Recently in Open Discussion Category

In chapter 13 of our text books, they discuss certain persuasion techniques that are usual when trying to get things you want. The three most common that they discussed are foot-in-the-door, door-in-the-face, and low-balling. When I first read about them they sounded familiar and I noticed that I had actually used all three of these techniques when I was trying to persuade other people, especially my parents, and they worked! I can remember when I was in high school trying to persuade my parents to let me stay out late at night I would ask if I could stay out until 2 or 3 in the morning and they would say no but then still let me stay out until like midnight or 1, this technique is called door-in-the-face.
Thinking of all the times I have used these types of persuasion on other people, I began to wonder if I had ever been on the other side of these techniques. We have all seen those infomercials on tv where they will say "Call now and get this $100 value for on $19.95!" (door-in-the-face) or if you have ever gone to the store just to get a new phone but then you end up buying a charger and screen protector and insurance and all these other cool things that you need for your new phone (low-balling)!
Have you ever been a victim of these types or persuasion?

(make-up for missed discussion section on 12/08)

While listening to the latest series of lectures by Dr. Grove on abnormal psychology, I was struck by statistics. According to the Nithsdale Schizophrenia Surveys, out of the schizophrenic population, 78% are unmarried and 68% have no children.

I began to wonder what is coming of those rates. Are they increasing? Decreasing? It's an illness that apparently lowers chances of procreation, so one of the most short-sighted assumptions would be that the rates should drop as fewer and fewer people pass on the genes. Even if rates are falling, however, there is far more to consider than just a concrete "nature" so formulaically passing itself along or snuffing itself out. As with so many illnesses, environment has been shown to be a significant factor.

Doing a bit of research, I ran across this article that seeks to track correlations between various schizophrenia statistics and industrialization over time--particularly as industrialization has impacted obstetric complications.


High IQ vs. Low EQ

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Makeup Blog for Discussion 11-17-11

Are people with high IQ always successful in life? Chris Langan, the smartest man in the US, did not get a degree from any universities. He did not become a scientist, a professor, or a teacher. He became a farmer with low income. Although Langan scored exceptionally on the IQ test, he did not become very successful in life. Why didn't he?

Well, there are many factors to consider when you are determining a person's success in life. While Langan obtained a high IQ, his EQ was very low. He did not get along with his teachers, professors, bosses or friends. He couldn't social with other who are different.

On the other hand, many geniuses, such as Walter Benjamin, Virginia Woolf, and Alan Turing, committed suicide. If they are so smart, how come they didn't learn to appreciate life? Once again, to answer questions like that, we will have to go back and study their EQ. Did they get along with their family, friends and colleagues? Were they depressed and stressed out everyday? Did other people discriminate them for being different?

People often associate IQ and EQ as the same thing when they are completely different. Sometimes the difference are so distinguishable they contribute to one's success in life.


Similarity = Attractiveness?

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Makeup Blog for Discussion 12-1-11

In the textbooks, the author started that similarity,the extent to which two people have things in common with others, is one of the most important factors for us to determine whether someone else is attractive or not. Some people may argue people with completely different backgrounds may fall in love. Although that may be true, however, in most cases, people are more attracted to people who are similar to them.

A short film by Patrick Hughes called "Signs" came out in 2008. In this short film, two white collars whose offices are across from each others fall in love with each other. From the movie, it's obvious that they are introverts; using only "signs" to display their loves to each other through out the whole movie. However, this movie clearly demostrated how people who are similar (social status, social backgrounds, personalities) are more likely to get together. Enjoy the movie:


Wow. Chapter 13. There are sooo many things I could talk about...

I think one of the things that affected me the most was the whole bystander and conformity section. I would like to think of myself as a good person, but when I am honest with myself, I know my morality is often swayed by the crowed. But I am glad that I recognized this, because now it is something I can consciously address and work on.

Another great part of this chapter was the "blue eyes vs. brown eyes" experiment mentioned briefly. This experiment was done by a third grade teacher the day after Martin Luther King Jr. died. Its pretty powerful stuff and some of the things the kids say can get upsetting, so fair warning.
blue eyes thing:
One thing that this video does not show was that the next day the teacher reversed the roles. Now brown-eyed children were superior to the blue-eyed children. However, they too showed tremendious discrimination and were more than glad to abuse their new found power. How do we teach people compassion after they have suffered, and not want revenge?

This experiment also illustrates the stereotypes influence your performance. There is something I learned a few years ago called a self fufilling prophecy. What this means is that your performance is about as good as you think it will be. If you believe you will do bad on something, chances are you probably will regardless of your skill level.

Self fufilling prophecies can stem out of stereotype threat. If your stereotype is that you will do badly on math for example, chances are you will do worse when you feel that stereotype present (as in when you take a test with someone who's stereotype is to do really well in math). There are a lot of experiments on this, in which two groups (African American's vs. Caucasions for example) are each given a written test. Half were told that the test was for intelligence, the other half was told it tested athleticism. When told it was for intelligence, the Caucasions did better on average. When told it was for athleticism, the African Americans did better, even though it was the same test in both groups!
Here is a video that shows how stereotype threat can effect the perfomance of women in math.

"We don't have to believe in a stereotype. Merely knowing that others could judge us, because of our social identity, is enough to distort our performance".

The Education Paradigm

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I know this video is a little longer than the others, but it is very thought provoking. This animation was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, a world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA's Benjamin Franklin award. I think it easily relates to many things we learned in class, and can help with the explanation of "intelligence"

Although this video may not be as funny as my other ones, I think its a great challenge to our current way of viewing education. Personally it made me think a lot, and I think its a great concept to link with Chapter 9 with intelligence and IQ testing.

This is a VERY interesting video about the assessment of a person's character by looking at their face or body. However, you probably only want to watch 0:52-2:44... the rest isn't really psychology related.

I love this! This relates to sooo many things I don't even know where to start!

First, here is an article that relates to what Hank (yes, that's his name) was saying about the composite faces (its rather interesting, and they have a short video too if you don't like reading). Ladies, its written all over your face! .
However, we should still be careful when we attribute charactersitics based on someone's appearence! Chapter 2 briefly mentions the "halo effect", which is the fact that people often perceive highly attractive individuals as possessing many other desirable attributes.

I think this video mostly relates to the end of Chapter 11 when the book discusses attraction. Everything from composite faces and what defines someone as attractive are mentioned in this part of the chapter...
Also, for some reason this also reminded me of phrenology in Chapter 3. That was when phrenologists assessed the bumps on your head and attributed various personality and intellectual characteristics. Although this has been proven to be extremely silly, there may be something attributed with face and personality after all.

If I want I could even go to into the relm of "identity" and social psychology... What things do you guys think you can relate this video to?

I came across this a couple of weeks ago, and I thought it was a very nice way of reviewing the auditory system we learned in Chapter 4! At the end of the video, he talks about some of the other senses as well.

So as I was reviewing memory in Chapter 7, I remembered a very funny song by "Flight of the Conchords" that I think captured the essence of "implicit" vs. "explicit" memory. However, before I go on with the rest of the blog, you should probably listen to this, or it may not make sense.

So, you may be wondering why on earth I thought of this while reading chapter 7. Well there are a few points actually. Basically, according to our textbook, the misinformation effect is the creation of fictitious memories by providing misleading information about an even after it takes place, and I feel this song had a lot of that.

As we all know, explicit memories are memories that we recall intentionally and of which we have conscoius awareness of, while implicit memories are memories we don't deliberatly remember or reflect on consciously. It is much easier to implant an explicit memory than it is to implant an implicit memory, which is why Brian was able to be fooled into thinking all of the events said by Jenny had actually happened, but she was not able to convince him that his name was John.

I also believe that this song says a lot about implanting false memories in general. For instance, many times we forget that implanting a false memory can be completely unintentional, such as with witnesses to a crime. It also doesn't help when repeated questioning is used. It is also easier to implant a fictitious memory of an event from the distant past for which we have hazy or no recall than of an event from the recent past we remember well. Also its easier to plant a memory of something that is plausible rather than something that isn't (granted adopting a child is rather excessive, but that is part of the humor of this song).

This song goes over so many concepts that the book discusses in implanting memory that it is almost hard to post in a single blog. What are some ways you guys can link this to Chapter 7?

(Make up for missing 12/8 discussion)

An obsession is the persistent idea, thought, or impulse that is unwanted and inappropriate causing marked distress. A compulsion is the repetitive behavior or mental act performed to reduce or prevent stress. Therefore, an obsessive- compulsive disorder is a condition marked by repeated and lengthy (at least once per day) immersion in obsessions, compulsions, or both. Both humans and animals can suffer from OCD.

Some canines suffer from canine lick Acral dermatitis, a disorder where they lick themselves compulsively, resulting in severe skin damage. Scientists believe this could be related to an animal variant of OCD. On the other hand, some humans suffer from common OCD rituals such as checking lock doors, repeatedly arranging/rearranging items, and washing/cleaning unnecessarily. Many people will engage in these activities, but people suffering from OCD will spend at least an hour a day immersed in obsessions and compulsions.

I personally can play video games or watch TV for over an hour a day but I would not consider myself OCD. I feel that most people have OCD tendencies, but some let it take over their life.


(Make up for discussion 12-1-11)
After reading about the eugenics movement in the United States, I have looked further into this horrifying part of our recent history. Recently in North Carolina, victims of involuntary sterilizations during the eugenics movement have been speaking out and demanding justice. One woman in particular stands out nationally with her tragic story.
Elaine Riddick was only 13 when she was raped and impregnated by a neighbor in Winfall, North Carolina. Immediately after giving birth, the doctors brought her to another room and sterilized her. The doctors claimed her to be "feeble-minded" and "promiscuous". This happened in 1967.
Elaine has recently been speaking out, taking her case to court and grabbing the nation's attention with her only son by her side. She managed to go to college and raise a successful son by herself, contradicting what the doctors claimed her to be.
North Carolina is now trying to find a way to pay the hundreds of victims still alive today for what the state has taken away from them. I think it's great how they are acknowledging their wrong and trying to help those they've damaged physically and emotionally, but how can they make up for what's been done to these people with money?

Looking the Other Way

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Makeup Blog for Discussion 12-3-11

In the textbook, the authors mentioned about a girl that was brutally gang raped for two hours in Richmond, California, reading this hit a little close to home because I live about an hour away from the city where this happened. Even though my hometown is relatively safe, the thought that this had occurred just a mere one hour from where I live was just horrifying. But what was even more shocking, disturbing, and baffling was what had happened; a girl being gang raped while 20 bystanders looked on. The bystander effect was only something I've seen on TV, not something I imagined could happen in real life.


However, after further thought, I realized that this type of situation had already happened. For example, in Nazi Germany when all the Jews and other minorities were persecuted, so many bystanders looked the other way. But, what many people don't realize is that there is always another side of the story, sometimes there are other reasons why bystanders just look on. Maybe the bystanders feared for their lives or their families' well-beings. Nevertheless, these reasons do not excuse people do to nothing about the situation. Instead, the best way to prevent the bystander effect is to think about what you would do in these situations. So ask yourself this, "Would you turn your head and pretend you didn't see anything? Or, would you call for help?"

(Make up for 11/17 discussion)

My brother and I are very different in terms of our personalities. He can be very shy especially when he meets new people. He's also not very open to new experiences, he likes to stay in his comfort-zone. On the other hand, I am very outgoing and love to try new things. In this essence, it can be said that my brother has an introvert personality and he is not the best person for agreeableness. But if I would take a self-report test, I would get high scores on extraversion and agreeableness.

The interesting part of this issue is that we are very different but we were raised in the same family with equal traits. Also, there is only 2 years of age difference between us which makes us even more similar.

I like Mischel's ideas about this topic, so I think that the situations might have shaped our personalities. In other words, our non-shared environments and therefore different conditions might have a huge impact on our characters.


Make up for Sensation and Perception Discussion!!

When looking into the subject of sensation and perception i came across an article called When Sensation Becomes Perception. Anyways, the article goes on to ask when does the brain go on to convert simple simple sensory inputs to complete perceptual experience?

There are many different studies on different parts of the body inputing different sensations giving of different perceptions. To separate perception from sensation, perception is you brains reaction to the sensation! When thinking about sensation and perception i was thinking about when people have the feeling that bugs are crawling on their skin and biting them but there is nothing thereM2451146-Delusional_parasitosis-SPL.jpg which is reffered by Morgellon, but people who take Morgellons seriously actually believe it is a skin infestation but not a lot of evidence out to support that.

Leaving me with one question is there sensation and perception disease when maybe your sensory nerves are not correctly communication giving off the wrong perception for you brain to act upon?

Make up for 11/17 discussion

After reading Professor Wlaschin's blog entry on these different personality types, I decided to do more research and was especially interested with the difference in careers for both personalities. Introverts are more likely to succeed in majors like Computer Engineering, Accounting and Biochemistry. While extroverts tend to lean towards majors like Nursing, Pharmacy and Marketing. Introverts are generally not opposed to people, but they might prefer less contact and fewer conversations. Extroverts enjoy conversation and spending time helping others, but can sometimes be too blunt. These careers make sense based on the description of extrovert and introvert. Personally, I am an extrovert and I want to be a nurse so I find this study pretty relevant. But there are exceptions to every study, and the world definitely needs both personalities to balance each other out.

(Make-up for disc.11/17)
Throughout lecture, it seemed evident throughout all the twin studies and adopted studies that genetics plays the primary role in determining personality. In one case, two twins were separated at birth, yet many years later both shared similar interests, had the same occupation, and had nearly identical scores on their personality tests. I think it is safe to assume that genetics plays an important role in our neurological development. Since our neurological structure contributes to our personality, identical twins would have the same neurological make up and thus similar personalities. In Professor Wlaschin's previous blog, he posted an article that discussed extraverts and their higher potential towards drinking. The article suggested that extroverts are more prone to drinking. Since drinking is typically a social activity, this would make sense. However I couldn't help but think about how alcohol affects personality in the act of drinking. I know people who are usually very introverted, however when intoxicated are extremely social. They will talk non-stop and greet/hug random strangers in the street. Since alcohol affects neurotransmitters in the brain, I wonder if it also affects people's personalities.

This Stuff Actually Exists??

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(make up for missing discussion on 11/17)

Everyone has seen a movie where a psychologist is holding a mysterious picture and then asks their client, who is lying on a sofa, what they see in the picture. I never would have guessed that these mysterious pictures are actually a type of projective test that psychologists sometimes use! This projective test is known as the Rorschach Inkblot test, in which examiners ask respondents to look at inkblots and say what it resembles. Examiners then score their answers for numerous characteristics that are supposedly associated with personality traits.

Although the Rorschach has been used quite often for the past decades, it is scientifically controversial. Little evidence has been found that the Rorschach validly detects the features of mental disorders or predicts criminal traits or behaviors. It is rare when two examiners give a respondent the same scores for their response to the inkblots, showing that the Rorschach may not be valid. However, the Rorschach has been successful in predicting schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and a few other conditions marked by abnormal thinking. The Rorschach has its positives and negatives, but it is hard to tell whether it truly is a reliable source.

rorschach inkblot.jpg

The Social Personality

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The personality dimension of introversion extraversion plays a key role for students coming to college for the first time. Possessing traits like warmth, gregariousness, sense of adventure, enthusiasm and ambition can lead to plenty of social attention and personal success. Yet extraverts have two potentially troublesome traits such as impulsivity and dominance than can get them into trouble.

Addictive Personality.pdf

Several studies have shown how introverts differ from extraverts in unique ways. As you examine and think about the findings of these studies, consider what consequences these differences might have on both extraverts and introverts.

Introverts demonstrate faster classical conditioning because they are more easily aroused.

Introverts react more strongly to punishment and extraverts react more strongly to rewards

Extraversion predicts heavy drinking in college students

Now that you've done a bit of serious thinking about introversion and extraversion, for fun try taking the Hidden Brain Damage Scale.docx


Pump it! (not so loud)

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(Makeup for missed discussion on Sep. 29)

In the previous blog, avira001 discussed the different parts of the ear, more specifcally the pinna. With out a doubt, every part of our auditory system plays an important role in recieving, conducting, and ultamitly transmitting signals to our brain. The combination of the differnt structures such as the pinna in the outer ear, the eardrum in the middle ear, all the way to the inner hair folicles with in the Cochlea combine to give us an extensive auditory function.


Our auditory function is incredible. Humans can pick up on the slightest sounds such as the sound of a paper clip hitting the floor. In our primitive age, this was probably advantageous as it helped us react faster to potential predadors creeping up to attack us. However, today, our extensive hearing can sometimes be a nuisance, (especially when you are in the library trying to write a blog and someone is rustling their papers) as we are able to hear many distractions. Ear plugs do a good job blocking most sound waves, yet our auditory system is still capable of picking up the slightest of sounds.


At the University of Minnesota we are Driven to Discover. Imagine if we invented a device that could some how turn down the internal volume in our heads. Instead of amplifying sounds, like hearing aids do, we could decrease the amount of volume. This way we could sleep peacefully, while our roommates are blasting their music. What do you think?

Makeup Blog - 11/17/2011 Discussion Section- Intelligence

What do Motzart, MJ, Bill Gates and Van Gogh all have in common?

From a young age we've all been taught that everyone has their own individual talents. That from these talents stem our passions for life that guide us to what we should do, make, study, etc. Everyone may have special talents... but can anyone have all of these talents at once?


The idea of multiple intelligence displays the concept that people vary in their ability levels across areas of intellectual skill. In other words, there are different ways of being smart. Motzart is no Michael Jordan, and Bill Gates is no Vincent Van Gogh but each of these individuals are smart in their own ways, and in their own domains of intelligence.

So what do Motzart, MJ, Bill Gates and Van Gogh all have in common? They are all smart in their own ways!

(Makeup for missed discussion on Sept 29, sorry for the super delay!)

Our senses help us to have knowledge about the world and one of those senses is hearing. As we all know, sound waves are the determents for the sense of hearing. When the sound is examined, three distinct features come into prominence, which are loudness, timbre and pitch. All these features depend on frequency, and complexity.

To describe the form of the ear, the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear must be presented. The pinna, the eardrum, ossicles, oval window, cochlea, and cilia are associated to the form of the ear since they are the essentials.

I think that pinna is the one that seems less important but in essence, its role is massive. Without pinna, we wouldn't be able to hear since it is what catches the sound waves and help other materials of ear to sense the sound.


How Reliable is the IQ Test?

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(Makeup for missed discussion on November 10th)

People are always interested in their level of intelligences and IQ tests are one of the most common ways to measure it. In my opinion, IQ tests are not very reliable in that everyone can score differently in different times if they prepare themselves for the questions. Also, it is about the frequency of using the brain. I mean if you read book, play sudoku, etc very often, then you are more likely to score higher on the IQ test than other people can.

Moreover, this issue has a close relationship with socio-economical status: If one is grew up in a financially poor area, then he/she is more likely to score lower then a person who is well educated. However, the thing is if you take that less-educated person and train him, then he can score better each time he tries harder.



You probably think you are pretty smart. To get some idea of how smart you are relative to the population, a psychologist would have you take the 90 minute Wechsler test. I know you don't have that kind of time now, so how about a 5 minute version?

A Five minute intelligence test

So these questions are a bit tricky but do they measure everything we consider to make up intelligence?Picture 1.png

Think of the smartest person you know. What characteristics can you describe that make this person intelligent?

Is it just one thing or many things? Are those abilities related or distinct. Did that person become intelligent from living in an environment that supported education, did they inherit intelligent genes or did they get that way through hard work and constant study?

These are important questions that psychologists still don't have clear answers for. You may think the 5 minute test above is not exactly a valid test of intelligence but what is?

Some researchers have tried to boil down all of the different types of intelligence tests into a set of 12 that describes the broadest range of cognitive abilities with the fewest amount of tests.

The 12 pillars of wisdom.pdf

Even after scholars examine decades of intelligence research I still wonder if this captures why some people seem smarter than others and why higher levels of intelligence lead to better life outcomes. emotional_intelligence_jpg_230x150_crop-0,0_q85.jpg

In class we discussed a recent study that demonstrated self-control was another important aspect separate from intelligence that accounted for success in life. Others have suggested that motivation may play a role as well.

Intelligence and motivation.pdf

Finally, no matter how smart a person is, if they can't relate to other people their intelligence might be wasted. Many scholars have theorized about emotional intelligence as being essential to communicating ideas to others, gathering the support needed to accomplish goals and leadership to guide the process.

Do you think you could describe what characteristics are involved with emotional or interpersonal intelligence? Complete the activity and then think about how this ability fits with the more traditional view of intelligence as measured by the tests in the 12 Pillars article.

Measuring Interpersonal Intelligence.docx

Born Without Emotions?

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(Makeup for missed discussion on October 27th)

After recently watching through the first three seasons of the hit Showtime series Dexter, I began to think about how his emotions can be viewed in psychology.

Dexter Morgan, the main character in the show, works in forensics for the Miami Metro Police Department and specializes in blood analysis. He is extremely proficient at his job, but he holds a very dark secret; he is a serial killer. Ever since he was a little boy, Dexter had urges to kill. His Dad began to notice this and he decided to train Dexter to kill only other killers that are dangerous and could do the deed again. After his dad dies, no one else knows of Dexter's secret as he is very good at what he does. As the show progresses it is clear that Dexter has little emotional attachment to any thing in his life. How can this be? Why would someone not experience the emotions that any normal human would?

After doing some research, it is clear that Dexter is a psychopath. Psychopathy is a mental disorder characterized primarily by a lack of empathy and remorse, shallow emotions, egocentricity, and deceptiveness. Psychopaths are also known to have a low tolerance for boredom and a need for excitement. These are both characteristics that Dexter displays throughout the show.

How does someone become a psychopath? There are a number of reasons. Genetics and traumatic childhood experiences are both causes could have influenced Dexter. He witnessed his mother's murder as a toddler which could have led to his disorder. He also discovered that he has a serial killer brother. This shows how genetics can play a role.

Dexter is an incredible show that should definitely be checked out by anyone who is interested in Psychology, or just wants an entertaining series to start watching!dexter-pfwa.jpeg

em + pathos

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(Make-up for discussion group on Thursday, November 3rd)

To answer a central question of "Similarity, Attraction and the Art of Blushing," no, I do not really want to look like the object of my affection 25 years from now!

What an odd phenomenon, this facial similarity in longstanding couples. What purpose does it serve? A key phrase in the article was, "silent empathy." In elaboration on his speculative view involving gradual face-shaping via repetition of mimicry, Dr. Zajonc says, ''Facial mimicry allows a truer empathy because it triggers the same inner state. Couples can understand each other much better when this happens.'' It would be interesting to somehow look at oxytocin, the hormone most popular for bonding, in relation to the process.

I think a science fiction novel could utilize this idea in imaginings of how alien races formed. First bonding, then mimicry, then assimilation... and the production of a hormone resembling oxytocin?

the urge.png

But what about other hormones? I'd like to see a study on which partner changes more toward the other towards similarity. Does person A become more like person B, or vise versa? Why would this be? Sex differences seem like a good place to start; it has been suggested that testosterone reduces empathy.

If this is the case and if Zajonc's view is correct, in a heterosexual couple, would the woman's appearance change more dramatically? The changes may be too subtle to measure. I can't help but think of the famous "urge to merge," the popularized and stereotypical tendency of partners in a lesbian relationship to become quickly and drastically similar one another.

Make up for the November 3rd discussion

As a kid, I was utterly entranced by television and movies. Every saturday morning I would wake up extra early to watch my favorite cartoons and every saturday night (movie night!) my parents would pop in one of my favorite Disney princess movies. These habits also carried over into my pre-teen years. Little did I know that I was receiving hundreds of thousands of negative messages about body image that only heightened when I became a young woman.

Television and the media can have surprisingly strong effects on girls and their body image. From the shapely midsection of Jasmine, a popular animated princess, to the gorgeous eyes and flowing hair of Heidi Klum, messages of what a woman should look like bombard girls through their youth. These unattainable images in commercials and shows can cause them to develop low self-esteem and even anorexia and bulimia.
While I didn't develop a serious disorder, my self-esteem dropped drastically in my tween years after watching unattainable images of beauty for so long. It took me 2 years to look myself in the mirror and say "I'm beautiful." If I had not watched so much TV as a child, I would love myself more and be more confident. Remember that you are beautiful no matter what the media says!
Luckily, some companies are trying to change this:

(Make up for discussion Nov.3 )
This week we talked about video games and the effects, long and short term, that they have on aggression. When I think of violent video games the first thing I think of is watching my older brother play Grand Theft Auto. At first I was quite shocked by the violence and crude nature of the video game (however cartoon-ish it may be), and then as I watched my brother play it more and more I became habituated and desensitized to the violence and explicit content. I even began laughing at parts that I had earlier stared at in disbelief.
After my brother went to college I didn't see any form of GTA for a long time and then upon returning for the summer I can remember seeing him playing it again for the first time in a long time. I was again disturbed by the violent aspects of the game and even more so because I could remember feeling so desensitized towards them.
Unfortunately, it isn't just a desensitization that has been occurring with violent video games, in fact it goes a step further to where we have seen increased aggression in (violent) gamers.
A great, but tragic, example is the Sony v. Strickland case where a 17 year old killed three cops and then claimed a defense saying that Grand Theft Auto had trained him to act this way. The link to the 60 Minutes special is below:

Zombie Ants!

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Make-up for discussion on Oct. 27

The above article is about ants whose behaviors are changed by mushrooms.
That's right.
These fungi will take over an ant's central nervous system, and control its behaviors to the mushroom's advantage. The fungus infects the ant's body, and forces it to travel to a suitable environment. Once it has arrived, absorbs the ant for nutrients.
What truly fascinates me about this is the mushroom's ability to control innate behaviors. A mushroom isn't self-aware, so how can it know how to manipulate other organisms in such a way? I wonder if it would be possible to change human behavior in a similar manner. Perhaps not to such an extreme, but enough to sift out unwanted behaviors, and introduce better ones. It would save us the trouble and time-consumption of conditioning, and if it were kept under control, it would not be dangerous. Would it pose ethical problems? Any thoughts?

Picture of infected ant:

TV, computers and video games are deeply entrenched in modern life but what effect does all this screen time have on how children develop?
TV jpg

One thing is clear, screen time is sedentary behavior and too much can replace the physical activity necessary for children to grow healthy and maintain normal weight.
sedentary jpg

Less clear are the cognitive and emotional effects on development. A recent NY Times article reports on recomendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to limit the screen time of children.

TV Limits for Children Urged by American Academy of Pediatrics -

In class you will be investigating the influence of video games on aggressive behavior of children but there are several other concerns parents may have about their children's viewing habits.

For example, television often portrays males and females in gender-stereotyped ways. As you watch clips from Barney and Power Rangers in lab you may also want to think about what influence these portrayals likely have on the development of gender identity and gender role awareness in children?

Certain shows might influence gender identity but often commercials play up gender stereotypes even more.

A recent study estimates that children 4-11 years old spend on average 2-4 hours a day in front of a some type of electronic screen.

A question we might ask is "What are children missing out on while watching television?"

Can you imagine life without TV or video games? What would you have done during your childhood and adolescence with the time you spent watching television? Would you have turned out any different?

Robert Zajonc (rhymes with science) was one of the most innovative psychologists of the last 50 years and contributed much toward understanding emotions and how our thoughts shape our emotional lives. His experiments revealed the mere exposure effect which shows that repeated exposure to any new object increases our liking of that object. Check out this demonstration of the effect here.

He also proposed that people, often unconsciously, mimic the facial expressions of their spouses and that, over the years, couples who tend to share similar facial expressions will become increasingly similar in appearance.


Based on the assortitative mating activity we did in class you might think that couples are initiatially drawn to each other who are similar in attractiveness and may even share certain facial features but this is not what Zajonc found in his experiments. Here is a NY Times article reporting on the original finding and the methods used to arrive at this conclusion.

Long-Married Couples Do Look Alike, Study Finds.docx

Now conjure an image of the person you are currently dating or interested in. Do you really want to look like that person 25 years from now?!

Another facial expression that signals emotion and often reveals the stirring of the heart for another, or perhaps just plain old embarrassment is the blush. blushing.jpeg

Recent studies have found that blushing can help reduce criticism from others and increase social bonds.

Hold Your Head Up. A Blush Just Shows You Care.docx

Your textbook also describes how knowing someone else is fond of you can increase attraction. This seems rather obvious and yet researchers have found that not knowing whether or not someone likes you at all can be an even more potent factor toward attraction.

Uncertainty Heightens Romantic Attraction.pdf

How many of you already act indifferently toward a potential boy/girl friend when you really are head over heels?

I was intrigued by the theories on what constitutes intelligence in this chapter, and specifically on the story of Christopher Langan. How can someone who has such highly-tested I.Q. end up working in a bar or on a farm (and be satisfied doing it)? And how does he feel about himself and what constitutes "intelligence"?

Here's some video of Langan's thoughts, and some of his thoughts on eugenics may be surprising (3 parts total):

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it"
-Joseph Gobbels (Reich Minister of Propoganda in Natzi Germany).

Toward the end of Ch. 7, Lilienfeld discusses false memories. More specifically, he discusses the different ways in which false memories are brought about. For example, in the seven sins of memory, he addresses how bias and schemas may influence our memory of a particular situation. In Natzi Germany, propoganda was heavily used to sway the public opinion. Victims, particularly Jews and socialists were primarily targeted. These victims were portrayed in a negative light, characterized with over exagerated traits.
Perhaps Gobbels used this sin of memory to his advantage by implacing a negative schema of Jews and socialists, thus distorting peoples memories. He may have additionally used "persistance", by constantly delivering this message. From a biological standpoint, memories are created and stregthened through long term pontitiation in the hippocampus. Acording to Hebbs rule, every time a stimulation occures the nerogical connection is strengthened.

Long-Term-Potentiation1.jpg Thus after hearing a lie so many times, the lie eventually may becaome embedded in the brain, perhaps acounting for flase memories.

If memories are this suseptible, should we really trust historical accounts and more specifically the media?

Make up for October 20, 2011

In the court of law, attorneys often rely on witnesses to help strengthen their arguement/ point of interest. But can a witnesses' statement be used if it isn't 100% correct? The answer is, we don't have a choice. This is because each time a person retrieves information from long-term memory it alters the previous details. As new information interacts with old information the overall memory is changed. Anxiety/stress which increases in most people when they are being interrogated or put on the spot (witness stand) significantly affects memory. Too much cortisol, which is associated with the stress hormone can prevent any new memories as well as accessing existing memories. So law students be sure in the future your witnesses are relaxed and comfortable to increase the accuracy of what actually happened the night Mrs. Robinson died.

Alberta crying on stand.jpg



I Don't Know; Google It

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(make up for October 20th discussion section)


The dynamics and workings of memory storage are endlessly fascinating. Every time I think of it, I always find myself inevitably drawn to the same place: what implications does memory modification--or maybe just the modification of how we remember--hold for evolution?

I was intrigued by the concept of elaborate encoding as introduced by the article on the woman who can't forget. She was so engaged with the particulars--the whats--involved with her memories that the memories themselves were bolstered. A modern and ever-growing concern is the effect of technology on memory. Search engines are of particular interest, and I've run across a number or articles pursuing the same questions. Our memories seem to be shifting from the whats to the wheres of information. What are we to make of this collective external memory of the internet? What does this mean for elaborate encoding?

Memory and Reality

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memory1.jpegWe often use metaphors to describe human memory and a common comparison for memory is the computer hard drive. While we can think about the similarities in how information is encoded, stored and retrieved with computer and brain, the analogy can also be misleading. memory.png We expect the information we store on our hard drive to be just as we left it when retrieving it from storage, but our own memories are not exact copies of the original experience. In fact they often change and as old information interacts with new information, we actively reconstruct our memories each time we recall them.

Much of what happens in the court of law relies on witnesses recalling past events. In your activity today you will be discussing how this can go horribly wrong. We owe much of our understanding of the limits of eyewitness testimony to the work of Elizabeth Loftus. Here is an interesting Scientific American article summarizing her work.

Creating False Memories.pdf

And if you still are not convinced, check out this video showing how easy it is to misremember the details of a crime.

Some of you will have difficulty understanding exactly how Paul Ingram came to believe that he committed the crimes his daughter accused him of. Some recent brain imaging research provides a clue.
Researcher Show How False Memories Are Formed _ Northwestern University Newscenter.pdf

What role then does attention play in memory formation and what are some of the conditions necessary for false memories to occur?

Finally, as students, at one time or another you likely wondered how much easier school would be for someone with a photographic memory. You might change your mind after reading about a woman who can't forget anything.

The Woman Who Can't Forget.docx

Distraction from the Action

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(Makeup for Thursday, October 13 discussion)

The above video is a humorous, but entirely valid warning. It is a reminder that if we aren't constantly aware of our surroundings, that is, if something distracts us from more significant occurrences, we could end up in danger of harming ourselves or others. This concept, known as selective attention, was discussed in the textbook, as well as in our section. While the way we discussed it was silly, it also applied very much to everyday life, and is the reason for many fatal accidents. This video was a reminder to me to always keep an open mind, and to be attentive to my environment. Otherwise:




(I am writing this for a make up 10/13/11),9171,1580394-3,00.html

This is an article I found online from time magazine. The article starts off with a story of a woman who was just in a car accident and is in what they call a "vegetative state". After several tests on the the woman's brain although her body could not function at all on it's own her mind could completely function. They learned this by asking the patient several questions while in a MRI different questions showed different parts of the brain working. For example they asked her questions about locations and her home which showed the parts of the brain light that are used for navigating and location.
In think about this you have to wonder how many people like this that have been in accidents or something has happened to where they have come to be in a "vegetative state" when in reality their body is the only thing that is not working their brain can completely work??


The article goes on to talk about different studies and ways of thinking about consciousness which I think point out a lot of good points that our book doesn't really bring up. Like how hard the study of consciousness actually is.

Chapter 6 discusses classical conditioning- a form of learning in which a neutral stimulus paired with another stimulus elicits an automatic response. This observation was first made by Ivan Pavolov. In his experiment, the dog would only salivate upon exposure to the food. However, after a while, the dog would anticipate the food and would begin salivating anyways. Thus Pavilov, prepared the food behind a curtain. Suprisingly, the dog still salivated upon hearing the bell despite that no food was present. In this case the

unconditioned response: food
unconditioned response: salvation
conditioned stimulus: the bell
conditioned response: salvation

Here is a similar experiment from The Office. Now see if you can identify the responses and stimuli.
(The link to The Office clip is tagged below)

p.s. If you get all the stimuli and responses correct, you get an Altoid!

Imagine playing a game of basketball where a gorilla, seemingly out of nowhere, walks by. Now imagine not noticing the gorilla until someone shows you a video of it later. Inattention blindness is when we are so focused on a task, that we are oblivious to other stimuli--even something as ridiculous as a man in a gorilla suit. In this case, perception is involved and influences what we see, even if we don't see it at all.

A concept related to perception is a Just Noticeable Difference (JND). For example, when tasting different cups of coffee that you know have different amounts of sugar in them, it may be nearly impossible to figure out which one has less because the difference between them is so small. This shows how our perception is not always accurate.

A fun activity to see perception at work is by looking at a perceptual illusion, such as this.


Believe it or not, all of the dots on this image are white! The illusion of gray spots happens because of the inhibitory response, which occurs as a result of the dark surrounding.

It is important to take notice of our sensation and perception so we can be aware of our surroundings, and not be blind to a gorilla walking among us!

What is Consciousness?

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One of the most perplexing and fascinating questions that psychologists face is understanding the nature of consciousness.

Many students think of consciousness as being alert, aware, and able to process information on a "deep" level. In other words, to be aware that you are thinking. Others define it as the level of attention and focus (mindfulness) we exert in our waking lives.

Sometimes, in order to critically analyze a mysterious and complex phenomenon, it helps to define its opposite.

We might gain traction if we think about what it means to be unconscious or have our conscious minds altered in some way by hypnosis, meditation or drugs.


Many believe that being asleep is equivalent to being unconscious. Today in class we are going to gather data and write about sleep habits. But consider these distinctions between being awake and asleep.

• The brain processes sensory information while you are sleeping.
o Important information, e.g., a baby's cries will serve to awaken someone, whereas moderately loud snoring, or the sound of a train in the distance will not.
o Noises are often incorporated into dreams.

• The brain processes internal bodily signals while you sleep.
o When a person is too warm/cold while sleeping, generally he or she will make compensatory adjustments to be more comfortable.
o A full bladder will awaken a sleeping person.
o Mental activity related to a person's experience is often incorporated into dreams.

For more about consciousness check out the following:

Sizing Up Consciousness by Its Bits.docx

A Dream Interpretation- Tuneups for the Brain .docx

Music, memory, and mistakes- Top neuroscientists explain how the mind copes in a chaotic world .pdf


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Must pay tribute to Steve Jobs today. I won't repeat all the accolades here. You will read and hear about his legacy from many others often in the next several weeks. To say his impact on everyday life was huge is an understatement. His vision created so many of the cool things you now take for granted and all accomplished a decade before retirement age.

So to honor Steve's vision of simplicity, elegance, fun and ease of use I want to describe your mission for writing assignment 2

Been reading your blogs and am pleased overall by the effort and thought you have been putting into them. Now I want to challenge you. Make your posts shorter.

For writing 2 you will not create a new blog but you will improve upon writing 1 and repost in the writing 2 category. The number 1 goal is to make the blog no more than 2 short paragraphs (4-5 sentences each). Any writing 2 blog longer will receive at best 3 points, perhaps less.

Also you will fix problems with first, (e.g. ugly html links in the body of the text, add a helpful visual or link to other media). You may want to revisit my guidelines for excellent blogging (and full points) at this earlier blog post.

Finally, you will work with a classmate to do this. Help each other edit and problem solve. Comment on each other's post. Come up with a catchier title that draws more people in. I am noting who comments on other people's blogs and whose get the most attention week to week.

Be sure to tag your partner by including their name in the tag box in dashboard.

I'll go over this more in class today.

This topic is close to my heart, as I placed my son for adoption 5 years ago. I was very eager to learn more about this phenomenon and dove right in to compare any similarities or dissimilarities with my personal situation.

So far I have not noticed anything in particular that Jack (my son) is more affected by his environment or by his genetics. Now that I have learned about this I am excited to see what happens as he grows up.

One side note, he does have a close resemblance to his adoptive parents but that turned out to be chance. But with that already gives a point to the environmental side.

Here is a link to adoptive families' magazine blog post by one of their readers, I find it quite intriguing. The adoptive mother is having behavioral issues with her son and is asking for other reader's advice. This could be a question of is this genetic or environmental???

I am interested in anyone else's feedback since this will be something that I will be dealing with for the rest of my life.

Food for thought. 016.JPG

Hi all! I just read Professor Wlaschin's email regarding blogs and thought that a how-to post with lots of pictures might be useful for people who are completely lost.

I think that the main issue is that people are going directly to then clicking on this button in order to create posts:


This does work, but the user interface isn't particularly inviting and doesn't allow for editing or insertion of images without code. Here's what I'm referring to:


Sooo..instead of going directly to the section blog's URL, go to to sign in. There are at least two "sign in" links on the Uthink homepage - one in the upper right-hand corner and one in the gold box on the left. They look like this:




When you sign in, your dashboard should pop up. It looks like this:


In order to create a new post, click on the "System Overview" button right under the University of Minnesota logo on the top of the page and select "Section 24 PSY 1001pub." Then, either hover over the "Create" button on the toolbar and click on "Entry" when it appears OR click on the orange-ish "Write Entry" button near the top of the screen. Here's a quick screenshot of the process:


You should now see the "Create Entry" screen. You can either type up your post there or copy-and-paste it from a separate word processor. Screenshot:


Don't forget to mark which category you'd like your post to be in - just check the appropriate box on the bottom-right corner of the screen:


You can use the toolbar to add/edit images, change formatting, and so on and so forth. Here's a screenshot of that - notice image button on right and formatting buttons on left.


I know that some people were having issues uploading images and/or had "ugly" links in their posts - in that case, I'd recommend uploading the photos you'd like to use to Photobucket or a similar free image-storing site. Then, grab the URL of the image and use HTML to insert it into your post. Here are a couple of screen-shots of the process:


and the code (sorry it's in image format..easier to display):


For those having issues posting videos, it's SUPER easy to embed video via Youtube (and far more effective than posting a link that very few people will summon the motivation to click on). Just find the video you're looking for on youtube, click on the "share" button under it, then click on the "embed" button. Copy and paste the code into your blog post and you're good to go. For example, this:


will yield this:

If you have any questions about HTML, I'd recommend checking out The blogging platform used here is Movable Type, but I didn't find their site particularly helpful or informative. Here's a link regardless.

Anyways, moving on to editing posts:

To manage your posts, hover over the button on the toolbar which says "Manage" then click on "Entries" when the drop-down menu appears. At this point, your screen should look like this:


You should then be able to click on the title of your post to begin editing. If you're having difficulty finding your post(s) or wish to find a certain person's posts, you can edit your viewing preferences to reflect that:


Last but not least, you can change the name/picture displayed on your blog from the preset values. To do this, simply click on your name/ID in the upper-right-hand corner of the page:


That will bring you to this screen, which should (hopefully) be self-explanatory:


Hopefully that's somewhat helpful. Let me know if anything's unclear and I'll edit/add things as necessary.

I ran into this problem in my last post on differing levels of analysis--the problem of polarizing perspectives and the importance of reciprocity between perspectives to maintain whole understanding.

It's easy to see why this comes to mind immediately when contemplating the nature-nurture debate. I found myself wrestling with extremes, again. It seems that exclusive subscription to either nature or nurture compromises identity. It is certainly to better to find the overlap and the dialogue between the two so that expression is given some depth.

But even then, are nature and nurture not just two variables in an equation that plays out deterministically? I notice others have posed similar questions.

I think of the Bogle family. Such widespread, grave actions may seem to indicate some extent of hard wiring, "on whose nature Nurture can never stick." (Shakespeare) Caliban.jpg

Anomalies become fascinating. Consider the member of the Bogle family who graduated from high school with a GPA of 4.0 and received a full scholarship to Oregon State University. One has to wonder about this Bogle's genetic make up and upbringing.

Is the question of free will a sophomoric one? Spontaneity is a phenomenon I'd love to study.

I've run across the idea of psychodrama, a method of psychotherapy in which clients are encouraged to continue and complete their actions through dramatization, role playing and dramatic self-presentation.

At the core of psychodrama is a powerful premise: that spontaneity and anxiety are inversely related. Typically people think of this as knowing they will be more free to act once their anxiety is lowered, but, like a perfectly balanced see-saw, when one end is up the other is down, and vis-versa. Yes your spontaneity will rise when your anxiety is lowered, but the reverse is true. The more spontaneous you are the lower your anxiety. This is where using psychodrama and role-playing in therapy can have a tremendous asset in helping people overcoming anxiety. (Daniel J. Tomasulo)

It seems relevant to my initial concern of compromised identity and spontaneity. Could it be that the fluid playfulness of shifting, fictive identities is what gives psychodrama the power to restore an individual's well-being? What does this say about the power of all manner of expression?

Makeup Blog for Missed Discussion Section - 9/29/2011 - Week 4 - S&P

Sometimes we miss things when we are distracted. But have you ever just completely missed something although you were paying attention? This can happen when you pay too close attention to just one aspect of the larger picture.

This video is an excellent demonstration of this. eye.jpg

Did you see the gorilla? Many viewers don't. This inattentional blindness occurs when someone's attention is focused elsewhere. Some viewers are too focused on counting the passes of the basketball, that they completely miss the fact that there is a person in a gorilla suit! In this demonstration it is kind of funny, but it is almost scary to think about what other things we might be missing because we are too caught up on something else. Sometimes a great attention to detail isn't the best thing.

Sensation And Perception

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Sensation is distinct from perception but most of us use these words interchangeably. After this week you should know the difference. Sensation begins with stimuli from our surroundings. This week you will be learning about the amazing mechanisms like rods and cones in the eye and hair cells in the ear that transform stimuli into neural impulse which the brain can interpret and create meaning.

Perception is what the brain does after your sensory organs have picked up and translated the stimulus.

Many students struggle with some of the underlying concepts that researchers have used to determine the range and limitations of our sensory organs.

Here are a few everyday examples of sensory experience that you can test or are familiar with that describe phenomena discussed in your book. See if you can name the concept and explain why it occurs.

Different portions of the body vary in their sensitivity to touch. Try this 2-point discrimination task with a friend.

Picture 10.png

Bend your paperclip to make two points that are relatively parallel to each other

Have your partner shut his or her eyes, and ask them to guess if you are touching their hand with one or two points of the paperclip

Try this on various parts of the hand, arm or other parts of the body and with different distances between the two points

This next scenario represents a different S & P concept. Do you know what it is?



Isabel has prepared three cups of coffee but can't recall how much sugar is in each. The cup with the smallest amount of sugar is easy to identify, but Isabel can't taste any difference between the other two cups even though she knows one has more sugar.

Finally, it may be a case of early onset of dementia but this happens to me more than I would like to admit. I ask my daughter,"Hey Ruby, have you seen my sunglasses anywhere?"

Picture 6.png

Try and identify three concepts from your book or lecture this week that describe what is going on in each case.

And for those who want to know a little more background concerning our in activity in discussion section this week, check out this short article

Would you spot the gorilla?.pdf

Just heard about an interesting study happening here on campus involving how International students adjust to college.

You can earn up to 5 REP points or a $35.00 Target gift card if you choose to participate.

You are eligible if:

*You identify as an international student whose first language is NOT English.
*You have just started your first semester at the University of Minnesota.

Click here for more information about the study

Nature vs. Nurture

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This week in discussion section we will discuss the nature/nurture question as it relates to the story that you read about the Bogel family. Pretty crazy situation for the Bogels. Would make a nice reality TV series on FOX. We should all be grateful we were not born into that clan!


Still, how do we know what drives such criminal behavior? Is it in our basic makeup, the code in our genes? How much is this behavior learned from our parents, siblings and friends?

Here are a couple of article that address both sides of the issue. Some food for thought before Thursday's class.

Altering a Mouse Gene Turns Up Aggression, Study Says.docx

The Pleasure of Giving.docx


More about your blog assignments

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Here is some criteria for what I am looking for in your blog posts.

thinking about a blog_13108130-resized-600.png

There are some general guidelines in the syllabus that you should refer to. The criteria below are more specific instructions that will help you create interesting and comment provoking blog posts.

Blogs are worth 6 points each. You will earn points based on the following. The first two are the most critical.

1. Explain a concept from Psy 1001 lectures or the Lilienfeld text that has interested you over the past two weeks. This should be your first paragraph. Essentially, summarize some new information you have learned in psychology that you think is cool. DO NOT directly copy out some definition from the text book! Summarize in your own words.

2. Provide a real-life example that illustrates the concept you described above. Most likely from your own experience but it could involve someone you know or some current event that is relevant. Show us how you can apply what you just learned in class to your own life. Why does it matter? Why should we care?i-think-therefore-i-blog.jpg

3. Creativity counts! Incorporate other media into your post by using a photo, video, or link to other articles.

4. Connecting. Good blogs should connect to other internet media. You should first look to comment on or refer to other blog posts in your class. Extra credit for blog posts that receive the most comments.

5. Clarity and mechanics. Blog posts should be short, to the point, focused on one topic. Paragraphs should be brief, you are pushing it if they go beyond 4 sentences. Refer to the syllabus for what we mean by what makes a clear and functional blog post.
Here are some additional tips:

The 4 Pillars of Writing Exceptional Blogs

20 Types of Blog Posts - Battling Bloggers Block

6. Finally, end your blog with some kind of question. Based on what you have learned and what you know from your own experience, what questions do you have? Perhaps your fellow students or instructor has some ideas or other places to look for answers.

Hopefully, this will provoke comments from others which might earn you extra credit!

Happy Blogging.png

Week three news

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OK, scores have finally been posted on Webvista. Now that I have gotten through grading this first assignment, I believe I have a solid method for organizing this task and should have future grades up quicker.

To see my comments about your work simply pull up your document and on the upper right hand corner is a comments pull down menu. Select "show comments stream". You can respond to these comments if something doesn't make sense. I also highlighted sections in your doc that I wanted to draw your attention to.

You do not need to make these corrections on this assignment. They are simply suggestions for ways in which you can improve your writing in the future.

Congratulations to team BAM! for doing the best work of the week. They earn an extra point for their excellent effort. You are welcome to check out their work on Google docs to see what it takes to be the best.

Many of you in this section still have not come up with a group name or symbol. Make sure you do this for all future assignments.

Now on to biological psychology and the role of genetics.


Facial Feedback Hypothesis

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facial feedback.jpg

Our in class activity this week involves running a small experiment to test if forcing facial muscles into a smile or a frown changes how humorous cartoons are perceived.

You will be writing about how this experiment was executed and organizing your findings into a document that follows APA style rules for psychological science publication.

Based on the data collected by your group and the class as a whole, did the experiment confirm your hypothesis?

Here are a couple of news articles that explain why laughter feels good and another which describes how a botox injection might dampen other emotions.

Laughter Produces Endorphins, Study Finds -

Botox May Deaden Not Just Nerves.docx

Talking About Minds

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blog dog.jpg

Be creative with your blog posts. Feel free to post pictures, videos, music to help your post rise above pointless barking.

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