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adaption -level phenomenon: Clarissa

Adaption -level phenomenon: this is the tendency to judge our experiences by comparing them to past experiences.  For example, the book explains that as our income rises, or our social prestige improves we feel pleasure. But as time goes on, we adapt. What once felt good now feels just normal- and what was normal or neutral before now feels like deprivation.  This phenomenon also entails our ability to judge our adaptive capacity.  Often we underestimate our adaptive capacity.  We have a hard time predicting the intensity and duration of our future positive and negative emotions.

In the movie Home Alone, Kevin (the main character) is at first very happy when he finds himself at home alone- with the house to himself.  But as time goes on- the excitement lessens- and he finds himself missing his family.

In this movie Kevin thought he would be super happy being home alone- without his annoying family around. When Kevin is alone, the excitement of being home alone evaporates more rapidly than he had expected.  In this situation- Kevin underestimated his adaptive capacity.


stress and shingles: Clarissa

Health Psychology: this is the study of how social, psychological and behavioral processes effect one’s physical health.

Two weeks ago I got a form of chicken pox known as shingles. I had no idea what it was at the time or how I got it. After a visit to the doctor- it was diagnosed as shingles.

I found out that shingles can be a reaction to lots of stress. I reviewed the previous couple of months and realized that there had been many stressful instances that probably had accumulated and now were taking a toll on my health.  It was strange that stress could be the cause of this weird rash- but it was.  Since then, I have made sure to keep myself in check and not let myself worry about things that are out of my control.  This is one of the disciplines that health psychology deals with- that is- how psychological factors effect an individuals health- specifically stress!

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Personal space violation: Clarissa

Personal space is an unwritten courtesy that most everyone dutifully respects.  We each have boundaries- that if crossed- seem almost like an attack(depending on the severity of the violation).  Our personal “bubbles” are a safe-zone- a place that is entered only by our invitation.  Keeping a comfortable amount of distance between ourselves and strangers when possible,  is something that is understood and followed by almost any civilized American. I say “American,”  because this norm of personal space may be unique to Americans.  Other cultures may not have the same expectations when it comes to personal space.

I didn’t set out to break this particular social norm- but the situation presented itself and I grabbed it.  One Sunday my boyfriend and I decided to spend our sunday afternoon outside at Rock Canyon park.  We drove to the back of the park where it was empty of people. We got our blanket out and proceeded up the hill to the perfect spot- hidden behind some trees.  As we got closer I realized that we weren’t the only ones that had taken advantage of this great spot.  I had to stop my boyfriend from almost walking straight into them. There was a couple laying side by side on their picnic blanket – enjoying their privacy and seclusion. We walked away laughing that we had almost walked right into them.  Then I realized- “hey- this is a great opportunity to violate a social norm!” It took some convincing to get my boyfriend to go along with it.  We decided that we had just as much right to enjoy the perfect spot as they did.  We walked back up to the hidden nook behind the trees, fluffed our blanket out and placed it about 5 feet away from their blanket.  After a couple of minutes, my boyfriend started reading the scriptures out loud and then I went over to them and offered them some sunflower seeds that I had gotten for free at the Bees game the night before.  After almost the longest 20 minutes ever- we picked up and left.

This social norm violation was quite uncomfortable. This couple had clearly picked this secluded spot on purpose- to avoid being next to anyone.  They were enjoying their alone time together and didn’t want to be disturbed.  I could understand that. When we invaded their clearly marked bubble- I could immediately sense the violation. They communicated their uncomfortableness through their body language and frequent  glances- wondering “what is this weird couple doing?”  Honestly- I don’t think they even knew how to react to us- it was so out of the norm- that I know they were stumped as to how to respond.  When I tried to be friendly and offer them sunflower seeds- it made the awkwardness in the air even more apparent. They seemed almost worried as I clearly was not socially inept.  I almost could sense that they felt sorry for us.  It was really weird.  It took everything not to start laughing and quit- but I stuck to it even though it was terribly uncomfortable.  It felt odd to be encroaching on someone else’s space- and to do it so forwardly.  Until violating a social norm- I had no idea how powerful and ingrained they are in me and in society.  This experience has taught me to be aware of and possibly question the norms that I unconsciously follow.

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Disclosure reciprocity effect: Clarissa

disclosure reciprocity: we reveal more about ourselves to people who have been open with us. We reveal a little and then the other person reveals a little.

My friend Nate, opened himself up and told me many things about himself. In return I decided to tell him some things about myself that I normally don’t disclose.

When others open up to us, we may have the feeling that we should or can do the same.  When my friend Nate really made himself vulnerable by sharing some really personal and sensitive aspects of his life- I knew he trusted me- and therefore I felt that I could trust him. I then decided that I would equally be as open with him as he was with me.  As I look at the relationships that I have developed throughout my life, I have noticed that the ones that are the most meaningful are the ones where there has been much self-disclosure- or where the disclosure reciprocity effect has taken effect.


“I don’t need to do the dishes..” Clarissa

Bystander effect: the idea with the bystander effect is that people are less likely to help when there are other people around.  We tend to think that another person will do the job- instead of taking the initiative to do the job ourself.

When all my roommates are in town the dishes seem to pile up and not get down as fast as when there are only two of us roommates home.

This is a very simple example but I thought it was kind of interesting that the bystander effect was happening within the walls of my very own dwelling.  I noticed that when there were only two of us in the apartment- the dishes got done faster(even when we had the same amount of dishes as when there was four of us home).  When all four of us are at home I know that I catch myself thinking “I don’t need to do the dishes .. Kaitlin will probably do them when she gets home.” Did I notice the dishes were in the sink- and they were piling up- “yes”- but I ignored them thinking that someone else would get to them. (I know- its awful!- ha). However, when there was only the two of us left in the apartment- I was much more consciousness of the dishes in the sink (actually there was never any dishes in the sink- we made sure that the dishes were always clean:) and would tend to the dishes whenever they were in the sink.  I knew that if I didn’t do them- they may not get done. There weren’t as many people to count on to do the work.

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Cycle of Abuse: Clarissa

Displacement: this is a kind of defense mechanism used when a person diverts an unacceptable thought or impulse from its target to a less threatening objet/target.

A man, after having a bad day at work comes home and beats his wife and then his wife beats her children.

This is a pretty sad example- but as I have studied abuse and its consequences, I have come to realize that displacement is often used by the offender during an abusive act.  In the above example, a man has a bad day at work because his boss was condescending and embarrassed the man in front of all his co-workers.  The man is extremely upset and wants to take his frustration out – but he can’t take it out on his boss because he is not an easy target.  Instead the man takes his frustration out on his wife, who is an easier target.  The man is displacing his anger with his boss onto his wife. His wife is then upset and angry and wants to fight back, but can’t fight her husband, so she beats her kids. Sadly, this story is too common in the world today. Instead of confronting the source of one’s anger, people often turn to a safer target to release their frustration- which begins the vicious cycle all over again.

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Clayton vs. Ladue: Clarissa

Realistic Conflict Theory:  This theory is one way to help explain why prejudice arises.  It states that hostility arises between groups as a result of conflicting goals and competition over limited resources.  Feelings of resentment arise because groups see the competition over resources as having only one winner- that is to say- only one group wins.

My high school, Ladue had as it’s rival, Clayton High School.  Starting in elementary school, it was ingrained into our brains that Clayton was worse than Ladue.  We competed with Clayton in everything from sports to academics.

The competition to be number one caused Ladue and Clayton to butt heads.  We knew that there could only be one number one- and both of the schools fought for that spot.  This competition grew into hostility and even prejudice- as we viewed our school as better than Clayton.  Looking back- it seems silly how much we put into “playing the game of prejudice”- but it seems like it is almost part of being human.  We like to be on the winning side!!  The realistic conflict theory helps to explain this ever present rivalry between Ladue and Clayton.

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swimming with an audience: Clarissa

Social Facilitation: the idea that we tend to perform better when other people are watching us.

At all of my swim meets- when my friends were there watching me I performed better.

All through high school I swam on the swim team.  As I reviewed my scores from the season- I realized that the meets where my friends were present- I performed better.  This is an example of social facilitation because I used the presence of my friends as motivation for me to push myself harder and thus my performance was better than when my friends were not at my meet.

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swim suits at school?- cohesiveness: Clarissa Thomas

Cohesiveness: when members of a group possess bonds linking them to one another.  This  idea of cohesiveness is one element that can lead to conformity.

When I was in high school, all the girls on the swim team wore their swim suits over their clothes to school.

My swim team decided to make a stand together towards increasing the attendance at the swim meets by wearing our swim-team suits on top of our clothes.  We tried pulling this stunt off at the beginning of swim season- but a lot of the girls chickened out.  However, as we grew together as a team throughout the season-we were able to convince the chicken girls to do it with the rest of the team.  Yes it was embarrassing- but we took on the thoughts of the team and did it for the cause of the team.  This time around- everyone joined because no one wanted to be ostracized from the team- it was a success!!

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Gender Norms: Remember the Titans, Clarissa

Gender Norms: characteristics that society determines proper male and female behavior.

link:  Remember the Titans-Girls

This clip uses the personalities of Sheryl and Nikki to display what society sees as normal and abnormal behavior for a girl. Sheryl – the tom boy watches sports, gets wound up during the football games and would rather shoot baskets than paint her nails. Nikki on the other hand wears dresses, paints her nails, “accessorizes” her dolls and could care less about what happens at the football games.  These behaviors fit the gender norm for being a female while Sheryl’s behaviors went against the female gender norm.

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Dissonance resolved after the break up: Clarissa

Dissonance: a discomfort or tension caused by holding conflicting cognitions simultaneously.  An example  of this would be wanting to smoke and knowing that smoking is bad for you;  a person may try to change their feelings about the odds that they will actually suffer the consequences, or they might add the consonant element that the smoking is worth short term benefits.  Dissonance can often arise after making difficult decisions.  After making these difficult decisions, we usually reduce dissonance by increasing or upgrading the chosen alternative and downgrading the unchosen option.

This past weekend I broke up with my boyfriend.  It was a hard decision due to conflicting feelings. I really liked him but I also knew that breaking up was the right thing to do. After making the decision to break up with him, I made myself feel better about the decision by making a mental list of the reasons why I made the right choice.

While making the decision to break up with my boyfriend- I experienced great dissonance.  I was internally conflicted by having both of these options in my head; should I break up with him or should I stick with him longer.  While making the decision  to break up with him- I became painfully aware of the dissonant cognitions- the desirable features of what I would give up by breaking up (he’s extremely goal oriented, honest, return missionary, spiritual, hard worker, would always treat me well) along with the undesirable features of not breaking up.  let go and the undesirable features of what I had chosen.  I realized that this guy would always treat me well, he was extremely motivated to succeed, he loved God and was obedient to His will.  All of these things weighed heavily on my mind. After assuming my decision to break up with him, I still felt dissonance, and so in order to relieve this dissonance I tried to upgrade my chosen decision and downgrade the alternative. I told myself that although he had many wonderful qualities- I knew in my heart that this relationship was not the right thing for me right now.  I was successful in overcoming this dissonance by justifying my behaviors and reasoning with myself that there were more positive outcomes than negative outcomes from making this decision. Dissonance resolved- I now, again, have peace of mind!!

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Schemas and Inconsistent information: Clarissa Thomas

Definition: Information that is inconsistent with our schemas we are more likely to ignore and not pay attention to.

See commercial posted: Embassy Suites commercial  

Conclusion: This clip is an example of how we are likely to ignore information that is inconsistent with our schemas. In this commercial Stanley is loved by everyone- so much so that his boss wants to send him to Boston to represent the company and make a good impression on the clients. When Stanley doesn’t believe that everyone loves him, his boss throws a cactus at another coworker and then blames it on Stanley- in an effort to prove to Stanley that regardless of throwing a cactus at someone- people will still love him and keep their same views of Stanley. When the other co-worker realizes that it is Stanley who threw the cactus- he isn’t upset- instead he laughs and shrugs it off. Because this event was inconsistent with the co-worker’s schema about Stanley- the event was ignored and pushed aside- thus retaining the positive image that the worker held for Stanley.

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Basking in Reflected Glory with Mitt: Clarissa Thomas

Basking in Reflected Glory: This is when an individual publicly displays their affiliation with successful people/events even when they have not played an instrumental role in the success of that person or group.

Mitt Romney and I

This is an example of basking in reflected glory because obviously I have nothing to do  with Romney’s success in the presidential elections, however it feels good  to bask in the glory of his  achievements.

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Hindsight bias- Clarissa Thomas

Hindsight Bias: also called the “I Knew-it-all-along effect” is the tendency people have to view events that have already occurred to be more predictable than they really are.

The other day I noticed my friend committing the hindsight bias while evaluating the quality of the shots  during a basketball game.  After a shot was made that didn’t go in- my friend would say something like, “why did you take that shot?” I also noticed that for the tough shots I could hear my friend uttering,  “No, no, no….Good shot!” There were also the easy shots that were missed when my friend asks, “Why did he take that shot?”

This instance illustrates the hindsight bias in that my friend is evaluating the quality of a shot based on whether or not the shot went in or not. Neither one of the responses that my friend said were rational, yet they appear to be natural responses because after the fact, it is difficult to imagine that we didn’t know what the outcome would be. This is because events are much more “obvious” after the event has happened than beforehand.

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