Thursday, November 21, 2013

Behavior Modification

Well, I have of course been trained by my parents.  My mom once tried to train me to not hurt other people through positive punishment.  This included screaming, scolding, and isolation.  This however did not work.  I only learned that hurting people could modify behavior, so I used it more.  However, my mom used positive reinforcement to teach me to work hard.  Every time I did chores or help my parents in anyway, my parents would compliment me and give me money.  However, they never once yelled at me for not doing work.  For some reason, I continued to work hard and still do today.  My dad will go split wood without asking me for help.  I know that not helping him will not lead to any negative consequences, but I help anyways.  if my parents tried to use punishment to make me work, I would work less and not as well.  I learned that positive reinforcement is the best way to modify behavior, because it is the only one that will not spark rebellion if the person finds out about it.  I also learned that making people happy makes me happy and hard work has its own rewards.      

Monday, November 18, 2013

Trauma and Classical Learning

John Doe loves riding horses.  Horse riding had been a hobby of his since he was young.  One day he was riding in his pastor when a coyote jumped in front of the horse.  Scared, the horse began galloping at full speed and entered its fifth gate.  After trying to regain control, John realized that he could not stop his horse.  He then decided to abort, but his boot was stuck in the stirrup.  The horse then dragged him threw multiple bushes, rocks, trees, and ended with a barb wired fence.  He broke both his legs, his collarbones, and had multiple gashes throughout his body.  After the event, he was scared to ride any animal.  He found them unstable and believed them to be wild.  He would become scared at the sight of anyone he cared about riding a horse.  After ten tears, he finally got back on a horse and has not been scared to ride since. Although a freak accident, he believed that horse riding was far more dangerous than it is.   John was classically  conditioned to be scared of horses.  It was not a rational fear since he was actually quite skilled at horse riding.  The one random event caused him to associate fear with horse riding.  Horses caused him fear because one time he had fear while being dragged by a horse.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Subliminal Persuasion

I believe that the idea of subliminal advertising is believed most likely do to the fact that it appears to the popular belief of psychology.  Many, including myslef, have considered the possibility that we make decisions based on unconcious forces.  In addition, many people blame unexplained actions on unconcious forces.  Subliminal messaging causes these unconcious forces anf effect how they contribute to decision making.  Also, if a person makes a decision with no answer, it is popular to believe there exists a reason for this such as subliminal advertisement. 

I beleive the "witch trial" factor is the weakest.  Although it does make sense that advertisers who use sublimial messages would keep it secret, it makes more sense that if it doesn't exist, there is no proof.  This factor adds nothing other than the fact that neither side of the argument is correct

I never believed in subliminal advertising, because too many confounding variables exist to have commercials to effectively use them.  Pratkanis did not influence my opinion, because many of his points were common sense and I already did not believe in subliminal advertisement.  I do however believe that subliminal messages cn be used over time to generally change public opinion.  This can be witnessed in any country including the USA. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sensation and Perception

Sensation is the reception of stimuli and feeling from the world around an organism and perception is the translation of sensation and how the brain reads it.  Sensation is the use of sensory organs.  Perception is the brain's interpretation of signals from sensory organs.  Students can easily confuse this, because they are very similar.  To help confused students I would say that sensation happens before perception, and perception is how sensation is transcribed into thought.  I will use a car crashing into a tree as an example.  A person who does need see the car crash hears the screeching brakes and the bang.  This is sensation.  Their hears received sound and sent the message to the brain.  However, they perceive the car crashing.  Their brain deciphered the sensation and used knowledge to tell the person that a car crashed.  There could have been a radio making the sounds and the perception was false.  That is another way to tell the difference.  Although sensation can also represent a falsity if sensory organs are not functioning correctly.  They use top-down processing to assume that the driver accidentally hit the tree and that something went wrong.  They use bottom-up processing to see that the car's front end is smashed and the car is smoking after they look.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


I believe that many people form their own form of phrenology.  I use to think that certain parts of the brain handle certain thoughts.  Now I know that the parts have different functions but work together to form thought.  I was also fascinated by the ideas of bumps increasing certain parts.  Can people not be gifted in parts of the inner brain?  Does size matter.  There exists a slight correlation in size of brain and intelligence, but there is outliers.  I can see why people would think that phrenology is real.  There was obviously an expectancy bias and any evidence to the contrary could easily be worked around by redefining brain parts. The study of the belief of phrenology could be its own psychological research.  While looking at the old models of the phrenologic brain I would like to point out that not all different functions were listed.  In addition, some were way to specific and biased to time and place of the creators.  Do those who believe in multiple gods not have the part of the brain for believing in one god.  In addition, I have to assume that the creators of the models knew they were guessing.  It must involved a little bit of cognitive ignorance.  After all, there is no reason to believe that bakery and accounting math need different parts of the brain exclusively.  Biologically, this theory is flawed, because parts of the brain would not have been created at a certain time but be the result of a past environment.  Also, how could psycho-dynamic forces exist in a cookie cutter brain.    

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Nature versus Nurture

I believe that genetics has little to do with behavior and mental processes.  Out of 100, I believe genetics has about 10% effect.  This is because almost all of genetics can be worked around through conscious acts.  Those with learning disabilities can study and work harder.  People can change their personality to reach certain goals.  Michael Jackson even changed his skin color.  Genetics may provide the basis for which mental processes come from, but in no way control it.  The biggest proof of this is that people change. Environment can cause one person to become something completely different.  For example, a relatively nice person could undergo trauma that causes them to behave cruelly.   Genetics may code for physical traits like eye color.  They may even have an effect on mental processes through the creation of the brain.  However, they have no where near the impact that environment has.  I believe that the basis of personality comes from the early years of development.  This personality creates behavior.  From a cognitive view, I believe that people can consciously choose how to behave based on their goals and feelings.  From a behavioral view, people may be embedded with uncontrollable mental processes but these could have been created through behavioral conditioning and not innate.  Also, from a social-cultural point of view, behavior may be based the current environment of a person.  And if people chase behavior for different parts of their life, then there is not a strong genetic connection.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ethics, Animal Use, and Torture

I believe that there exists a balance between ethics and the pursuit of science.  In addition, I believe there are humane ways of doing almost all experiments.  For example, any experiments that need a person near death can be performed on the terminally ill with their consent of course.  I believe that if a person agrees to the specific pain and trauma of an experiment then they can be experimented on.  If an experiment needs to shock torture people, then people can be made aware of the voltage and be paid to participate. Consent is the most important thing needed to perform experiments. This said, certain experiments need to withhold certain information. The experimenter needs to inform the participant of any harmful effects.  Lies should not cover up physically harmful acts.  For animals, I believe the ends justified the means.  If an animal needs to be tortured or kill there better be a good reason for it.  In addition, all steps should be taken to comfort and take care of the animal that do not interfere with the experiment and are financially viable.  Those who use animals should just use common sense and even though something is legal does not be it should be done.  For example, if five rats are killed while trying to show how people react to watching animals dying, then that is not moral.  Videos of animals dying would work if this experiment is really worth it.  However, if five rats die in order to cure Alzheimer's then it is worth it.  It should also be noted that experiments should be well planned out.  That way the least damage possible is done. Obviously more dangerous experiments can be on animals. However, the plus about humans is they can consent.  Animals cannot consent so experiments should be done with precision and accuracy.  With humans more extraneous experiments can be done.