November 2011 Archives

Humans as Social Species

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We humans are a highly social species often gathering for parties, family functions, or a fun day with friends. This has gone back to hundreds of thousands of years ago beginning in as early as the hominids in Africa. The small tight social bands that we have today, were also shown back then.

In groups, there is an "in-group members"- group that includes only some people, and outgroup members- the members who are excluded from these groups. This is often seen daily, especially within middle school. Anthropologist Robin Dunbar came up with a theory with the number 150. The number 150 represents the approximate size of most human social groups. In the textbook Psychology, from inquiry to understanding, they relate to today's Facebook. It is stated that the average number of people on Facebook that know us reasonably well is about 130 people, not far from Dunbar's magic number.

The need to belong theory is based on a need for humans to have interpersonal connections. Several people seek out social bonds when possible, and when not, suffering negative psychological and physical consequences is common.Social comparison comparison theory is when we evaluate our abilities and beliefs by comparing them with those of others. Many people do this everyday, including myself . The comparison of who looks better, who is more athletic, and who is smarter, are thoughts that goes through the mind everyday. It is how we create our self concepts of who we are, and what we are able to achieve. This can not always be a positive outlook, and can also lead to insecurities. Upward social comparison is when we compare ourselves with people who seem superior to us in some way. A downward comparison is when we often feeling superior to our peers who are less competent than us in an important domain of life.

Often understanding why we are the way we are as social species helps us understand the way of thinking. The pressure we give ourselves comparing one another can be a positive or a negative thing.

Goofy Video but it shows the scale from 1-10 people think they are compared to others on certain aspects.

Big Five

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The "Big Five" model of personality has become the basis for many personality assessments. Many companies these days even have potential employees take the test as part of an application process. The model is very popular but is it truly a reliable test of personality?

The first question i raise is what is personality? Personality is an abstract construct. How can one measure it and give it a numerical value when it is not even clearly defined? I think these kinds of test can be helpful to tell us more about ourselves. What it cannot do is give a definitive answer on who we are. These tests are not falsifiable. How can you give a numerical vale to how open one is to new experiences?

Another aspect i question is the way the tests are given. Not every person will interpret test questions the same. If each person will take the test in a different way how can the "Big Five" test be considered reliable? Also, when given for interview purposes, clever individuals will simply answer the question to what they think the company prefers. Not only can individuals choose answers that seem favorable for other people, they may choose answers that they WISH were true about them. It is hard to admit faults, plus people have a very different perception of themselves compared to how others see them. Companies should not rely on these tests, and if they want to really find good employees, they should interview the person more extensively.


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Recent research shows that the color red makes men more attractive to women. A study was conducted in England, China, Germany, and the United States that showed, even though red symbolizes many things across the four cultures, in every country it made men more alluring to women. The study showed both men and women a black-and-white picture of a Caucasian man surrounded by a red or white matte and asked them three questions regarding how attractive he is. On a nine point scale, women found the man over one point more attractive when surrounded by red; there was no statistical difference between red and white matte for men. Another experiment showed a man in either a green shirt or a red shirt, women found the man more attractive and desirable when he was wearing a red shirt. Also, a follow up study found that women believed men in red shirts to be significantly more likely to be high in status than men in blue shirts. Five similar studies comparing men in red or grey shirts found the same result, red makes men seem more attractive and of higher status. It has been proposed that red might make men more self-confident, therefore more attractive to women. However, other studies have found that women are better at perceiving red stimuli than men. Though this research does not completely rule out the rival hypothesis of red increasing men's self-confidence, its high rate or replicability shows that there is at least some connection between status/attraction and the color red.


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Although very controversial, this technique of analyzing handwriting to evaluate a persons psychological aspects is still pretty popular now. It's even popular enough to have had even institutes in the U.S. offer a degree in it but still even now has three schools out of the US offer a degree in it despite its controversy leaning all the way to pseudoscience. The way which graphologists measure psychological aspects is relying the heuristic that certain ways of writing always produce certain aspects of a person's psychological being. These so called commonalities are then used on other handwriting and passed on.
I think that the book should have put this in their "Errors in Personality Assessment" section because it almost exactly resembles other erroneous tests. An example would be physiognomy which is detecting personalities from facial expressions. The only difference would probably be that this one seems so exaggerated it poses a higher extraordinary claim than graphology.
I definitely think that this pseudoscience is just another way people have dressed up people's tendency to judge others by their cover. Although there is low reliability between what people have tested on the test and the actual person, graphology is still popular because always want to have simple and pretty obvious reasons for personality which is more complex than they want it to be. I'm not really sure why they haven't used other controlled experiments such as twin studies of personality and handwriting to rule out this assessment that is highly controversial. Probably the best explanation is that people will always be people.

Big Five (writing #4)

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I apologize that my blog is late. I was at home all weekend and today and had no internet connection. Hopefully that won't be counted against me too much.

The Big Five Model of Personality consists of five traits that have surfaced repeatedly in factor of analyses of personality measures. These traits can describe your personality. The traits are openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Openness to experience refers to being intellectually curious and unconventional. Conscientiousness refers to bring careful and responsible. Extraversion refers to being social and lively. Agreeableness refers to being sociable and easy to get along with. Neuroticism refers to being tense and moody. The Big Five can be used to describe all people, including those with psychological disorders.

I would say that I am a very open person. Also, I am very conscientious. I pay attention to small detail and am very careful and responsible. I am definitely an extravert. I am outgoing and social. As for agreeableness, I am an agreeable person. I would say I am very easy to approach and get along with. It is easy to talk to me. I am for sure not a neurotic person. I am not tense. I am usually very relaxed.

The Big Five can predict many important real-world behaviors. For example, high consciousness, low Neuroticism, and perhaps high agreeableness are associated with successful job performance.

Criminal Profiling

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Criminal profiling, beginning in the 1880s, is a tool used to help investigators profile unknown suspects or criminals and produce an offender description. The description concluded can contain personality traits, behavioral and demographic variables, such as age and race. Police investigators gain possible personality traits of the offender by examining the crime scene and answering questions of the behavior. For example, in a murder case they would answer questions about the planning of the murder, the day it happened etc, the method and manner of the murder, the victim selected, and about the disposal of the body. Criminal profilers examine evidence from the crime scene, also sketches and the witness' testimony to derive a profile. The profile is based solely on the facts of the case. Many criminal profilers work as expert witnesses in court and provide the court with an unbiased testimony. In order to help solve the crime the profile is matched with possible suspects, and narrows down then list. The suspects are then brought in for questioning, just because an individual matches the criminal profile does not mean he/she is guilty of the crime. Criminal profiling just provides the investigators with more information and brings them a step closer to solving a crime. Examples of criminal profiling are found in many television shows. Although not portrayed completely accurate the show Criminal Minds solves many crimes with the help of criminal profiling. This video gives an example of profiling by noticing behavior, which gives a feel to how criminal profiling is done.

Does Birth Order Really Matter?

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Many popular books have made claims that there are differences between children based on the order in which they were born. Claims have been made that, "first borns tend toward achievement, middle-borns toward diplomacy, and later-borns toward risk taking. Realistically, these claims do not have enough evidence to support that they are actually valid. They are exaggerated and there is no consistent associations made between birth orders and personality.
One science historian, Frank Sulloway, examined the associations between birth order and attitudes toward revolutionary scientific theories and found that later-borns were 3.1 times more likely to favor revolutionary ideas than firstborns were. His findings raised the possibility that birth order may be important in nonshared environmental influence but not nonscientific disciplines.
I personally have an older brother and a younger brother. Just observing from my family, the claim made isn't particularly true in that my younger brother has always had more of a cautious and shy personality type, where i have been more of a risk-taker. I believe that this is a very interesting topic and claim being made, but so far there hasn't been enough evidence to say that birth order really matters in any way.

9/11 Conspiracy

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Conspiracies are something that have always interested me. I have always known that you can never invest too much into conspiracies because, well after all they are just conspiracies. After learning about the six principles of critical thinking, I began to rethink some of my favorite conspiracies and applying the six principles to them. I would like to share a conspiracy that has been brought to the public's attention. There are many firm believers in this conspiracy and it is just as controversial as it is interesting. This conspiracy is that George W. Bush and his administration had previous knowledge and took part in the attack that occurred on September 11th.

As soon as conspiracists took hold of the new idea of Bush's place in 9/11, new 'evidence' began to come out revolving around the September 11th attack. Videos were put up displaying Bush's errors while publicly speaking. Here is an example of one such video:

Obviously, there is a lot of dramatization in this video, but it just goes to show you what people were thinking about Bush's correlation to 9/11. Applying the six principles to this conspiracy actually offers an interesting take on the idea.

Let's begin with ruling out rival hypothesis. The reason why Bush could have made all of those errors about watching the first plane crash into the twin tower could have been because he was flustered and wanted to sound more self assured than he actually was. His error could have been simply because he didn't remember that he did not watch the first plane crash. Now let's apply correlation vs. causation. Part of this conspiracy was that the reason why George Bush took part in the attacks was due to the fact that America was in need of a strong sense of unity, and how better to unite a country than to create an enemy. Just because George Bush was tied with the fact that he was hoping to better unite our country does not mean that he took part in the event that brought America to it's knees. Two major principles that need to be applied are falsifiability and extraordinary claims. It is very hard to determine if George Bush was a part of the 9/11 plot because we don't have any direct evidence of it. The claim can be proved false pretty easily. Also saying that our president was part of the September 11th attack is an extraordinary claim, and we would need extraordinary evidence to prove it, of which we don't have. Applying Occam's razor - it's pretty easy to connect ideas together and form a conspiracy, the simpler answer to this conspiracy is that George Bush did not take part and it really was a terrorist attack. Any research that has gone in depth on this conspiracy has not found similar findings about the correlation of Bush and 9/11. This displays replicability.

Applying the six principles of critical thinking has allowed me to quickly conclude that the attacks that occurred on September 11th were probably not planned by George W. Bush or his administration.

Personality Tests

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One recent Psych 1001 topic that has especially interested me in the past few weeks is the concept of personality tests. There are two main ways in which personalities are tested. The first is through self-report inventories, which are usually in the form of a questionnaire that one fills out, and the results are analyzed directly. These tests are objective, and almost all based on the 'Big Five' personality traits. The second is through projective tests, which are more indirect measures, that often need interpreting by multiple people. An example of this might be the Rorschach Ink Blot test, where people are asked to analyze what they see in a blot of ink, and their responses are analyzed for personality traits.

I have encountered a number of objective personality tests in my life, namely during job interviews. I was curious as to the accuracy of such tests, and the controversy that may surround them. Reading up on "Psychometric Success", some of my questions were answered. I found out that employers often use personality tests to identify characteristics that are crucial to job success, that can often not be accurately represented in an interview. There are, however, many people that would argue that these tests do not accurately measure all facets of one's personality. There is also controversy in the fact that many companies that manufacture these tests are quite secretive about the methods they use to determine which answers to questions correspond to which personality traits. However, in recent years, the use of these tests has greatly increased due to the fact that they are very easily administered over the internet. From my personal experience on these tests, I believe they are an accurate and fair measure of basic personality traits.

The Big Five

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During week 11, the discussion sections were grouped off based on a short quiz we took during week 10. We weren't told what the quiz was for and how they would be graded, but when we came back to class the next week we were separated into different groups. We were asked what vacation spot we would like to go to and what we would do once we got there. In the end, our discussion leader told us that it was a practice. Based on our quizzes, we got different variations of being conscientious or extroverted. Our discussion leader told us that during discussing our vacations, our groups showed characteristics of whichever group we were put in. For example, I was placed into the high extroverted and high conscientious group; therefore we were louder and done with our decisions on time. But the low extroverted and low conscientious group had trouble finishing their assignment on time and they were quieter, less willing to talk in front of the class. That whole experiment tied into the discussion topic of the Big Five.
The Big Five are the five traits that come up multiple times during personality measures. They are: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.
We can use these five characteristic traits to describe people and how they will react in different situations.
I believe that we can use these tests to determine the basis of a person's personality, but should not define the person or be used to determine what the person will do or will be in the future.
The pictures on the bottom show the different personalities that a person who scored higher on each of the traits might have.



Can Lack of Sleep Cause More Than Just Tiredness?

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As I was watching "Fight Club" today, it made me wonder what a lack of sleep can really cause in some people? In the case of Edward Norton, the result was extreme!

Norton suffered from insomnia, which either caused his schizophrenia or triggered a pre-existing condition. In the movie, his name was Jack, but would unknowingly refer to himself as Tyler Durden. What he thought he was viewing second hand, he was actually doing the actions himself, proving his perception of reality was off by a large margin.

In "Fight Club : A Ritual Cure For The Spiritual Ailment Of American Masculinity" it says that in every person's psyche, there is a chance to have two conflicting personalities, ego and shadow. Ego controls psyche, and when ego is messed with like lack of sleep like Jack experiences, the shadow has a possibility to take over. Which is why Jack became Tyler. Jack's shadow causes him to start a club that fights underground, and eventually leads to a terrorist group.

So unless you want to become a schizophrenic with no ability to tell real from fake, I suggest that you get your full eight hours in on most nights!!

Gambling an addiction or a hobby?

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Gambling is a past time of many people of all ages in America. Gambling can range from online poker to playing black jack at the local casino. It can provide enjoyment and money but many lives are ruined from gambling and it can turn the most well-mannered and financially stable person into a broke beggar on the street from the slim possibility of winning a jackpot. One flawed idea that most gamblers fall prey to falls among the category of extraordinaire claims. They think that after losing a set amount of times, that they will "win big" and that everyone can rebound after a period of time. That is flawed logic about chance, because chance is independent of other events that it is associated with.



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Meditation is defined by a variety of practices that train attention and awareness. Meditation is a very commonly seen in many different world religions. Today, meditation is a very good stress reliever, and it is used by all different people, all around the world. Meditation traditionally was practiced in order to achieve insight and spiritual growth. However, in most Western countries, meditation is solely practiced to achieve stress reduction.

There are two different types of meditation seen most commonly, concentrative meditation, and awareness meditation. Concentrative meditation is when you simply focus your attention on a single object, such as your breathing or a candle flame. This is beneficial in stress reduction, as it causes a slow, deep, rhythmic breathing, which is said to be one of the best stress relievers, promoting relaxation. Awareness meditation is entirely different, as your focus is not on one thing, but several. So, awareness meditation stimulates your attention to flow and to examine any and everything that comes to mind. All various types of meditation are said to have other benefits other than stress reduction and relaxation. These benefits include: heightened empathy, creativity, self-esteem, and alertness. There is also said to be a decrease in anxiety, interpersonal problems, and reoccurring depression as a result of regular meditation. Meditation can be used in a variety of psychotherapies and other medical scenarios to treat mild pain, to enhance blood flow to the brain, and to increase immune function. It is unclear why meditation has such good results, as it could be from any of the other factors that go into it. Overall, no matter what the reason, meditation is seen as a good stress reliever that many people can benefit from.

Eugenics: A Look Back in World History

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Eugenics is the idea of promoting "positive genes" into a society of people through selective breeding. Meaning "good genes," it became a popular trend to practice in the early half of the twentieth century primarily in Europe and the United States. The United States was highly influenced in the field of eugenics, and mandatory sterilization was in law from the early 1900s til the state of Virginia finally ended practice in 1970s. Eugenics was viewed as a positive and progressive practice and idea in the powerful western societies of the day; it was attributed to positive outcomes of increasing intelligence in a population. However after World War 2 it fell out of practice due to its many negative associations. Nevertheless, eugenics was a cultural phenomenon at its peak trend that widely influenced the belief systems of Europe and the United States of America; but the once popular idea of eugenics itself, both indirectly and directly was responsible for the mass atrocities and deaths of the first half of the twentieth century.

The history of the first half of the twentieth century is arguably attributed to the eugenics movement, which has been now popularly linked to the rise of the Nazis in Europe and the atrocities that followed. But it also had quite the popularity in the democratic United States. This is important and significant to realize because it shows that although a society can live in relative stability and "peace," which the United States had for the most part maintained (with of course exceptions of racial segregation), can promote a popular idea capable of world atrocity abroad. Yes this is somewhat generalized, but still the eugenic policy at home was still practiced as forced sterilization, up until just recent modern times. We as a society have the potential for good and bad, however a population will interpret said "good and bad." Perhaps before any radical idea can be justified and put into direct political policy, the society must think about how that idea may be interpreted and if mass consequences may result.

The field of "psychology" is relatively new in human history, being integrated in the period right before the eugenics movement. Psychology of course has changed dramatically over the century. In the course textbook, the authors write about the various "abuses" by the political systems of the United States of the popular eugenics initiative; abuses being racially exclusive immigration policies and unfair intelligence test practices that targeted certain ethnic groups trying to come into the country. This notion that the eugenics movement was abused is stated. But is it possible that the mere idea of eugenics is still theoretically positive? The idea of having a smarter and healthier population? Is that possibly still embedded in our heads? It could be argued yes, that the positive theories of a more intelligent and healthy population is viewed as positive and attractive. But this answer would fail in a history test. For those who can see a positive "light" side to eugenics, forgot to take a twentieth-century history course. There are without a doubt many ethical debates that could follow for a thousand years on the idea of eugenics.

Standardized testing

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Over the past half century it seems that if anyone wants to get anywhere in the world you have to sit down at some point in your life and stare at a boring test booklet for hours on end. Then send it in to some fancy company and they will tell you how smart you really are. This has become the societal norm for young Americans in today's culture.

What really can these test prove though. Are they effectively measuring how smart a child is, or what their potential is, or how well the school is doing their job? It seems that we have faith that these test are doing that but should we solely rely on a test to determine these attributes of our children?

One of the main arguments that has been presented in chapter 9 of our text book deals with this issues and how effectively we can measure intelligences from tests. It seems that the majority you can effectively use standardized tests but there will still always be a margin of error and to some that is not a problem while to others it can make a difference.

Recently colleges have been taking ACT and SAT scores less into account on whether or not to admit students into college. They know that it plays a big part but they have identified that that should not play the only role in deciding whether or not a student is fit for their school. They like to look at the whole picture.

So colleges have figures that standardized tests do not tell you the whole story but local school districts have not and the state education departments are still relying on only one source of information to see whether students are succeeding or not. In order to see if students are truly succeeding a new method should probably be put into practice.

College Admissions Tests and IQ

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Most colleges such as universities or private colleges require students to take college admissions test. The system works by assessing your scores on the test to predict your future progress in college. These admissions test such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or the American College Test (ACT) have been compared with the IQ and in some results high correlations (.7 or .8) have been seen while on other results low to even negative correlations are shown. The main problem is determining whether the tests really do their job.
I agree with the books view on the subject; "When we measure the full range of scores, yes, although by no means perfectly." The tests have been successful at making their mark and staying because yes, they are mostly reliable in testing student's progress pre-college and through college. Although once the range of the tests has been reduced and the tests criticized for not being reliable for comparing for IQ, the main point is really lost. The students who score higher on the tests will do better in college and will have a higher IQ. To determine the exact conversion from SAT to IQ would not be possible.
I have taken one of the tests, the ACT, and I do agree with my result on it correlated to my IQ. Although I got an average grade on it, I'm convinced that if I were to take an IQ test, I would score probably average also. I would like to point out another variable that is not mentioned in the book but on the graph is GPA. Since it seemed that GPA was mildly correlated with SAT scores I would guess that GPA would also be sort of correlated with IQ.

Absense of Attachment Theory

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Attachment theory, the emotional bond between an adolescent and its caregiver. i believe this is an important concept in learning about childhood development. This concept shows us the dependability of parents within a child's life and how it can affect them in the future. It gives them a sense of safety and assurance. This part of their life is very crucial to the child's life.
The absence of attachment within a child's life may lead to life-long consequences. For example, according to this journal, "Male Perpetrators of Violence Against Women: An Attachment Theory Perspective," the absence of a male figure in a young boy's life can lead to violent acts towards women. This can lead towards aggression and abuse in relationships.
One overall question that occurred to me was how attachment theory is applied to orphans? How are children who are often relocated into a different environment with different caregivers affected? How are they different from others who have had a permanent caregiver their whole life?


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The Big Five personality traits are openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Open people tend to be curious and unconventional. Conscientious people are careful and responsible. Extroverted people are highly sociable and lively. Agreeable people tend to be easy to get along with. Neurotic people are usually moody and emotional.

Conscientiousness interests me the most, mainly because I scored really low on it. People who are conscientiousness tend to be organized, and are good at accomplishing goals. They tend to have less clutter in their homes,and are generally more reliable than people who aren't highly conscientious. Conscientiousness has been linked to higher success at work, due to higher persistence, motivation, and self-control.



The images above contrast what a typical closet of a person who is highly conscientious might look like, versus somebody who isn't.
My scores on the personality test were pretty close to average for the most part, but I scored lowest on conscientiousness; I was two standard deviations below the average. I feel like that is pretty accurate, because I tend to be incredibly impulsive, and I am also very accident-prone. I also have ADD, and the symptoms for ADD are very similar to the description for low conscientiousness. People with both tend to disorganized and have a hard time starting tasks. I wonder if it's pretty standard for people with attention deficit disorder to score really low on Conscientiousness, or if that's just specific to my personality.

Thanksgiving + Turkey = Tired?

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Since Thanksgiving is coming up I thought I would find the popular claim that everyone thinks to be true about eating Thanksgiving turkey and then being tired afterwords. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is a natural seditive and is NOT found in turkey if it were then we could be falling asleep in the booth after eating at KFC or McDonalds. So the claim of turkey making you tired cannot be true, and Occam's razor can be used to explain the simplest explanation behind the assumption. Thanksgiving in the United States for the most part is known to be a very social and family matter. During social family gatherings you are more likely to eat and drink more with your family which when you are full leads to people being more exhausted and drained. Any holiday, like christmas and easter for example are big social gatherings for a lot of families and we would usually make turkey for those holidays also but being tired after eating on these holidays is not as noticeable as Thanksgiving. I think it is easiest to assume that people believe that turkey makes your tired over Thanksgiving because it has been repeated multiple times over the years and it just becomes to believable, but the science and truth behind the claim do not match. It is easiest to say that the best and simplest explanation for this thought of fatigue over Thanksgiving is due to the social aspect of being with people you love and care for and overeating and drinking in their presence.

Collective Unconscious of 20th Century

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According to the definition provided by the Lilienfeld text, "collective unconscious" refers to people's shared storehouse of memories that ancestors have passed own to us across generations. In other words, collective unconscious was inherited and developed from ancestors' primitive experience. For example, the reason why most of us are fearful to the dark environment was because our ancestors were fearful to the dark too, they suffered pain from the dark environment and made this genetically passed down to next generation. Hereby I want to talk about some historical events about the "collective unconscious" in 20th century.

"The Great Cultural Revolution" is always a politically sensitive event if being talked in China. Some historian said that this revolution made China stagnated more than 50 year(in this period, economic growth stagnated, did not follow the 3rd industrial revolution, large amount of infrastructure were destroyed, most importantly, the culture and ideology experienced a disaster). There are so many theories about the deep reason of this revolution. Hereby I want to shed light on the phenomenon of normal citizens' "collective unconscious". The bandwagon of that time was "anti-bourgeois", "fanatical belief to Mao", "anti-polybasic culture". Most people who live in the lower class even had no idea about what exactly the "revolution" was. Most time, it was more likely driven by a "go with the mainstream" psychology. Date back to the past 100 year; China was being a "semi-colonial" and "semi- feudal" country for a long time. During this time, people suffered the war led by the capitalistic nation. The victory of the war versus Japan and the independence of China make the most people believe this victory was really precious. Psychology of the generation who experienced these historical events were really consolidated, that is---detestation to the capitalism, sensitive to the right side of political opinions and individualism. The next generation inherited the most ideology of their last generation, such as the ideology of Left and radicalism. They fell prey to the cult of the Individual (Chairman Mao) and against the new institutions of Democracy from western. They were easily brainwashed by the political propagation. "Great Cultural Revolution" offered them a way to abreact their hatred to the intellectual and relative upper class. They were afraid of the restoration of feudalism and incursion of western thought just like their last generation. This was a period which most people lost their rationality and conscience. Many theories focus more on the cause of inner political struggle of communist party and ignored "collective unconscious" as a social psychology factor playing a catalyst role.

This phenomenon did not exist only in China. When we recall the history of 20th century, we can find out so many examples. For example, the cult of Nazism in Germany and the cult of Militarism in Japan. During this time, "personal unconscious" was always replaced by "collective unconscious" which would lead to the disaster of history.

I am a very liberal individual and I also don't exclude different sides. Individual in a certain historical mainstream is too tiny to avoid being a part of that. The collective unconscious of evil will led to a painful harm to the civilization. The only way to avoid this is to keep a simple and pure heart and be rational.

Self-Actualization: P.T. Barnum Effect?

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Typically referred to as the "third force" in personality psychology, humanistic models arose following behavioral and social learning models. Unlike psychoanalysts and behaviorists, humanistic psychologists believed in free will rather than determinism. Moreover, humanistic psychologists argued that our main intention in personality is self-actualization, the drive to develop our innate potential to the fullest possible extent. Many followers of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, otherwise known as, Freudians believed that self-actualization would result in pandemonium or utter chaos. According to Freudians, we would be unable to control our reservoir or house of primitive impulses, such as sex and aggression. Although Freudians claim our unmanaged sexual and aggressive urges to be destructive towards society, humanistic psychologists consider self-actualization to be a positive goal.

Among the notable humanistic psychologists, I found Abraham Maslow's work to be the most intriguing. Maslow studied individuals who were considered self-actualized. Many of his individuals were popular historical individuals that we are able to recognize by name, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Helen Keller and Martin Luther King Jr. Maslow claimed that these individuals possessed specific personality traits and behaviors. For example, self-actualized people appear to be self-centered, but are actually quite self-confident. They believe in close friendships, rather than superficial friendships and unafraid of stating their opinion. In addition, self-actualized individuals are inclined to peak experiences. Quite simply, a moment of excitement and serenity due to a connection to the world.

Today, psychologists applaud Maslow for pushing the "positive psychology" movement through his studies on self-actualization. However, psychologists believe that Maslow was a victim of confirmation bias. Meaning, he sought out people with the personality traits of self-actualized individuals for his study.

As I was reading through the traits of an self-actualized individual, I contemplated whether I was self-actualized. I am open to meeting new people despite of race, religious beliefs or sexuality. In addition, I tend to have a few close friends, rather than a lot of shallow ones. At times, I prefer to be alone when doing homework or eating. I realized that Maslow's claims are applicable to many people and that I should not infer that I am an self-actualized individual. I wonder if his studies would be an example of the P.T. Barnum effect.

A Very Talented Young Girl

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As anyone would be, I am very fascinated by child prodigies. It is always amazing to see someone so young complete a task that is so challenging. I watched a video clip of a 6 year old girl, named Emily Bear, who is very proficient at playing the piano and even composes her own music. She plays music that is far beyond the average skill level for someone her age and shows even greater talent through her musical compositions. The video clip is of an interview with her at age 6, she is now 10 years old. In her short life so far she has played in Carnegie Hall and at the White House and she has been on the Ellen Degeneres Show and Dancing with the Stars. She has worked with pianists from Julliard, New York University, The Music Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. To say the least, she is one very talented young girl.
A child prodigy, such as Emily, is someone who displays astounding intellectual achievements at a very young age. There is little explanation for this phenomenon, but researchers are continuing to work towards an explanation. It is known though that child prodigies do not "burn out" as they grow into adulthood. I think this is an important and fascinating area of psychological phenomenon because the rarity of this situation shows its unique nature. An explanation for child prodigies could lead to a greater understanding of how the brain works and how our brains develop. This information could benefit researchers in finding ways to work with mentally disabled or disordered people. As many of us have disabled relatives, I have a young cousin with autism who could possibly be helped if this knowledge on brain development was gathered. It will be fascinating if someday an answer to the phenomenon of child prodigies can be found.
Here is the link to the interview with Emily Bear

Similarity: Like Attracts Like

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Similarity: Like Attracts Like.

Similarity is how much we have things in common with another individual. People tend to like others who they find a connection with because they have something in common with that person. There are many examples of how like attracts like. People tend to choose things that resemble them. Bird species stick together because they are all the same, usually dog owners pick out a dog that resembles them, even if they don't realize it. Married couples usually last longer in their relationship if they are more similar because they are able to do things together if they find the same things interesting. Couples that do not have things in common find it hard to stay happy if they do not enjoy the things that the spouse does. Animals will be attracted to their own species, they do that to keep their species alive. Usually only in scientific studies there are different species that mate, in nature the species will be attracted to their own kind.

In the video, the woman refutes this argument of like attracts like. She believes that opposites attract, all things attract the opposite. Light attracts dark, the North pole and South pole attract each other. She also says that males and females, which are obviously opposite, attract. What does this mean then? If like attracts like, then men would be attracted to men and women attracted to women. There are opposites in our body as well, positive and negative neurons that create a wholeness inside of us that keeps us running.

The arguments show that there is no solid proof of what is true. There are always different examples and different ways to think about how people are attracted to each other. Overall, I think that people are attracted to others, with both qualities, some different and some the same. A person will seek out another person as attractive as they are, but they may have qualities that they are attracted to that are different from themselves. I am curious to see if there is any real proof that proves either one correct. I assume from reading both sides of attraction that there are both qualities in people are attracted to each other. Although this is no important to the feeling of being attracted to someone, after being attracted to them even if that person is not sure why they are attracted to them, it is important to know. Being able to predict what will happen is important to relationships. If a couple has nothing in common, they will probably not stay married as long, according to the claim that like attracts like.

Click here for video about Opposites.

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The Big Five are five traits that have surfaced repeatedly in factor analyses of personality measures. The five dimensions of the Big Five are openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Everyone supposedly carries an extent to all these dimensions but the amounts of each vary in different people. The Big Five appears in people's ratings of personality even when researchers ask participants to describe people they've only seen, not met. This shows that we judge the characteristics of a person based off of their behavior. This finding is important because it breaks down the human personality in a way so that one can see why a person acts the way they do. I took a little quiz online and theses were my results.

Openness to Experience/Intellect

High scorers tend to be original, creative, curious, complex; Low scorers tend to be conventional, down to earth, narrow interests, uncreative.
You enjoy having novel experiences and seeing things in new ways. (Your percentile: 90)


High scorers tend to be reliable, well-organized, self-disciplined, careful; Low scorers tend to be disorganized, undependable, negligent.
You probably have a messy desk! (Your percentile: 2)

High scorers tend to be sociable, friendly, fun loving, talkative; Low scorers tend to be introverted, reserved, inhibited, quiet.
You are extremely outgoing, social, and energetic. (Your percentile: 89)

High scorers tend to be good natured, sympathetic, forgiving, courteous; Low scorers tend to be critical, rude, harsh, callous.
You are good-natured, courteous, and supportive. (Your percentile: 87)

High scorers tend to be nervous, high-strung, insecure, worrying; Low scorers tend to be calm, relaxed, secure, hardy.
You tend to become anxious or nervous. (Your percentile: 76)

Knowing these characteristics about yourselves and others is very helpful in knowing what would best suit you for a career. My results would lean towards a more successful sales person.

What I am most curious about is if these traits are for the most part just a part of who you are or if its possible to change them and better yourself.

Big 5 Theroy

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Big 5 Theory: the organization of individual differences in personalities

The 5 traits include openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Depending on what an individual scores on a big 5 personality test, the scores of these traits will vary.

What do the scores mean in each of these categories?

In openness to experience and intellect high scores mean that the person is original, creative, and complex. Low scores are usually conventional, have narrow interests and are uncreative. In the conscientiousness category high scores tend to be people that are reliable, well organized, self- disciplined, and careful in what they do. Low scores in this category indicated disorganized people who are undependable and negligent. In extraversion, high scores show that people are sociable, friendly, and talkative. Low scores indicated introverted people who are more reserved and quiet. In agreeableness, high scores tend to be people who are good natured, sympathetic and forgiving while low scores tend to describe people who are critical, rude and harsh. Lastly, in the category of neuroticism, people who possesses high scores are usually nervous, high-strung, and worry a lot. Low scores tend to describe people who are calm, relaxed, and secure.

I took a big 5 personality test at the following website:

My personality results are as followed:
1. Openness to Experience/Intellect: 24 percentile
2. Conscientiousness: 94 percentile
3. Extraversion: 48 percentile
4. Agreeableness: 96 percentile
5. Neuroticism: 18 percentile

My personality test shows that I am a conscientious person who gets along with many people as I possess the agreeableness trait. Try this test for yourself and see which personality traits you have.


This test is important because it gives people more insight into how they will react in different situations. Their reactions can determine a variety of things for a person, including a job or even the friends a person makes. Knowing what personality one has is important for knowing which people will be likely to get along with the best. This test is also beneficial for schools as it will help students find who they work the best and accomplish the most with.

The Mozart Effect

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Parents are always looking for a way to give their kids an edge over others as our society is becoming as competitive as ever to get into college, get a job, and become successful in life. To get this edge, or jump start, parents are finding ways to boost their kids intelligence at very early ages. Many have heard of the "Mozart Effect," which claims there is an enhancement in intelligence after listening to Mozart.
After parents saw an article reporting that college students did significantly better on spatial reasoning tests after listening to Mozart, the frenzy started. Parents immediately thought that because of the results of these reports, they could boost their babies intelligence by having them listen to Mozart! Companies soon caught on to this, and started to marked Mozart CD's targeted towards babies and included the claims of amplified intelligence after listening to them. The governor of Georgia even added money to the state's budget allowing newborn babies to receive a free copy of a Mozart CD!
Even though the research finding was based off of college students and said nothing of the long-term effect of listening to this music, it didn't stop the press and toy companies from taking advantage. But the Mozart Effect was soon falsified. Researchers were not able to replicate these findings, and some found that there was no effect at all. If there was an effect found, it was only for a short duration and a minuscule gain in IQ.
This finding is important because it shows how the public can be easily fooled by research findings and how businesses can thrive off of it. When we hear claims like this, we want to believe them because it will put us at an advantage if we can make our babies smarter. But most of the time these hoaxes are not true. I always say if its too good to be true, it usually is. But it is also important for the public to research on their own to find out the basis of these claims and why it is or isn't true.

Should Graphology Be Trusted?

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Graphology is the pseudoscientific study and analysis of handwriting. Graphologists employ analyzing letters and words to determine personality traits. They believe that handwriting comes from a person unconsciously, and when we write we are under the influence of emotions and experiences that dictate our moods. Scientifically, they think the brain transmits its instruction via the motor nervous system for the hand to carry out and what we write defines our characteristics and how we feel. When analyzing graphologists use instruments such as a magnifying glass, a plastic ruler showing millimeters and a protractor to assess the slant of the writing. They analyze loop, crossed "t's," dotted "i's," slants, heights, letting spacing, margin spacing, upslant pressure, and downslant pressure. In an interesting video, where Michael Shermer explores graphology, Sheila R. Lowe, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Handwriting Analysis, says handwriting is divided into three zones - upper, middle, and lower. The upper zone represents intellectual and conscious activities; the middle zone represents thinking and relationships; the third zone represents basic drives.

Graphology is claimed to be useful for everything from understanding health issues, morality and past experiences to hidden talents and mental problems. Some major corporations even use graphology to hire their employers to determine occupational success. According to the French Society of Graphology, eighty percent of French businesses use graphology to evaluate job applicants. Graphology has also been used extensively in compatibility studies of marriage partners. I found a website (first link below) that claims to know if your partner is right for you, but on the bottom it says, "A WORD OF CAUTION: Please do not let your partner know that you got his/her handwriting samples analysed by us." I think this proves that graphology should not be trusted because in this situation it's bias since one's partner cannot be there to defend himself/herself. Graphology is also used as a way to investigate whether people are criminals. In the video where Michael Shermer explores graphology, Randy Gibson, a forensic document examiner, describes the "comparison between graphology and forensic document examinations as pretty much the same as the comparison between astrology and astronomy."

Gender Identity

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Everyone has a physical sex (male or female). Everyone also has a gender (also male and female). The difference is that sex has to do with which reproductive organs you possess and gender has to do with weather you identify yourself as a male or a female. A fairly common misconception is that some homosexuals may be either male or female by sex but identify themselves as the other in gender. This is completely inaccurate. In fact if someone identifies them self as one gender and is attracted to someone of the other gender, they are considered to be straight.

Lesbien couple Pauline Moreno and Debra Lobel adopted two little boys. The younger of the two, Thomas, already identifies himself as a female already at age 11. The women have decided to give the young child hormones in order to delay the onset of puberty so that Thomas (or Tammy) has more time to think about this decision.

This story has had some bad responses. Many people believe that it is only appropriate for a homosexual couple to raise a homosexual or transgender child. This, as we know, is very inaccurate. However, it does lead us to the question of how much of a human's gender identity is due to nature and how much is due to nuture?


Similarities Attract

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Scientists have found that people who have more things in common are to befriend, date or even marry. This is because without things in common you cannot form a personal connection with that person. We are attracted to people who are more similar to us, either by physical attractiveness, food preferences, educational level and or values. There is no good evidence but usually married couples who share similar traits are more likely to stay together than dissimilar couples. Similarity also helps with friendships by creating a foundation of mutual understanding, we assume that we will be accepted right away because of our similarities, and it validates our likes and dislikes which in turn helps us feel good about ourselves. This concept is important to know about because it disproves the saying "opposites attract" which if we believe it could eventually lead to a less long lasting marriage or not so good friendships. This information is beneficial to know because it can help you enrich your relationships. This concept is also very easy to relate with because I always find it easier to connect with someone who I can relate to, or have the same interests. I am still wondering about where the "opposites attract" saying came from, and if there is any truth behind it? Also I am wondering if having similarities with other people is a preference from person to person.


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Just as a young child needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for social and emotional development, so do people of all ages. People, no matter the age, naturally have a strong desire to form close relationships which ultimately serve as a function for survival. Attachment theory, by definition, refers to this desire.
There are four different types of attachment styles: Secure, Insecure/Avoidant, Anxious-Ambivalent, and Disorganized Attachment.
And there are three different Parenting styles that play a role in attachment styles: Secure, Avoidant, and Ambivalent.
The characteristics of children who have different kinds of attachment and how they're assigned to an attachment style are thus:
1-Secure Attachment = despair when left, use mother as a secure base to calm emotions when she returns, buries into mother. This style is affiliated with 65% of children.
2-Insecure/Avoidant Attachment = Little effective behavior to parent's absence, avoids mom when she returns, rely on self for regulation of emotion. This applies to only 25% of children.
3-Anxious-Ambivalent Attachment = unable to use caregiver as a secure base, panic when caregiver leaves, mixed confused emotions when return, immediately cling to returned mother, but holds her at a distance instead of burying into mother. This speaks to a small 10% of children.
And 4- Disorganized Attachment = Repeated confused behaviors such as rocking or freezing. Contradictory behavior such as approaching with back turned. Only 5-10% of children show this.
With attachment we also want to know what adaptive aspects do attachment styles serve. One aspect of attachment, proximity maintenance, explains how a child can develop and mature behaviors of relationships by keeping their attachment relation near. Another, called safe base, explains how specific attachment figures can reduce anxiety allowing a child to explore environments without anxiety. The last function of attachment refers to the concept of safe haven; a child's relationship with the attachment in general provides comfort and stability for them, allowing them a healthy development without fear.
Below is a short film on the creator of the Attachment Theory, John Bowlby. This film addresses issues related to attachment in later life as people seek to establish new ties and cope with separations and losses.
Here, along with Dr. Simpson in his research on couple behavior in stressful situations, we can see patterns. The two major patterns that were observed happened to be the Secure and Avoidant patterns. Speaking in terms of the secure pattern it was discovered that women are more likely to actively seek support and talk about their problem, whereas men were more likely to give it. In terms of the avoidant pattern it was also found that women were less likely to seek support, and avoidant men were less likely to give it. In conclusion, the Attachment Theory has the potential to show how relational patterns set early in life can affect emotional bonds later in life.


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Just as a young child needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for social and emotional development, so do people of all ages. People, no matter the age, naturally have a strong desire to form close relationships which ultimately serve as a function for survival. Attachment theory, by definition, refers to this desire.
There are four different types of attachment styles: Secure, Insecure/Avoidant, Anxious-Ambivalent, and Disorganized Attachment.
And there are three different Parenting styles that play a role in attachment styles: Secure, Avoidant, and Ambivalent.
The characteristics of children who have different kinds of attachment and how they're assigned to an attachment style are thus:
1-Secure Attachment = despair when left, use mother as a secure base to calm emotions when she returns, buries into mother. This style is affiliated with 65% of children.
2-Insecure/Avoidant Attachment = Little effective behavior to parent's absence, avoids mom when she returns, rely on self for regulation of emotion. This applies to only 25% of children.
3-Anxious-Ambivalent Attachment = unable to use caregiver as a secure base, panic when caregiver leaves, mixed confused emotions when return, immediately cling to returned mother, but holds her at a distance instead of burying into mother. This speaks to a small 10% of children.
And 4- Disorganized Attachment = Repeated confused behaviors such as rocking or freezing. Contradictory behavior such as approaching with back turned. Only 5-10% of children show this.
With attachment we also want to know what adaptive aspects do attachment styles serve. One aspect of attachment, proximity maintenance, explains how a child can develop and mature behaviors of relationships by keeping their attachment relation near. Another, called safe base, explains how specific attachment figures can reduce anxiety allowing a child to explore environments without anxiety. The last function of attachment refers to the concept of safe haven; a child's relationship with the attachment in general provides comfort and stability for them, allowing them a healthy development without fear.
Below is a short film on the creator of the Attachment Theory, John Bowlby. This film addresses issues related to attachment in later life as people seek to establish new ties and cope with separations and losses.
Here, along with Dr. Simpson in his research on couple behavior in stressful situations, we can see patterns. The two major patterns that were observed happened to be the Secure and Avoidant patterns. Speaking in terms of the secure pattern it was discovered that women are more likely to actively seek support and talk about their problem, whereas men were more likely to give it. In terms of the avoidant pattern it was also found that women were less likely to seek support, and avoidant men were less likely to give it. In conclusion, the Attachment Theory has the potential to show how relational patterns set early in life can affect emotional bonds later in life.

Contact Comfort - A Basic Need

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Contact comfort is all of the positive emotions afforded by touch. A loving human touch is a basic need just as important as food and water for both physical and emotional development. Contact comfort is actually a health benefit for people of all ages, not just toddlers.

Harry Harlow is the psychologist best know for his experiments that provided evidence for this theory. He used rhesus monkeys who he separated from their mothers and put them in a room with two different models of their mothers. One was made out of mesh wire and the other one was made out of mesh wire but also covered with soft terrycloth. The little monkeys largely preferred the monkey with the soft terrycloth cover when they were alarmed.

Soothing touches can include a shoulder to cry on when they're sad, a lap to burry their faces in when they're afraid, arms to hug and provide comfort and reassurance, back rubs when they're sick for soothing, and tickling to cheer them up. All these can slow down the pulse rate and make breathing more even. Endorphins are released which provide a sense of well-being, and trust and emotional attachment are strengthened, especially to the primary caregiver.

In intensive care recovery, children who are massaged, stroked, held or have some sort of touch recover more rapidly and children in orphanages gain weight poorly because of lack of contact.

Everything needs to be in moderation however. Hugging by force is not beneficial. When infants look away, break eye contact, or try to escape, it means you need to let them go because even infants need distance.


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An important aspect of the Big Five spectrum is Extraversion. This trait can be defined as a tendency to seek significant stimulation of the external world. In a lot of cases, this trait can be associated with a display of positive emotions. Therefore, those with high levels of extraversion can be classified as highly sociable, enthusiastic, and sometimes assertive. In groups, they are usually the ones who are seeking the attention or the most talkative. Either way, they are usually very motivated and display excitement for opportunities. Those who are extraverts are usually considering statements. Very often, they are concerned whether or not they are the life of the party. Oftentimes they are also the ones who are starting the conversations.

However with this high levels of extraversion, some can also exhibit low levels; which would be noted as introversion. Unlike extraverts, those with low levels can be seen as quiet, very low-key people. They are very often socially detached and alone. The reason to why they seclude themselves can be due to the fact that they simply do not need much external stimulation to keep themselves happy. Therefore, this is not to be associated with shyness or depression.

Although the Big Five Model pinpoints people with certain traits such as extraversion, it is possible that and extraverted person may not be so in certain situations. For example, when an extraverted person is within a large group or at work, they may exhibit these behaviors or traits because they have lots of external stimulation. However, if you were to leave and extraverted person alone they may not exhibit these behaviors at all due to the lack of external stimulation.

Very often in media, we can see examples of extraversion. For example, oftentimes Homer Simpson can be seen so. In order to obtain a better understanding of this trait, look to Homer in this .

Three Agencies of Psychology

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Sigmund Freud found that there are three agencies of psychology including: id, ego, and superego. The first agency is id, which is considered the pleasure principle. The id tries to get immediate gratification. Id is in the unconscious part of the brain and is a factor in impulses and basic instincts. The second agency is the ego, which is the reality principle. The ego tries to delay gratification until there is an suitable outlet. They say the ego has a boss personality; it makes all of the decisions. The third agency is the superego. The superego has the sense of morality; it can tell if something is right or wrong. The superego is considered above the ego.

I myself have a strong ego. My ego always makes the decision that I need to get my homework done, before I can go have fun. My ego is delaying my gratification to go hang out with friends, until I have my homework finished. It makes me face the reality that I need to get something accomplished, in order to relax later.


Was Einstein dyslexic?

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This is a very hard question to answer for various reasons. First of all, many people would like to believe that one of the greatest physicists was dyslexic, perhaps to make themselves feel better about their dyslexic problems, a hypothesis not to be excluded. Second, it is hard to find conclusive evidence to prove his disorder because conducting a postmortem examination is impossible. What is known about his life and early development indicates to some people that he was indeed dyslexic. The popular belief that Einstein was slow to begin speaking is easily refuted by the fact that he was speaking in full sentences by some point between ages of two and three. Another reason to think Einstein was dyslexic is the grade reports he received at his university. According to Dr. Robert Schulmann (source2), the university reversed the grading systems while he was there, and the possibility that some of his biographers didn't know about this change have led them to believe he did poorly because of dyslexia. The facts/fictions that exist about Einstein's dyslexic problem cannot sway me in any one direction. What is a fact, however, is that Einstein's intelligence contributed a lot to science in general. It is more interesting to research about the many discoveries he made, but that he concealed because of his fear of what they might be used for. Einstein knew of things that are still not known to this day; now that's a popular fiction worth learning about.

Source 1:
Source 2:

The Big Five Model of Personality

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The Big Five model of personality, which indicates the most basic human personality, contains five dimensions: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Since we are interacting with a lot of people everyday, we may encounter different people with different personalities and it is crucial for us to understand the basic dimensions of the big five therefore we can interact with those people smoothly. For example, if we meet a guy who is conscientious but not extrovert, we may do not want to make him to talk too much instead of introducing ourselves. I once have a friend who is not open, but at that time I did not realize the importance of knowing what her personality is so I just simply bring her to a party which inquires people to dress weird and funny, and in the end she just felt so boring and do not want to hang out with me(Seriously!). Personality type can also help us learn how we see the world and how we are going to achieve ourselves. And the video provides us that knowing personality type is important as well because we want to know people better. Whether you are extraverted person or intraverted person is crucial because you have to understand yourself first then you can find you position.

However, since we learned this Big Five model of personality in English-speaking country,are there any limitations of the Big Five model? But we can solve this with considering about the cultural influences of the Big Five. For example,
According to Harry C. Triandis and Eunkook M. Suh's book, the indicated that "Each of the Big Five domains is represented by one or more dimensions from
each of the indigenous instruments; and (b) None of the indigenous dimensions
is so culturally unique that it is unrecognizable to non-Filipinos(page150)". What I am wondering about is that for some people with mental disorders, did there personality changed?

While evaluating the Big Five model, we can apply this to some famous celebrities that people are familiar with. In this video below, they evaluated Tom Cruise, Paris Hilton and Michael Jackson to help people learn more about how the Big Five model can be useful and practical. Moreover, this video replicated the Big Five model through evaluating different people's personality.

Extraverted person:
Culture influences on personality:
Five personality traits of Tom Cruise, Paris Hilton and Michael Jackson:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

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Everyone gets anxious sometimes, but if your worries and fears become a way of life, you may have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Our textbook identifies GAD as "continuous feelings of worry, anxiety, physical tension, and irritability across many areas of life functioning." Because GAD is longer lasting, it makes normal life difficult and relaxation impossible.
The symptoms of GAD
A person who has GAD may worry about the things that average people will never think about. For example, look at the funny picture below here. The man worries about the ceiling fall down and can't sleep every night. However, his wife, the average person, has no such things to worry about, and can fall asleep easily.
A person who has GAD may worry about the same things that average people do: health issues, money, or difficulties at work. But they worry all sorts of things almost every day. For example, I have a friend who probably has been suffered by GAD. She has always been a worrier. She worries constantly about future, health, relationship and her job. Her worries make difficulties at work, and she can't relax when she gets home. She also has sleep problems and gets frequent stomach cramps.
The major difference between "normal" worry and GAD is that GAD makes worrying uncontrollable and these worries significantly disrupt people's job, activities, or social life. Moreover, a person who has GAD worries about all sorts of things, and tend to expect the worst. For instance, if you hear someone says " he's about 30 minutes late! Oh my God, he must have been in an accident", he may has GAD because average person may worry about the person who is late, but will not think he is in an accident.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) self-treatments
• Deep breathing can help people who has GAD clam themselves down. When you are anxious, you breathe faster. By breathing deeply, you will be less vulnerable to anxiety and stress. Over time, you will feel relax more naturally.
• Connected with others when anxiety starts. The more connected you are to other people, the less stress you will have. "It is helpful to bounce your worries off someone who can give you a balanced, objective perspective."
• A healthy, balanced lifestyle also can reduce anxiety. The healthy lifestyle has many aspects, which include adopt healthy eating habits, limit caffeine and sugar, exercise regularly, avoid alcohol, and get enough sleep.
In conclusion, generalized anxiety disorder makes difficulties in life, but it is treatable. To get an accurate and appropriate treatment, it is best to see a mental health professional first, and then refer to the self-treatments discussed above.

A Cure to Fear

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We all have our fears, whether we are scared of spiders, heights, or clowns, most of us can go on living life normally without our phobias paralyzing us. However, there are a few people who are so consumed by fear they cannot even leave their homes, and there are our everyday heroes, such as veterans, firefighters, and EMTs, who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, who can go back to a horrible moment with just a sound. With new methods and drugs it has become easier to treat and help these people who suffer from phobias and PTSD.
An effective way to help people with phobias is exposure-therapy. In this, the person is put through their fear multiple times until they are no longer affected as much. One way they are exposed to their fear is through virtual reality technology. For example, if someone is afraid of heights they may be put in a virtual glass elevator which slowly increases its height each treatment. However, with this therapy their fear will not be eliminated but reduced. This is known as extinction of fear, meaning that the fear response diminishes but is not forgotten. Also, a new medication has been added to this to make the treatment produce results three times faster. D-cycloserine (DCS) started as an antibiotic but was added to this treatment and has shown to speed up the extinction of fear.
Although there is no effective treatment for people who currently suffer from PTSD, there is a new drug used to prevent and decrease the chance of PTSD. Beta-blockers block the receptors in our synapses reducing emotional memories. However, it must be given within 24 hours of the traumatic event to be effective.
With these treatments now available, the people who suffer from phobias can work through their fears and PTSD can be prevented. This does not impact me, but it can give hope to all who are suffering from paralyzing fear and all our heroes who may not have to live with the aftermath of what they experience.
What I am left wondering is if there are any new medications for people currently suffering from PTSD, and if exposure-therapy is available to everyone who may need it.

Does More Schooling Equal Higher IQ?

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Multiple studies have shown and many of us ourselves have felt that we have retained information after coming back off of summer break and going back to school. I have felt this way personally after every year of my education (k-12).
In chapter 9 of textbook it is quoted that autopsies show "that educated people have more synapses...than less educated people " (339) and that "the number of years of schooling correlates between .5 and .6 with IQ scores" (339). Now I don't mean to complain or be ungrateful for having a three month summer vacation each year, but shouldn't we as a society be more concerned about the correlation between years of schooling and IQs? I think that we should, especially now that our world is so globalized and full of competition. If we as a nation want to "stay on top", we need to keep education as one of our top areas of concern.
A study done by Ceci and Williams (1997) was found to reveal that children who attended an extra year of schooling because of public school cut-off dates, tended to have higher IQs than children who were "not held back" due to cut-offs despite the fact that the children were all technically the same age.


There are many ways to bridge the gap between students and cut-off dates. One thing we could do to improve our students would be to limit how long summer vacation is. Children no longer need those three months to work the fields anymore. Another thing that many of the school in the U.S. are already doing is having year round curriculums with multiple short and a couple extended breaks within the year. I believe that this would be a great idea for all school systems to consider.

IQ in the Job Place

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Over the past weeks, in class we have had a few discussions in regards to how IQ can effect an individuals job placement. Those who have a higher IQ seem more fitting to become a doctor, lawyer or other higher-order-thinking professions. In contrast, those with lower IQ's appear to be better suited in less mentally strenuous fields such as garbage man, construction worker, or customer service. The debate between these topics is, does a person need to have a higher IQ in order to succeed in more mentally demanding jobs? In my opinion, no. I believe a person does not need to have a higher IQ in order to work in fields that are more mentally demanding because there are ways around being not as smart as other people. For example, a person who wants to become a doctor may have an IQ of 95 (the average IQ for a doctor is around 120-130), but according to some people, this person would not be able to excel in that profession. My reasoning for disagreeing is that a person can always learn more in a certain subject, it just depends how much work they want to put into it. A person with an IQ of 95 who wants to become a doctor could over time learn how to fulfill all the requirements, they just might have to study harder and longer than others. To make this easier to understand, imagine that you and your friend have never skated on ice before, but you both want to learn how to skate. You both go to the rink everyday to practice, but your friend learns how to skate first. This doesn't mean that you cannot learn how to skate, you will just need a bit more practice and over time, the margin of skill difference will decrease and you will both appear to be equally good at skating. There is the same correlation with learning new topics in school or work. Some people just need a bit more time to comprehend new knowledge than others.
Another reason I disagree with the statement that IQ determines a person's ability to perform in certain jobs, is a person's personality. If a person becomes a CEO of a company, the company is likely to run much more smoothly with a CEO that other workers in the company get along with well. No one wants to work with a prick for a boss, so even though a person with an IQ of 140 may be capable (knowledge-wise) to run a company, they may not have the social skills to keep the company running at full efficiency. Just so you can grasp what I'm referring to, this is what you don't want from a business man attempting to run a company. With a man like this behind the scenes, a company could begin to implode.


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Psychologists have come up with many tests that try to pinpoint a person's personality traits. One of which is graphology. Graphology is the study of and analysis of handwriting. Graphology is used to interpret someone's personality traits by the way they write, such as how slanted their writing is or how much space they put between letters.

Graphology has been proven to be fairly invalid because interpretations have low reliability. Some graphologists may attach personality traits with one sample of writing, while another graphologist may think that the same sample of writing identifies with different qualities. Also, graphology is unreliable because one writing trait may mean two different things. For example, the video at the top of the page talks about the slant of writing. The video claims that writing that is slanted backwards means that the person tries to conceal their emotions, and writing that is slanted to the right means the person is warm, friendly, and emotional. Whereas another source I looked at claimed that writing slanted backward means that a person is depressed and a pessimist, writing slanted to the front means that a person is happy and an optimist. These conflicting views lower the reliability of graphology.

Graphology is unreliable and should never be used alone to describe someone's personality or to diagnose someone with a mental disease. Although, it can be fun in casual situations to try decoding what your handwriting means about you.

The Big 5

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Personality can't be described by just one adjective. They can however be described and categorized into specific traits called the "Big 5". The "Big 5" is represented by five broad domains of personality, which are used to describe human personality. They include: Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism and Openness to Experience. People who are extraverted are sociable, talkative, assertive and friendly. They have behaviors with positive emotionality and they seek new exciting experiences. Agreeableness refers to people who are sympathetic, kind, trusting and cooperative. Their behaviors are associated with early temperament and cooperation with others. Conscientiousness people are organized, disciplined, dependable and diligent. They have behaviors that are associated with constraint and longer life spans. People who are Neurotic are anxious, moody, tense, and vulnerable. Their behaviors are associated with negative emotions and overreaction of stress. People who have Openness to Experience are imaginative, curious, creative and unconventional. Their behaviors are associated with liberalism and political attitudes. I feel that by having a broader personality test, people can get an idea of which category they fall into without being told exactly what they are. They still have the luxury of knowing, to an extent, the type of personality they are associated with, but they don't need to feel that they are being placed into one very specific category that they cannot get out of. For example, I was placed in the category with high extraversion and low conscientiousness. Now, this doesn't mean that I am always extroverted and am not conscientious. I am extroverted when I am out with my friends or socializing, but in classroom settings I am very quiet and I keep to myself. Therefore, this personality test can be helpful to an extent but it isn't always entirely correct, one hundred percent of the time.


The Big Five Model

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In chapter 14 of the textbook, it talked about the Big Five Model. Before reading this chapter, I have never heard of such model so the model intrigued me. While reading the book, I found out that it is very difficult to measure one's personality but theorist agree that the Big Five Model consists of five traits that occurred repeatedly when analyzing personality.

The Big Five consist the five dimensions called Openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Having highs and lows of these five traits affects one's personality. People that are high on openness tends to more curious, creative and imaginative. People that are low on openness is the opposite of the people that scored high on openness; this structure applies to all the five traits, personalities on that scored high on a trait has the opposite personalities that scored low on the trait. So if a person scored high on conscientiousness they tend to me more careful and dependable rather than people that scored low on conscientiousness. Extraversion measures one's sociability, people who scored high on extraversion tends to be more talkative and friendly. People who scored low on agreeableness tends to be more stubborn and hard to get along with rather than people who scored high on the trait. The fifth dimension is neuroticism and people who scored high on this trait tends to be more tense and anxious. According to the book, people that are scored high on conscientiousness, low on neuroticism and high on agreeableness are more likely to have successful job performances. The Big Five Model lingered in my head while I was watching my favorite show Gossip Girl.

When I was watching Gossip Girl, I realized that different characters on the show clearly scored high the Big Five. On the show, there's a character names Blair Waldorf, she is very controlling but very responsible and Blair's best friend always depends on her whenever her best friend has problems. If Blair took a personality test, she would score very high on conscientiousness because she's responsible and dependable but she would score very low on agreeableness because she is very controlling and she likes things to go her way. Blair's best friend, Serena, on the other hand would score high on extraversion and agreeableness but low on conscientiousness. Serena's character is very down to Earth and she pretty much gets along and talks with everyone in her school unlike Blair. Another character from the show is Chuck Bass. Chuck is unable to keep a stable relationship with anyone and he gets stressed out a lot. Chuck would most likely score high on neuroticism because he;s tense and vulnerable. On the show there's also a character named Jenny Humphrey, she will break rules just to fit in with the popular crowd but Jenny is a really good fashion designer. If Jenny took a personality test she would scored high on openness to experience because she's creative and unconventional. I was surprised to see that the Big Five Model applied to my favorite show but while writing this blog I began to wonder does people with low conscientiousness tends to be friends with people with high conscientiousness?

Psychology Text Book

Birth Order, what of it?

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Does birth order really matter? Many say that birth order predicts many things. For instance, from the text book, firstborns are the most successful, the middle-borns are more about diplomacy, and ones born last are more risky. This might be true to some families, but it doesn't account for the entire population. For instance in the article, the author states that the role of birth order is more likely to hold effect to bigger families of more than three children because

According to the article, the reason that the first child achieves more is because they received full attention from their parents for a certain period of time, while the middle child receives the least amount of attention because they are always in the house with another sibling. The last child receives attention once all the siblings are gone, creating a U shaped effect of attention between firstborn and last-born children. Since the firstborn child receives so much attention in the beginning of their life, provided more resources (education) than later children, they are able to become more successful.

I have one older brother and a younger sister, making me the middle child. Most things about birth order I disagree with. My brother was the most deviant/risk taking child out of us three, while I was the most reserved child. I would say that we all relate in intelligences, so that's another aspect of birth order I disagree with. However, I agree with the attention given to the children. As a middle child, I received the least amount of attention, while my brother received the most, and my sister receiving the same amount or a little less than my brother. However, there could be a third variable to why my brother received so much attention. Since he was the deviant child, my parents had to pay more attention to him so he would stay in line. Since I was reserved, my parents didn't have to worry about me.

Dreading January?

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I'd like to divert your attention to the Snopes article Auld Lang Syne-Off. It's claim is that January is the "Break-Up" month for couples. Snopes verifies the validity of the claim, providing evidence that January is the month with the most numerous break-ups for various reasons. Snopes states these reasons as 1) couples don't want to go through the holidays alone, 2) it's simply easier to wait until after the holidays because then they don't have to deal with family asking questions about the former partner's absence, and 3) they might already have presents bought for their partner. Other reasons include that having spent so much time with their partner over the holidays "highlights the flaws in a relationship," and that a couple that was hoping the extra time together might make their relationship work find that it doesn't, so they break up.
As this is a Snopes article and the claim was not verified scientifically, I could call into question most of the principles of scientific thinking, but I won't. The article does give the easiest multi-faceted answer to the question of why the most break-ups occur in January, which would satisfy Occam's Razor, but even that claim is unreliable. The article also provides multiple causes for the event which helps it in the area concerned with ruling out rival hypotheses as there are most likely multiple reasons January has a higher number of break-ups.

IQ Testing

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For my blog this week I am going to go in further depth on the concept of IQ testing for job applicants. I know we touched on this subject in discussion sections last week, but I found it very interesting and wanted to talk and learn more about it. The pros of IQ testing before placing someone in a job are obvious. In most cases employers would want the applicant with the highest IQ to fill the position they are looking for. But what we need to ask ourselves here is, is that the best and or only way to measure correctly someone's intelligence? And not only that but is that the best way to predict how they will preform in the position being offered? An intelligence test measures the processes including reasoning, understanding and judgment. The most common IQ test known as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale yields five different scores (1) overall IQ, (2) verbal comprehension, (3) perceptual reasoning, (4) working memory, and (5) processing speed. (The article I have attached talks more about this particular intelligence test.) All of those qualities would be fabulous traits for a prospective employee to have. However, something that an IQ test doesn't measure is peoples' social skills. Say someone was applying for a job in retail where they would need to be friendly everyday and willing to help customers. They also don't measure the ability of skills to improve with time. Sometimes all people need is to be thrown into a situation, in this case a new job, and learn from their experiences and maybe they are extremely adaptive and fast learners in this way and could be the best employees the company has ever seen. The world will probably always be indecisive as to whether IQ tests are a valid way to sort possible employees, but in my opinion it's just simply not enough.

The Great Wall and Space

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The belief that the Great Wall of China is the only man-made object visible from the moon was discredited with the first lunar landing, yet people continue to buy into this myth. Perhaps it is due to the fact that it is hard for the average person to fly to the moon and test this theory, but it is remarkable that people continue to believe this.
The Great Wall.jpg
Perhaps this claim is easy to believe because more recently it has changed from a belief that you can see the Great Wall from the moon to a belief that the Great Wall is visible from space in general. Just last week one of my professors was talking about China and she referenced how the Great Wall is the only man-made object visible from space. At first I was incredulous that she actually believed this, but then I started questioning myself. Suddenly I wasn't sure if the Great Wall was the only object on earth visible from space or not, but after a little research I found that this claim is false for multiple reasons. I found that at a low orbit of 180-300 miles above earth, the Great Wall of China is fundamentally invisible to the naked eye, and even when taking pictures from space the Great Wall is difficult to find because it blends in with its surroundings. Meanwhile, even though the Great Wall is tough to see in these pictures, other man-made structures such as airports and bridges can easily be observed. Furthermore, the moon is over 200,000 miles away from the Great Wall and there is absolutely no chance of seeing it from that distance.
Great Wall from space.jpg
People have most likely bought into this myth because they didn't take into account the idea that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Instead they use a form of the availability heuristic where they think of how many times they have heard that the Great Wall is visible from space and they disregard any common sense that may speak to the contrary.

Nasa Discredits This Myth


Projective Tests and the Rorschach Inkblot Test

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One concept that I found really interesting while reading the Lilienfeld text was the use of projective tests. As described in the text, a projective test asks examinees to interpret, or make sens of ambiguous stimuli such as inkblots, drawings of social situations, or incomplete sentences. If you've ever looked for shapes in the clouds , you have a sense of what it's like to take a projective test. Influenced by Freud's notion of projection, these techniques rest on a crucial premise called the projective hypothesis. This hypotheses assumes that in the process of interpreting ambiguous stimuli, people inevitably project aspects of their personality onto these stimuli. Types of projective tests include the Thematic Apperception Test, the Rorschach Inkblot test, and graphology. I am going to focus on the test that is the best-known projective measure, the Rorschach Inkblot test.

rorschach.jpgThe Rorschach Inkblot Test was developed by Swiss psychiatrist Herman Rorschach in the early 1920s. The test consists of ten symmetrical inkblots, five in black and white, and five containing color. The test is one of the most commonly used of all personality measures and is administered about six million times every year. How something as simple as pictures of ink can be used to interpret your personality is extremely fascinating. Rorschach examiners ask respondents to look at each inkblot and say what it resembles. In the video above, all the man sees in the inkblots is cheese and sauce, meaning all he can think about are burritos. Whoever was the person behind the creation of that commercial was a smart man.

tumblr_lnmn0amEdS1qi1nq6o1_400.gifHow a person answers what they see determines numerous characteristics supposedly associated with personality traits. For example, a person who focuses on tiny details in the inkblots presumably have obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Despite its widespread use, the Rorschach is scientifically controversial. The test-retest reliabilities of many of its scores are unknown. There's little evidence that it validly detects the features of most mental disorders. There are few replicated associations between Rorschach scores and mental illnesses. Having said that, I still think the Rorschach test is incredibly interesting and it is cool to see the results and adapt it to your life.


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Neuroticism is defined as emotional stability. It is measured on the Big Five spectrum by how able someone stays calm and stable in situations. Those low in neuroticism are able to stay calm and level in stressful situations, where as those high in neuroticism experience negative emotions and become very excited. They are described as highly emotional individuals and are generally not very happy. Being high in neuroticism can affect daily life decisions and how we cope with stress at work and in our daily personal lives. Some questions your can ask yourself to determine where you fall on the neuroticism scale are: Do I change my mood frequently?, Do I often worry about thing?, and Do I get stressed out easily?

Even though being highly neurotic is viewed as a bad, unhealthy characteristic, neuroticism is used in television to make us laugh. We find characters high in neuroticism a relief from our own lives. We are able to take a break from the issues we have to deal with and laugh at other people's misfortunes. A great example of a widely known neurotic character is Monica from Friends. She is a neat freak, highly controlling and is constantly worried about everything being perfect. See if you can pick out the neurotic characteristics from Monica's character as you watch this clip.

The BIG 5

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Big 5 are the basic traits to define personality. As we saw in the Simpson during the lecture, everyone falls into at least one of the traits: extraversion, agreeable, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. After watching the videos, I began thinking of my siblings and their personality. It seems that our family has representatives of every dimension of Big 5 personality traits as well. My oldest sister tends to be anxious about everything she does. She always says "What if that happens?" She is definitely neurotic. My second sister is very sociable and talkative, and she has so many friends. She needs to have several birthday parties because it's almost impossible to have her friends in one place. She clearly fits in the extraversion trait. Everyone wants to be in the same team with my brother. He is the cooperative and trusting guy that people want to work with. My third sister is a conscientiousness type of person. She always keeps her words, and she did really well in school. Now, she is a doctor. For me, curiosity is the word that describes me the closest. I seek to learn new things, meet new people, and travel different places. I've tried all the countries food from where I have friends. The fact of coming to the United States at age of 17 on my own to explore a different world and go to college is an example of how I'm open to new experience.

Because people have so different personalities, this world is an interesting place to live and explore. It's important to know who is what type of person, so that we know how to communicate with that person. Therefore, the big five model of personality is a valuable finding of psychology.


Triarchic Model

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Everyone these days are obsessed with having knowledge. But what is knowledge? What is intelligence? How can someone really measure how intelligent a person is? In the Lilienfeld text, there are many different arguments and concepts of IQ. In my opinion, I believe the most important one is the Triarchic Model. I think this three way model describes how people survive day to day, making it in my opinion an IQ test that is valid. There is analytical intelligence which is "book smarts" , and how to reason and think things through, then practical intelligence which is "street smarts", and common sense. Lastly, there is creative intelligence, which is our ability to come up with effective answers and be unique. I think more research should be put into creating tests like Gardner's idea to test people on these three things. If you can problem solve, know how to figure out a real world problem and use common sense, and have some sort of creativity with answers, that is a test I would want to know the scores to when hiring a person. I think it covers all the things it takes for a person to succeed in life, because of its real world intelligence background. Here is a link that describes in more detail his model and the different types of intelligence in his point of view.

The Big 5 and Procrastination

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Procrastination. A term that is familiar to all college students, and most high school students. defines procrastination as "the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention." Many students experience procrastination with studying for tests, writing papers, or even writing the Psy1001 blogs. There always seems to be someone procrastinating on something. It seems to be a universal, or at least, national problem within current students.


However, could this problem be less universal, and more a personality problem?

This article says yes.

This blog post on the Psychology Today website by Timothy A. Pychyl describes the personality traits seen in the Big 5 test that relate to procrastination. Neuroticism is the main trait correlates positively with procrastination, and surprising, Openness to Experience is also positive. According to the research, the more fantasy the person possesses, the more they will procrastinate.

However, most college students will probably disagree with this statistics, since nearly everyone experiences procrastination on occasion, especially with the new freedom they are experiencing. In my opinion, it wastes time to conclude the reasons for procrastination, instead of just trying to help people with different personalities overcome their procrastination habits. At least the article gives some suggestions to getting the task done at the end.

Is Criminal Profiling Really that Useful?

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Criminal Profiling

As someone who is interested in a career in forensic psychology, the topic of criminal profiling is very interesting to me. Criminal profilers are typically employed by criminal justice agencies, like the FBI or police departments and law enforcement. A criminal profiler is said to be able to draw specific inferences about a criminal's personality based off of the crimes committed. By analyzing the specifics of the crime and crime scene, a criminal profiler can also determine the traits and motives of the perpetrator.
The role of the criminal profiler has become a highly debated argument. It has recently become a popular role on such shows like Law and Order and Criminal Minds and movies like Silence of the Lambs, showing its high rate of success in catching suspects. Criminal profiling also received a boost with the work of David Canter in 1986. Canter, a criminologist in England, described 17 attributes of a suspected rapist and murder, the Railway Killer. When the killer was eventually arrested, it was shown that Canter had correctly predicted 13 attributes that were associated with the killer. Profilers, like Canter, claim to be able to use their experience and expertise to "go beyond statistical formulas."
The public and psychologists alike, however, have debated this success. The case of the D.C. sniper in 2002 provides an example of the use of criminal profiling as a mere guess to the suspect. To describe the sniper suspect, a FBI profiler said he would be, "self-centered and angry," which seem to be too generalized to attribute to one person. In the world of psychology, criminal profiling may seem to be a characteristic of the P.T. Barnum Effect--the tendency of people to accept high base rate descriptions (that apply to almost everyone) as accurate. If this be the case, anyone could be a criminal profiler by stating something like, "The murderer is probably angry and had childhood problems." Scientific research has even showed that students have produced more accurate criminal profiles than trained profilers did.
All this information comes as a huge surprise to me. I was sure that criminal profilers, such as those on shows, were the real deal, but now I wonder how much help they really are in criminal cases.

Silence of the Lambs Trailer

Criminal Minds Trailer

Failed Criminal Profiling Article

Birth order, does it affect the intelligent of siblings?

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Robert Zajonc stated that children born later are going to have less intelligence then children that were born first. He said that the more children a family has, the less intelligent the last born children are going to be. The evidence behind this isn't quite true. The theory of this is that parents that have lower IQ's are going to produce more children then parents that have higher IQ's. I feel that this is an important concept because it occupies some curiosity people might have a bout families with large amounts of intelligence and families with lower amounts of intelligence. I don't think i can really believe that this is accurate concept because just from my experience i know people with 5 or 6 siblings and are all very intelligent people. For example, look at the Dugger family that has 19 kids soon to be 20. this family hs very intelligent kids and have a very large family. I don't think we can really rely on a concept like this. But yet it is a very interesting concept. Below i linked the Duggar family website.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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Suppose that a mother's newborn baby has a wide array of problems including deformities, behavior problems, and even mental retardation. However, the mother thought she took all of the necessary precautions so that her baby would be as healthy as possible. Maybe the mother didn't take into account the cocktail she was attended. Is it possible that the few margaritas she drank months prior to birth had a direct impact on the health of her baby? When unborn babies are exposed to alcohol, it is possible they can develop a disorder called fetal alcohol syndrome. Other symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome of children with this disorder are more likely to be of lower birth weight. Typically, newborns average a birth weight of about seven and a half pounds. Conversely, newborns with fetal alcohol syndrome have an average weight of less than five and a half pounds.

Some mothers may wonder if they can have any alcohol during pregnancy. Some studies have shown that most babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome had an alcoholic mother, that is drinking nearly nine drinks a day. Babies who had signs of fetal alcohol syndrome had mothers who had about six alcoholic drinks a day. Lastly, babies who had mothers who had two drinks a day delivered healthy babies, except for a slightly lower birth weight. Therefore, judging from the facts, having one drink a day will probably not have any effect on a newborn's health. However, most mothers will probably stay safe than sorry and not consume any alcohol at all.

Obviously, newborns diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome will suffer more than typical babies, especially those with more serious conditions. However, as in the case of Iyal, the family is also affected. Iyal has fetal alcohol syndrome; the stressful daily routine that his family must endure to care him is alarming. Even simple tasks, like eating dinner turns into difficult ordeal. In addition, the sibling of Iyal takes a tremendous blow in the amount of attention she receives because of the extra effort that must be giving to Iyal. However, even thought life may be hard at times, this family, among others, are striving to find ways to help their children with this disorder and have a happy life.

After reading the effects of this disorder and seeing the video of Iyal, it makes me feel that scientists should study this condition more. Prevention and treatment of fetal alcohol syndrome could eliminate potential suffering of numerous children and families. Due to the fact that tests would be unethical, different approaches would have to be found. However, this is something that should be done.

The Rorschach Inkblot Test

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The concept that I found most interesting was the Rorschach Inkblot Test that was discussed in Chapter 14. The Rorschach Inkblot test is the best known projective test and consists of ten symmetrical ink blots which each respondent looks at and says what it resembles. Then the examiner scores their answers based off of what they focus on within each inkblot, such as if you focus on the tiny details or if you respond mostly to the colored ones, excreta. Depending on what answers you have for each ink blot then ultimately determines your personality traits.

I think that this concept is important because it is an effective way to be able to determine a person's personality traits. I feel as though it is a very effective because unlike other personality tests that you would be able to lie or trick the examiner of your personality by picking different answers, this test there is no right or wrong answer, it's just whatever you come up with in your head, therefore it is more efficient.

A real life example of the Rorschach Inkblot test is a You Tube video that I found of a guy who put a huge poster of one of the ten inkblots on a truck and drove around and asked people on the street what they saw. This video emphasizes the fact that there are no right or wrong answers to this test because not one person he interviewed said the same answer. Although there are more common answers than others for each inkblot, everyone sees something different and what you see and focus on reflects your personality traits. Some questions that I still have about this concept is how exactly did they decide on the specific ten inkblots and how did they come up with each design. Also, I'm still wondering how exactly the examiner is able to interpret each of the respondents answers and link them toward a specific personality type.

EQ : The Ability model

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Emotional intelligence (EI) is a skill or ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups. Various models and definitions have been proposed of which the ability and trait EI models are the most widely accepted in the scientific literature. Criticisms have centered on whether the construct is a real intelligence and whether it has incremental validity over IQ and the Big Five personality dimensions. I describe brefly the Ability model below.

Salovey and Mayer's conception of EI strives to define EI within the confines of the standard criteria for a new intelligence. Following their continuing research, their initial definition of EI was revised to "The ability to perceive emotion, integrate emotion to facilitate thought, understand emotions and to regulate emotions to promote personal growth."
The ability-based model views emotions as useful sources of information that help one to make sense of and navigate the social environment. The model proposes that individuals vary in their ability to process information of an emotional nature and in their ability to relate emotional processing to a wider cognition. This ability is seen to manifest itself in certain adaptive behaviors. The model claims that EI includes four types of abilities:

  1. Perceiving emotions - the ability to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts--including the ability to identify one's own emotions. Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of emotional intelligence, as it makes all other processing of emotional information possible.

  2. Using emotions - the ability to harness emotions to facilitate various cognitive activities, such as thinking and problem solving. The emotionally intelligent person can capitalize fully upon his or her changing moods in order to best fit the task at hand.

  3. Understanding emotions - the ability to comprehend emotion language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions. For example, understanding emotions encompasses the ability to be sensitive to slight variations between emotions, and the ability to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time.

  4. Managing emotions - the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others. Therefore, the emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

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We've learned in psychology about the rare condition in which left/right brain communication does not exist, known to be a result of an emergency lobotomy being performed to prevent deadly epileptic seizures. The effects of this condition are quite peculiar, as it affects greatly how the person interacts and perceives the world. Observing these effects can help us understand certain functions of the brain in specific areas.
Likewise, there's a condition that is almost entirely mental rather than physical. Dissociative identity disorder, rather than fracturing the brain itself and cutting off communication with physical components, divides the personality. One section of personality is isolated from another, and they cannot communicate with one another, effectively creating two separate personalities, two people, inside of one body. Additionally, the memories experienced by one personality piece is stored only in that 'personality memory,' causing noticeable chronological discontinuities. This condition is caused by some highly stressful mental shock or impact, commonly seen in the form of child abuse, traumatic events, or similar situations.

What's interesting is that this condition sometimes causes distinct, separate mannerisms and behavior patterns to appear. The separate personalities, out of contact with one another, have the chance to develop individually. These differences can be studied, and can potentially provide new, unique information as to how personality is created, what causes it. Treatment, thankfully, can reverse this condition, unlike that of a lobotomy.

This condition and its symptoms, effects, etc., is depicted vividly in the movie Sybil (1976).


Data obtained from wikipedia

Self Image

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Many women and males are affected by the media. The image of models and people who are famous give the world a preview of what the "norm" should supposedly be. Many of these people are underweight and harm their bodies to be able to look the way they do. Because of all the beautiful people who are skinny or very muscular, people want to live up to these expectations because the way the models or famous people are perceived.
People handle dieting and weight loss in many ways. Some exercise, some fad diet, some binge eat, some are bulimic, and some are anorexic. Many people handle their body images in different ways, some healthier than others. The expectation to look a certain way weigh heavily on many people. People who try to lose a lot of weight over a short period of time are especially prone to binge eating. The eating disorder of bulimia nervosa is associated with a pattern of bingeing - eating large amounts of highly caloric foods in brief periods of time, fallowed by purging- vomiting or other means of drastic weight loss such as frantic exercise or vomiting. People with bulimia report high levels of body dissatisfaction and often see themselves as obese when they're normal weight. In modern society, media equate beauty with a slender female figure within movies, sitcoms, and magazines. Many of these women in these magazines are 15% underweight.
Anorexia nervosa is less common than bulimia. Anorexia comes with a fear of fatness. Anorexia is diagnosed when an individual displays a refusal to maintain a body weight at or above minimal normal weight for age and height. People with anorexia often loose 25-50% body weight. Often times, starvation is the key with people whom experience anorexia.
With such a low weight as a result of an eating disorder, a loss of menstrual periods, hairloss, heart problems, life-threatening electrolyte imbalances, and fragile bones are a result. Media displays a negative result of body image to many people in the world. I believe the role models should be healthy social figures.

A video of a women explaining her own situation fighting an eating disorder.

Media and Anorexia

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I think we all know that eating disorders are prevalent in the United States and other modernized countries. However, I did not know that anorexia has been seen in many developing countries and in history.

According to the text, bulimia is the most common eating disorder (1-3% of the population) and anorexia is slightly less common (.5-1% of the population). This number is actually higher than I expected because it means that up to 4% of the population could have an eating disorder. Bulimia means that a person binges and then purges food. In contrast, anorexia is a lack of eating. Most eating disorders start in adolescence and occur in females.

It is known that popular media is often one of the causes of an eating disorder. Women on television are much skinnier than the average person, and therefore distort women's' (especially young girls') perception of how they should be. One thing that really interested me was the study done on Fiji. They introduced American and British television shows to the island and then eating disorders increased five times than what it was before. This just confirms that having ridiculous standards for women can lead to eating disorders.


This is a promotional photo from the popular television program, "Burn Notice" which displays a very skinny female in a way that would make other women want to be like her.

It is also interesting that eating disorders have been seen throughout history. Clearly, there are more factors that affect anorexia and bulimia than just media. I think it's important that more research is done to identify exactly what causes eating disorders and how they can be prevented.

Facial Feedback Hypothesis

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In the experiment we did at the beginning of the school year, we held a pencil in our mouths. The pencil position varied to make some smile while it made it made others frown(some also had no pencil so they were neutral). We then took a test on humor to see the effect of our facial expressions on our humor. What I found really interesting in the reading was that this experiment was actually a major psychological experiment done in 1988 by Strack, Martin, and Stepper.This experiment is an actual example of the facial feedback hypothesis. The theory is that our facial expressions will inherently influence our mood. The blood vessels in our face carry back the temperature info to our brain which can influence, alter, and change our mood. For example, if you were to to begin to smile you would begin to feel happier and in a better mood and the same vice versa.

When I took the humor test I actually found things slightly funnier but was this from the facial feedback hypothesis ? As we learned in class, when coming up with a hypothesis, scientists must rule out the rival hypothesis. Some scientists believe the rival hypothesis is classical conditioning. The classical conditioning in this case is that when we are happy we smile. Through classical conditioning, the smile becomes the conditioned stimuli for feeling happy. The argument is that we have been trained to act or feel a certain way from a certain expression. I think that the facial feedback hypothesis is definitely a valid hypothesis but it is very hard to prove.


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One interesting topic mentioned in our psychology textbook was graphology. Graphology is the study and interpretation of handwriting to depict someone's personality. Graphologists study a person's handwriting and pair certain features of their writing with certain personality traits. Some graphologists even claim that they can change a person's personality by changing their handwriting. Although many people believe in graphology, it is not very reliable. Studies have shown that no correlation exists between one's handwriting and their personality. Flaws were found in any study that proved there was a correlation. For example, some graphologists had participants write an autobiography in order to get their handwriting sample. These graphologists could have based their personality predictions off of the content of the autobiography rather than the handwriting itself.
A lack of evidence and reliability render graphology invalid. It is also important to think about how easy it is to change one's handwriting, yet it is much more difficult to change one's personality. I know that throughout my life I have made conscious decisions to change my handwriting, however I do not believe that you can wake up one day and decide to change your personality. This difference shows that handwriting does not reflect personality. Graphology makes an important point because it shows that not everything we do necessarily reflects our personality. It also shows that people should be careful about which theories they trust and which ones they dismiss as invalid. For example, some businesses use graphology to detect potential employees who are more likely to be dishonest in the future. However, since graphology is not reliable, many potential employees may have been turned away from the job for no good reason.

The following video shows some examples of personality traits depicted from samples of handwriting.

Exploration of the Triarchic Model

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In Robert Sternberg's triarchic model of intelligence, three types of intelligence are addressed: analytical intelligence, or book smarts; practical intelligence, or street smarts; and lastly, creative intelligence, or creativity. I want to find out more about each of these specific types of intelligence using research to fully understand the deeper explanation of each individual category of intelligence, according to Mister Sternberg.

I am someone that strongly believes that every individual can be smart (or intelligent, if you will) in their own unique way. For this reason, the triarchic model caught my eye while I was reading the textbook. It inspired me to know that there is a scientific explanation for the different angles from which I observe what I consider to be intelligence. The triarchic model is a perfect model of intelligence, in my opinion; it covers all of the "basics" (types of intelligence that I have observed).

Let's start with analytical intelligence, then: book smarts. For someone to be considered "book smart", they presumably read a lot of books. This is actually considered the more traditional sense of intelligence. According to Wikipedia, it includes being able to complete tasks related to academics and problem-solving. This is what I believe most people would view as the typical "book smart person": somebody who is well read, is very studious, and knows a lot of factual information. A book smart kind of person would succeed in school and do very well in their academic as well as business life.

Next, there is practical intelligence: street smarts. I would consider this the kind of knowledge one picks up involving societies, worldly happenings, and language (such as modern slang, or rather, the person would be considered "in the know"). Wikipedia lists practical intelligence as being "the ability to adapt to everyday life by drawing on existing knowledge and skills." This pertains to my perception of this type of knowledge, but it also differs somewhat from my original conception of the term 'practical intelligence.' It differs being that it relies on existing knowledge and skills; to me, that may include any type of knowledge, including motor skills, which I did not previously consider.

Finally, we have creative intelligence, which is described as creativity. I believe creativity to be a type of intelligence all in its own, so I was very pleased to see it mentioned as such in our textbook. Creativity is viewed as synthetic knowledge and using existing knowledge or skills to successfully deal with situations that are foreign to us. I originally perceived creativity as a more artistic sort of intelligence, but this explanation also makes sense when considering creativity. Creative thinking has to involve self-reliance, going with initial inner impulses, and trusting one's self.

All of these types of intelligence describe a very well-rounded, completed explanation of the types of intelligence combined as a whole.

Emotions: getting a read on others

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Different emotions are expressed in different ways, and each emotion usually has a readable physical reaction. Using these, you can get clues on how a person is feeling, whether it's towards you, somebody else, or how they feel about the world at the moment. For example, when somebody is happy, you usually see a grin on their face, they may skip around (if they are extremely happy), or treat everybody else noticibly better. However, if a person is sad, they sometimes have a frown on their face, they walk around rather slowly, and sometimes react badly when you try to talk to them. It is these reactions that clue a person in on how they are feeling, and then how to treat them as a result. In this youtube clip, notice how one person's mood can affect everybody they come in contact with:


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There are a large number of persons live on this plant, and as it is known to all that there is no same person which indicate that these persons are undoubtedly differ to each other: race, religion, appearance, occupation, etc. Some people may says that there are some guys have similar interests and similar temper, and these similarites make them friend. Well, I admit that they must share some similarities to make them so , but I still insist they cannot be exact idtentical. In another word, the reason cause their similarity is partially determined by their personality, but people's personality cannot be exact the same, soI would like to elaborate a topic about a typical trait of person - personality, to describe personality at the broadest level in order to make sense why different people have different charateristic.

We can easily get that traits are organized hierachially, which named as "BIG FIVE" classify people's personality into fave aspects : A.Extraversion refers to behavior associated with positive emotionally and seeking new and exciting experiences, such as sociable, talkative, assertive, friendly versus silent, passive, reserved etc. B.Aggressive, indicate behaviors associated with early temperament and cooperation with others, such as sympathetic, kind, cooperative versus suspicious, difficult, untrusting, etc. C.Conscientiousness elaborate behaviors associated with constraint and longer life-span, such as organized, disciplined, dependable deligent versus careless, negligent, unreliable, etc. D.Neuroticism means behaviors assosiated with negative, emotionality and overreaction to strss, such as anxious, mood tense, vulnerable versus relaxedm poised, etc. E.Openness to experience refers to behaviors assosiated with liberalism and political attitude, such as imaginative curious, creative, unconventional versus unimaginationve, etc.

We can classify people into 5 groups in accordance with the five stages of personalities. As far as I am concerned, the persons who have the similar traits will have similar personalities which will induce similar interests, or similar behaviors. However, there is still another hypothesis that people's behaviors are shaped by the outside influnces, such as parental education, the surroundings they live in etc. we can not get the exact conclusion yet without valid evidence to say which one is correct.

There are some links about personality:

Post Hoc Fallacy

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The post hoc fallacy basically states that correlation does not mean causation. Just because A happend before B does not mean that A caused B. In the book they bring this up with child development in mind, more specifically, if someone does something or exhibits certain behaviors as a child that those behaviors go on to cause certain things like career choices or becoming criminals.

In my life I try to never single out specific reasons for everything that happens i usually just take everything as it is and move on. Trying to come up with explanations for the outcome of some things may be important but for the majority I like to think whats done is done and whatever caused it is moot. Like me posting yet another late blog post. I could still believe, as I did in an earlier blog post, that its just in my nature to be late. Or i could believe its because I skipped yet another monday and treated sunday as another saturday and just didnt get to it but no matter what the reason is, the blog post is late and it needs to be done now regardless of what the caused its tardiness.

The post hoc fallacy can be very important in about every aspect of life because everything that happens has something that caused it and equal possibility of other things that seem like they caused it and understanding the post hoc fallacy can allow us to refrain from making incorrect assumptions about many things.

The Indefinance of Fetal Alcohol Syndrom

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When the term 'Fetal Alcohol Syndrome' is mentioned, we immediately think of pathetic images of children with facial deformities, mental retardation, and behavioral disorders. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a condition resulting from high levels of prenatal alcohol exposure and includes the above symptoms as well as learning disabilities and physical growth retardation. While it is obvious that alcohol should be avoided while pregnant, it does not always result in fetal alcohol syndrome.
Some women who ingest alcohol during pregnancy have healthy babies, some have severely disabled ones, and some have cases of children with just a couple of the fetal alcohol symtoms. I, personally, know a very elderly woman who was told during her preganancy that it is actually beneficial to the baby to take one shot of whiskey every day. Not only was her son born completely healthy, he was extremely intelligent. This is of course not a case for women to drink during pregnancy, it just shows how fetal alcohol syndrome is still very much a mystery in the sense that different fetuses are affected differently by alcohol.
Alcohol is one of many things that is considered a teratogen. A teratogen is defined in our text as an environmental factor that can negatively affect a fetus's development. Some others include tobacco, chicken pox, Xrays, and medications. Our knowledge on the impacts of alcohol and other teratogens on fetus's is still very blury. However, we do know that it would be a great risk to ingest any teratogens during pregnancy.
Below is a PSA against FAS.

Childhood Aggression Causation

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In our discussion section we discussed what toll the effects of violent television and video games have on children. There seemed to still be some debate between the class because this topic is very difficult to falsify one view, leaving it wide-open for discussion. However, one view seems very clear to me, violence in video games and television DOES cause children to be more aggressive. If you were to think about what those kids would be doing as opposed to being exposed to violent behavior, they might not have ever had thoughts of how cool it was to get in a fight, or how they wanted to be just like their favorite Power Ranger (yellow was best). With the children being exposed to violence they are spending more time thinking about it more than if they had not seen the violence. It seems identical to the relationship between human attraction. The more time you're around a significant other, the more your feelings grow towards them. In my personal experience I remember being a "mama's boy" when I was younger. I would follow the rules (hard to believe, I know), and never cross the line, but then I developed an interest in Power Rangers and Pokemon. I still remember playing Pokemon with my cousins, and not only would we battle with the "trading cards", but we would be one of our favorite characters and start battling each other (wrestling). However, this is viewed as a bad thing in the eyes of most over-protective guardians, but is it really?
If all children were raised never experiencing sorts of violence and had never resorted to it, wouldn't our country soon be full of a bunch of "sallies" (for lack of a better term)? Last time I checked, I don't want a drill sergeant to be pampering his platoon by saying, "Oh it's okay, you'll get em' next time." What we need is aggressive men who are willing to take on danger, like the men in Jarhead. I don't think those guys we raised off of barney videos sucking their thumbs. While obviously this is not a direct correlation, it still is a dramatization with some truth to it. Overall what I'm trying to say is that while exposure to aggression in children can be negatively influential (for instance witnessing violence in their family regularly), moderate exposure to violence can help to shape character as long as the violence is explained to the child by a respectable adult so the child realizes violence is not for everyday use.


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If I define emotion in one word, I'd choose "Feeling". Our feeling and thoughts are expressed and reflected to ourselves through the emotions we get. It's our reflection or response toward events or experience we've encountered. It's a strong mental process. Emotion varies depending on the condition: positive; happy, empowered, encouraged or negative: scared, worried, and discouraged. Some people choose to express it while some don't. Also, frequency of change in emotion is related to outside circumstances, such as age, physical condition, and even social status. We, college students, defined as emerging adulthood, tend to be more emotional compared to our parents, adults. I experience it all the time. My roommates and I have conflicts frequently because we respond to each other's behaviors strongly. It's because our emotion is unstable and uneasy to control. Moreover, girls get more emotional and sensitive when they're on their period. However, emotion is an "amusing" state of mind that we possess. Because we experience different emotions at a point of our lives, life is more interesting and fun. It makes life enjoyable and different every day. Emotion makes us alive. Without any emotion, people would be no different than mechanic robots =)


Let's learn to express some emotions!

Polygraph tests

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The polygraph test was invented by William Marston in the 1900's and was developed from his work with the blood pressure German prisoners of war. Today the testing procedure starts with some base line tests, or control questions, that the subject is most likely to answer truthfully. These are used to get a base rate of the subjects vitals so the tester can tell if the subjects anxiety levels rise when telling a lie. Next the subject is asked a question that they will most likely not be truthful about, such as if they had ever stolen money. The polygraph has very little valitaty with scientists because it tends to produce many false negatives. It really only measures arrousal in a subject, not whether a person is lying. When people are under stress they tend to get arroused and that is what the polygraph tests. Also a skilled enough person is able to beat the test or may not be arroused by the types of questions, even if they are responsible for a gruesome crime.

Positive Psychology vs. Defensive Pessimism

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Positive psychology is defined as discipline sought to emphasize human strengths. This emphasizes on human strengths such as resilience, coping, life satisfaction, love and happiness. I think this concept is very important to have in ones life because it is healthy to believe in yourself and to be positive rather than negative. I have tried to apply positive psychology to myself but it never seems to work quite as well as I had hoped for. My mom would always try to get me to watch "The Secret" a movie that strongly believes in positive psychology and encourages you to apply it to your everyday life. It claims that it is the biggest key to success.

I never really knew why but I always rejected my mom on the idea of this. She would always try to force it upon me and I hated it. Some days, before school, she would tell me to tell myself that I would do great on the test I was worried about and I refused to. After I read this chapter I finally realize why. I am the type of person to use defensive pessimism.

Defensive Pessimism is the strategy of anticipating failure and compensating for this expectation by mentally over-preparing for negative outcome. I always expect the worse and tell myself its going to be so hard and that I will fail that way I work harder and then no matter what grade I get its usually always better than what I predicted which always feels better. I also complain more than I should, and I always mention how life is so hard. This was so crazy to me to find out that life is easier for those who are optimists. The saying, "one size fits all" is not always true in this case and I wish I would've known this earlier so I could have explained to my mom that being negative about test and big events is what helped me do well, it would have saved us from having many arguments.

The Zone of Proximal Development

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Discovered by Russian researcher Lev Vygotsky, the phase when children are most receptive to learning new skills but aren't yet successful at them is known as the zone of proximal development. Before entering this stage, children are in the phase when they cannot learn skills even with assistance from their parents. When children enter the zone of proximal development, they are ready to have their parents help them learn while gradually letting them learn on their own. This is a mechanism Vygotsky referred to as scaffolding. In other terms, in the beginning children require assistance from their parents, but over time they gradually learn independently.
Vygotsky's work was based in guided learning and peer collaboration. It had a large impact on many researchers around the world. His research still remains influential today in the processes of children's learning development.
I believe that Vygotsky's work is very important in understanding learning development. I am planning on majoring in elementary education with a minor in psychology, so this is a concept that will directly relate to the field of work I am pursuing. This is also a very important concept for any potential parent to understand.

The Role of the Father

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Parents are essential for children but when you compare the contributions of each parent toward the child, it becomes very clear why both are needed. Focusing on the father, these are the noticeable aspects arise. Fathers are likely to give less attention, emotion, and time for their child. Fathers devote more of their time with their children in physical play than mothers. Lastly, both gender of children prefer their father as a playmate than their mothers. These observations of the differences between each parent can be important in helping us understand the child's development. Maybe through these traditional roles we will be able to see differences in children with one parents compared to having two.
Applying this concept to my life, the traditional father holds mostly true. My father definitely gave less attention, time or showed less emotion than my mother. The difference between this description and my father is that he showed almost no emotion and was always gone working or sleeping.This would basically rule out the time for physical play and becoming my playmate.
Although these traditional traits of a father mostly hold true, I am interested in the extent of how the role of a father changes throughout different cultures. Another factor that also alters the traditional father figure could be based on income and whether a father can be there to give attention to the child. Also the number of children that a father bears will also change the amount of love a father a share among each child. How a father has risen a child is different for everyone but no doubt, it is of great importance.

Video Games and Violence

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I read an article from CNN, "High Court Accepts Case Over Violent Video Games". The article discusses that there is a dispute in California over a law that banned the sale of violent video games. All video games come with a rating of the level of violence or maturity needed to play the particular video game. For the more violent games, a person must either be 17 years of age, otherwise a parent is required to purchase the game for their child. So clearly, the "kids" playing these games are either old enough to know right from wrong, or their parents are perfectly capable of determining if their child is old/mature enough to handle the video games. With these restrictions, there should be no blame put on video game makers or sellers for children that are violent. Either the parents are to blame for buying a game that their children are not old enough for and they don't explain to their children that things in the game aren't meant to be done in real life. Or a child old enough should be held responsible for not using self control of their anger and emotions. To conclude, let the people of California game!!

Are babies smarter than we think?

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There is a case to be made for both sides of the effectiveness of teaching or introducing babies to simple math and reading. Many would argue that the cognitive abilities of children are not developed enough to correctly perceive basic math and reading until nearly five or six years of age, therefore it is not worth introducing these concepts to such children. They argue that they are not able to perceive the concept of a 'unit', or multiple parts of a whole, until their brain if sufficiently developed.

On the other side of this argument, some argue that most people grossly underestimate the cognitive abilities of babies between a year and two years old. They argue that at this age, babies are able to efficiently learn to perform 'right-brain' math, or math relying on the visual representation of objects. To perform such a feat, babies simply remember visually what a number (or in the case of reading, a word) looks like, and are able to recall a correct answer incredibly fast. This requires no concept of unit -- simply a visual memory.

Based on what I have read, and what we learned in lecture, I believe that there is validity to both arguments. It seems as though small children may not have an effective concept of a unit, and therefore cannot actually 'solve' complicated mathematical problems, as much as remember them. However, teaching them math or reading (remember the "My Baby Can Read!" commercials?) at a young age may not be ineffective, as it does indeed stimulate brain activity, which is a simple but vital part of the learning process for young children.

This website outlines the argument above.

During the November 2 lecture, Professor Gewirtz explained the various startle reflexes human beings have naturally. When the topic of PTSD came into mention, I thought it was worth remembering it as an "exaggerated startle". In essence, many people with PTSD who have gone through a trauma of some sort in their lifetime have a tendency to have an over-compensatory response to things that they are anxious about or scared of. This exaggerated reaction can have an affect on the persons day-to-day peace of mind. I know a person who was mugged one night, and now they are always looking behind/around them to make sure they aren't being followed. Certain jobs in the medical field, military, and law enforcement have the connotation of breeding PTSD sufferers, because those lines of work have the possibility of generating a traumatic experience for their workers.
Here is a link to an article detailing that researchers who did a thorough study found that 1 in 8 soldiers that fought in the Iraq war came back with PTSD.

Wouldn't I Be Happier If...

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ITheGrassisAlwaysGreenerontheOtherSideoftheFence_275_275.jpgf you're like most people you believe the answer would be money, Money will make you happier. Or that living somewhere sunny like Cali would also make you happier. As our textbook has said, these are both myths and won't increase your happiness. The say it won't because we fail to realize things like higher salary usually means more hours, and that while Cali is nice and sunny there are negatives such as high cost of living and crime. I think the real reason however, they don't bring us increased happiness in the long run is because of the Hedonic Treadmill Effect. This is a term described later in the chapter and to put it simply it means we have a set point on our emotions and while we may briefly be very elated or downtrodden we quickly return to our set point of happiness. This to me more accurately explains why money and sunny weather don't increase our happiness in the long run. I also think it helps to explain the grass is greener on the other side effect. In addition, i've personally experienced the Hedonic Treadmill Effect.
        I have experienced this effect when I bought my own car. It had been a dream of mine for a while and it finally happened. When it did I was so excited...for like the first day. Then however, my excitement faded quite rapidly to the point where it didn't seem to matter anymore. At first I was kinda confused as to why I wasn't as excited about my new car and the independence it gave me. Now I realize it was partially due to the Hedonic Treadmill Effect. 
       To me this is an interesting concept especially the part about our set point being genetically influenced and that everyone's differs. I'm curious how you could test how low or high your set point is. I also want to know if it's possible to change your set point through therapy or other ways. 


Polygraph Tests

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Ever since the polygraph was invented people have been devising ways to beat them, and some people have even been successful. All over google there are websites that claim that they know certain things you can do so that you can lie on a polygraph test and it will not be detected. Most techniques rely on being able to raise your heart rate and blood pressure on control questions so that when you are asked a question that you need to lie on, the control answers were skewed and the polygraph reader cannot tell if you are lying or not. Some ways to do this are to do complex math problems in your head when being asked the control questions or to count backwards from a large number as fast as you can. Other, more creative ways are to clench your sphincter muscle or to place a sharp object in your shoe and step on it when control questions are being asked.
Polygraph Picture 110611.jpg
The second most popular technique I came across to pass a lie detector test was to take a proactive approach. This method says to put an anti-perspirant/deodorant on your fingers, nose, and forehead the night before the test and the day of. This hopefully prevents your fingers and forehead from not producing as much sweat when wrongfully answering questions and can skew the polygraphs answers.

The bottom line is, anyone who can control their thoughts and emotions is capable of passing a polygraph test. Employers and judges should refrain from using a polygraph test to gain evidence against someone because they are not very accurate and easily disrupted.

Egocentrism vs. Self-Centeredness

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Should parents of egocentric children worry that their kids will grow up to be self-centered? The easy answer is not necessarily. Children between the ages of two and six are unable to take the viewpoint of other people. In other words, if your four-year-old wants something regardless of the feelings of others they are not selfish. It is not a matter of weather they care what others are feeling or not, it is a matter of them not being able to realize that someone else might not like what they are doing. As the video above shows, the younger child is unable to tell the experimenter what she is seeing and the older child can because the younger child is unable to put himself into her viewpoint.

Those parents who are worried about having a self-centered child should not worry about having an egocentric two to six-year-old. There is no correlation between egocentrism and self-centeredness. In fact there is no relationship at all. All children are egocentric but not all children grow up to self-centered. Egocentrism is a normal part of human development and should not be a punished behavior until the child is able to understand the viewpoints of others.


Being good parents

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From my point of view, nurture is important than nature. When I was small, I do not care what I learned or what I should do; I though I just do what I want to do. But when I am 19 years old now, especially after I took Psy1001 course, I felt like that when I was small, I was not as "free" as I thought. My parents were "guiding" me, they were teaching me how to be a "good girl". When I was thinking about escaping a class from school, my parents would tell me why this though was wrong since I would miss new information from a new class. When I made mistakes, they would tell me why I made this mistake and tell me how to avoid this mistake next time. If I am a naughty girl, I would be rebellion but I will still listen to my parents since I was, therefore even though I would have "bad thoughts" but those so called bad thoughts would disappear after my parents told me not to think about this not to do this. Authoritative parents would help children to develop their own abilities but still be strict with them and telling them the right thing to do. From this video tape it also tell us the importance of being good parents. Also from last week's discussion session, we watched a video showing the reacts of children after they watching a violent video and Barney. Although kids would acts agitated by the violent video, their parents still say that they would tell the kids that it is not correct to do that. The video from YouTube also tells us that parenting style can be replicated as well.

However, what I am confused is that sometimes parenting style can be overwhelming to child. If parents allow child to play and exploration, and strict as well, will the child to be rebellion due to the his or her surroundings(environment, friends, social pressure)? But this might still have connections with parenting style because parents have to provide enough information for kids to help them exploring the world.

Eating Disorders

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Most people who suffer from eating disorders don't suffer from them because they just don't feel like eating very much. Granted, this is directly related to eating disorders and is a result of them, but they are typically not the cause of them. Eating disorders are caused because of a psychological issue, which in turn cause the nutritional problem. They typically develop in girls due to poor self image, and they become incredibly self conscious of their body, which results in anorexia (starving themself) or bulimia (binging and purging).
I think it is rather rediculous how they think they have to do things like that. It plain and simply destroys their body, and the result is honestly rather disgusting. They become just skin and bone and they are in great danger of sickness or death. In this video, this woman was unhappy with her body, and starved herself (anorexia). Now she is publishing pictures of herself as a sort of warning to others. As you can probably see, the results are quite scary.

Eating Disorders

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Being thin and attractive is a goal that most young girls would say they strive to achieve. In our modern day society with magazines full of photoshopped models and new diet/fitness schemes all over the tv, possessing the perfect body is seen as the ultimate success. Young girls are exposed to the unattainable measurements of Barbie at a young age and their brains are infiltrated with body-conscious media throughout their lives. It is no surprise that in a society such as this there are thousands of people suffering from eating disorders.
People with eating disorders try very hard to hide their problem so many of us know people who are struggling but we just aren't aware of it. It is important to help these individuals get therapy or treatment for their problem. I question though, what the best means of treatment is. I watched a video clip from an eating disorder documentary that shows the daily life of patients in an eating disorder treatment center. The bleak white walls and sterile feel of the clinic must feel intimidating to patients. I wonder if a better environment would help the patients to get over their disorder more quickly. Possibly the hardcore feeling forces them to want to fix their problem and get out of the treatment center and on to a better life. It is hard to know, but it would be interesting to conduct a study comparing a more comfortable, inviting treatment center to one possessing the cold, whitewashed feel.
In the video it shows a patient describing all the holidays and events she has missed due to her illness. It is sad to see the effects that an eating disorder can have on every aspect of one's life. Hopefully people can continue to raise awareness for this issue and help those in need.
video clip

cut onions and mayonaise

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According to Zola Gorgan, who is an author of multiple cookbooks, "onions are huge magnets for bacteria especially when uncooked". Zola claim in this article is about mayonaise mainly in potato salad and onions in the salad. She claims that mayonaise has a very high pH level which allows the mayo to have a 'shield' over bacteria, and that claims from getting sick from mayo is not really possible. Gorgan says that it is most likely from the cut onions because they are prone to bacteria and not even safe to put in a zip locked bag after being cut. Which brings up my first claim for falsifiability because I love onions and as a cheap college student I do not have the time or money to go out and buy a new onion for every meal, so I use part of my onion and keep it in the bag for most of the time a week until I am done with the onion. Not once have I gotten any type of sickness from doing this (while I lived at home my mom would do the same thing and it never affected us). Onions are also very highly acidic which is why you can get teary eyed from cutting up certain onions, and that acidicy also can act as a guard against bacteria along with the outside of the onion which would have the most bacteria on it but we dispose of right away. Another false thing about this is the name Zola Gorgan, which was really a penn name and when put together is a type of cheese so that cannot really be trusted. The last thing that I think could be very easily disproved is the fact that mayonaise can make you sick. I know mayo acts as a perservative but after sitting out at warm or even room temperatures for a long time it has to start changing, because of this I do not believe that mayo will always kill bacteria and it could be disproved. The last thing I have to say about this is that everything has the chance of being mishandled which would lead to sickness and bacteria growth but I do not believe that onions are a higher cause of sickness than mayonaise do to falsifiability.

Truth about the "Hierarchy of needs theory"

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Hierarchy of needs theory was developed by Abraham Maslow to illustrate different levels of needs of human being. With a pyramid graph, the theory arranges our needs into different level.hierarchy of needs.png. According to the demonstration of Lilienfeld text, "hierarchy of needs theory" proposes that we must satisfy physiological needs and needs for safety and security before progressing to more complex needs. I found this point doesn't make sense because there are too many examples to falsify it. Think about Fyodor Dostoevsky- an great Russian novelist. He experienced a very hard time when he was writing novel. Born at an unlucky family with an atrocious father who was addicted to alcohol, all the childhood of Dostoevsky went with poverty and insecurity. His parents both died when he was an adolescent. He was always dressed in rags and without enough food to eat every day. He certainly couldn't be able be satisfied at physiological needs and safety needs not to mention the belonging needs. All over his life he drifted from place to place homeless and miserable because of political persecution. He even was verdict to the guillotine and banished to the Siberia. But he lived a mighty life. He dedicated his whole life to battle with destiny and created many literary masterpieces that revealed the corruption of social institution and the ugliness of human instincts. All his life at the same time was a process of self-actualization. There are also numerous examples in different fields. We can find that some time a hard life experience without physiological needs and safety needs instead become a necessary factor that urge people to work harder and achieve their own self-actualization. Steve Jobs once said that he always wished "stay hungry, stay foolish" for himself. I think "stay hungry" here in this context doesn't really suggest you to do not eat, it's more likely a message to inspire us to put ourselves in an situation that full of insecurity and reminds us keeping eager for self actualization. I don't want to be too absolute. Everyone has his own way to live his own life. For most people, maybe the hierarchy of needs theory works well because with a more gradual and stable process, there is more probability we can finally achieve self-actualization step by step. From the perspective of evolutionism, creatures tend to be more adaptable to the environment if facing a hard environment, maybe that's the reason why those great people who bear insecurity and poverty can finally make a great achievement.

Mozart Effect (Writing #4)

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The Mozart Effect was "born" in 1993 when an article was written saying that there is a supposed enhancement in intelligence after listening to classical music. This finding was based on college students. Many researchers had a difficult time replicating this study. The study did not say anything about long-term enhancement of spatial ability or intelligence in general. The study was applied only to a task administered almost immediately after listening to Mozart. Researchers later found that the effect may be due to the greater emotional arousal produced by listening to Mozart. However, there was another study done proving that anything that boosts alertness can increase performance on mentally demanding tasks. For example, listening to Mozart or listening to a passage from a scary movie can have the same effect.
I can apply this to my life because I believe that listening to any kind of music while studying or doing homework does improve my performance. It keeps me alert and focused. However, I think it really does depend on the opinion of that person and their study habits. I know that many people can lose focus very easily when there are a lot of distractions while studying. However, I think that the Mozart Effect or listening to any kind of music, or something that stimulates your mind, helps increase your intelligence and performance.
A couple questions I have are number one, how is it even possible to prove the concept of the Mozart Effect? and number two, in what ways has this theory been tested?

The Effects of Divorce on Children

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What could possibly be one of the most devastating things to happen to a child? Most would answer a divorce between that child's parents. However, some say that the effects of divorce on children are not that substantial. Personally, my parents divorced when I was little. Just from my families experience, I could side with both on this case. From my parents divorce, my sister (who is the youngest) and I did not suffer from the divorce that much. We lived with it most of our lives. However, my brother, who is the oldest and was four when my parents divorced, suffered many emotional problems as a child and throughout adolescence.
This article supports that divorce of parents has a great impact on children. For me, none of these issues have come up for me: emotional/behavior problems, lower performance in school, family dropped into poverty, and religious worship. I always have been well off emotionally and school wise. My sister has suffered some emotional problems, but I am not sure if it was caused by my parents divorce. My brother however, has had many emotional and behavior problems. He is an intelligent person, but his grades started to slip because of his emotional problems and he ended up using drugs because of these problems.
From the text book, I found it interesting and convincing that children are going to be less affected by a divorce when the conflicts were mild compared to when the conflicts were intense between the parents. I can't relate to that because I don't remember if my parent's fought a lot. One question I have is how does the effect of divorce on children relate to age? I noticed that since my brother is older, it affected him more cause he was able to reason better then my sister and I. I want to know what ages divorce effects the most.

Bulimia and Long Term Effects

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Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder and a very serious illness. It is when a person binges on excessive amounts of food and later uses laxatives or vomiting to prevent gaining weight or to lose weight. Bulimia is most common in adolescent and young women; however, many men have this disorder as well. There is no known single cause of this life-threatening disorder. Many things may promote bulimia to become present in an individual. For example, pressures for a specific appearance, psychological factors and even trauma.

Bulimia can bring on many other issues other than the self disgust and relief from the bingeing and purging cycle. These may include excessive amount of cavities and gingivitis. Also, the acid present in vomit tends to wear away the enamel on the teeth. The signs of bulimia include broken blood vessels in the eyes and sides of the face from the constant vomiting, along with possible cuts on the knuckles from self inducement. Rashes and pimples may appear and excessive thirst from having a dry mouth may be present. Other serious conditions such as dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and pancreatitis may develop from long term bulimia. More information for these complications can be found by visiting this site.

Bulimia becomes life threatening when it leads to anorexia, another eating disorder. When this occurs, hospitalization may be necessary. Step by step approaches are used to treat bulimia and anorexia. Along with these stepped processes, support groups, therapy and antidepressants may be used to help aid in the recovery process.

Fetal Development and Obstacles

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What precautions should be taken as a pregnant mother for a healthy pregnancy?

Development of a Baby: Zygote to Fetus
1. Zygote- is the fertilized egg
2. Blastocyte- is the identical cells that haven't taken on any specific roles
3. Embryo- where limbs, facial features, and major organs such as the heart, lungs and brain form. (often times miscarriage takes place in this stage)
4. Fetus- physical maturing occurs in this phase and is responsible for "bulking up"

There are many obstacles that get in the way of normal fetal development, but the three main obstacles are:
1. Exposure to hazardous environmental influences
2. biological influences
3. Premature birth

Teratogens are hazards to fetal health. Teratogens are one of the main disruptions in fetal development. Some might include smoking, alcohol use, and anything hazardous in the environment that the baby has no control over. Smoking is the most prevalent when it comes to teratogens and is also the leading cause of low birth weight.

Genetic disruptions are when cells are copied with some error or break in the genetic material. Once this error occurs, the error keeps replicating throughout the body. The ultimate result is impaired development of organs or organ systems, which isn't in the recipe for a healthy baby.

Prematurity is when a baby is born at less than 36 weeks during a pregnancy. A full term baby is born after 40 weeks. Although an infant can typically survive on their own at 25 weeks, it is important that they stay inside the mother for as long as possible to essentially "bulk up" and fully develop so no abnormalities or deficiencies will form or be acquired. Premature birth can result in underdeveloped lungs and the brain is unable to engage in basic psychological function.


The brain starts developing 18 days after fertilization and many times mothers who become pregnant don't know they are pregnant until after a few weeks have passed. With that said, mothers who currently smoke or drink may put their embryo at risk without even knowing it. Because of this specific reason, the rate of premature births is greater than it needs to be. This year the state of Vermont was the only state to achieve that goal. "The current nationwide rate is 12.2%" (Henry).

One of the most common results of alcohol abuse during pregnancy is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. FAS is a condition resulting from high levels of prenatal alcohol exposure, ultimately resulting in learning disabilities, physical growth retardation, facial malformations, behavioral disorders.

Some things that expecting mothers can do to reduce obstacles in fetal development are:

1. Be aware of the fact that they could be pregnant after having unprotected sex.
2. Once it's known that a woman is pregnant, use little to no alcohol and tobacco.
3. A pregnant woman should not expose herself and her baby to hazardous materials such as paint or even household cleaning supplies.
4. See an obstetrician as soon as possible.
5. Partake in prenatal care (taking vitamins, getting the proper nutrition, and staying active)

Work Cited

Henry, Trisha. "Fewer U.S. Babies Being Born Early, Report Says -" -Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. 2011. Web. 01 Nov. 2011. .

Stranger Danger?

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Infants usually differ in their attachments towards their mother or primary caregiver. Mary Ainsworth and her colleges conducted a study called "The Stranger Situation". In this study they were examining one year olds reactions to being separated from their mothers. They placed the mother and infant in an unfamiliar room with a lot of appealing toys, they gave the infants a chance to play with the toys. Then a stranger comes in the room and the mother leaves on two different occasions. When the mother left they measured each infant's reactions.
Most researchers agree that there are four specific categories that describe infant's reactions to separation. The first one and most common among U.S. babies is called the Secure Attachment. This is when the infant becomes upset when the mother leaves but then greets her with joy when she returns. The second one is Insecure-avoidant Attachment which is becomes indifferent when she leaves but then shows little reaction on her return. The third one is Insecure-anxious Attachment which is when the infant panics when the mother leaves but shows mixed emotion when she returns. The fourth and the rarest one is Disorganized Attachment which when the infant reacts to the departure and return of their mother with a mixed set of responses.
This is an important concept because it is a reality when dealing with children. It is important to know how the infant is going to react so then you can possibly distract them or try to minimize their reaction. For example, I have babysat a lot of different children, and it helps if the parents know how their kids react to them leaving. If the parents tell me that their child usually cries when they leave then I will start playing with them before their parents leave so they are distracted so they will not notice their parent leaving.




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In a recent lecture, we discussed the topic of phobias. A phobia is usually thought of as an intense fear of something--it can be an object, situation, anything really--that is greatly out of proportion to its actual threat. Many of us have some kind of fear, like spiders, heights, or snakes. Phobias differ from a fear like this because phobias are much more severe and can cause distress to an individual's every day life.

Phobias are often a product of classical conditioning. The phobia becomes the conditioned stimulus, with the conditioned response being high anxiety, startle response, fear, etc. There are many types of phobias that can be crippling to one's life: agoraphobia (the fear of being in a place difficult to escape--generally thought of as a fear of public places), social phobia (fear of public appearances), even anemophobia (the fear of air). Although phobias like these are difficult to overcome, it can be done. Often times, exposure therapy, where the patient is exposed to their phobia many times to extinct the fear, is used. Sometimes, D-cycloserine is prescribed as an antibiotic to reduce fear as well.

Phobias are so interesting to me. Where do they come from? How does a human being, who needs air to breathe, suddenly become afraid of it? It seems that phobias sometimes come out of nowhere, with no life-changing event that caused it. It is easier to understand a phobia of dogs if one is bitten by a dog, but how does someone become scared of air, clocks, or even pickles?

Pickle Fear

Article on Weird Phobias

Puppy Exposure Therapy

the origin of anxiety

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During the lectures on Emotion I was struck by HOw fears and anxiety form and can be treated. According to the lecture many fears that become overly fearlul are condition that way through Pavlovian Condition. The famous experiments that James Watson conducted with Little Albert showed that you can be afraid of just about anything that has been associated with fearful unconditional stimulus. Watson in the experiment condition Albert to be scared of rabbits. So if Fears or phobias can be created through Conditioning then the can be treated through conditioning as well. If you associate the stimulus with not fearful response the fear can become decreased. So treating many phobias like Social Phobia is to expose the patient to the social situations and follow it up with positive feedback.

Anorexia and Recovery

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Anorexia is a potentially life-threatening eating disorder that makes people lose more weight than is considered healthy for their age and height.
According to our textbook, "Anorexia is less common than bulimia, with rates ranging from 0.5 percent to 1 percent of the population. It usually begins in adolescence, is much more common in girls than boys, and is sometimes fueled by sociocultural pressures to be thin." Recently, Anorexia has been characterized as primarily a woman's illness because one-half to one percent of females in the U.S. develop anorexia nervosa and, more than 90 percent of all those who are affected are adolescent girls and young adult women.
One reason younger women particularly suffer Anorexia is that they tend to go on strict diets to achieve an "ideal" figure. Young women whom thinness has become a professional requirement (actors, dancers, models, and TV personalities) are at risk for Anorexia. It reflects today's societal pressure to be thin, which is seen in advertising and the media. Moreover, depression and anxiety may also increase the risk of developing Anorexia among young women.
Recovery from Anorexia is often very difficult, but possible. The biggest challenge in treating Anorexia is making the patient recognize that he has an illness. Most persons with anorexia nervosa deny that they have Anorexia. There are a number of different programs have been designed to treat Anorexia. For example, the patient with Anorexia can gain weight by increasing social activities, reducing physical activity and using schedules for eating.
Medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers may help some anorexic patients treat depression or anxiety. These medications are given as part of a complete Anorexia treatment program.
In conclusion, Anorexia is a serious illness that leads to death, especially among young women. By some estimates, it leads to death in ten percent of cases. Valuable treatment programs can help patients return and stay at a healthy weight.

Violence: Nature Vs Nurture

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As we learned in discussion, violent video games and television shows can promote aggressive behavior within children, but is this in our nature or is it something we learn as we grow up? This concept is important because it tries to indicate the factors behind aggressive and violent behaviors in human beings. Nature being something that is inherited or something that comes natural or instinctively. And nurture, being an outside factor or influence. I believe to the extent that nature and nurture are both factors of aggressive and violent behaviors but nurture seems to be the more defining factor.
Research suggests that we are exposed to over 200,000 acts of violence and over 16,000 murders before the age of 18. Video games such as Gran Theft Auto and television shows such as Power Rangers contribute to this statistics. Kids as young as two learn to imitate what they learn or see on television. And with increased access and exposure to violent media, children and teens these days are increasingly more violent.
Although we may come to believe that media is the only source of all violent acts, we must think back to the medieval age where humans were also as violent if not more violent than we are now. And back then they did not have any access to violent media or video games. Are we humans not also animals? Are we not predators and at the top of the food chain? Violence has been apparent throughout the human race.
The fallacy of correlation implying causation may appeal to this as A and C causing B.

The Mozart Effect

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Fact or Fallacy? Can listening to Mozart's music truly make you smarter?

In 1993 at the University of California, Irvine, there was a study done on 36 undergraduate college students. The study was done to determine whether or not listening to Mozart's melodies would improve the students' spatial temporal intelligence. Researchers had the students take a "pretest", which was the same for all groups. One group listened to 10 minutes of a Mozart sonata, another group listened to 10 minutes of a "relaxation tape" and the last group sat in silence for 10 minutes. The results of the test showed that by listening to Mozart's sonata the students' IQs increased by 8-9 points. Although they increased, it lasted for about 10-15 minutes, which was only long enough to take the test.


The media went off on a frenzy saying that by listening to Mozart's sonatas your child would become smarter. Companies started creating programs that would "improve your child's IQ score" or "increase their level of intelligence". Unfortunately, parents jumped on the bandwagon a little too fast. Not only was this experiment an extraordinary claim, it wasn't very replicable. This claim needed extraordinary evidence, which it did not possess.

I heard this claim when I was in eighth grade. My friend had told me that listening to classical music while doing homework will make you smarter (obviously this is a very twisted version of the original claim). So then I started to listen to classical music while I did my homework. By having someone tell me that it was true, I actually believed that it was making me smarter.

A number of different studies have showed that by listening to Mozart's work may temporarily increase cognitive skills. While other studies have found no statistically significant "Mozart effect".

Fatherhood and its importance on children's development

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The word "Father" has a whole different meaning that it did 50 years ago. Nowadays, fathers are not just providers anymore; they take on a much more active role in raising their kids. In children's eyes the father is a lifelong leader and teacher. His protective, empowering lessons about right and wrong live on in the inner lives of the children, long after they've left home for good. So the impact of Fathers on cognitive ability and psychological well being and social behavior apeared to be very important.

Children with involved, caring fathers have better educational outcomes. A number of studies suggest that fathers who are involved, nurturing, and playful with their infants have children with higher IQs, as well as better linguistic and cognitive capacities. Toddlers with involved fathers go on to start school with higher levels of academic readiness. They are more patient and can handle the stresses and frustrations associated with schooling more readily than children with less involved fathers. A father protects his children by strengthening their judgment and will so they can later protect themselves. In the lives of his children, he asserts loving leadership toward responsible, competent adulthood.

Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections with peers. These children also are less likely to get in trouble at home, school, or in the neighborhood. Infants who receive high levels of affection from their fathers are more securely attached; that is, they can explore their environment comfortably when a parent is nearby and can readily accept comfort from their parent after a brief separation. A number of studies suggest they also are more sociable and popular with other children throughout early childhood.

Various Factors Influencing Motor Development

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Motor development may be influenced by many different aspects such as cultural practices, biological differences, and sex related differences. Differences in how culture's handle babies may affect the motor development. For example in eastern Asia and Peru babies are tightly swaddled. This prevents free movement and excessive swaddling may slow down motor development. Other cultures such as ones in Africa, babies are stretched and massaged which may help motor development because it involves more movement from an early age. A study done on British and Japanese children showed that cultural differences may affect the rate of fine motor skills. For example, because Japanese children are taught to use chopsticks at an early age, they are more used to holding a pencil and using it with ease.
Biological differences may also play a role in motor development. Inherited levels of ability, rate of physical maturation, and even body type account for the speeding up or slowing down of motor skills. For example, people who were born very athletic may have children who develop motor skills faster since that "athletic" gene runs in the family.
The sex of the child may also affect the motor development. In later years, when children are in school, girls seem to have an advantage in fine motor skills such as penmanship and drawing. Also they have a better ability to balance and are better at activities which involve footwork, and girls have greater flexibility and are better at bending and balancing. Boys are more advanced in activities that emphasize strength and power and have greater muscle mass and longer forearms which means boys have greater skill in certain areas.

Bulimia Nervosa

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When someone says eating disorder, the first thing that comes to mind is anorexia. Contrary to what people think, bulimia is more common than anorexia, affecting 1-3% of the population. Bulimia is the act of bingeing, eating large amounts of foods, and purging, which is vomiting after eating.
Bulimia is dangerous because it sets up a vicious cycle where a person can binge (overeat) and then "undo" the binge by purging. This removes the guilt that they feel of eating too much. About 95% of people affected are women who have extremely low self-esteem and have a strong need for approval.
Being a girl, during middle school and high school there were many rumors that I heard that said that so and so was anorexic or so and so was bulimic. Many times these rumors would prove to be false but once in a while they would be true. Bulimia can be dangerous because your body is not getting the nutrition of the food that is being eaten because soon after you eat it; it is being thrown back out.
Although anorexia is researched to be more fatal, bulimia can turn into anorexia with throwing up as the person suffering from bulimia might see that binge eating is making them gain weight. People with bulimia that lose weight continue to binge and purge as they never see themselves as "good enough". More symptoms can be read here.
People with bulimia always want to lose more weight, so common symptoms of bulimia are eroded teeth and swollen salivary glands; which are what the constant contact with stomach acid can do. Research shows that bulimia is familial, as it is more likely if you have a mother or sibling that was bulimic.

The Mozart Effect

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In 1993, researchers at the University of California, Irvine claimed that students who had listened to Mozart performed better at a spacial memory task than students who listened to a relaxation tape. This result showed a temporary 8-9 point IQ increase, and although they did not claim that listening to Mozart made people smarter, the media ran wild with this story to the point that the Georgia governor allocated state money to provide babies with recordings of Mozart.
At first this seemed like a miracle, and people rushed to capitalize on these claims by creating listening programs for children and babies that would also increase their intelligence. However, other researchers soon had trouble duplicating their findings, showing that this claim was not easily replicated. Additionally, these researchers did not adhere to the scientific principle that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Meanwhile companies such as Baby Einstein are still making money off of societies' false belief that children will be exponentially smarter if they listen to teaching music in the background while they play.
The Mozart Effect.jpg
I remember one of my friends telling me a few years ago that listening to classical music makes you smarter. I was inclined to believe him at the time, but if I would have known more about the scientific thinking principles, or if I had heard about the "Mozart Effect" then maybe I would have known that if there is any truth behind this claim it is that listening to Mozart has a minimal effect on temporarily increasing one's spacial reasoning.

An Article That Discusses the Plausibility of the Mozart Effect
This Article Discusses the Outrageousness of the Mozart Effect

Polygraph Test-Lie Detector

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It baffles me that our society has found ways of knowing if someone is lying or not. Centuries ago there is no way that people would have ever thought that detecting a lie would be possible. However, it is possible. Today the polygraph is the most common lie detecting method. Lies are measured by the differences in major psychological signals. These signals include an increase in blood pressure, respiration, and palm sweating. Suspects are asked different types of questions and judging from the suspect's response, we have a "better" indication of knowing if the suspect is innocent or guilty.

While lie detectors such as the polygraph detector are indeed indactors of lies, there is some uncertainty on their validity. Some sceintetsts have called the polygraph test an "arousal" detector rather than a "lie" detector. This is because there are certain ways to cheat the system; countermeasures. For example, some people simply have a psychopathic persanolity. That is, they have will not be as prone to exhibit anxious behaviors such as sweating and blood pressure because they have lower levels of fear and anxiety.

Like the video shows, there are signs of the polygraph that point to it actually being accurate. When dealing with human's lives however, I feel like there should be no question of whether the system is accurate or not. Even if we are talking about possible murderers or sex offenders, there should still be justice in determining if they are sentenced.

When someone fails a polygraph test, usually the suspect admits they were lying. However, are they just doing this because they failed the test? How do you know whether or not someone was telling the truth if they pass a test? It's impossible to tell. That is why the polygraph test, like other lie detection methods, are impossible to tell if they are correct.

To Spank or not to Spank?

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It seems in the past few decades we have moved to more of a hands off culture in regards to disciplining children. It leads us to ask what the best method for parenting is, using physical discipline or to take a more reasonable approach.

I grew up in where spanking was the norm. If you were out of line and pushed mom or dad to far you better brace your- self because the wooden spoon was coming out. From personal experience it was always something that I never looked forward to but is was not something that scared me for life. It taught me to respect my parents and to be well behaved or I would have to deal with the consequences. Looking back I was better off getting a good whack on the back of the leg than to be grounded and not being able to play with my toys for a week.

In a clip from the Wendy Williams Show, she talks also about how she was spanked as a child and she also will spank her own children. It seems that about half of parents are for spanking while the other half are very much against it. Drawing conclusions it seems that spanking is effective until you can rationally reason with the child. Once they are old enough taking away computer privileges or taking a cell phone away is a much more effective punishment than physical discipline.

Discipline is more about teaching children about what behaviors to make and which ones are acceptable and which ones are not. It also teaches them that if they make the wrong choices they will have to deal with the consequences.

So whether or not you spank your child does not really make the difference it is whether you instill the values into your child that they need to make the right decisions in life or they will have to deal with the consequences.

Moral Development

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Lawrence Kohlberg, expanded Jean Piaget's work and developed a theory known as Kohlberg's stages of moral development. Kohlberg interviewed a group of young males and showed them a series of dilemmas, the Heinz dilemma. He was then interested in the reasoning behind whether the boy said yes or no to the dilemma put forth. Kohlberg's theory consists of three levels and six stages, two within each level. The first level is pre conventional morality, which is emphasized on getting rewards and avoiding punishments. This level is split into stage one and two. Stage one is obedience and punishment orientation; the most important value is obedience to authority in order to avoid punishment. For example following the orders while in the military. Stage two individualism and exchange, when the individual realizes the right actions satisfy their needs and sometimes others, an example would be self defense. The second level is conventional morality, emphasis on social rules. Stages three and four are in this level. Stage three is good interpersonal relationships. Good behavior pleases others, and in this stage approval is more important then a reward. An example would be to "kill the bad guy". The fourth stage is maintaining the social order. In this stage, right behavior is obeying the laws and being a good citizen. An example of law and order would be not to murder anyone. the last level of Kohlberg's theory is post conventional morality and is based on moral principles. The last two stages are in this level, five and six. Stage six, social contract and individual rights, is based on the idea that the rules of society exist for everyone and if the contract is broken for one individual it is no longer in place. "One person gets away with it, everyone does". The final stage, stage six, is universal principles. The golden rule is applied in this stage, treat others as you want to be treated. Justice and equality are examples of moral ideas. Kohlberg's theory on moral development has been very influential throughout psychology.
Moral Development

Lawrence Kohlberg's Moral Development

Impact of Divorce on Children: Greater than Expected

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Divorce is becoming less common today than it once was in the past. This is likely due to the fact that less couples are choosing to marry, instead choosing cohabitation, and also that people are marrying at older ages now than they were in the past.
Unfortunately, divorce is still happening all the time, and children are often put in the middle. From my own experience of my parents' temporary separation, and having seen some of the effects of divorce in my friends, I believe that divorce has a serious effect on children (especially younger children) and that these effects are more long term than expected.
I was ten years old when my parents temporarily separated, but I think that I went through a lot of the same things that children whose parents actually divorced did. I remember how I changed emotionally from a happy-go-lucky fourth grader to one that didn't smile much or have many positive thoughts at the time. Fortunately, my parents were able to work things out within a year and a half and I became more emotionally stable again.
Although I was lucky enough to have my parents avoid divorce, many of my friends were not. One of my closest friends' parents divorced when she was 17. I've seen how it's affected her. She is much more pessimistic than before and has a difficult time trusting members of the opposite sex even today. Another of my friends' parents divorced when she was 13. She never sees her father and likes to keep it that way. Although she is an emotionally happy person most of the time, she too has difficulty forming stable relationships. She is the youngest of my closest friends but she tends to gravitate towards older men for relationships. I think that this has something to do with her being without a father figure for such a long time. These may seem like small effects to someone that has not seen such effects personally, but they are significant.


Although the book cites that the "majority of children survive their parents' divorce without long-term emotional damage", I don't believe this to be the case because of the changes I have seen my friends and myself go through. A second thing I don't agree with is that divorce seem to produce little to no effects on children when their parents experience mild conflict before divorce. I think that no matter how much conflict there is between parents before a divorce, a child, particularly young children and teenagers, exhibit emotional scars and retain them throughout their lives. The effect to how much a person is affected depends on the age at which their parents divorced. A child whose parents divorced when they were young is more negatively effected than a young adult or upper-aged teenager. I think this is mostly because younger children have spent more time without their mother or father depending on the severity of the divorce and how the parents divide time with their child.
Overall, I tend to disagree that effects upon children vary based on conflict before divorce and that effects are usually short term based on my observations of my friends and my own changes that occurred during my parents brief separation.

Derailment of Train by a penny. Myth?

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There has been a childhood myth passed on from one kid to another kid during lunchroom debates and playground games that if a penny is placed on a railroad track, a train will be derailed from trying to travel over the penny. It is a dream that many mischievous kids dream of accomplishing for bragging rights to their friends and school.

But is there any evidence to support such a claim? This kind of topic goes along with the scientific thinking principle of extraordinary claims. That is, is there any extraordinary evidence that supports the extraordinary claim that something as small as a penny can derail a massive train? I've looked around on various websites and was not able to find any reliable evidence that such an event is possible. According to snopes , the closest event to that are some freak accidents that involved people of various ages putting a penny on a track and getting hit by a train in the process.


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Studies have shown that a child's social development is as equally as important as their physical development. Infants and children engage in social interaction with their parents, other children, or caregivers, thus producing long lasting effects on their interpersonal relationships. Specifically, researcher Konrad Lorenz discovered the process of imprinting. After observing a flock of geese, Lorenz found that a gosling attaches to the first moving object it sees after hatching. Most of the time the gosling imprints on its mother, however, Lorenz learned that a gosling is capable of imprinting on any large, moving object, even humans. In addition, he learned that imprinting is only possible within a certain window of time, otherwise known as the critical period. For the goslings, the critical period was a span of 36 hours. Meaning, the goslings had 36 hours to imprint on their mother, or some other object. Imprinting occurs in mammals, however their critical period is much more flexible. Researchers found that intelligent mammals tend to have a wider developmental window, therefore referring to their imprinting duration as the sensitive period. Although humans do not have confirmed sensitive periods, there is evidence that separation from attachment figures results in emotional problems. Children in Romanian orphanages were exposed to little social interaction during their sensitive period and were later found to have psychological problems, including hyperactivity and inattention. As I was reading, I wondered how Lorenz went about measuring the gosling's critical period. Moreover, I thought about how Lorenz settled on a time window of 36 hours. I think that his findings would be much more reliable if he had tested the goslings in a controlled setting. Also, I thought back to when I first got my puppy, Aiva. She did not immediately cling or attach herself to a particular member in our family. Rather, it took a few months for her to attach to my brother, mainly because he spent the most time with her. When we were at school, my brother stayed home and played with Aiva. During this time, Aiva and my brother were able to create a stronger bond.

What is a "good parent"?

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Anyone who is becoming a parent always wonderers how they can raise their child right. But what is the right way to raise a child? In the book, it is mentioned that there are three major parenting skills used today. Basically, a permissive parent allows the child more freedom, use less discipline, and show a great amount of affection. An authoritarian parent is strict, punishes more, and shows less affection. Lastly, an authoritative is a mixture of permissive and authoritarian; firm with rules and supportive. I think this is a very fascinating idea, but I believe there are more than three major skills. For example, my parents very strict, but want me to be independent. They are very loving and show affection, but I do get punished for not obeying. Lastly, they are very supportive and make sure I will have a future in school, but also leave many of my decisions up to me. From just describing their parenting traits, I don't think they fall into any of the above. They are more than just a mixture of the two. I think certain parenting skills are based off of certain situations or certain years of a child's life. For example, having parents bee more permissive as their child is in college, but as a young teenager, respond in an authoritarian way. All in all, parents want to raise their children in a way for them to survive in the future and help them become who they are. This makes me wonder if there is more than certain parenting skills for raising a child. Doesn't the way the parent act as an example have anything to do with how a child acts? Or if the parents are involved in the child's life completely? Or the attitude of the parent, their behavior in situations and the way they act? Here is an article that talks about how there is more to parenting besides approaches on how to raise your child.

Violent Games = Aggression?

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In Psychology last week, for our homework, we had to read articles that had two topics; violent video games creates aggressive behaviors and violent video games have no impact on behaviors. These two article topics are related to the scientific thinking correlation versus causation because people think that violent video games are associated with aggression so therefore one thing must cause the other. In some sense, I agree with the statement that violent video games do lead to aggression but not to an extreme.

I agree with the statement that violent video games can lead to aggression but to an extreme. I thinking about the topic I thought of my brother and his behavior changes during the summer. My brother whose younger than me plays a lot of violent video games such as Modern Warfare and I've noticed that his attitude changes while playing the game. During the summer, my brother used to play his video games everyday and I noticed that he was a lot more tensed and he got mad easily if I didn't agree with his opinions. He was also very distant from my family. Then there was this one week were my brother wasn't able to play his video games because the network was down, I noticed some changes in his actions. He was way calmer, he would tell jokes and laugh. He would also ask me to go to his room and hang out which was different because he usually wanted to be away from our family when he was playing his video games. My brother's action definitely fascinated me, so I decided to test my belief about the topic using my brother.

So recently I decided to see whether violent video games really creates aggression in my brother. When I went to my brother's room when he is not playing his video games he will talk to me and start a conversation but on the other hand when I went to his room while he is playing his video games, he will start swearing and telling me to leave his room because I am causing him to loose his game. I also notices that my brother tends give my parents attitude if they tell him to stop playing his game. So in conclusion I agree that violent video games produces aggression but not to an extreme.

I noticed brother's behavior was more angry and really tense when he was playing his video games. He was just really aggressive. Even though that violent video games produces aggressive behaviors, I still think there is a limit. My brother might be aggressive because of the game but he would never go around and kill people like what he does on the video games. Another thing I thought about was that most boys his age plays violent video games and if violent video games produces aggression is such an extreme amount then the crime rates should also go up into a extreme amount. Overall, violent video games can produce aggressive behaviors but there will always be a limit on the aggression that the video games produces.

"The Broad View of Research on Video Games and Aggression"

"Violent Video Games Reduce Brain Response to violence and increase aggressive behavior, study suggests"

"Violent games not to blame for youth aggression, study suggests"

"Could Violent video Games Reduce Rather than increase Violence?"


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When i first heard of imprinting i heard it in the twilight saga books. if your not into the books, their form of imprinting has to do with how they fall in love. For werewolves, they imprint on certain people and once they meet the person destiny has meant for them to imprint on they immediately fall in love. I figured the whole idea of imprinting was totally fake but, apparently not. The concept is some what similar but, there are many differences between the way werwolves, geese, and humans "imprint".
Imprinting in real life for geese is when they are first born (usually within the first 36 hours) they start following the first large moving things that approaches them. It is most likely their mothers but in some cases it can be any moving object like balls or moving carts like in the movie "Fly Away Home."
Imprinting for humans is still a little different. We humans don't latch on to the first thing we see coming out of the womb. Humans usually "imprint" on the person that takes most care of them shortly after their birth. Us humans and most intelligent mammals bond with the people that show contact comfort. the comfort we get from being touched is what makes us want to form close bonds with certain people.
From this study we know why and how it is that children bond to their mothers so closely in such a short time period. But, why is it that geese imprint so easily to things? is it just their lack of intelligence that makes them this way?

How close is too close?

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Have you ever gone to a vacant class meeting and take a seat, only to discover the only other stranger in the room sits right next to you? Or have you ever tried to get closer to someone you found attractive, only to realize that all night they had been taking more and more steps away from you? If you have then you have unknowingly participated in proxemics - the study of personal space. Proxemics is one of the many concepts i found interesting mostly because it has illuminated the importance of nonverbal expression of emotion.
As it has been studied, personal distance has shown to have a positive correlation with emotional distance. When we feel more emotionally close towards someone we tend to stand closer, and vice versa. This would explain why personal friends or romantic partners usually talk at closer distances than do two casual acquaintances. Even so, it has been observed that the more we try to intimidate someone the closer we get.
One of the most fascinating aspects of proxemics is the research anthropologist Edward Hall (1966) has done. He claimed that personal space has helped us to notice not only gender, but cultural differences among people all over the world. In some cultures, like Latin and Middle Eastern cultures, people talk slightly closer to others than people from European cultures do.
The same goes for men and Women - women have shown to prefer closer space.

Lying and the Polygraph Test

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One subject that I found particularly interesting while reading the Lilienfeld text was the subject of lying. Plain and simple, we all lie. It's not as if we always lie to get away with things; sometimes being told a lie is just simply better than knowing the truth. Studies have shown that college students tell an average of about two lies a day. It is also mentioned that the English language contains 112 different words for lying. That's pretty amazing if you ask me. The best way of finding out whether someone is lying is to listen to what they're saying rather than how they're saying it (Lilienfeld text). That is, dishonest statements tend to contain fewer details than do truthful statements. There are many tests that attempt to figure out whether someone is lying or not, but I'm going to focus on the polygraph test.

How-to-Cheat-a-Polygraph-Test.jpgThe polygraph or "lie detector" test has long been one of the icons of popular psychology. The test was born in 1915 and remains popular today. Claims figure that the test is 98% accurate. Whoever came up with the polygraph test was one intelligent man! The polygraph test rests on the assumption of the "Pinocchio response," which is a perfect physiological or behavioral indicator of lying (Lilienfeld text). Just as Pinocchio's nose grew after telling a lie, people's bodily reactions give way whenever they lie also. The assumption is that dishonest suspects experience anxiety when confronted with questions that expose their falsehoods. As shown in the video above, the test is administered through three types of questions. These include "irrelevant questions" such as "Did you fly on an airplane today?" Irrelevant questions are ones that are typically facts and don't bear questions of lying. There are also "Relevant questions" such as "Have you ever watched pornographic videos?" These types of questions are known as "did you do it" questions. The third type of questions are called "Control questions". These are questions that reflect probably lies.

polygraph-quackery-09.jpgAlthough the polygraph test usually does better than chance for detecting lies, it yields a high rate of false positives, meaning that innocent individuals whom the test labels incorrectly as guilty (Lilienfeld text). Studies have shown that the test misclassifies a large proportion of innocent individuals as guilty. I myself have always wanted to try a polygraph test, just to see if I could beat it. I believe that as long as you believe you are not lying, you won't be caught as a liar. The problem is that polygraph test confuses arousal with evidence of guilt. Many people display arousal following relevant questions for reasons other than the anxiety associated with lying, such as the fear of being convicted for a crime they didn't commit. So whether the test is an effective way seeing whether a person is guilty is up for debate. It shocking to think about how often people lie during a day. I catch myself lying even when that is not my intent. And the polygraph test is mostly used for eliciting confessions versus labeling somebody as guilty. I sure have learned a lot thus far in my PSY 1001 class.

Gross National Happiness

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Let's all go become citizens of Bhutan.

Really- a government that's concerned with your happiness over making money? Sign me up.

I was quite disappointed when the text didn't go into more detail about Bhutan's policy. It could have gone into so much more depth on what Bhutan's government identifies as making a person happy. The United Nation's website for Bhutan states nine categories that make up the index for one's happiness. These are stated as 1. Standard of living, 2. Health of the population, 3. Education, 4. Ecosystem vitality and diversity, 5. Cultural vitality and diversity, 6. Time use and balance, 7. Good governance, 8. Community vitality, and 9. Emotional well being.

I find this interesting because the conclusions the book makes about levels of happiness are correlation, not cause effect. While the Bhutan government's categories are to measure happiness, they are also the areas that they are actively improving upon. This leads us to believe that the Bhutan government believes improving these categories can increase national happiness. Also, in a study conducted by the Bhutan government, the population indicated that income, family, health, spirituality, and good governance are the requirements they have for being happy.

So, while we cannot generalize what makes people happy and most people do not know what will make them happy, we can see what it is that will make people unhappy.

The UN's website for Bhutan

IQ vs EQ

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When most people think of intelligence, they use an availability heuristic and automatically think of a persons IQ. They think of people like Forrest Gump who had an extremely low IQ or Albert Einstein who had a tremendously high IQ. Most people have heard of IQ but very few actually know exactly what it is or what it measures. IQ or Intelligence Quotient is a measure of ones intelligence that is based off of the differences among people in their intelligence. The IQ takes into account one's mental age, the age that corresponds to the average person's performance on an intelligence test, as well as deviation IQ(how one's IQ is compared to their peers). But there is another type of intelligence that is just as important, if not more important than IQ. It is called emotional intelligence.

As the picture above shows, IQ is only the tip of the iceberg of our intelligence. EQ and emotional intelligence make up more of our intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is our ability to read, comprehend, and predict the emotions of others in our everyday lives. It is made of several sub components, the ability to recognize one's emotions, the ability to appreciate one's emotions, the ability to control them, and the ability to adapt them for situations. Emotional Intelligence is just as important if not more important because it is vital when interacting with anyone. Whether it be at a store, at home with your family, or at work, one must have emotional intelligence for every situation. One can have a very low IQ but a very high EQ(Emotional Quotient) and emotional intelligence and still be very successful. Forrest Gump, although fictional, serves as a good example of this because he became a millionaire despite his low IQ. Even companies are starting to recognize the value of emotional intelligence. Some companies now have programs and formal training that teach and increase emotional intelligence.

The Mozart Effect

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Since it was first introduced in 1993, the Mozart Effect has been a popular concept embraced by (desperate) parents and large corporations looking to capitalize on yet another manifestation of pseudoscience. If you've seen the movie "The Incredibles", you may recall a scene in which the obnoxious babysitter is playing classical music for the baby stating that it will make it smarter. She, just like millions of hopeful consumers, believes that playing classical music to infants will increase their intelligence and spatial reasoning tasks.

Like many claims in psychology, the Mozart Effect seems a bit abstract; however, due to the complexity of the human brain and it's ability to process things in the sub and unconscious, it is often hard to dismiss claims based on whether or not it makes sense. See the link (link #1) at the bottom for a company claiming 31 positive effects of Mozart. After all, the companies who support the Mozart Effect would only use studies if they were true, right? Wrong. As stated in the book, the findings associated with the Mozart Effect seem to be more related to overall arousal, not the genre of music being played. The biggest takeaway from all this nonsense about Mozart is that when companies make "extraordinary claims" followed by a price, do a little researching of your own to avoid being suckered into paying for pseudoscience.

Link #1:

Money can (sorta) buy happiness

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One interesting concept that chapter 11 covered was about the myths of what makes us happy. I was intrigued by the part about money buying happiness. I've heard it argued many times in many places, and most people have their strong opinions about it. It was interesting to know that studies had actually been done to find out the truth. Although I wasn't entirely surprised that happiness and money are not correlated after $50,000, it basically validated my thinking. It makes sense that people who are worried about paying debts would be unhappy. It also makes sense that if you are not worried about making ends meet, the difference between the luxuries of things you can afford wouldn't matter much. What are really important are the people a person is with or the things they participate in.

Can money buy happiness?:

I think it is applicable to everybody's life, including mine, because its nice to know that a person doesn't need to be crazy successful in order to be happy. It takes some of the pressure off because we can focus more on a job that can make us happy instead of a job that will bring in the big money. For me, this is a very important finding. I would like to learn a little more about what other factors went into the study. Its possible that there are third factors, like a happy marriage and a fun job.

The Teenage Brain

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View image

Time-Lapse Imaging Tracks Brain Maturation from ages 5 to 20

Constructed from MRI scans of healthy children and teens, the time-lapse "movie", from which the above images were extracted, compresses 15 years of brain development (ages 5-20) into just a few seconds.

Red indicates more gray matter, blue less gray matter. Gray matter wanes in a back-to-front wave as the brain matures and neural connections are pruned.

Source: Paul Thompson, Ph.D. UCLA Laboratory of Neuroimaging

For many years scientists have believed that the brain finished developing at an early age, but they have found through magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, that although most of the brain matures prenatally or during the early stages of life, the frontal lobes do not fully mature until early adulthood, well over twenty years old. The prefrontal lobe is the part of the brain that is responsible for planning, decision making, impulse control, and moderating correct social behavior. Jensen, a Harvard expert studying the teenage brain, says "a teenage brain is just an adult brain with fewer miles on it," which means that it is not fully formed yet. The nerve cells that connect the frontal lobes with the rest of the brain are sluggish. A teenage brain does not have much myelin, the fatty coat that insulates the axons of some nerves cells which speeds the transmission of impulses, or "white matter" compared to adults. The brain needs myelin to for nerve signals to flow freely from nerve to nerve. The lack of myelin causes inefficient communication between parts of the brain.

Since the frontal lobe is still developing in teenagers it explains many impulsive behaviors that teenagers exhibit such as drinking, smoking, and doing drugs. When humans reach adolescence, a changing balance between brain systems involved in emotions increase in novelty seeking, risk taking, and interactions with peers. These behaviors encourage teens to explore new environments and meet new people, but these behaviors can also be dangerous. They can lead to temptations such as drugs, firearms, and vehicles. According to the DANA Foundation, illness and mortality increase 200 percent to 300 percent for teens. In 2005, the most recent year for which statistics were available, car and motorcycle accidents were the number one cause for half of deaths, and the number two and number three causes were homicide and suicide. An understanding of how the teenage brain operates will require insight into how the brain changes. Understanding how the brain develops may help parents and teachers use better approaches to handling teenage behavior which could potentially may prevent many deaths.


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Anorexia, although it is not very common, affecting only 0.5 to 1 percent of the population, it is still a very dangerous psychological disorder. Anorexia nervosa is defined as: an eating disorder associated with excessive weight loss and the irrational perception that one is overweight. This is the most dangerous eating disorder, as it has a 5 to 10 percent mortality rate, whereas bulimia nervosa has no known fatalities. Anorexia is more than just not eating. It is a legitimate psychological disorder, in which people suffering truly see themselves as fat, and they are terrified by that. So, in order to stop themselves from getting fat, they stop eating all together, and will ultimately lose 25 to 50 percent of their body weight. Most people suffering from anorexia will deny it over and over when confronted about it. They cannot see that there is a problem, even when they are literally nothing but skin and bones. Along with how bad their bodies look on the outside, they also have many internal issues due to malnourishment. As weight is continuously lost in such an extreme way, people may also suffer from hair loss, heart problems, fragile bones, life-threatening electrolyte imbalances, and women can even suffer from a loss of their menstrual periods, as their bodies would not be able to support them as well as a child. There are different psychological reasons for anorexia, in most cases, people have always had a negative body image growing up, and by the time they reach adolescence, they cannot handle it anymore and instead of being healthy, they do the extreme. Anorexia is a real problem, and should not be looked at lightly. The video link posted below looks into the life of a French model, named Isabelle Caro. Isabelle had been suffering from anorexia since she was 13, until she died at the young age of 28.

(The embedding on the link was disabled, so I was unable to post it in my blog, however, it is very interesting, and definitely worth watching nonetheless.)


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People need to sleep, not only at night, but also whenever they feel tired in order to relieve their stress and store energy. When people asleep, in most cases they will have a dream, and these dreams are extremely variable and distinctive, undoubtedly, dream is really miraculous,during this article, I would like to make an analysis about dream.

I would like to start my analysis by asking " what is dream ?" there are my opinion about successions of images, emotions, thoughts, and sensations that people can feel when they are asleep. After get a abstract idea about the definition of dream, I would like to explore another interesting topic : why people dream?

As far as I am concerned, it might be that we want to experience the scenes that we want, or think during the daytime, and these desires are expressed by dream at night . However, dreams are not only a way for us to find the real "me" but also a protecter of our sleep. According to Freud, dreams are the guardians of sleep : in the first place, ego works as a sort of mental censor during sleep, is less able than when awake to keep sexual and aggressive instincts at bay by presenting them, without dream, these instincts would bubble disturbing sleep. What's more, dreams require interpretation to reverse the dream-work and reveal their true meaning, freud distinguish between details of the dream itself, called manifest content, and its true hidden meaning called latent content.

In conclusion, dream is essential for our human being, without dream, we can not reach the healthy level as we expected, and we will ill due to the absence of dreams. On the other hand, we can use dreams to heal people's mental illness due to dreams can reflect what people truly ideas in their heart which are intentially or unconsciously hidden .(occam's razor)

There are some links which can support our conclusion.

Fast-Paced Television

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Is fast paced television harmful to young children's memory and learning? Are shows like SpongeBob SquarePants bad for kids?

This article says yes.

Studies were done on children 4 years old, one group watching the high paced show of SpongeBob SquarePants, and the other watching Cailou, a slow, and in my opinion, rather dumb show. Children that watched Cailou did better on short-term memory and learning tests.

Why are this shows bad for children? A part from children mimicking everything they see on television, the bright colors and flashing lights on the television slow down one's brain.

Ray Bradbury, a famous science fiction author, wrote Fahrenheit 451, where books are outlawed, and firemen burn any book they get their hands on. While the main issue of this novel is to promote the literary world, there is another, smaller point; that humans are becoming more adapted to letting other machines think for them. The increase of the internet and smart phones show this, since its much easier now-a-days to just use your iPhone and "google" something, instead of thinking it through.

In an article at the end of Fahrenheit 451 Bradbury quotes,

"The whole problem of TV and movies today is summed up by the film Moulin Rouge. It came out a few years ago and won a lot of awards. It has 4,560 half-second clips in it. The camera never stops and holds still. So it clicks off your thinking; you can't think when you have things bombarding you like that. The average TV commercial of sixty seconds has one hundred and twenty half-second clips in it, or one-third of a second. We bombard people with sensation. That substitutes for thinking."

While Bradbury is just an author, and not a psychologist, much of what he says is true, and very interesting. The bright colors and flashes of light "bombard" the children, causing their thinking level to go down, which affects their memory and learning.

However, the next question is, how much will Americans let technology block their thinking, or think for them, in the future?

-Sam Peters

Eating Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa

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It is stated in our book that anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder associated with the misconception that one is overweight when they are not, causing the harmful behaviors associated with eating disorders in the affected person. I believe this to be too specific, because oftentimes a person affected with an eating disorder may initially be overweight. What I have seen happen (according to many stories from various resources, including documentaries and even the personal stories of people I have met) is that a person who is overweight may get teased for their appearance, causing them psychological distress. This results in anorexia nervosa because of a desire to be thin; not necessarily because the affected person has a distorted view of their body.

Don't get me wrong; I am by no means whatsoever implying that anybody that is overweight should be anorexic to lose weight. That is obviously not a healthy answer to the person's situation! I only mean that the correlation versus causation theme can be applied here: does the subject (of an eating disorder) have a misconception of their body as being overweight, or is the subject actually overweight and undergoes an eating disorder due to being teased or to a desire to be thin for other reasons?

I have attached a video of a young child who has an eating disorder. It is being studied to see if eating disorders could be genetically predisposed. See it here:

It is quite considerable, in my opinion, that eating disorders may be genetically predisposed. It is observable that many families that are obsessed with their weight tend to have children that are also obsessed with theirs. Of course, to rule out rival hypotheses, this could be due to the fact of nurture and not nature: the children of parents with eating disorders could simply be mimicking these behaviors rather than having had them genetically inherited. I think it's an interesting hypotheses to be studied that eating disorders could be passed on to the offspring of affected people.

Being happy

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The purpose of positive psychology is to study what makes life most worth living. In my opinion, it is the opposite of what popular psychology is. Positive psychology is concerned with building the best things in life that make us happy and not repairing the worst; it is concerned with the strengths of people and not their weaknesses. Because it contains the word psychology, and psychology is a science, it is reassuring to know that positive psychology is not a self-help hoax. Good life can be studied and taught. Happiness is not a coincidence of a series of fortunate events in one's life. It's hard to grasp the concept but having happiness in life depends on our perception and thinking. This sounds very much like the theory of positive thinking and it is something that a movie like The Secret will show. As someone who is deeply familiar with both of these topics I see a lot of similar ideas. Positive thinking has to be an integral part of positive psychology even though what I read about it doesn't support this idea. It is hard to detect the effects of positive thinking in one's life through the scientific methods. There are just too many variables and impossible to control any conditions. But we can perform tests ourselves and check its effectiveness. The procedure is simple: think happy thoughts throughout the day, observe your mood and the reactions of the people towards you. Even smiling at friends or at people with whom your eyes meet has a positive impact. I'll end this blog with an excerpt of an uplifting quote.

"Life is too short to be anything but happy."


Strange Situation

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While reading Chapter 10 I was very interested in study of the development of children. A concept that really stood out to me was the Strange Situation. The Strange Situation is a laboratory procedure that has become a widely accepted as a means of measuring an infant's attachment style. The process consists of an infant, about one year old, and their mother being placed in a room full of toys, then a stranger proceeds to come into the room and the mother leaves it. The test is to see how the infant reacts to their mother leaving and then returning.

There have been four main categories that the infants reactions fit into; secure attachment, which is the infant is upset when the mother leaves, but greets her when she returns, insecure-avoidant attachment, which is when the infant is indifferent about the mother leaving and returning, insecure-anxious attachment, which is the infant panics when the mother leaves and shows mixed emotion upon her return, and finally disorganized attachment, which is the infant responds with an inconsistent set of responses on both the mothers leaving and returning.

I believe that this procedure is important because it studies infant's attachment levels and helps not only psychologist, but parents as well understand and interpret their child's attachment level. This procedure can also predict how the children will development and behave later in their life. The real life situation that I found was a You Tube video that actually shows this procedure happening. It follows through all of the steps and the infant is upset every time the mother leaves, regardless if the stranger is around or not. This video shows the child fitting into the category of secure attachment, she is upset when her mother leaves but greets her when she returns. Some other questions that occur to me are if there are any children that do not fit into any of these categories and have odd or unusual responses, and what psychologists do when they run into these situations.

Types of smiles

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There are many types of smiles, two of them include: the Duchenne smile and the Pan Am smile. The Duchenne smile is known as a genuine smile. It is where both of the corners of your mouth are raised and your cheeks are raised, which crinkles the corners of your eyes. A Duchenne smile seems to show inner joy. A Pan Am smile is considered a "fake smile". It is when the corners of your mouth are raised, but the corners of your eyes do not move or crinkle. It was given the name Pan Am smile, because of the Pan American World Airways. The flight attendants on these airplanes would give the same polite mechanical looking smile to all of the passengers. Their smiles did not seem to show genuine joy.

I have used the Pan Am smile many times. In all of my school yearbook pictures, I have just voluntarily smiled; I never expressed inner joy in these photos. You can tell in the pictures that I am not truly happy.

Here is a picture of a man expressing a Pan Am smile on the left and a Duchenne smile on the right. Notice that in the Duchenne smile the corners of his mouth are raised and the corner of his eyes have crinkles.


Baby Einstein

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Looking back to younger years, most of us can recall sitting in front of a television being enthralled by Barney as he taught us how to tie our shoes. However, some of us can even remember listening to Beethoven. This idea has become even more popular today with more parents believing that they can enhance their child's intellect by playing classical music, but does this really have an effect on infants?
This question has been debated and tested in psychology for many years. In J S Jenkin' article," The Mozart Effect," the theory is called into question. In 1993, a study by Rauscher claimed that, "after listening to Mozart's sonata for two pianos (K448) for 10 minutes, normal subjects showed significantly better spatial reasoning skills than after periods of listening to relaxation instructions designed to lower blood pressure or silence." Also subjects IQ scores were on average 8 to 9 points higher than the other two conditions. However, these effects lasted no more than 15 minutes. This remarkable claim did not go untouched. Many researchers could not repeat the same results while others could. Overall, the conclusion of the Mozart effect is that subjects who listened to Mozart had a heightened spatial-temporal reasoning but only for ten minutes after listening to the music.
The idea that infants would then become more intelligent in the future by listening to Mozart seems unlikely since it appears that its effects do not withstand 15 minutes after the session. However, Baby Einstein, the Disney made shows and toys, don't ever suggest that they enhance the child's intellect but simply help the parents explore the world with their infants. Therefore, by using falsifiability, we see that infants will not grow intellectually solely on the musical experience, but they possibly learn through interactions with their parents (Occam's razor).

The Mozart Effect

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One topic that I found particularly interesting was the Mozart Effect. The Mozart Effect is the belief that listening to classical music can enhance one's intelligence. This theory was adopted by many parents who in turn had their children listen to classical music in order to improve their intelligence. This theory is important because it is a prime example of not fully trusting the media or any claim that seems too good to be true. The claim was not replicable, as many researchers had a hard time replicating the data.
Along with not being replicable, the claim was also not falsifiable. This is because believers of the Mozart Effect urged researchers to disregard the negative data so as not to be "misled" by people trying to discredit the effect. This would allow the claim to become unfalsifiable, as any negative findings were brushed off and seen as made up data on the validity of the effect. Also, there is a simpler solution to fit the research findings that would satisfy occam's razor. The simpler solution that was suggested was that listening to classical music heightens alertness which causes an increase in performance on mentally challenging tasks.
Although there are many principles of scientific thinking that discredit the Mozart Effect, many parents still use this concept to try and increase the intelligence of their child. Although my parents never used this effect on me, I have certainly heard about it on TV or from my relatives. The Mozart Effect does raise some interesting questions on whether or not outside stimuli, like listening to classical music, can have a long term effect on the brain. Any discoveries like this could change the way humans learn and develop.

The following video is an example of how some people believe listening to a certain type of music can improve a baby's mind.

Babies Emotional Styles

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Many people have a fear of holding a baby due to the fact that the baby could possibly begin to cry. When babies begin to cry when holding them or playing with them, often times the adult or person holding the baby believes they did something wrong to hurt the baby or that the baby does not like them, but this is not the case. Just a few days after birth, the baby shows a marked preference for their Mothers face compared to other peoples. They feel a better connection with their parents because they know their parents will provide the love and support they need.
Babies can be very sociable. A very sociable baby can be giggling on the floor with their parents and a stranger can join to play and they may scream in terror. This phenomenon is known as stranger anxiety. Stranger Anxiety often occurs at the age of eight or nine months and increases until 12 to 15 months. Stranger Anxiety also ranges due to the temperament of the baby. Babies range in their social and emotional styes which is known as temperament. The temperament is early appearing and is largely based on genetics.
There are cultural differences in temperament. Chinese Americans and European Americans babies that were four-days-old and were compared to how they reacted when a cloth was placed over their faces. Chinese Americans were considerably calmer than European American infants who struggled to remove the cloth. These experiments demonstrated that cultural differences of temperament are not genetic, as they could be a consequence of different environments that they are used to, though they do demonstrate the personality styles that emerge almost immediately after birth.
In conclusion, babies emotional styles vary immensely even directly after birth. Stranger anxiety and temperament are different between babies and a lot of it is based on the genetics they have inherited

How to sooth stranger anxiety

Corpous callosum - epilepsy

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Corpos callosum is a fascinating part of the brain. It is the main highway that connects the two brain hemispheres together. It contains 200-250 million contralateral axonal projections, making it the largest white matter structure in the central nervous system. Besides serving as connection for the two hemispeheres it is involved in eye movement. Information about eye muscles and the retinas is collected by this structure, and sent to the respective areas of the brain where it is processed (Source). The location of the corpos callosum is in the middle of the brain and is fairly well-protected. However, it is fragile tissue and if it suffers damage on its left side, it can distort left brain functions. The same analogy goes for the right side the corpos callosum. The real mystery comes in treatment of seizures caused by epilepsy. When drugs aren't strong enough to control them, a surgery is performed called corpos callosotomy. In this procedure, the corpos callosum is severed to stop the spread of seizures from hemisphere to hemisphere. After such a surgery, it takes 6-8 weeks for the person to get back into normal life with some negative effects. Because the two sides of the brain cannot communicate the person has trouble remembering things, finding words, lack of awareness of one side of the body, loss of coordination and others. It does seem a bit drastic to stop the connection between the two hemispheres but in this way a person can have lead a more normal life than the one haunted by sporadic seizures.


classical conditioning

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According to the reference in our text book, we can easily conclude that "learning" means the change in organism' s behavior or thought as a result of experience, and it is constituded by two major part - classical conditioning and operant conditioning . During this article , I would like to focus on classical contioning and make a analysis about it .

The so-called classical conditioning is a form of learning in which animals come to respond to previously neutral stimulus that had been paried with another stimulus that elicits an automatic response. During the process of classical conditioning, there are four main factors act to finish the whole works : unconditioned stimulus , unconditioned response, conditioned stimulus, conditioned response. Unconditioned stimulus refers to the stimulus that elicits an automatic response, which is the unconditioned response-- automatic response to a nonneutral stimulus that does not need to learn . And the conditioned stimulus means the initial neutral stimulus that comes to elicit a response due to assosiation with an uncondtioned stimulus , and the conditioned response states the response which previously assosiated with a nonneutral stimulus that is elicited by a neutral stimulus through conditioning. Well , I draw a picture to state the relationship among them so that we can understand better and clearlier.

In conclusion, the classical conditoning is a process of stimulus generation, which follows the law of continguity: behaivor change due to stimulus-stimulus continguity.

There are some links to give more evidences of classical conditioning.

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