May 2012 Archives

While taking the psychology course and listening lectures on memory and learning, I have discovered ways to improve my study skills. It is the concept that I learned through chapter on memory. In the next five years I will doubtless encounter even harder courses that demand memorization of many challenging concepts, and concepts such as mnemonic devices (an aid or device that increases learning), distributed studying (spreading study time out), and elaborative rehearsal (connecting new knowledge to preexisting knowledge) will be vital to my success.

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Not related to the studying process, I always tend to forget some stuffs and ideas that are related to my real life. Sometimes I immediately forgot something as I walked in to my room, or I sometimes completely forgot the name of someone who just introduced themselves to me. I strongly believe that memory is a big part of our lives and sadly, it fades as we age. But this doesn't necessarily have to happen to all of us. Although genetics is a huge component of our developing diseases like dementia or Alzheimer's, studies have shown that living a healthy lifestyle and challenging our mind can decreases the risk of memory loss. So I researched the ways to save our memory:

1. Get Active - Research has shown that people who work out- especially light working out like walking - have better memory than people who are inactive. A recent study found that exercise counteracts the brain from shrinking due to age. The older subjects who exercised gained two percent of their brain volume while the non-exercisers lost brain tissue.
2. Eat your Fruits and Veggies - Fruits and Veggies contain loads of healthy vitamins for us but they also contain a lot of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Since oxidative stress and inflammation are thought to be involved in dementia, these food groups can help with controlling memory loss.
3. Reduce your Risk Factors for Heart Disease - By exercising and controlling your diet you decrease your risk for heart disease which has been linked to dementia.
4. Got Culture? - Being open to new ideas and being curious leads to a stronger mental activity. Those who participate in cultural activities and reading have been shown to have a delay in dementia.
5. Brush your Teeth -Going to the dentist actually does pay off! Twin studies have found that the twin with more tooth loss have a higher increase of having dementia or Alzheimer's disease.
6. Got a Difficult Job? Perfect!- Having a stressful job dealing with people boosts your mental activity which helps prevent memory loss. Jobs that deal with persuasion, mentoring, instruction, and supervision have been shown to protect memory.

The debate among parents nowadays is whether it is okay to inflict violence on their own children as a form of punishment or even teaching as a way to correct an incorrect practice by the child. There are certain degrees, however, where the amount of violence put on the children by the parents become too much and the relationship no longer feels like a parent to a child. I think using violence raising children is wrong especially when it comes to physical beatings or any kind of violence where the child begins to fear his or her parents.


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Physical punishment in children has become a big issue these days. This topic has been discussed for a long time and there are some different groups that agree or disagree about this issue. As I already metioned, I perosnally think that the use of violence raising in children is not right thing to do. While many people across the world have different thoughts and argument by the specific cultures or traditions, my country, South Korea, is actually one of the nation that uses corporal punishment. However, I don't believe that punishing children physically is the best way to treat them. One of the friends of mine grew up under very strict parents so his parents always gave his physical punishment when he did something wrong. I remember that he told me that his parents punish him so often even with very trivial thing that he has done. So he always had a lot of complain about that. As he was getting older, his parents physical punishment affected him so badly that my friend actually ran away from home and did not even keep in touch with this parents for more than a month. I understand that his parents were thinking that they were doing the right thing to thier child in order to make him as a good person, however, their abuse of physical punishment produced a contrary result. Like this, there are numerous ways to treat children other than physically punished. Actually, the children who grow up in love and care of their parents seem more happy and have great personality than the children who raised up in violent parents. There is a book called, "Do not even hit with a flower." Like the title of the book said, parents supposed to raise children with great love, not the punishment.

Illusory correlation refers to assuming that there is a relationship between two events or two variables when there really is no relationship. We have a tendency to notice a relationship between unusual events, and that is where the error occurs because we fail to consider other important information and we also fail to prove assumptions that we have.
I believe that this concept is important to study about because it can cause many superstitions and misconceptions in real life situations or events. If people choose to believe these illusory correlations without any proven evidence, then there will be many misunderstandings and wrong accusations and we will continue to stay attached to these assumed correlations.
We can find a lot of examples of illusory correlation. One big example can be found in athletes. Most athletes have some sort of "lucky" game behavior, like their lucky socks. They wore the socks one time when they played really well and so they associate them with doing well. However, they will disregard any of the times that they wore the socks and did not play well. This is an illusory correlation because the socks have nothing to do with actually doing well.
There is another fun study called sugar-hyperactivity myth. In the 1970s, Benjamin F. Feingold, M.D., a pediatric allergist, proposed that artificial colors and artificial flavors caused hyperactivity in children. Feingold promoted a diet called the Feingold Diet that was used to treat hyperactivity. I found this article very interesting, and the title is Can Food Really Affect Your Child's Behavior, written by Jennifer Warner. This discussion is about the myth and what the experts have to say about it. Here's a link to the original article: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=52516
According to Warner, many parents have witnessed the behavior of their children after consuming large amounts of sweets and have blamed the unusual behavior on sugar. But there has been no major studies or hard evidence that there is any relationship between food and behavior.

While we were discussing about the development of human behavior, the topic was especially about whether violent video games or violent imagery on TV shows or movies causes aggressive behavior of children. I totally agree that violent imageries give huge impact on children's aggressive behavior. Everyone might realize that young children learn something by watching and following what others do. Also, as young age children, violent things motivate them more that peaceful and friendly things, because they might think it's cool to be a super hero. Children learn things more quickly than old age people, so I think it's going to be very dangerous to expose too much violent shows to the children.


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I actually read a lot of news and articles about shocking facts related with violence. For example, there was a teenager boy who addicted to play violent video games. He plays game more than 10hours a day. The game was about shooting and killing the enemies with guns and knives. And one day, his mother told him to stop game and when the boy refuses to stop, she took away the video game from him by force. Then, the teenage boy killed his family using the knife when they were in bed. There are several more articles about similar issues. Parents should realize how much impact the video games have on children. Even shy children can change violently through seeing them in short time. So, I would like to conclude that violent imageries never going to be helpful to educate children, and parents should be more careful to let them watch the show or anything like that.


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Lucy wakes up in the middle of night by a weird thing pressing her body. She tries to open her eyes but she can't. After several attempts, she finally sees what was on her; it is an old witch with wrinkled face and sharp nose. She tries to scream but she can't. On the other side of the world, Takayoshi experiences the same thing. When he opens his eyes because of a horrifying feeling, he sees a pale-faced ghost with long black hair staring at him. It's a ghost he often sees in Japanese horror movies.

What these two people are experiencing is called sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is caused by a disruption in the sleep cycle and is often associated with anxiety or even terror, feelings of vibrations, humming noises, and the eerie sense of menacing figures lose to or on top of the immobile person. This is a universal phenomenon, but why do people see different things during this experience?

I think the culture affects people even in unconscious state of mind, because people experience or dream different things during sleeping. For example, Lucy dreamed about a witch because she has never seen Japanese horror movies, and has heard of scary witch stories ever since she was little. On the other hand, Takayoshi is more familiar with Japanese ghosts than witches in western folk tales, which resulted in seeing a girl with long dark hair. As this simple example tells us, we know that we can't categorize people into groups psychologically. When one thing applies to one group, it may not apply to the other group because of cultural and environmental differences. That's why we need to focus on individual differences in studying psychology.

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As people start to recognize the importance of psychology, new psychological theories and hypotheses have been published rapidly. Perhaps they are trustworthy, and perhaps they aren't. As a "naïve" receiver in the sea of information, critical acceptance is required in order to avoid falling into false information: pseudoscience. Pseudoscience, sets of claims that seem scientific but aren't, may sound tempting because we tend to believe what we want to believe. For example, some people think our characteristics can be defined by blood type. According to what they described, people with blood type A are usually shy and neat while the ones with the type B are straightforward and egocentric.

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I've seen a lot of books and comics with a list of different personalities of these four blood types. It makes perfect sense because they are all generalized. People with blood type O, however, can be timid when they are around strangers and outgoing when they are with friends. It doesn't mean my blood type is O if I didn't talk to a stranger I met in library today. Or maybe I was having a bad day so I didn't wanted to talk to someone I've never met. It doesn't make sense to categorize six billions of people into four characteristics, because we all have different genes and are living in different environments. Despite the fact that it isn't true, I think the reason people keep reading about blood types is because they want to fit in somewhere, and want to define themselves who they are and what their personality is in simple words. Or perhaps, people stick to these kinds of pseudoscience because of belief perseverance, which causes us to stick to our initial beliefs even when evidence contradicts them.

The other day my roommate and I went on YouTube and looked up all of the theme songs to the shows we watched as little girls. I knew almost all of the words to every song. That right there is evidence that I probably spent too much time in front of the TV as a little girl. I do remember my parents limiting my "TV time", but usually I could watch TV whenever I wanted to. When I was in elementary school my mom was a stay-at-home mom. I think that helped me when it came to interactions with people and creative outlets. Mom did a great job of taking us to the park, coming up with crafts, going on bike rides, going to the pool, really anything that kept us active.

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With all of the technology available today I can totally see why children might get too much exposure to television. My first instinct, when babysitting, when a kid started to cry was to plop them in front of their favorite cartoon. It usually calmed them down. It's sad that that is what calms kids down instead of human interaction.
I also think kids do learn a lot more valuable lessons from people than TV. Real life is a much better educator than a television screen. The TV really does discriminate between genders. When I would watch Saturday morning cartoons, I always wanted the toys displayed in the girly commercials, not the boys.
I think if kids spend more time with people in their lives, instead of TV, they will be more open-minded and active.

I agree more with the article "The Pleasure of Giving". I feel that everyone is born good. We all want to help others and it does make us feel good. I also understand that when two people get in a fight, it's easier to just stay mad instead of shaking hands like the chimpanzees did.

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I thought the article about the genes in the mice was really intriguing. The dominance that these mice exerted after this gene was muted was almost uncontrollable. I don't think humans act like this. I know there are people who are dominant and there are people who are followers, but I think most people can control the amount of dominance they have. In the case of criminals I know there has been research done to show that there is an imbalance of chemicals in their brain which might lead to their behavior, but I still believe, for the most part, that people are born good and strive to do good with what they are given.

Have you ever felt discriminated against? Imagine being totally immersed in an inescapable environment in which you were treated as inferior to others whom you may have once thought your equals.


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Jane Elliott's blue eyes-brown eyes demonstration with her 3rd grade class was something that I truly have internalized and feel that I learned from and will always remember. (chapter 13 of Lilienfeld)

For those that don't know, Jane Elliott created a microcosm of discrimination in society in her classroom in 1969 (and several times since) by separating her students by eye color, favoring one group over the other. It demonstrated the negative interpersonal effects of discrimination, and gave kids a real look into discrimination.

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The results were the best: the students in the unfavored group performed significantly worse, and the results were reversed when the same students were put in the favored group the following day.

As a future teacher, this is something I know I can apply and will be important for me to remember. I hope to always be aware and conscious of in-groups, out-groups, and the effects of discrimination.

Are there human lie detectors? That is what Dr. Cal Lightman serves to be in the TV show, "Lie to Me." As cool as some TV series may be, I think we can all agree that one shouldn't take TV to heart.
So how much truth is there to this ability to "read" a person's face and detect a lie?
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I found it surprising (and awesome) that federal officers were best at detecting lies among others such as federal judges, sheriffs, and academic psychologists. Even they, however, have an average accuracy of only about 72%. (With Mixed law-enforcement officers coming in last at just over 50% or chance accuracy)

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Meanwhile, others like Dr. Paul Ekman still advertize "micro-expression reading" techniques as a legitimate way that anyone can detect lies.

Also, good to note was the finding that there's typically little or no correlation between one's confidence in their ability to detect lies and their accuracy. So, even though you're probably more likely to take someone's word and believe them when they say "I know he was lying..." "I could tell, I'm really good at it," "I'm positive," etc. you shouldn't confuse confidence with correctness.


Have you ever had a time when you "could have sworn" someone was lying and then were proven wrong? or right?

Psychology proved to be one of my favorite classes this semester but the topic that was most intriguing to myself would have to be conformity. Conformity refers to altering your behavior because of group pressures or to fit into a stereotype that you want to be apart of. I always thought it was interesting how people can let this happen and stray away from what they think is right or wrong based on external influences, such as people. The Asch study made the event of conformity even more ridiculous when a test subject would give the wrong answer because the rest of the group did, even when they knew it to be wrong.
I never have thought of myself as one to conform when in reality I probably do it regularly. I always believe that my behavior is consistent with who I represent myself as and not what others are influencing it to be. Although this may be true sometimes, when looking at the people I surround myself with I will often conform to the behaviors of my friends and the groups I am apart of. Although it makes sense to have similar tendencies and behaviors as your friend group the result can be a cross group deindividuation. What I mean by this is that people who become to comfortable in the group there in will end up always going with the flow of others around them, resulting in not necessarily a loss of identity, but a change of identity that is similar to those you surround yourself with on a regular basis. This is not a bad thing, but what I believe is that people should never limit themselves to a certain group of people, especially if they have a negative influence on you. CHANGE IS GOOD and helps you develop into a more concrete individual by learning to step outside your comfort zone and do something completely different then what your regular friends would.

DSM-5 Debate

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I came across this news on the DSM-5 this morning and thought it would be of interest to all of us here since we just learned about it. It just made me happy to understand everything that was there. Hope you enjoy it too!

When I was recently reading the Psychology textbook, I came across a very interesting topic in chapter 13, which was on Social Psychology. On page 496, I came across the "social comparison theory," where we evaluate our abilities and beliefs by comparing them with those of others.

According to the book, doing this allows us to understand ourselves and our social worlds better. For example, they note how if you want to find out how good you are at psychology, it is only natural to compare yourself to other psychology students around you.

There are two different forms of social comparison. In "upward social comparison," we tend to compare ourselves with people who seem superior to us in some way, like a new football player who compares himself to the best player on the team.

Opposite to this is downward social comparison, where we compare ourselves with others who seem inferior to us in some way, like that new football player comparing himself to a younger football player.

Both upward and downward social comparison sometimes boost our self-concepts.

I found this section to be so interesting, because I am guilty of both modes of social comparison. I especially use downward social comparison in sports, where I frequently think to myself "this guy is clumsier than I am, there is no way I will lose." And I know for a fact that I use upward social comparison in Academics, "if that person can get an A, I can too." Using upward social comparison is what kind of drives me academically. When I see a friend that consistently gets good grades, I want to get on their level and throw an A back at them, so I tell myself that I can do just as good as they did.

Anyway, that's my last blog for the year, hope some of you find it interesting, and make sure to tell me what kind of social comparisons you take part in. Good luck on the final everybody!

One of the most powerful things I learned is probably operant conditioning. I have witnessed operant conditioning before taking this class, but I never really looked more into it. I can say that operant condition is most evident in childhood. When a child does something "good" you reward them, when they do something " bad" we either take away something (negative reinforcement) or give them something they don't want (positive punishment) so they behave the way we want them to.
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I think many of us can relate to this concept even in college. When we study and do our homework we get good grade which increases the chance of that we will continue to study. Now if we don't study we will get bad grades and there is the potential of academic suspension of an email informing our adviser that we aren't doing well in our classes. Most of the time we don't even notice that it's happening or know what it is that is happening. I think that everyone who now knows what operant conditioning is should take full advantage of it and use it for good and not evil! Toodles!

Ever since I can remember knowing what Marijuana was, I can remember people telling me that it was a gate-way drug. What did they mean by this? These people were telling me that if I tried smoking pot, that eventually it would lead to me wanting to experiment with harder drugs. I myself chose to dismiss this claim at a younger age.

I bring this up because I do now believe that it can be a gate-way drug. I am not saying that it happens to everyone but to straight up say it does not lead to harder drug use I think would be a lie. I have watched a family member of mine get involved in the drug scene beginning with marijuana. It started out with just picking up small sacks here or there just to get high like any other teenager. Once he realized that he enjoyed the feeling of being high and was sick of paying for it, he began slanging it. Next thing I know my cousin who I thought I knew pretty well was experimenting with ecstasy, mollie, and even at extreme points heroin. When he was found dead in his apartment there was evidence off all of these drugs present.
It doesn't have to be that extreme where it ends in death, but I have also watched two close buddies of mine stray away because of drugs as well. Both starting with the dealing of marijuana and then having the dreams of wanting more. I have watched them both get into and use multiple times drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy. I have been fortunate enough to watch one of them exit that field however.
I do believe that marijuana makes it a whole lot easier to get into these types of drugs because as I can tell you from experience, you always want more of that "feeling". Like we learned in psychology our body builds up a tolerance to the effects of these drugs and the only way to experience that "high" is to either take more or try something stronger.

The reason I am writing about this in a blog is because I recently read an article from TIME magazine that said that there is no evidence that marijuana is a gate-way drug. In the article however they stated the reason for the massive correlation between marijuana and other hard drugs is because of two things. One, the taste, they stated that people who are extremely interested in altering their consciousness are often more likely to want to try other ways of doing it as well. The second reason is that marijuana dealers are easier to get a hold of compared to those who deal hard drugs. Because of this people will go through their marijuana dealers to obtain harder drugs because their dealers are "trusted" and know where to get them.
The problem I have with them saying it is not a gate-way drug is because of what is stated above. They said that marijuana is the first illicit drug people try because it is the easiest to obtain. Once they try it they want to experience other ways of altering their consciousness. Is that not a gate-way into hard drugs then? or am I missing something? They also talked about how users will go through their marijuana dealers to get hard drugs because they know how to obtain them. Is marijuana not acting as a gate way there too? I would be very interested to know what you all think about this argument. This is just my opinion from personal use and also observing others personal use of this drug.

Stuck in a rut

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I can remember many times in which I have fallen victim to one or more of the obstacles in problem solving. I have taken many math classes in my life, and the higher in calculus you go, the more creative you must be in order to solve problems. This was my biggest pitfall. I would think of a solution to a problem and when it didn't work, I would often make the same mistakes because I was set on that being the type of solution to the problem. The best solution I had to this was to move on in my homework and come back to it later, hopefully with a new perspective on the problem.

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This can apply to real life problems too, not just math. I would sometimes think of a solution to a real world problem for a social studies class and would not be able to think outside that type of solution. An example of this would be that, theoretically, I believe that the solution to our country's debt is to increase taxes. When I start to realize this wouldn't always work, I am unable to come up with another solution because I keep thinking of taxes, when in reality, cutting spending would help too.

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What are you some other strategies from getting out of the problem solving "rut"?

I just took the "Decision 2012" IAT. It was quite interesting. According to this I have a moderate implicit preference for Mitt Romney compared to Barack Obama. I also have a slight implicit preference for White People compared to Black People. I will admit that I prefer Mitt Romney to Barack Obama. Race is no issue there, I prefer Mitt Romney's political views, I'll be honest. Now, to address the other thing. I am certainly not consciously racist, but it is true that I hold certain stereotypes. I don't believe in them and I don't attempt to act on them, but they are still there. Subconsciously, I hold a few stereotypes of other races. I'm sure that not every person falls victim to this, but many do. I think this implicit preference doesn't really mean much. I did answer on the "hot to cold" scale, that white people are slightly warmer to me than black people. I think I answered an 8 for black people and 9 for white people. I grew up in suburban St. Louis. While I was around lots of black people growing up, most of my friends outside of school were white. I lived in an area that is 98.19% white and 0.07% black. There were a lot of black people that I went to school with because of a desegregation program in which my school would bus kids in from the inner city, so I felt very comfortable around black people, but I suppose I do feel slightly more comfortable around white people, because that is who I grew up around.

Anyway, here's a meme that applies:

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If there is one concept in psychology that I learned this semester that I think I will remember and use for a long time, if not the rest of my life, it's the correlation vs. causation fallacy. I notice people falling victim to this fallacy all the time. I don't always call them out, but I am thinking in my head, "No, that's not necessarily true." I even got to use it in my public speaking course. I had to debate on the affirmative side of legalizing marijuana. I used the correlation vs. causation fallacy to debunk the gateway drug argument (people who are open to smoking marijuana are already open to trying new things; it doesn't necessarily mean they do harder drugs because they smoke marijuana, it's just a correlation, not the causation). I think it can be very helpful in the future, especially when analyzing different things in our society. It can help us resolve the roots of our problems. We might be able to throw out possible causes of our problems if we keep correlation vs. causation in mind. What do you guys think? Is correlation vs. causation helpful in society? What are some examples that you have seen since learning about it?

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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