April 2012 Archives

Parenting Styles


The psychology topic that I will remember most later in life is parenting styles and punishment. When you walk through a store, you may come across children crying and screaming over a toy or candy bar; some parents yell at their kids, some spank, some give in, and some ignore them. There has been long discussion and debates on what type of parenting style is best in the upbringing of a child. There are four parenting styles based on Baumrind's observations: permissive, authoritarian, authoritative, and uninvolved. Looking back on my childhood, I feel that my parents exceled at authoritative style. They gave me good strict guidelines, however let me explore and support me throughout my life. I feel that no two families could parent in the exact same way. The four parenting styles are just a very broad illustration of what the parenting styles could look like. Even though authoritative parenting style is said to be the best, I do not believe that is true for every child. Each child and family comes with their own circumstances, and styles may work differently with some children. Children learn and grow in their own way and parents should react to them specifically. The book describes how some authors refer to parenting styles as "too hard", "too soft", and "just right". As a parent, how will you know what is "just right"? Parenting-styles-diagram.jpg

Finally an explanation!


One night last school year, I woke up to humming noises and I couldn't move my body. But the scariest part was that it felt as if there was some type of thing that was hovering over my body and slowly getting closer and closer to me. Ever since then I have been a little freaked out and I never quite understood what had happened that night. Maybe it was a dream? Maybe it was aliens? (joking) Well, finally I have an answer. I had experienced sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is a strange experience of being unable to move just after falling asleep or immediately upon awakening. I was shocked to learn that one-half to one-third of college students have had at least one episode of sleep paralysis. So what causes sleep paralysis? Sleep paralysis is caused by a disruption in the sleep cycle and is often associated with anxiety or even terror, feelings of vibrations, humming noises, and the eerie sense of menacing figures close to or on top of the immobile person. Sleep paralysis is only one of the many remarkable sleep-related experiences that we learned about in chapter 5 that are related to an altercation in our consciousness, which is our subjective experience of the world and ourselves. I was very relieved after reading this chapter to reassure myself that I wasn't crazy and that this event had really taken place. But, with most cases, Occam's Razor viewpoint was true, and a much simpler explanation is correct.sleep-paralysis-comic-style-724088.jpg

REM Rebound


After my last week or so, I experienced one of the greatest REM rebounds I ever have felt. REM rebound is when we haven't slept much for a few nights in a row. When we finally do get a good night's sleep, we often experience much more intense dreams, even nightmares, which probably reflects a powerful bounce-back of REM sleep. For the past week, I was going through "I week" which is initiation week for the fraternity I joined. I slept for about 15 hours in 5 days. Then, Sunday night, I finally was able to sleep for a solid 9-10 hours. I usually never remember my dreams, and if I do, they are usually very spotty and aren't all that interesting. However, when I woke up Monday morning, I was shocked! I had remembered many of my dreams from last night and I could recall them as vividly as they were the night before. It was amazing how tired I was Sunday night but then when I woke up Monday morning it had felt like I had a healthy sleep schedule all week! Going into "I week" I was wondering whether or not I would have REM rebound at the end of it, and surely enough I did! It was cool to see something that we learned in class apply to my life.6518_rem_cartoon.gif



The aspect of psychology that will stick with me for the rest of my life is consciousness. For me, this was the most interesting topic covered this semester. Sleep and dreaming seemed so mysterious before learning the information throughout the course. I was very fascinated by all the different sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, sleepwalking, and night terrors. My sister has had the occasional occurrence of sleepwalking and it was always assumed by my family and I that she must be acting out a dream she had. I was interested to find out that sleepwalking almost always occurs in a non-REM stage of sleeping. I also enjoyed learning about the more bizarre pieces of consciousness like hallucinations, deja vu, and out-of-body experiences. I have had an out-of-body experience multiple times and never really understood much about them, so I was very intrigued by the topic. I think another reason why consciousness was so interesting to me is because things like sleep and dreaming are experienced by everyone, yet they aren't things that a lot of people know much about. Consciousness is definitely a topic I will keep with me for a very long time and will continue to search for more knowledge about it.sleepwalking-1.gif

Nature vs. Nurture


What I will remember most from psychology is the nature vs. nurture debate, as it interests me. There is no question that both play a role in how a person turns out, but all of the different twin studies and separated sibling studies fascinate me. The reason it interests me is because I have grown up with mainly my step-father and mother, but still have very similar characteristics to my father (more so than my step-father). I will definitely try to keep up on any new findings on the subject, and wouldn't mind personally studying it. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_jpCWrCgczcI/TIluDKor3iI/AAAAAAAAACI/IW5mpo9p2_Y/s1600/Nature_versus_Nurture.jpg



Consciousness is the topic that I think I will still remember five years from now simply because I find it the most intriguing. The different stages of sleep and how they correspond with changes in brain waves and eye movements is very interesting to me. I often find myself thinking about lucid dreaming (and wishing I could do it) as well. Hypnosis is another area of consciousness that's interesting to me because I have seen live hypnotists and I always wonder if they are phonies or not. There are also many other compelling phenomena related to consciousness that I haven't mentioned here for lack of space.

Do vaccinations cause Autism?


Do vaccinations cause autism? This question has been posed by a number of individuals in the health sciences. It wasn't until recently that the final answer to this question was found. Before that point in time, numerous articles could be found that supported this claim as well as denied it. While searching the web for articles supporting both sides of this debate I found it was much easier to find credible sites for the negative. The first site I found was from Duke Medical. It provided a Dr.'s testimony that stated, "There is simply no evidence supporting this assertion". I also found a site from the CDC which stated, "the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism". Lastly, I found a Forbes article that indicated that the HuffPost Health still believes that vaccinations causes autism. Just based off of the URLs of these articles, I put more faith in the first two articles simply because they are a .org and a .gov while the later is a .com. Because these articles only provide claims, it is hard to find errors in the data analysis. Knowing this, if asked to, I would put my money on the first two sites.




Do vaccinations cause Autism?

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Do vaccinations cause autism? This question has been posed by a number of individuals in the health sciences. It wasn't until recently that the final answer to this question was found. Before that point in time, numerous articles could be found that supported this claim as well as denied it. While searching the web for articles supporting both sides of this debate I found it was much easier to find credible sites for the negative. The first site I found was from Duke Medical. It provided a Dr.'s testimony that stated, "There is simply no evidence supporting this assertion". I also found a site from the CDC which stated, "the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism". Lastly, I found a Forbes article that indicated that the HuffPost Health still believes that vaccinations causes autism. Just based off of the URLs of these articles, I put more faith in the first two articles simply because they are a .org and a .gov while the later is a .com. Because these articles only provide claims, it is hard to find errors in the data analysis. Knowing this, if asked to, I would put my money on the first two sites.

Catharsis - The Double-Edged Sword

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Even though catharsis was covered a little bit this semester, for some reason it really stuck out to me and it will be something I will remember for a long time. I think this topic really stuck out to me because the book says that contrary to what many people believe, expressing how we feel is not always necessarily helpful. Catharsis, or disclosing of painful feelings, can be very helpful when people use it to solve their problems, however, it can also be very destructive because it can reinforce people's feelings of helplessness, distress, anger, anxiety, or anguish. I find this to be very interesting because I have personally had other people tell me, such as good friends and family, to always express how I feel and let my emotions out. While sometimes that may be healthy, it can also be harmful. I know when I was dealing with my depression and anxiety, one of my therapists told me to "get it all out of my system." While expressing my emotions sometimes helped, I also felt like I would end up in a vicious circle of emotional chaos which didn't get my anywhere. If anything, I sometimes felt like it made me feel worse. It just took me some time to understand the feelings and emotions I was experiencing with my depression and anxiety and learning how to manage them the right way.

Bi-Polar vs Borderline Personality

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How many of you have a psycho girlfriend? Or know people who are happy one minute at a party but if someone looking better than them walks in they go crazy! Lately in my life I have found out how much of a psycho some females can be, specifically someone who once was my best friend. While reading Chapter 15 I came across the two concepts of Bi-Polar disorder and Borderline personality. These two concepts are what are going to stick with me the next five years. While coming across these two concepts today when reading I instantly thought of the conversation between me and this gal earlier in the week (long story short-she hates me because my boyfriend talks to her boyfriend and if I don't talk to her when he talks to him she goes psycho) (Although she may not be clinically diagnosed with these two disorders I believe she very well could be based off of other episodes) After reading the definition of a borderline personality I instantly thought of this figure and all of her past, this will definitely be a definition I will remember. I don't plan to do anything in my future with psychology but during my medical days to come when seeing/hearing about "crazy" patients I will think about the actual definitions of these two concepts and how they may not be as extreme as people think.

Don't Stress Over It! -Chap 12


What will I take away from psychology 1001, hmm probably everything! I took away how our mind works, how we interact, and how we perceive our world. The most interesting topic we covered I believe had to do with how humans cope with stress and how stress impacts our health. After reading this chapter, I thought I needed to meditate immediately to stop coronary heart disease from clogging up my arteries. I didn't realize the impact that stress has on our bodies and how people deal with stress in different ways. I am a good mix of optimism and pessimism. However, I didn't know that if you are pessimistic or have a Type A personality you are on average supposed to die sooner. When you are stressed out, your body naturally becomes more alert. You may sweat more, blood pressure increases, and you can't sleep as well. If you keep this up, you can put yourself at risk for the number 1 cause of death and disability in the United States. However, there are many different ways to cope with stress including many behavioral, emotional, decisional, cognitive, and informational controls. Sometimes we all need to step back and take a breather because a few years of our lives may depend on it. Besides who doesn't want to look at the glass half full!


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I think that the concept of psychology that I will remember the most in about five years is personality. I found this section really interesting because I learned a lot about myself and a lot about why I am the way I am with some things. I was really surprised about how much I had actually learned about myself. I was not expecting to gain that much insight into why I am how I am and why I do what I do. I was also very pleased to learn how to react when I encounter people who act differently from the way that I do. It was really helpful to get some information about different personalities and how to distinguish between them all. I was delightfully surprised when I was able to connect what I was learning with how all of my friends act.
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Nonverbal communication goes unrecognized


In my opinion, emotion and motivation are two important concepts in psychology that I will remember 5 or 10 years from now. I believe I will remember these concepts notably because they are two concepts that I will focus on in my graduate studies and possibly a profession later on in life. I plan to become an athletic head coach or at the very least work with anything pertaining to athletics. Sport psychology goes unnoticed often times when athletes and coaches evaluate their performances. This concept really delves into emotion and motivation displayed within an athlete. Furthermore, nonverbal cues are essential to performance in sport. They can show how well an athlete perceives their performance to be. If an athlete shows that they are frustrated through nonverbal cues such as angry facial expressions or helpless body language, their opponent could notice that and seize the opportunity to capitalize on their opponents' frustrations in an event or match. That is, if the opponent can the grasp the notion that many athletes perform poorly or try to do too much by themselves in an athletic competition, than they can capitalize on their opponents mistakes and know when it is coming. Nonverbal communication shapes our perspectives and our attitude towards others whether we believe it or not.

Nature vs. Nurture


The subject from Psych 1001 that I will probably remember the most 5 years from now would be the Nature vs. Nurture debate. I am a sophomore majoring in Genetics and Cell Development right now, and I think that this can, in a way, be applied to my future career. It shows that while genetics can have a huge influence on a person and their life choices, their environment also has an influential role. In the field of genetics, there has been lots of research lately that is working to identify more on gene expression and the many ways in which genes can be affected be external factors. For example, two people can have the same gene sequence that has been found to be highly correlated with occurrences of breast cancer, but only one of the women will get breast cancer. Geneticists often try to analyze a persons genetic material to identify what diseases they may be susceptible to. Analyzing the persons environment along with their genetic sequence will help to narrow in on disease that the person is more likely to get. I think that one day I might be involved in genetic research or genetic counseling, and I can reflect back upon my time in Psych 1001 to remember what I learned about how both genetics and the environment affect behavior.



Maybe because it was the most recent chapter I read, but I found the chapter on stress to be interesting, and how people handle stress differently. This is a thing that will definitely be relevant in my life five years from now and beyond that. Though I consider my life to be pretty stressful right now, in five years from now as I will be dealing with different stresses--that of being on my own and paying bills and hopefully having a good job, and undergoing stressful events in my life such as a marriage and starting a family. It's interesting to see how two people can react completely differently to different situations, and how to one it can be a major deal, but for the other it's no problem. I think my life right now is pretty stressful since I am in school and working part-time, and to some people this would be too much to handle and for others it would be fine. When looking at the Social Readjustment Rating scale, I found that few of the events have happened to me, but will surely occur in the next five years and the rest of my life to come.

Personality= A Sandwich


What are all of the psychological "forces" working together to determine personality? Of these forces, which are we able to control and which are we not? I have always been curious about personality as a psychological concept, so I was highly engaged during my reading of chapter 14 in the textbook. More specifically, I was particularly interested in reading about humanistic models of personality, also known as the "third force". Many psychologists who subscribe to the humanistic study of personality psychology believe that the core motive in personality is something called "self-actualization", or the drive to develop our innate potential to the fullest possible extent. (p. 559)

Throughout my life, I have often questioned how much of my behavior and personality is merely reflective of "human nature" and how much of it is actually constructive. The section on humanistic models in chapter 14, however, helped me to understand the idea that human nature itself may be constructive. What I have come to realize about my own personality is this: my personality is kind of like a sandwich. Try to withhold all of the eye rolling, chuckling, and scoffs for a minute and just think of about it. Following Rogers's Model of Personality (1947), which I believe to be true, each aspect of personality makes up a component of a sandwich. The first component, organism, is like the bread of a sandwich. It serves a set purpose no matter what, and the taste and structure of the bread itself cannot be manipulated. However, different ingredients with varying tastes can be placed in between brides slices of a sandwich. Our "self" or self concept, otherwise known as the second component of Rogers's model, is constantly evolving or even changing all together as time goes on. The same goes for how we choose to eat, arrange, and serve the sandwich (i.e. how we cut it, what we serve it on, where we eat it, etc.), which is reflective of the third component of personality--conditions of worth. (p. 559)

Although it may seem silly or strange, viewing this humanistic model of personality that I believe in as a sandwich is something I will remember for the rest of my life, especially if I am actually eating a sandwich.

Skeptical yet Reasonable


Although I have learned a tremendous amount this semester about Psychology, the concept that I will remember most 5 years from now is Pseudoscience. Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, even though it does not hold up in the scientific method. This is a very broad take away point from the class, but I have already seen myself thinking more like a scientist when I hear or see advertisements that seem to lack somewhere in the scientific method. I think I will remember the most about pseudoscience 5 years from now because pseudoscience is so common that most people don't recognize it as being invalid. By taking note of the various warning signs such as exaggerated claims, overreliance on anecdotes and talk of "proof" instead of "evidence" has helped me make choices when I'm buying products. One good example of this is when I was watching TV the other day and 5 or 6 weight loss commercials came on in a row. Every single one of these ads was basically the same, claiming that their pill or program was "scientifically proven" to make you lose weight.phd_in_pseudoscience_scientists_248695.jpg

Toddlers & Tiaras & Eating Disorders ? (MAKE-UP #3)



Toddlers & Tiaras is an American reality television show that debuted on TLC in 2009. As controversial as it is, this show follows child beauty pageant participants and their families as the children prepare for their pageant shows. With its 5th season airing January 2012, as a society we must ask ourselves, what is this show teaching our girls? "Many experts agree that participation in activities that focus on physical appearance at an early age can influence teen and/or adult self-esteem, body image and self-worth. Issues with self-identity after a child "retires" from the pageant scene in her teens are not uncommon (Cartwright). To add to a young girl's troubles, some celebrities in the media also portray an unrealistic image of beauty, which can also fuel eating disorders for young girls and a small percentage of boys.

This article, by Dr. Cartwright gives a scientific explanation for the negative consequences of beauty pageants.

Why is there so much controversy around Toddlers & Tiara's? Well, for one, the girls wear skimpy costumes, also the pushy mom's on the show seem to only care about 'winning'. This causes the girls to have temper tantrums. Some might say this all makes for good television, but I think this show is a portrayal of where our society is heading. Girls as young as five begin dieting and worrying about gaining weight. This behavior and mind set will only lead to the development of eating disorders as they get older.

What can be done? Mother's really are the key player in teaching their daughters about healthy eating and exercise. What do you think?

What people can really do


A question I've always thought about in relation to Psychology is why people, when under certain circumstances, do the things they do, such in the case of the Stanford Prison Experiment and the Milgram experiment. Five years from now will I be put in a similar situation and be asked to perform a task I think is wrong in the presence of an authority figure? Probably. Am I going to be able to do what I think I would do and just quit, in the sense it's a similar Milgram experience, or am I going to submit and follow through until the end? You would think that you'll do the right thing but studies show that people still haven't changed. In the Dan Brown video we watched people still thought they were shocking another person and followed through to deadly voltage. There was one person who stopped after so many shocks and another woman who knew that she was in a recreation of the Milgram experiment and still shocked the other person. Why did she continue to shock the person? If she was unaware of the situation would she have shocked the person to a lethal level? A person in a lab coat was all it took for the shock administers to keep on shocking the other person. It's easy to say we wouldn't do what they did but in honesty would we? Milgram_experiment_130810.jpg


I have always been interested in how stereotypes form and why some groups are discriminated against, while others are not. That is why this semester in Psychology 1001, briefly learning about discrimination and the Jane Elliot blue eyes-brown eyes study is a topic I think will remain with me for many years to come. I had heard about this study when I was in high school, and it still amazes me the success of the exercise on not just the third graders, but also on adults from all around the world that participated. I have so much respect for Jane Elliot, because she saw a problem in our society, racism and negative stereotypes against blacks and other groups and decided it was far easier to make her point to young children than to adults, because adults can be set in their ways. So, Jane Elliot, the Iowa schoolteacher, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, split her class up into blue-eyed students (the privileged, superior group) and the brown-eyed students. Blue-eyed students had a longer recess, were praised by Jane, and sat in the front of the class; while the brown-eyed students wore brown collars around their necks, sat in the back of the class, were admonished by Jane, drank from a different water fountain than their blue-eyed classmates and basically could not interact with the blue-eyed students. Jane found that in almost 15 minutes the changes in the brow-eyed student's personalities was evident. They were quieter, while the blue-eyed students became bossy, loud, and acted superior to the brown-eyed students (Lilienfeld 530).

I think this study has ultimately taught me how dangerous discrimination can be and, yet how we, as individuals can overcome it, just as long as we treat people how we want to be treated!

Piaget's Stages of Development

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We all know that as we age we go through many monumental changes. Not only do we physically change, we also mentally change and this was exemplified by Piaget's Stages of Development. Out of all of the concepts that we have learned throughout Psychology, this concept will remain the most distinct because of its importance in our life. Piaget's stages outline the progression from simple thinking as we are very young, to gradually higher levels of thinking as we progress in age. Concepts such as object permanence, deferred imitation and thinking of the "here and now" progress and become applicable to every day life as we grow up. The reason why these concepts are going to stick with me rather than any other concepts we learned in psychology is because it applys to our full lifetime and characteristics as we age and through our gradual lifetime rather than a fixed point or certain period in our life.

Biological Psych

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Looking back at this year and everything we have learned throughout psychology, it will be tough to remember every single bit of information. We have just learned way to much information to have it all stored up for the rest of our lives. When I personally look back at what subjects were the most impactful for me this year, and what I will remember 5 years from now, one of these subjects has to be biological psychology. Some would say that this chapter of psychology would not have been that impactful because it didn't get into what psychology was all about, but just taught us what each body part does. I on the other hand love the fact that this chapter taught us about what each body part does for us, because I love to learn all about how the body works. There were many secondary subjects in this chapter that also were very important to me. One of them was how each section of the brain works and what they do. I thought this was really special because I had the perception that the brain just worked as one big section instead of four minor lobes. All in all, this year has had a lot of information that I think will be beneficial in the future, but biological psychology will always be one that I remember.

Zach Wirtanen

Identity/Psyche/Character = PERSONality!

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In high school and college I have always had different "circles" of friends; I have groups of friends from classes, sports, student groups, church, etc. Therefore, I have come across some pretty interesting personalities throughout my 19 years on Earth. Personality has always fascinated me. Why are some people obnoxious? Why do some people always have drama in their lives? Why are some people introverted? After learning about personality in psychology 1001, I know that I will remember some of the concepts I learned because I think personalities are fascinating. I found the Big Five characteristics of personality very interesting because often times I identity certain personality traits that people have in common, but I could never define these characteristics. Now, I can identify the Big Five personality traits that some people share. Also, I learned that I enjoy learning about personality through an idiographic approach because I like to discover the details that make a person unique. Similar to our finger print, everyone on Earth has a certain personality that is exclusive to their identity. What a glorious idea to think about- no one else on Earth shares your personality! character-cartoon.gif

The Value of Critical Thinking


In five years, I really do believe there will many things I take with me from Psych. Even now, I find myself explaining things in psychological terms or thinking about concepts more scientifically. I evaluate how to minimize perceived stress in my life, contemplate neurotransmission, and wonder about the validity of my own dream analyses. However, in all the things I've learned, I believe I will never forget about the strategies we learned about for determining the legitimacy of a claim. Basically, I don't feel as though I'll fall prey to pseudoscience ever again, though I know it's not as easy as that.
Whenever I see any products that promise quickly growing or thicker hair, I have learned to ignore that pulse of hope that makes me want to drop obnoxious amounts of cash on it just because some lady reported success. As tempting as it is to believe anecdotes and believe that the correlations they draw mean causation, you're probably only getting fooled. I also know to look for connectivity to other research, peer review, self-correction and talk of "evidence" instead of proof. The more that psychobabble is used in place of actual scientific the explanation, the more the product its advertising is likely to be a sham. I feel as though I've really discovered the importance of critical thinking during this class.


"Say Yes" to the 3 major principles?

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If you have ever seen an episode of "Say Yes" to the Dress, you know that before the future bride gets to try on any dresses she first tells the viewers a little bit about their fiancé and how they meet. It doesn't take long before one can spot a pattern between all of the brides. In case you can spot it, let me spell it out for you. 1) Proximity: Each bride seems to have met their fiancé in a social setting that is common for both. This effect of mere exposure amplifies attraction. 2) Similarity: The couples almost always share very similar values, likes, physical attractions, and educational levels. 3) Reciprocity: The clear give and take between the individuals in the relationship is a large factor in what brought them into their engagement. If both individuals didn't want to be apart of the relationship it is easy to understand that their relationship simply wouldn't exist. This give in take may also be why these couples are entering the "honeymoon" phase of their relationship. They are so enthralled with each other each is perfect in the eyes of the other. This type of positive feedback continues to build during their engagement and for a relatively short time period after the marriage. Watch the attached video to see if you can spot these trends.

Crazy Beautiful Life


One concept I have learned during this semester in phycology is the big five model of personality and this model is one that I think I will remember five years from now. This is most likely because I found it to be the most identifiable. Personality is one of the factors that make individuals unique from each other. It helps form who we are, how we view the world, what we like, what we don't like, and so much more. At one point in my life I thought that if I were able to change my personality I would be able to become more appealing to others, so I tried to change my actions, emotions, even how I dressed. Needless to say, I wasn't able to keep this act up very long. I found myself reverting back to my old ways and I realized that I was happier this way. I also came to realize that if someone didn't like me for whom I was, it didn't really matter. Not everyone I interact with has to like me. This difference between individuals provides us with a unique and diverse world. Everyone has his or her place in this universe and that makes life beautiful.


Eugenics Movement

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Intelligence testing was the most memorable concept for me, specifically the Eugenics Movement in the United States. It was shocking to see that this movement was supported, and even facilitated by the United States government. This was an attempt to improve our "genetic stock". Two possible approaches; encourage those with good genes to reproduce or discourage those with bad genes. The US chose to do the latter. Low IQ individuals were told they were getting their appendix removed and instead were sterilized.
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This was eye-opening material, even though it was only a small part of our textbook. Throughout schooling we learn about the triumphs of the U.S.A.; defeating the Nazis (who had a eugenics movement also), out competing the Russians, ending slavery, etc. Rarely did we hear about defeats/scandals; the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam War. Even rarer is learning about evil actions by our government on its own citizens. A shocking detail was the state of Virginia being the last to repeal the law allowing for these sterilizations...in 1974. That is very recent history; Not recent enough? Then click here to read an article that says a form of the eugenics movement may be occurring today via abortions.

Helpful study hints: memory concepts.

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The concept in psychology that I believe I will most likely remember five years from now is the helpful study hints that have been derived from memory research, which include the following: distributed versus massed study, testing effect, elaborative rehearsal, levels of processing, and mnemonic devices. I believe that I will most likely remember these memory concepts because I have already applied them to my study techniques this semester, and I imagine that I will continue to use them throughout the rest of my college career. For example, I have developed a habit of beginning to work on my study guides for the psychology midterms a week or even two weeks in advance. This demonstrates how I have acquired the concept of distributed versus massed study, which is used to explain how reviewing your notes and textbook in increments rather than cramming can be beneficial in acquiring all of the knowledge necessary to perform well on tests.
Another example of how I have adopted these memory concepts is through the use of the testing effect, which is defined as testing yourself frequently on the material you've read. Prior to reading about these helpful study hints, I had always underestimated the importance of taking practice tests in the majority of my classes. However, I have found that taking the practice tests repeatedly can be very beneficial in understanding how the material can be incorporated into the test questions. I think that if I continue to practice these memory concepts, they will eventually become ingrained into my mind and become second nature.


Birth Order doesn't mean anything towards personality


There is a theory in psychology books concerning birth order that shows first borns are wired to achieve, middle borns seek diplomacy, and later borns are risk takers. Based on observation of my personality and my sibling's personalities, I feel these assumptions are not true. Even though these assumptions have no substantial correlation with birth order and personality, many popular books suggest these findings according to our textbook. My sister, who is the oldest sibling of us three, is quiet and not incredibly outgoing. However, she is not independent too often and enjoys not being alone. The biggest personality problem I see with her is that she can never make important decisions. She tends to let others make decisions instead amongst groups even if they let her decide for fear of making a mistake. I feel this hinders her ability to achieve and decreased her chance of graduating college in four years because she could not decide for a few years what she wanted to with her life. With myself being a middle child, I feel I do have a good sense of diplomacy because I am an easy-going, type B personality. However, I do not see diplomacy as a "character label" for myself and I have other qualities that define me better than diplomacy. My younger brother is the youngest child of our family and he is definitely not a risk-taker. He is still maturing and trying to become independent as well. I think independence correlates with risk taking to a certain degree.

Through the Eyes of Katniss Everdeen


Having recently read The Hunger Games in an admittedly obsessive fury, I can see how the successful portrayal of a complex character by an author can truly draw the reader into their world. This novel was written from the first person perspective of Katniss Everdeen, so the portrait painted of her personality was through her own eyes, relying on the reader's interpretation to put a name to her traits. If examining her character through the Big Five theory of personality, one of the first things one could note is her low level of agreeableness. Throughout the novels, she legitimately makes her own rules to thwart the plots of any and all authority figures to accomplish what she wants or deems morally right. She also was low on extroversion, preferring only to converse with those she knew and loved. Even then she didn't completely open up and tell them what she was truly thinking or feeling. The reader begins to sense a relatively high amount of openness to experience in Katniss' personality when she volunteers as tribute in place of her sister and is whisked away to the capitol. She faces all the knowledge, culture and challenges she can with an open and ready mind, even though her heart is still with her home in district 12.
Katniss had relatively high levels of neuroticism to begin with, but as she continued through the games it essentially skyrocketed as an adaption when the odds didn't seem to be in her favor. Another personality trait that strengthened over the course of the games was Katniss' somewhat high conscientiousness. Her conscientiousness mostly applied when she was breaking the rules to hunt, early on. She had to be neat, prepared and careful to not draw negative attention toward her illegal activities. As she had to hide her presence for the sake of survival and remember the qualities of different berries to avoid poison, her conscientiousness increased for the sake of survival.


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (MAKE-UP #2)



In Western culture the stereotypical standard of beauty for a long time has been the blond hair, blue eyes barbie doll look-alike. In America today, I don't think this is the ONLY image of beauty anymore, as we are seeing more and more celebrities of diverse ethnicities being labeled as beautiful my mainstream media and the public (ie. Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopaz, Thandie Newton, Sofia Vergara, and Aishwarya Rai among many others).

I decided to pick two countries and write about their standards of beauty. My conclusions are not reflective of the entire country or each individual from that country for that matter, but are only large generalizations. The diversity of two regions in one country can be seen in China, for example, depending on where you are, people in Northern China are usually bigger and taller but some of the people in the eastern coastal province, of Zhejiang are a bit smaller framed. These differences can translate to different ideas of beauty. Nevertheless, many Chinese men value thinness in women, lighter skin is preferred (for both males and females as it is a symbol of wealth), and bigger eyes. In Latin America the ideal standard of beauty is curves and a voluptuous body, olive skin, and dark hair. Celebrities who fit this beauty ideal are Salma Hayek, Shakira or Jennifer Lopaz.

The textbook summarizes that average faces are preferred, on average over exotic or different looking features. This holds true in many different countries. From this conclusion, yes, I would agree that on average people value symmetrical faces in every culture, a good complexion, an average body type (depending on what country we're talking about) among other things.

At the end of the day, I see beauty in all races, and all sizes. I see beauty in kindness, tolerance, and generosity. We must all remember that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

The unfair treatment of prisoners.


Something that was very upsetting to read about in Chapter 13 was the concept of deindividuation, and how this can be observed in the Stanford Prison Study and the real-world example of Abu Ghraib. Deindividuation is defined as the tendency of people to engage in atypical behavior when stripped of their usual identities, and according to the textbook it is a very common behavior of prison guards.
In the Stanford Prison Study, Philip Zimbardo and colleagues performed an experiment in which they assigned 12 males to the role of prisoner and 12 males to the role of guard. After only six days, the men assigned to the role of guard had exhibited aggressive and violent behavior toward the prisoners, who had also conformed to their respective role. In the real-world example of Abu Ghraib, U.S. soldiers were reported placing bags over Iraqi prisoners' heads, arranging them in human pyramids for their amusement, and more. According to Zimbardo, however, the fiasco was a product of situational forces.
Another real-world example, in which foreign war prisoners were treated poorly by U.S. soldiers, occurred under the Bush administration in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A few of the tactics used by these soldiers included sleep deprivation, prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, and more. Although what happened in Guantanamo Bay is similar to the events that occurred at Abu Ghraib, I had to wonder whether this could have been caused by situational forces, or if the soldiers took part in these kinds of actions as an act of "revenge" for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.


Hockey and Riots


Last June, the Vancouver Canucks lost in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals at home to the Boston Bruins. The fans left, dejected and disappointed after failing to claim Lord Stanley's cup at a time all believed it would be done. Some left for the bars, many left for home. However, many were not prepared to accept the failure and stuck around downtown Vancouver to voice their disappointment. 2 hours after the game, mass hysteria was thriving. Cars on fire, buildings with busted windows, injured people everywhere (4 stabbed), and a couple kissing on the ground. All for a hockey championship that slipped through the grasp of a proud hockey town. Mass hysteria- the spontaneous manifestation of the same hysterical actions of more than one person. This fits that criteria. The people of Vancouver banded together to create one of the many emotions that come with the sport of hockey: passion. So passionate, in fact, that together they created over 4.2 million dollars worth of damage. "All for a game," one might shockingly say. But to hysterical fans, it was more than a game, and their actions showed it. Society can wrap itself in hysteria, like rising gas prices or the potential of nuclear warfare. Mass hysteria is like a domino, a few people get the ball rolling and a mass of people join in, hiding their individual actions amongst the group. What happened that night in Vancouver is not a solitary incident in sports, not even in hockey. In fact, our own university participated when we won the NCAA titles in hockey in 2002 and 2003, however, that was out of victory. Strange how the same mass hysteria can be used to exemplify joy, exuberance, and happiness, while also being capable of anger, disappointment, and downright passion.

Mean girls.


Something that really caught my attention from Chapter 13 was the difference in aggressiveness between men and women. According to the textbook, males have a higher level of physical aggressiveness than do females. The reasons behind this higher level of physical aggressiveness are controversial, however some researchers have identified this difference with higher levels of the hormone testosterone in males. It has also been found that females tend to have higher levels of relational aggressiveness than do males. Relational aggression, which is defined as a form of indirect aggression marked by spreading rumors, gossiping, social exclusion, and nonverbal putdowns for the purposes of interpersonal manipulation, is undoubtedly prominent in today's societies, especially among high school- and college-aged girls.
One example in which we can observe relational aggression among girls is in the movie Mean Girls. In the movie, Cady Heron, a home-schooled, high school-aged girl, experiences firsthand the components of relational aggression, including rumors, gossiping, and nonverbal putdowns. However, something that I found especially interesting was that these behaviors in the movie were compared with the physical aggressiveness of the animals that Cady was raised alongside of in Africa. I think that this demonstrates that relational aggression can be just as harmful as physical aggression that is often displayed by males. Relational aggression is hurtful and can often have long-term effects, which is why both women and men should avoid inflicting this kind of harm on other individuals.


IQ in Relations to Common Sense

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The IQ test is a very good estimate of ones intellectual intelligence but what about common sense? We all know that friend or someone who is intellectually smart, but lacks that common sense. Street smarts or common sense can be defined as an action that relies on differing the good from the bad. Does intellectual intelligence have any correlation with common sense? I believe it does because to make a "smart" or right choice on a decision requires some sort of intelligence. But to what degree does intelligence play a role?

One idea that has been presented is which intelligent people often share similar characteristics that often classify them as "intelligent". People with higher IQ's are often analytical of situations and ideas and often analyze something too much that hinders smart choices in life. Being overly analytical of things may cause people to perceive you as less intelligent when it comes to common sense because the thing that you are being analytical about may be very simple. Also, being overly analytical to a situation can result in inappropriate behaviors and actions.

Here is a website that dives deeper into this concept:


The Need to Belong

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When tackling the topic of social psychology there are many different topics you can choose to talk about. The one that I find the most interesting is the fact that humans have the feeling of needing to belong. From the need-to-belong-theory by Baumeister and Leary, they showed that all humans have a biologically based need for interpersonal connections. Since the day we were born, all humans have a drive deep inside them to keep us in groups of people, and not alone. There are many different situations in life that can prove this fact. One situation is just when kids are growing up and getting through school. All kids try to find a group of friends as they are growing up that will make them feel like they belong. When you feel like you belong, you are able to live your life and do the daily tasks that you need to do to your best ability. That is one of the main reasons why kids need to find a group of friends, and feel like they officially belong. If a kid fails to fully find a group of close friends and feel like he or she belongs, then they can struggle to achieve tasks that every child needs to accomplish. That is why it is very essential for every student to find a close group of friends, and feel like they belong. belonging1.jpg

Zach Wirtanen

Do Horoscopes affect everyday life?


One thing I found particularly interesting in Chapter 14 was the P.T. Barnum Affect. Astrology is a great example of the P.T. Barnum Effect, which is the tendency of people to accept high base descriptions. About a week ago, a friend of mine had tweeted how "freaky" it was that her horoscope always seemed to fit her perfectly. This was a golden opportunity to show off what I had been learning in psychology so when I was with her, I changed her Astrology sign from Aquarius to Pisces. A few days later I told her that she probably exaggerates how well her horoscope really fits her, so she proceeded to list off examples from the past few days of things that resembled her horoscope really quite well! Once I told her I changed it and she saw for herself that any horoscope can be applied to someone's day, she was not too happy with me for "ruining her horoscope". After thinking about horoscopes and this situation, I was wondering whether or not people spend their day subconsciously trying to fit the horoscope without even realizing it. For example, if a horoscope says that something unexpected will happen today if you take a chance, it would be interesting to see whether or not that person is more outgoing and open to new things after reading it.


The Need To Belong Theory

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Roy Baumeister and Maek Leary's need-to-belong theory suggested that human experience has a biologically based need to form and maintain interpersonal connections and group members. Through that theory, a research was experimented to see how well individuals do by themselves; by being alone. Researcher Stanley Schacter did a study by separating five male volunteers to live in separate rooms for an extended amount of time. While performing the process of this experiment, the first who could not withstand it any longer, bailed out only after 20 minutes. Three of those man lasted up to two days. The last male was able to endure the loneliness for eight days. He reported feeling very anxious. Through this experiment, researchers suggested that inmates in solitary confinement experience more psychological symptoms, mood and anxiety problems.

What is your horoscope reading?


Something that I found especially interesting from Chapter 14 was the concept of the P.T. Barnum effect, which is defined as the tendency of people to accept high base rate descriptions (descriptions that apply to almost everyone) as accurate. The P.T. Barnum effect demonstrates that personal validation is a flawed method of evaluating a test's validity. Astrological horoscopes, palmistry, and crystal ball, tea leaf, and tarot card readings all fall victim to the P.T. Barnum effect. There is no evidence for the validity of any of these methods, and yet they are still extremely popular for predicting one's emotions, future, etc.
I had never fully trusted the validity of horoscope readings prior to reading this chapter, however they have always been incredibly popular with my friends throughout high school and college. For this post, I decided to look into my horoscope reading, along with the readings of the other astrological signs to see if they could fit me in any kind of way. My reading for today stated that today marks the beginning of a new phase for my life, and that my outlook is improving. Although this did seem like an accurate reading for myself, I had no doubt that it would be accurate for many others as well. I also found that the readings for the other eleven astrological signs fit me to a T, which confirms the P.T. Barnum effect. From this, we can conclude that the P.T. Barnum effect is present in horoscope readings and other similar methods, but this does not mean that we cannot still have fun with these kinds of tests!



IAT TEST: Money, money, money!

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"The implicit Association Test (IAT) is the most widely researched measure of unconscious prejudice" (Lilienfeld 532). There are many topics the IAT tests measures, from favorite sports teams to different political issues. The IAT captures 'the unconscious associations between concepts' by measuring how quickly a person can categorize words into their assorted groupings. The test often reveals associations that are different from individuals conscious beliefs. This is why IAT tests are deemed so useful and valid by some proponents in the textbook: Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding.

I completed one of the three "Money IATs" measuring good and bad associations with money vs. furniture. The IAT measured how I unconsciously felt towards money. For example in the test I took, even people who consciously associate money with negative words may nevertheless show an unconscious association of money with good words.

My results:

1.You tend not to find money tempting.
2.You are seldom jealous of the financial success of others.
3.To some extent you believe the world would be a better place if wealth were distributed more equally, but might be hesitant carelessly impose redistribution strategies
4.You believe that money occasionally exercises a corruptive influence upon people.

Therefore, my data suggests that I have little to no automatic preference between furniture and money! I completely agree with my results, I was slightly surprised at how well it captured my perspective on money. After taking the IAT test, I now do believe IAT tests are accurate and do measure our unconscious level of thinking on certain topics! Did anyone else take the IAT test? If yes, what is your opinion on it?

Here is the link to take an IAT Test.

I'm Gay and I'm Proud of It!


High school was an awesome time! I was captain of the soccer team, I played on a basketball team that went to state, I was in choir and band, I was a part of the student council and the National Honors Society, and I managed to maintain a pretty good GPA. However, there was one part of my life that I was not satisfied with; my sexual orientation. During my seventh grade year I started to realize that I had feelings for other guys. All throughout my junior and high school years, my sister was the only person that knew I was gay because I was too afraid to tell anyone else. I tried so hard "not to be gay" and tried to "pray the gay away," yet that was just hopeful wishing more than anything else. I even tried getting into a relationship with another girl, but broke it off right away because it just didn't feel right to me. As much as I tried to fight those feelings away, I just knew that I was not going to change my sexual orientation. However, during college I have done a lot more research and have become a lot more accepting of who I am as a person. Since then, I have told my family and friends and have fortunately received a lot of support from them!

This brings me to my argument about whether a person can change their sexual orientation. There have been many studies conducted concerning this issue and there is support for both sides, so I feel like bringing in evidence would contribute little to this argument. If I found evidence that supported the fact that someone can not change their sexual orientation, I'm sure someone could just as easily find evidence that people can change their sexual orientation. All I know is that through my own experience I believe that people can not change their sexual orientation. However, I can not speak for everyone; maybe some people are able to change their sexual orientation which is totally fine. However, one piece of information I found to be very interesting is that far more homosexuals become heterosexual than the other way around. Is this because homosexuals are more able to change their sexual orientation than heterosexuals or is it because more homosexuals are being pressured by others to change that part of their life even if they can't? Either way, I don't believe its right for people to force others to change who they are as individuals! In the end, I don't really care if people are able to change their sexual orientation or not, but I do care that people are being true to who they are as individuals and not feeling pressured by others to be one way or another. People just need to figure out who they are for themselves.


Do Weight Loss Products Really Work?


As obesity in America is on the rise, so are advertisements for weight loss. Millions of weight loss advertisements can be heard on the radio, seen in magazines, on billboards, and on television. With all the different weight loss plans/products, they all promises great results, fast. But do any of these products actually work? One of the most popular diet pills is Hydroxycut. Below is a picture of one of their advertisements that was posted in a magazine. The first thing a consumer would see is the bold statement at the top stating how much weight was lost due to Hydroxycut. If you look closely, there is a small statement under the picture that reads "Brittany used Hydroxycut with diet and exercise and was remunerated." This means that this person not only used the product, but worked out and dieted, and was paid for it. The reader has no idea how this woman dieted or how much she exercised. Most of the weight loss products and plans are supposed to be used with diets and exercise, however are not stated clearly. Without either of those, you would not be able to lose weight in a healthy way. Weight loss products are on the rise and will continue to grow in the media. The consumer needs to be proactive and research the products they wish to use. With this, they can make an informed decision on whether the product will work for them.new.jpg

She's just not that in to you


During Dr. Simpson's lecture on evolution there was one slide in particular that I thought pertained to current life. This slide presented the idea that humans are not always able to attract and/or retain mates who are good providers or and have "good genes" so they are forced to make trade-offs. More specifically the trade-offs for men who lack high attractiveness, vigor, or health, so the best way for them to attract and retain a mate is to offer good provision and invest heavily in one relationship. After some thought, I came to the conclusion that a very good example of just this is when they are simply trying too hard. This type of situation occurs so often in life that there is even a website for it. This website contains numerous accounts of females and males making efforts to attract others. These efforts, however construed, just don't seem to have to result intended. From tattooing a proposal onto your back to the awkward self photos, this website has seen it all. The same can be said for a majority of college students. We are all familiar with those who don't know where to draw the line.


Say yes?


The Notebook has been a romance movie women of all ages have raved about since the book was created into a movie. Little do you know, some men also find that movie intriguing as well. This movie also seems to correlate perfectly to the three major principles guide to attraction and relationship formation, which are: proximity, similarity, and reciprocity. First off, proximity in the story/movie can be seen when Allie and Noah are together, but once she moves away and is cut off from him completely she is able to move on, but when she is living in the same town as him all they wanted to do was be together. As for similarity, although they weren't of the same class of wealth they were very similar. They had the same sense of humor, they loved each other, and when they were together it was like money and their families opinions didn't matter. Reciprocity can be shown in the story through the creating of the house for Allie, for Noah doing everything for her and writing to her, and Allie finally visiting one last time. These three major principles can be found in almost any relationship, by recognizing them they can possibly allow for you to improve your relationship skills with ones you love!

It's All About the Nonverbal Cues! (Make-Up #3)


I received a text from my roommate yesterday regarding a disagreement we had about apartment chores (washing dishes, vacuuming, etc.). I had voiced an opinion earlier in the week to all of my roommates about how I felt like I am the always the one who is forced to do the majority of the cleaning in the apartment. It often feels like sometimes nobody else is willing to step up and take on the task of doing house work, unless it is their particular mess they are cleaning up. One of my roommates, in particular, was concerned after the conversation had concluded and wanted to follow up with a text asking if we could continue discussing the topic via text. I responded with a text saying "I feel like I am not appreciated and I clean too much all by myself". He responded with, "What can I do about it...?"

At first, while glancing at his reply, I was immediately filled with rage. I interpreted his text to be irritated and unhelpful, as if he were expressing that there was not really anything he could do in the situation. How could this be? There were many things he could do. All I was asking for was some assistance and appreciation. Why would he say such a thing? This conversation turned out to be a very telling experience demonstrating the significance of extralinguistic information, such as nonverbal cues (facial expression, posture, gestures). My roommate, in fact, was not trying to be rude or unapologetic. On the contrary, he had meant to pose the question "What can I do about it...?" in a way that was attempting to be apologetic and helpful. He wanted to know what I sincerely thought would be the best way for him to remedy the situation. If I had witnessed an accurate display of his facial expressions and gestures during the asking of this question, rather than simply the words in a phone message, I definitely would have spared myself all of the anger, misunderstanding, and hurt feelings. Chapter 8 of the textbook explains how extralinguistic information serves as an "Overall Dining Experience". (p. 288) Language is not as self-explanatory as we often perceive it to be. This is the reason why virtual communication can be so misleading and detrimental to relationships. We take this additional information for granted. Although not a part of language, extralinguistic information plays a vital role in the interpretation of it. (p. 288)

Civil Equality


The fight for gay marriages to be equal to heterosexual marriages has been going on for a while now. The argument is that everyone, no matter their sexual orientation, should have the same, equal rights. However, this is currently not the case with homosexual couples. Currently, the most that homosexual couples can get in most states is a civil union. In a civil union, the couple do not share all of the rights that a heterosexual couple do in a marriage. For example, civil union couples do not get a tax relief, the power to pull the plug if their partner is very ill, or the right to decide what happens to the body if their partner passes. There are a lot of other things that civil union couples do not get that heterosexual married couples get, but this is only a couple examples. The people that are fighting for gay marriage and equal rights say that it should be legal because America is supposed to be the country where everyone has equal rights, but the people that are fighting against it are saying that it is "dangerously sinful to describe a relationship between two persons of the same gender as a marriage." The argument here is that God, not humans, created marriage and in God's definition of the word, marriage is a "faithful partnership between a man and a woman." I personally believe that homosexual couples should be allowed to get married because I truly believe that everyone should have equal rights. I believe that it is really not fair that there is discrimination just because of sexuality. I do not think that it is American to discriminate because of how someone lives.

I found myself very intrigued by the idea of memory being "reconstructive in nature" as discussed in Chapter 7 of the textbook. It is so easy to be tricked by our flawed memories. The trouble with this is that we all hold so much trust in our memories that it is hard to accept the knowledge that our memories are not always right. Memories are not like a computer that stores information--we have the potential to fail in understanding or achieving a task as a result of memory illusions (false but subjectively compelling memories). (p. 244) In other words, while attempting to recall past events we are actively reconstructing these memories not passively reproducing them. (p. 244)

As stated earlier, I was shocked when faced with this Psychological concept. How many of our memories are just "hunches"? Also, if many of these memories are merely inklings of the truth, how effectively can we formulate conclusions of what has really happened in the past? Prior to reading this section of Chapter 7, I rarely questioned my memory or my ability to recall events precisely how they occurred. However, after reading about the reconstructive nature of memory and being exposed to the reality that "photocopies" of memory do not ever fully exist, I have begun to be more skeptical of my capabilities in this regard. For example, over the Spring Break holiday, I was at home in Madison, WI with my parents. The three of us were struggling to remember an event that had occurred during a past holiday. After a few minutes, I believed that I knew the exact answer to our question about this event. I had relived the event in my mind, envisioning everything that I believe occurred based observer memory, or memory in which I viewed myself as a distant bystander. However, within moments of hitting this breakthrough, my dad had exposed the truth that I, in fact, had not even been present at the event (Easter of last year). I was actually in Florida with a friend for this event. Thus, I saw a first-hand example of the tricks that our memory plays on us when we all try to reconstruct, rather than reproduce, what has happened in the past. (p. 245)

Attraction in the Film "The Vow"


Psychologist have tried to determine what draws people to each other, sometimes so strong they vow to spend the rest of their lives together in front of hundreds of people. They've questioned where it's just "chemistry" and chance or is there some other significant driving factor? Many studies have been done and many of them can be traced back to the idea of natural selection and gender roles. Men have been found to weigh more heavily on physical appearance. Some psychologist have suggested this could be because they're looking for the most healthy and fertile women to reproduce with. Women on the other hand have been suggested to put more importance on financial resources. This could be because they're looking for men who can provide well for their off spring.

In the movie "The Vow" these gender sterotypes are exemplified perfectly with attraction. The main woman character Paige is expected by her family to marry a successful businessman Jeremy and is discouraged to pursue her career as an artist because that's not how her family views she should be doing with her life. The other man in the love triangle is Leo. Leo is looked down upon by Paige's family because he's in the music industry, which they see as a dying business and as extremely unsuccessful. Leo also encourages Paige to be an artist. Although, because it's a Hollywood movie Paige ends up with Leo and they're passionately in love and all ends happily ever after! This still supports some studies that found that even though there's slight difference in preferences among the sexes, both still think intelligence, dependability and kindness are important characteristics in a partner. I always enjoy a good romance movie so I provided a link to the trailer incase anyone else wants to see what the movie is about.


I was surprised to that learn out-of-body experiences (OBEs) are not only a studied phenomenon in the field of Psychology but also reported to have occurred among ten percent of the general population. As a college student, I was even more shocked to find that twenty-five percent of my peers have reported experiencing this surreal scenario. An OBE is defined as an "extraordinary sense of our consciousness leaving our body." (p. 178) There are countless testimonies of OBEs found in books, on television, on the internet, etc. However, according to Chapter 5 of the textbook, there is no conclusive or replicated evidence demonstrating that all of these people could actually have been floating out of their bodies. How can this be? How can so many people come forward with a type of story that Psychological testing has actually falsified?

The answer, according to researchers on the subject, could potentially be that these experiences are actually a "scrambling of the senses" with a result of a disruption in our physical body that feels a lot like an out-of-body experience. (p. 179) All of these theories on OBEs as a misinterpretation are based on researchers' basic knowledge of the human brain. The brain is capable of integrating sensory information from different pathways into a unified experience. In other words, the brain is able to take various bits of visual sensory impressions and formulate all of these bits to feel like one fluid encounter. According to the textbook, these sensory impressions combined with physical sensations can work to fool us into an out-of-body experience. (p. 179)

Human Brains, Pelvises, and Love

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3. An old legend says that people are born with an invisible string tied to one of their fingers. This is linked to one other person on the Earth, with whom they are destined to be with. This old legend is highly unlikely to be true, but it illustrates that humans are not meant to be alone, that they are meant to be with someone else.

'Humans are the only creatures on Earth whose young are utterly helpless for years, and heavily dependent on adult care for more than a decade' (The Happiness Hypothesis). This is because humans, unlike other primates, are born before their brains have reached full development. 3 million years ago, humans began to be born before their brain was fully developed. This allowed for the brain to continue growing after being born. This allows for a more massive, evolved brain. The infants could not be born with this large brain because there was a limit to how big a head that a female could deliver while still maintaining a narrow pelvis to walk bipedally.

This period of brain development leads to strong bonds being formed while still young. These bonds formed at such a young age are similar to the bonds that people form with their romantic partners as adults. The humans still try to form bonds that they can rely on, just like when they were young, developing children. The legend of the invisible string is like the bond that all adults form with one another, looking for that person that they can rely on.

Are You Lying to Me?



Usually once we get to know a person, we can tell whether or not they are telling the truth. For some people we can always tell if they are lying, and some people can lie with a straight face and we never know if they are telling the truth. A common thing I have heard is to watch their eyes and see if they are looking up to the left, and if they are that means they're lying. But some people can look you straight in the eye and lie to you.
The text said to listen to how a person words something if we want to see if they are lying.

I found the different lie detector tests very interesting. I think in general they are a bad way to go about testing a person's innocence. As the text said, a person's bodily reactions to the test may be misinterpreted because they are anxious about a crime they didn't commit, and a guilty person could go free. It seems like its a hard way to determine guilt when there could be many other factors associated with your reactions or brain activity (an example of another test). Whether it is the case of an argument with a friend or the case of a criminal, it is usually impossible to know whether or not a person is lying, and so far there are no good ways to tell 100% of the time.

Liar, Liar


Lying is something that everyone does. Whether our intentions are bad or good, we spend a fairly large amount of our lives lying to determine if others around us are or not. Most of the time, we use people's nonverbal behaviors as the basis of our reasoning. Before researching on the topic, I considered myself to be very good at catching someone in a lie. I pay close attention to a persons body language as well as their verbal response. It turns out that someones verbal cues are more reliable than their nonverbal cues and that despite what many people think, mostly of themselves, humans as lie detectors are not very accurate either. In fact, given a 50-50 chance of being right, most of us achieve only about 55 percent accuracy. Few people exceed 70 percent accuracy in the same situation. There are only a few groups of people that researchers have found to be exceptionally good at detecting lies. These groups include secret services agents, judges, and law enforcement officers. These are all groups of people who are constantly having to base decisions off of others honesty. This lead me to question whether detecting lies is something that can be improved over time with repeated exposure to people lying, or if it is a case of correlation vs. causation. Either way, we can't rely on anyone's nose growing to give them away.liar.jpg

"Mommy are you and Daddy getting a divorce?"



"According to Judith S.Wallerstein and Joan B. Kelly, authors of Surviving the Breakup: How Children and Parents cope with Divorce, approximately one-third of children of divorce do well five to ten years down the road. Another third show some difficulties coping, and the remaining third experience more serious problems" (Wolf).

Here is a great article on recognizing the effects of divorce on children.

I like the article I linked above, because it does a nice job of describing the specific effects of divorce for every stage of development. From young toddlers, to school-age children, to teenagers. As a 'tween' when my parents finally divorced, it came as no surprise to me, because they had been previously separated for six years at that point. As the Psychology textbook states, "when parents experience only mild conflict before the divorce, the seeming effects of divorce are actually more severe than when parents experience intense conflict before the divorce" (Lilienfeld 391). I would add onto that that when both parents live under the same roof as their children and than suddenly divorce, with mild conflict the child is more prone to experiencing negative effects of the divorce.

In the end, I think its important for parents to realize that no one child experiences divorce the exact same. The may have similar symptoms, yet react differently. Most children old enough have their grieving and coping period, then they begin to transition into their new family structure and then eventually come to a place of acceptance.

Some advice I would give to any parent is to one, pay attention to their child, because as much as the divorce is emotionally draining on the parents it is even more of a confusing time for some kids. Secondly, I would tell recently divorced parents to listen and talk to their children and answer any questions they may have.

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