Ted Talk: How We Read Each Other’s Minds

Rebecca Saxe begins this “Ted Talk” with examples of how children, five and three, would react to a plastic figurine in a skit of how they might react leaving a sandwich on the ground. Both children saw that the pirate did not want to eat a dirty sandwich, but the five year old blamed it on the second pirate moving the food, while the three year old blamed it on a more natural cause such as the wind in this example. This proved that a part of the brain, the RTPJ effects how a human thinks of other’s behaviors. It’s not truly mind reading like the title might imply, but it is in fact a pretty good guess of how one might react. The situation was given similarly to an adult population and increased the risk factors. This situation included putting poison in a friend’s coffee, and how someone might be lead to believe it is the person making the coffee choosing to do this, unless it is stated that the friend didn’t know that the sugar was disguised as poison; then her actions were excusable. Saxe then briefly describes how scientists have the technology to magnetically shock the part of the brain controlling these thoughts into thinking differently on who their is to blame in this situation. Some people who thought it was the friend’s fault changed their initial answer after getting the magnetic shock to their brains. This was so interesting to see because this is based in someone’s morals, and the development of these ideas from a three year old all the way up to an adult changes drastically; but can also be manipulated in a way that one might blame things differently altogether.


Research Methods

The research question I would look into is if looking at a phone before attempting to sleep really interrupts the sleeping process as a whole. There is research done pertaining to how the blue light a tablet or phone gives off affects the quality of your sleep because it alters the levels of Melatonin controlling person’s sleep cycle. This research was done by Sleep.org which was very interesting to read on, as they go into how all electronics can make your sleep worsen over time. I paid close attention to cell phone use especially because it is more personal to me; I’m very attached to my phone! I believe that if more cell phone users put their phone down two hours before going to sleep each night, they would wake up less throughout the night, and feel more rested each morning. In order to test this hypothesis, I could take ten close friends, and ask them if they would be willing to put down their phones two hours early before going to bed, and then record how their sleep was every night. I would then take ten more teens and ask them to use their phones right before bed and record any symptoms they have waking up the next morning. I would then put both sets of recordings together and compare the results.


Introductory Post

My name is Madison, but I go by Maddie quite often. I chose this class because I had general psychology in High School, and I really loved the material, but not my teacher. I was really interested in how the course would be with a better teacher. I’ve often thought about why people do the things they do, and not just because “they felt like it.” I truly want to know what their brain does during the decision making process and why making a particular choice seems positive in some situations and not others. When I hear the word, “Psychology” I think about why the mind thinks what it does, along with different experiences a person has pertaining to injuries and disabilities that affect the way the brain operates. A few topics interest me such as “Why do we forget?” due to my horrible memory, I’ve always wondered why I could never remember anything. “Coping with stress” also sounds very appealing because we are in college, and everyone around us is learning how to cope with stress in their own ways. Lastly, “Personality and Culture” I will find very much attention holding due to it’s truth of who we are on the inside and out. I hope we will go into my classmate’s personal personalities and cultures because I love learning about where other’s come from. The lessons pertaining to intelligence do not interest me like the other do. “Operant Conditioning”, “Observational Learning”, and “Theories of Intelligence” seem to be topics that aren’t specific to one person, and I like personal details in lessons especially. One question I’m very eager to have an answer to pertaining to psychology would be why people commit suicide. I’ve had to experience suicide with a close friend and their family, and it has always been something the world wonders about and wants an answer to. Death is really interesting to me because I’m not sure on my beliefs on what happens when someone dies, and I believe while psychology focuses on the “Why’s” it might hold some answers for me on why death happens in certain unfortunate situations. I’m excited to start the year, and excited to open my mind up to new ideas and possibilities.

More to come.

– Maddie