Writing 6: December 2011 Archives

Although most students tend to do all night cram sessions before exams, the act of cramming actually has a negative effect on a students grade. In a study done at Harvard Medical School. The study looked at the effects of sleep/lack of sleep on the cortex which is the area of the brain that helps with information storage.
The key to good memory retention is to get a consistant amount of sleep every night, deviating from your sleep schedule, even for an hour, can lead to negative effects in memory retention.
The best way to study is to attend class, keep up with class material throughout the semester and then get good, consistant amounts of sleep every night. One of the professors involved in the study said it would be better to go take a test well rested then to go sleep deprived.
This is very interesting since most students study in a way that is the least effective to actually retaining the information that they are reading.

(This is the article)

No Stress No Cry!

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Stress is the last thing that I want in my life now. When we look at the human evolution, we see that stress was important for survival. In other words, it was the main mechanism that saved us from danger by activating fight or flight effect. A lot of other human species experienced extinction because of their low operated stress levels.

In a natural environment, like the amazon rainforest, a lion could be a stressor for us. When we face this lion, we would have only two choices; to "fight" or to "flight" in that you are either going to attack to the animal or run away from it. Either way, you need the energy. At this point, you would love being stressed because it is going to help you to save your life. But now, I do not think if I would ever face a lion in Dinkytown, right? I do not need stress anymore but it is still in my life! It's in everyone's lives. Today, our modern lions are the homeworks, midterms, finals and jobs for us. And the thing is we neither run away from our textbooks nor attack the final exam papers. So the energy is accumulating in our bodies and this results in health problems.

Today, I visited Jhon to talk about my grades and stuff. He told me some ways of coping stress and told me to be happy. Well, I guess I'll try my best!


My Favourite Posts:

1.flore222 I really like the title and the context is really interesting.

2.bedea002 What he discusses is sometimes true for my life too, so I find it interesting.

3. :mehlh017 Nice link between causal things and what we learn in Psych1001

One topic of social psychology that I found very interesting was the study of groupthink and cults. Groupthink, the emphasis on group unanimity at the expense of critical thinking, in extreme form can lead to cults, groups that exhibit intense and unquestioning devotion to a single cause. Evidence suggests that cults promote groupthink in four major ways: having a persuasive leader who fosters loyalty, disconnecting group members from the outside world, discouraging questioning of the group's assumptions, and establishing training practices that gradually indoctrinate members.

Cults have an abundance of misconceptions. One is that all cults members are emotionally disturbed. Research shows that most cult members are psychologically normal, however many cult leaders probably do suffer from serious mental illnesses. This misconception occurs because we overestimate the role of personality traits and underestimate the role of social influences. It's hard to believe the power that a group can have over a single individual and that a simple idea such as groupthink can lead to something as extreme as a cult.


I guess I should stand up too??

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The first time I attended a college women's volleyball game was an experience to remember. Right before the game started, the band started playing and everyone started standing up to clap in a rhythm. As I uncomfortably sat there, something urge me to join the crowd and do what they do. After the chanting the song, everyone sat done and so did I.
Amazed at what just happened, it was shocking to know that I just learned about conformity the week before the game. When I told myself that I wouldn't fall for conformity and let group pressure force me to behave differently. Though, I guess at least conformity didn't led me off in doing something bad.

Favorite blog
I found this blog interesting because I've wondering why clothing trends changes so dramatically.

Inmate Isolation

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After reading about social psychology I understood in more depth why humans have the need to belong. The book explains how humans have a biological need for interpersonal connections. This means that we are born naturally with the want to interact with others. There are studies to prove that being isolated can cause problems with anxiety and mood. This makes me confused because if they know this as a fact why do they isolate inmates as a punishment? This is not teaching them a lesson; instead it makes matters worst. The research shows that the threat of social isolation can lead us to become in self-destructive ways and even impair on our mental functioning.

I begin to search on the web for more information about the negative impacts on prison isolation. I found out they are coming up with alternate ways to punish disobedient inmates. Overall I believe that putting individuals in prisons is not beneficial. Why discipline them by placing them with others that have also broke laws? This does not teach them how to interact appropriately when it comes time for their release date. However I have not of thought of any other way to penalize individuals who break the laws.

You were looking at a balloon which was floating in the sky. Suddenly, the baloon moved up. (toward the sky higher) Why do you think the baloon went up?


Before I explain about the question, please think of your answer.
By the way, my answer was "because the balloon was blew over by wind"
Is your answer same as mine? The question of balloon was from a TV show that I watched a few years ago. In this TV show, they concluded that more Western, Individualistic, people answer "because the air came out from the balloon." On the other hand, more Eastern, Collectivistic, people (like me) answer "because wind blow over the balloon." Of course, the conclusions are not always apply to everyone, but it's very interesting that people from the different culture think differently.

I read an article, "Face-off: East v.s. West" that is talking how Western and Eastern culture people see human faces differently. In the past, psychologists believed that people perceived faces firstly scanning eyes and then down to nose and mouth. However, Roberto Caldara, a psychologist at the Uni. of Glasgow in the U.K. found out that East Asian students tend to fixate on the center of a face whereas Westerners tend to see from the eyes to the mouth and back again.
In the lectures, we have learned how Westerners and Easterners think and behave differently. In addition, from the article, I've learned how I tend to see people's faces... well, I may look at your nose first!


Something we all do . . .

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Many people care what the label on the inside of their shirt says and just can't bear to send their children to public school. However, in the society we live, it is a highly unattainable dream for those who wish for it.

Ever wonder why all of the houses look alike? It is society slowly trying to make us conform. Those are the perfect houses to own, and everyone should have one. In addition, the most expensive brand name clothes are usually a dead giveaway. It is a scary thing to know that we are surrounded by this. However, instead of living by what everyone else is doing, choose to live by your own rules and be successful.

Favorite Blogs:
The Creation of a Psychopath: It was easy to relate to and had good examples which I use myself.
The Education Paradigm: I especially enjoyed the video and found it thought provoking.

I found chapter 12 to be quite interesting. Mainly because of all the various ways in which stress effects us physically. I'm not sure about others, but I used to see the commercials about people with depression and hear the commentator say "depression also has physical symptoms" and I would think "how?". How could thoughts effect your body or cause physical pain? They're just thoughts...right?
After reading this chapter and doing further research, it all makes sense. For example, every time when finals (or tests in general) roll around, I have tremendous pain in my back, not 3days before, but on the day of the exam. For many of our physical pains we can usually pinpoint a source ("my back hurt because I had to lift boxes all day at work." type of thing). Once I'm done with the exam, the pain is gone! According to the book, stress from having to take tests (and other things) can have physical effects on our bodies.
So maybe our Psych professor, should just spare us all and forget about a final!

Nazi Crimes

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hitler.jpgWhen I took US history in high school, I wondered how so many Nazi could have engaged in such obviously unconscionable behaviors. They tortured and killed so many Jews in the death camps. In view of the Milgram experiments, the Nazi crimes are not difficult to understand. Most people will obey external authority over the dictates of conscious.

This experiment shows the darker side to human nature, the dark side that exists in all humans. It's scary when I think about it, how we would probably be prepared to kill someone just because an authority figure commands we do so. The Milgram Experiment just made me wonder what I would do in the same situation. I don't think I could keep hitting the button if I thought someone was being really hurt. However ultimately it's impossible to know how one would react to something until you're in that situation yourself. What would you do If you are part of the Milgram Experiment?


As I was reading through the situational influences of aggression I noticed a funny little trend. All but two of them can be attributed to most first-person shooter video games.


Interpersonal Provocation: Little kids yelling insults, not surprisingly, make us more likely to lash out.

Frustration: Between lag and bad teams there are many ways to be thwarted from achieving your goal.

Media Influences: This one speaks for itself.

Aggressive Cues: Guns, knives, warfare are all stimuli for aggression.

Arousal: It is easy to get hyped up playing a game that pits you against others in a war scenario.

Seeing this, its not hard to understand why so many people can get aggressive and resort to trash-talking. So the next time your getting yelled at by 12-year-olds over Modern Warfare 3, remember you put yourself in this situation.
Kid Gaming.jpg

My favorite blog was The Final Countdown (duhduh duh duh, duhduhduh duh duh) because I loved the title, it was nice and short, and it had an entertaining video.

Pink = Popular

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From pop culture we've seen that to be popular, you have to fit-in with the cool crowd. But what exactly is fitting in? From psychology we know that it is just conformity, or the tendency of people to alter their behavior as a result of group pressure. This pressure can especially have power over us when it is unanimous and you are the only one who is fighting against the majority.

This is seen perfectly in a scene from the movie Mean Girls.

In this clip Lindsey Lohan's character Cady slowly learns about all the deindividuation she will have to go through to fit in with the popular group. In the movie she goes against who she is and sacrifices many things just to be one of the girls in the Plastics. Maybe in this fictional story the only thing lost was the chance to wear something not pink -- but it's scary to think how far conformity can go and how much it can influence our decisions.

I really enjoyed the blog How it Feels to Be Discriminated.

High IQ bad for your health?

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I stumbled on an interesting article this week relating high childhood IQ with an increased probability for drug use later in life and couldn't help sharing it.

CNN Article

What struck me about this article was that you would expect people with lower intelligence to be more willing to take risks with their health such as drug use rather than other with high intelligence. However, those with high intelligence may be more wealthy which would open up the financial ability to afford drugs, especially high costing drugs such as cocaine or heroin. perhaps those with better schooling have more access to information about drugs like in health classes which sparks a curiousity in them?

Of course this topic is not exactly current to lecture topics but it got me thinking about these current topics as well. perhaps the mere exposure theory applies to drugs as well as exposure to other people. the more normal it is to you, the less of a stretch it is to try it. in the same way, exposure to schizophrenics can increase your likelihood to develop the disease. would this mean that education about mental illnesses increases your likelihood to self-diagnose?

my favorite blog was Taurus: Stubborn, Dependable, Stable, Possessive.

The Creation of a Psychopath

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On November 18th, 1978, 909 cult members under the direction of leader Jim Jones committed mass suicide in the jungle in British Guyana. This was the single largest loss of human life (non-natural disaster) before September 11th.Jonestown_gallery__595x400.jpg

There are many reasons why followers join cults (brainwashing techniques, indoctrination, and obedience), but what are the motives of the leaders? Are they always psychopaths? According to some researchers, most cult leaders, if not all, exhibit extremely narcissistic traits or tendencies, also known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder. But does this classify them as psychopaths? Other characteristics of a cult leader, some which fall under Narcissistic Personality Disorder, include: grandiose sense of self, pathological lying, lack of remorse, shallow emotions, need for stimulation, impulsivity, promiscuity, and a parasitic lifestyle. My question is, when do these "traits" or "behaviors" become a mental disorder? Where does one draw the line? Our book says that many cult leaders suffered from serious mental illness, but when does having one or a few of these traits develop into something much more severe - severe enough to be labeled as a psychopath?

My conclusion is that cult leaders, like Jim Jones, have the right combination of traits to make a perfect cult leader. They usually have troubled childhoods, charismatic personalities, Narcissistic personality disorder, opportunity, and high persuasion skills. They are also fairly educated, gaining the respect and admiration of many people.


Depression and Rumination

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van gogh.jpgIf you have ever suffered from depression or know someone who has, it can obviously be a very debilitating and devastating problem. Our book notes that more than 16 percent of Americans are affected by major depression illustrating that it is a widespread and common problem in society.

Recently, as described in this NY Times magazine article, researchers have examined the relationship between the mental act of rumination and its influence on people suffering from some types of depression. In part, what has been found is that; "the capacity for intense focus, they note, relies in large part on a brain area called the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), which is located a few inches behind the forehead." The intense focus of this part of the brain creates can cause people to fixate on particular concepts, which can be useful if someone is attempting to conceptualize complex and difficult problems, but it can also be harmful if the same focus fixates on negative and unhealthy thought processes. While the arguments made by this type of research remain very controversial, I found it interesting that there might be connections to particular types of thinking that could lead to both productive insight and unhealthy mental thought processes depending on the state of an individual.

I enjoyed this entry on OCD, I thought it was interesting.

As most of you know, and all of you should know, we're approaching finals week. Among other things, this means long hours in the library, late nights, and less sleep than normal. I doubt many of you would disagree if I argued that finals week is one of the most stressful weeks of the year.

How are we able to cope with stress? The answer is pretty generic; maintain regular sleep patterns, eat healthy foods, and exercise when time permits. This is obviously tougher with the time constraints of finals week, but it's nonetheless important. In addition, creating a schedule for yourself and sticking to it can reduce the stress of studying for your exams. It also never hurts to laugh!

In short, don't be like this guy;

Conformity with Clothing?

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I have always found the clothing "trends" to be odd. Not the trends themselves, but the fact that one trend will resonate with a majority of the population for a given amount of time. It isn't probably that all of the people will somehow have a preference for the same type of clothing at the same time, and then switch together. I have always wondered, why is it that just five years ago, gaucho pants were "in," yet now they are considered "weird?" Why is it that ten years ago bell-bottom jeans were the way to dress, yet now its skinny jeans as the trend? When reading chapter 13, I began to wonder if it has to do with conformity. Do people really just wear what the want? Or are they conforming to a trend set by someone, or a small group of people? Are we all just conforming?

What You Do Impacts What I Do

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I think it is very interesting how other people around us can have such an influence on our lives and who we are. Other people affect us through multiple reasons; one is that they serve as a mirror of sorts, providing us with useful information about ourselves, and another way is that we look to other people to figure out what to do and what to believe.
When I think about my life through out the years I think it is interesting to look an see if I can think of a point in which I did something not because I thought of it myself but because I saw someone else did it, and while I like to think of myself as an individual I know it often time happens. conformity.jpg

In social psychology, conformity refers to people's tendency to change their behavior due to group pressure, and a Japanese prank show displays this tendency. In the script of the prank, a stranger walking in an empty alley encounters a flood of people running towards him/her. In the show, everyone who faces this situation starts turning around and running, though he/she has no idea what's going on. These strangers are involuntarily involved in the stream because they are under the group pressure. They may think the crowd running towards them is a sign of danger so that they start following others immediately. The reason this prank is successful is that it includes the key factors of conformity. The crowd's action is unanimous: they all run towards the stranger. If a group holds unanimity, a single person in that group is likely to conform. In addition, the size of the group matters. As indicated in the title of the prank show "100 people", the crowd has a large number of people. If the strangers only encounter one or two people, they won't perceive a sense of threat and run away. Hence, this prank show takes advantage of our conformity and illustrates the key factors of the tendency to conform to social pressure.

There are many mentions about the finals, because we our minds are concentrating wholly on them. Yes, finals are coming up, and I need to study. I tried to study in my room, but I got distracted very easily. Therefore, I went to the library to study. The presence of other students studying made me think "You are the only one being lazy right now, so now study!" As a result, whenever I go to the library I always get inspired to study, which is a good thing. But what is so ironic is that, if there were the same amount of students in the library in the audience, when I have to do a presentation, I would be very uncomfortable with their presence. I would actually get discouraged by their unspeakable pressure that they give me with their eyes. But then again, some people don't really care if a lot of people are looking at them when they do their presentations. I guess it all depends on the situations that we like and don't like being in. It all points to our personal preferences.
How can we use social facilitation so that we benefit from all situations?

I liked this blog because its optimism gave me the ability to cope with my stresses also. Optimism works!

Finals. Who's stressed??

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As everyone is aware of, we are on the brink of final exams. With finals comes lack of sleep, giant amounts of coffee, studying until the wee hours of the morning, and, if you're like me, lots of stress. If you tend to worry about all the things you have to do in such a short amount of time and how you're never going to make it through finals, never fear, Chapter 12 is here to help. This chapter offers helpful stress coping methods, like social support, behavioral control, cognitive control, and emotional control.
So, when you become stressed with studying, seek social support by chatting with your roommates or giving your mom a call. They will be able help you with emotional control. If that doesn't work, take a break from studying and practice behavioral control by reading a book (for fun!), watching your favorite movie, or baking some Christmas cookies. And to practice cognitive control, just think that in only a few days finals will be over and it will be winter break.

My favorite post was "Deindividuated hipsters? How ironically ironic" because it is interesting to think about how our behaviors differ in crowds and how some may end up doing things they would never think of doing individually.

Do you have a phobia?

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If you are walking down the street and see a small, cute dog, which isn't doing anything scary or threatening, do you feel anxious and afraid just passing by it? Most people must not, however, I will feel scared. I know I am irrational, but I am full of fear as long as there is a dog around me. Because I have cynophobia -- an abnormal fear of dogs. Cynophobia is a type of phobia, which is a persistent fear of an object or situation that has litter or no actual danger.

How did cynophobia emerge in my life? Although I can't remember it clearly, my mother told me when I was 2 years old, I was bitten by my grandmother's dog. I think it maybe the reason. Because after it, I always avoid direct contact with any dog, and I will be anxious even when I know my friend will bring her dog to my home. Moreover, my mother also has cynophobia. I might learn it from her.

I'm not sure I can overcome my fear of dogs during my liketime, but I will try. Maybe raising a dog by myself will be a good way.

My favourite blog post is "Does Optimism = Less Stress?" by L. Pipkin. Problem-focused coping is a good way to solve a lot of problems.

Can animals be altruistic?

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Do we help people simple because we want to help them? or do we help them for egoistic reasons? Psychologists have had the same questions for many years. Some people assume no one can really be altruistic. They assume we help others for reasons such as reliving our own distress, experiencing the joy of others we've helped, or anticipating that people we've helped will be more likely to reciprocate by helping us later. On the other hand, other scientists, such as Daniel Batson, do believe people simple help others due to pure empathy. If people can by altruistic, can animals be too?

According to a recent news, a dog named Duncan, saved his owner from a house fire. The dog did not make it out of the fire and was buried in the flames. Does altrustic apply to both human and animals? If not, how can we explain what Duncan did?


Depression and College

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I was shocked to know how many college students are going through depression, and the new link on our webvista page was an eye opener, so I decided to do some research on college and depression. According to the American College Health Association (ACHA), the percentage of college students diagnosed with depression has increased 56% in the last 6 years. Not only that, but problems showing up that lead to depression are more serious that they once were, like sexual assault or death of a friend. Students today definitely have a lot on their plate. Greg Kneser, Dean of Students at St. Olaf, notes that many students lead "hyper-enriched lives", with computers, classes, jobs, sports, travel, volunteer work, etc. Combined with these responsibilities, many students are forced to reinvent themselves. Leaving everything behind and trying to create a new name for yourself is more stressful than anyone told me it would be. In general, students are coming to college more overwhelmed than ever before. This also makes me think of the Flynn effect; society is growing more intelligent by the minute, but this also means college are raising their standards and demanding more of us students each year. When does it stop? When do we tell society that the expectations are simply too much, and that college students cannot handle anymore?

Interesting websites if you're curious for more information:
Depression plagues college students

I wanna be like YOU!

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Remember in high school, when everyone wanted to be well liked and a part of the "in crowd?" But then as you grow older and mature, this want seems to diminish. Well, actually it sort of sticks around and continues to influence your choices in the form of conformity. Conformity is the tendency of people to alter their behavior as a result of group pressure (Lilienfield, 500). One study called, the Asch Conformity Study, experimented with conformity by taking a group of people and telling them to deliberately choose the same, wrong answer. Then take a person unaware of the situation and see what answer they choose based on the responses of the group. Results were found that 75% of the participants responded with the same wrong answer the majority of the time. People conform because the do not want to bring attention to themselves, nor be independent and solo. Do you feel this way? What would you do in these situations?



My favorite blog post was "Trying to study? Don't let em' get their foot in the door" by hilm109. I liked how he used a practical situation that every student will need to overcome at one point or another in their college career. I agree with the decision to not even let the situation start in the first place

The Big Bad Wolf...

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It is estimated that in World War II the death toll for civilian and military death was around 48 million people. How is it possible that we could have let that many people die when the average person would never kill a stranger normally? The answer has many factors as we talked about with the Milgram's obedience study people are obedient. We see with many things that when people are in large groups they act much more aggressive.

The factor that I find so much more disgusting is the fact that in a war the enemy is not even seen as human, but rather talked about as animal or worse. I was trying to find a clip that exemplified this from the movie "Sands of Iwo Jima", what I found instead was much worse in my opinion it is a clip from a warner bros cartoon from back in 1942 it does the three little pigs as the U.S.A and Germany as the big bad wolf. The reason I find this so horrible is because this is meant for really little kids and already at such a young age they are taught to treat Germans as the big bad wolf. I can understand war, but is it right to have them seen as animals. Here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEcJF0EVT54


A great part of chapter 13 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.

One thing that this video did not show was that the next day the teacher reversed the roles. Brown-eyed children became 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?"

What should I do? Should I study for that big test coming up? Should I chill with my friends? Maybe I should just disappear.
This is one of the most common and difficult decisions us college students have to make nearly every day. As finals approach, many of us will have to make this difficult decision yet again. My advice is to lock your door. In chapter 13, Lilienfield discuses the foot-in-the door technique, a persuasive way which involves making a small request before making a bigger one. Imagine you are in dorm, studying rigorously for your upcoming final. About half way into your rigorous study session, one of your friends stops by and suggests you take a small study break. Reluctant at first, you eventual give in. After all, it's only a small study break. However, soon your friend suggests you go out and grab a drink. A little drink can't hurt, right? So you go along, however eventually one drink turns into two as two turns into three and eventually you begin to lose count.
The next thing you know, its 5:00 the next morning, you have a terrible head ach, and on top of that you have a final in a few hours. So this year, make the right decision, lock the door and don't let those distractions in! Good luck!

My favorite blog post was Motivated "Does Optimism = Less Stress?" by pipki006. She discussed how optimism can help one cope with stress. I agree that attitude is critical in performance. Being more up beat and hopeful has been helpful for me.


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One thing that really stood out to me when reading the textbook was the idea of urban legends - false stories repeated so many times that people believe them to be true. Some of the examples that the textbook gave were so ridiculous that I had a hard time believing that people actually believed them to be true.

However, the concept of repeating messages many times made me think of the game "telephone" where one person thinks of something, then whispers it into the ear of the person next to them, who then does the same thing, so the message is sent down the line of people.

Most of the time, when the last person in line says what they think they heard, their statement is way off of what the original phrase was. Somewhere down the line (or perhaps in many places), the person listening to the message doesn't quite hear the phrase correctly, but they pass the message, which they believe to be correct, on to the next person, causing the actual message to be disrupted.

It is interesting how this can happen in real life too, when one person tells another something, who then tells another person, and so on. More often than not, little details are changed, causing the story to have a different effect than intended.


My favorite blog was One minute apart makes the world of difference?

Conformity to Kill

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stanford prison experiment.jpg

Why is it that we as a society feel the need to conform to the status quo? The Stanford Prison Study was provocatively interesting in the respect that these study participants took on the roles that they were assigned. For myself personally, I really don't understand why this happens. Why does treating another human being destructively trump the human moral sense? Shouldn't there have been a red flag going off in these particpants' minds that this wasn't right? The roles we take on in society are interesting and I found myself relating this back to the section where we discussed how gender identity is assigned. If I was born a female and I wanted to orient myself as a male, I could and the prison study really seems to help support the idea that we take on roles according to society. I find that scary---have we no individualism?

I really enjoyed the blog titled "Taurus: Stubborn, Dependable, Stable, and Possessive" because I am a Taurus myself :) I also thought the pictures for this pseudoscience are awesome! Well done!


I recently watched and episode of NCIS, which in case some of you didn't know is a science fiction show about the investigation of deaths of Military personal. One of the shows was about a man who killed someone but, throughout the show several of the men in that same division were sporadically violent and reported delusional images. Later you come to find out all of these men had taken the same post traumatic stress disorder medicine which was the linking factor and thought to be the cause of these violent outbursts. Many PTSD patients are treated with antidepressants or anticonvulsants which can dramatically change ones personality. Antidepressants work by affecting the concentration of neurotransmitters. Anticonvulsants are something where the exact mechanisms are unknown; possible effects include enhancing or inhibiting effects of neurotransmitters associated with anxiety and blockade of sodium channels in the brain. Although these medicines have greatly improved the lives of many with PTSD we still see many of these examples of the the one in NCIS where these medicines have detached the patient and skewed their perceptions, so are these medications worth the unknown side effects?asdkjh.jpg

My Favorite blog this week was Risky Buisness!

While reading through chapter 13 I found the definition of cults to be interesting; "cults:groups that exhibit intense and unquestioning devotion to a single cause". When I thought about what that definition sounded like to me it made me think of devout christians and their firm belief and faith in god. They aren't "brainwashed" or "transformed by group leaders into unthinking zombies"; They are just really devoted to god and what he stands for.


I thought that the blog "Victim of Rape, Victim of Involuntary Sterilization", was really interesting. I hadn't heard of that story and the thought of that really upset me. I'm glad women like Elaine are speaking out about this issue.

In college students face many difficult choices. As an incoming freshman, everyone is thrown into a new environment and is expected to adjust. For this, some may have a much more difficult time to adjust to their new environment than others. This is where peer pressure comes into play in the life a college student. With the new freedom of living on your own, trying to make new friends, and handing school work, many opportunities arouse to slack off. For example, i'm sure everyone of us in the class have came to a point within our college career where we were presented with the opportunity of either staying in and studying, or going out with friends. Peer Pressure

Peer pressure can influence our decisions very much whether it be a good or bad decision. A group of friends walking in to lets say your dorm room and are all dressed up, and full of excitement. Meanwhile you have been studying for the last couple hours and are aware that you should study for a very crucial midterm that you have in two days. Now the question is: Do you go out and have a good time? or Do you stay in and study?

1) My favorite post to read was "Why are drunk people more friendly?" This was a very interesting post and entertaining because I have seen many instances where this happens.

2) My next favorite post was "Celebs Sell" because it was another interesting post that i enjoyed. The post made a very good point in terms of how celebrities influence consumers decisions during purchasing products


What sparked this discussion for me was the lecture of cultural psychology that we had, given by Dr. Marti Hope Gonzales. It's interesting to me how our different cultures; Western and Eastern are so contrasting. I've learn a few key things that I never knew such as; when it comes to conformity it is valued more in the East than in the West and Eastern people are more conforming to their in-group vs. strangers. For Westerners it's the total opposite. it makes no sense why people (us) in the West would conform more so to strangers than to the people that we love or thats in our in-groups. Another interesting point that stood out to me was also the fact of overall concern for the fellow man in Eastern societies. It seems that in Western cultures we our so closed unto ourselves and the in-groups we belong to, we live in a me-me secluded society. Lastly, I also found it intriguing about the fact that Western society tend to look at the smaller picture of things vs. Easterners who look at both the big and small picture. By looking at both cultures it really puts a mirror to the society that we live in here in the West. It makes one think for a moment, if only we could adopt some of the attributes that other Collectivist cultures and societies have how different things could be overall. Thank you Dr.Gonzales for a interesting and thought provoking lecture.

For more information:

I definitely think something in psychology that I will never forget is the concept of Pseudoscience. We are all victims of it and I am no exception. Pseudoscience is relatively common in everyday life, especially with the things like astrology. Palm readers and other forms of psychic analysis are both very believable and often times extremely coincidental if you are unaware that it is completely false and by chance. However, I still find enjoyment in reading my horoscopes, going to palm readers, and engaging in card readings.

I don't understand why I enjoy these things so much. Perhaps because, even if for just a moment, I feel a deep connection with who I am and what my future holds. It's not everyday that someone I have never met before tells me things that I am relatively good at or expresses my interests without knowing a single thing about my personality. Astrology could really tie in well with the placebo effect, as well. Is anyone else a victim of pseudoscience and if so, in what forms? Even though I know better than to believe and pay into an industry that is nothing more than complete bogus, I still feel a desire to continue reading and engaging in astrological activities.

Never Ending Add-ons...

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Every day, each and everyone of us is persuaded in some way or another. Low-ball technique is when the seller of a product starts by quoting a price that is below the actual sales price, but once the buyer agrees to buy the product, there are all of a sudden needed "add-ons."

We've all been guilty of falling for these persuasions, whether it was as simple as agreeing to help a friend out and then doing WAY more than mentioned, or purchasing a car, then having to add extra features.

I am currently guilty of this technique; I recently booked a spring break trip with my friends because it was so cheap (figures). And what do ya know... soon enough i'm paying $200 more than I was supposed to because of extra, probably unneeded, features. Cheers to that, right?

What are your best examples of the low-ball technique?

With more and more dogs in the military, people are beginning to realize that dogs can develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This disorder is common for soldiers or people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event in their lifetime. It can cause them to avoid memories associated with the trauma, have recurrent dreams of the trauma, experience increased arousal and panic attacks when they are reminded of the trauma. Lulu, a dog rescued from battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, seems to experience some of these symptoms. Lulu is frightened when in contact with other dogs and children, suggesting that the dog is afraid of quick and unexpected movements. The fact that animals can be affected to such an extent shows how vulnerable humans are to traumatic stress disorder. PTSD can have a life-altering effect on a person's life and as we have seen in this article, on a dog's life too.


Does Optimism = Less Stress?

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As students, most of us face certain potential stressors. From academic stressors like finals and important presentations, to more social ones such as going to parties where you don't know many people or moving into a new residence. Dealing with so many stressful situations, it can be easy to fall into pessimistic thought processes and think "I just can't handle this" or "I'll never succeed."

But if you think you'll be able to get that A in biochemistry, and be able to manage all of your work, you're less likely to experience a stress reaction. If you have that "I can do it" attitude, you'll more likely do problem-focused coping where you face your problems and work to solve them head-on.

I found this idea fascinating - so if I believe I can cope and succeed, it's more likely I will cope with my stress by tackling problems? To me, this seemed like not only a recipe for success but a remedy for stressful reactions. Do you think it is?
Also, if one can be too pessimistic about their ability to cope and succeed, is it possible to be too optimistic about it as well?

A blog post I really liked: "Deindividuated Hipsters? How Ironically Ironic" by E. Carriere.
Check it out!

Risky Business

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After reading the "Addictive Personality" article that Professor Wlaschin posted in his last blog post, I found it very interesting that many successful and extroverted type people have similar personality traits compared to addicts. Addicts are people who are seen to be impulsive, emotionally and socially avoidant, angry, and irresponsible and that does not seem like the personality of someone who is capable of a large company. One would think that they are responsible, reliable, hard-working, and think about major decisions before making them.

The difference between addicts and many successful leaders is that the people who are successful in life are able to harness their addictions for the better and use them to get ahead in life. Their risk-taking personality can encourage them to take a chance on things that most people wouldn't such as a risky business venture. Their need to earn rewards motivate them to work harder in order to get what they want.

Although sometimes he used his addictive personality for the worst, if Sigmund Freud had not used his addictive and obsessive personality for the better, where would we be in psychology today?


Conformity to Gender Rolls

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I found an interesting experiment on youtube that studies conformity in gender roles. First of all this video is quit amusing to see each person walk through the door that corresponds to their gender, secondly it does a very good job of showing how we as a society conform to gender rolls. I believe the reason people would conform to gender roles is because society has painted a picture of how each gender should act, and influence people's decisions of how they want to be seen in public. No man would want to be seen walking through a woman's door and vise versa. After watching this video think about all the times in your life you may have conformed to gender roles.

Mass Hysteria

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Mass Hysteria, or a situation in which various people all suffer from similar hysterical symptoms, is something that is really interesting. Its something that I think fascinates many people, but they don't really have any personal experiences dealing with this. I knew the general idea of what it was, but it wasn't until reading this section of the book that I really understood what it was and became even more fascinated. After reading, I looked up some famous/ well known situations involving mass hysteria. Some of them were:
- The June Bug Epidemic- mysterious illness caused by a bug in a factory led to over 60 people becoming infected

-Soap Opera Hysteria- A portuguese soap opera led to 300 students becoming infected with the same symptoms a character on the show developed.

Its crazy to think that these events can actually occur. Here's An interesting video I found: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbF0G-md8Es&feature=related

Celebs Sell

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Research proves we are more likely to absorb a persuasive message if a famous or attractive person is delivering the message. So hopefully you all will pay more attention to what I have to say. Additionally, messages tend to be even more persuasive if the messenger seems similar to us. Companies like Go Daddy have used this in their marketing to market their services. What are some purchases have you made that you regret because of this strategy? Here is a link with some additional info:

Classical Conditioning

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I think a time that my psychology knowledge came to my rescue would be when I got my first pigeon. I hand fed him and every time I fed him, I'd shake the food tray. This conditioned him to associate the shaking noise with food and he eventually became very tamed. I took him outside and flew him. He would fly and then come right back when I shook the can. The video I posted is an example of what the pigeon eventually was able to do (not my pigeon).

Have you ever felt very stressed and sad when you've been by yourself for a just a few hours? Everyone needs some alone time once in awhile but as humans, we all suffer when we aren't around others for a certain length of time.
There are over 25,000 U.S. prisoners in "supermaximum" facilities, which is solitary confinement. These prisoners live in a small cell with little to no windows. The stay in there for 23 hours each day. These prisoners over long periods of time suffer from depression, anxiety, high levels of stress and other psychological issues. psy blog1.jpg
Studies of volunteers in solitary confinement can't last a week, sometimes not even minutes in these environments. In studies with monkeys, those that didn't have contact with others for a year were never able to socialize and made themselves outcasts when released into an environment with other monkeys.
Solitary confinement is psychologically damaging, sometimes permanently. To many people it is considered torture and yet 40 states in the U.S. have these "supermax" facilities. These prisoners are facing the consequences for their actions, but is this punishment humane?psy blog2.jpg

CHD, or coronary heart disease, is the complete or partial blocking of the arteries that provide oxygen to the heart. It is the number one cause of death in the US and accounts for almost a million dollars a day. Scientists began examining the factors related to CHD and found that your specific type of personality can be associated with later heart disease.

The results proved that a person with a Type A personality had a higher risk of developing heart disease. Type A personality can be described as being competitive, driven, hostile, and ambitious. The individuals with the highest levels of hostility were shown to have the highest risk of CHD. Other factors such as smoking and diet may be taken into account, but scientists found that tamping down hostility and learning had a 37% decrease in deaths from heart attacks.

In conclusion, do you think that personality has as big of a factor on CHD compared to diet and exercise?



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Suppose you're a franchise manager at a Domino's Pizza restaurant and you're told that you need to come up with a new, catchy design for the pizza boxes. You have three employees who are available to help with this assignments, how would you have them go about the task?


If you're like most people, you would have them brainstorm in a group to come up with new ideas. But hold on! Recent research shows that, counter to popular thought, individual brainstorming generates more novel and feasible ideas than group brainstorming. Why can the mind be more powerful when isolated as opposed to when it's connected? Art Markman, Ph.D., suggests two explanations: 1) many people become anxious in groups and don't freely share ideas and 2) others sit back and don't do work because they know that the group will generate ideas without them.

Which style of brainstorming do you think is more effective?

For more information about this interesting topic check out this article: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201103/building-during-brainstorming

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Writing 6 category from December 2011.

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