Sunday, September 28, 2008
Follow the link to find 5 demonstrations of auditory illusions that point out some of the brain's methods for interpreting sound.
This week I read a brief article questioning the reliability of our memories. The article, titled, Brain Science Reveals How a Fallible Memory Shapes our Lives, was written by Karen Lawrence and posted on the website, cognitive-psychology.suite101.com. Lawrence begins by quoting memory researcher and Harvard Professor, Daniel L. Schacter, from his 1996 book, Searching For Money. “We now know enough about how memories are stored and retrieved to demolish another long-standing myth: that memories are passive or literal recordings of reality…we do not store judgment-free snapshots of our past experiences but rather hold on to the meaning, sense, and emotions these experiences provided us.”
Lawrence explains that Schacter’s research suggests that our memories are made up from multiple sources and many factors can skew our memories. When our memories are skewed, we cannot be capable of forming accurate perceptions of past realities. In this respect, an acknowledgment of fallible memory is crucial when studying human perception. This idea of having deceitful memories might come as a shock, but we have all had disagreements about the most accurate portrayal of a past event.
Watch the Documentary here at: Science Channel: Synesthesia
In the same vein, this article from yesterday's New York Times goes into the effect that sleep deprivation has on creativity and problem solving. Leslie Berlin opens by discussing the stigma our culture seems to have on sleep- that sleep is seen as unnecessary, and even as a sign of laziness. This is certainly true at Pratt, where it is generally assumed that one is just not working hard enough if you manage a solid amount a sleep every night.
Berlin presents the argument that sleep actually aids in creativity, as "sleep assists the brain in flagging unrelated ideas and memories, forging connections among them that increase the odds that a creative idea or insight will surface". Sleep deprivation can give you tunnel vision and decrease your ability to approach a problem in an innovative way.
Any opinions from my sleep deprived peers?
We'll Fill This Space, but First a Nap
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Another part of this reading that was interesting was the part that spoke of obscenities and their censoring. If the word is known and the audience knows which words are the only ones applicable to the sentence then why cut it out, it makes no difference because its still being said. Some might use the excuse that children shouldn’t be exposed to that type of vulgarity, but hiding a child from the world won’t help the child in the long run. Being honest and explaining that the word should not be used and proper punishment for using the inappropriate word in an inappropriate way should be explained and executed. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression is significant media to express the points that they are trying to convey. Sure there is a time and a place for everything but sometimes people think that by doing something that is supposedly good—like replacing the name God for Savior when saying “oh my God” just to not take “his name in vain”—is just as bad as saying it in the first place. People should be mature enough to understand that words are just used to express an emotion and are not the emotions themselves. The n-word for example is banned from radio and television but its just a word, and when said it usually signifies “friend” or “dude”. The fact that people even consider it still being a word of disrespect towards African Americans (or people with dark skin tones) shows that people still have a prejudice towards them. Words are just words and they should be used carefully and people should be open to see the world in eyes besides their own.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Try to take one before class tonight...Below is a little intro from their home page.
"It is well known that people don't always 'speak their minds', and it is suspected that people don't always 'know their minds'. Understanding such divergences is important to scientific psychology.
This web site presents a method that demonstrates the conscious-unconscious divergences much more convincingly than has been possible with previous methods. This new method is called the Implicit Association Test, or IAT for short.
In addition, this site contains various related information. The value of this information may be greatest if you try at least one test first..."
Go to the Demonstration Tests.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
From the website titled, Advancements in Cognitive Psychology: A Scientific Study of the Human Mind, I came across an article discussing the how sleep deprivation has been shown to increase dream activity in the brain during the night. The article, Strange but True: Less Sleep Means More Dreams, by Christie Nicholson suggests that when a person’s brain is deprived of sleep they are deprived if REM sleep. When a person’s brain has been deprived of REM sleep and thus dream time, that brain will likely move into the REM stage significantly faster the next time they go to sleep. Additionally, they found that a sleep deprived brain has clearer more detailed dreams than a well rested brain. I thought this article was interesting because it raised questions as to the purpose of dreams and why our brains have been shown to essentially crave them.
This article is about the way music provokes emotions in the audience prior to characters or actions even taking place on film. This is relative to the way Malcolm Gladwell writes about the results from Implicit Association Tests or IAT. When a subject is given information prior to test taking it effects their end results. How would we feel if the movie Jaws did not have its memorable film score? Would we fear for the characters on screen? I don't know! What do you think?
Also, here is another article on music, memory, and cognitive psychology. It can be found at:
Please select the article written by William Forde Thompson, Simone Dalla Bella, and Peter E. Keller on Music Performance.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Before reading this article I had never thought that alliteration had much of a function, but I had noticed the intrinsic pleasure of reading a line with alliteration. It's a technique that is used frequently in the English language and not so much in the Romance languages--in fact, old Anglo-Saxon poetry was predominately written in accentual-alliterative verse. One of the comments in the article linked above makes the connection that alliteration was especially important to pre-literate cultures, and now that there is research to confirm alliteration improves memory reaction time, it only makes sense why alliteration was so important to those languages and why it's still important to the offspring of those languages: English.
The research done in the article doesn't give much explanation for why alliterations helps one remember things, but I might assume that the brain connects consonants together, and if there has been a row of similar consonant sounds, when that sound comes up again, there is a stronger link to the sound.
Friday, September 19, 2008
To know that care dealers think that women and minorities are suckers is good information to know when I am searching for a car. It makes me a little mad that they think that I would think that minorities and women would not spend as much money as white men because of financial status, but it’s not good to think that way which is probably another reason why I’m not good as a sales associate.
I found the IAT interesting so I’m going to go on the website that was in the article to see what race I am comfortable in (just for the fun of knowing). Maybe this will help me understand my personality more and make me want to change my habits or environment so that I can witness otherwise.
By Jessica Tapia