Week 6: Memory

I haven’t been in a school setting since graduation high school in 2008 and even then I had very poor study habits. I didn’t really care all too much about my education back then due to having my future set by enlisting in the Army even before I graduated. I never really thought about my plans if I were to get out after I was done and now… here I am. Being older I want to mention I am now much more serious about pursing an education then I was when being 18, 19 years old. I believe if I tried college right after high school I would have dropped out and would be completely lost. Being much more serious about college now, I really want to succeed. My study routine was taking a bunch of notes and reading the material over and over again; not really understanding the material. For my first psychology exam I used flashcards, putting psychologists names and definitions on there trying to remember who, what, when, where and why. When I would take a practice exam, the questions that were asked didn’t match the generic definitions on my flashcards. So I learned quickly that you have to actually know the material to understand the scenarios that were presented. I kept retaking the practice quizzes and had my significant other ask my the questions out of the exam and out of the book out of order.

Though it was a good routine I still didn’t do so hot on the exam, I kept looking for keywords that I studied and the scenarios were so much different. So again I learned that I still don’t understand the material. As of right now I’m working with the Professor once a week to learn by visuals and hands on practice. A recent example is I printed out a picture of a cell and I told him honestly I don’t understand the picture at all. We sat down and he explained that whenever a sensory or motor neuron gets triggered it goes through the action potential. Action potential sends the Neurotransmitters that are in the vesicles and flows into the synapse and thats where the gila goes through to sweep up the NT that didn’t get sent into the receiving neuron. Neurotransmitters that weren’t received get sent back up into the vesicle through the serotonin transporter. And so now whatever sensory or motor neuron is triggered it can now be processed in brain and or muscle. So I’m hoping that this routine is helping me. That is my routine currently.

video games

Violence in the media has been controversial for decades, but over the last 20 years there has been increasing attention to the amount of violence in video games. The rise of first-person shooters and games with graphic displays of blood and gore has led to criticisms of the video game industry and claims that children are becoming more violent as a result. What is your perspective on violent video games? What do you think about calls to have them permanently banned?

Reading this prompt the words that went through my head where government censorship. The government is known for in the past to try to censor things to the public only to gain some sort of control and to blame the “product” but not blame the people committing said action. Example, back in the 1960’s during the Vietnam War, it was the first war to be covered by the news media on television, thats when people watching were exposed to the horrors and death the soldiers serving went through. It may have been a plan to have more Americans enlist for their country, but it worked for one and for two violence was still just as bad as it is today. Now the Government has censored the news to where we don’t see any type of violence or deaths our soldiers experience in the Middle East, but theres still violence in our country. My point is that despite the government trying to censor violence even back then, Kennedy was assassinated, the Manson murders was one of the most gruesome murders, and racism was so bad to where blacks and anyone who was for Civil Rights were physically and verbally attacked. Today, not knowing the horrors of our soldiers experiencing war in the Middle East we don’t see, but theres still violence. So if it’s not on the news, who and what can the people blame other than themselves? Let’s blame video games.

I think about those children in the Middle East or those countries around Africa that are trained to shoot guns and decapitate Americans or Christians and I think to myself, were they influenced by Mario Kart or Grand Theft Auto? Ummm I think their parents/guardians/who ever “owns”/kidnaps them has trained them to do so.

So America not being exactly like that, we tend to play the blame game. Parents seem to not want to look at themselves when their child has done the unthinkable, so they want to blame anything but them. Video games sounds like the perfect scapegoat, believe me, I heard a lot of good points. But with 90% of kids, teens, and even adults playing video games on a daily basis, violence doesn’t come across to those people. Actually, many studies were made that video games that contain violence released aggression and stress to the child or adult. Its a escape from the daily activities of school, work, or whatever negative emotion you’re feeling. Video games actually are known to keep kids off the streets, or off drugs etc. I believe people need to look that the persons environment, parental influences, and if they are likely to inherit a mental illness of some sort. If the person is doing nothing but playing violent video games where the parent doesn’t do anything about it, the child could gain some sort of mental illness or even physically illness with lack of sleep, social stimulant, activity, motor development etc. And take in mind where the child lives, does he/she live in the poverty stricken cities of Chicago? Is this child not even living with their parents? Honestly, the possibilities are endless.

In the end I believe it’s up to the one who raises you to provide balance. I see no consequences in playing any type of video games; Ive personally grew up playing Resident Evil, Final Fantasy and the very first Call of Duty on PC. The worst development I gained from playing this games since I was young is that I still buy these games. I use the games just as an escape and also a bonding mechanism with my partner and his children. I don’t believe the government should have any more control over something so petty such as video games and should actually focus on more productive things.

Jim Fallon: Exploring the Mind of a Killer

What drew you to choose the talk you did?

I personally find it fascinating to learn more about killers and their mind set as well as their history.

Briefly summarize the talk.

The neuroscientist, Jim Fallon was explaining the differences of the brain in a psychopath/murder compared to someone who isn’t and took notice that nearly all the psychopaths brains had damaged orbital cortex which is above their eyes. He briefly explained that one becomes a “certain” type of psychopath depending on when the traumatic event happens which he claims is very significant. He mentioned that most of us have violence genes and he explains because the male is created by only x chromosomes they are more likely to become psychopaths lacking the Y chromosome.

What did you find most interesting about the talk?

I found that the comparisons of the serial killers brains at various ages had almost the same kind of brain damage; and I wonder why the orbital cortex is where the significant damage is. I also found it shocking that on his fathers side he’s related to some significantly known killers generations ago.

How trustworthy did you find the presenter and the information she or he presented? Explain why. (Note: you must go beyond talking about the reputation of TED talks in general)

I felt that Jim did a very good job in the beginning, showing actual brain scans and using his position as a neuroscience to back these claims. I wish he would have been more detailed about his relation to actual serial killers and give us reasoning why he and his relatives that he scanned didn’t inherit those genes. When he discussed children that are living with violence on a daily basis I felt was almost out of topic; he didn’t show any stats or brain scans if those children are even serial killers or even psychopaths. He expressed that you become a psychopath due to significant trauma(s); but one can argue that there are many people out there who aren’t psychopaths and have dealt with trauma.

Come up with a research idea of your own based on the information presented in the talk and briefly outline how you would conduct it.

I would do a elongated study on children (male and female) who have experienced trauma and follow them to adulthood. Brain scans would be required every year to watch any brain changes or even damages. Fallon claims that males tend to be the ones that become serial killer/psychopaths the most, so I’d also like to pay attention to the females to see if this common claim is true.

Parenting Approach

I am not the type of person that tells parents how to raise of their kids. I’ve been in a four year relationship with my boyfriend who has kids of his own, and I tend to look at how he and the mother raise the two kids (one is a teenager, and the other is preteen). I have been told that I tend to be critical at times, but it’s only due to their immature behavior that I have witnessed. I voice my opinion typically starting with “Well my parents would never let me get away with that.” or “My parents would do this and not this.” So I know the traits my parents taught me compared to my boyfriend as a parent is definitely a lot different. I would define my parenting skill as “tough-love”.

My definition of a great parent simply means not rewarding bad behavior. I tend to see parents these days know the bad behaviors the child does and respond by grounding them from tv but they still have their cellphone, or video games and can still go out, etc. Or they just slap them on the back of the hand and give them a lecture and no consequences were given. I have no idea how or why parenting has become so soft and full of fluffy love, and no form of the push to earn something or learn the hard way. I don’t think entertaining a toddler where they developmental stage is extremely significant at this stage is to place the iPad/tablet in front of them and the parent continue to do their own thing. Sure, theres a lot of educational shows out there, but watching tv and creating no type of hands on skill makes the child into a zombie. Reading books together, and having that child use their brain by learning the words.

With technology, kids should use video games and technology at the minimum. Creating rules and that sense of earning with having the chores done and then you can play video games. No tv or internet until you get your homework done. If you continue to get good grades, you can keep your cellphone. These types of rules teaches them how to be responsible and when you start teaching this early, it becomes second nature to them which they will take with as a adult. The helicopter parent is a extreme hovering chase, but I do agree to know where, who and what your kid is doing; because once a parent discovers something they don’t like, it can be taken care of quickly.

Another common parenting style is being the kids best friend. It’s personally one of the most common styles I see from the tv show, “Dr Phil”. Those parents who are their kids best friend tends over look the bad or just join them in their shenanigans. This is the result of where the tough love isn’t there. Tough love takes away the child’s right to try to control the respected adult, and just because they currently don’t see it that way, it is the parents job to show the child to see what them and their family are blessed with and how did the adults create such a fortunate life. By doing this continuously and for years to come, I believe the children will grow up to become very organized and responsible which contributes to being a positive member of society.

First Impression Post #1

The Mythbuster video I chose to watch was “Are Women Better Than Men at Reading Emotions?“. The answer is a dead giveaway because for generations women were looked at as the sensitive creatures and emotional baggage (or support. I have been both). Whereas, if men were to show any type of emotion other than anger or boisterous laughter you were called a girl. So yes, the outside looking at just the outside; women are emotional thus can read emotion more than men. Lets prove this with science!

Actually, I felt the experiment conducted by these supposed scientists was slightly uninspired. By forcing their face to contort almost obnoxiously to that one emotion and asking another is that happy or sad, its almost a given. And “sexy” isn’t a emotion, so why don’t they give the participants some clear definitions! Though it was interesting seeing both a male and a female suggest “sexy”; for me it tells me how fast one is to look at the opposite sex as an object quicker than what they could’ve been feeling. The video was not as informative as it should be and reaffirming a popular opinion, there could be more done or added.

Why can’t they work with both sexes by looking at a group of females growing up in unstable homes comparing them to males who grew up in stable homes? Typically the females brain’s neuron system is larger making our emotional response quicker than mens. In a way, I would call this “motherly instinct.” But what if the female only was raised by their father where no “motherly instinct” was taught? Will they be able to even consider those around them of how they feel or would they be able to identify emotion even quicker? Will the men who were raised by both loving parents create that motherly instinct and even have that part of the brain larger than the women’s? I believe reading emotion as well as expressing them contributes how you grow up, though there is science to back up the facts of whats inside your brain, your upbringing is what feeds it.


My name is Amanda Maher (pronounced like the liberal tv host, Bill “Maher” and there is no relation. Thankfully.). I’m a 27 year old Army Veteran who never really liked school or even thought about going to college until now. I’ve met a few people in my lifetime that has recommended taking at least one psychology course because you learn a lot about yourself and not just others.   I will be attempting to major in social work but even with that in mind, I am quite unsure with what exactly I want to do in life. Besides doing college for the first time in my entire life, I am a very active person doing CrossFit about two hours 5 to 6 days a week. I am currently signed up in the CrossFit Open. If I didn’t have exercise in my life, my mind would probably go insane!

Why did you choose to take this class? 

Why I choose to study psychology may be out of the ordinary for some or maybe this is common. I’ve always had a sustained curiosity of the minds of the so-called negative influencers of history.  Such as Hitler, Stalin, Fidel Castro and those today such as Valdmir Putin to the “ordinary” Casey Anthony. People that even come from almost all normal backgrounds, what exactly creates the insanity? What and why would they be such a legacy today? The urges, the greed, and the lack of empathy. It is very interesting but very scary as well. I’m hoping the class sheds light on how this sort of mind set is created.

What background if any, do you have in psychology?

The only backgrounds I would claim to have related psychology is my past and present with being treated by psychologists, therapists, and other doctors relating to my mental health.

What do you think of when you hear the word “psychology”?

When I was younger I used to look at the word psychology as something negative. I always pictured in my head of those old and scary insane asylum‘s such as PennHurst  and their constant abuse of patients.  Now that I’m older and possibly wiser I know a bit better now due to being a patient to those type of people. I definitely have a lot more respect for my mental health providers, sometimes. But I do realize there is still a ton of common misconceptions the word alone has.

 Look at the course schedule on the syllabus. Which three topics look the most interesting to you? Which three topics look the least interesting to you? 

Mental illness, Personality and Stress are the three topics that I am very interested in. Being a veteran who has dealt with various traumas during service and still trying to deal with depression and anxiety and other mental health issues, I would love to learn more about ways to cope and maybe seek out why my brain responds to certain situations that are different to someone who doesn’t have any disorder.

Experiments/medications, Brain, Intelligence seem to be to be the least interesting.  I have a negative outlook on doctors and medication. Sometimes just learning about medications that can genuinely help people and seeing them not be used due to doctors refusing to prescribe them to those that need it but somehow the ones that abuse it still get that medicine. And due to the current opioid addiction, I feel like medication addiction will be in this topic which would make blood boil! Learning about your brain and intelligence are about the same for me, it honestly reminds me of science and the lack of practical thinking. Intelligence vs common sense would probably be interesting.

What question do you want to answer by the end of the class?

Besides the general, “is psychology for me?”, one question I’d like to have answered is “do I have a better understanding of myself and can I change it?”