First Impression Post Week 6

In high school, my study habits were not very efficient. I was able to get good grades just by remembering notes and details from class, not from putting in study time. This ended up being a blessing in disguise, since now in college studying is key, and my study skills are underdeveloped. I am a visual learner, and I can remember pictures or videos more easily than words describing a situation. In high school, teachers would go out of their way to find pictures to put in the power points for students to look at. Now, it is mainly the student’s responsibility to make sure they understand the concepts from class. The notes you take in class are the notes you need to study from, so good note taking is essential. For the first exam, I studied the power point slides in great detail, and referred to the book notes as needed. The book gave more examples of definitions or theories that were sometimes essential to learning the concepts. I studied the material for days, and looking back, I think my studying was inefficient since I couldn’t recall some information when the exam time came. I need to work on studying smarter, not harder for exams. It will benefit me, and save me the stress of setting aside hours to study for one exam for one class. To better prepare for the next exam, I might make flash cards of the material, so it is easy to lightly study while on the go. It can make learning the concepts less of a struggle in the last days before the exam.

First Impression Post Week #4

For this week’s first impression post, I decided to watch the TED talk by Jim Fallon about “Exploring the Mind of a Killer.” True crime, especially murder mysteries have always been an interest of mine. This topic of a killer’s mind from a neuroscience perspective is quite fascinating to me, because a person can really have murderous genes in their biological makeup.

In the talk, Jim went on to discuss the components of the brain that can be altered biologically to create a psychopathic killer. The most important components to look at are the genes, brain damaged areas, and the environment in which they grew up in. All of these tie into the age and timing of developmental issues that have occurred in the individual. Different precise timings of these aspects can determine various types of psychopaths and how they will behave. Typically, psychopaths have damage to their orbital cortex, which is above the eyes, and the interior part of the temporal lobes of the brain. Each killer had these similar features, but each was distinctly different in the degree of damage. There is also a violence gene, MAOA, which is sex linked and you can only receive it from your mother. This can explain why majority of psychopaths are men, because they directly inherit the gene from their mother on the X chromosome. Too much serotonin during development causes the brain to become insensitive to it, and later causes violent tendencies to occur.

What I found the most interesting about the talk was that famous serial killers in history all share similar brain damage when looked at comparatively. Before modern technology, killers were seen as individuals who all were sick in the head. Now, we can compare their brains and see correlations between them and their biological aspects. I found Jim Fallon trustworthy in his presentation, since he is a neuroscience professor at the University of California, and for over thirty years he has studied behaviors through the means of the brain. He had logical information and explained the topics of his studies in great detail. He had brain scans to show the audience, and he compared them to each other to further show correlations between the killers studied, and the abnormalities. He came across as a well educated man, who was passionate about his experimental findings and explained them in a logical way.

A topic I would like to study is how serotonin can effect the brain’s ability to calm down an individual.  I would use a typical experimental design with a control and an experimental group. One group will get a saline solution to spray up their nose, and the other a serotonin solution. The saline would be used as the placebo. Then the groups will be faced with a stressful or aggravating situation, and be timed to see how long it took their bodies to calm down. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps the body regulate mood and social behavior. I would need to keep in mind the levels of each spray, to see if more serotonin is needed for a conclusive result. This would be interesting to research because I haven’t heard of this neurotransmitter being a factor in serial killer’s behaviors before.

First Impression Post Week 3

Children in today’s society are brought up differently than I was, or even my fourteen year old sister was. Parenting styles have changed in the past few years due to new technologies and daily changes in society’s viewpoints. I believe my parents raised me well, and gave me the essential things I needed in life to be healthy and happy. They made sure I was always occupied with an activity, but it was never the television or anything of those sorts. I always had a coloring book, paint, Barbie Dolls, stuffed animals, and they kept me focused and let my imagination run wild. I was always playing games like house, chef, or I pretended to be a teacher and my stuffed animals were the students.  Parents should do more of this, because it allows children to play pretend, and strengthen their imaginative thoughts. My parents were not helicopter parents, they let me make my own decisions, but I always knew they expected me to behave. It was subtle, but they made sure I was a polite young lady and raised me to know what is right or wrong.

I believe parents now should not rely so much on the electronics and TV shows. Children need to have toys that they can play with, and create an imagination with. TV shows today are not focused towards young kids, and it can be a bad thing for their development. I also think it is a shame that babies can work smart phones better than I can sometimes. That is not typical, and they should be playing with a toy instead. Electronics have become a way of occupying a child for hours on end so the parent can walk away and not worry. I personally hate this, because I was never sat in front of the TV, my parents would always occupy me with something productive. I am a firm believer that the electronics are ruining the modern day world. Parents should watch their use of electronics in front of their kids, so they don’t portray that it is okay.

I believe helicopter parents make their children feel threatened, and make them feel like they can’t be themselves around them. Some of my friends from high school had hovering parents, and they even made me feel uncomfortable sometimes. I believe parents should be their kid’s friends, but more importantly be their children’s role model and someone who they can rely on. Children need structure in their lives, but not enough structure that they cannot be their own person due to an always watching parent. Being a friend is always a good thing, but I would rather someone I could look up to and talk to about my struggles in a parent. My parents can trust me now in my teenage years, because they know I am a responsible, trustworthy person. That person was a result of their great parenting styles. They didn’t hover over me, they just did their best to give me an imaginative life, without electronics and TV. I think their laid back, but persistent parenting style was perfect.


Theoretical Lenses in Psychology Bonus Post

Miguel has been having trouble lately in school and in his personal life. His symptoms vary from being tired, but not sleeping at night, being irritable, picking fights with his roommate, and being too much of a perfectionist. These symptoms all are leading him to believe he cannot do anything right. From a psychodynamic point of view, Miguel’s unconscious mind is taking control of his behaviors. There might be an internal conflict happening within his own mind that is causing him to lash out at his roommate so frequently. If his aggression is stemming from his unconscious mind, he wouldn’t be able to control his behaviors. A behaviorist psychologist might argue that Miguel’s tiredness has direct correlation to his irritability. Since he noticeably can’t seem to get good sleep, that creates his tired feeling during the day and creates aggression that he lets off by picking fights. His actions have a stem that is observable to the human eye, which is how behaviorist psychologists view the world.

A humanistic psychologist would see Miguel’s case, and immediately think of his needs not being properly met. They may think of Miguel’s actions as being part of his self worth not being accepted by peers. Peers not accepting someone could be harmful to the mental mind, causing some of Miguel’s issues, like losing focus in class because he is too busy thinking of why he isn’t accepted. In a cognitive psychology viewpoint, Miguel’s actions can be related to how he solves problems and thinks. If Miguel’s brain makes him think he needs to be perfect all the time, that can cause stress. That stress could be keeping him up at night without him knowing it, since stress doesn’t allow someone to relax easily. Miguel could have a chemical imbalance that is causing him to over think his daily life and make him irritable.

From a biological perspective, Miguel could have a genetic personality trait that makes him think he needs to be a perfectionist. It may be a gene that was inherited, which means he can’t help but think that. His brain could be sending too many mixed signals throughout his body, which could cause his tiredness, yet lack of quality sleep. Too many signals can cause his body to be confused as to what it is supposed to be doing. Cultural psychology can explain Miguel’s behavior by his cultural beliefs and how his specific culture deals with stressful situations. They may deal with problems by keeping them pent up inside, which is causing him to lash out at his roommate and be irritable. He may process his daily life differently than other peers, and not know how to deal with his emotions properly. This could cause his perfectionist personality as well, since his culture might often expect perfection. Since he knows it is expected, he beats himself up over any slight mistakes in fear of disappointment from elders.


First Impression Post #1

For my first impression post this week, I chose to critique a Mythbusters episode about “Are Women Better at Reading Emotions than Men.” In this study, the hosts all took pictures of themselves making different emotional facial expressions with a camera and cropping them down so just the eyes were showing. They each portrayed “confused”, “angry”. “happy” and “sad” emotions. After the pictures were cropped and randomly placed in a slide show format, volunteers were ushered in one by one to test the hypothesis that women were better than men at guessing the emotion.

Some critiques I have about the study set up, is that the scientists never disclose to the viewer how many of each gender are tested. It is always better in science to have a large sample size for experiments in order to have more precise data. For all the viewer knows, maybe only ten of each gender were tested, and that means there is more margin for errors. The results of the study could possibly be discredited if a larger sample size was used in a different experiment testing. The unknown sample size makes me question the validity of the results drawn. Also, only four people’s emotions were used in the pictures shown. The test subjects only saw the same four people’s different emotional eyes, which can cause the question of “can they tell the emotion, or are they using process of elimination?” If the same person’s eyes appear more than once, but you already guessed the emotion “Happy”, that means you won’t again guess the same emotion, even if logically you believe it to be. Using the process of elimination, you wouldn’t guess the same emotion twice if you could tell it’s the same person’s eyes. The scientists should have had more variety in the eyes photographed, so the test subjects could see a more various range of emotional eyes. Having a greater range of eyes, with the emotions, could have had an effect on the results.

Some of the methods used for the experiment were very interesting and worked. I admired the idea of using just the eyes to portray the emotion, rather than a whole picture. The mouth of the person in the picture could have given away the emotion quicker than they eyes can. Only showing the eyes led to more thinking involved for the test subjects. It allowed a wide array of answers to be given for each set of eyes. I also thought that the age range of the test subjects was a plus for the study. From the video, you could tell that the ages ranged quite a few years between each male or female being tested. The difference in age helped validate that it wasn’t just one age group of a gender that was better at seeing emotion, but it was actually the average of the group. When everyone was tested, the scientists averaged each gender’s scores, and it ended up that women were better at seeing the emotion than men. For me to actually believe this claim though, I would need more studies to be done and more conclusive results found.

Introduction Blog

I decided to take Psychology 105 this semester because it is part of the core, and I am also required to take it for a pre-dental major course track. I have taken an introduction to Psychology class in high school, but it was very basic and only the major topics were covered. I usually think of the mind and how it works when I think of psychology. It makes me think about the brain and how it interconnects with other parts of the body to make a person who they are. Topics that peak my interest are “Memories and Why we Forget” and “Mental Illness”. These topics are interesting to me, because they incorporate the brain functions and how one small disturbance can effect someone. Topics that don’t interest me are “Scientific Method”, “Psychotherapy” and “Sleep” because I have already learned about these topics before. When I learned about them the first time, they did not spark my interest. A question I would like answered by the end of this class is, “How can a college student best cope with their stress?”