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Have you ever felt the power to control your own dreams? Have you ever felt like you were on the outside looking into a mirror with the total control? Well you along with a majority of Americans have experienced the phenomenon known as Lucid Dreaming. I myself have caught myself dreaming and from that point on had total control of what was going on in that dream. The ability to become lucid during a nightmare usually improves the dream's outcome (Levitan & LeBerge, 1990; Spoormaker & van den Bout, 2006). One day I was taking a nap before practice and caught myself in somewhat of a nightmare. My family & I were on a trip and we were attacked by a bear but then I took control. That resulted in me saving my family and distracting the bear away. Lucid Dreaming is very common and very real.

Imagination Inflation

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When I read the story of Neadean Cool, I wondered how a nonexistent memory became real for her. The psychotherapist used techniques to re-imagine past events as if they really happened. The therapist put more focus on the extraneous events that made a somewhat believable story and eventually convince Cool that she had a plethora of conditions effecting her current mental state.
This graph shows that people were polled first if they did a memorable event . Then they were told to imagine what events they did not do. Later they were polled again, and the researchers found that more people thought that they actually did many of these events.


As the weeks have gone by and the weather has been changing, I have begun to think about how the environment we are in can be considered a conditioned stimulus in the realm of classical conditioning. The distinctive smell of fall air for example, has brought back memories of attending high school football games, playing in the pep band, and in general having a lot of fun. From what I have learned in the book about classical conditioning, I can explain how this works.

Focusing just on the football game example, the high school football game would be the unconditioned stimulus. These games elicited a unconditioned response from me, which can be generalized as excitement or happiness. Now, since most football games occur during the fall, the smell of the fall air, among other environmental stimuli become the conditioned stimuli. These are previously neutral stimuli that became associated with the football games. So now, when I am exposed to the conditioned stimulus, the fall air, I exhibit a conditioned response, which is a general feeling of happiness.

Does anyone else have similar responses to the change in seasons?

While reading the textbook on learning, I found the section connecting violence in the media and in real life very interesting. The hypothesis behind this is that people see violence in such things as films, movies, and video games, and through observational learning, they might go out and mimic those acts of violence on other people around them. What interests me the most is how studies show a correlation between real-life violence and media violence, yet it isn't something I have noticed from personal experience. For instance, since I have been a child have viewed hundreds of movies, yet I would consider myself a pretty calm and in control person.
But if this does turn out to be true, then this information could definitely be very useful to our society. For instance, we could make it harder for those of us who tend to be more violent to get a hold of violent media. That way, we might be able to help ensure that inmates coming back into society aren't going to go straight back to jail. This information might also be used to help make sure children who are growing up don't become super aggressive towards each other to.

Of course in reality, there are probably a lot of other reasons why people become violent. They might have grown up in poverty or maybe they were beaten as a child. That poses a great question: how can we change society to a more mild and reasonable one?

      On the topic of memory this week I was particularly stirred, and not only in my capacity as an amateur psychologist, but very much as a product of my personal experience addressing false memories. After suffering significant confabulations of recall, it was by the levelheadedness of my friend that I escaped a life-capsizing situation without having my life too severely affected, although long after the event I remain wowed by the seeming veracity of the remembrance. More than a few moons ago I was attacked in a public bathroom. One of a group of belligerents forced his way into the stall and set upon me from behind, his intention unknown but certainly presumable and therefor exigent, and I believed he was going to kill me. While turning to face my attacker I handled the weapon which I carried about my appendix and presented it fully enough for efficacy, this in the span of surely no more than two seconds (and with myself protruding from my open fly, mind you).


     I barked at him fucking stop before striking him half a dozen times, and knew that I had hit him once at least because he stopped immediately, the tremendous force impelling him back out of the stall. And then he was gone from the space, along with his cohort whom I did not see but otherwise sensed, and I knew that I had almost certainly killed him, having struck him so many times. My friend who had been answering nature in another stall found me and carefully recognized my state of acute stress, the adrenaline rush, and he coolly composed my person well enough to steer me out of there, though I was reluctant throughout the hasty-but-comported egress. Despite severe tunnel vision, I had noticed clearly blood on the wall and what had fallen to the floor, confirming my suspicion. I protested, arguing that I'd just killed a kid--a Black kid, he, and a White guy, I, in a city where the contrast would matter--and we had to call it in. When I had recovered to the point of reasoning he explained what had happened: some dudes had busted into my locked stall and fled when I squared off with the point man. He had only heard the commotion from his own stall, and had completed the rest of the picture from what he observed after the fracas, which did not include any blood. A careful examination later proved not only that no gore had stained the bathroom after the upset, but also that I had not hit my attacker even once, due to a snafu in dexterity.

     I was so convinced of having greatly harmed the guy that my brain invented the addendum of blood stains, which evidence would reasonably corroborate a belief in his injuries. Furthermore, whereas I remember shouting at my attacker--I distinctly recall the sound of my voice articulating the words--my witness reports that I did naught but roar incomprehensibly. Since the event I had accepted the broad truism that severe stressors can do goofy things to the mind. However, this week's lecture series piqued my specific interest and spurred me toward some Googling as well as to actually perusing the course text. Through my reading I've become a lay expert in the study of psychological shock and its effect on memory and perception, and specifically the topic of combat stress. In this way the memory unit connected with me more than any other thus far in the semester.

Dreams do have importance.

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Just a short mini documentary clip from discovery on dreaming.

Dreaming is a universal experience, and occurs not only during REM sleep(although most does) but also during non-REM sleep. Lots of theories and ideas have tried to understand why we dream and its usefulness. Most of our dreams, are mundane and have little cohesion. However many have claimed that from dreaming, they have had significant breakthroughs. Salvador Dali, himself, based a lot of his work on his dreams. Personally a remember a lot of emotional dreams, and they tend to be vivid, usually they tend to make me re-examine my beliefs and thought process, but never have I solved anything in a dream. Has anyone here had a breakthrough because of a dream?

Memory... How Does it Work?

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One of the most interesting parts of psychology to me is how we are able to retain information. As most people know, we have long term memory and short term memory. However, there is a lot more involved in the process of determining which information we store and hold on to in our minds.

When an event first occurs, chemicals in our brains creates the knowledge of an event happening. These chemicals create what we refer to as "Short Term Memory". ( Once we have the initial snapshot of the event that we are remembering, many reactions need to take place between chemicals in our brain. If this does not happen, we will forget the event. If the reactions take place, a permanent memory is created and that is what we refer to as "Long Term Memory".


No matter which part of the memory an event goes into, there is an incredibly complicated process which leads to the simple action of remembering. That is one of the main reasons why I find the human memory process so fascinating. If scientists can figure out a way to manipulate whether our long term memory is used in any situation, we will be able to freely control our memories. Do you think that would be a useful discovery in the near future?

One crazy, but very real phenomenon that I deal with daily is called the Tip-Of-The-Tongue Phenomenon. This occurs when someone knows the answer to a question, but can't come up with it. It is probably one of the most frustrating memory issues that everyone has dealt with at least once in their life. The interesting thing about this phenomenon is that investigators have proven that usually when people believe an answer is at the tip of their tongue, they are correct! Scientists believe that these situations are due not to information not getting stored in our memory, but having trouble retrieving the information that is in there somewhere! Research has shown that if we are given the first letter of a word that we are trying to muster up, we can typically come up with the answer.
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So, the next time you believe you know an answer but, for the life of you, cannot seem to come up with it, know that you are not the only one who suffers from this painfully irritating occurrence. Even butchers have trouble once in a while!

Lucid dreaming and Inception

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Lucid dreaming is when one is dreaming and knows that they are dreaming. This topic interests me because it reminds me of a couple of my dreams. What was interesting was that most of the time when I have lucid dreams, I was able to control my dreams. From the readings I would fall into the 72% who can control what is happening in their dreams.

This topic also reminds me of the movie Inception. I don't want to give away too much of the story but, the characters in this story can control their dreams and doing so, they can also live in their dreams. The catch is that it wouldn't become real in the real world, and one can possibly die from going into too many dreams. I would be fascinating if we were to be able to do such thing. How would science describe that in the real world? If everyone were to have such powers to control and even live in their dreams would they take the risks knowing the consequences?

But I am sure everyone has at least experienced one lucid dream before have they?


Most everyone has experienced a moment of what is known as déjà vu. These moments of familiarity are sometimes so intense that we are positive we have seen or been somewhere before; even considering it a psychic episode where we can actually predict the future. These claims may be a bit premature, with psychologists studying the phenomenon more and more there are better scientific explanations. These hypotheses can be tested unlike the psychic claims, which are not falsifiable. One study, by Tero Taiminen and Satu Jaaskelainen, shines some light on the possible causes of déjà vu. They studied a case of a 39 year old healthy male physician "who developed intense and recurrent déjà vu experiences within 24h of initiating concomitant amantadine-phenylpropanolamine treatment against influenza." Taiminen and Jaaskelainen suggest that the drug's effects on dopaminergic activity was the reason for the increase in cases déjà vu. This study further suggests that "déjà vu experiences may be provoked by increased dopamine activity in mesial temporal structures in the brain."

How to improve our memory

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In chapter 7, Memory, we learned 'The three process of memory'. This chapter gave us some tips or methods that how to memorize new information, such as by using pegword method, method of loci, and keyword method. Those three methods are part of mnemonics, which is that helping us remembers information by using a visual image, or a word.
Besides of those kind methods as the book mentioned, I researched other tips or methods that how to improve our memory. I especially searched what kind of foods can help to improve it. In the website said that fruits and vegetables improve memory because those foods contained antioxidants, which protect our brain cells from damage, and it mentioned about 'Omega-3s', which is fatty acids and has beneficial for brain health. There are plenty of omega-3s in fish, such as salmon, tuna, halibut, trout, and herring, and also non fish sources, such as walnuts, flaxseed oil, and soybeans. The most interesting food that I searched was drinking alcohol. I have known that drinking alcohol might kill our brain cells. However, it said that drinking alcohol in 'moderation' (around 1 glass a day for women; 2 for men) would improve memory and cognition, especially drinking red wine.
I wonder that would it is better if we study for test after drink a glass or two glasses of red wine?

Limitless!... Or Not...

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We all would love to believe that are minds have a limitless capacity for information that can be processed and stored; however, this is far from the truth. In reality we can only store about 7 plus or minus 2 items of information in our short term memory - this phenomenon is known as "The Magical Number". The capacity of our short term memories has always been a hot topic, but especially lately with movies like "Limitless" making headlines -
These types of movies and stories play with the idea that humans are not using their brains to their full capacity. Movies such as this raise interesting questions, is it possible for our brains to go much further than "The Magical Number" and hold much more information? And if so, would we ever be able to access this full capacity like in the movie "Limitless"?




Every year, Americans spend several hundred million dollars on smart pill like "Ginkgo". Yet, controlled studies comparing Ginkgo with a placebo show that its treatment effects on memory for normal individuals are minimal if not nonexistent. Taking pills may not help memory, but scientific methods do. For example, method of loci is a good method for improving memory. In imaginary routes that we are familiar with, we think of the things that we encounter, and place the terms that we need to memorize along the route. In this way, we keep the terms ordered and easy to memorize.

Who is the rat?

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Sleep is a common topic of discussion in my house. The common theme: how can we get our 9 month old son to sleep through the night? As I was reading about operant conditioning and Skinner's ideas on reinforcement I couldn't help but think we were going about this all wrong. When we cut back the number of bottles he ate at night, hoping he'd sleep for longer periods since eating was no longer a positive reinforcement to continue waking, it should have been an all or nothing decision. However, like many parents, we felt that was a bit harsh and decided to let him keep one about half way through the night. According to Skinner, this varied schedule is going to yield more consistent waking and I have to say I have the lack of sleep to (unofficially) support it his claim. I think parenting is one conditioning experiment after another, but I have to question who really is the rat, the child or the parent?
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First Love Retrospect

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Every teenager would show great interest in TWILIGHT, cause what it decribes about "love" in the scenario is quite beautiful and appealing.Anoher example, every time I ask my parants aout their most impressive dating they had, no wonder the answer is the frst one.
For more famous examples, first love scenario in the movie are always quite tempting. So did i think previousl. But after reading chapter 7, I started to queston myself. Does it reall have elegant background music echoing when two lovers first meet each other? Or it was just their memory reconstructive these scenes under belief and expectation? More is the latter one.
When we retrospect our first meeting with someone we love, we are usually in a god mood,
also influenced by a set of things like confirmation biase. Thus, bad things gone, good things left.
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Cramming... Best Study Plan!!

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Before college I used to do a good job at studying for school gradually, but the older I got, the more work I received which resulted in a dramatic change in my study habits. The majority of college students cram for tests the night before. Pulling all nighters are no longer a rare occurrence but biweekly events. This form of studying is significantly less effective and efficient than the gradual learning process, and once a student starts, they can get caught is a vicious cycle because while a student crams for one subject, the other subjects get put a side. The best advise to avoid this problem is to not procrastinate, start projects and readings as soon as they are assigned!


The Gift of Endless Memory

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Last year around this time 60 minutes did a special on the phenomenon of a superior autobiographical memory. The part 1 and part 2 of the entire 60 minutes segment look into the minds and memories of a few extraordinary individuals. 121910EndlessMemory_640x480_244x183.jpg

As seen in the picture, 5 of the 6 identified individuals that are suggested to have a superior autobiographical memory were interviewed and ask questions about the immense amount of information within their brains.

These individuals, such as Bob Petrella and Marilu Henner, are able to answer question regarding dates and memories from the past. The amount of detail and rapid recollection of these memories is incredible, and the information they were able to recall was truly amazing to me.

caudate-nucleus.gifThrough MRI scans researchers identified a significant increase in the size of the temporal lobe, associated with storing memories, and a second region deep inside the brain called the caudate nucleus, which is believed to play a role in habit and skill learning.

A great deal of further research must be conducted to determine what is actually occurring inside the brains of these individuals.

The phenomenon of superior autobiographical memory is an intriguing idea that I will follow as more research and information appears in the news.

Well, not really, unless this looks familiar:


       Take this test. How did you do? I scored a 0, indicating no issues in my color differentiation abilities. Given the greater genetic predisposition to color blindness in men, it would seem logical to assume that the average man would score higher than the average woman, although a median analysis may show the differences to be chunky rather than smooth. (if I get enough comments I'll do graph and post that in the comments). However, it seems that not all of the differences in differentiation flow from genotype. Watch this video to see what I mean:

       Clearly, language influences not only how we linguistically categorize colors but our visual perception and therefore mental categorization of them as well. Since the stimulus is the same but the perception is different, something biological would seem to be going on inside the brain. If this difference is not genotypical but imprinted by language differences, does this support the hypothesis that developmental plasticity is the cause? Or is it priming like the example on page 253 of our text book in that once we have learned the category and see the color, the differentiation differences are caused by this presupposition? What about subtle inherited differences in the genome apart from color blindness? What else could it be and how would we test these hypotheses?

See here for a peer reviewed article on the subject from the university in England that was doing the research in the video. The bibliography lists Dr. Franklin's work as well.


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