Recently in Open Discussion Category

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:
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.

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.


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.

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!

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:

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.

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?

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)

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.


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)

When I think back to my childhood I realize, "Wow, I did watch a lot of television and movies." With all the new technology that has arrived since I've reached my teenage years, it seems as if we never did focus as much on electronics as younger kids do today. This is quite wrong though. As I think back to the different things I used to watch, and the way they affected me, I do really realize how television did change my childhood.

The most common and practical thing that television would take away is physical activity. This has obviously not changed for children at all and potentially has gotten even worse. Many theories of childhood obesity revolve around the use of technology such as television, video games, and the internet. A study done on this topic shows that their results were in fact showing that amount of time spent in front of television did change the body shape and size of children.

So we can ask the question, are children just missing out on health benefits? Or are there other things that will vary from child to child, with each adolescent missing out on something in life?

When I think back to my childhood I realize, "Wow, I did watch a lot of television and movies." With all the new technology that has arrived since I've reached my teenage years, it seems as if we never did focus as much on electronics as younger kids do today. This is quite wrong though. As I think back to the different things I used to watch, and the way they affected me, I do really realize how television did change my childhood.

The most common and practical thing that television would take away is physical activity. This has obviously not changed for children at all and potentially has gotten even worse. Many theories of childhood obesity revolve around the use of technology such as television, video games, and the internet. A study done on this topic shows that their results were in fact showing that amount of time spent in front of television did change the body shape and size of children.

So we can ask the question, are children just missing out on health benefits? Or are there other things that will vary from child to child, with each adolescent missing out on something in life?

(blog for missing discussion 3/29)

TV, computers and video games are deeply entrenched in modern life but what effect does all this screen time have on how children develop?
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One thing is clear, screen time is sedentary behavior and too much can replace the physical activity necessary for children to grow healthy and maintain normal weight.
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Less clear are the cognitive and emotional effects on development. A recent NY Times article reports on recomendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to limit the screen time of children.

TV Limits for Children Urged by American Academy of Pediatrics -

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

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

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

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

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

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

big brain

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"Brain cells fire in patterns" - the 5 words from steven pinker point out that in our brains, the neuron is king. Neurons are not large, powerful, or individually all that capable. When neurons form networks with adaptive connections, however, they begin to accomplish extraordinary things like adaptive thought, learning, and emotion - things that if one were introduced to the concept of a neuron without ever knowing about their role in the brain, one would never suspect them capable of achieving.


The technological proliferation of smartphones, computers, and data-connected devices over the last decade has altered the basic capability of millions of members of our society in a way that may make it possible for individual humans to connect with one another at a level never before achieved - technology is becoming the neurotransmitter between the synapses of our lives. With the network that has been built, every technology-enabled person is now a single link in a broad chain of people, ideas, and information that can flash around the globe in an instant.


Compared to a single neuron, every human is capable of astonishingly more in comparison. Yet now it is apparent that we have not yet taken advantage of the emergent capabilities of our species. To remedy this, every company from IBM to Oracle to Amazon is putting data online and making it more readily accessible. Facebook, Twitter, and review sites like Angie's list are doing the same with people. As siri replaces Google replaces maps and books replaces word of mouth we collectively slash the time it takes to obtain critical information. Do you think it's possible that humans will be like the pieces of a large brain some day? Do you think that day has already come? What changes would such an a phenomenon have on our lives?

This video is an interesting case of the network of human knowledge on the internet creating globally emergent changes.

london.jpgthe city of London at night

I just saw this online - I've already done all the blog posts I need but I figured I might as well put it up.

It's an article in the New York Times about how Chimps and Humans differ when solving puzzles - SPOILER ALERT: we cooperate, they don't

Here's the story

Better to forget?

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From the perspective of a college freshman, I am tempted to think I would love to have an infallible memory. I could easily remember every due date and every snippet of lecture on command - or the name of that girl I met during welcome week with the cute smile who I haven't been able to talk to since. We have to wonder then, why it is that we all don't have memories like those of "the woman who can't forget?"


Well, for one, In the story of Ms. Price it is clear that her ability to recall things so well is derived from an acute importance she assigns to her memories. She has assigned so much value to the past that she has had to prioritize it over other things. In a sense, she has imprisoned herself in the task of curating her own life.

The trade-off seems to derive from the limited capability of humans to store and retrieve information and process it at the same time. Perhaps somewhere along the evolutionary tree there was a nexus where two humans with equal-sized brains, one with the better ability to predict the future and process the present, and one with the better ability to store and retrieve information from the past, were faced with a survival situation in which the present-focused human survived. Maybe this type of situation happened a few thousand or hundred-thousand times.


That hypothetical model might demonstrate how lack of perfect memory might have persisted in humans to "make room for" other, more useful, thinking traits. But then again there are times when good memory may mean the difference between life and death. Once again though, the brain seems to be well-suited to its purpose. Traumatic events are often the most difficult for people to forget. Also run-ins with scary animals or threatening situations seem to illicit a particularly strong imprint on memory - just ask anyone who has been afraid of dogs ever since being bitten as a child, for instance.


The author states that anyone could have a memory like that of Ms. Price, all it takes is consistent dedication and effort. But you may end up sacrificing things, such as your ability to go out and explore new things, or to live in the present and seize opportunity to get that way. And when you commit every detail to memory, you end up with a lot of useless or painful baggage. So the real question seems to be -- would you want to have a perfect memory, or would you prefer to just have good memories?

Memory and Reality

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

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

Creating False Memories.pdf

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

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

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

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

The Woman Who Can't Forget.docx

Sleep-Assisted Learning

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This blog is in response to Jhon's entry "What is Consciousness?". I did this blog as replacement points for missing the discussion CON.

In the blog, it is suggested that when a person is alert, aware, and able to process information they are conscious. However, a person may also be conscious when they are sleeping because it has been shown that their brain is actively processing sensory information. While asleep, a person is conscious of their surroundings and of how comfortable they are.

learn_sleep_0.jpgIn order to learn, people must be able to process information AKA be conscious. If a person can learn while awake and conscious, why can't a person learn while asleep and conscious? In chapter 6, there is a section on sleep-assisted learning. Sleep-assisted learning is learning new material while asleep, i.e. playing an informational CD while you sleep. But, sleep-assisted learning is too good to be true. Early findings were encouraging, however they failed to rule out rival hypotheses.

Based on the reasoning stated above, a person should be able to learn while sleeping because they are "conscious". However, research has shown that that is not the case. Sleep-assisted learning does not work.

If a person is truly conscious while they sleep, why doesn't sleep-assisted learning work? Does that mean that a person isn't really conscious while asleep? Or is there different levels of consciousness?

Baby Geniuses?

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After watching the BBC video about the search for consciousness I was interested most in the part about the age at which we gain consciousness. As stated, it's estimated to be around 18-24 months.
What I find most interesting is the idea that adult people cannot recall memories before an estimated age, usually 3 years old, also called Childhood (or Infantile) Amnesia.

However, other research may suggest that this threshold of early memory may be closer to 2 years, or 24 months of age. This made me question if there might be a relationship between this "gaining consciousness" or becoming self-aware and the ability to learn things that can be remembered years later.


This is supposedly caused by the underdevelopment of the limbic system in the brain, including the hippocampus and amygdala. However, have you ever heard of someone claiming to remember something from before they were 2-3 years old? I know I have.

So, I tried finding research into the idea, and found some call Infantile Amnesia a myth, after some research has apparently found 3-day-old infants able to distinguish a passage from Dr. Seuss' "A Cat in the Hat," after it had been read to them while in the womb! This seems to suggest that it would be very unlikely that this "Infantile Amnesia" could be explained solely by the immaturity of some cognitive systems.

This makes me wonder quite a few things:
When are first able to remember things?
How are we able to recall early memories?
Why are some people able to remember events from their infant years while others can't remember before age 3?


This made me remember a movie, Baby Geniuses (which I probably watched when I was around 8, but remember quite vividly), in which a group of babies were able to not only communicate effectively but accomplish extraordinary things until they hit an age, (around 24 months?) at which they simply "cross-over," as if to another world, no longer able to connect with the other babies.

Is there a connection between childhood amnesia and becoming self-aware?

What is your earliest memory? How old were you?

What is Consciousness?

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

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

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

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


Many believe that being asleep is equivalent to being unconscious. For the discussion section project we will gather data from each other and write about sleep habits. But consider these distinctions between being awake and asleep.

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

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

For more about consciousness check out the following:

Sizing Up Consciousness by Its Bits.docx

A Dream Interpretation- Tuneups for the Brain .docx

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

Sensation And Perception

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

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

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

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

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

Picture 10.png

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

Would you spot the gorilla?.pdf

Nature vs. Nurture

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


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

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

Altering a Mouse Gene Turns Up Aggression, Study Says -- -- Readability.pdf

The Pleasure of Giving.pdf


How Do Brains Work?

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Scientists have filled libraries trying to answer this question so check out this video where Steven Colbert challenges Steven Pinker to explain how the brain works in 5 words or less.

A very key part of your brain that influences a great deal of your behavior is the amygdala.


Notice how it is directly connected to the hippocampus who's main function deals with memory. In addition researchers have mapped some of the connections the amygdala has with other parts of the brain. Amygdala connections.jpg

From this image you can clearly see that the amygdala is well positioned to widely influence brain function. Much like the hub of a bicycle wheel.

Its often difficult for students to get a handle on the various structures of the brain. Getting a little more information and applying it to your own experience can often bring complex concepts to life.

Check out these two articles for information about the function of the amygdala. Think about how this new knowledge might relate to when you experienced fear. In what way are the signals coming from your amygdala important for your survival?

Humans, Like Animals, Behave Fearlessly Without the Amygdala -- -- Readability.pdf

Human Brain Responds To Animals, Cute Or Creepy -- -- Readability.pdf

Facial Feedback Hypothesis

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

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

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

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

Laughter Produces Endorphins, Study Finds -

Botox May Deaden Not Just Nerves.docx

Talking About Minds

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

About your blog assignments

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

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First, be sure to review the general guidelines for blogging in the syllabus. The criteria below are more specific instructions that will help you create interesting and comment provoking blog posts.

Blogs are worth 5 points each. You will earn points based on the following. The first two are the most critical.

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

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

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

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

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

The 4 Pillars of Writing Exceptional Blogs

20 Types of Blog Posts - Battling Bloggers Block

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

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

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Here is a nice example of a post written by a student last semester

In the above quote said by Ernest Hemingway, he seems to suggest that humans are born with an inherent disposition to being evil. This makes me think of William Golding's novel, Lord of the Flies that tells the story of a group of British boys who get stranded on an island and became savages within a few weeks.
200px-LordOfTheFliesBookCover.jpg While reading this novel in my English class, we discussed the hotly debated topic of nature (Does all humans have an inherent evilness?) versus nurture (Was it because of society, that these boys thought it was okay to steal, lie, and kill to stay alive?). At the end of reading the novel, we concluded that humans are born with a "beast within us" as Golding put it.

But as our psychology textbook states, there seems to be no clear cut way to separate nature from nurture.

During my senior year of high school, I watched a family friend's baby grow from a baby into a toddler. As a baby, when she didn't receive what she wanted she would cry and pout. But as a little toddler she would hit me when I wouldn't give her an extra cookie or something else that she wanted. This made me wonder how a little toddler barely 2 and half years old knew to hit me when I didn't give her what she wanted and certainly her parents wouldn't have taught her to resort to violence when she didn't get what she wanted.
Does this mean that no matter how good, innocent, or young a person is deep down there is a "beast" within all of us just waiting to emerge?

Got Milk?

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And here is a post from another student that needs some work.

 After learning of the many ways in which an expirimental design can deliver inacurate results, I have become skeptical of many scientific claims. Some of the errors in scientific studies include participants not being selected randomly, biases of the researcher and not ruling out rival hypothesis. Causation vs. correlation, random selection and pseudoscience all cross my mind when hearing results of a correlation or experimental design. I am now skeptical of one very popular and strongly believed in theory: Milk builds stronger bones.
Many new studies bear results that contradict the common belief that milk makes your bones stronger. Some studies show milk drinkers to have stronger bones than non-milk drinkers, some studies yield the opposite, while some studies show no relation between milk and bone strength. How can there be so many different, contradicting results?
I believe many of these studies aren't selecting their subjects randomly. If you compare children that eat well, live a healthy life style and drink milk to children that lack milk in their diet and live an unhealthy lifestyle, the milk drinkers may have stronger bones and it won't necessarily be due to the fact that they have more milk in their diet. Another flaw in studies on the effects of milk may simply be a matter of correlation versus causation. There are researchers that claim drinking milk causes osteoporosis. "Evidence" of this claim is that the United States, with the highest consumption of dairy, has the highest rates of osteoporosis. This relationship may be due to one or more other variables such as: diet, exercise, and BMI (body mass index). The claim that milk builds stronger bones needs to be further researched and scientifically tested before I depend on milk as my source of calcium.

Links to studies on milk's effects:
After seeing all of the research that suggests such a popular theory as this may be somewhat, if not completely, incorrect, I am forced to wonder: what other mainstream theories that I believe be true could actually be false?

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