First Impression Post 2

For this post I decided to watch the TED talk labeled, How We Read Each Other’s Minds. It was given by Rebecca Saxe, a cognitive neuroscientist. What drew me to this TED Talk was the name of it. When my best friend and I hang out, it’s very common for me to make a statement or suggest something, and she’ll exclaim, “I just thought that!” It happens more than sometimes we think it should and over really random things too. We try to find a reason for us both thinking that, but sometimes, it’s just really freaky. I relate to empaths a lot, so sometimes it is like I can read a mind, and that’s what I thought this might be about, but alas, it was not.

This TED Talk was about how humans can perceive and think about other’s thoughts and feelings and how we can potentially change them with magnetic impulses . The presenter showed data which proves as we age, our brains further development in a special region called, the Right Temporo-Parietal Junction. As a child, one cannot think accurately or rationally about other’s thoughts, as this region isn’t done developing until the early teens. The RTPJ’s specialized job is to perceive other’s thoughts, emotions, and feelings. Rebecca Saxe, the presenter, was a very reliable source of information, she showed vidoes of her studies and experiments in action along with the data she collected. Day to day, Rebecca Saxe studies how we think about other people’s thoughts. At the Saxelab at MIT, she uses fMRI to identify what happens in our brains when we consider the motives, passions, and beliefs of others.

I found the data Mrs. Saxe collected about before and after the magnetic stimulations fascinating. She explained a made-up scenario in which one person asked another to put sugar in her coffee for her. In scenario one, the sugar is labeled poison but is really sugar and she willingly puts it in the coffee, no one dies. Scenario two is where the sugar says sugar and is sugar and she’s fine. The third scenario is when the sugar is labeled sugar but is really poison, and she dies. Then people were asked to gauge how morally permissible the act is and how much the woman who put the ‘sugar’ in the coffee should be blamed. When asked without the magnetic stimulation, most people said it was not morally permissible in the first scenario and deserves more blame. The second scenario is morally permissible and deserves no blame. In the third scenario, they think it was morally permissible but she deserves some blame. However, when the magnetic wave was applied, it is reversed. She deserves more blame when she didn’t know it was poison but gave it anyways and less blame when she knew it was poison. This shows that when the RTPJ is not completely formed or functioning, it can cloud our thoughts on other’s thoughts and feelings.

I would want to know how this portion of the brain might deteriorate over time and if that might lend a hand to older generations not being able to perceive younger generations as well and potentially lead to intolerance or misunderstandings. I would just include older people in the study and make it a longitudinal study, so I could go back to the same people over-time and see how it changes. I would also ask them questions with varying difficulty.


Week 2 First Impression Post

Something that has always made me think about human nature and our behavior is; why do people mimic each other when in conversation? Sometimes it can be as subtle as crossing both of your arms to as big as scratching your head after they do or adjusting eyewear after them. This can be tricky to catch because, for the most part, it is a subconscious behavior, so the person might not be aware they are mimicking another.

Research Question: Why do humans mirror other’s actions during conversation?

Hypothesis: Humans mirror others behavior and actions in conversation because when humans were still evolving and adapting, they created a subconscious mimicking mechanism as a way to either protect themselves or to show other’s they were safe.

Research Procedure:

  1. First I would just ask about 20 students to volunteer to just have a conversation with another person (probably a psych student)
  2. The students will talk while the researcher slowly mimics half of their behavior, tone, body language, etc. until almost every action is mimicked and with the other half do nothing while talking.
    1. note: the volunteer should not be aware the other person’s role (mimicking). They are simply two people having a conversation, don’t want them to be self-conscious of their body language and actions. You want it to be natural.
  3. Hopefully, after 15-20 minutes of talking, the volunteer will be copying the behavior of the researcher, since they have subconsciously been mimicked the whole time.
  4. Ask each volunteer to rate how connected they feel with the interviewer. Hopefully the mimicked conversations will feel more connected than the ones without mimicking.

Use this as a comparison of natural behavior and mimicking with some priming/help from the researcher.

  1. Have two volunteers sit down and start talking, you can give them starter questions to talk about various topics (start with lighter stuff then lead to serious/darker questions)
  2. Observe the partner conversations of about 5-10 pairings and then compare their behaviors of during the conversations with that of the original conversation between the interviewer and the volunteer.

You will be able to see when the most people mimicked each other (during beginning, middle, end, more serious, lighter topics, etc.)

If someone repeats your bodily actions in a subtle way, it is most likely they are no harm to you and can relate to your feelings and emotions in that time frame. If two people do or act the same, then they can assume that person is not a threat or danger since they are like-minded to some capacity. This can still be seen today in a different capacity, not in a evolutionary way. During infancy, an infant will mimic the facial expressions or verbal cues given by their primary caregiver(s). Babies begin to mimic the individuals around them to establish deep connections and to start working their fine/gross motor skills, and in particular, their bodily functions and basic movements (i.e. waving, clapping, hug, kiss, etc.). This ability to mimic another person’s actions allows the infant to establish a sense of empathy and thus begin to understand basic emotions such as happiness, fright, discomfort, and compassion. The infant continues to establish connections with other individual’s emotions and subsequently mirror their movements as well.

Mirroring can is defined as the behavior in which one person subconsciously imitates the gesture, speech pattern, or attitudes of another person. Mirroring most often occurs in social situations, particularly in the company of close friends or family. The concept often affects other individuals’ notions about the individual that is exhibiting mirroring behaviors, which can lead to the individual building rapport with others. Too much mirroring should be considered dangerous and the individual needs checked for behavioral or a cognitive function problem.

Mirroring is the subconscious replication of another person’s nonverbal signals. This concept takes place in everyday interactions, and often goes unnoticed by both the person enacting the mirroring behaviors as well as the individual who is being mirrored. The activation of mirror neurons takes place within the individual who begins to mirror another’s movements, and allows them a greater connection and understanding with the individual who they are mirroring, as well as allowing the individual who is being mirrored to feel a stronger connection with the other individual. Mirroring is distinct from conscious imitation under the premise that while the latter is a conscious, typically overt effort to copy another person, mirroring is subconsciously done during the act and often goes unnoticed.

Mirroring can establish rapport with the individual who is being mirrored, as the similarities in nonverbal gestures allow the individual to feel more connected with the person exhibiting the mirrored behavior. As the two individuals in the situation display similar nonverbal gestures, they may believe that they share similar attitudes and ideas as well. Mirror neurons react to and cause these movements, allowing the individuals to feel a greater sense of engagement and belonging within the situation.


General Psychology- post 1

Why did I take this class? Well, I have to pass this class and Intro to Neuroscience with a C or higher, in order to be fully accepted into the Psych Department. In the past I’ve taken intro to Psych and Psych 101 in high school. I’ve been trained to teach and lead in Social-Emotional way and we learned many teaching styles, methods, and theories about the best approach to situations. I also took Fundamentals of Teaching, the Choices We Make FYS, Discovering Society, and Early Childhood Development, all of which taught from psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, anthropologists, and scientists about their theories, perspectives, and hypotheses. This semester I’m also taking General Psych, Intro to Neuroscience, and Human Behavior in the Social Environment, all of which further my studies of psychology and the human condition. I’m very interested in Sigmund Freud, B.F. Skinner, Piaget, Vygotsky, and Bruner’s theories as I’ve already studied them, but would love to go deeper, see more studies, and read more by them. When I hear the term ‘Psychology’ I think of the human brain and how it interacts, processes, and develops over time and how our inner psyche’s really do reveal a lot about us. I love to research how influential adults/main caregivers are on children/infants, and how they retain so much information at such a young age and seeing how they develop later in life with those set of values. I love being able to figure out why I do certain things or why other people act the way they do and connecting it to past experiences or to their upbringing and way of life growing up. I am not looking forward to conditioning and behaviorism as I’ve studied that in every class listed above and feel I’ve heard what most people cover. I am also not looking forward to coping with stress and how to make memories. I feel as though like most people say the same things about coping with stress and I already have methods that work well, and I have a good understanding of false-memories and infantile amnesia, and I don’t know what else ‘making memories’ would cover.


First blog post

Hello everyone! My name is Caitlin, I’m almost 20 years old and originally from Pittsburgh, PA. My first year at Etown was great, however, I wasn’t completely comfortable in the Early Childhood Education Major, so I switched into the Psychology department and decided to start taking my major related classes in the fall of 2017. I’m really interested in the Social-Emotional approach to teaching, intervention, and counseling. In the future, I would love to still work with children with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) or trauma in a school or counseling setting. After graduating, I would love to possibly attend Neumann University and earn a Master’s degree in Social Emotional Learning. I work with the program’s Director, Thom Stecher, in many ways. For the past six years, I have attended and participated in the LifeSkills/LifeChangers Conference as a camper and counselor. It is a week long intense leadership conference where you focus on respect, relationships, and responsibility in all aspects. I have also worked at Camp Rainbow in Montgomery County, PA as a lead counselor and behavioral support staff. Thom Stecher & Associates trained each staff member for both camps and provided them with the tools necessary for a successful social-emotional approach to learning and teaching. I also volunteer with and am a member of the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, which is a Masonic youth service organization for girls between the ages of 11 and 21. I describe it as a mix between the Girl Scouts, a sorority, and a youth group. We volunteer our time at nursing homes, shelters, and raise money for two charities every year, so in that regard we are charitable like the Girl Scouts and care about our communities and other’s as well as our own. We also follow a ritual book during our meetings and closed ceremonies just like how a sorority does, and we also elect our officers for each chapter like a sorority president, vice president, chaplain, treasurer, recorder, and such. We are also like a church youth group in many ways. In order to be a member you have to believe in a Higher power, we have a chaplain, like a pastor but it’s a girl member, and say a prayer and reference God within our Ritual, and we also have a bible in the meeting room. Overall, it teaches the ideas of faith, charity, and hope, along with the lessons of love, religion, nature, immortality, fidelity, patriotism, and service. In between all of this, I love having a radio station on campus with my best friend and attending many concerts while also visiting my boyfriend in Allentown, PA.