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.
Writing 4: April 2012 Archives
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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. The 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?
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 causation. 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.
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.
May 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. 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?
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":
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.