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Physical Maturation

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The Power of Puberty

Our bodies usually start changing in our teenage years, changing in physical appearance and that is when hormones change we teenagers start puberty. Menarche is the beginning on menstruation which allows women to have children, usually starting around 13 years of age. According to Snopes.com, there is a record of the youngest mother, at age 5. Lina Medina, a 5 year old child gave birth on May 14th, 1939. This extraordinary story needs extraordinary evidence, and this definitely shows that sometimes there are rare things that are real even when they sound extremely unbelievable. The scientific principle, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence proves that some times there are cases that are not what is commonly known.

In this article, it also says that Lina had to have a cesarean section at 7 months and 21 days. Her body was not matured enough to keep a baby safe for the full 9 months, typically associated with the amount of time needed for the baby to mature fully in the mother's stomach. Even though her body was not able to keep the baby for the full time, she had already started puberty. She started her menarche when we was 3 years old. This just goes to show that there are extraordinary cases that people would not believe if there was not cases that showed that a 5 year old could have her puberty and have a baby.

Snopes article: Lina Medina

Hair and Fingernail Growth After Death

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

For this blog I will be evaluating a pseudoscience claim that hair and fingernails continue to grow after their death. I found this article on snopes.com and it is easy to evaluate without even having to use any of the principles of scientific thinking that it is false. However, if someone couldn't tell this just by reading the article they could use the principle of "Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence". This principle states that whenever we evaluate a psychological claim, we should ask ourselves whether this claim runs counter to many things we know already, and if it does, whether the evidence is as extraordinary as the claim. Obviously this claim is very extraordinary, considering that when a person dies so does everything in their body and they begin to decompose. However the article does claim that the body does appear to do strange things after death, but all of them are because of the decomposition process rather than extraordinary or supernatural forces (such as continuing growth of fingernails). It is actually an optical illusion that our hair and nails continue to grow after death because our flesh dries out, and pulls away from the nails and hair making it look like the nail or hair is longer than before, when actually it is just the skin around it that is shrinking. It is just a misconception in the way that we perceive it, like many pseudoscience claims. Although this claim wasn't to hard to decipher untrue, it is always helpful to know the scientific principles when faced with a skeptical claim.

Dealing With Stress

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http://www.helpguide.org/mental/quick_stress_relief.htm

Everyone has stress in their lives whether it's from school, work, children, family etc. Chapter 12 in our psychology book talks about some stress reduction and relaxation techniques. I also came across an article online that I attached that also talks about ways to relieve stress in your life. The textbook states that the methods of stress reduction and relief differ for every person and require us to make changes in our lives. In my opinion I think that the best way to relieve stress is to gain control of the situation or stressor and to always try to stay optimistic about whatever it may be. The article that I found online says that some popular and effective ways are to talk to someone about it, take a break from technology, use your senses; such as smelling something energizing like lemon, or savoring a favorite treat, and even using memories to calm you down. I think when it comes down to it, it's just whatever works for you individually. The article also states to make quick stress relief a habit. Which obviously takes lots and lots of practice, but the article laid out a series of steps to help one through the process. The steps are as follows: Start small, Identify and target, Test-drive sensory input, Make "have fun" your motto, and Talk about it. I know in my position being a college student, especially at a time like now when finals feel like they are taking over my life, this series of steps could definitely come in handy. So just remember when dealing with stressful situations, you can overcome it and nothing is impossible.

Social Facilitation vs. Social Disruption

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http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/003193849290409U

Something that I thought was worthy of discussion and further thinking was the differences of social facilitation vs. social disruption. By definition social facilitation means the mere presence of others can enhance our performance in certain situations. On the other hand, social disruption means a worsening of performance in the presence of others. The article that I have atatched talked about a test that some psychology students conducted. In this experiment, they wanted to see the effects that eating had on either social facilitation or disruption. The subjects ate either alone or with other people for five days straight. Interestingly enough, the subjects ate more when they were in the presence of others. Using scientific principles I can say that correlation doesn't equal causation, so there could have been other factors contributing to this finding, but this study shows a casual arrow between the number of people that you eat with and the amount that you consume. I would have thought that in the presence of others, people would demonstrate social disruption because they don't want to out eat their peers, and look like a pig. Maybe people eat more in groups because they get caught up in conversation and don't pay attention to how much they are consuming, or maybe it's because they see others eating more and feel they should continue eating with them to be polite. Whatever it is, my hypothesis clearly was proven wrong. I also thought that this finding could be beneficial to people on diets or trying to lose some weight, to try and refrain from eating with groups. With the obesity rates in our country, many people could find some benefit from this finding.

Writing #3

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


More help for posting correctly

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

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

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

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

Generic Topics for Writing Assignment #1

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For some basic topics to get you up and going, consider one of these:

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/khbriggs/myblogforpsy1001/2011/09/writing-assignment-1-generic-topics.html

This is from Kate's blog for all of Psy 1001, so it would probably be an interesting jumping off point/reference materiel resource. Feel free to check out her posts on prosopagnosia, visual illusions, and also tips on how to post images and videos along with your writing.

Blog Assignment Requirements/Recommendations

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http://blog.lib.umn.edu/wlas0006/1001/2011/09/more-about-your-blog-assignments.html

Check out these great tips from the other sections blogs requirements!

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