First Impression Post #4

This week, I chose to discuss and critique my own study habits and some things I might want to consider doing differently. Overall, I think my study habits for most classes are pretty good as I follow the ‘rule of thumb’ and make sure not to wait until the last minute to study for quizzes and exams. While this is very important, I think it’s also important to spend the extended study time that you’ve allowed yourself to be as productive as possible. Before class today, I thought I was studying effectively enough and the right ways at the right times for myself but now I’m thinking otherwise.

One of my main issues I faced while taking this exam that I was blatantly unprepared for the amount of detail required to answer some of the questions that were asked. I was able to get together with a study group from Gen. Psych. prior to the exam and to be quite honest, I felt confident afterwards. Together, we watched online lectures, reviewed some practice questions on Canvas, and answered any questions we had while studying independently during that week. I’ve never been much of a procrastinator (thankfully) so I already had some insight on the test material long before our study session. Normally, I find myself making flashcards and reviewing them over and over again until they’re engrained in my mind, but for some reason, I didn’t do that for this test.

I found myself referring to the Review Guide #1 for almost the entirety of my studying process, and to be honest, I don’t know how much it helped. It was definitely nice seeing all the general information that was going to be on the exam all in one place and using it as a starting point might have been a good idea. I think I spent too much time studying specific terms and not enough time studying people and concepts. Had I spent more time studying the specifics, I probably would have gotten a much higher score on the exam. For the next exam, I think I am going to continue taking and retaking the online quizzes that are offered on Canvas and reviewing all of the terms, people, and concepts that have been brought up throughout these chapters. I also think I might try studying using my method of flashcards as that has been known to work in the past for me. Perhaps had I used methods of the ‘Working Memory’ process and tried my best to not multi-task while studying, I may have preformed better of the first exam.


First Impression Post #3

This week, I chose to speak out on the topic of violence in the media. This is something that I have been openly against for years and passionately feel that there is absolutely no reason for the amount of violence there is in some video games. With the amount of blood, gore, and the graphics these video games have, there is no reason that these should be so easily accessible to the youth of today. Criticisms of such games say that the results could be catastrophic and potentially make children more violent than those who aren’t exposed to such games.  These are the video games that your kids will play if we don’t put some sort of age restraint on them.

When I furthered my research and reached out to other sources for statistics to support my argument, I realized how many people feel similarly about violent video games. The New York Times reminds us that scientists have been studying the violent effects of the media since the early 1950’s and video games in particular since that 1980’s. It is important to mention that both boys and girls play violent video games. In the end, the scientist can soundly say that playing violent video ages can and will “stir up some hostile urges” and produce some “mildly aggressive behavior in the short term.” It is also important to mention that youngsters who play video games regularly and asa habit so become more aggressive (as measured in clashes with peers.) It is not yet clear whether or not there is a direct correlation between children playing violent video games and them committing violent acts of crime (rape, murder, assault, massacre, etc.) later in life.

In my opinion, there really is no reason to have games with the level of violence. Some may argue that a raised age limit would suffice, but rules are only rules because someone once broke them. Who’s to say people would abide by this law? I think if ages were raised for violent games, people would still play them regardless of the age limit. If video games were permanently banned for being too violent, that could be a bad thing too. People would get mad about the lack of violent video games, and these same people might commit violent acts because they originally played these games. Overall, it’s hard to decide which is the better of two evils to I will sit on the fence.

First Impression Post #2

The TED talk I chose to watch was ‘Jim Fallon: Exploring the Mind of a Killer.’ I chose to watch this TED talk because I have always been interested in exploring forensics and the workings of the minds of the world’s most well-known killers. Although this wasn’t a long speech, it was packed with information and I found it very easy to listen to. Besides it being interesting and engaging, Jim Fallon, the speaker, was really easy to listen to in the sense that he didn’t use huge words that were hard to understand. If there was ever a time that he said something that wasn’t obvious to the average person, he made sure to explain what he was talking about. In this speech, Fallon compared and contrasted the brain scans of the brains of the worlds most famous killers from John Wayne Gacy to David Berkowitz to Charles Manson. He was able to note a number of similarities but only a few obvious differences within the brain scans. This helps to support his point in that it’s possible that there are physical/genetic reasons why people turn out to be killers.

Something that I thought was very interesting was when Jim discussed the issue of the physical interworking of the mind that made men and woman different in the way that they think about such issues. Due to genetics and interactions with environments, it’s known that epigenetic effects of the brain and damage to the orbital cortex and the interior part of the temple could have some effect on whether or not they are a killer. Its also interesting that the gene (the MAO gene) which is inherited from your mother, it explains why men are sometimes more violent or likely to become killers. Parents can pass down 2 X chromosomes to their daughter (thus, this gene is properly “diluted”) while the son can only get 1 X chromosome from their mother (thus, they have a greater chance of having this sort of MAO gene.)

James (“Jim”) Fallon spoke a lot about how he got his start and developed his interest in studying the minds of killers. He said how he was relatives with one of the murderers from the very first solved and documented murders in history. He then went on to talk about how he was asked to review brain scans and give his scholarly input on what he thought about them (without knowing that they were brain scans from the brains of killers.) Having this background knowledge is not necessarily important to the purpose of the study, but it is definitely very interesting.

Although this was a short video, I felt like I learned a lot and what was said was well spoken. This was a generally laid back lecture and it was very easy to listen to and packed with information. I would be interested in learning more about how much the interworking of the minds of killers has to do with genetics and the relationship between the two.

First Impressions Post #1

For my first, First Impressions Post, I decided to watch a short clip from the popular TV show Mythbusters highlighting the phenomena that women are better at reading emotions than men. In this clip, the hosts of the show sat in front of a camera and portrayed a number of different emotions from happy to sad to angry and confused. The photos were then developed and cropped down so that only the eyes of each picture were visible. Volunteers (both men and women) lined up outside the door of the Mythbuster studio to be asked the question, “What emotion is this person portraying just based on their eyes,” and the results were absolutely astonishing.

Some of the weaknesses I found with this experiment all surrounded scientific and methodological validity. Although the experiment seemed to have it’s disadvantages and added a bit to my main gripe with this experiment, how many people (and of each gender) were being asked the question? The more people that volunteered to be involved in this study, the more accurate the study would be. If more of one gender showed up to participate in the study, then one gender’s results would be more precise than the other. Although the Mythbusters might have considered this in advance, they failed to specify and for that reason, I was forced to question that sort of validity in the study. A solution to this would be to collect data from more people, and if they hadn’t already, make it so the gender ratio is even within the study. Although there were a total of 17 pictures shown to the volunteers, they were all of the same 4 hosts from the show. This unveils the issue of woman or men being better at reading emotions in general vs. learning the emotions of a certain person. By viewing multiple pictures of the same people, one might have the ability to retain prior information based on this person’s previous emotions and thus, rethink what they think vs. what they feel about a person’s portrayal of emotion. A was one could fix this problem would be to have 17 (or more) pictures all of different people.

Although there were some weaknesses in the experiment, there were also quite a few strengths that I appreciated one being the independent variable being held constant. The independent variable was that of the photos all being the same for each of the volunteers regardless of their gender. This made it so every person interviewed had the same visualization to work with and so that one person didn’t get an easier-to-read picture than the next. Another part of this study that I actually really appreciated was the fact that the pictures that were shown were of the eyes of both men and women. Although popular opinion might say that it’s easier to sense emotions of people within your gender, this sort of variable eliminates the chance of that being a factor. In the end, the results were clear and the average was taken based on the results of each gender. Men had an average of 9.6/17 while women prevailed with 10.6/17.

Many strong and valid techniques of performing this study were used and for that reason, I think this study was overall a success.



First Impression Post, #1

My name is Katie Hoff and I am a freshman Music Therapy major/Psych minor at Elizabethtown College. I live in Eastern Pennsylvania with my dad, mom, 3 sisters, and 2 dogs. I am very excited to be enrolled in this course this semester out of pure naivety and curiosity about learning more about what the field of psychology entails. I am eager to get to know more people who are interested in similar things and I am hopeful that going in with an open mind will lead to knew and amazing learning opportunities.

Why you chose to take this class? (It is okay to be honest) – A huge part of being in the Music Therapy department at Elizabethtown is being well versed in areas including music, psychology, science, and language. In addition to general psychology, we are required to take abnormal psychology in order to actively apply aspects of psychology into our musical practice. With these two classes under my belt by the end of Sophomore year, I will have time to take 1 additional psych class in order to fulfill the requirements for a psychology minor which could potentially make me more marketable and fierce in the eyes if future employers

What background, if any, do you have in psychology? – Besides prior interest in shows like NCIS and Making a Murderer, I had the opportunity to take a psychology class in high school. I have always been interested in several different aspects of psychology.

What do you think of when you hear the word “psychology”? – The study of the brain and how it works for different people in different ways. In layman’s terms, “We are going to be learning about the human brain and how it does things and why it does the things that does!”

Look at the course schedule on the syllabus. Which three topics look the most interesting to you? Why? Which three topics look the least interesting to you? Why? – I am most interested in learning about The Brain: Micro/Macro level. I am really interested in the scientific and anatomical side of psychology. Being able to actually see how and why something works within the human body is absolutely incredible to me. I think I am least interested in Classical/Operant Conditioning because from prior knowledge, I know there are quite a few people and terminologies to remember within this chapter.

What question about psychology do you want to answer by the end of this class? – How can one reverse/lighten the effects of mental health disorders for other people using psychology/psychological aspects?