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Parenting Styles

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Parenting styles differ from each and every parent. Some use the styles they themselves experienced growing up while others use information they obtain from reading books or talking to friends. Popular magazines like "Parenthood" and "Parents" offer insight to the best and most effective styles of parenting. The findings and methods in these magazines and books aren't necessarily valid.
Even though each parent acquires his or her own unique parenting method, three major styles have been defined by observations, made by Diana Baumrind, of Caucasian middle-class families. The three parenting styles include authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative. This article also helps define the general outcome of development for each style.

Authoritarian parents show the least amount of affection towards their children. These parents typically have strict rules. They tell their children exactly what they want them to do and don't typically give any other choices. From my personal experience, I would consider these to be the parents of my friends who were constantly grounded. If they were told they needed to clean their room and it wasn't done in the fashion the parent expected, the child was punished in the form of "grounding" which had a different meaning among different parents. Authoritarian parents may give the dreaded "because I said so response" when a child asks why they have to do something. Because this style often doesn't allow children to think for themselves, it has been suggested that authoritarian parenting may delay a child's development of critical thinking skills and emotional interaction skills. Both of these contribute to success in the modern world

Permissive parents allow the children to be more in control. They are more lenient and give children more freedom. These types of parents tend to take on a more loving and caring parenting style and do not rely nearly as heavily on punishment as authoritarian parents. Children are given many more choices even if they are unable to make what are considered to be good choices. The "winner" in this style of parenting is the child; they are given whatever they want. A lack of responsibility and relationship problems may be a developmental result of permissive parenting

The authoritative approach finds a happy medium between permissive and authoritarian styles. They show the love and warmth of a permissive parent but also set clear limits and boundaries as in the authoritarian styles. This "best of both worlds" style is considered to be the most effective in child development. Children with authoritative parents are given a limit of choices and learn the positive and negative consequences of their decisions and choices. Of the three styles, it shows the best social and emotional adjustment and a low level of behavior problems.


Here's a Little Love Story

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Here's a little love story, in honor of the recent Fifth of November and the movie commemorating its ideas, "V for Vendetta". Now, in this post I'm not going to talk about the radically political actions of the ideas represented in the movie. Rather, I intend to write on the relationship between the figure "V" and Evey Hammond. Following will be a brief iteration of a few of the ways these two seemingly opposite characters ended up falling in love throughout the movie - yes, it's not ALL cool knife-throwing and enticing plot advancements! (SPOILER for those of you who haven't seen the movie!)


In the beginning, there was V, the "terrorist", and Evey, the upstanding citizen who would like nothing less than to live a normal drama-free life. However, these two seemingly opposite characters right off the bat hit up the proximity issue for relationships when Even is forced to live with V in his home, since V was reluctant to leave Evey alone after she saved his life (I'm skipping over some major plot points here for the sake of sticking to what's relevant to the blog post, so bear with me here). They lived together for several months, and over this time a noticeable change between at the very least extreme distaste became a semblance of a friendship. In essence, after spending so much time together they realized that their tear-rivers were little more than some squishy mud that didn't require so much fuss and they weren't so different after all.

Which brings me to my next point, in that these characters weren't really as different as they seemed, and also breaches another relationship issue in that Like attracts Like. Though at first different, you later discover that both have strong bad memories about the government haunting their pasts, though Evey seems to have buried hers deeply only to be drawn out by V himself. Through these experiences the two characters bonded giving them both a strong want, possibly a need, to help change their country and fix the issues it has. Though this incredibly strong need, and therefore a strong similarity, their friendship grew into love.

These are just two examples the demonstrate the ideas about relationship mentioned in the Lilienfeld text. I could go on, but the post would get exceedingly long. Now if only everyone's relationship could start out with the cannon BANG of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture

The Many Elements of Interpersonal Attraction

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Attraction between people is an odd thing; it can spark many emotions that may lead to different kind of relationships. There are many different factors that come into play when determining if someone is attractive. These factors include how close someone is in terms of distance, the amount of similarities are present, if one is willing to reciprocate feelings of attraction, and simply how one's physical appearance appeals to another.


This video shows how physical attraction plays more of a role than we know, and that there are certain features that one may find more attractive. For example, for a man, a larger jawbone portrays a more attractive man, for the correlation between testosterone and other hormones specific to males are more present with this feature. Even though humans do not specifically note the fact of hormones and "manliness," the fact that our brains recognize this important correlation proves the idea that physical attraction in first impressions plays a great role in how attractive one appears to another.

These concepts are important in real life because it shows how inclined people are to finding a mate. People worry about these things every day; there are dating sites, advice columns, and many other forms of media to try and help people find a mate. The bottom line is that no one factor will determine if someone is attractive to another; there is no simple formula for determining who will be right for whom in the game of finding someone to spend a lifetime with.

The Mozart Effect in Infants

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Mozart effect.jpg

The "Mozart Effect" is a classic example of extraordinary claims as well as confirmation bias, It's described as the playing of Mozart's classical music during a child playing, or before a test, etc. that increases IQ of the subject who's listening to it. The findings were first made popular by Alfred A. Tomatis who used the music while attempting to cure various illnesses. The approach was then popularized in a book by Don Campbell that is based on research done in 1993, although Campbell's book makes wild claims that weren't found in the research by Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky (1993).

In popular culture, then governor of Georgia Zell Miller in 1998 adapted a proposed state budget that called for $105,000 to be spent every year giving each child born in Georgia a Mozart CD or tape. He claimed that "we could feel smarter already" immediately after listening to classical music for extended periods of time.

However, Rauscher et. al.'s findings in 1993 were far from convincing. In studies that gave researchers standardized tests that tested spacial reasoning, the subjects only performed somewhat better, and for only a very short period of time. There was also no evidence to conclude that Mozart increased mental development or the IQ of the person listening, yet these claims ballooned and appeared in several books that supported that theory, albeit with false claims.

Try for yourself!

Homosexuality: nature or nurture

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Gender identity is individuals' sense of being male or female. Childhood gender nonconformity is one type of gender identity disorder, meaning a child is more willing to behave as the opposite sex. Research has shown that child who is extremely childhood gender non-conformity usually grow up to be homo. The department of psychology of Northwest University held an experiment years ago. Psychologist recruited homosexual and heterosexual men and women--targets--to judge the gender nonconformity of the targets. The finding showed that on average, prehomosexual children were judged more gender nonconforming than preheterosexual children, and this can apply to both men and women.

Then suddenly, one question concerning to the topic comes to my mind: is homosexuality natural or nurtural?

One experiment gives an evidence to support that it is more biological related. In the experiment, twins pairs, which were at least one twin was homosexual, were asked through announcements in the gay press and personal referrals from 1980 to the present. (1) One or both twins were asked to answer an 18-page questionnaire which was related to "sexuality of twins". The answer showed that about 40 monozygotic twins, which included 34 male pairs and 4 female pairs, were found to have a same rate of 65% for homosexual orientation, while there were about 20 dizygotic twins who have about 30% for homosexual orientation.

Others have opposite opinions. The video tells that homosexuality may not be affected by gene because Identical twins can have different sexual orientation.

Obviously there is long way to go to solve the puzzle and it is really interesting.


In Which I Go Negative on Positivity

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The idea behind positive psychology is basically this: traditionally, psychology has been overly focused on understanding and treating mental problems, and not enough research has been done on mentally-well people; by focusing on the latter group, we may come to understand the causes of happiness and resilience, and help those who aren't mentally ill to become "better than well." In my mind, this trend is a case-in point for how the underlying assumptions of our culture can be taken for granted by many scientists; a lot of studies, especially correlational ones, exist in easy symbiosis with motivational speakerdom and the self-help industry. I suppose there's a silver lining to the scientific focus on positivity, though; it will be good to have actual research on this subject and not just the usual self-help scams. ss_sk_bheld.jpg

I appreciate the way our textbook authors always scrupulously hearken back to the principles of scientific thinking, and remind us to be cautious even about claims made by scientific authorities. Right now, positive psychology has been getting a lot of attention, and not only in the media; it's the official centerpiece of Martin Seligman's APA presidency, for example. I don't want to unfairly malign the entire field, but as a mildly negative person, I can't help but resent all the encouragement this gives to the popular faith in Positive Thinking, and the stigmatization of unhappy people that seems to be associated with it. I've heard a lot of buzz about studies that show that happier people are healthier, have longer life expectancies, etc. People generally seem to assume this means that being happy makes you healthy, a common mistake with correlational studies: it could also be true that good health makes people more likely to be happy, or that some other variable causes both. I'm inclined to think it's more likely that the causal arrow usually runs more from health to happiness than the reverse.

I found a blog post (from our primary textbook author, no less!) about some of the interesting, possibly useful things the new positive psychology researchers have discovered, though he overall seems to see the trend as a "fad" and cautions that positivity may work well for some people but not others.

How accurate are the ACTs?

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In my opinion, college admissions tests are highly inaccurate. I do not think that a standardized test efficiently shows how intelligent a person is. There are many factors that can go into someone receiving a higher or lower score on the ACT or SATs. Some people receive excellent grades but do not score as high as their peers on the ACTs. Some people are just not good at taking tests. Test anxiety is very common and regurgitating random information does accurately depict the persons intelligence.

In this article they point out all the different ways that ACTs are not an accurate test for students. These include the tests not being precise, not predicting college performance, and being biased towards white, affluent, male test takers.

I know for me personally I scored average on the ACTs but had above average grades and continue to get good grades in college. I do not feel that the ACTs accurately reflected my education, intelligence, and competency.

This is just a Simpsons spoof on standardized testing. My favorite part is when they have the National Testing Center slogan as "controlling your destiny since 1925." I truly think that ACT and SATs should be eliminated all together and the focus should be put on grades, grade improvement, and extra curricular activities.

Can We Tell if Someone is Lying?

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We all lie. Trying to say that we didn't would actually be a lie itself. Chapter 11 of our Lilienfield textbook addresses our different emotions, and more specifically, lying. One thing the book discusses is the polygraph test and other lie detection techniques. Most of these rely on the Pinocchio response, which is defined as a perfect physiological or behavior indicator of lying. The general idea is that people's bodily reactions supposedly give them away whenever they lie.
Imagine someone is lying to you. Most likely he or she won't look you in the eye, or will start twitching and wiggling different parts of their body. We have all experienced it, and will experience it again in the future. The most obvious movie example of this is the Disney movie Pinocchio. Every time this wooden puppet lies, his nose grows bigger and bigger. Adventures-of-Pinocchio.jpg
However, for a more recent example, there is now a show on ABC family called "The Lying Game." It's about a girl who has an identical twin sister, and they switch places in order to find their birth mom. This show does a good job illustrating the Pinocchio response, because often times the viewers can tell one of the characters is lying because of lack of eye contact or awkward movements. However, I wouldn't say that it is the best example of the Pinocchio response, because the whole idea of the show is that no one is supposed to figure out that they have switched places. In order for the concept to be more correctly portrayed, more physical movement would have to exist, and eventually the characters would have to be caught.
After thinking about real-life examples of the Pinocchio response, I thought of how often our physical movements give ourselves away. How often does someone catch you when you're lying? More often than not, it is because of what you do, not because of what you say. In the card game, BS, players can tell when someone is lying, not because they say "2 eights," but because maybe he or she is hesitant to put in their cards, or maybe their voice gets quieter. Lying is all around us, but often times we catch it in the act.

The Mere Exposure Effect related to fashion trends

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6200441.jpgThe mere exposure effect is a theory that suggests that the more we are exposed to something, the more that we will grow to like it. According to the theory, the more familiar we are with something, whatever it may be, the more we will like it. This is explained here.

Because this theory is fairly easy to understand, I'm going to explain it in terms of a real world example.


In my Retail Merchandising class, my professor talked about the mere exposure effect and how it contributes to the growth of trends in fashion. The trend in the photo above is called color blocking. Color blocking is when different colors are combined in an outfit in a way that they compliment each other. Colors are usually bold, but they don't necessarily have to be. An explanation of the color blocking trend is here. A trend is usually introduced by a designer, but sometimes trends start on the streets by people bold enough to start them. At first, hardly anyone embraces the trend because they haven't been exposed to it yet.

Next, the trend becomes more widely recognized as it's seen in runway shows, magazines, and by people who have started wearing the trend. This is where the mere exposure effect comes in to play. The first time we see something in a magazine we may or may not like it, but the more the trend is advertised, the more we get used to it. As we get used to a trend, we begin to accept it and like it. This is the life cycle of a trend.

I find the mere exposure effect very interesting because there aren't any logical explanations for it. If a person finds a particular trend to be unappealing, one would guess that that person would find it more unappealing after repeated exposure to it. The trend doesn't change at all during this process, the person's attitude does, but there really isn't any logical reason that it should. However, trends in fashion are a good example to support the theory, because if it were not true then trends would not be able to grow.

"Opposites Attract" - Is it True?

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The age-old saying says that "opposites attract", but is that really true? According to a study done in Ithaca, N.Y., humans don't necessarily look for opposites to balance themselves out. Instead, we look for mates that we perceive as being a good compliment to our own being. According to this article "we try to find someone who is complementary to us and can help us learn, heal, and grow."

Opposites Attract Sometimes
Sometimes opposites DO attract, or so it seems. Although these two look very different physically, their complementary personalities may be what really links them.

For a long time, scientists didn't know if this could be proven wrong, raising up the issue of falsifiability. It has only been in recent years that studies have been conducted that were controlled enough to provide results from which conclusions could be drawn, such as the one in Ithaca that is referenced in the article above. Even then, there are many cases where people are completely different yet still have very happy relationships. Both the statement of "opposites attract" and "likes attract" can be proven wrong, so it is falsifiable.

When it comes to the question of stability of relationships, research shows overwhelmingly that the couples where "likes attract" are more stable, but that doesn't exactly translate to being happy. It makes sense, but stability can become monotonous and boring, leading to an unhappy relationship. This would not be the case in a relationship where opposites attract. Every day could be full of surprise and excitement.

When it comes to pop culture, the questionable claim is a very popular subject. It even has an entire song dedicated to idea, courtesy of Paula Abdul!

The "Science" behind Shoplifting

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In lieu of gender roles, it is pretty common for us to associate shoplifting with women rather than men. Yet, this gender stereotype is completely inaccurate. In 2008, the American Journal of Psychiatry published a report that proved men shoplifted more than women. So if we know that both sexes are just as guilty as the other, the next logical question to ask ourselves is why are we stealing in the first place. Yet, like most things in psychology, there isn't any sort of concrete theory...

I discovered a fairly recent New York Times article that delved deeper into explaining the causes behind shoplifting. From what I gathered, the article tells us that not everyone who shoplifts does so because they can't afford it. In fact, the author claims that through his research, both men and women steal goods that reflect "embarrassing insights into their deepest wounds and desires." The article cites examples of a successful women in the I.T. field with a disordered family. This particular woman had a tendency to steal household goods like "hand towels, sage, lavender, etc." The other example in the article was a divorced flight attendant who allegedly stole a heavy doorstop in hopes that it would "anchor" her in place.


To make things even more interesting, some shoplifters used their stolen goods as a way to develop a more altruistic persona by giving (stolen) gifts. In a way, these ironic altruism sheds light on the plethora of emotions at play. Secondly, men and women stole different goods. It seems obvious but men stole power tools, TVs, appliances, etc. Whereas women stole perfumes, clothes, groceries and similar products. Here we see a trend of genders buying somewhat gender specific products.

In the end, the author says that the men saw the act of stealing as a thrill -- like being the hero in the movie. Also, men were often to see shoplifting as a crime that could transition into larger, more profitable crimes. Inversely, women tended to only shoplift and not move onto bigger crimes. That is, until they became married.

To tie things together, in Chapter 11, we learned about motivation - the psychological drive that propels us in a specific direction. As our book explains, incentive theories say that we're motivated by positive goals. So in the case of shoplifting even though the act itself is considered negative, the reward may be more positive than the risk.

Yet, it seems as if there is a lot we still don't understand why people shoplift. Perhaps it is to become more generous, maybe to find something we are longing for, or maybe it is simply the thrill of the chase. The author ends on a note by saying "I believe that it may be more poetic than scientific, that behind a seemingly simple, petty crime, lurks a mysterious world of hidden desires and obscure longings." But I'd like to think the urge to steal can be explained scientifically. Regardless, I believe a more scientific study could be conducted where convicted shoplifters were asked why they stole the things they did. But given the ambiguity of the question, formulating a solid scientific theory may be difficult.

Should we all listen to Mozart music?

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In 1993 Gordon Shaw and Frances Rauscher, from the University of California, thought that they had made a spectacular discovery: they made a study and discovered that college students who listened to ten minutes of a Mozart Sonata showed a temporary enhancement of spatial-temporal skills. Yet nobody was able to replicate these findings.

But Shaw and Rauscher were not discouraged by the results of their colleagues. They made another study in 1997, an experiment which permits to infer cause-and-effect relations. They created three groups of prescholars: one received private piano lessons, the second one received private computer lessons, and the last one did not receive any lessons. They discovered that the first group performed 34% higher on a spatial abilities test. They concluded that music enhanced spatial-temporal skills, which are located in the hippocampus. However, once again, other studies, like the one realised by Kenneth Steele and John Bruer (who followed exactly the same protocol than Shaw and Rauscher), found that listening to music improves only a little bit, or even not at all, intelligence.

Yet these latest studies did not stop the growing industry of tapes and books about the Mozart effect. Shaw himself sells a CD and a book called Keep Mozart in mind. And another opportunist, Don Campbell, even created a website where he sells his products. So the Mozart effect still has a future.

To conclude I would like to say that the Mozart effect is the perfect example of an overhyped psychology finding. We should always be very prudent with extraordinary claims, that require strong evidences before being accepted.

Obviously I wrote this blog post listening to a Mozart Sonata.


Eating Disorders

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One concept that i find very fascinating from the textbook is eating disorders, particularly anorexia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa is a condition in which a person starves themselves to get thinner. Individuals with anorexia nervosa tend to view themselves as fat even when their bones are showing through their skin. They also have an excessive fear of gaining weight and refuse to maintain a normal body weight for their age and height.

Anorexia is more common in girls than boys and usually begins in adolescence. It is also shown that people who are anorexic and have continued low weight experience a loss of menstrual periods, loss of hair, heart problems, fragile bones, and electrolyte imbalance. Continuous starvation may also lead to death.

Anorexia-Nervosa.jpgResearch shows that anorexia is caused by body image dissatisfaction. This may be because of societal pressures to be thin as modern society portrays beauty to be slender females. Women who frequently view television programs which feature extremely thin women tend to have higher levels of body image dissatisfaction. Stressful life events such as the onset of puberty, a breakup, or going away to school can also trigger anorexia.

Research also suggests that anorexia may be caused by genetic factors. A girl who has a sibling with anorexia is 10 to 20 times more likely to develop anorexia herself. People with anorexia also have higher levels of cortisol, a brain hormone related to stress. They also have lower levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, hormones related to feelings of well-being.

I think these research findings are important in combating anorexia nervosa. I have a cousin who is currently in a battle against anorexia and i find that understanding where she's coming from and trying to get to the root of the problem is a more effective way to get through to her. However, i still wonder if a person with anorexia can ever be fully recovered. I've heard of people who struggle for years and years with anorexia. Will they always have this eating disorder hanging over their heads?

Emotional Intelligence In Everyday Life

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Emotional Intelligence: Being able to understand your own emotions as well as those who around you (friends, family, significant others).

I believe this concept is important because it explains one of the biggest human interactions we experience on a daily basis. No matter who you are or what you do, at some point you will have to interact with people around you. People have to ask for help, work as a team, and lead other people. These tasks can't be done without understanding human emotions.
I have to interact with this concept on a regular basis when I interact with friends, family, and colleagues. I think the best way for me to relate to this concept is comparing how I talked to people when I was in elementary school to today. When I was younger I found it very hard to communicate with older people because I wasn't sure how to read them. Now days I can approach anyone I want to talk to and figure out what tone I need to have to gain their respect.

A current example of this concept that I deal with today is talking with my manager. Sometimes I can walk into his office and kid around and make jokes, but other times I need to stay quiet and just listen. If I did not have emotional intelligence it would make my job very difficult.

Smile, It Will Make You Feel Better

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Smile.jpgWhen I was down about something, my mom would always say "Smile, it will make you feel better." Of course, I being a wise teenager said "yeah right." But guess what, there are studies that suggest that my mom was right.

To experience the emotion of happiness, there is usually a trigger such as getting an A on your psychology exam. When you see this A, you experience physiological changes including a faster heart rate and an increase in blood flow. These changes in the body are sending a signal to your brain to create the emotion of happiness (Galan)

Now evaluate the situation of wanting to feel happy, even though you didn't get that elusive A on the Psych Exam. You tell yourself you are going to be happy anyway, but the physiological changes just aren't there to trigger this state of happiness. However, what if you smiled instead of just telling yourself to be happy? We learned about the Duchenne smile in our text book: "An upward tuning of the corners of the mouth, along with a drooping of the eyelids and crinkling of the corners of the eyes" (Lilienfeld, Lynn, Namy, and Woolf 410). The article entitled "Backwards Smiling: The Physiology of Happy" (Galan) describes that people who were trained to replicate the Duchenne smile could prompt the emotion of happiness without the initial outside trigger (i.e. receiving an A on your psych test). This Duchenne smile became the signal to the brain to create the feeling of happiness. Our text book addresses this with the facial feedback hypothesis, stating that Robert Zajonc theorizes that smiling changes the blood vessels in the face sending temperature feedback to the brain ((Lilienfeld, Lynn, Namy, and Woolf 415).

I really hope to feel the emotion of happiness by seeing an A on my next exam, but I'm going to smile even if I don't receive that A - in the hope of feeling some happiness. But, this makes me wonder if prompting the feeling of happiness with a Duchenne smile is as long lived as the feeling obtained from earning an A on the psych test.

Works Cited:
Lilienfeld, Scott, Steven Lynn, Laura Namy, and Nancy Woolf. Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding. Second Edition. Boston: Pearson Learning Solutions, 2010. 410 - 415. Print.

Galan, Tommy. "Backwards Smiling: The Physiology of Happy." Pick the Brain. 2009. Web. 5 Nov. 2011.

Color, Hierarchy, and Linguistic Relativity

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Thinking about linguistic relativity, the notion that our language characteristics affect our thought processes, led me to consider my experiences with the Japanese language. I spent two semesters starting in my sophomore year studying in Akita, a relatively sparsely populated and rural area of Japan. Upon reflection, I can see aspects of the structure of the Japanese language that may indeed shape thought processes among its speakers, particularly those for whom it is a native tongue.


Firstly there is the issue of color. While Japanese has nearly as many basic color terms as English, it traditionally lacked a distinction between what English-speakers would consider blue and green. In fact, both fell into the realm of a single color, romanized as aoi (and shown in kanji to the left). Only with the advent of Westernization in the 19th century did Japanese speakers, in a rush to conform with European notions in many areas, develop another word (midori) for "green", leaving aoi to simply mean "blue". To this day, aoi can be seen in place names and words (for example the northern prefecture of Aomori would classically be translated as "green forest" but now ends up sounding more like "blue forest"). Indeed, it was in a desire to modernize and accommodate Western norms that the Japanese altered their language, and in doing so, likely changed their thinking as well, though perhaps only in a relatively minor way.

An additional aspect of Japanese that I believe affects the thinking of speakers is the presence of multiple levels of speech based on hierarchy and corresponding levels of politeness. While in English we may use terms like "sir" or "ma'am" or "mister" or "miss/us" (followed by the more recent "mizz"), we generally use much the same basic language in terms of structure and conjugation with everyone. Yet in Japanese, there is a high degree of sensitivity to hierarchical relationships and one is expected to use different forms of verbs (and sometimes different grammar entirely) when addressing a teacher as opposed to a close friend. Additionally, there are levels of formality above these that are expected to be used when addressing a superior or a person of public importance. While one may use informal, even rough language forms with social equals, polite language (teineigo) must be used with strangers and in certain settings, while humble language (kenjōgo ) is used to refer to oneself. When dealing with those who clearly hold social rank above oneself, various forms of respectful language (keigo) must be used, altering verb forms and nouns and in effect producing what sounds much like a very different dialect of the standard from.

How do these built-in differences affect thinking? That is a matter for consideration, surely, but I would suggest that it leads Japanese speakers to be even more aware of hierarchical relationships than speakers of a language like English tend to be. While we may sometimes struggle with forms of address, having to choose between "mister so-and-so" or "Bob", the Japanese have to alter their grammar and word choice to an extensive degree. Were I to meet the President of the United States, I would certainly address him as "sir" but would otherwise use much the same language I would use in say, the workplace. A Japanese meeting his or her prime minister, or more significantly, emperor, would need to recalculate most the the elements of his or her speech in order to avoid offense. Perhaps one effect of this need is the presence of greater nuance within Japanese and the ability to distinguish or mock using language forms. Conversely, our English tendencies may contribute to egalitarian notions of democracy and classlessness.

The full extent of these differences and their effects would be interesting to study in greater depth. One thing that is clear to me, however, is that my Japanese friends place far more emphasis on formal politeness and hierarchical relationships than do my English speaking friends and family.

Two-factor theory of emotion: How we generate emotions?

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I'm very interest in the two-factor theory of emotion developed by Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer that explain how human emotions are provoked. This theory argue that emotion doesn't come with the stimuli we experience naturally, it's the product of our reasoning after we have been aroused by stimuli. Emotions are "labels" we tag to the arousal we experienced, and they are generate from the interpretations of what the event means to us.

Like the James-Lange theory, the two-factor theory also suggest that physical arousal plays an important role in emotions, but the arousals are "undifferentiated", that is, they are the same across all emotions, therefore physical arousal alone could not account for the emotional responses.

According to the two-factor theory, another key ingredient in generating emotions is our mind's interpretation on the physical arousal. As our mind trying to explain the source of the arousal from our past experiences and what else is happening at the time of the arousal, we will find out what makes us aroused, then a emotion "label" was attach to the arousal, which is follow immediately by conscious experience of the emotion. That is, In other words, the formation of emotion "requires both physical arousal and an attribution of that arousal to an emotion-inducing event."

One interesting finding about the relationship between physical arousal and emotion is that the intensity of physical arousal influence the intensity of emotions markedly. In a cleverly designed study, An attractive female confederate approached and chat with a group of male undergraduates on a swing suspension bridge and left her phone numbers, then she did the same to another group on a sturdy bridge that doesn't move. The research indicates that the group met the attractive female on the swinging bridge showed a stronger interest in contacting with her later than the group on the sturdy bridge. This study shows that stronger physical arousal can intensify emotions, in this case, the romantic feeling toward the attractive female.

This known influence of arousal on emotion has been adopted by many business to invent various ways to get money out of customers' pockets. Common in many amusement parks, the excited, adrenaline-rush customers who just got off a roller-coaster ride will find pictures of their twisted faces during the ride ready for purchase at the exit. Under influence of strong physical arousal, their high emotional state make them easier to pay for these pictures, although often at a unreasonable high price.

Source of information:
Psychology-From Inquiry to Understanding, Scott lilienfeld, Steven Lynn, Laura Namy, Nancy Woolf. Page 412~413
"Two-Factor Theory of Emotion", by unknown author,

Did That Happen?

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2sybil102711.jpgThe article "Was 'Sybil' a case of mistaken identity?" written by Jess Stricker was in the Star Tribune today about Sybil (Shirley Mason), a Minnesotan woman who claimed to have and was reported to have 16 different personalities. The case involves the dissociative identity disorder (DID), characterized as the presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states that take control of a person's behavior (Lilienfeld 614). This article related to what we have learned in class in the fact that Stricker explained that hypnosis and "mind-bending drugs" were used during the therapy sessions studying Sybil. As seen in the Paul Ingram Case, hypnosis can create new thoughts and feelings because it provides people with suggestions for alterations in their perceptions (181). This makes science troubling in that it does rely on humans and credibility is not always easy to test. Sybil's psychiatrist, Dr. Cornelia Wilbur, was said to hypnotize Sybil and suggest things that might have happened. Sybil had even said she experienced an incident in which her friend was killed right in front of her. This was later found to be a false memory for Sybil because while her friend did die, it happened 10 years later from the time Sybil stated and she was not there. Was this due to suggestions or because Sybil's different personalities interrupted her memories? Sybil died in 1998 and it is not certain whether or not she experienced these many different personalities but it is interesting on how memory can change so drastically and how misinformation can create fictitious memories.

Star Tribune Newspaper. Print. 27 Oct 2011
Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding

Prompts for Blog Entries 3 and 4

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psychology-joke-pavlov.pngBlog entry 3 is due by 11:59 pm on Sunday, October 23 (right before the second exam), while Blog entry 4 is due by 11:59 pm on Sunday, November 6. In addition to the three prompts listed in the syllabus (also listed below), as announced in discussion section on the 12th, I've added a new fourth prompt for blogs 3 and 4. Please no longer use the fourth prompt that was given for blogs 1 and 2. If you have any questions about the blogs or prompts, please let me know! Happy writing! (Note: the cartoon has nothing to do with this post; it amused me and goes along with what you've been learning recently...)


Pick one of the following topics and write ~250 words about it. Feel free to add images, videos or links (include at least 2 of these 3!).

1) Identify one important concept, research finding, theory or idea from Psy 1001 lectures or the Lilienfeld text from the past two weeks. Summarize the concept in your own words and explain why you believe this concept research finding, theory or idea is important. Apply this to some aspect of your life (real life example are an excellent way to learn. Photos, You-tube videos, etc. are encouraged.) As you reflect on this concept, research finding, theory or other idea, what other questions occur to you? What are you still wondering about?

2) Provide a link to an article, hoax or claim that has been made in the media and evaluate the claim using one or more of the six principles of critical thinking. (You can find a rich source of urban legends at

Apply a concept, research finding, theory or idea that you have learned about in Psychology to provide an alternative explanation. Which principle is most useful for evaluating this particular claim? Remember to cite your sources.

3) If you can think of a different explanation or want to support something one of your classmates has posted, you can respond to a classmates post with a post of your own. Be sure to provide evidence to support your response.

4) Write about a psychological concept covered in lecture or the text that has been shown in a movie or TV show/episode (include video, pictures, link). Was the concept correctly portrayed? What could have been done to make the presentation of the concept more accurate? Would you recommend this movie or TV show/episode to a fellow psychology student interested in an accurate portrayal of the concept? What questions do you have about the concept, given how it was shown?

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