during dreaming.

So my question is, does this mean that the conscious is a separate entity from our brains, something that occurs only when certain areas of the brain area firing? Or when certain sequences of firings occur? Why does our conscious thought get tossed out the window when we sleep?

ESP

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ESP is the psychological phenomenon of the response to a stimuli that people can see or hear through people/objects trying to contact them either dead or alive, thus allowing them to have psychic powers. According to our textbook "more than two thirds of the American population say they have had a psychic experience"(page 134) this is one of the worst examples of something that people believe in because when you analyze it with the principals of critical thinking it violates at least half of them.

What make this situation even worse is television documentaries that air seem to be pretty convincing that ESP is true and when those documentaries are viewed by the public many people will believe it because everything you see or hear on TV is true right?

When you analyze what exactly they are claiming like I mentioned before it violates many critical thinking rules. One of which would be replicability, it seems that when ever you want to see if it's true for yourself it never can be replicated and then they come back with the claim that it only works under some conditions. Even when the studies showed that ESP was not true those for ESP would come back saying that they were deliberately selecting wrong answers and that would make it hard to falsify.

This subject can also be controversial because those who state they have the ability's of ESP can relate it to a religious matter. When that happens it crosses a whole new line of what is right and what is not. Based on our reasoning it is believed that ESP is not in fact true but others may still believe otherwise.

Here is a great video which related to ESP

Anorexia Nervosa

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Anorexia nervosa is a eating disorder, most common among females, although males can have the disorder as well. Women who are high academic achievers and have a goal oriented personality are known to be more common in developing this disorder. The cause of anorexia nervosa is unknown but hormones and genes are possibly involved. Individuals who have this disorder may exercise too much, and not maintain a healthy body weight, as well as have an extreme fear of weight gain. Symptoms include the individual not maintaining a healthy weight, have a distorted image of their body/weight, and repeated missed menstrual cycles. images.jpeg
This picture gives an example of how an individual with anorexia nervosa may distort her mental picture her body. She sees herself as overweight, but is very much under.
Individuals who have this disorder will most likely deny it when confronted. The most difficult step of treatment is making the individual realize their eat disorder. Depending on the severity of the individuals condition different hospital programs are provided to help the individual return to a healthy weight as well as medications. Patience is key when helping individuals with eating disorders; support groups and family involvement may also help the individual along the way.

Source:
Anorexia nervosa - PubMed Health.webarchive

Experiencing Night Terror

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Sleep walking and sleep talking is a genetic trait that runs in my family. My father sleep talks and sleep walks and so does my mother. This also includes me and my four other siblings.

My two sisters, Kao Zoua and Sia, and I share a room together and we've heard or seen each other say or do funny things while we're sleep walking or sleep talking. Usually if one of us is sleep walking and tries to go out of the room and the other hears they'll try to lure them back to bed without waking them up, or if we hear each other sleep talking we'll usually ignore them or just laugh about it and tell each other about it the next morning. One night my sister woke up from her sleep and heard me talking. She thought that it was just regular night where I would talk for a few minutes and then stop so she decided to go back to sleep, but five to ten minutes later she heard me screaming and woke up. She saw that I started thrashing my arms and feet around. Then she said, "Mai Te! Mai Te! What's wrong?"

I stopped screaming and thrashing my arms and feet, and responded, "Oh nothing. Nothing. I'm fine."

Kao Zoua replied, "Are you sure?"

And I said, "Yes."

"Will you tell me in the morning?"

"Yeah I will" and I went back to sleep.

In the morning when I woke up I started getting ready for school and she said, "What happened Mai Te?"

I thought my sister was acting weird because I didn't know what she was referring to. She told me about what happened last night. I thought for a moment that she was going crazy because I did not remember experiencing any of it at all. I was really shocked that it happened and I couldn't believed it. When I looked at my sister closely I noticed that she had dark circles around her eyes and that they were red. I realized that she was have been more shock than I because she saw me experiencing a night terror, and she must not have gotten much sleep afterwards. I felt really bad that she had to go through that because I caused her so much fright, and to this day she says, "It's one of the most horrible experiences I've ever had."

When I reflect back I realize that I might have experienced that night terror because I was stressed over a test. Our book says, "Night terrors are often more disturbing to onlookers than to sleepers," I agree with this statement from my sister's experience. When someone witnesses their loved one screaming, perspiring, confused, or thrashing it makes them feel helpless because they feel that they can't do anything to help. But many people don't know that night terrors are usually harmless, and that the person having the night terror has no recollection of it when they wake up.
Here are two links that help people deal with night terrors:

http://www.lifescript.com/Soul/Spirit/Dreams
Coping_With_The_Fear_Of_Adult_Night_Terrors.aspx

http://www.nightterrors.org/mot.htm

What You Don't Know About the Placebo Effect.....

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      An interesting phenomenon, the Placebo Effect is something we probably all know. A definition for  it is an inactive substance or even procedure that is used as a control in an experiment.  Generally, the people administer the placebo report improvements merely because they believe they are receiving a treatment. The most common scenario of the placebo effect is in depression patients. Patients are administered a "pill" that is supposed to help their depression. Although they were just given a dummy pill(usually a sugar pill) they still report improvement. A very interesting phenomenon of course, but one that seems to only pertain to the medical field....or so I thought.  
                                After reading this  article though i've realized the placebo affects a wide variety of areas. For example, in the article it talks about thermostats in many businesses producing placebo effects. The article says that many thermostats in offices are just dummy ones. When you go to turn the heat up or down though you feel like there's  been a difference in the temperature even though there hasn't. This is due to the placebo effect. Reading that also made me think of when I was little and would complain to my mom I was too hot and she'd tell me to imagine I was in Alaska with the penguins. Whenever, she'd tell me to do this I would feel a little cooler. Looking back on it now I realize it's just another example of the placebo affect. Now I wonder where else the placebo effect can occur? Especially without us ever knowing. 

Brain Pseucoscience

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http://www.snopes.com/science/stats/10percent.asp

We've all heard it, the myth that claims that all humans only use ten percent of their brains. The article above is from a 1998 national magazine ad claiming this exact thing. It states that we only use 10-20 percent of our brain capacity and asks us to think about all the things we could do if you could utilize all of our brain in full. Obviously, the claim is incorrect and we are able to prove this by using some of the scientific thinking principles. First of all this claim could be tested against the extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence principle. This principle states that the more a claim contradicts what we already know, the more persuasive the evidence for this claim must be before we accept it. There is an extreme lack of information and evidence for this claim in the first place, and the little evidence that there actually is, is not persuasive at all, which is why it is easy to decipher that it isn't true. Another principle that this claim could be tested against is the Occam's Razor principle. This principle states that if two explanations account equally well for a phenomenon, we should generally select the more parsimonious one. When faced with the two options of whether humans use their entire brain, or only ten percent of it the more simple answer would be that we all use our full brain capacity. In conclusion, this claim is a pseudoscience and it was easy to tell thanks to our scientific principles.

Sleep Apnea

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Sleep apnea is a very serious sleep disorder. Between 2 and 20 percent of the general population are suffering from sleep apnea. Typically people suffering from sleep apnea are overweight; however this is not always the case. This disorder can affect men, women, and even children. Sleep apnea occurs when there is a blockage in the airway during sleep. When air flow is blocked, people will snore loudly, gasp, and they may even stop breathing for up to 20 seconds. One may stop breathing multiple times throughout the night, but in most cases they will not remember waking up so many times. Since they wake up so much during the night, their quality of sleep will be disrupted, causing fatigue, headaches, and loss of concentration the next day. Some other problems associated with sleep apnea may include weight gain, night sweats, hearing loss, and irregular heartbeat. These problems are due to a lack of oxygen and a buildup of carbon dioxide.
There is no real way of curing sleep apnea; however there are a few things that can be done to lessen its effects. Surgery is usually not helpful for adults, however in children; sometimes enlarged tonsils cause apnea, so doctors will remove them. Doctors may also suggest lifestyle changes such as, losing weight, or to quit smoking and drinking. Most adults will either use oral sleep appliances or a machine that forces their airways to stay open. The oral sleep appliances generally look like athletic mouth guards, and are used to keep the jaw in the best position for maximum breathing. The device is a mask that is worn at night, and the machine will force air into their nasal passageways while they are asleep.
I chose to write about this topic because consciousness and sleep disorders have always been my favorite topic in psychology, and also because multiple members of my family have sleep apnea. Before my grandma and two uncles were diagnosed with sleep apnea, I had no idea what it was or how dangerous it can be.

Lilienfeld Text

ESP

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I read more into Extrasensory Perception aka ESP, or to some sensless people, ESPN on this website. ESP is when someone learns or hears something that is inaudible, and is only sensed by their mind. ESP has no falsifiability because researchers and skeptics can't prove the claims false. Although for those that claim they have the ability of ESP, there is no true way to test the extrodinary claims to see whether or not someone has ESP. When the "psychics" are tested and they do not provide results they claim the experimenters/skeptics are affecting the experiment with "negative energy"or their cellphone is causing interference. That result shows there is no replicability available to test the truth of ESP.

Conscious Awareness

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One important research finding that we learned about during lecture was that our conscious does not always make all of our decisions, and that sometimes we provide conscious explanations for why we behaved a certain way. In other words, our mind may know something, but we may not be consciously aware of it, so later we try to create an explanation for why we did a certain action. This is a very important discovery because it shows that humans can make complex decisions without being consciously aware that they were even making a decision. This helps give psychologists insight into the way the human brain functions and makes decisions. It also shows that conscious awareness may not play as important of a role in our behavior as we once thought. The concept of making decisions without conscious awareness can be applied to the thousands of decisions that humans make every day. For example, the decision for me to even get out of bed this morning was probably made unconsciously and then later I provided a conscious explanation to myself that I got up so I could go to breakfast before it closed. However, it can be difficult to say what decisions are made consciously and which are not without researching and studying the specific decisions first. The concept that we make decisions unconsciously brings up the question of what purpose conscious awareness has if it does not influence our behavior as much as we previously thought. Psychologists will have to continue researching conscious awareness and how humans make decisions in order to uncover even more knowledge of this concept.

Narcolepsy

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(http://www.killsometime.com/videos/7289/Kitten-Has-Sleep-Disorder-Narcolepsy)

This video shows a kitten which has a sleep disorder--- Narcolepsy. According to the Lilienfeld text, "Narcolepsy is a disorder characterized by the rapid and often unexpected onset of sleep". It is a terrible disorder because it will make the patient fell asleep in all kinds of situation. When narcolepsy happens to the patients, narcolepsy is always being accompanied by irresistible sleepiness and cataplexy which means lacking of muscle tone completely. I am interested in Narcolepsy because I witnessed a real situation about it when I was visiting my high school classmate's home two years ago. I remember when we were having a savory home-made dinner at the table. Everything went well, lively atmosphere and funny conversation. But suddenly my classmate's grandpa fell down, I thought that may be caused by the unstable chair but unexpectedly I found his eyes were closed. That really made me worried cause no matter how the other people shouting at him, he did not response. Finally, my classmate asked me to help move the old man to the bed cause he has already fell asleep by the narcolepsy. My classmate also told me that the narcolepsy can be influenced by the genetic factors and there were not only one person in his family suffered this disorder. Based on the Lilienfeld text, we can learn that "brain damage", "lack of produced orexin by brain cell" may boost the risk of narcolepsy. However, in 1999, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug called "modafinil" which can be used to change the number of natural substances in the brain area that control wakefulness. Depend on the role of orexin plays in attacking of sleepiness; imitating orexins' effect can also be applied to defend narcolepsy. I was wondering how is it going in the area of curing narcolepsy and what is the genetic probability for next generations inheriting the disorder.

Do you have a "mental set"?

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As college students, many people experiment with alcohol and drugs. Some, perhaps, for the first time; for others, maybe not. My thought is if one has had an experience or some experiences with alcohol and/or drugs, is the mental set that is mentioned in our textbook relevant to both categories of people?

A lot of people used to say that before they knew how it felt to be intoxicated or under any sort of influence from a drug, they had expectations of what it would be like to be drunk or experiencing any kind of high based on movies they had seen, books they had read, etc. Based on these preconceived expectancies of mind sets, is it more likely that people act a certain way in public based not on how they actually feel like acting but on how they think they should act?

Another exploration of these questions is this suggestion: perhaps people that have partaken in alcohol or drug use still have a mental set, even though they have experienced being under such influences before. It makes me wonder whether or not a mental set is relevant to all people no matter what the circumstances, and it would make for a very interesting experiment topic.

The textbook describes a mental set as "beliefs and expectancies about the effects of drugs" (Pearson 2010). The setting that people use alcohol or drugs in is also suggested as a contributing factor to the reactions of people towards the alcohol or drug that they are using. Again, this leads to the question of whether or not people always have a mental set; are they influenced by their surroundings? Do people behave differently based on where they are and whom they are with versus being alone? How complex can a mental set be?

Halloween Heartlessness - Child Deaths on Halloween

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When I was about 5, I remember my parents telling me that we had to inspect my Halloween candy together before I was allowed to have any of it. They said that we had to look at the packaging for holes or evidence of tampering, "to make sure it was safe." Even though they didn't mean to upset me, that was the scariest thing I encountered that Halloween. Without meaning to, they had made me actually expect that somebody had poisoned my Halloween candy. Looking back, I know that they were just protecting me the best way that they knew how. There's nothing wrong with making sure that Halloween candy is safe; after all, you aren't supposed to take candy from strangers, right?? But if they had done their research, they would know that there has never been any reliable recorded account of a madman poisoning children's Halloween candy.
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Instead, what has happened is a list of sensationalized accounts of child deaths that the media tries to link to poisoned candy. In each of these accounts however, later evidence has shown that these deaths are never caused by random strangers distributing poisoned candy to kids. It would be easy to formulate other hypotheses for children's deaths, except that the media's initial report on these death's at Halloween is always blamed on poisoned candy on the front page, and then a few days later a follow up article on page 8 will explain that the child's death was actually caused from heart problems or a prior infection or something unrelated to poison at all.
baby and candy.jpg
Another principle that can be used to rule out poisoning as the cause of death is the idea that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The idea of a child being poisoned randomly with Halloween candy is quite the claim, but very rarely is there substantial evidence to back it up. One can also use Occam's razor to debunk the myth that people poison children on Halloween. The idea that a child died on Halloween from a pre-existing condition such as a bad heart is a much simpler and more reasonable theory than the idea of someone deliberately poisoning Halloween candy.
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Overall, the the thought of someone poisoning children on Halloween seems likely only because we have all been told to be weary of it since we were kids. Meanwhile the media continues to confirm our fears and suspitions by telling us to watch out for this type of thing on Halloween. However, without any recorded accounts of madmen mass-murdering children with poisoned candy, it is not something people should worry about too much on Halloween. It still might be a good idea to inspect candy wrappers for holes or tampering, but the likelihood of your candy containing poison or a razorblade is very farfetched.

Here are some interesting stories and sources on the matter
http://www.snopes.com/horrors/poison/halloween.asp
http://www.usu.edu/usufs/files/uploads/JoelBest.pdf
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=896&dat=19951031&id=8CUOAAAAIBAJ&sjid=k30DAAAAIBAJ&pg=6927,4432593

When do we become aware of self?

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How do we know when we become aware of ourselves? Self recognition is when we engage in mental time travel, past, present and future. The video from BBC Horizon- The Secret You, tells us when that time comes.

Through the Mirror self-recognition test, which was created by Gordon Gallup Jr., we can figure out when the mind becomes self-aware of the body. This test was originally made for Chimpanzees and Orangutans. It tested whether or not they recognized themselves in the mirror. Both of these animals recognized themselves when tested. After these animals were tested, it was proposed to test this on humans.

A child the age of 18 months was set in front of a mirror in which they reacted to themselves, seeming like the were self aware. Then the mother of the child took them away from the mirror and put a red dot on their cheek seeing if they would recognize it when placed back in front of the mirror. The 18 month old child did not recognize the red dot, therefore they are not actually self aware.

Another child, the age of 22 months, was placed in front of the mirror and had the same procedure done. The child immediately recognized the red dot and tried peeling it off their face. This shows that the child is self aware.

As a result of this test we can conclude that becoming self aware happens between the ages of 18 months to 24 months.

When hearing that we become self aware at the ages of 18 to 24 months I was confused because my earliest memory is from when I was three years old. So even if we can be self aware at the age of 18 to 24 months, do we actually remember the things that happened at that young of an age? I believe that this is different for every person because some people can retain memories much better than others. Therefore it is possible self awareness does truly happen between these young ages.

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Need for Sleep

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One concept that I find important to know is that we all need around seven to ten hours of sleep a night. This concept is simple, widely known, but yet most of us in our daily busy lives do not find enough time for a good night's rest. I for certain do not get enough sleep for my body, on average getting around 6 to 7 hours a night. I was shocked to find that college students on average need around nine hours of sleep a night. While one night of sleep loss is usually restored, a repetitive pattern of sleep deprivation while common, is unhealthy.

Sleep deprivation puts our society at risk for many medical conditions including increased weight gain, blood pressure, and risk for diabetes and heart disease. Our immune system also weakens without sufficient sleep, which puts us at risk for viral infections and illness. Perhaps better sleep as a society could help limit illness at work and school, and let us be more productive as a whole. Maybe our overall health would improve.

This aspect of sleep affects my life because I don't seem to be getting enough sleep on a daily basis. I should rethink my online game-playing at midnight every night, and maybe call it a rest earlier like possibly 11. While I am studying until past midnight quite often, maybe planning a better schedule would allow me to get school work done earlier in the day. Maybe I could improve my risk for high blood pressure and heart disease by getting an hour more sleep a night. This is my sleep story, and I think others should also rethink their sleep rhythm for a healthier and possibly more productive lifestyle.

Walkers of the Night

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Sleepwalking is when a person walks around while fully asleep. They do not walk around like zombies when sleepwalking; they act as if they are fully awake. Sleepwalking is usually harmless and involves little activity, but there are some unusual cases that can occur. In these rare cases people have been known to drive cars, use computers, etc. People who are sleep deprived are more likely to sleepwalk the following night. If someone is sleepwalking it is safe to wake them up. Sleepwalking is an important thing to know and understand because 30 percent of children sleepwalk at least once and adults about 5 percent. Also it is important to know because then you can try and get a good night's sleep so you can prevent yourself from sleepwalking. I experienced seeing someone sleepwalk before and it is a rather strange thing to witness. My older sister went through a sleep walking phase that lasted about two months. Throughout these two months she did a number of things. During one occurrence she managed to put her jacket and shoes on, grab her keys and go out to her car; luckily she woke up before she started to drive. During other episodes she would just walk throughout our house and have conversations with us.
Additional questions I have are; can other things cause sleepwalking and has anyone monitored a sleepwalker's brain to see what kind of activity occurs while sleepwalking?


Kim Noble: The woman with over 100 personalities.

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/sep/30/kim-noble-woman-with-100-personalities?CMP=twt_gu

http://kimnoble.com/

Kim Noble is a woman with multiple personalities. Some say she has over 100 different, unique personalities. Psychologists had examined her and determined that she has DID (dissociative identity disorder). Which is a disorder that means that there are multiple people/personalities all wrapped up in one body with no knowledge of each other. Kim Noble is an artist that has 20 main personalities and some special personalities that only show up under special conditions such as taking a bath, or eating. She switches as often as 3-5 times a day, and when she does, she has no memory of what she was previously doing. Which means that each personality has their own distinct memory and that when one is in control, the other personalities aren't aware of what is happening. Kim's main personality isn't even Kim, but Patricia. Patricia is the dominant personality that's in charge of all the basic, necessary tasks such as paying bills, controlling the money flow, taking care of her daughter, shopping and etc. Some psychologists say that she got DID during her early years (1-3) from an extreme traumatic experience and repeated abuse that "shattered" her mind into separate people and placed safeguards in-between those shards that protected her from reliving those harsh memories. A way her multiple personalities deal with stress and express their feelings is through art. And each personality has a distinct and unique art style that tells their story and gives more insight about them.

I stumbled across Kim Noble while learning about HM and I find her interesting. She is able to cope with all of those personalities, make a living, and even raise a child! Even though its different personalities painting the art, it is still all from one body/person and I'm amazing at the sheer amount of talent she has to show all those different art styles without any experience or training.


Out of Body Experiences

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One important concept that I found really fascinating while reading chapter 5 was the out of body experiences. An out of body experience, also known as an OBE, is defined as a sense of our consciousness leaving our body. Just the thought of being outside your body, watching yourself live life is something that intrigues me. A 36 year old police officer's account of her OBE is described in Chapter 5. She says "When I and three other officers stopped the vehicle and started getting to the suspect... I was afraid. I promptly went out of my body and up into the air maybe 20 feet above the scene. I remained there, extremely calm, while I watched the entire procedure-including myself- do exactly what I had been trained to do." This phenomena of experiencing an OBE like the officer describes seems so unlikely, but it's hard not to believe her story.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCVzz96zKA0

The video above interviews several people about their OBEs. The people have nothing to gain out of telling their stories, which gives us more reason to believe them. According to the Lilienfeld text, OBEs are surprisingly common. About 25 percent of college students and 10 percent of the general population report having experienced one or more of them. I myself have never experienced an OBE.

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The photos above display how an OBE is described as feeling. "In many cases, individuals describe themselves as floating above their bodies, calmly observing themselves from above, implying that our sense of ourselves need not to be subjectively locked into our bodies" (Lilienfeld 178). It seems as if people who are prone to OBEs often report other unusual experiences such as lucid dreams and hallucinations.

Even so, there are still questions that I wonder. Such as, are people really able to roam outside of their bodies during an OBE? And, is it possible that drugs could be influential to those who have OBEs? The Lilienfeld text says there is no good evidence that people are truly floating above their bodies during an OBE, although it certainly seems that way to them. And I also found out that many OBEs result when people are heavily medicated or using psychedelic drugs. OBEs are most definitely an interesting concept in psychology that might not ever be fully understood.

Classical Conditioning--Can it really work?

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Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning, first discovered by Ivan Pavlov in 1904, involves learning relationships between events in the environment. Eventually, Pavlov observed, behavior changes because of changes in events organism is experiencing. The process of classical conditioning first begins with an unconditioned stimulus, one that produces an automatic response. In Pavlov's experiment, this was the food he brought out to the dogs. Then, there is the unconditioned response, which is the response to the unconditioned stimulus and does not need to be learned; in Pavlov's experiment, this was the salivation in the dogs caused by the food. The next step of the process includes the introduction of the conditioned stimulus, which is the extra stimulus the experimenter brings in to the experiment; it is a previously neutral stimulus that produces a conditioned response after its association with the unconditioned stimulus is learned (in Pavlov's experiment, the conditioned stimulus was the metronome before the food is brought out). Finally, the conditioned stimulus elicits a conditioned response, which is produced after the conditioning is learned (in Pavlov's, this would be the salivation in response to the metronome). Soon, the conditioned response becomes an automatic response. Classical conditioning is important because it still plays an important part in everyday life. For example, higher order conditioning occurs when one develops a conditioned response to a conditioned stimulus by associating it to another conditioned stimulus. This may help in the world of advertising, so that when one says "Coke" on a hot day, we think of Coke quenching our thirst and want to go buy a Coke. This also helps explain addiction to cigarettes or other drugs. If one goes to a place where they have previously smoked a cigarette, they may feel inclined to smoke again, thus causing the cycle of addiction to continue. I find this process of classical conditioning fascinating; how do we not realize we are being conditioned? How can something that sounds so simple cause us to change our behavior? Here are a couple funny examples of how Pavlov's classical conditioning works:


http://youtu.be/WfZfMIHwSkU

http://youtu.be/Eo7jcI8fAuI

Why Can't I Move?

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Have you ever woken up a night and haven't been able to move whatsoever? I have, and I can't tell you it's not a fun experience. Just as the text describes, sleep paralysis is when you are unable to move upon falling asleep or waking up and is usually accompanied by an acute sense of danger. I've experienced this phenomena many, many times over the past three years- as often as once or twice a month.

It's happened both when I'm falling asleep and in the middle of the night but I've never had it happen while waking in the morning. I'll all of a sudden be consciously aware that I'm dreaming (which is interesting because I've never remembered having a lucid dream other than during these dreams), though in the dream I'll not be aware that I'm dreaming and believe myself awake. I'll be incredibly scared for some unknown reason and won't be able to move or wake myself up no matter what I do. The terror I feel during the dreams far overshadows any fear I've felt in my life and even though I know it's just a dream that doesn't stop me from doing everything I can to wake up.

That said, there isn't much I can do to make myself wake up. You don't realize how unconsciously you move your limbs during the day but during these dreams you really are paralyzed. In my dreams moving is the key to waking up so I'm stuck with the terror until I can move again. Once I'm aware that I'm having another episode I immediately start trying to move but I physically can not move no matter what commands I'm giving my body.

nightmare.jpg
I find it interesting that some people interpret these occasions as alien encounters or such things as the devil or a hag sitting on their chest. While I've never felt like something was sitting on me and that was causing me to not be able to move, I have once had the feeling that something was in the room with me. I won't go as far to say that I hallucinated it because I didn't actually see anything, but the intensity of my fear was so real to me that I believed something was there in the room that I had to get away from.

As I said before, the fear I've felt in these dreams far exceeds any I've felt in life, and I wonder whether it's due 'awakening' and not being able to move, or being 'paralyzed by fear' as the saying goes.

Subliminal Persuasion - Secretly Running Our Country

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Being a marketing and advertising student of 4 years from my high school, subliminal persuasion is something that I have learned is a developed practice used for the coercion of the public's mind. America is a commercial society and advertising is as conceptually driven as it is competitive. According to the New York Times article 'Anywhere the Eye Can See, It's Likely to See an Ad', just about every sight our eyes take in, includes an advertisement of some sort. So how does any advertisement make a mark when American's are on constant sensory overload? Well the answer to this very question was brought up in our book while learning about sensation and perception. The answer is: subliminal persuasion. Subliminal persuasion is simply influencing people at a level below their conscious recognition. This could mean that we are seeing advertisements even when we don't realize it.
After reading about the psychological perspective of subliminal persuasion, I started to wonder about the ethics behind it. In a separate New York Times article I found, this topic was discussed. Is subliminal persuasion a menace?

This also make you wonder, what subliminal persuasion's do I see on a daily basis? Well if you watch TV, you are bound to see endless examples but here is a funny (ironic) example from IronChef:

It's not surprising to me whatsoever that we see subliminal persuasion in advertising on the daily but here is one example of subliminal persuasion I found highly interesting: George W Bush's campaign speech the day of elections.

Subliminal persuasion is not just a psychological concept found on page 131 of our books, it is being used in various forms all the time, sometimes affecting where we go for dinner and sometimes affecting who we choose to lead our country for the next four years.

I cant wake up..

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I found it interesting in the Lilienfeld book when it started talking about sleep paralysis in Chapter 5. This topic interested me because I myself have the feeling of unable to move my body when just falling asleep or just waking up. Mentioned in the book, it says that one in three college students have had an episode like this before. But for me, and what I can remember, I have definitely had about ten to fifteen in my lifetime. Does that mean that I have lots of anxiety and always paranoid? But if that is so, then my blood pressure would be higher and according to when I was at the doctor just yesterday, it was 105 and 63, which is under average and low. It also mentions that one feels like someone is sitting on your chest, thus being paralyzed. My experiences were different.
My sleep paralysis has just recently started at the beginning of college, but the way it occurs doesn't completely match the book. It usually happens when I am trying to wake up, I know that I am awake now and I am trying to open my eyes and move, but I can't. It's not even that there is a feeling of someone on my chest, but that feeling is everywhere. My whole body feels like it is a thousand pounds and when I try to move and struggle, the sleep paralysis makes it worse and makes it hard for me to breathe. I have learned from experience if I slowly try and move just my toes or my fingers I can regain feeling and have control over my body again, but from what I remember, my dreams were not scary at all, I was just in a deep sleep. I think researching more on this topic would be very interesting and maybe there is a correlation of why it happens and how often for certain people besides for anxiety.
Here are two pictures of what seems to occur when people are going through sleep paralysis. The first one which many people believe to be true is either a devil or entity of some sort trying to invade their body. The second picture is how I feel when it happens to me. I don't feel any "thing" trying to kill me but the feeling of being tied up so tight that every part of my body is heavy.
http://www.google.com/imgres?q=sleep+paralysis&um=1&hl=en&sa=N&biw=1440&bih=707&tbm=isch&tbnid=-EDyIutNfTKdHM:&imgrefurl=http://xclari.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/sleep-paralysis-2/&docid=e938VZiKVg5IDM&w=612&h=600&ei=YvyQTtTuOc-NsALjsZ2KAQ&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=330&page=1&tbnh=149&tbnw=191&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:3,s:0&tx=97&ty=98

http://www.google.com/imgres?q=sleep+paralysis&um=1&hl=en&sa=N&biw=1440&bih=707&tbm=isch&tbnid=qWTW4kvgLrEb1M:&imgrefurl=http://becauseilive.hubpages.com/hub/Sleep-Paralysis-Symptoms--Causes-and-Treatment&docid=xajGs7C99bBHFM&w=248&h=162&ei=YvyQTtTuOc-NsALjsZ2KAQ&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=225&page=3&tbnh=129&tbnw=198&start=36&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:3,s:36&tx=131&ty=20

Sleep Walking: What are we really doing at night?

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Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and found yourself in a completely different location than where you fell asleep? Have you ever fallen asleep in your bed and ended up waking up on the basement couch? Unless someone is playing a prank on you, you are probably experiencing sleep walking. Sleep walking is simply walking around while not fully awake. Most people would assume that a sleep walker would aimlessly walk around, almost acting like a zombie. However, this is not the case. In fact, sleepwalkers are somehow able to actually perform activities that one would think would require awareness and concentration. Though these happenings are rare, they are extraordinary nonetheless.

Sleep eating is a condition in which people wake up in the middle of the night and eat and drink, sometimes excessive amounts. Most sleep eaters have no memory of doing this the following morning. Sometimes sleep eating can cause rapid weight gain and since the eater usually has no recollection of these events happening, diagnosis for their sudden weight gain can prove to be difficult. http://www.sleepassociation.org/index.php?p=sleep-eating. Another type of "disorder" among sleepwalkers is often called sleep murder. There have been cases where a man was convicted of murder, but said he didn't remember anything of what happened that night. He was eventually proved innocent because of "quagmire law," the defense of sleep walking. http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/03/18/britain.sleepwalk/index.html

This concept is important because of the potential consequences that come with sleepwalking. Though sleep-eating and sleep-murder are very rare, they are still frightening. It is scary to think of the types of things we could do while sleeping. What evokes us to get up at night and walk around? Are we consciously aware we are doing these things, but just not remember the next morning? These questions pose a difficult challenge for scientists and psychologists. However, they should do their best to find the causes of sleepwalking so problems like these can be solved.

Narcolepsy: Not Quite So Funny Anymore

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Narcolepsy is a disorder characterized by the rapid and often unexpected onset of sleep. Basically, this means that people fall asleep randomly throughout the day, such as when they have strong emotions. Narcolepsy happens because people to experience cataplexy, which is when they lose their muscle tone. This is why people/animals fall over when they fall asleep. This can make it dangerous because they might hit something when they fall. It's not surprising that when they fall asleep, they go right into REM sleep. REM sleep is the 5th cycle of sleep where our bodies feel paralyzed and relaxed. This is exactly what we see when a person fall asleep because of their narcolepsy.

Lots of things in the media have previously made narcolepsy to be a humorous condition. I had always found narcolepsy to be hilarious, ever since watching a video about a dachshund with narcolepsy on VH1.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CY5PMT-_rLg

That's why the narcolepsy section of Chapter 5 was most fascinating to me. However, I recently viewed another YouTube video about a narcoleptic poodle that made me more aware of the downside of narcolepsy. Watching the video puts the focus on the tragedy of it rather than the comedy of it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0h2nleWTwI

I know that if my dog had narcolepsy they would have an extremely difficult life with daily struggles. They can't eat, go on walks or jump on someone's lap without having to fall asleep. The best parts of their lives make them miserable. I hope that more research is done on how to cure narcolepsy with the hormone orexin because there are many people and animals who suffer from this disorder. A definitive cure needs to be found for this depressing disorder.

Lucid Dreaming

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Have you ever heard the stories of the people that can control their own dreams? Have you ever wanted to control your dreams, but never known how? Well today is your lucky day! Using the new and improved NovaDreamer Lucid Dream Induction Device you can begin to recognize that you are dreaming and control your own dreams!


NovaDreamer
Lucid Dream Induction Device

The NovaDreamer, product of over a decade of research by Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D., world-renowned authority on lucid dreaming, brings the lucid dream state within reach of everyone.

The NovaDreamer detects when you're in REM sleep, then gives you a cue (flashing lights or sounds) to remind you to recognize you are dreaming. Cues enter your dream, becoming incorporated just like an alarm or radio will sometimes work its way into a dream. For example, NovaDreamer users have reported: "I see a beautiful pattern of gold and yellow diamonds that fills my field of vision...," and "I'm surrounded by the popping of flash bulbs with afterimages of orange circles...," and "I see a flash of light and press the button. No flash. I think, 'This is great; I must be dreaming!'"

The NovaDreamer package includes the Course in Lucid Dreaming, a comprehensive training program that prepares you to recognize the NovaDreamer cue in your dreams. The exercises and techniques introduced, are essential to learning how to consistently and effectively lucid dream.

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If we take a step back and look at this with a broader perspective we can analyze this add. A good theory at analyze this add would be the extraordinary claims principle. This principle states that you have to have extraordinary evidence to back up extraordinary claims. In this case, we have to consider the claim that the NovaDreamer goggles can detect REM sleep and give signals to people letting them know that they are sleeping. This is a pretty outrageous claim, but people testify saying it works. However, the article never gives the names of the people that claim this product works. What if these people that testified are already people who have no problem lucid dreaming? Then there would be no evidence regarding if the product works or not.

Another theory regarding why this product is on the market can be explained by the placebo effect. The placebo effect is a persons improvement resulting form the mere expectation that they are gong to improve. The NovaDreamer goggles promise to help people be able o lucid dream. However, it is possible that people are expecting to lucid dream when they wear the goggles, but actually don't lucid dream, instead their mind tricks them into thinking they did. Maybe they vividly remember a dream and think they were lucid dreaming when they were not, just from the mere expectation that they were going to have a lucid dream.

These two theories illustrate that there is not enough evidence to back up the NovaDreamer goggles. But, if you still do not believe me, you can try out the NovaDreamer goggles for yourself. They are selling on Ebay right now starting at $500 and going up to $1400.

Source:
http://www.lucidity.com/novadreamer.html

Lack of Sororities on Campus Due to Brothels?

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http://www.snopes.com/college/halls/brothel.asp
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While my best friend and I were at home the other weekend we started talking about our 'Greek life' on campus. At the U there is dozens of fraternities and sororities for guys and girls to join, but at Mankato (where my friend goes to school) she said there is just a few fraternities and absolutly no sororities on campus. This really got me interested into why we can have sororities and they do not. She told me the forever famous claim that, "Sororities are outlawed on certain campuses because local 'brothel laws' prohibit more than a specified number of females from living together". Right away when she said this, I thought to myself, I wonder if that is really true or if it is just an extraordinary claim.
Now a brothel is considered as a business establishment where people can engage in sexual activities with prostitutes. Today they are illegal in most countries and have been for a while, but they do still exist in certain countries whether they are illegally there or legally there, but can we really say that having a certain number of girls living together equals what they are implying with a brothel. Sororities do a great number of things for college girls on campus, they bring a group of people together that will network with eachother probably for the rest of their lives. Sororities are also ranked due to how well they perform in school and they also can lead to a great number of friendships and leadership opportunities. The biggest thing sororities can offer is that they will help you get a lot of connections with people in businesses and other things that can help you later in life.
The origin of this claim is not known for sure but is said to be in the mid-1900's. On campuses that do not have sororities the claim is brought out into the open because it blames the absence of sororities on another thing, in this case a brothel. In the website I attached a group of students searched to find any information or laws concerning brothels and their relationship with sororities and they were extremely unsuccessful.
I think that the repeated claim just keeps getting farther and farther enrooted in peoples minds that do not have sororities that it seems correct, but coming from a school that has sororities I would never believe that a law could push such a rude gesture on people. The claim between sororities and brothels can be proven wrong due to all the other factors we know about sororities and how there is no proof of laws connecting the two.

Insomnia

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Initially, I believed insomnia was when you could not sleep at all and would be up throughout all or most of the night. While this may happen in some cases, insomnia is actually having difficulty falling asleep (laying in bed for 30 minutes or more trying to sleep), staying asleep (waking up during the night), or waking up to early in the morning. Insomnia is the most common sleep disturbance and is reported to be most common in people with depression, anxiety, pain, or a variety of other medical conditions. Insomnia can also be caused from stress, medication, working late, jet lag, drinking too much caffeine, or taking naps during the day.
I was curious about this disorder because I myself have always had a hard time falling asleep at night. After reading the causes of insomnia, I realized that it may actually be a problem I am having. I do take naps almost every day because I am often up late trying to fall asleep, causing me to not get enough sleep. Almost every night I am studying late and I have always thought that watching television after or just reading a book would help me become more tired, but the text also says that these are both things recommended not to do before bed.
Sleeping pills can be an effective treatment for insomnia, but over time they can create a dependency that makes it even more difficult for people to sleep once they stop using them. This is called rebound insomnia, where ironically sleeping pills can actually cause insomnia. Another effective treatment used for insomnia is psychotherapy. I am curious to learn more about psychotherapy, and why it is said to be more effective then some sleeping pills.
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Falling, Flying, Naked?

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Have you ever wondered why certain events happen in dreams? For instance, why do we sometimes dream we are falling down a deep cavern, flying above a city, or walking down a street stark naked? In Sigmund Freud's Dream Protection Theory, he uses the idea that certain dreams have a deeper, hidden meaning. The definition of his theory is that if we didn't have dreams to transform our sexual and aggressive instincts to symbols, these drives would surge making sleep impossible.
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Freud believed that our dreams weren't as we perceived them, but the events had deeper meanings. The details and events in our dreams are the manifest content, and the meaning is the latent content. For example, if you dream you are naked (manifest), it could be because you have feelings of insecurity or shamelessness (latent). Freud also thought that the symbols that came from our instincts represented wish fulfillment, how we wish things would be. However, ninety percent of the time we dream about everyday life with no hidden meaning or correspondence to sexual or aggressive behavior. Also, why would we wish for nightmares to occur? This partially disproves his theory that our events in our dreams are linked to what we want to happen (wish fulfillment).
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This theory, even with its faults, still impacts society. Many people today still try and decipher their dreams into their true meaning. I went and found a site, http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation/, which describes the meaning behind different events. I had a common dream the other night that almost everyone experiences, falling. I went to this site and looked it up, and it corresponds with the feelings of anxiety and stress.
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In conclusion, I am still left wondering whether this theory has been disproved with the lack of validity in the wish fulfillment aspect. Also, do our dreams have a hidden meaning or just brain activity woven together to make a story (Activation-Synthesis Theory)?

Cites:
http://forums.commercialsihate.com/cartoons-go-wild_topic9938.html
http://c0ug.deviantart.com/art/falling-dream-7167211
http://www.imageenvision.com/3d-graphics/flying-super-hero
http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation/

What really is Hypnosis?

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While reading Chapter 5, the section that really stuck out to me was the idea of hypnosis. I have always been fascinated with it, yet I've been hesitant to believe if it is something that had scientific and logical evidence to back it up. As I read further into the text I came across some things that reinforced my belief, but also some that made me question it a little bit more. Summing up the idea of hypnosis can be done by describing it as being a set of methods that try to alter a subject's perception, mind-set, and behaviors. In basic terms it is when a hypnotist, the person whom puts subjects in a sleep like state, puts a person or a group of people to "sleep" by using relaxation-based induction. The hypnotist is then able to control them and make them do and think ridiculous things without being able to recall the events. There are two different theories regarding hypnosis; the sociocognitive theory, which states it can be explained by people's attitudes and expectations, and the dissociation theory, which states it is a separation between personality functions that are usually well incorporated. After reading both I feel that the most logical one is the sociocognitve theory, that if people going into hypnosis thinking they are going to be "put to sleep" and forced to do things then they will, but if they go into it with a negative attitude, then it won't work.

The book also went into discussing the "Six Myths" surrounding hypnosis and clarified, contrary to popular belief, what was true and what was false. The one myth that really stood out to me was "Myth 4: Hypnotized People are Unaware of Their Surroundings," and it went into discussing the fact that although people think those who are hypnotized have no idea what's going on, subjects have actually been able to recall phone conversations that have happened during hypnosis. This really surprised me because all along I thought that people that had been hypnotized had no idea what was going on and that they were actually asleep, when in reality they are able to recall even minute instances, such as a phone conversation. The reason that I was really interested in this topic and the myths that surrounded it was because during my senior year of high school we had a hypnotist come and try to hypnotize some of my classmates. As the show was going on I couldn't help but wonder if he was really doing it and if my classmates where actually in a sleep-like state. It sure appeared to it to me that they were, and even afterword the students said that they had been in a different state, yet I was still skeptical to believe if it was as real as it appeared or if it was all just some hoax. The You-Tube video address I have pasted below is similar to what went on at my high school. Although it all looks so real and is quite funny to watch, I'm just not sure it's as valid as it appears. Even after reading about hypnosis I am still a little unsure if it as legit as it appears. Although the book did clarify a lot, especially with the myths surrounding it, I'm still curious to look into the logistics of it and see if there are any more explanations for it.

You-Tube video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxMUF6Rc-1I&feature=related

Night Terrors

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Many people have heard of night terrors but do not know or understand the real meaning behind them. When I thought of night terrors, I figured it was a bad nightmare and people screaming but knowing this was occurring. By reading the psychology book, I learned and comprehended a lot more about night terrors than I perceived. Night terrors are often more disturbing to onlookers rather than the sleepers themselves. After a person has a night terror, they do not know they had one or what has happened. Night terrors mostly occur in children. When a parent or an onlooker witness another persons night terror, they can hardly believe the person has no recollection of what just occurred. During a night terror, screaming, perspiring, and confusion occur while the person is wide eyed. Usually the child will react by thrashing and panicking before falling back into a deep sleep. An episode of night terrors usually last for only a few minutes even though they may seem like a lifetime to the onlooker. Night terrors are mostly harmful events that occur mostly in children and rarely occur in adults or adolescents. If an adult or adolescent does have a night terror, it is usually because of intense stress. After this has happened more than once, the parent or onlooker usually do not overreact and often times begin to ignore the episodes as long as no physical harm will happen.

I once myself experienced a friend having a night terror when I was younger at a sleepover. I was very frightened and did not know what happened to her. Once her and her mother explained to me that these were normal to her and not harmful to her, I understood why she had night terrors or that they were not harmful to her, I was not afraid after previous sleepovers, though at times it was still startling.

This video helps parents deal with night terrors to comfort their child.

News clip on Night Terror-with video of a night terror as well as a night terror test

Addictive Personalities

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When I first read the heading "Is there an Addictive Personality?" I thought, "Sure, why not, people can get addicted to others' personalities." What I realized was that the book was referring to a personality that is easily addicted to difference substances. Is there a stereotypical personality that is more likely to drink than another? The book claims that there is not. However, it does point out that there are several traits that are more likely to lead to alcoholism and drug abuse, for example; impulsivity, sociability and propensity to experience anxiety and hostility. Think of someone you know who drinks often, do they possess any of these traits? The answer I came up with is yes, yes they do.


http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/look-it-way/200903/the-addictive-personality

This blog from Psychology Today (by Stephen Mason dated March 14, 2009) discusses certain aspects of Addictive Personalities that the textbook does not cover. It addresses the issue that addictive personalities are "nothing more than an out-of-control habit." The individual that is addicted to the substance can't control their habit to abuse the drug, and do not know when to stop. The people who have more addictive personalities are more likely to abuse the substance.
The idea of an addictive personality is important to know, especially when one does use substances. It is essential that they realize that they cannot stop, and admit to themselves that they might be an alcoholic, or an abuser of another deadly substance. If they are parents, or become parents one day, they should realize that their child might have the same traits, and should help them steer clear of addictions.
I believe this concept is extremely important for further study, since psychologists can also help future generations become less addicted.

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Sleep Apnea

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Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes a person to repeatedly stop and start breathing. This is because; the person's airway is blocked while sleeping. The stops in a person's breathing may only last a few seconds, but they may occur 5 to 30 times in one hour. This causes people to wake up often, resulting in poor quality of sleep. Not getting a good night sleep makes a person more tired the next day. The most common way a person knows they have sleep apnea is if a spouse or family member notices the signs first and tells them. Some signs of sleep apnea include: snoring loudly, gasping for air, waking up with a dry mouth, pauses in breathing, morning headaches, and tiredness during the day no matter how much sleep a person gets.

There are three types of sleep apnea including: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when a persons throat muscles relax. Because a person's throat muscles are relaxed, the airway is narrower and the airflow decreases or stops. Central sleep apnea is when a person's brain does not send the correct signals to the muscles that control breathing. Because these signals are not being sent, a person stops and starts breathing many times throughout the night. Complex sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

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Anyone can have sleep apnea, no matter how old you are. People who are more apt to have sleep apnea include: people who are overweight, male, related to someone who has sleep apnea, a smoker, or over the age of 65. Some treatments for sleep apnea are losing weight, quit smoking, avoid caffeine, and maintain a regular sleep schedule. If the person's sleep apnea is more severe they should go see a doctor for other treatments. Other treatments include: continuous positive airway pressure, dental devices, or surgery. Continuous positive airway, also called CPAP is a mask that you wear at night that creates a flow of air through your nostrils. This helps keep your airways open. Dental devices are also used to keep your airways open, while sleeping. Lastly, surgery may be necessary to help correct sleep apnea.

I myself know someone who has sleep apnea. My friend's dad has central sleep apnea. He uses the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to help treat his sleeping disorder. The CPAP helps keep his airways open, so he does not have to gasp for air in the middle of the night. Because he is not gasping for air, he is not waking up as often during the night. This helps him get a quality night sleep.

It is important for people to find out from family members if they have signs of sleep apnea. If you ever wonder why you are always tired the next day, no matter how much sleep you get, sleep apnea might be the answer. It is also important for a person to get treatment for their sleep apnea, in order to get a quality night sleep.

More help for posting correctly

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As there have still been concerns about posting, I'm posting a link to a post that another student created with step by step instructions on how to post.

Please check out this great resource if you are having any difficulty posting

Notice that I have embedded this link so that it can be clicked on. Also notice, that this is a requirement for sucessfully completing your blogs. As I did this incorrectly the first time I posted, I did not deduct points for this assignment, however I will for future ones.

Lastly, Only 44 of the ~60 entries associated their post with Writing Assignment #1. I graded everybody's this time, however, for Writing #2, I will only grade posts associated with writing #2 (and so on for the future). If you are having trouble with this, send me and email and let me know (some browsers aren't as good with this) but following the steps in the link above should help with this.

Free Will/Determinism

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Free Will/Determinism is a debate that involves determining whether our behaviors are chosen freely or whether they are cause by outside factors that are not in our control. Most everybody would like to think that their behaviors are freely chosen by themselves, and that they are able to do whatever they want. But some psychologists believe that free will is just an illusion that we cannot see. We believe that we are free because we don't realize all the influences acting on our behavior. Few even think that most or all of our behaviors are automatically generated without even being aware of it. As if someone or something else is generating the behaviors that we exhibit.

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As for my own life, everyday situations could raise the question of whether free will or determinism affects my behavior. Take for example this blog post, most people decided it was a good idea to submit there entries before the deadline to receive full credit. But me, on the other hand, somehow came to the conclusion that I would post it past the deadline and get points taken off. Now this decision could have been due to my own free will. I could have realized that without one of my lectures, I could take Monday off and instead of staying home and doing homework Sunday night, I could go out and do something fun. Or the decision could have had to do with some outside factor that I'm not in control of (I'd like to believe this one). I could realize that my mom is lazy as well, and my dad is also a procrastinator and that I simply have some gene or some other thing that forces me to do things at last minute.

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The subject of Free Will/Determinism is important to everyday life because if we can understand what causes our behaviors, then we can better understand those behaviors, and we can discover why some people act they way they act. And whether this post was late because of my own free will or because of determinism, there's still two points off.

Inattentional Blindness

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http://www.npr.org/2011/06/20/137086464/why-seeing-the-unexpected-is-often-not-believing

This story is about inattentional blindness with police. I'll summarize the story quickly: Four men shot a police officer and many cops were called to chase the men. Some cops mistook another officer as one of the men and started beating him very badly. Another officer was chasing one of the actual culprits and passed right by the men beating the other cop. There was a trial later, and the man claimed he did not see them beating anyone even though he was running right by them. He was sentenced to 34 months in prison because they thought he was lying to protect the other officers. Then there was a study done by Chris Chabris that proved he was not lying. He had been chasing the suspect and was so concentrated on him that he did not see the beating happening next to him.
Now the question is, should inattentional blindness be an acceptable excuse in court? I would argue that in this case it is legitamate. He was not giving information because he hadn't seen it, not because he was protecting the other officers. But what if someone used it as an excuse for something else like driving? "I didn't see the stop sign because I was so focused on the road ahead of me" something like that. It could be an easy excuse to use for things. On the other hand it is a legitimate issue, but how do you prove that inattentional blindness was at work?

Nature vs. Nurture

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I believe the concept of Nature vs. Nurture is one of the most important to be learned in Psychology. Learning the basics of this concept can help us better understand the actions and behaviors of others around us, and interpret whether they are an unavoidable result of nature, or if they occurred as a product of someone's environment. This concept can be applied to many areas, but the one I immediately associated it with was homosexuality. This issue has been the source of heated debate and much tension for many years. On one side you have people screaming that it is unnatural and that its practice is an abomination, while on the other side you have people shouting back just as loudly that people were 'born this way' and that its an unavoidable course for some.

I personally believe that when it comes to homosexuality, individuals are born the way they are. Yes, I do believe that how a child is raised can factor into the situation, but overall, I think that being homosexuality is not a choice. Some of my reasons are purely emotional rather than biological. For example, a good friend of mine is a lesbian. She has told me many times that she did not choose to be attracted to girls, it's something that just happened and in a way, she wished she wasn't. She told me that it would be so much easier to be heterosexual, but it just isn't possible. When you get down to it, she did not wake up one day and say, "I think I'm going to date girls." It is something that has been a part of her since she was born. The video I have embedded supports the fact that homosexuality is not a choice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Osw05HGe5I


Sneezing is Orgasmic? (Extraordinary claims)

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There is a common belief that sneezing x amount of times (somewhere between 7 and 10) is the equivalent to having an orgasm/will cause an orgasm. However, there is no scientific evidence to back up the claim, it is more of a "he said/she said/have you heard" sort of deal. According to Snopes.com, the belief is most likely stemmed from a misquotation of a sex therapist's words, mistaking "An orgasm is just a reflex, like a sneeze" for "An orgasm is just like a sneeze."

Basically, it's an urban legend of sorts, kind of like the whole "If you make that face too much, you might be stuck looking like that forever," so I guess the scientific thinking principle that fits best with this is "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

Sneezing feels awesome. Sneezing multiple times feels AMAZING. But there is absolutely no scientific proof that sneezing seven times in a row will cause an orgasm, just as there is no proof that sneezing seven times is the same as having an orgasm. As far as anyone knows, it is simply a reflex; a reflex that feels amazing, but a lot of things feel amazing. Just because a sneeze feels awesome doesn't mean that you're having a mini orgasm out of your nose.

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

Are Alien Sightings Legitimate?

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For decades, humans have claimed to have had experiences with extraterrestrial beings, whether it was a UFO sighting or the extraordinary cases of "abduction". Because of the vastness of our universe, it is very likely that life exists on some other planet; however, this doesn't necessarily mean that there's life on other planets that is both highly intelligent and capable of reaching Earth. Claims of alien/UFO activity can be, at times, hard to explain or disprove, leading many to accept some incidences as truth. In fact, a poll done by Gallup in 2005 (see links at bottom) shows that 24% of US citizens believe aliens have visited the Earth at least once. The US government has also been prone to this scare. In 1952, a UFO was thought to have been seen in Washington DC, and the military actually responded (see links at bottom). Regardless, there are some simple explanations that do explain these odd occurrences. "UFO sightings" can often be the result of atmospheric chemical reactions between gases that emit bright lights. Often, people edit and post videos on the internet than can go viral. It's important to approach these stories with skepticism. These extraordinary claims all seem to share one thing though. They lack the good hard evidence that is required for such claims. Also, simpler explanations like chemical reaction and space material passing by or burning up in the atmosphere make more sense and are known to happen regularly. In the end, however, every situation can't be disproved and the same question is always raised. The most recent story that comes to mind is the supposed disappearance of a village in China. What do you think of it given the evidence?

Disappearing China:
http://thetruthbehindthescenes.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/entire-village-disappeared-qinling-mountains-china-caused-by-a-ufo/
http://www.dailyfinance.com/2010/07/20/ufos-over-china-alien-invasion-or-economic-indicator/

Gallup Poll:
http://www.gallup.com/poll/19558/Paranormal-Beliefs-Come-SuperNaturally-Some.aspx

General John Samford addresses public regarding UFO:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7d3-4LnmB-U

Nicotine Like Heroin

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One of the most important topics we have discussed is biological psychology and the brain. Understanding how things such as drugs, alcohol, food, emotions, and other various topics affect the brain is vital to our progress in the area of biological psychology.
The brain has "brain cells" called neurons that communicate the impulses and emotions we receive from our sensory organs to the brain for processing. Neurons pass messages on to other neurons through the ends of their bodies called synapses. Neurotransmitters are released from one synapse and travel to the dendrites of another neuron where they bind to the receptors and the message is received. There are different kinds of neurotransmitters responsible for different consequences.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that has many functions in the brain such as behavior and cognition, voluntary movement, motivation, punishment, and reward. When people use heroin, there is an increase in the amount of dopamine being released and at the same time the neurotransmitter entrance is blocked so that the dopamine molecules continuously bombard the second synapse without ever retreating to the first. Therefore people get a misleading feeling of reward and pleasure.
Even though nicotine and heroin have been known to affect the brain in different ways, scientists have found a portion of the brains pleasure center responding to both nicotine and heroin in the same way. The effects of the drugs are similar and this argues that the strength of nicotine resembles that of heroin and that the level of addictiveness in nicotine is just as high as in heroin which in turn raises the question, should nicotine be considered an illegal drug and how can society cope with this problem if nicotine will be banned in the future?

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"

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"The Immortal Life of Henrieta Lacks" is a novel written by Rebeccka Skloot that tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, a mother of five children who was a poor Southern tobacco planter in Baltimore. By early 1951, Lacks had suffered for some time, as she describes as a painful "knot on my womb." She sought medical attention at Johns Hopkins in January, a charity hospital and the only hospital that treated black patients. Lacks found out that she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Before giving her first radium treatment, the doctor cut out two tiny samples, one cancerous and one healthy from the tissues in Lack's cervix. She was never asked permission or even informed that her tissues were cut out. The doctor gave the tissues to George Grey, a scientist who had been trying to establish a continuously reproducing human cell line for use in cancer research. Her cells her labeled the "HeLa" (hee-la) cells. Lacks passed away from the effects of cervical cancer in October 1951.

The HeLa cells have made a huge impact in the medicine world. Her cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the effects of the atom bomb; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping. Her cells have been bought and sold by the billions. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they'd weigh more than 50 million metric tons which is as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings.

Today many people do not know about Henrietta Lacks and the significance that her cells have made. She was buried in an unmarked grave and her family did not know about the "immortality" of her cells until twenty years after her death. Even though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits.

Lack's story had good outcome unlike the Tuskegee Study that we read in our Psychology book but I think that it was wrong for the doctor to take what was her cells without informed consent. Her cells have made a significant impact in the world of medicine but I want to ask was it justifiable to take her cells without her permission?

Twins: Nature or Nurture?

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I am interested in the Twins Study of the Nature or Nuture. Researchers try to find human behavior is due to our genes or parents. The logic of twin studies rests on the fact that identical twins are more similar genetically than are fraternal twins. Therefore, identical twins are often researched by scientists to idetify genatic behavior. The following video is an example about identical twin studies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egXIk_4-qMY&list=PLA028B06086BFD6F7&index=1

The video shows that KODY Jackson, the identical twins have identical genatic makeup, so the researchers believe that there is something inside their brains were technical with genetic matches. They focus on the identical twins' brain patten and find out that when they have similar brain patten, the skill such as reading or mathematics most likely is their genatic behavior.
I believe the twin studies and I think identical twins are major influenced by nurture and the enviroment also plays a role. For instance, my mother is one of the identical twins who shares 100% of their genes. She has a lot of similar characteristics with my aunt: good at maths, love red color, look at the same TV show and wear same style clothes. These behaviors are all genes influenced. However, they have different personalities because my aunt is living in the rural area while my mother is in city. They are separated at birth. For example, My mother likes quiet and read books at rest, but my aunt likes to hang out with friends and spend most of her rest time at travelling.


Research Design Matters

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Research Design Matters
Without good research design even the smartest people on earth can be fooled. Generally speaking, human beings are notorious for relying heavily on inaccurate measures of the probability of events. However, by using good research designs, thinking errors like cognitive biases and overconfidence can be avoided. Take for instance the controversy around facilitated communication. Facilitated communication is a process in which a "facilitator" supports the hand or arm of a severely handicapped person who spells out a message using some device that contains a list of letters, numbers, or words. This new process that began in 1991, was geared towards making improvements in the treatment of infantile autism. For a while facilitated communication claimed it could cure the broken bond between silent world of autism and the adult world of social interaction, but the evidence of these claims were found to be equally extraordinary. Further studies on this method found that facilitators were unknowingly guiding the fingers of children toward the keyboard, and the resulting words were coming from the their minds, not the children's. Advocates of this denounced process also refused to consider those hypotheses that rivaled their own. I found this research finding to be particularly important because it shows how important it is to evaluate claims by using the scientific method.
http://youtu.be/CzYIidZvfjA

If the method of facilitated communication has been denounced, then how can those who have been lost in silence be heard? Is there a way for a facilitator to help autistic patients express themselves without having communication being determined by the facilitator? Will/ does future procedures permit us to help nonverbal individuals communicate?

Nature Vs Nurture

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In Psychology there is a never ending debate on Nature vs. Nurture, which means Psychologists debate whether a person acts the way they do because of either the way they were born or the way their families raised them. This debate is very important to society because people are always looking for an answer as to why people are the way they are and why for example, some people choose to kill other human beings for no reason at all. Are they killers because of they way they were raised or is there some chemical imbalance inside of their had that was there at birth and took time to develop. My view on the nature vs. nurture debate stands on the side of nature. That all human beings are the way they are because of their genes and heredity. A human's genes make them who they are, and the way people behave are based on their genes. Some people are more agressive or more timid by nature not by nurture, it's something that you have or don't have, it can't be taught or untaught. For example, my younger brother and I. We both have the same parents and were raised in the same house, and raised the same way by both parents. I am more soft, gentle, and timid at times, where my brother Jonah can be a "maniac". In sports I was referred to as the gentle giant, where Jonah is referred to as a "goon" or a "scrapper". Even though we were raised the same way, and both had our dad as a coach, he is clearly a more agressive person than myself. If there is a problem, I'll either try to talk it out or just avoid it at all cost, but my brother takes a completely different approach and goes in swinging with fists of fury, screaming and yelling at the top of his lungs! Now this does not mean that I think my brother will be a murderer in the future, he just has a more agressive personality, but when he is calm, he is the most loving kid in the world. This clearly is a sign that nature is more of a factor than nurture.

Loch Ness Monster: Extraordinary Claims

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The Loch Ness monster myth began in 1933 when Mrs. Mackay spotted a serpent-like monster in Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. She said that it looked to be whale-like rather than like a prehistoric creature, which is today known as the Loch Ness monster. Alex Campbell, an amateur journalist, heard of Mrs. Mackay's sighting and decided to interview her. He titled the article Strange Spectacle on Loch Ness. He reportedly said in the article that Mrs. Mackay could have seen a monster. This claim was undeniably false because Mrs. Mackay never said anything about seeing a monster; she had said the creature was "whale-like". For Alex Campbell "whale-like" didn't seem like the most intriguing word. If one were to look in a thesaurus at the word "whale-like", they would find the word "monstrous" therefore giving the monster idea to Campbell. So he had written this article about this so-called monster in Loch Ness. This sparked an interest in the public, which set fire to the claim of the Loch Ness monster.

This claim, while some think is true and others are skeptical, is very extraordinary. There is some evidence behind it but not nearly enough for the claim to be considered true. Since the sighting in 1933 there have been many attempts to see the Loch Ness monster. Although there have been photographs claiming that they show the monster, it isn't for certain that these photos are real. The most famous of these photos is called "Surgeon's Photograph". It's important because it was the first photo that was taken of a supposed head and neck. Dr. Wilson, the man who took this shot, also claimed to have taken five total photos of the monster, but only two were clear. The first was the small head and neck and the second was blurry and hard to interpret. In 1994, this image was revealed as a hoax. There hasn't been any hard evidence to support the extraordinary claim that Nessie the monster lives in Loch Ness.

Surgeon's Photograph

http://www.loch-ness.org/eyewitnesses.html

Milgram's experiment... worth it or not?

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The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures conducted by Stanley Milgram, which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience.

The participants of this experiment were deceived into believing they were administering painful electrical shocks of increasing intensity to other participants who made repeated errors on a learning task. In this experiment, 37 out of 40 participants administered the full range of shocks up to 450 volts. Thus, according to Milgram, the subject shifts responsibility to another person and does not blame himself for what happens. This resembles real-life incidents in which people see themselves as merely cogs in a machine, just "doing their job," allowing them to avoid responsibility for the consequences of their actions.
Here is the experiment (Youtube video Pt 1/3, Pt 2/3, Pt 3/3)

The results of this experiment are very important in order to understand how humans behave and how much vulnerable are on obedience of an authority figure. One such example of real life is the actions of the Nazis during WWII. The most important conclusion is that this kind of behavior can be repeated easily in real life and one such recent example is the incident of the turn a class of students into racists on obedience to their teacher (Replicability). That happened in 1967 in a school of California with the result of the death of one student. This incident is described in detail in the film Die Welle (The wave) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FYDF8wGn5E&feature=related.

Although this experiment was classed as highly unethical as it caused stress to the participants in the study, I believe that it worth performing it. If the society has taken more seriously its results the incident in the school of California might have been avoided.
See also:
Das Experiment (The Experiment)

Fraternal Vs. Identical

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Twin studies is one research design scientists used to estimate heritability. Heritability is the extent to which genes affect the differences in a trait among individuals. In twin studies mainly the differences between fraternal and identical twins are examined. Identical twins share 100 percent of their genes, whereas fraternal twins share only 50 percent. A set of fraternal twins and a set of identical twins with both similar environments and the identical twins psychological characteristics are more similar than the fraternal twins. From this we can infer that psychological characteristics are more influenced from genetics rather than environments. I believe twin studies are important because they show a greater relation of the influence of genetics and have a lot of evidence to support that claim.
I am a fraternal twin myself and I believe that in my and my sisters case that genetics play a big role in our differences because, we grew up in the same environment and family but our personalities are extremely opposite. For example she has always been the more the free spirited one and I have always been the more logical one. Even our likes and dislikes are opposite. Growing up she was a complete "girly girl" and I was a complete "tom boy".
My only remaining question would be if there are any twin studies that have shown fraternal twins more psychologically similar than a set of identical twins with similar environments, and what the explanation of that would be?

Thumbnail image for Twins
This is my twin sister on the left and me on the right.

The Dangers of Pseudoscience

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Pseudoscience is described in the Lilenfield text as a set of claims that seems scientific but aren't. Even with mankind's current thriving technological intelligence, there are innumerable varieties of pseudoscience in our world today. This seems almost contradictory seeing as a pseudo-scientific should be able to be easily disproven. This is not always the case, however. The originators of these ideas often avoid making claims that are possible to be rigorously examined. Because of the believability of pseudoscience and its invulnerability to scientific testing, pseudoscience can be extremely dangerous.
One of the main factors contributing to harm caused by pseudoscience is the opportunity cost. When people chose pseudoscientific ideas and even procedures over scientific ones, they put themselves and others at risk. Pseudoscience by definition is not proven effective and therefore can cause great damage when trusted over medical and scientific methods. Direct harm can also be a result of pseudoscience. Pseudoscientific procedures are not guaranteed safe or effective and many people have died as a direct result of pseudoscience. For these reasons, pseudoscience is an extremely important topic to discuss. Far too often, a naïve yet innocent person is the victim of the negative effects of pseudoscience. It is crucial that people understand the importance of properly assessing the science and logic behind treatments and ideas.
It is also important to understand that pseudoscientifical claims are not the same as metaphysical ones. They are more than just theories and ideas, they are believed to be true and manifested in actual practices and treatments. It would be interesting, however to consider the difference between pseudoscience and spirituality in terms of treatment for disease, beliefs, and ways of life.
One example of a pseudoscience is chiropractics. Below is a video showing how common pseudo sciences such as chiropractics can be life threatening.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wCicEGlRXk&feature=related

Appeal to Ignorance Fallacy

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One interesting concept that stood out to me in the readings were the informal fallacies. It is interesting how psychologists have identified these and applied them to everyday life. The most intriguing fallacy (in my opinion) would be the appeal to ignorance fallacy, the idea that a proposition is true because it has not been proven wrong or vice versa. For example, take Big Foot for instance, you can't necessarily say that Big Foot exist because you do not have significant evidence to prove that it does exist, but on the other hand, you also can't disprove it either. Now this is rather fascinating, for if neither party can prove or disprove this phenomena, how did it come to be? Is Big Foot real? Is it just a fluke? Or is Big Foot actually an actual human being with some rare hair condition? Whatever it may be, the truth is still out there somewhere in the woods, or in someone's imagination. I believe that we, as critical thinkers, should be more open-minded to these allegations and not dismiss them with such disbelief. We should look into them with an
open-mind and curiosity. We should at least try to prove it, and at the same time try to disprove it. Gather as much evidence and information as we can for both opposing sides. Then make an educated judgement based on the evidence gathered, In correlation, before make a claim about something, we should first strive to find information or evidence that may disprove our claim. According to one of the safeguards of science and one of the six scientific thinking principles, falsifiability, we should all strive to disprove our claim.

big_foot.jpg
http://www.lispr.com/big_foot.jpg

Shark in Puerto Rico's Streets

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http://www.mediaite.com/online/wait-is-that-really-a-shark-swimming-in-a-puerto-rican-street/

After the destruction and flooding caused by Hurricane Irene in August, a picture of a shark swimming in the streets of Puerto Rico was sent in. The media broadcasted this story to warn others of the shark's close contact. After all of the attention to the picture of the shark, posters at Reddit found the real picture of the shark behind a kayaker and the people were informed that the picture was a fake, the shark was photoshopped into the picture of the flood. Like many things, it is easy to believe something that the news presents us, but by using the six principles of scientific thinking we can find evidence to disprove what the claim was. Falsifiability makes us find evidence that could disprove it, or if it is correct, can confirm that theory. In this case, falsifiability proved the this case was false. Another principle used to disprove this story is extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. People say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and most people believe pictures, but a shark in the middle of a street definitely needs more proof. This story could be true, after a hurricane and flooding a shark could have come inland, but there was no proof needed because it was so extraordinary, sharks are rarely seen close to land. This story also shows that correlation is not causation. People assumed that it's possible because there is flooding and the shark could have come toward the land, but they did not think to check to if it could be fake because they believed that the flood could have caused it.

Terror Management Theory

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Humans are the only living beings that are aware of our existence on earth. Along with this, humans are also then aware that we will not always be here. Being aware that we will one day die and that our deaths can occur at any time for reasons that we cant always control or describe, causes us a sense of terror. Humans unconsciously deal with these terrors of death through developing culture. By having these culture worldviews, we are reassured that our lives have meaning and importance. It is said that terror management theory may be connected with the explanation of why beliefs such as paranormal activity, astrology, ESP, and communication with the death are so popular. The idea of someone "coming back from the dead" as a ghost gives some people hope that there may be some sort of life after death. Research has found that, "participants who underwent a mortality salience: [the extent to which thoughts of death are foremost in our minds] manipulation reported higher levels of beliefs in the paranormal." (lilienfeld 17)

In my life, yes I am aware that I will, just like everyone else, die someday. I am not particularly a very religious person and I am not sure where I will go when I die, but I would like to believe that there is some sort of afterlife waiting when we go.
I would like to know more about the extent to which anxiety coincides with this topic. If a person with anxiety about dying were to adopt a new culture or religion, how much would it help?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BWvMM_lBQk

Correlation is NOT Causation:

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I got it.png

Correlation-causation fallacy is the error of assuming that because one thing is associated with another, it must cause the other. According to the textbook, course materials, and Professor Thomas Brothen, "Correlation designs don't permit causal inferences - correlation is not causation". I agree with the statement 100%. However, in the outside world, I hear things like "Because we had a warm summer, the winter will be quite cold", "Because people are using shampoo a lot, there are fewer fish in the water", or "Spring is coming, there will be more couples at schools". People reach a conclusion for some events or activities based on their beliefs or assumptions. Two things happen to occur at the same time does not imply that one of them caused the other one to occur. Maybe in spring time, students have more time and less homework than fall and winter, which increases the possibility of meeting new people and chances of getting to know them well. Therefore, they decide to date with someone. Or people don't notice or care how many couples around them in other times of the year because they already believe spring is the time for couples. Probably there are fewer fish in the water because of an environmental issue, not because of the fact that people started using shampoo more than ever. When we look at two certain events and find a correlation between them, we ignore or overlook other events that also occur at the same time, which could be the real causation of one of them but not correlated to them (events C and D). Therefore, we cannot always assume that A causes B because A and B are correlated. Maybe D caused A to occur and they're not correlated at all.

250px-Correlation_vs_causation.png

"The Madden Curse"

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The national football league, or NFL, has an annual video game that is released before the approaching football season called "Madden Football." It is named after John Madden, a former NFL coach and television announcer. When the video game was originally released, the cover consisted of the game title and a picture of Madden. Starting in 2001, Madden's picture was replaced by a chosen star NFL player. Every year, a new player appears on that edition of the game. Players chosen to be on the cover of the game have had stellar previous seasons and are among the best in the league. Recently, fans of the NFL have voted on who the next "Madden cover" player will be.
Eddie George was the first player to be selected as the "Madden cover player." He was the star running back for the Tennessee Titans. In the Titan's first playoff game in the following season, George had a crucial fumble which led to a loss for the Titans. This is how the "Madden curse" originated. This urban legend states that whichever player appears on the cover of Madden will be plagued by injury or have an underperforming season. I chose to evaluate this myth by using the correlation versus causation principle.
Just because many of the players who appeared on the Madden cover were injured or had an unsuccessful season that year doesn't mean it is a result of the player appearing on the cover. There could be many other reasons that the player had a bad season. One is that most of the players that are chosen for the cover just came off their best season of their career, and it is hard to live up to having just as good of a season as their last. Another is that injury happens to all players, and being on the cover of a video game is not a reasonable explanation for causing the injury. It could have been linked to many other factors that people don't consider because they are so focused on the "Madden curse."
I thought the correlation versus causation principle was the best to use in this situation because the myth is relating two variables that are correlated, but one is not causing the other.


http://www.snopes.com/science/science.as
http://gameculture.com/files/blogimages/madden_covers_00s.jpg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHhN77xf8AU

Telepathy. Is it just a coincidence?

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Telepathy, one of the three types of extrasensory perceptions, is a fascinating and extraordinary topic. It is the ability for people to directly send and receive information and feelings by the mere process of thought. Extrasensory claims such as telepathy have been being studied and tested all the way back to biblical times. However, the knowledge on this subject is still very limited. During the 1960s, researchers Montaque Ullman and Stanley Krippner conducted a telepathic study that involved one participant being monitored while in a dream state. This person was put in a soundproof room. The other participant would attempt to send an image to the sleeping person. The sleeping participant was then awoken and asked to describe the dream during that time. The data sometimes pointed toward actual telepathy occurring. However, the data was not consistent enough to be proved. Many experiments and tests have been done since then, and none have been able to actually prove the existence of telepathy.

Will telepathy ever be able to be proved? Maybe it falls under the scientific method of extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Will researchers and scientists ever be able to get the results needed to deem this mysterious topic true? Maybe the girls in the video just so happened know what the other was feeling, maybe it was just a coincidence. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2-rL1Cf4xo. Are we only believing in telepathy because we want meaning in the world for these strange occurrences? Are the ideas of multiple end points and cold readings true?

This incredible phenomena will continue to be researched and studied. If we so happen to solve this mystery and understand the process of it, it will be an incredible discovery in psychological world.

Sam Carpenter

Nature vs. Nurture - What's to Blame for Our Behavior?

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I find the nature-nurture debate to be one of the most fascinating debates in psychology. Although there is no clear-cut answer, and perhaps there never will be, it is still interesting to examine what factors influence human behavior and development. In today's world, it seems almost easy to attribute other people's actions to their genetics, but these claims are not always easy to falsify. Even with research methods such as twin and adoption studies it is impossible to say with certainty that someone is a murderer because it's in their genes or that their sexual orientation is what it is because of their biological makeup. Do humans have complete free will or are we predestined to act a certain way because of our genetics? This question finds itself at the heart of the nature-nurture debate.
Nature_versus_Nurture.jpg
In many ways, my younger sister and I are the same. We have a similar sense of humor, we enjoy a lot of the same activities, and we like many of the same foods. However, we vary in our grades in school, certain abilities, and our approach to difficult situations. Looking at these different areas of our lives, at first it seems easy to attribute these examples to the nature theory, such as liking the same foods and having the same sense of humor as our dad. Nevertheless, it is difficult to tell what the cause is when one considers something like grades. Was one of us born more intelligent than another? Or does one of us just apply ourselves more? Does she get distracted easier because of genetics? Or did my parents force different study habits on her than they did me?
tree.jpg
These types of questions are tough to answer and are exactly what twin and adoption studies seek to address. Even with these research methods, there are plenty of questions that remain unanswered: how much do genes and environment influence behavior? Does this influence vary from person to person? And if genes are at the base of actions, is that enough to justify violent crimes such as in the Bogle family?

Here are just some other articles to check out on this topic.
http://www.trinity.edu/mkearl/socpsy-2.html
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15629096

Only Ten Percent of Brain Used

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The myth that we only use ten percent of our brain is one that has been around for a while. It is common enough that it can be referenced in popular culture and people will recognize and believe it. But where it exactly came from is not quite known. People have just assumed that it is to be true and to be completely honest before I started Psy 1001 I did not know for sure if it was true or not.

This theory has been recently popularized in the recent film limitless. The whole plot of the movie is based around the fact that the average person can only access ten percent of their brain. Then with the "magic drug" it can unlock the other 90% thus becoming a super human that can do anything.

Just like any other study if you use the right vocabulary and have a credible source that sounds legitimist people will believe just about anything. When this claim is analyzed with some of the principals of critical thinking many flags pop up. One would be falsifiable; currently there is no way to measure the capacity and the exact percentage of the brain that is being used, but we do know that all areas of the brain are actively being used through various tasks.

As we have recently learned this topic can be easily disproved with other known research that has been conducted and some studies have specifically tested this myth. There have been many brain scans completed they have shown that almost all parts of the brain have some type of activity going on so it does not fall in line with the ten percent myth.

No one is completely sure we are efficiently using all of our brainpower, but we are pretty certain that we are using a more than a mere ten percent


http://www.snopes.com/science/stats/10percent.asp

The Nocebo Effect

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485px-Nocebo_WikiWorld.png

The University's Psychology textbook claims the nocebo effect as the placebo effect's "evil twin". The nocebo effect is harm that results from a person assuming harm before it happens. The nocebo responses are not chemically triggered but are rather due to one's pessimistic expectation.
An example of the nocebo effect can be an instance from ten years ago when researchers discovered that women who believed that they were going to get heart disease were four times more likely to die from heart disease. I believe in the nocebo effect because I also believe in the placebo effect. I think this theory is important because it helps us understand why some medications might work better for some people, while may not be as effective for others. It is important for scientists to research this topic because there are "self-willed" deaths that occur because of this belief. When one believes that they will die of a certain cause, the chances of their death increases based on their belief. This link explains more deeply on the subject of nocebo and its effect on health.
The nocebo effect can be tested in the same way as the placebo effect. Two groups receiving a medication would be told different information about the medicine. Group #1 would be told good things about the medicine, while group #2 would be told of the side effects that they might experience while on medication. Group #2 is more likely to experience a negative outcome than group #1, although they are taking the same medication.
A question that people might ask is, how does the brain affect the body just with a mere thought of having an illness? What preventative methods could scientists use to help consumers from the evil twin of placebo, nocebo?

Sources:
Lilienfeld Text
Washington Post

University Urban Legend

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http://www.snopes.com/college/admin/swimtest.asp

The claim that each student must pass a swim test in order to graduate because a benefactor's child drowned is an extraordinary claim. It is extraordinary because the entire university would be changing their graduation policy just because one benefactor asked them to. Since this is such an extraordinary claim there must be strong evidence to match this claim in order for us to believe it. However, there is no evidence whatsoever as it is only an urban legend. Urban Legends are very difficult to prove or trace back to their origins making it hard to gather evidence. Without this evidence we cannot prove this extraordinary claim. As a result this urban myth does not pass the extraordinary claims principle of scientific thinking. Also, it does not satisfy Occam's razor as there is a much simpler solution than the one they provide. For example, a simpler solution would be that the university required a swimming test to graduate for health or safety reasons. This is a simpler explanation as it shows the university wants every student to know how to swim so they reduce their risk of drowning. This also goes along with the scientific principle of ruling out rival hypothesis. There are many other explanations, such as the health benefits and safety concerns, which could explain why the university would require a swim test to graduate. Since the legend did not rule out these hypotheses, they cannot assume that reason the swim tests were implemented was due to the benefactor. Overall, this urban legend is ruled false because it does not pass the majority of the principles of scientific thinking.

Pareidolia - Assignment one

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I found one of articles that I read to be interesting and quite comical. It was about pareidolia and more specifically religious pareidolia, such as seeing Jesus or the Virgin Mary in various places. People have claimed to see Jesus' reflection in a window, Mary in a slice of water melon, and many many more. (http://www.skepdic.com/graphics/marytortilla.jpg) While doing research for the article, the author said that he gave up after finding 100 images because he saw no end in sight. So what is is that causes our brain to see things that aren't actually there? Carl Sagan, an astronomer, has said that it is likely an evolutionary trait. From a very young age human babies are able to identify another human face and smile back at it. This phenomenon could help us identify other human faces and even predators' faces in dark lighting. Humans have the same tendency to try to recognize faces when looking at inanimate objects. This explains why people claim to hear hidden messages when listening to music played backwards, to see unidentified flying objects, or to see images of the faces of Jesus and Mary in food items. There may also be other reasons that people "see" things in intimate objects. For example, The number of sightings of Jesus' and Mary's faces on objects dramatically increases after the first couple of sightings back in 2003. Personally I did not see the faces in most of the 100 images that were posted, but when these "religious objects" are selling for hundreds or even thousand dollars the image may be easier to be seen by the owner.

cites:
http://8minutesold.com/?p=55

Adoption Studies

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adoption.pngAdoption studies is a way of answering the question of nature vs. nurture, which one affects a person's development more? Adoption studies help answer this question by studying a certain behavior that a kid/person has and seeing if that behavior reflects more towards their biological parents or their adoptive parents. If the child/person's behavior corresponds to the biological parents, then nature has more of a role in development. If the child/person has a behavior related to the adoptive parents, then you could say that nurture has more of a role in development. My brother had a kid that he gave away for adoption, and I think it would be interesting who the child relates to more. So far, I think that the child acts a lot like my brother, crazily; however, I don't know exactly how the adoptive parents are. I personally believe that nature and nurture both have great effects on a person's development.

The case of HM (Henry Molaison)

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/4109336/Henry-Molaison.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/feb/05/obituary-henry-molaison

In one of our discussions we went over how different parts of you brain have specified functions and are in charge of different functions of the human body. One prime example of how certain parts of the brain affect our daily lives is the one of Henry Molaison. He had a condition known as profound amnesia, which renders one unable to make new memories (long-term). He wasn't born with that though. A series of events eventually caused it starting from being run over by a cyclist when he was nine years old which caused him to suffer through severe epilepsy. He went through a surgery that removed both temporal lobes of his cerebral cortex and his hippocampus. The operation cured the epilepsy but in turn gave him profound amnesia. He still has memories of his life pre-operation but he can't make any new long-term memories.
This made Molaison a prime subject for scientists to research about the connection between memory and how certain parts of the brain play a part in it. Scientists can use this information to learn more about the brain and devise safe and efficient methods to treat diseases due to memory loss.
There is one major concern have about this topic. It is regarding the surgery Molaison underwent to cure his epilepsy. I was shocked that the surgeon removed so much of his brain without knowing of the direct consequences of it. I know that the procedure was done in 1953 but now that we have more advanced techniques to deal with conditions that affect the brain, we can hopefully avoid another accident like that in the future.


Nature vs Nurture Debate

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Getting the whole picture

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The Gestalt principles of proximity, closure, symmetry, continuity, similarity, and figure-ground help us make sense of the world we see. The four I find most interesting are continuity, closure, similarity, and proximity because they're the most relevant to my life. If we see a book that's partially covered by a backpack, we still know the book is rectangular and not whatever shape is left uncovered by the backpack. Max Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka, and Wolfgang Kohler identified this Gestalt Principle of continuity as well as the others in the 20th century. Closure, an example of which can be seen below in the panda, is when the brain fills in absent parts of an image so you see a whole image instead of a fragmented one.
closure.gif
similarity.pngproximity.gif

To the left you see a common sight in dorm rooms; a brightly colored drawer set. This structure exemplifies the principle of similarity because even though the drawers are vividly different colors, they are in line with one another and are the exact same shape. If the picture were longer, you would also start to see the pink/blue/green pattern repeat.


The image on the right is an example of proximity. As you see, the two columns on the left seem to be part of a group while the column on the right, though exactly the same as the other two, does not because it is a farther distance away from the second than the second is from the first. Another example would be a a grouping of pictures on a wall; even if they're different shapes or sizes, or even of different subjects, the pictures would be perceived as a group because they're physically close.


The reason behind why our minds group objects and images as they do seems rational to me; like goes with like, things that are close are together, objects don't change just because we can't see them, and if we know what something is we should view it as complete, even if all the parts aren't present. What I've started to wonder now is, how far does this extend into our interactions with others? Do we group ourselves and other humans in the same ways?

An important concept to know is how exactly drugs work. We all know what drugs such as Aspirin, Claritin, or Caffeine do, but many of us who use these drugs daily do not know how they actually work in our brains.Therefore, it is essential for us to know how drugs work, because we can gain knowledge as a whole society on the treatment of certain psychiatric conditions; a prime example is the use of stimulants for treating Attention-Deficit-Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).

The Synapse is in simple terms the site of a neuron communicating with another neuron. Here, chemicals are released which bind to receptors. These chemicals are known as neurotransmitters. They influence our emotions and behaviors. Some notable neurotransmitters are Serotonin, Dopamine, and Norepinephrine.

In the concept of using stimulants to treat ADHD, an example to look at is the medication Ritalin. Ritalin is a norepinephrine-dopamine-reuptake inhibitor, meaning it blocks the the neurotransmitters norepineprine and dopamine from being flushed back to the cell. This way, an abundance of norepinephrine and dopamine can be used in the synapse. Dopamine is responsible for reward and pleasure, whereas norepinephrine is responsible for attention and focus. By having a larger amount of these neurotransmitters in the synapse, the symptoms of innatention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity found in ADHD may decrease.

As a person with ADHD, I believe it is necessary for me to learn how Ritalin works in my brain. I still have some questions unanswered, such as why dopamine is responsible for attention, while its associated with reward. Otherwise, I am glad to have it so I can concentrate and focus.

Terror Management Theory

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Terror Management Theory maintains that behaviors of people are motivated by the natural fear to mortality. Although it seems to be a too absolute opinion for people to accept it, but it truly explain some confusing events that happened in our daily life. As the Lilienfeld textbook states, "reminders of our death can lead us to adopt comforting worldviews--perhaps, in some cases, beliefs in the paranormal." Take my own experience as a good example. I was born in a little backward village that old stereotypes and superstitious beliefs prevailed. I still remember that when I was in childhood, my grandmother enlightened me the importance of being a righteous man. She conducted me that human are unable to avoid the death, the only way to die without pain is to act as a good and righteous man. She also believed that there are 18 levels of hell for died bad guys' soul to enter in. The levels are ranged by the severity and period. The more sins people did in their life, the deep levels they would fall off after the death. Actually this is not superstition to be precise. When you look over the historical materials about Buddhism and Taoism, you can learn that it was fully stated by them. I still remember that how the story influence me so much. When I am thinking and talking about the death or some related topics, the story will come to my mind. "Being a good, righteous man! Then you you'll pay less pain after the death." In our daily life, there are always some news or events about the death. Such as "somebody was murdered", "somebody was died by traffic accident" and so on. This make me feel the death is so closed to us, the only way I can rule out the terror is telling to myself "being a good man then you will never suffer pain in the hell." This makes me understand why so many people have religious beliefs or believe something abstract. From doing so, we can receive a comfort and a sense of security. I belief this theory is a good way to figure out some thing I mentioned above, but as the scientific thinking taught us: correlation not equals the causation. There always be some third reasons to explain why people have beliefs in the abstract and paranormal thing not only the terror to death. Maybe human's instinct to believe the paranormal thing because thinking abstract or adopt the paranormal worldviews make them differed from the other lives in the world.

Nature vs. Nurture

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What makes us who we are? Is it our genes , what we inherited from our parents? Is it our environment how we grew up? Or is it both and if so, which has a larger influence? This concept of Nature vs. Nurture has perplexed man for centuries and even today Nature being the genetic makeup of an individual and Nurture the environment that an individual is in. it is important to the field of psychology when trying to find the origin of trait in an individual like musical talent or high athletic ability. Now some origins of traits or more obvious than others, e.g. eye color is mostly genetic than compared to skills that the individual possesses. When it comes to studying behavior in individuals the distinction between genetics and the environment often becomes blurred. But still psychologist search for theses origins and the way they do it is through the study of heritability, the amount of variability in a trait across individuals that is due to genes. Heritability applies only to groups of people, says nothing about how much a trait can change, and it can change from different groups of people and time periods. Psychologist use manly three methods in studying heritability, family studies, twin studies and adoption studies, all of which study how traits differ or are the same.

Reading the Sunday review in the New York Times, there was an article about academic overachievers and how they are becoming more common now than before. Are they more common because of their genes or their environment, their every strict and demanding parents? Or is both?

Subliminal Persuasion

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While reading, I came across Subliminal Persuasion which I found very interesting. Subliminal Persuasion is very different from subliminal messaging or subliminal perception. Subliminal messaging, whether or not it occurs often the media, does not necessarily have any affect or influence over us. Subliminal Persuasion on the other hand subconsciously influences our decisions and choices that we make in our lives. Subliminal Persuasion is very unlikely to occur. Every year millions people buy subliminal audiotapes thinking that they can improve their self-esteem and their life if they sleep while the tape is a playing positive message(such as "you can accomplish anything") Research shows that it actually has no affect on a person whatsoever. There is not a direct correlation between subliminal messaging and subliminal persuasion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xPvYgTvr8I

I think that subliminal messaging occurs quite often in our media, and while many people are outraged by it, I think it is not a big deal. It has no real affect or influence over us. It is not subliminal persuasion so we have full control over our decisions. Like most people, my first thought of subliminal persuasion was what I saw in movies and television shows. Here they show subliminal messaging almost as hypnotism. They show a person watching television and suddenly a subliminal message appears telling them to vote for a certain candidate and almost as if they are under mind control, they go out and do it. The media and general public often confuse the idea that because our subconscious is exposed to some message does not mean we will act on it. the media scares us into believing this, when it is not true.

Are you sure about this?

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In our daily lives, we can face a lot of information and images, however, sometimes we only see one side of an image. Take Rubin's vase illusion for example in Figure 1 below, you can either see a vase or two faces. When we look at a image, we can focus on different part of the whole image and due to the different part we are focusing, we can see the image in different ways. vase illusion.png Figure 1.
What if we only see an image in one way? If we look at the vase illusion, what if we only see vase instead of two faces? Well it may not cause any bad effect but it can reduce the information the image try to tell us. In real life, if someone send you a image and there has some meaningful information behind the image and you do not figured out? You can miss something valuable! Moreover, when conducting a experiment, we have to look really carefully at a image so that we can get all the information behind the image. We do not want to miss the important information after we conducted a very complicated experiment. However, one thing I do not really understand is that from the bistable images, if this image is designed to test people with mental issues, are this are still reliable? If a person with mental disease and he or she see this picture different, can this be reliable? Are there any bistable images that are designed to evaluate a person's mental disease?

http://www.archimedes-lab.org/monthly_optical_illusion_6.html From this website we can also know that bistable images are interesting but still enjoyable to see, when you find out the difference of the image, will you smile or think it is interesting? Those bistable images, from my point of view, can help people to think and read from multiple perspectives: when we first look at the image, we see focus on one main part of the image but if we think more, we can discover more.

Which is more Living or Death?

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There have been claims made that the number of people living today is much larger than the number of people that died from when "time began". Five thousand years ago when the pyramids were built, it was estimated that there were around six billion (which is roughly similar to our current population) people that died. If this six billion estimate was true then the claims about the number of people living is greater than the death would also be true but the problem is humans today, can't specify the exact date when "time began".2595195_370.jpg For example, if "time began" from 40,000 years ago the estimate for deaths would be around twelve billion people and if time began earlier than 40,000 years ago then the number of deaths would vary.

This "the number of people alive today is greater than the number of people who have ever died" is a perfect example of falsifiability, replicability and extraordinary claims. With claims like overall deaths, it is hard to create a study to show that our findings can be disproved because vague information. In order to falsify this claim, it is important to know when time actually began and when people started living. Sure, there might be numbers out there but those numbers are only estimates and there are not hundred percent correct. Also, claims like overall death is also hard to replicate. Think about it, how would a person today replicate a study about death that occurred let's say in 2007? The person that is doing the study today will have different data of numbers of death today than in 2007. The last thing also is that overall death claims is also an example of extraordinary claims. pyramid1.jpgLike how I mentioned before, people said that there have been six billion people that died when the pyramids were built but that evidence is not strong enough because it is uncertain when "time began" and number like six billion people are only estimates and estimates are not always close to the accurate numbers. Approaching claim like overall deaths or other claims, it is important to always question ourselves on the data presented.

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

Phantom Limb Pain

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One topic I found interesting during lecture was the pain or discomfort an individual sometimes experiences within an amputated or missing limb. This is know as the Phantom Limb Syndrome, which Professor Gewirtz briefly went over in lecture last week. Phantom limb syndrome was first founded by Ambroise Pare in 1552, a surgeon who worked on soldiers with amputated limbs. Although the exact cause of phantom pain is unclear, it is partially explained by mixed signals being sent to the brain by the nerve endings of the amputated limb, forcing the brain to believe the limb still exists, and originates throughout the brain and spinal cord. This pain can range anywhere from mild to extreme. One treatment for the phantom pain is known as the mirror box. The mirror box creates the illusion that the amputated limb is there, which from there on can help to maintain pain and/or discomfort in the phantom limb. Many medications such as antidepressants and muscle relaxants are also tried to help relieve the pain, as well as physical therapy. si2012.jpg
Treating 'phantom limb pain' with mirror therapy - YouTube.webarchive
This is a video, about Bryan Wagner a man with an amputated leg, that shows how phantom limb pain can be treated by using the mirror concept. Through this the patients think they are moving their amputated limb which quiets down the excess activity being sent to the brain.
Phantom Limb Syndrome is common within many amputees and was a very interesting topic to do further research on, to gain more knowledge on how it works and is treated.
http://www.healthline.com/galecontent/phantom-limb

Free Will vs. Determinism

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One of the biggest questions argued in the scientific world today is the question of, are our behaviors freely chosen or are they rather caused by outside factors in our environment. This is known to many people as "The Great Debate." Determinism is the theory that every even is caused by another event; the butterfly effect if you will. Free will on the other hand is the theory that we have the freedom of choice. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we can also bring in the debate between fatalism and indeterminism; but we will stick with the initial debate for the simple fact this entry is a short one.

I feel this is a very important topic because it is such a widely argued debate. There are countless articles out there trying to persuade you to believe one side or the other. Free Will vs. Determinism is one of those debates we are never going to know the answer to. There is no real way we can measure why someone made a certain decision. Think about it. We make decisions every day without even thinking about it. We do it with ease. Then there are some times when we have a difficult time making a decision. This could be a decision about something more important. For example, whether to eat or not to eat is a decision we all make every day more than once. We barely even blink when making this decision. On the other hand, when we find ourselves in a situation that may go against our morals and values we find ourselves in a more difficult decision making process.

There are many situations where our environment effects the decisions we make. You know exactly what caused you to chose the way you did. And then there are things that happen that you just can't explain. The cause will never be known. My own personal opinion on this is neutral. I believe everything happens for a reason, but I also believe we have the freedom to chose the path we take. Otherwise how would we be able to make mistakes and learn from them and in turn grown into the people we want to be?

http://mb-soft.com/believe/text/determin.htm
http://www.futureperspective.com/free.htm

Bigfoot: Extraordinary Claim

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Dating back to the early 1900's, Americans of all ages have debated whether Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, exists. According to the legend, Bigfoot roams the forests of North America, more specifically, the Pacific Northwest region. In most sightings, Bigfoot is described as an enormous, hairy bipedal humanoid. His physical characteristics vary in reports, however, most claim that he stands 6-10 feet tall, weighs around 500 pounds and is covered in brown, red or black hair. Other reports include large, claw-like footprints as well as a distinct, fowl smell when in his presence.

Today, many believe Bigfoot is still wandering the North American forests. Organizations and groups continually make an effort to track down the mysterious creature. Online databases have been created, such as, http://www.bfro.net/gdb/, in order to compile Bigfoot sightings and reports. Additionally, photos and videos of Bigfoot are readily accessible to viewers, serving as their proof or evidence.

http://www.bfro.net/avevid/jacobs/jacobs_photos.asp

We are able to evaluate this psychological claim, using one of the six Principles of Scientific Thinking. The Bigfoot legend implicates the fifth Principles of Scientific Thinking, 'Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence'. Quite simply, the claim must provide credible, and convincing evidence to be widely accepted. The more that the claim contradicts our beliefs, there is a stronger need for persuasive evidence. The scientific community perceives the present evidence as a hoax. Furthermore, there is no evidence ensuring the survival of an ape in North America. The climate and food supply in our region would not be suitable for a nonhuman primate. Also, the only fossils of apes have been located in Africa and Asia, not within North America.

Whichever side you lean towards, it is important to examine and evaluate the claim's evidence. Bigfoot supporters have supplied sightings including photographs and videos. Scientists, however, believe this evidence is not sufficient. The claim does not match up with previous biological discoveries or anthropologist findings.


Bibliography:

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/524755/Sasquatch?cameFromBol=true
http://www.skepdic.com/bigfoot.html
http://web.ncf.ca/bz050/HomePage.usatbf.html

Will Eating More Carrots Improve My Vision?!

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Here is a link to a video that tests the hypothesis that eating a lot of carrots will improve one's night vision: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4stoCH4LoLQ. The subject in the experiment ate 10-15 carrots each day for an entire week and at the end of the week he took a test to see if his vision had improved. The test consists of the subject standing in a dark basement as tennis balls are pelted at him and the goal is to get hit by the tennis balls as few times as possible. There were two control subjects in the group, who had not eaten carrots for the week and were taking part in the same test. The results show that eating carrots has no effect on one's ability to see in the dark. The control subjects were hit by 9 and 15 balls respectively, while the experimental subject was hit by 20, showing that he was not any more capable of seeing the balls heading toward him in the dark.

This claim would be considered an extraordinary claim if assessing it with the rules of critical thinking, because there is not enough evidence to support the myth that eating lots of carrots improves one's night vision. This theory was originally thought to be true because the photopigment in rods is called rhodopsin and vitamin A, which is found in carrots, is needed to make rhodopsin. Research shows that vitamin A will only improve vision if one's vision is not at its peak due to vitamin A deficiency.

Exaggertion of Pseudoscience

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pseudoscience.jpg
      Pseudoscience was a topic I was already familiar with before having read the textbook and is probably one most of you are familiar with you. But for those of you for some reason don't know what it is here's a definition: it is a claim that is represented as scientific but isn't due to lack of evidence or a failure to follow a valid scientific method. Pseudoscience interests me because of the various forms it can take, the abundance of it, and because of how many people mistake it for real science everyday! If everyone knew the warnings signs to look for however, fewer people would fall for it.
         I found an article: where many of the warning signs of pseudoscience could be found in it. It is an example that is  quite obviously  pseudoscience and is heavily exaggerated but that's because it was intended to be satirical It is still however, a good example of what to look for to identify pseudoscience in articles that are less obvious. The first warning sign that can be found is  exaggerated claims: " Magna soles in not just a shoe instert...it's a total foot -rejuvenation system." Second is the psychobable, "Only MagnaSoles utilize the healing power of crystals to re-stimulate dead foot cells with vibrational biofeedback... a process similar to that by which medicine makes people better." . Third there is an over reliance on anecdotes. The article ( although it's not a real) is also a good example of why pseudoscience is bad. In the article  One of the testimonials said that buying the new Magna Soles was better and cheaper than having to pay to have his spine realigned through physical therapy. This shows exactly why pseudoscience is bad, it can lead people to give up the opportunity to receive effective treatment. So if pseudoscience is misleading and can have potentially negative effects, what should we do to stop the spread of pseudoscience in the world?

http://www.theonion.com/articles/revolutionary-new-insoles-combine-five-forms-of-ps,759/

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