First Impression Post- Week 6

For this weeks first impression post, I am choosing to analyze my studying habits. In High School, I found it easy to study the night before an exam and still get the grade I wanted. I mostly memorized what was on the study guide and then forgot what I had learned two weeks later. During my first semester of college, I got a light taste of how college tests were administered and I knew I needed to change my studying habits; although I am still trying to figure out how to do so.

On the first Gen Psych exam, I definitely did not do as well as I wanted to. To prepare for the exam, I tried to use all the resources Ian had offered to the class, such as the practice test, practice questions, study guide, etc. However, I squeezed all of that information into my brain during the days leading up to the exam instead of learning it one step at a time. While taking the test I found that my brain was confused and mixed up a lot of the information I had crammed to learn. Also, I was not prepared enough to apply what I had learned. I memorized all of the information in my notes, but I did not question myself about how it could be applied to different scenarios. This made it difficult to answer some of the written response questions thoroughly.

With this in mind, I have started studying my notes after class the day we take them, as well as one day on the weekend. If the information is learned over time, it gives my brain time to learn the information and find ways to apply it in everyday life. Then, once the test has arrived, I will be less overwhelmed with information and studying will be a review process instead of a learning process. I hope to use what I have learned from the first exam, as well as what we learn in class about memory, in order to change my study habits and become a more successful student.


First Impression Post #3

For the third first impression post I chose to watch the TED talk by Jimmy Fallon. This was entitled “Exploring the Mind of a Killer.” Psychopathic killers and murder mysteries have always been an interesting topic to explore through television and news articles. This was particularly interesting because it put a new spin on crime by looking at it from a neurological level and showing the differing brain structures of psychopaths.

Jimmy Fallon has studied neuroscience and is now a professor at the University of California. By looking at the brain of a psychopath, Fallon hoped to find a reason for psychopathic tendencies.  Fallon discovered that multiple factors can result in a psychopath- events in the early childhood, genes, and brain damage. Usually, psychopaths have brain damage to their orbital cortex; the inside of the temporal lobes in ones brain. The particular aspects of each psychopathic killer depends on when the brain damage occurred. Additionally, Fallon discussed the MAOA gene which is the gene passed from mother to son. This can cause the brain to experience extremely high levels of serotonin during development. Also, this explains why most psychopaths are men because this gene comes from a mothers X chromosome. Exposure to this has been seen to cause frustration and violence later on in life.

What interested me the most about this talk was that most psychopaths are shown to have similar brain development issues resulting in their violent tendencies. This is interesting because usually when you hear about killers they are claimed to be crazy, where in fact they could each be mentally ill. Additionally, there are others in the world that may have overexposure to serotonin but are not serial killers. This raises questions about those individuals and if they have underlying thoughts or violence issues.

I believe that Jimmy Fallon’s presentation was correct and that he is a trustworthy candidate. He has studied behavior in the brain for thirty years and has a lot of background with neuroscience. He had research to back up his claims about the correlation between serial killers and brain issues. He showed the audience his findings by explaining brain scans and showing images of the scans to those watching. Overall, I think Fallon made a very strong conclusion from his experiment and presented it well.

Based on the video, I would test the effects of the MAOA on those who are not serial killers. A lot of people in the world have this gene defect but are not effected with as much extreme violence as others. This may have to do with past experiences during brain development that have caused extreme cases. I can test the correlation between the MAOA gene and past life experience to determine levels of violence and psychopathic tendencies.

Extra Credit Blog

Miguel is facing multiple problems in college that have caused him to fall behind and struggle with his school work. He is having trouble sleeping at night, causing him to be irritable and sensitive during the day. Miguel is a perfectionist and has lately been letting himself down. There are multiple modern day perspectives that may explain Miguel’s actions.

From a Psychodynamic perspective, Miguel’s unconscious mind has the desire to be perfect and achieve good grades. Because his mind does this automatically, he is unable to react in a positive manner when he does anything below his high standards. This causes him to act out aggressively towards others because he is truly upset with himself. It also causes him to have trouble sleeping at night because his unconscious is always unhappy and worrying about perfectionism. From the viewpoint of a behavioral psychologist, Miguel would be observed staying up throughout the night and getting into fights with his roommates. Miguel’s behavioral habits rely on past experiences, showing that him picking a fight may be a habit he had learned previously in his life through friends, family, or peers. Additionally, his parents may have pushed him throughout his life convincing him he was not good enough and could always do better. This would be an explanation for his perfectionist personality and behavioral outbreaks. From a humanistic viewpoint,  Miguel believes he is failing and will never be good enough to impress anyone. In Miguel’s reality he is imperfect, causing him to be distracted away from any others strengths he may have. This is causing him emotional trouble and a lack of happiness, which he may be coping with by fighting. Cognitive psychology would focus on the way Miguel is feeling and what is noticeably going on in his head. His thought process is jumbled and he is constantly bringing himself down because he cant be confident unless he is perfect. These thoughts are controlling his life and his lack of sleep is making it so he is unable to think about anything else. From a biological perspective, Miguel’s brain may be experiencing a chemical imbalance that has caused him to develop anxiety. His anxiety may be triggered by stress, making him very sensitive at times because of the stress of college and achieving perfection. This imbalance may also cause an obsession with being perfect and angry outbursts to those who try to help him. Lastly, a cultural perspective of Miguel may show his mental processes to be specific to his cultural group. Where he is from, perfectionism may be a way of life and those who achieve it are respected. However, those who do not achieve perfection may be punished for their failures. Going to college, Miguel may have left his typical environment and began interacting with students that have a different background from him. Students that are considered “lazy” may anger Miguel or confuse him because of his different views.


Hello!! My name is Melanie, I am a first year student and a psychology major. On campus I am an avid napper and a member of Mad Cow Improv, so i can be kinda funny sometimes. I chose to take General Psychology because it is the foreground for my major and puts me in the right direction for my future both during and after college. In high school I look a psychology course and fell in love with the class as well as what I was researching out of class. Through psychology I have learned so much about myself and those around me, which has led me to becoming a better and more understanding person. When I hear the word psychology, a lot of things come to mind.

For me, I think about the decisions people make and how those decisions have been effected by a persons environment, self image, peers, and their own mental health. I think the three most interesting topics for me have to be stress, emotion, and how to get good sleep. It fascinates me when I find out new things about myself through the things we learn in class, and i can make connections to understand why I am feeling a certain way. As for sleep, I have already mentioned my hobby of napping and if I can somehow improve one of my favorite activities I’m down to do so. My three least favorite topics are definitely any of the very science based ones such as learning about the brain and the scientific method. Science isn’t really my strong suit but these ideas seem pretty basic so it shouldn’t be too bad.

By the end of this class I would like for you to answer is, if there was an individual who lived in the perfect world and had no apparent reason to develop a mental disorder, can they?