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Five years

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Personally, as I read the textbook I think about every concept and apply it to a real world scenario that relates to me somehow. As i read more on each chapter I feel like I have a slightly better feeling about being as a whole. I can understand more of the little things that go on everyday like why i become so stressed at the smallest things and how to cope with that stress and how to reduce my reaction to daily stressors in the future all the way to why i end up buying food at mcdonalds when i had only intended on getting a drink.

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Over the course of 5 years i hope to remember most of what i can from this course, ill just sit back and hope it all becomes crystallized intelligence or perhaps as things go on from day to day basis's i will have situations that trigger recall of all these memories about psychology that i have. But if i have to choose one specific topic to remember i would go with calssical and opreant conditioning. This is a subject that sticks in my mind very well and no matter how much time passes im able to recall most if not all aspects of this concept. While reading about it this semester i remember everything about it from my highschool psychology class. Remembering this topic may not be especially important but its fun to relate it to day to day things, and to figure out why it is we do some of the things we do in our free time.

Sleep Paralysis

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Although not one of the most spectacular findings of psychology, I know that sleep paralysis one of the things I've learned in this class that I'll never forget. The main reason why I'll remember this concept is that it explains one of the supernatural beliefs in my culture.
Sleep paralysis goes along with REM sleep. It can occur when a person is aware(awake) while the body shuts down or when a person wakes up(becomes aware) before REM sleep ends. Most of the time the person cannot move because their body is still in REM sleep although more frequently their eyes can still move. One of the more interesting things about sleep paralysis is that it is sometimes accompanied hallucinations or a sense of danger from the lack of control over the body.
In my culture and like many other cultures, sleep paralysis is interpreted in many bizarre ways. Some cultures use many supernatural explanations such as abductions, demonic meetings or ghostly encounters. Well in my culture, it is interpreted by a ghostly encounter which the ghost sits on a person who is experiencing sleep paralysis. This ghost then will refuse to move until interrupted by another person or when the ghost decides to leave.
People educated in psychology would be skeptical to think there's any truth to this interpretation and I honestly think sleep paralysis is a more feasible explanation.

Brain: free will and stress

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Is every action you take predetermined, or are your choices truly your own? If our behavior results from chemical reactions in the brain, how much freedom do we have? Research suggests that even if free will is a lie, we may be better off believing in it. People behave more selfishly and dishonestly if they're led to believe that humans don't control their own actions. Check out this article from New Scientist (free registration required) to learn more about what scientists have to say about whether you make your own decisions.

It's no secret that meditation has many mental and physical health benefits. Now, researchers say meditation may even make people behave more rationally in their decision-making, USA Today reports. Scientists did brain imaging of people who practice Buddhist meditation and others who do not, and found that those who meditate used different parts of the brain when faced with an "unfair" choice.

Want to beat stress before it hits you? Scientists at Leicester University in the United Kingdom are working on a treatment that would do just that, the Medical News Today reports. A study published in the journal Nature focused on a protein called neuropsin, created by the amygdala, the brain's fear center. When the amygdala ramps up production of neuropsin, that leads to chemical reactions that result in feelings of anxiety. In mice, at least, researchers showed that blocking such proteins could reduce the stress response. This could lead to treatments for people with anxiety disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder one day, but bear in mind that these are only preliminary findings in animals. They used mice in mazes to measure stress reactions (and how often do you find yourself feeling stressed in a maze?).

Also intriguing for mental health treatments, but only in mice, MyHealthNewsDaily via MSNBC reports on a new study showing that antidepressant medications may help brain cells grow and survive after a trauma to the brain. The drugs may even result in enhanced memory and brain function, the study authors found.

Speaking of brain injuries, a high-calorie, high-protein diet may improve the outcome for some military service members with brain injuries due to battlefield explosions, we at CNN reported. The Institute of Medicine report released a report Wednesday calling for changes in nutrition - namely, providing more energy and protein to traumatic brain injury patients early after the injury.

Finally, in case you missed it, doctors are suggesting a new definition of Alzheimer's disease. They recommend having a "spectrum" of symptoms that range from early signs of dementia to severe impairments.

Critical Thinking

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I grew up with two scientists for parents. My father was a genetics professor at UW Madison, and my mother is a genetics counselor at the UW hospital. I was raised with critical thinking, and even though I do not have much interest in science I have realized the impact of critical thinking on my life.
Critical thinking guards individuals from falling prey to biases and natural human errors. Scott Lilenfield argues that critical thinking is unnatural to human beings. I find this compelling because I think of it this way: Humans are naturally selfish and self serving, for survival purposes. Critical thinking, in essence, is your mind playing devils advocate, and monitoring your thinking. This is the curse of human consciousness, the fact that we are aware of our consciousness. Anyway, a critical thinker is much more likely to make a good decision because they are able to look at questions from multiple perspectives and make a decision that is based off of reason and fact rather than emotion and gut response. This way of thinking does not come naturally, and you often cannot reason with people who do not think this way, because they can always find ways to defend their point of view due to personal biases. Instead, critical thinking must be taught from the bottom up so that people can see for themselves their flaws in thinking.
Critical thinking has been beneficial to my life in many ways because I feel like I can separate my decisions from my head and make a well informed choice. It is easy to fall into biases, but with practice we can all use reason to make the world a better place!

Understanding Introverts

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Introverts are regularly seen in a negative light, often because their way of behaving is misunderstood. About 25-30% of the population exhibits introverted qualities. These include territoriality, conservation of energies, concentration, solitude, and etc. Because most people are extroverted (they have opposite qualities of introverts), there are many misconceptions surrounding the behavior of introverts. The first one is that introverts are anti-social. In reality introverts just prefer engaging in solitary activities such as reading, daydreaming, because that is how they're wired. I'm sure there is a biological explanation to why they prefer solitary activity over social ones. The second misconception is that introverts like small talk. If you meet an introvert, there won't be much conversation between you two, so you feel the best way is to engage in small talk to break the ice. However, because introverts tend to be alone most of the time, they spend a lot of time thinking about, well anything, so engaging an introvert in a deep conversation is actually better. The third misconception is that introverts do not like socializing. Humans are social creatures, and everyone likes socializing at some point. Introverts just like to do it for shorter time periods because they need time to recharge, another misconception that introverts spend time alone because they want to. The last misconception is that introverts are socially aloof. The only place where this is true is in Hollywood movies, but in the real world, introverts are aware of conducting themselves properly in social gatherings, have manners (to the extent they're instilled by parents), and customs of their region. Understanding the false assumptions surrounding introverts can make extroverts more tolerant towards them.

What's Gonna Stick?

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There are so many things that I have learned throughout this class but of course there are a few that have had a more profound impact on me and thus will be remembered better. One thing that stuck out that I think I will remember in five years is the concept of classical conditioning. Classical conditioning was something I had known a little bit about previously but my knowledge on it was deepened by this course. I think I will now remember this concept for a long time because of this deeper knowledge and also the various applications of it that I learned.
One way my knowledge increased on this topic was in learning what higher order conditioning was in relation to classical conditioning. This really expanded my knowledge because it has great application, especially in the world of advertising. The textbook used the example of how just hearing the word coca cola on a hot day can make us thirsty. This example really helped clarify things for me and now I can think of millions of examples of higher order conditioning. This great application of it in my daily life is why I think I will remember it.

Five Years From Now: What I Will Keep in Mind

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In the course Psychology 1001, I will always be impacted by the way one's mind processes thoughts. All of the fallacies and theories that surround our perception of thoughts that turn to opinion have made me very curious since the first time that I read the Psychology 1001 textbook. I find it so very interesting that the mind can be so biased; it has effected me to acquire the knowledge of how my mind works. Now, every time I receive new information, I am constantly considering my own personal confirmation biases, or I instead find myself thinking of an alternative explanation for the cause and correlation of a set of data.

Not only do I question new information, but I am even more skeptical of pseudoscience now. Five years from now, I know that because of this course I will never be able to view an advertisement from a pseudo scientific source again without questioning it over and over again. I need tests, experiments, results, replication, and theories! I did not know very much about pseudoscience previous to taking this course, so that is definitely something that will remain in my head. I think that because we are faced with pseudoscience so often on a day-to-day basis, it is very important for one to learn how to analyze it. It is especially common in our society for biases and opinions to surround statements made by popular media. Those statements are almost always automatically interpreted as true simply because they are being stated by the public media. I have learned not to trust "facts" or "data" (or at least to question these things repeatedly before trusting them) just because the general population believes it to be true. I am very happy that I have taken this course; I feel much more prepared to face reality now!

Cognitive vs. Behavioral Spectrums of Psychology

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An important concept learned from this course is the difference in the approach of understanding what is psychology. The two most influential approaches that I personally believe influence our understanding today are the Cognitive/Psychoanalytic and Behavioral spectrums. Why? Because of the amount of influence both spectrums have distinguished. Particularly the large contributions made to the study of psychology have been of these two spectrums, which include B.F. Skinner, Watson, and Sigmund Freud. While these men have without a doubt contributed to the field either during or after their lifetime, they could not have been more divided on the approach. On one hand, many argue that behavior largely is the result of learning, and on the other side many point to innate thought processing out of our control. While this may sound like somewhat of a cliche, these two approaches can create astounding differences in the way of approaching psychology. The large divide remains to this day over large issues such as ethics of medical treatment, diagnosis, classification, and even recognition.

This concept of psychology will stay in my mind for the future, because I believe it asks a certain question to each individual. "How should I view certain psychological sciences?" Though obviously not pertaining to these exact words, it addresses something important to me. That is how I should think about people and behavior. To what extent should I label this behavior to that person? Should I be thinking this way?

These questions and thoughts will remain in my thinking as long as I will be conversing with people, friends, family. They point out the need in our society to be educated in the approach and science of today's psychology.

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Five years from now, the concept I will remember most from this class might simply be classical and operant conditioning. Classical and operant conditioning, whether we know it or not, tend to influence our daily lives by shaping the decisions we make, as we are conditioned both positively and negatively by the environment, as well as family and friends who we frequently interact with. Operant conditioning can be as simple as receiving joy from scoring high on an exam from studying lots, so I am more likely to study harder to receive high scores again. We see classical conditioning in advertising, when a product is paired with a stimulus which is elicits a favorable response, the theory being the product will at least partially elicit the response, resulting in the consumer purchasing it. From taking this class, I now have an explanation for this simple, yet incredibly common concept.

Conditioning is often referenced in pop culture as well! Although the idea of 'negative reinforcement' is not portrayed quite correctly in this video, it is a funny representation of operant conditioning: Big Bang Theory Example

Favorite Bathroom Stall

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Five years from now, I will remember the mere exposure effect. The mere exposure effect is the phenomenon in which repeated exposure to a stimulus makes us more likely to feel favorably towards it; this term has stuck with me ever since learning it because I can recall so many events where this has affected me, especially with moving away from home to an unfamiliar place. Many new college students can also relate to it. For example, most of us acquired our favorite places right away from things like the table to eat at, the path we walk, to even the shower we use. We do all this just because we have used it before, and it has worked. We are now accustomed to it, so we use this same place over and over again because why mess with a good thing? I believe that it applies to almost everyone who feels uncomfortable being in a new place and the easiest way to adjust is to think of things as our own.
I am sure all of us will experience another time again out of college in which we will choose another "favorite place," perhaps a favorite chair in the break room to a favorite stall in the bathroom. Either way, it is safe to say we all have one object, place, or path that we use over and over again because it is familiar to us.

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