Monday, May 12, 2014

Twins: Different Lives

It may be an identity crisis. Many twins feel that they have to work much harder to be unique because they may constantly be compared to the other counter part. This can lead to negative and poor relationship between twins as well as parents. This article sheds some light on why twins tend to live very different lives later on. "The causes of these differences were due to changes in the human epigenome, he realized." Doctor Spector found this research and further stated, "pigenetic changes are not just simple environmental changes, however. They influence a person's genes and can have an effect that can last for two or three generations in extreme cases." 

If a twins get married first, the other may be left grieving. I may not completely agree with all that is stated here, but I do believe that the connection twins share is like no other. 

Your Canine

I s aggression an innate characteristic of our being? Does this aggression effect other aspects of our lives? Are their certain characteristics that people prone to aggression tend to be attracted to?

Pit bulls have always had a negative reputation. Along with other breeds who are prone to being aggressive, it brings up the question of whether their genes cause aggression or if it is caused from their environment. It is the nature vs nurture theory. Pit bulls have been known to be trained as fighting dogs. A cruel thing to train to dogs who are naturally loyal and peaceful animals. The article above explains how some owners may in fact share some of the qualities of said "aggressive dogs."

Brooklyn Playground

In this blog post I will be writing about my own playground design. For mine i focused on the Bed-stuy area and addressing the black and white communities. For decade Bed-stuy has been mostly population by african americans, however, within the past decade gentrification has been spreading and the white population has almost equalled the black population. Living in bed-stuy myself, I see the division among the locals and newbies. I wanted to design my play specifically for the people that have called bed-stuy their home for generations, and the people that have just moved in. I wanted to focus on how discrimination and separation by race is promoted into a child's perception. I found that the majority of the time, the parent, and/or surround authority figures are the ones unwilling to mix-- the kids aren't aware of this until they learn from them. I wanted to make a community garden, that could 1. bring anyone together 2. be a place for kids to have fun but also for adult to relax and interact with eachother 3. to produce a play area that is also beneficial to the earth and beneficial to a child's education and 4. to give city kids the ability to escape to nature and find fun out of that instead of technology. Technology is something that is truly hurting our ways of communicating with eachother, especialy when those technologies are being used by 3 year olds. The Community Playground garden with have multiple flower beds, compost area, climbing structure, pond/stream and beach sandy area, and bird houses.

Jury Selection

Jury Selection

In this article, a mother of two is on trial for the murder of her two children. This extreme case requires a very levelheaded group of jurors to prevent any immediate bias against the mother. The deeply emotional tragedy, however, is too much to handle for many individuals. The article goes on to explain the process in which attorneys had to undergo in order to find enough jury members to take on this trial. Some candidates broke down in tears at hearing the news, while others had past traumatic events in their lives that would have immediately swayed the decision. Due to these factors, a large portion of the initial 90 candidates were immediately taken out of the selection pool due to past life events, or obvious emotional bias.

To me, the idea that a group of randomly selected jurors can take on such extreme cases is a bit odd. Though, group decision-making can be more rational than that of an individual, having only 12 members does not seem enough.  No matter how careful the prosecutors are in the selection of the jurors, there will always be a bias in the decision-making. This is especially risky in a case so controversial because any vote can sway the outcome.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

How Musical Training Effects Our Brains

New research shows that the areas of the brain related to music share pathways related to language. This left hemisphere is a multi-tasking instrument. Undergrad student Amy Spray and Dr. G Meyer form the Psychological Sciences at the University of Liverpool will be presenting their research on Thursday May 8th at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. Not only are these two areas of the brain seemingly linked, but increased music training can have a modular effect on the brain, increasing the amount of pathways available. Across 14 musicians and 9 non-musicians word and music generation tests were performed. It was shown that musicians' brains lighted up in the same areas during language and music related tasks while non-musicians had little activity in similar regions. Prior to musical training this was the case, yet after they were exposed to music fundamental education, the same area of the brain was active for both tasks. Half an hour of training was sufficient to illicit this rewiring of the brain, which is obviously an amazing discovery. The experiment shows that these patterns can be developed rapidly with a brief amount of musical training and corresponding positively effect language skill development.

This is fascinating news to me. As a practitioner of music, it's awesome that my efforts yield such immediate and diverse fruit. The brain's capabilities are truly astounding and our ability to influence its growth never ceases to grow as well. 

Public Speaking Anxiety

Public speaking can be tough if you are a naturally introverted person. Yale's psychological department was kind enough to give out tips for those who are intimidated by public speaking. Their first tip is to outline all the material fully and thoroughly without writing a speech word for word. Memorizing something word for word actually increases anxiety as it creates a pressure to be right each and every word that comes out of your mouth. Having an outline makes you fully aware of the movement your speech will take while taking off the pressure to say exactly the right thing.
The second is to keep a token of emotional security. Athlete's pre-game rituals are cited as inspiration and presenting is no different. Keeping a sentimental object to ground you will only enhance your confidence as it's something personal and familiar unlike the speech you are about to give.
Third, remember that your audience probably is not paying nearly as much attention to your speech as you think they are. Most are probably at least half distracted, they'll remember your tone and enthusiasm way more than they will the content of your speech itself.
Lastly, confidence is the currency of success when it comes to public speaking. The audience can tell if you are nervous and will be nervous in return if you act accordingly. Pretend you're confident even if you're freaking out inside, basically "fake it till you make it."
These tips are designed to outsmart your psychological processes that inhibit your public speaking. Use them and you'll be effective and persuasive!

Limitations of Studying Twins

Twins have long been a fascinating topic for psycologists. They offer a potential chance to study the effects of the environment on the mind independent of differences in genetics. Of course while identical twins share DNA, fraternal twins only share about 50%, making them less ideal for dependent experiments. These experiments rely on a few mainstay assumptions about twins that include:

-Research into twins assumes that they are just as likely to pick a partner that is unlike them as they would a partner similar to them. If it is indeed true that similarities are more attractive, then fraternal twins would share more than 50% DNA because their mother and father would be more similar.
-It's assumed that identical twins growing up in the same home experience a very similar environment
-Genes are effected by their environment. This phenomenon is often left out of these experiments despite the fact they alter the basis for the study
-Dominant and recessive genes fight behind the scenes, changing genetic structures without possibly altering the visual appearance of the twins.

The trait being studied has a large effect on the usefulness of studying twins. For instance, it is believed that mates are chosen more frequently based on similar intelligence than they are similarities in other, more negative qualities or quirks. Therefore, "a scientist studying intelligence may have to worry more about nonrandom mating than researchers who study personality." Studying twins' extended family can remedy alot of these issues, as there becomes much more data available to study the impact of twin's lifestyle choices beyond the immediate behaviors. Lastly, genetic research plays a huge role in studying twins today. Differences in the DNA offers insights that traditional analysis methods can't match and combining the two is offering a continuously more complete picture of the subject.

Being a twin, I think the concept of studying twins for psychological purposes is fascinating. They offer a unique opportunity to isolate the environment as the variable, keeping genetics constant for posterity. The differences that arises in twins has always fascinated me, and I can personally attest to being extremely different from my brother both physically and personality wise. Despite our variable lifestyles, we retain a commonality that is hard to pinpoint, but concrete. Psychologists are determining what this link is whether its purely genetic or something more, and I'm looking forward to their ever-evolving hypothesizes.

Advice for the Bride & Groom

As we have read and discussed, it has become more and more evident that twins, growing up together or apart, have a deep connection with one another that stems from conception to their death. In one instance, Unknowing Twins Married because they had been separated at birth. When they "met later in life and felt an inevitable attraction, the judge had to deal with the consequences of the marriage that they entered into and all the issues of their separation." Since their adoption 30-40 years ago, laws have been passed that allow separately adopted twins to stay in contact with one another during their youth to allow for a less traumatic upbringing. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Twins and Empathy

The article, titled "The Development of Empathy in Twins,"explores the way empathy manifests itself in the behaviors of twins. One observation speaks to the signals of empathy at a young age and how they evolve with age:
"...reflexive or contagious crying of infants is viewed as a precursor of affective arousal that reflects concern for the other. Self-distress diminishes over time and is gradually replaced by more modulated expressions of concern. Young children’s emotional states become less tightly fused with those of others as they come to recognize their existence as separate, autonomous beings."

I found it curious, the correlation between age and mental compartmentalization with regard to empathy development. Perhaps, this idea explains the jaded feeling that often settles in with old age.

Court Juries

This article discusses the racial truths about America's court juries. It states that as far back as the 1880s the Supreme Court "ruled against statutes that formally limited jury service to Whites." Of course, these rulings were worked around at state level. "State legislatures often manipulated the qualifications necessary for jury service and voting registration in the attempt to exclude Blacks from juries…" It was not surprising to learn that, from a psychology standpoint,  “conscious and unconscious racism can affect the way White jurors perceive minority defendants ... perhaps determining the verdict of guilt or innocence." This is not to to say that it was not extremely disappointing to read the facts and figures, because truthfully, justice is an imaginary thing in the American court system most of the time. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

78 Years of Separation

In this unbelievable case, two twins are separated from birth and reunited after 78 years. Due to unforeseeable circumstances, the mother had to put her children up for adoption. One sibling was adopted right away, while the other ended up under the care of her birthmother. The two twins lived completely separate lives, eventually both married men named Jim, and developed similar mannerisms. After reuniting, the two twins feel like they have known each other their whole lives.

This case is extremely interesting in that can help psychologists understand better the nature vs. nurture debate. The two twins have grown up in completely different environments, yet have so much in common. Further studies of the twins’ lifestyles and behaviors will unveil more information about how each factor has impacted each of their lives. In my opinion, there is a mix of factors in both nature and nurture that affect the individual. An individual is not made up of either one independently, but pieced together by different elements to make a whole.  The similarities between the two twins may be biological, while the differences are most likely to be due to environmental and relationship influences in the past.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Public Speaking for Introverts

This article offers tips for introverts who find public speaking to be a psychological feat. As someone who leans more towards the introverted side of the social spectrum, this article helped me to put certain aspects of public speaking into perspective. Susan Cain, the author of the article, notes that one of the reasons for fear of public speaking is the intense internal uncertainty of how you are coming across to your audience. Cain suggests preparation in the form of videotaping your speech to bring your strengths and weaknesses into your own vision. One of the most helpful tips she offers is this: "Think about what your particular audience wants to hear. Are they craving new information? Insights? What problem do they hope to solve? Give them what they want and need." This tip is especially important for critiques, as you ONLY want to deliver information that your professor and peers want to hear. 

Aggression in Sports

This article discusses the dynamics of aggressive athletes and the environments that can promote or reduce athletic aggression. Murray Griffin, an psychology educator at Goldsmiths College and the University of London, asserts that aggression is not actually a needed emotion for improved athletic performance. I found this perspective interesting given the cultural praise and expectation of aggression in almost all professional athletes. Griffin notes that, while sports fields aren't the breeding grounds for aggression, the nature of any athletic endeavor doesn't exactly reduce the chance of athletes tapping into the sometimes destructive emotion.

Unnatural Selection

Not knowing much about the jury system I was immediately surprised by this article. It brings up a certain juror for a case that had dyed hair and tattoos and big disagreement to keep her on the trial or not. I've understood that when picking a jury you must pay attention to their race, work, family and overall lifestyle, but this lady was simply being judged because she had dyed hair and tattoos. Whether she looked the part of a criminal or not, the jury system should not be decided on whether a juror looks like an upstanding citizen or not.
But what really surprised me about this article was the ability for representative a case to cause such bias juror. It seems like a whole other way for people to hire expensive representation and get their trail won. Having either side of a trial have part in the juror picking decision is bound for an unfair trial.

12 Angry Men

I thought this movie was very interesting and very relevant to today's justice system. It is disturbing to see how the jurors apart from Henry Fonda's character have already condemned "the boy" simply because of his socio economic status, race, and age. Many times one of the jurors refers to "those people" generalizing all Puerto Rican people as low life dangerous criminals. I found it interesting that all twelve jury members had to agree on a verdict. I did not know this was the practice. It is disturbing because the jurors are meant to judge "the boy" without a "reasonable doubt" and so often they agree. I would think that with twelve men finding a reasonable doubt would be far to easy and no verdict would ever be reached. This movie is a testament to people's willingness to agree with one another when dissension arrises. All of these men accept for Jane Fonda were ready to pronounce "the boy" guilty on all accounts and call it a day. This is disturbing because these men are not deciding where to go for drink after work, they are tasked with making a very serious decision as to whether a young man lives or dies.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Nature vs Nurture

This article gives a wide-spread overview of the Nature vs Nurture debate in Psychology. The main argument in this debate is whether our personality traits are predetermined genetically (Nature) or that we gain them through personal experience (Nurture). It is a constantly changing debate because there are so many factors that can be argued for both sides. There are so many outside factors that can change any given person, to say that Nature or Nurture is solely responsible is a bit ridiculous in my opinion.
Personally, I believe that a large amount of our persona is formed by Nurture, or personal experience. I don't believe that people are born with their ideologies and beliefs already determined. At a young age, we observe those around us and tend to model those behaviors. As we get older, we begin to recognize what behaviors are good and what ones are bad, what kind of person we want to be, etc.
What side are you on? Nature or Nurture?

Public Speaking Anxiety

A common plight that many of us face is stage fright, or public speaking anxiety. We can have a speech practiced and perfected for weeks, but put us in front of an audience and it's like reading it for the first time. Why is this? Why are we so nervous to present information? It's odd because if you attend a lecture, you aren't constantly judging the presenter, or nit picking at every word they say. But when you're the one speaking, it seems as if everyone is hanging on your every word, when in reality they probably couldn't care less.
This article does a great job of describing little things one can do to help reduce and even eliminate this speaking anxiety. To name a few;

Self Assessment-
  • Begin by identifying problematic thinking patterns (such as those described previously).
  • Ask yourself, "What am I really afraid of?" Doing so may help you gain a more realistic perspective into the realities of what is expected and what is not expected.
  • Ask yourself, "What are my strengths as a public speaker?" In other words, do not overlook the strengths you offer and avoid becoming too focused upon limitations.

Gradual Exposure and Preparation- 
  • Look for opportunities to expose yourself to mild-moderate levels of anxiety that challenge, but do not overwhelm, your ability to succeed. Consider developing a positive visualization of yourself giving a successful class speech or presentation.
  • Practice in front of trusted friends. Review feedback with your friend and make any adjustments accordingly.
  • Video or audiotape yourself. Watch yourself and give yourself constructive feedback, including what was done well and what needs to be improved.
  • Be thoroughly prepared and rehearsed. Nothing replaces adequate time spent in practice.
  • Consider using relaxation techniques to manage feelings of anxiety, such as meditation, yoga, or muscle relaxation to help the mind and body feel uplifted and balanced, yet alert and prepared.

As someone who definitely gets anxious when speaking in front of an audience, tips like these can help me tremendously when trying to prepare myself for any sort of public speaking. What works for you?


This is a great overview of human aggression from the psychology department of Iowa State University. It does a great job of explaining aggression and the many theories that surround it, both cognitive and social psych related. It begins by defining it; Aggression is any behavior intended to cause immediate harm.
This is such a broad definition, and while we all know what aggression is, the ins and outs of what is and is not considered aggression is not always as clear. The article discusses five main theories of aggression, including the most widely accepted one, Social Learning Theory. The others include : Cognitive Neoassociation Theory, Script Theory, Excitation Transfer Theory, and Social Interaction Theory.

The Social Learning Theory says that people "acquire" aggressive responses the same way they do other complex forms of social behavior, either by direct experience or observation of others. I agree with this explanation the most because it seems to be the most plausible in regards to how we learn our behaviors. Children often emulate their parents because they watch them constantly, and many of us gain our mannerisms from our parents at a very young age, before we even understand what behavior really is.

Overall this article is very helpful for further understanding aggression and the numerous theories that surround it as one of the more important human emotions.

Are beliefs inherited?

This article talks about whether attitudes like whether America’s role in Iraq or the importance of one’s physical appearance are “largely the product of environmental forces, a combination of upbringing and culture” or something else.  The article suggests that something else is the answer, that attitudes are “partly, though indirectly, heritable, but that attitudes with high heritability influence people's actions more strongly than those with weaker genetic bases.”  Twin studies in looking at whether environmental factors such as "nonshared environment," or a person's individual experiences outside the family are useful.  Twin studies are consistently stronger in predicting attitudes than genetic ones, at least among adults.  The gathered data of “the team examined data on 29,691 subjects--including 14,761 adult twins and their parents, spouses, siblings and adult children--and concluded that the route to transmitting attitudes within families is complex, probably reflecting a mixture of assortative mating influences and direct parental transmission. The team also found that family environment played a greater role in attitude formation than in personality variables, strengthening the notion that personality has a stronger genetic component than attitudes.”  These studies are interesting as beliefs and feelings are hard to capture and may change over time. One study interviewed 654 adopted and nonadopted young people about their levels of conservatism and religious attitudes every year for four years, starting when they were 12.  The study found that, “examining the differences between adopted and nonadopted youngsters in how similar their attitudes were to those of their parents, the team found a significant, though relatively small, genetic influence for conservatism in youngsters as early as the first year of the study, and almost no genetic link for religious attitudes.”


Straight Talk about Twin Studies, Genes, and Parenting: What Makes Us Who We Are

The article explains how although people argue that environments change how twins act and their level of intelligence and personality, at the end of the day it comes down to genetics. It turns out that genetic variation is correlated with the variation in environments. According to the article people engage in in certain environmental experiences based on their genetic make up and the environment thus reciprocates reinforcing the individuals nature. Therefore, David Moore and Scott Barry Kaufman wrote a book that had eight facts about genes and twin studies. The facts are as follows: 1. Genes cannot determine anything themselves In reality, all biological and psychological characteristics are constructed during development, when genes interact with local environmental factors that can be influenced by the broader environment. 2. Parents matter, and will always matter: The parenting factors that are statistically associated with differences between individuals should never be confused with the parenting factors that cause the development of a trait within an individual. 3. Heritability depends entirely on context: both are always contributing to the development of any trait, and context matters. 4. The actual heritability value simply does not matter because the development of behavioral/psychological characteristics can be influenced by experiential factors in ways that are unpredictable from casual observation. 5. Heritability doesn't necessarily have to do with biology: the least heritable features of human nature may be those that appear to be the most genetically determined.6. Heritability says nothing about whether intelligence is more determined by genes or the environment:  Because heritability is a population statistic, it has nothing to say about the individual. 7. Twin Studies do not reveal the causes of intellectual development: Because adoption and twin studies that seek to account for trait variation in terms of genetic and environmental variation are always correlational, they reveal nothing about the causes of the appearance of the traits. and 8. Heritability is not the same as heredity: Because traits that are 100% heritable can nonetheless be strongly influenced by environmental factors, it is not the case that a trait found to be heritable in a particular twin study will be passed from a given pair of parents to their children. 

Aggression born from frustration not from video games

Here is the link that announces new perception of aggression with the video games.
What the most recent research found is that the aggression is not born from violent video games but from the frustration that you screamed in rage or thrown down a controller after missing a jump in a video game or getting shot from across the level.

In one case, the subjects first had to hold their hand in ice-cold water for 25 seconds, then after playing a game were asked to determine how long the next person would have to put their hand in. In reality, everyone got 25 seconds, but the researchers found that subjects who had played difficult versions of games assigned the next player 10 seconds more on average than people who had played an easy game. From this experiment what we can find is that level of violence doesn't matter for the aggression which gives proofs that violent game doesn't bring one person to the aggressive mode.

Alcoholism: Nature vs Nurture

This article is quiet intriguing that it talks about nature vs nurture by deep research of alcoholism. 
Alcoholism can be acquainted with several issues, which comes from very personal issues to family history or genetics and environment issues. With the research, this article is talking that Family studies have provided important information about the way alcholism may be passed down. Children of alcoholics who were adopted at birth and had no contact with the alcoholic parent developed alcohol dependence more frequently than adopted children whose birth parents were not alcoholic. Current research suggests that about 50-60% of the risk of developing alcoholism can be attributed to genetics. I personally think that alcoholism would rather caused by combination of factors which environmental circumstances and genetic problems comes all together. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Preventing Groupthink

In this article, Yale psychologist Irving Janis begun exploring the concept of Groupthink. As Janis put it, "Groupthink refers to a deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing and moral judgement that results from in-group pressures." I am strongly persuaded by the point that Janis have made. It really means that people, as a group, were not acting and thinking as intelligently as they could be. Instead, they make conclusions and then moved forward without an openness to new information and without considering changes in direction. What is interesting in this article is that the writer put juxtaposition of the concept of Groupthink and Groupthink of President Kennedy's mistake on a war with communist countries such as Russia and Cuba.
What I've learned from this article is that Leaders at any level of any form of the group can learn from the case study of Kennedy. And this article let us know that Groupthink is a best thing that a leader can do prevent. And In order to make final decision, group needs to take a step back from his or her team, and allow the group to reach its own independent consensus. Good leaders can also be helpful by encouraging the members of the group to speak their minds openly so that different perspectives are discussed and debated.

Understanding the Psychology Behind Juror Decision Making

According to this article, members of a jury are not empty vessels for lawyers to fill with information. Instead, it is important to understand that jurors are already filled with preferences and biases independent to their lifestyles, and lawyers should try to understand what will jurors think is important to them personally. Jurors are largely uninterested in what the defendant did wrong, and are instead more focused on what will effect themselves or those they are close to. As a result, lawyers emphasise "public safety and wellbeing" as this theme relates to the entire society.
I was always curious who picks the juror, and what kind of state of mind they are in, because they must be under a lot of pressure to make so much decisions. But after reading this I was surprise that they really don't have too much interest in victims story, but they make decisions based on if this victim will be a threat to the public or not.

Twins: Is it all in the genes?

This video featured a set of twins who have been separated at a young age. One was raised in a nurturing environment by her biological parents and was encouraged to pursue an education. On the other hand, the other was raised in a destructive environment with an alcoholic stepfather. The second never completed high school and was pregnant by age 17. The video highlights that, even though the twins experienced completely different upbringings (nurture in the argument of nature vs. nurture), the pair share a distinctly similar set of characteristics, such as the same preferences in colors and smells and the same fears. According to this video this is because we are attracted to things that are similar to us. Once we perceive some amount of similarity between us and someone else, it triggers an attraction thus a liking.

Nature and Nurture

This video studies a set of twins and documents their growth and progression as time goes on. The set of twin boys are identical but one is noticeably larger than the other. They relate this size difference back to when twins are growing in the womb and one takes up more space to grow. This malnourished twin will be delayed in most of his development after birth. However, eventually environment will overthrow the initial traits from birth and growth will be determined by physical activity, food, and nurture from the parents. This also explains changes in identical twins overtime. Although their DNA match at birth, environment changes not only a children psychologically but also physically.

Twin Studies

This article laid out the specifics of twin studies. The purpose of twin studies is to "shed light on human behavioral genetics", by analyzing how much genetics and/or the environment plays in our behaviors and traits. The article begins with a overall look at views on the studies, stating that it is controversial. While behavioral geneticists seem to favor the studies, some psychologists question the "assumptions". The article than goes on to outline the methods and theories behind twin studies. Many of the twin studies rely on studying twins that were raised in the same environments. It also talks about the differences of identical twins and fraternal twins, and how they can be used to as a comparison stool. Some of the assumptions of Twins studies, are that the parents randomly mated to create the twins. But some of the argument against twin studies, are that people generally mate with people who are similar to themselves, causing there children to have similar traits. Other assumptions include: equal environments, gene environment interaction ("researchers think that interactions between genes and environments, rather than genes and environment separately"), and genetic mechanisms. Lastly the article looked at the value of twin studies. While limitations, exists many psychologists argue that twin studies are evolving and are a really great tool for looking at human behavior.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Social Roles and Expectations

Many of psychologists have a strong belief in what we take on and act out certain roles according to the social influences or expectation placed on us by our culture and society. It stimulates me to think more about why people have tendency or attitude in their act. My personal belief in social roles is that one's social norm can be mostly learned and defined by their parents not by social influences. The origin of conceiving concept of social norms are started from the parents who educate one's behavior. We often can see some kids in restaurant running around and causes some trouble. There are some parents who scold at their kids while others gives more courage to their kids that they justify themselves with wrong behavior. 

Theories of Love

Even though there are numerous numbers of different theories of love done by psychologists and researchers, Love is a basic human emotion which is not necessarily easy to explain nor understand. Therefore, it is obvious to tell that love is something that science can not explain. 

I found interesting theory done by psychologist Zick Rubin who proposed that romantic love is made up of three elements; attachment, caring and intimacy. With his word, "Attachment is the need to receive care, approval, and physical contact with the other person, Caring involves valuing the other persons needs and happiness as much as your own. Intimacy refers to the sharing of thoughts, desires, and feeling with the other person." Based upon his definition, Rubin devised a questionnaire to assess attitude about others and found that these scales of liking and loving provided support for his concept of love.  

From personal stands point of view, yes it makes obvious sense to categorize love into three parts. However, I would like to question that would one be strongly positive to tell whether you love someone or not can be determined after go through those questionnaires? Love is so complicate things that one can not define what the definition of love is. It is so ironic that we all seeming to know what love is, but we are not sure how can it really be defined by. 

The Bystander Effect in Helping Behaviour

This article is focusing on one accident that happened in 1964, Kitty Genovese who was murdered outside of her home in New York, while 38 people were witnessed and did nothing to save her. This incident evoked public outcry and was the catalyst for a considerable amount of research into what causes people to help other people in need or prevents them from helping. The common sense explanation for this seeming lack of comparison are vague concept such as alienation and apathy. These explanations stem from the idea that our moral actions are determined by character traits.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Jury Decision Making and Psychological Science: A Give and Take Relationship


This article talks about the correlations between jury decision making and psychological science and how they effect each other. The author also tries to fabricate what determines the effectiveness of a jury when there are so many factors that  go into the decisions from their point of view.

Among the aspects that effect a juror's decision making, one is the incomprehension of the instructions given to them on how to make a decision. It is noted that often times, the directions are difficult to understand and that leads to jurors explaining them to their fellow jurors.

Another aspect is that they have to remember so much that many other people in the courtroom have laptops and crates of files for. They have to sit there quietly and do their best to make sense of what it put in front of them, and then, usually after days, remember all of it to make a proper decision.

Cases that include injuries are very hard for the jury to judge. Most of the time, the severity of the injury is misjudged.

"Psychological science gives reasons and instructs lawyers that they must strive to make their jury presentations simple, direct, concise, understandable, and authentic."  

-Emily Szentkuti



This article begins by explaining the theory: That genes are what form our characteristics and are not affected by our environment. One the other side of the spectrum, some believe that despite our genes, our environment molds us into the people we are.

Then it delves into different arguments of psychologists, such as Niels Juel-Nielsen's study of Danish identical twins reared apart. They state that identical twins reared together in an identical environment are very similar. Therefore, If they are raised in different environments, any differences between the two can be attributed to the "Nurture" aspect. But Nielson's experiment never had a control group, so already the accuracy of this test went down.

In a separate argument, Dr. Susan Farber says the the "Nurture" aspect doesn't even exist because the individual shapes their environment. This could be valid, but there is a point made that even twins reared together differ. But for her experimentation, she chose only twins that looked similar, excluding most that can invalidate her theory.

-Emily Szentkuti

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Separated, but not Forgotten!

In this article, there are some thoroughly interesting examples of unique relationships between identical twins. They have some unlikely examples of things similar things happening, like two twins breaking the same arm on the same day, etc. However, what I found the most fascinating, from a psychological standpoint, is the story of two identical-twin sisters who were separated at birth as part of a controversial psychological study. The two sisters met for the first time at age 35, only to discover that they had led nearly identical lives! They were both editors of their high school newspaper, studied film at university, and became writers, as well as very similar personality traits and interests (they claim in an interview). This essentially disproves the theory that environment plays a dominant role for establishing characteristics. But then again, the two siblings were raised in the same country, with seemingly similar financial situations. They also seem to be a one-in-a-million kind of case, otherwise they would not have been featured in this article about strange occurences in twins. What I do find really interesting is the level at which they have a similar connection in their interests. With no communication between the two, what is it that made them go down similar routes in their lives? I would love to read some of their writing and get a small glimpse into their inner-psyche, and then of course compare the two.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


This article was intriguing because it classifies and defines aggression in a clear understandable manner. The article defines aggression as behavior that is meant to hurt other physically mentally or verbally. Aggression is further broken up into two groups, hostile aggression and instrumental aggression. Hostile aggression is the more commonly noticed and is associated with explosive anger displayed in an uncontrolled unplanned manner. The goal of the hostile aggressive person is to hurt the person they are being aggressive toward. The second form of aggression is instrumental aggression which I find more disturbing. Instrumental aggression is defined as a means to an end. The goal of the instrumental aggressive is to use their aggression to obtain something such as money or status. This less noticeable form of aggression is associated with competitive controlled goal oriented people. Men are much more likely to exhibit signs of hostile aggression while the opposite is true for women with instrumental aggression. I find this interesting and I believe it is why many of my female friends are far more competitive then my male friends. I believe this is due to hormones that we as humans must have developed in the hunter gatherer times and have maintained since for survival purposes.

Public Speaking Anxiety

I found this article really interesting because it breaks down all the steps and thinking patterns of someone who is experiencing public speaking anxiety. The article breaks the thought processes of the anxious person down into four separate detrimental ways of thinking. The first is black and white thinking. This is when the presenter thinks that either their presentation is going to be all good or all bad. The second thinking process is over generalization. Over generalization is the act of believing that one mistake is going to develop into a pattern. This is seen by the presenter believing that one bad presentation is a sign that all presentations they do will be bad. The third detrimental thought process the anxious person may exhibit is jumping to conclusions. This is seen when the presenter believes they will get negative feedback for a presentation if they make a mistake even when there is no evidence to suggest that. The final negative way of thinking is fortune telling. This is when the presenter believes they will do poorly no matter how much preparation they have. I believe the last thought process is the worst to have because it can ruin a presentation before it even starts. If the presenter believes from the beginning that they will fail all preparation for their presentation will be fruitless.

Forbes - How to Prepare for Presentations

How to Prepare for Presentations

This Forbes article explains in depth how to prepare for a large presentation. For starters, reading from a script is not okay. The author goes on to explain how even when you rehearse, you should practice as if you are presenting the real thing. The author then goes on to provide tips on practicing presentations in a "real-world way." The first tip is to practice at a location similar to the final presentation area. The second tip is to keep an eye on posture and movement. In a presentation, this can really help create life behind the presentation. The next tip is to pace the talk. Slowing down the speech and incorporating speech tactics, such as dramatic pauses, will help relieve anxiety for yourself and create a friendlier atmosphere for the audience. The last tip that the author provides is to simplify everything. By shortening long sentences and getting to the point, more emphasis will be put on facts that are most important. This will also provide clarity and professionalism.

Video Game Aggression

Video Game Aggression
In this article the commonly brought up argument, that violent video games increase aggression in children, is addressed. The author argues that the results of many research experiments may be flawed due to fact that different video games may have other factors that trigger violent behavior and aggression.  The author then brings up the fact that many studies also lead to the conclusion that competition also creates aggression, which begs the question of whether or not competition is the key to aggression.

This article was very interesting to me because it offers an interesting take on the commonly referenced debate. I believe that as violent video game experiences are more realistic and immersive, this psychological dilemma must be thoroughly addressed and studied.