April 2012 Archives


For my 3rd entry I decided to take Harvard's "IAT" test and see what it was all about. You yourself can take the test if you so choose to (). My results were interesting. The final page read: "Your data suggest a moderate automatic preference for Straight People compared to Gay People." I find my personal results puzzling... mostly because I am gay; and I have a significant other that I've been with for 4 years. So, I now sit here wondering a). did I score these results due to the fact that I'm running off of 4 hours of sleep?, or b). do I seem to have a "automatic preference for straight people compared to gay people" because I often times try to hide the fact that I'm gay so I don't have to explain my sexual orientations to others and justify who I am?

I found a very interesting link on the page that shows results from between 2002-2006 listed by Harvard. I'm puzzled yet again why people associate "bad" quicker with being "gay." This "Sexuality Attitude" bar graph leaves me wondering "Do people associate 'gay' with 'bad' more so than 'good' because it's been termed 'abnormal'?" I don't think that I'm abnormal...I am who I am... not some genetic defect.


How does this bar graph leave you feeling? (content, uneffected, disgusted with society, upset, frustrated, confused, etc). I'd also be VERY interested to hear the results of anyone else after they take the test.

Notable Abnormality

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The most interesting aspect of this class in my opinion has been the recent subject of abnormal psych, dealing with mental disabilities and what is considered as "abnormal". I always considered the words abnormal and normal obsolete; Normal is just a setting on a washing machine anyway.
But some of the cases we seen in discussion, such as the man dealing with schizophrenia breaks my heart. When I was watching the video, the main thing going through my mind was how his mother must have felt, because she had to watch her son fight through delusions and what he believed to be people out to get him.
The reason the abnormal psych part of this class will be the one I most likely remember the best in 5 years is mainly because it hits home for me. I have a brother with bipolar and there are many other extended family members who would be considered to have some of the conditions described in the abnormal psych section. I tend to remember the things I am most interested in, so the abnormal psych topic will be the most prevalent one that this course has taught me about and that I will remember best.

Psychology is a very broad field and offers a large amount of information that can be learned at various times. The spectrum spans from the nature vs. nurture debate all the way to classical conditioning. Choosing a concept that I will remember five years from now was pretty difficult to do because there are so many and I would like to remember everything from psychology. But this could never be done completely!


I choose to remember drugs, not that they are good, but because of all the bad things that can arise from them. I hope to use the information gained in psychology to make wise decisions in the future about whether to take them or not. Stimulants, such as nicotine has been around for a long time and is legal. But if this drug is used in excess over long periods of time, it can have harmful side effects. Narcotics are around to relieve pain and induce sleep so they are relatively common, especially if I choose to go into a healthcare field. A majority of narcotics can be abused and very harmful to the user however. Lastly, I need to be weary of psychedelics. These hallucinogens can produce alterations of the mind and could lead to some bad decision-making. LSD trips have been known to ruin people's lives.

Drugs have been and will continue to be out there in today's modern world. There will continue to be alterations to them and some will become even more dangerous. How can we as psychologists, use our skills to fight against them? Are there good, illegal, drugs out there?

I am six years old. I sit at the bar with my parents, feet dangling off of the goofy leather stool, mesmerized by the lights, the music, and the smokey haze that fills these fantastic rooms. My father's friends let me roll the bar dice, laughing and cheering me on, and as I take a sip of my kitty cocktail I decide that life is perfect in this moment.

Now I sit here at twenty, yet even the thought of the scene I just described brings a smile to my face. I went back to this same bar, and the bars like it where similar events occurred. They seem smaller, dingier, and the stink of the smoke still clings to your clothes even after they banned cigarettes a few years back.

Why do I bring up this kind of disheartening observation?

-Because it seems to me that memory reconstruction was at work here. Remember that our memory is not picture perfect, but rather a pieced together recollection of past events. Rather than passively reproduce our memories, we recall our past experiences and actively reconstruct them. I believe that when I think back to days such as these, I piece together the best of a large number of situations and produce one enchanting scene. I am certain that emotion also plays a key role, because as a young child everything was so much more exciting. I am sure that I heavily attribute this excitement to the positive feelings that overcome me when I think back on my childhood.

In the same way, I imagine that looking back on Psychology someday, my memory won't be quite the same as the experience itself. Maybe I will remember the horror of cramming for exams, but I hope that I instead remember the insight I gained into the science of psychology, and hopefully apply it to an array of situations in my life.

Chapter one, the discussion of the principles of scientific thinking, logical fallacies, and the discussion of other biases that get in the way of logical thinking will stick with me. Christopher Hitchens, who is my favorite outspoken atheist, implicitly uses these concepts when he debates about religion. I have a video of him making many of these arguments which is definitively worth watching. Watch! Hitchens had a beautiful mind!

Occam's Razor: Christopher Hitchens talks about the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. He says, demonstrating the principle of parsimony: What is more likely? That all natural order is suspended, or that a Jewish mink should tell a lie? Watch: 1:30-1:50
The next segment of this video Hitchens asks about the spread of Christianity, he asks what is more likely: That Christianity spread because the innate truth of the Bible, or because Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. Watch: 1:50-2:15

Extraordinary Claims: Hitchens talks about how the extraordinary claims the Bible make don't hold up to extraordinary evidence. He says how the claims come from "the less literate parts of the middle east. Don't appear to the Chinese where people can read and study evidence and have a civilization. Let's go to the dessert and have another revelation there. Watch: 2:20-3:05

Principle of Falsifiability & Ad hoc immunizing hypothesis (escape hatch that defenders of a theory use to protect their theory from falsification) Hitchens says that all of science and world history could be part of god's plan and there is no way an atheist can disprove that. Essentially intelligent design as science can't be science because it is unfalsifiable. Watch: 3:05-3:25

Terror Management Theory (theory proposing that our awareness of our death leaves us with an underlying sense of terror with which we cope by adopting reassuring cultural worldviews): Hitchens explains the view of death he holds as an atheist. He explains the view of deaths theists have and why they use an afterlife as a comfort. Watch: 8:22-10:30

After reading almost the entire Psychology 1001 book, the chapter still highlighted in my mind is Human Development, especially regarding childhood development. Coming from a large extended family and being an older relative, I was the professional babysitter for all my younger cousins.


At first this responsibility was met with hesitation. Should a one-year-old be walking without help? How old do babies really need to be to eat certain snacks? If they're crying, should I just let them cry themselves to sleep? But even if I didn't know every specific rule, who wouldn't want to get paid $20 for an hour amount of work?

Exploring the factors of motor development, social development, Piaget's and Vygotsky's theories helped cement in my head a clearer picture of childhood development. Although Piaget's and Vygotsky's theories have pros and cons, they lay out a developmental stage of learning and thought processes. As someday hoping to be a mother, the factors of motor and social development helped me understand the more biological side of childhood development.


So as you all go on to have families in the next 10-20 years maybe you should double-check the criteria of your babysitter. Even if it is only one night a week, do you trust your children to someone who doesn't even know around what age babies start to walk?

Remembering Perception

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I would have to say that the most interesting and perhaps relevant thing I will remember from this course is the concept of perceiving. It amazes me that our eyes only relay information to our brain and it is truly our brain which interprets and does all the work for us. Furthermore we can perceive things differently than other individuals based on our individual unique processes of thoughts. Many of the tricks that our mind can play on us are seen and perceived the same person to person but interestingly enough, some things are interpreted different by different people. I like to think that the most fun and interesting thing is that our mind can play tricks on us based on what we expect to see.

I think I will always think back to this class when I come across the topic of perception in the future.

Autism & Perception

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The concept in psychology that I think I'll remember five years from now is the video about autistic children. I absolutely fell in love with its idea. I could not believe that with consistent attention, those children got so much better and the evidence was so obvious. They were a mess before and it seemed they were not even aware of their surroundings like their parents and even food. I am still amazed at how much better the children acted with positive reinforcements. It also seemed that the best reinforces were based off of love, like a smile or a hug. Another item from this class that will stick with me will be the discussions about perception and going through the many different pictures of illusions.
I loved how some sidewalk chalk artist would draw completely 3-D images on the 2-D streets. I did so many double-takes because I could not see how it was actually on the ground. The artists were very amazing. I think it is cool how we know how our brains are flawed. We get "tricked" when we see things that don't make sense. We all perceive differently which makes life different for everyone. I liked connecting what we learned in the book to how it applies to the real world.

I'm so excited that I've found yet another way to be more critical towards blanket statements people say. Thank you Psychology 1001!

Early on in this course I was happy to learn the many heuristics we utilize as the cognitive misers we are. Consider the situation where people were asked if more murders were committed in Detroit or in Michigan in a given year. Majority of the respondents said Detroit because it's easier for our brains to think of the news stories with murder rates in large cities such as Detroit, Chicago, LA, or New York; however if one were to take just a minute longer to think about this question, we'd realize the city lies within the state, in this case Michigan, and therefore obviously the state would have a higher murder rate assuming that at least one additional murder was committed in another city.
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I find myself already using this approach when people, including myself, state generalized sentences like "It's more dangerous to live in a large city." Prior to taking this class, I may have shrugged off a statement such as this; however, since taking this class I can't help but suggest that perhaps we think these "general" thoughts not because they're based on diagnostic facts but because they're what are most available in our memory.

And if I may add one last thing that is unrelated to heuristics, I was deeply moved by Dr. Paul Broks entry, "My Confession," where he bravely acknowledges that his clinical psychology expertise appears to be irrelevant or peripheral during his own "dark times." I think this submission is extremely touching and grounding. When life goes to sh*t, sometimes all we can manage to do is hold on

Oh Memories.

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The amount of things I am going to learn in school during the next few years is going to be so vast that what I have learned in psych will probably take a review to remember for the most part. There is one topic I will almost surely never forget, and that is the concept of universal adaptability. In all reality, it will be the small parenting section mostly.


I may not be having children in five years, so this will be remembered a little further on. But when I have children I will make sure to try and keep their universal adaptability alive. On top of this, I will for sure remember the different parenting styles. I think this is partly because I have already learned the parenting styles in a separate class and they are already stuck in my brain. Also, when I have kids I would like them to have the greatest opportunities possible. Because of this, I think if I can make it easier for my children to detect different sounds it may be easier to adapt to different languages and therefore increase their chances to learn and use the languages further expanding opportunities for jobs and enjoying travel.

Let's be rational here...

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This psychology class has taught me a great deal about a range of topics including memory, emotions, stress, sleep, and IQ, to name a few. I believe a lot of what I will remember about psychology in five years will have to do with sleep cycles, stress, and emotion. These topics particularly stuck out to me due to my interest in these subjects. They personally relate to my life because I love sleeping, I am an emotional person, and I am constantly trying to better myself with handling my stress.


For sleep, it is important for me to understand how much sleep I need per night (8-10 hours now) because I like being awake and alert for my whole day. It is a priority of mine to stay healthy both emotionally and physically, and sleep plays a factor into both. Emotions are very interesting to me. The fact that you are born with specific emotions already is especially intriguing to me. I want to work in the neonatal unit of a hospital when I am older so the section on babies and emotions is an unforgettable one for me. Lastly, I will remember the section on stress the most. I am a person who does not deal well with stress. I often become irrational when placed in situations I am anxious. The part of the chapter discussing how people need to accept the circumstances they are in and then realize they are not able to change them or their feelings about the situation really helps my perspective on handling my anxiety. I feel as though this chapter will especially stick in my life due to the fact that the information may help me in my everyday life. Overall, I am so happy I took this class and learned all the new, interesting facts that I did.

Stress effects people in numerous different ways. Some people deal with stressors as they come while others spend their days worrying about the stressors coming up. There are three approaches to stress discussed in our textbook: stressors as stimuli, stress as a transaction, and stress as a response. Hassles, or little struggles in our life, often cause people to have stress in their daily life. Too much stress can lead to a breakdown, which can happen to anyone who is having trouble coping with their stress.


A specific effect that can occur from stress is the nocebo effect. The nocebo effect is when beliefs can create reality by stirring your emotions so much that they actually come true. This article describes this effect very well. A personal experience dealing with the nocebo effect in my life has to do with my sister. She has anxiety about many things in her daily life and can't control her reactions to her stress very well. For instance, if her friend gets sick with something such as the flu, she will stress herself out so much and make herself believe that she has the flu. She will do this to the extent that she actually gets flu-like symptoms and begins to throw up. It is very sad to watch because she can't help her emotions, which are causing dramatic reactions in her body.

Numerous sources today bombard new parents with information about the "correct" environment to raise their children. These sources prey on the anxieties of the parents to provide the best environment for their children. I have learned in psychology that it does not take the perfect environment for a child to thrive all it takes is a "good" environment. As long as the child has the essentials of food, clothes, shelter, and love the children are likely to thrive. Couple-Swinging-Child5.jpgThe area parents need to concern themselves with is being as consistent as possible and trying to be as authoritative as possible. This means being both demanding and responsive to the child. Authoritative parents allow their child to develop on their own but sets limits and provide encouragement to the child every step of the way. Being an authoritative parent will allow your child to mature and gain self-confidence. When it comes to raising children it is not about being perfect but rather about being consistent and providing the essentials a child needs to thrive. What do you think is the most important aspect of parenting? Do you agree/disagree with anything in this entry?

You Are Not Alone!

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On a day-to-day basis people deal with making decision, whether they are influenced by others or not. I feel that five years from now the idea of social influence and social psychology will stick with me.

Unconsciously, fellow peers influence people's decisions. We often conform (tendency of people to alter their behavior as a result of group pressure) or obey in order to avoid being the odd one out. In our culture, Americans do not like to be singled out. We often loose our identity (or deindividuation: tendency of people to engage in uncharacteristic behavior when they are stripped of their usual identities) and morals just to hide ourselves and agree with others. This leads to another idea called groupthink: emphasis on group unanimity at the expense of critical thinking. Americans like to get things done in the fastest and easiest way possible, so if everyone agrees the job will get done. This is not always the most effective way with the greatest turn out though.

Take a minute and think about it....
How many times have you made a decision that was not fully and truly your decision? How many times have you worked in a group and people all just agree with one person's ideas to get the job done faster and possibly not to the full potential?

I feel that this is not only an issue now in all our lives but will be in years to come. As we graduate and make our way into the working field, we are all going to have big decisions that need to be made on our own. We will also work in several groups to get tasks completed. We need to keep in mind who we are individually and what we believe in. This is the only way to be true to ourselves and fair to all other people.


According to BellaOnline's Japanese Culture Editor, "The desire to know about blood type, started because of an assertion from the West, which stated that Asians were lower, in the evolutionary chain and that they were more closely related, to animals than other races." Interestingly, that was the start point where Asian countries became deep into the study of blood type.


Finding correlation between blood type and personality traits is one of popular theory in Asia countries, especially in Japan. Even though it has been disproved by Modern Science, some Japanese Scientist such as Furukawa Takeji still took it upon himself to scientifically by matching personality traits to blood type.
It was about 4 years ago in Korea when a movie, "Blood Type B" came out. In the movie, one guy with type B blood was described as a play body and a quick lover with non-responsibility. Because the movie was so popular at that time, many girls almost did not want to go out with a guy with type B blood. However, ironically, the percentage of blood type B is greater than the combination of all other blood types in Korea. I believe that the blood type theory regarding personality traits is almost not credible at all. In addition, the description about each blood type is so general that it could apply to everyone.
Following are the personality traits ascribed to the basic blood types. (If you know yours, try them)

Blood Type A:
Positive Traits: Conservative, introverted, reserved, patient, punctual and inclined to be perfectionists.
Worst Traits: Obsessive, stubborn, self-conscious and uptight.
Referred as 'farmers' in some descriptions, Type A's are said to be considerate of others and loyal to a fault. They can also be secretive and reluctant to share their feelings. Apparently they don't hold their liquor well, either.

Blood Type B:
Type B men have acquired a very negative reputation in Korea and are not considered by many to be good husband material. Often described as 'players', they are perceived as being selfish and mercurial, quick to anger and not terribly reliable. That said, their bad boy image makes them very attractive to women, but not for the long term. (Type B women do not share in this bad rep, for some unexplained reason).

Blood Type AB:
Referred to as 'humanists', Type AB's are said to be controlled more by their heads, than by their hearts. They are rational, good with money, but unpredictable. Although inclined to be distant, they prefer harmony and as such, work well with mediators. Some consider them two-faced, and therefore untrustworthy.

Blood Type O:
Referred to as 'warriors', Type O's are viewed as natural leaders and are often, also, natural athletes. They tend to be outgoing, expressive and passionate, but can also bore others to death with their obsessive drive for success coupled with their absolute convictions that they are winners. This certainty that they will always win explains why they aren't afraid to take risks or gamble. They have a strong physical presence and are unlikely to ever be overlooked.
If you have known and tried them, do you think there is correlation between the personality traits and blood type?

There are several things throughout this psychology course that I believe will linger with me for many years to come, but I think the most valuable and probably most simplistic concept that will remain a part of my arsenal is the idea that correlation does not equal causation. This idea is one of the founding scientific thinking principles, and it applies to an astonishing number of debates and events throughout one's lifetime. I'm confident it will be something I use to reconcile one's logic with in the future, because just this week I was presented with the topic of explicit gangsta rap music and its negative impact on the youth of America. There's an argument that these lyrics containing graphic lyrics depicting gang-banging, sex, drugs and violence, are the cause of the actions of adolescents associated with these types of activities. I believe, however, that the gangsta rap genre is in general of most appeal to the types of people Gangsta Rap.jpgcausation. It's these types of discussions and situations in which I find myself latching onto ideas learned from my psychology course thus far. I will always be an analytical thinker, and this principle will aid me in the battle against ignorance.

There are several things throughout this psychology course that I believe will linger with me for many years to come, but I think the most valuable and probably most simplistic concept that will remain a part of my arsenal is the idea that correlation does not equal causation. This idea is one of the founding scientific thinking principles, and it applies to an astonishing number of debates and events throughout one's lifetime. I'm confident it will be something I use to reconcile one's logic with in the future, because just this week I was presented with the topic of explicit gangsta rap music and its negative impact on the youth of America. There's an argument that these lyrics containing graphic lyrics depicting gang-banging, sex, drugs and violence, are the cause of the actions of adolescents associated with these types of activities. I believe, however, that the gangsta rap genre is in general of most appeal to the types of people Gangsta Rap.jpgcausation. It's these types of discussions and situations in which I find myself latching onto ideas learned from my psychology course thus far. I will always be an analytical thinker, and this principle will aid me in the battle against ignorance.

Emoti-cons. :(

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We all have emotions, the main 7 being happy, sad, angry, contempt, fear, surprise, and disgust. We can be happy and on top of the world, or sad and feel like nothing will ever get better. Most of our emotions can be described without words and with our body language. But in the recent years, our society is increasingly moving towards text messaging and email, and away from face-to-face communication. We show emotions through things like USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS to express anger or excitement, or short answers like "k"to show something might be wrong. But we also use emoticons to show how we feel. the problem with them is does a simple face made of simples really get across the point of how we are feeling? Given a simple smile, :) , many things could be interpreted. smilies-emoticons.jpg

Emoticons have their pros, such as acting as almost a substitute ( a weak one) to body language, but at the same time, emoticons take away from writing how you actually feel. As we move more and more towards text communication, what do you think is the biggest consequence? Do you think text and email communication impair our abilities to communicate in person?

I think most American's feel that there is a stigma around psychological disorders. People think that they are weak or may seem weak if they seek help for mental illnesses. I, personally, have not been affected by a mental disorder myself or known someone personally with a mental disorder. Although, after learning the statistics, I'm sure that I must know someone who has a psychological disorder. People actively seek medical attention for physical ailments, so we, as a society, need to start getting help for psychological disorders.

Being at a large public university, there are many resources at our disposal. Two resources that would be beneficial for students struggling with mental disorders is the Boynton Health Service Mental Health Clinic or University Counseling & Consulting Services. If you are a student or employee of the U of M, these services are free! I feel that the U of M should do a better job of making students aware of their services. I think that college students are at risk of mental illnesses because college years are a major transition in most people's lives. Students should not feel shame for seeking out help for the disorders.

mental_health_awareness.jpgMay happens to be Mental Health Awareness month! I think that everyone in Psych 1001, after learning about the different psychological disorders, should try and stamp out the stigma of mental health disorders and encourage people to seek help for mental disorders!

The Freudian defense mechanisms, which are unconscious maneuvers intended to minimize anxiety, are something that we engage in; more often than we realize. Don't you agree? I have seen Denial being exhibited by my aunt when my uncle passed away in a motorcycle accident. Denial is motivated forgetting of distressing experiences. Recently, my dad engaged in rationalization when he came to know that he might be told to retire in a few years. Rationalization is nothing but providing reasonable sounding explanations for unreasonable behaviors or failures. We knew that he was clearly upset about it because my dad is a person who doesn't like to sit at home and relax. But he kept on saying that he would enjoy his life by traveling and doing other activities that he wouldn't normally do, if he was asked to retire. cartoon1.gif I engage in rationalization whenever I get lower grades and when I fail job interviews. I use displacement, which is directing an impulse from a socially unacceptable target onto a more acceptable one, when I am stressed out. The acceptable one is either eating or running on a treadmill until I sweat it all out. Projection is also another very common one, where we unconsciously attribute our negative attributes onto others; like blaming the teacher for our poor performance in class.

Apart from these, there are other defense mechanisms like Repression, motivated forgetting of an emotional memory; Regression, returning psychologically to a younger and safer time; Reaction-Formation, transforming an anxiety producing experience into its opposite; Intellectualization, avoiding anxiety by focusing on abstract and impersonal thoughts; Sublimation, transforming a socially unacceptable impulse into an acceptable one; and Identifying with the aggressor, adopting psychological characteristics of the person we find threatening.
Which of these do you use more?

I am sure that all of us are aware of the Flynn effect seeing as we all learned about it in chapter 9. The Flynn effect is finding that average IQ scores have been rising at a rate of approximately three points per decade and that on average our IQ's are 10-15 points higher than those of our grandparents. This is pretty amazing huh? Psychologists have proposed some explanations...1) Increased test sophistication (better at taking tests) 2) Increased complexity of the modern world (technology) 3) Better nutrition (not suffering from malnutrition) 4) Changes at home and school (parents having less children hence devoting more time to the ones they have). These explanations seem pretty reasonable accept there is one problem, recent data suggests that the Flynn effect may be reversing or decreasing.

Why would the Flynn effect be decreasing? Well, I agree with three of the four explanations. Explanations 1,2,4 seem reasonable but I'm not sure I agree with explanation 3. Better nutrition you say? Last time I checked Americans were not healthy eaters at all. Americans today consume way to much sugar in their diet, not enough water, and not enough exercise (the majority). I can see how poor nutrition can cause a reverse Flynn effect. Poor nutrition with little exercise is not what the brain needs to perform at a maximum level. For the brain to grow in different areas it needs nutrients to feed off of. What we put into our body is what we get out of out body. Children sitting all day video gaming rather than playing with other children could also be the culprit. What other factors could contribute to the Flynn effect decreasing? Thoughts?

Enough is Enough

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As our school year windes down to the end it is quite obvious that many of us have had enough learning for one year and may need a break. I have been thinking about his idea for a couple weeks now because i have found it harder and harder to study or learn new material. I feel as if my brain is full for the time being. I guess what I want to know is if there is anything in our brain that makes it harder and harder to learn as the school year goes on? Is it lack of focus? A unique case? Or does this happen to everyone?

After searching the web I was asked myself these questions:
Are we too used to our environment?
Do we need to switch our place of study?
Are we addicted to the internet?

There was not much else on the web besides people telling others with this problem to just try harder. I believe that can help but I honestly want to know if there is something biologically in our brain that makes it harder to learn after learning for a long period of time? Please tell me what you all think?

Nature Vs. Nurture, we all have our opinion on what this phrase means to us and what side of the debate we feel is most influential to our daily lives. For me this will forever be a fight inside my head to pick the ultimate factor in the person you become. Each person may be affected differently which complicates the debate even further. nature_vs_nurture2.jpg Looking into this further I find myself being able to generally define whether the traits of yourself come from nature or nurture. For example, most physical features are from genetics and therefore nature. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I find that your personality and language type come from being around your parents and peers, this is therefore nurture. These generalizations could also get controversial though because are all of your features and your appearance based off of nature or are some of them, such as obesity, due to nurture? Another twist to this debate is, where do our parents get their nurturing skills? Is this through nature from their lives? And if so does that mean the link continues and nature dictates all? These questions could continue on. I feel that this is why I will always remember this concept, it is something that will continue to ponder in everyone's heads and will be carried with us for longer than even five years.
Permissive is exactly how I would explain my parents parenting style throughout my childhood years. Not the permissive style that Regina George's mom from Mean Girls takes in this video here. My parents took a more subtle approach.
For me, I would like to think, that I turned out just fine and scraped by with a few minor bumps and bruises. My parents never thought that grounding me would be beneficial. This may be to the fact that both my parents were rebels and their parents punishing them only forced them to break the rules even further. This leaves me to believe that my parents not punishing me lead myself to think that I have my parents trust and I wasn't willing to break that. My parents seemed to think this technique worked great for me so they carried it onto my sister three years later. This didn't seem to go over as smoothly with her as it did for me. My sister continues to be the rebel that my parents were afraid to find from punishing. She is very different than me and this just shows that maybe there are different ways that suit each person and not just one single "just right" method. How did your parents raise you? Do you believe that theres a technique for every personality? (blog for 4/25 discussion)

Dogs VS. Cats

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I found a snippet in the Lilienfeld text that discussed personality traits that are associated with dog & cat people. Dog people are personal, outgoing, fun people where as, cat people are quiet, a bit neurotic, and like to be alone. As I relate this information to myself without a doubt, I'm considered to be a "dog person". Like the personality traits of a typical dog person I love to explore and be around people.

I also acknowledge that my own life experiences have played into the fondness I have for these wet-nosed friends. Since I was a child I've had positive experiences with dogs. The very first dog I encountered was my grandparent's dog, Griffin. He let me play with him, even if I pulled his tail. My grandparents also had a cat named Katze. Katze didn't have Griffin's disposition at all. He would claw me if I tried to play with him & screech at me if I tried to hold him. The negative experiences I had with this cat tainted my future encounters with these felines.


When I was in fourth grade my family got my dog Duncan. He and I hit it off right away. His personality was very agreeable and he was always ready to play. Duncan would follow me around and always greet me at the door when I came home. Like most dog owners, I felt a connection to him unlike any bond I had with a human. Even when Duncan became an old dog he still showed the same affection towards me as he did when he was a puppy.

Despite my own personal preference between dogs or cats, I believe that any pet is a good pet to have. They bring out the best characteristics people and always keep you company especially when life gets tough.

Personality Traits Discussed:

An additional video for the "Dog people":

It is very interesting to read about Lawrence Kohlberg's theory on morality. It seems to make sense to me. Children often do things or do not do things because they either want to be praised or not scolded by our parents. Children would only eat cookies before dinner if they thought they could get away with it (maybe they shouldn't mess with Arnold). Otherwise, they would not eat them before dinner. Not because society places any kind of pressure to not eat cookies before dinner, or because there is actually something wrong with eating cookies before dinner, but because parents will get upset if a child spoils their dinner. This is all it truly boils down to.

arnold cookie.jpg

As pre-teens and teenagers, we often don't do things because of rules placed in society. These may or may not be arbitrary. However, this conventional morality often never leaves us. I have a good example of a person who only had progressed to conventional morality when they should have been postconventionally moral. My senior year of high school, I severely sprained my ankle during my final football game. We were deep in the playoffs, so most people in the school had seen it happen. I went to the emergency room immediately after the game and was on crutches the remainder of the weekend. On Monday when it was time for school, I decided I didn't want the crutches, even though my ankle was in severe pain. I didn't honestly want to deal with taking the elevator more than anything. Anyway, I went to class, but was a few minutes late. The teachers that stand in the hallway to give students tardies let me pass because they had seen the game. They just told me to get my ankle healthy. When I got to class, my teacher asked where my crutches were, as she had heard about my injury too. She said she wished me good health, however, she said that I was tardy for class. She made me walk to the end of the hallway with a bum ankle and get a tardy. Now, I realize I am biased, but was she justified in doing that? I was a senior, well respected in the school, was on track to be valedictorian of my class, etc. I wasn't being tardy because I didn't want to go to class, I was recently injured. Was she justified in doing so, or was she just being strictly conventionally moral?

Diana Baumrinds highlighted three major parenting styles that are can be found in most cases of child-to-parent relationships. These styles were permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative and each covers how a parent disciplines and supports their children in different ways. As "young adults" these styles are are important to recognize, that is, if you want to be a parent in the future or already are one.
Permissive parents discipline on an irregular basis, giving their children considerable freedom day to day. This is the "to soft" approach because these kids have no restrictions or boundaries that are set in place. I believe this parenting style to be one of the worst based on my own observations with friends whose parents were the permissive type. They tend to be more disobedient and spontaneous when it comes to making bad decisions. The next parenting style, Authoritarian, is the "too hard" approach. These parents set strict boundaries and are quick to punish and do not allow a child to learn from themselves when mistakes have been made. They also show little affection to their offspring which I think could cause kids to be more anxious about doing things, thinking it will never be good enough.
The last parenting style, Authoritative, is the "just right" approach, which is the parenting style that fits with how I grew up (so its obviously the best)(Just kidding). These parents are more lenient and allow their children to take action for themselves but still discipline if they think they are not heading in the right direction or if the need a hand. I think this parenting style allows for the most growth in a children because they allow there kids freedom, but help them out enough where the child knows they are their for them.
What parenting style did you come up with? Do you agree with my analysis?
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The Milgram Study

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Among many chapters we've gone through there is a particular study that I remember, the Milgram study. The video we watched had brought upsetting result, but I thought that the Milgram study may help me to be a better leader and moral individual.The striking results of the Milgrim study reported that more than 50% of its participants actually delivered the maximum shock under the instruction of a single researcher. The researchers administered potentially dangerous voltages of electric shock to confederate participants to reveal man's tendency for unquestioning compliance to authority. These findings are quite disturbing and unsettling to me because, honestly, I admit that I am compliant to authority. I feel I would be susceptible to control by an authority figure, and I would just passed my moral thoughts by the instruction in the high level.

Through this experiment, the researchers concluded "the ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority"(Milgram 1974). I think this study is a great example of demonstrating the dangers of obedience. I believe that obedience is heavily influenced by both personal beliefs and overall temperaments, but the power of temperaments seem little more powerful. So, I realize that I have to take step to guard myself against unwelcome or reprehensible commands (which against my moral nature), and that can influence other people positively.


My favorite part of the 13th chapter was the last section. Here it is talk about two cases that show how prejudice can be combat. This cases are called the Robbers Cave Study and the Jigsaw Classrooms.


The Robbers Cave Study was conducted by Muzafer Sherif in 1954. Here 22, 11-year-old, boys were lead to believe they were attending a normal summer camp where three phases occur:

1) In-group formation
The boys were randomly divided into two groups, and assigned to two living areas. The two groups were isolated from each other, and none of the participants were aware of there being a second group.
 Each group spent a week doing sports and activities with members of their group.

2) Friction phase
The groups were then put into situations in which they were to compete against the other group for prizes, the goal being to create intergroup tension. This resulted in animosity between the groups, which included raids and fist-fighting.

3) Integration Phase
In a third phase of the study, the experimenters attempted to reduce the level of intergroup-conflict, by increasing the contact between the two groups. This was initially unsuccessful, but was more successful once superordinate goals were introduced to the groups. This reduced inter-group tension, and the individuals from each group became friendlier toward each other.

But contact by itself cannot heal the deep wounds of prejudice. Interventions are most likely to reduce prejudice only if they satisfy the following conditions:

  • The groups should cooperate toward shared goals

  • The contact between groups should be enjoyable

  • The groups should be of roughly equal status

  • Group members should disconfirm the other group's negative stereotypes

  • Group members should have the potential to become friends

Then, Elliot Aronson applied the lesson form the previous study into the Jigsaw Classrooms, and found a significant decrease in racial prejudice.

Do you have any prejudice that you have get in contact that you will like to share? Or do you have any situation where you had or could apply this technique?


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When you take an Implicit Association Test (IAT), it tests those unconscious prejudices. There are many different tests in order to see prejudices towards many different things, (gender, religion, race, age, etc) . In the case of the picture below, the results found people preferred white to black. The first time I took the test I was told I have a moderate automatic preference for Black people compared to White people. The second time I took the test I was told I have little to no automatic preference between Black and White people.


In my own personal opinion, I feel it mostly comes from mistakes made by over thinking things. The instructions of the test is to go as fast as possible and that if you go slow, your results will not be able to be configured. During the majority of the test, I found myself struggling to click the correct side. By this I mean that when the descriptive words "good"/"African-American" were on the left and "bad"/"European-American" on the right, I got used to it at the end but then they switched, screwing up my clicking the next round. I also found that after I messed up the first couple times I would start over thinking what I was doing and question the wrong thing. Finally, my friend took the test as I did and he found that he was similar to the 27% range for strong automatic preference for white people. While, I find this to be true of his characteristics, we spoke about the test and realized he felt more pictures of white people appeared while on my test, I found there to be more black people. Due to all of these added factors and the fact I got two different results, I question how legitimate this test is. Take the test and tell me what you think.


When reading our psychology textbook, I came across a section that really captured my attention: Personal Space. The term is coined "proxemics," and this idea really comes in to my life most every day.

So this section discusses the four different levels of personal space, being : Public distance, Social distance, Personal distance, and Intimate distance.

Public distance is considered to have at least 12 feet between two speakers, and is used for public speaking, such as lecturing. A Social distance, normally incorporated among strangers or casual acquaintances, is typically 4-12 feet. The Personal distance is even closer, being an estimated 1.5 to 4 feet, and is used for close friends or romantic partners. And finally, there is Intimate distance, the closest of them all, being 0-1.5 feet apart. This is typically for kissing, hugging, whispering, and affectionate touching.

This section, as I mentioned, really grabbed my attention, because I have a friend that is really up in your face with every conversation, and this is the first time I have ever had this weird phenomenon, but I actually feel a tad uncomfortable. It feels so weird to have someone stand so close while talking with you, and I constantly am looking away from her when we talk, because it can be that weird. I find it fascinating and true that there are indeed some kind of socially acceptable speaking distances for different people. For my friend, she talks with pretty much every person she meets at a Personal distance (1.5-4 feet), so I guess for her that is a good social distance. Proxemics rings so true in every day life, I know others have to have some experiences like this right?

IQ Score Matter?

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The term IQ, or Intelligence Quotient, generally explains a score on a test that rates the subject's cognitive ability. I remember that I took an IQ test when I was in the middle school. At that time, I believe that the high IQ is the most important factor to be outstanding compared to other students in academic performance. However, there were some exception cases; my teacher mentioned that she was surprised to see that some students with the low IQ score were very good at other mathematics tests.
I still somewhat believe that there is a bit correlation between IQ and job performance. In addition, it is mentioned in the Chapter 9 that IQ scores predict performance across a wide variety of occupations, with the average correlation about 0.5. In addition the correlation between IQ and job performance is even higher among the jobs that require more mentally demanding occupations such as physician or lawyer. Many psychological studies support the correlation between a high IQ score and performance at work. From my experience, I observe that employers, especially in companies in Korea, frequently use the IQ score or a score on a test that the companies develop to identify the best candidates.

However, some people argue that the IQ score is not an absolute factor that can decide performance at work. In addition, they argue that there are other sociological factors such as personality, peer relation and communication skills besides the IQ scores might be playing a bigger role in performance at work.
Do you think that high IQ scores mostly matter to achieve better work performance? Or other sociological factors mostly matter?
Here is the free IQ test website

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I took the Implicit Association Test, called the IAT, and my results were interesting. First of all, this kind of tests determines if you personally associate one topic with another. This was mentioned in the chapter 13 reading of social psychology. In the book, people were associating happy vs bad words with the faces of black vs white people. The book found that most caucasians that competed the test associated the happy words with the own group (white) and associated the bad words with the out group (black). This test is used to determine quick and implicit decriminations. Because I knew what this test was testing for I think I had an unfair advantage of knowing too much before I took the test.
First, I had to fill out a survey addressing a number of things about myself like my religious views, my ethnicity and so on. Then another survey came up that asked me various questions about how I feel about the future and the past. I am an anxious person so I always worry about the future. In questions about the future I answered, "feels worried about," "is anxious for" etc. For questions asking about my past I answered,"enjoys most," "past fun memories" etc. Then I actually took the test. When a happy word or a past word (yesterday, last year) was present I would hit one button and when a sad word or a future word (tomorrow, next week) was presnt then I would hit a different button. This seemed easier to me because I have more happy memories of the past (associated together) and more anxious feeling to the future (associated together). Then they switched the topics around: this button for sad or past words and this button for happy or present words.
MY FINAL RESULTS: Your data suggest little to no automatic association between Future and Happy.
I did not expect this because I do really get anxious about the future, a lot. One problem I had during the test was that I was suppose to go as fast as I could and that distracted me from getting the right answer all the time.
For those who want to try this out the link is: Implicit Association Test How did you do? What were your results? Did you think the test correctly describes you? The test only took me FIVE MINUTES so it won't take long.
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Sigmund Freud's ego model in psychology has 3 parts. The first of three parts is ego of course which is the more organized part of someones personality structure. Sigmund stated that ego attempts to mediate between ID and reality. Basically stated is our ego helps us realize what is real. ID is the unorganized part of personality and basically tries to avoid painful and unhappy situations. According to Sigmund a baby would be a perfect example of being only ID because it survives purely from using its instincts. Sigmund Freud the went on to explain super ego. Which was our ego mixed with our conscious brain when put together makes us try to achieve that perfection that everybody want to hit in something. The super ego works against our ID in that the super ego wants social reputation or manners while the ID just wants whatever instant gratification or instinctual aspect it wants/needs. In all it is up to the ego to keep each one in check and indulge equally in each of these 2 types.

Less is More

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Week 7 Response
(Response to Jhon's post on Role of TV on Child Development)

Technology is affecting children. There is no question about it, there are currently 285 million televisions in US households, based on information from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). There is no doubt that children learn behavior from what they see such as siblings and parents, but their interpretation of these behavior are also based on what they see. Children's behavior is just as likely to come from watching tv and playing games as it is to come from seeing real people in their lives perform actions. This is one of the major concerns of parents as they allow their children to watch tv and surf the net no matter the age. Children are easily influenced and they don't have a firm grasp on what is what, so when they see that men are portrayed as masculine and show little emotion they think that all men are like that. Or when women are shown as weak and fragile they take that image and just run with it. I think that by allowing children to see these images we as adults are encouraging the stereotype that everyone falls into one of the two categories and that what they see on television is true.
In my opinion I think that children are better off not growing up with these prejudices toward how they should act. Children should be allowed to make their own judgement about how they view others. I think this is more of a concern when it comes to tv than it does in video games because even when the television show goes to commercial, the commercial uses even more stereotyping to sell their products. Less exposure would be better for children than more even if the television programs are educational. I would say as parents, adults have the power to choose when their children watch and they should use that ability to benefit their children's development.

Not hungry... or...

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Many of us know people personally who have suffered through eating disorders. They are not the easiest to detect due to the fact that people tend to keep them discrete. According to our textbook, on page 436, bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder characterized by binging and purging actions, is more common than anorexia nervosa. For me, this was an interesting statistic because, from personal experience, I know more teenage girls that suffered from anorexia rather than bulimia. People with either of these eating disorders have a phobia of fatness and no matter how skinny they get, they still look in the mirror and perceive themselves as fat. There are some great videos that talk about the National Eating Disorders Association and what they do to try and help people suffering from eating disorders.


Some people believe that these eating disorders are caused from the media and the influences it has on our behaviors. We all want to be as skinny and pretty or handsome as the people on magazines, but a lot of times, those photos are photo-shopped and many times, the opposite sex does not even find a person that skinny to be attractive. In the textbook, it addresses the fact that even countries that aren't exposed to our "skinny" media have numerous people with eating disorders. Personally, I believe the media has an impact but is not the entire reason people suffer from eating disorders. Do you think the media has a bigger influence on people's reactions to bodies? Or do peers have a bigger influence? Also, does the social context in which someone grows up in contribute greatly or is it just another little factor that adds to it?


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Food is a part of every person's regular, daily life. Families usually have designated meal times that are observed at specific times of the day. College students tend to snack at intervals throughout the day or whenever food becomes available. Workaholics sneak in lunch with a meeting. Moms grab a quick bite of food in between cleaning, changing diapers or other activities. But when daily meal times are avoided or non existent, what tells a person they are hungry? Is it always the growling we feeling and hear in the pit of our stomachs, or is it something before that intense growling?

A science of appetite article in the Times titled "What Makes You Eat More Food" gives a photographic journey of reminders that turn our hunger from an off to on switch. Seven reminders, mostly extensions of our senses, make our bodies not just hunger but crave food.

So we're hungry at meal times and when we smell food, but why are there still mid afternoon cravings present after a small but healthy lunch? Presented in a blog by Mayo Clinic nutritionists, Jennifer Nelson and Katherine Zeratsky, "millennial" (born between 1980-2000) avoid traditional meals and settle for random snacking throughout the day. It is estimated that 35% of meals are now eaten as snacks throughout the day by millennials.

So people are wondering how Americans weight more on average than ever before? Just look at our eating habits, ability to give into cravings and portion control. American's portions are known on average to be much larger than other countries, but what about the increase seen in our own country in the past twenty years. This is clearly presented by Liz Monte in Portion Size, Then vs. Now.

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(In the past 20 years the size of pizza has increase by 350 calories per slice.)

So how can we properly control all our hunger cravings?


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Colleges these days seem to put quite a bit of weight on standardized tests (ACT, SAT) when making admission decisions. I have never been a huge fan of this tactic, but from what I've learned through the Psychology text among other sources, it may be more reasonable than I thought. According to the text, there is an evident correlation between SAT scores and college success. I can't say I am surprised by this correlation, but I do believe that perhaps too much emphasis is being put on this portion of one's credentials. From experience, I know how much effort some students may put towards these tests and how little effort is exerted by others. I think it is very hard to gauge the intelligence or success rate of many people off of one test due to the variability of preparation. When one student does nothing to prepare and receives a 28 on his/her ACT, yet another student has a weeks worth of studying and test prep under his belt and receives a 33; who is more fit for the college atmosphere? One could argue that the more diligent student will carry this work ethic over to his college courses; therefore, proving to be more deserving, but I don't feel this is a fair justification.ACT.jpg It's because of these variances that I feel less emphasis should be places on ACT scores, but rather the success rates of difficult courses throughout one's high school career. I feel that is a much better indicator of one's future success. I'm curious how the education system will better this system of testing, if at all. How much emphasis will be placed on these tests in 20 years? How much emphasis do YOU think should be placed? How accurately did YOUR scores predict your success?

I'm good at rollerblading, baking, and many other things, but lying does NOT fit in to the categories of things I'm "good at". One look at my face and even the silliest most unimportant lie can be detected. Dr. Lightman ( for those of you who are familiar with Lie To Me) wouldn't even need to try to figure out if I was lying. But then again, could he even if he had to? The T.V. show "Lie To Me" (if you ask me, it was a shame they stopped airing it!) features Cal Lightman who is a professional human lie detector, who figures out people pretty much 100 percent of the time. But as fun as it is to believe, is that really realistic? Unfortunately, science tells of differently. Human lie detectors have not much greater than chance statistics at detecting lies on others. lietome.jpg Even if someone were to be abnormally skilled in detecting lies by examining facial expression, it is EXTREMELY unlikely that they could ever achieve what Cal Lightman achieved in his show, and almost 100% success rate at detecting lies. BUT what if we could tell everytime someone told us a lie? What would you do? Call the liars out? Sit and watch in amusement? I think it would be really tempting to throw out hints that you know they are lying. I don't mean to sound like a terrible person here, but if they have the nerve to lie to me, I think I would deserve at least a little bit of fun at their expense. But, on a more serious note, if someone actually could be trained to detect lies in others based on facial expressions and gestures, what do you think that would mean for our countries justice system? I personally think that there would be too much corruption, because a professional "Lie detector" with a personal vendetta against another person could falsify lies. Even though its mostly fictional, the thought of human lie detectors truly is a fun one to think about!

I wanted to touch on something that really got my attention in a recent discussion. We talked about how based on looks, an individual is likely to pick another individual and find him or her attractive if that person is actually more average looking. I disagree with this statement that we found in our text book. I understand that the statistics might indicate and point to the fact that majority of individuals prefer an average looking person. However, I do believe that people have their very own ideas and features that they find attractive, which could be far from average. I truly believe that people want something different and extraordinary than what they see on an "average" person. What do you think? Do you prefer and average person, or someone who may have a not so ordinary trait such as longer hair or thinner nose or possibly eyes that are spread a little further apart than usual? I for one believe that everyone has their own unique features that they value and find attractive, and that you cannot simply say we prefer the "average".

Liar Liar Pants on Fire!

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In the television show "Lie to Me" psychologist Dr. Cal Lightman has the ability to determine when a person is lying based on nonverbal ques. One look at me and he would know exactly when I am lying because I am the worst liar to mankind. Research might say something different though. Paul Ekman evaluated professions on their ability to detect deception. Secret service agents and clinical judges were among the best at locating deception. Even they wouldn't be accurate 100% of the time.
The show's portrayal of lie detection may be entertaining, but it just doesn't seem plausible to happen. This is because there are other factors that influence a person to express nonverbal signs that would seem familiar to lying. This was one of the questions that I always had watching CSI or criminal shows use lie detectors. What if there are other causes that lead a person to express the "symptoms" of lying. I was correct! Researchers have considered this alternative, and the lie detector test is not a viable source of evidence in court.
My question to the audience is has anyone ever either administer a lie detector test or taken it? And also how easily does lying come to people or to people you know? What makes a good liar?

The time old question, "Do opposites attract?" currently plays a roll in my dating life, I assume most other people's as well. The type of guy I'm initially attracted is what society has coined "The Bad Boy". To define a "Bad Boy" I'll cue in this ABC News article for the best description this type of guy, The Bad Boy "...is a guy with such high self-esteem he could aptly be called a narcissist. The guy who wins women over with deceit, callousness and impulsive behavior."[Grayson]

After reading this fairly accurate definition of a "Bad Boy", you may question, "How could you be attracted to this type of guy?" It's only the initial attraction that draws me in. My best friend often uses a behavior theory to explain this phenomenon, she explains, "The reason why we surround ourselves with our polar opposites is that we admire the differences in personalities that they posses." I have to agree with her, because this theory rings some truth to my own relationships. I tend to be indecisive, a bit naïve, laid back, & reserved when it comes to dating. In contrast, I tend to seek out in my partner a decisive, outgoing and experienced type of guy with a bit of a wild side. According to my friend's theory, the traits that my potential partner posses also I secretly desirer to be.

Rivaling the behavior theory my friend came up with I found an alternative explanation, which refutes the "opposite attracts" quandary. According to the video I posed below, 760 people surveyed 85% said that they would most desire dating their opposite over someone similar to them. That means from this survey alone 646 people are dating are apt to date the wrong type of person.

Understanding that I'm not alone mistakenly dating Mr. Right Now comforts me a little. And I can't feel too bad that I haven't found my "Mr. Right" just yet. Realizing it's a mistake to date my polar opposite aka Mr. Right Now has helped me also recognize my own pitfalls when it comes to dating. Instead of dating "Bad Boys" it appears as though I should be dating someone who is mostly like me a laid back & a plays it safe kind of guy. The only problem is, will I ever meet a guy like this?


Grayson, Audrey. "Why Nice Guys Finish Last." ABC News. ABC News Network, 19 June 2008. Web. 04 Apr. 2012. .

Sara Beth

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My aunt, Sara Beth, was born with a mental disability. At birth she had a lack of oxygen which, in turn, caused disruption in her brain. She knew enough to know that she was different from everyone else and that she would never be able to live a "normal" life. Sara Beth has had an unimaginably positive affect on me. She has made me less judgmental, more patient, and more receptive to everyone's special needs.
The authors of our psychology book use the term "mental retardation", or "intellectual disability" to describe people that have an IQ below 70, have inadequate adaptive functioning, and have theses symptoms prior to adulthood. One percent of Americans have mental disabilities based on the previously mentioned criteria. Societal attitudes towards people with mental disabilities has dramatically improved over the last 60 years. Families used to lock their children away if they had a disability. People didn't think these children could learn or function in society. They have since been proven wrong though.

Get Down Syndrome

"The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990, outlawed job and educational discrimination on the basis of mental and physical disabilites (Lilienfeld 335)." "The Individuals with Disabilites Education Act (IDEA), passed in 1996, provided federal aid to states and local educational districts for accommodations to youth with mental and physical disabilites (335)." In today's society, many kids with disabilites are mainstreamed into school and interact with kids who do and don't have disabilities.
I think it's important for everyone to understand that people with mental disabilities are capable. They have special talents, pet peeves, and bad days just like everyone else.

19 Kids and COUNTING?!

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I thought that the topic of Parental Investment, which was covered in lecture, was extremely interesting. I think most people are familiar with the Duggar family, stars of TLC's show "19 Kids and Counting". Like the title suggests, parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have 19 children and lost 2 additional children due to miscarriages. duggar-family.jpg HOW MANY CHILDREN IS TOO MANY CHILDREN? The ultimate reason for having children is to pass your genes on to your offspring. However, the survival of those offspring is dependent on parental investment. Professor Simpson suggested that women can have about 25 children throughout their reproductive years. But, can parents adequately invest in their kids if they have that many? Can two people really raise 20-ish children? It seems as though the Duggar children have fared well enough so far. I think it may be due to their substantial income from the reality TV show and the parents intense religion. However, 19 kids still seems like too many. I grew up in a family with two children, which seems much more manageable. There was always enough love and time, as well as food, clothing, and money, for my brother and me from my parents. I personally know that I will not never have children into the double digits. So, how many kids do you think is too many?


Déjà vu
We've all heard of déjà vu and many of us have probably experienced it too. Research has shown that more than two-thirds of us have had an episode of déjà vu. Déjà vu is French for "already seen" and the technical definition is a feeling of reliving an experience that's new. If you've ever seen the movie "Groundhog Day", you can imagine what déjà vu is like even if you haven't experienced it yourself (the movie is a bit of an extreme version of this however).

Although the cause of déjà vu isn't clear, researchers have come up with some possible explanations:

1) Excess of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the temporal lobes
2) People who experience small seizures in the right temporal lobe (responsible for feelings of familiarity) may experience déjà vu right before a seizure
3) When a present experience resembles an earlier one


Jamais Vu
Even though déjà vu is commonly known, not many people have heard of jamais vu. This is basically the opposite of déjà vu and is French for "never seen". In jamais vu, one feels as though a previously familiar experience suddenly feels new or unfamiliar.

Sometimes neurological disorders are associated with jamais vu. These disorders include amnesia (memory loss) and epilepsy (sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions). Although there is not a lot about jamais vu on the internet, I was able to find an interesting video about a woman describing her jamais vu experience during a partial seizure. (In the video, she hadn't yet known that she had experienced jamais vu, but found out later as her video is titled accordingly).

Some Questions...
Have you ever experienced déjà vu or jamais vu? What was it like? Can you think of a reason or possible explanation for it?
Can you think of a way that déjà vu or jamais vu can be tested in an experimental setting?
Do you think the woman in this video was really experiencing jamais vu?

(make-up blog for missed discussion on 2/15)

After talking about the affects on children from violent television shows in discussion it raised another question in my head, "Does technology in general harm children and introduce them to something that has the possibility to allow the child to grow up different than the norm?" My youngest cousin. Easton, may know how to play a variety of iPhone apps such as angry birds better than I would ever be able to. Is he missing out on other things that I had in my childhood? Or are they gaining knowledge for the future that will help them advance? I believe that with the technology used in today's work force having these skills may help the younger generation succeed and even create their own new inventions to better all different things around the world. This article lays out just how far the generation gap is. They mention the age that they received their first cell phone. My younger cousins are getting cell phones for their 10th and 11th birthdays. kid_with_cell_phone.jpgI received my first cell phone when I was 13 for sports/rides purposes, and that was young for most people. Does this change the freedom of children during their middle school years? Having a phone comes with a lot more opportunities to go places without supervision and may be a rival hypothesis towards the fact of violence coming from video games and other television shows.

Some crazy statistic like 2/3 of America's the population is obese, and that is considering children as well as adults. The lottery question is, what is the cure for obesity? It turns out that water, the reason for life can in fact increase weight loss and decrease the amount of food consumed if it is drank before the meal. Below is a great article explaining how water can do such a thing in older dieters.


Water is essential to life, and many Americans suffer from mild to chronic dehydration. The more recent conversion to sugar substituting beverages is not the road to take if trying to diet. Those extra calorie drinks on average can account for up to 10% of calories consumed in a given day. Not to mention they give rise to cavities in teeth. Water regulates metabolism and is a lubricant that helps keep fluid around joints keeping bones strong. The article below even explains that water can decrease the risk of colon cancer by 45% and bladder cancer by 50% as well as other diseases . We have to look no further than eight glasses of water to cut a few extra lbs.
Do you think that if people can substantially decrease their caloric intake by switching from sugary drinks like juices and soda to healthy alternatives like water or tea? Water is overlooked in many ways because it is boring and has no flavor, but given the benefits I listed why do people choice the unhealthy choice in beverage rather than the healthy choice? Thoughts?


Detecting Fires
Detecting lies has become somewhat of a big deal to our society. Multiple systems have been developed to accomplish such a feat, but how reliable are these methods? Research tells us that there hasn't yet been a breakthrough that allows us to be completely successful, although some theorists have much faith in their own process.

Tim Roth - Lie to Me.jpg

Ekman's approach
Paul Ekman, a psychologist, wrote the book Telling Lies in 1985 that later was the basis of the Fox TV series Lie to Me. In this book, Ekman writes about his theory of micro-expressions as revealers of emotion. He believes that when people try to hide their emotions a very quick facial expression emerges. This video shows an example of Ekman explaining his theory through a real world trial.
It seems like Ekman's approach works, but research argues that verbal cues are more reliable that non-verbal cues (which is what Ekman uses) in detecting lies. If you'd enjoy delving deeper into Ekman's work, feel free to visit his website.

The Polygraph Test
A more well-known approach is the polygraph test or the "lie-detector". This test assumes that the Pinocchio Response is real which means people have a supposedly perfect physiological or behavioral indicator of lying. In other words, a person's body will react much like Pinocchio's nose reacted when telling a lie, but in a more realistic way.

pinocchio walker.jpg
This test, however, has its problems. It confuses arousal with evidence of guilt. For example, Sally is being tested because she has been accused of stealing a necklace. Naturally, Sally is anxious even though she is innocent. This anxiety or arousal could easily mislead the test to report Sally as being a liar, and hence guilty.

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Some Questions...
After watching Ekman's video, how do you feel about his approach? Do you think it's unreliable?
Although several methods have been developed, why do you think detecting a lie is so difficult?

Americans have always battled with their weight, with 2/3 of the country now weighing in at weights that are overweight or obese. Stanley Schachter developed the internal-external theory that proposes that heavier people are more likely to be encouraged to eat by external cues rather than internal cues. This means that overweight or obese individuals are likely to eat more and more often based on the time of day, the appearance of food, and social circumstances instead of a growling stomach or feeling full.

Have you ever thought you were full, but then saw a huge juicy burger or your favorite ice cream, and all of the sudden you feel ravenous? I know there are plenty of times when I have felt hungry just because something smelled or looked good or just because my friends were eating. Even boredom can initiate hunger. Maybe the internal-external theory applies to more people than just obese individuals. Perhaps it's how often these external cues stimulate a person to eat. Maybe it's the ratio of hunger driven by internal cues to hunger driven by external cues that a person experiences on a day-to-day basis.

External cues are only a part of the factors that cause people to overeat. Since Americans are always interested in breaking the cycle of overeating and losing weight, the question is, what can be done to prevent these external cues from causing people to think they are hungry? After all, eating right and exercising can only help you so much when all of your friends are eating greasy pizza right in front of you.

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