Author Archives: Andrew Collin Kelly

Taste Aversion

Andrew Kelly

Taste Aversion

Blog Post #3


In Psych 100, we just recently learned about a phenomena call taste aversion.  Taste aversion is, essentially, when a human develops some sort of reluctance towards foods or drinks if they become sick afterwards.  After learning about this in lecture, I immediately thought of a similar occurrence that I had experienced when I was younger.

When I was younger, ear infections were a very common occurrence in my life.  As many as four to five times a year, I can remember sitting in the doctor’s office, with an ear ache, just waiting for my doctor to tell me, once again, that I had an ear infection.  The more I had an ear infection, the stronger the prescription they would give me.

So there I was again, sitting in the doctors office when he came it with a new prescription.  He began to explain and elaborate how this stronger prescription would do the trick.  However, these pills were far different than the ones I had previously taken.  They were much larger, and had a foul smell attached to them as soon as you would open the bottle.  So everyday for the next two weeks, I would have to take not only one, but two of these pills to get better.  I thought it wasn’t so bad until I tried to take the first dose that same day.  Plugging my nose to eliminate the smell, I took the first pill immediately got sick to my stomach.  And that was only the first pill for that day so I still had one to go.  Again, agonizing as I attempted to swallow the pill, I managed to get it down and the sickening feeling got even worse.

Every time I would take the pill, I would wash it down with a glass of chocolate milk.  However, the taste of the pill was so strong that not even chocolate milk could wash it down.  I began to make an association with the taste of the pill with the chocolate milk.  So after I was done with the prescription, I couldn’t take a sip of chocolate milk without cringing and becoming sick to my stomach.  I would become sick every time I had tried.  This taste aversion made me stray away from chocolate milk for a while.

Within the taste aversion phenomena, we were also learned about biological preparedness in where the sense of taste was a much stronger reminder of a specific event.  In my case the taste of chocolate milk brought me back to the sick feeling in my stomach.  However, if I were to smell chocolate milk or any other sense that can be associated with chocolate milk, I would feel little to no effect on how I was feeling.  This demonstrates that everything cannot be learned equally well.

After learning about these two phenomena’s, especially taste aversion, it was very interesting to learn about why such an event had happened to me when I was a child.

False Memories

Andrew Kelly

False Memories

Blog Post #2

Recently in the lectures in Psych 100, we have been learning and discussing a lot about false memories.  Taking this information, I thought about many of my earliest memories and questioned if any of them were really from my own memory, or just from the stories I heard from my peers.  However, we also learned that there is no way to really tell the difference between if we really remember these events or if we are filling in the blanks with information we conclude to fit the situation.  This topic is very interesting to me because I believe that it is a very common occurrence in most of our early life memories.

False memories are memories that do not really exist, but are built together in the mind by the stories told to us.  One instance that clearly sticks out in my mind is, what I think is the earliest memory I have.  Learning about these false memories has got me thinking to as if this memory is of my own mind, or from the stories my parents and grandfather told.  I was about four years old and my family and I went to a local fair in State College.  At the fair, my grandfather, my sister, and myself went to look around the fair to see all the art stands and tents along the way.  I was very young and stubborn as we walk around that I refused to hold my grandfathers hand.  He warned me about getting lost but I continued to refuse to take his lead.  Minutes later, I happened to be distracted by all the commotion around us at the fair, and turned back to where my grandfather and sister had been, and seeing nobody but strangers!  Terrified, looking everywhere for a familiar face, an older gentleman who had happened to see what happened moments before knew who my grandfather was, and brought me back to him.  Although the story is not that climatic, in my memory it was the scariest couple of moments that I can remember…or think I remember at least.

I cannot fully remember every bit of detail that happened at his time, being very young, but I do remember hearing repeats of this story told by my grandfather who happened to think that this was very funny.  Not being able to remember every bit of detail makes me wonder about this phenomena of false memory we learned about during psych lecture.  This means that you can never really be sure what memories are actually your own and what memories you conceived in your head.  This makes me wonder about if all the other memories I have are truly mine or from source amnesia!

Illusory Correlation

Andrew Kelly

Psych 100, Section 3

Blog Post #1


How often do we make connections between two or more things, which really do not correlate in any manner?  These connections we make are based off of observations, experiences, or similar events that may lead to superstitions.  Illusory correlation is defined as “the perception of a relationship where none exists” (Wede, Lecture 3).  Learning about this phenomenon in the lectures in class made me think of superstitions that people ritualize, and follow like a religion because of instances of success.  People are constantly looking for patterns as to why things happen.  This is where a lot of superstitions come from.

Superstitions are very common rituals or steps that people take because of past experiences.  I can think of numerous occasions where I heard of many superstitious rituals before a game, an event, and even exams.  I was also guilty of believing in these rituals when I was younger.

In fifth grade, I was in the middle of a baseball season in the spring of 2005.  I was playing little league ball and was on the younger age side of the spectrum of kids playing in the league.  Before one game, I was very particular about my socks and I put my left sock on first, followed by my right sock.  Thinking nothing of it at the time, but the in the game played that day I hit a home run.  In my mind, it was the socks that did it.  For a small part of the season, I followed the same ritual: left sock first, then right sock.  Even when I had bad games I would think to myself it had a little to do with the socks.  Maybe I put them on wrong or maybe it just wasn’t my day.  After a few bad games, I grew out of the superstition and couldn’t believe how crazy I was for believing that my performance was based all on how I put on a pair of socks.  Undoubtedly, the socks had no effect on my performance, but at the time I thought it was a very big influence.

Illusory correlations, such as superstitions, are very common in our society.  However, they relate two different ideas that are believed to cause the other, but really do not relate at all.  People are always looking for connections between situations in their lives.  Some people strongly believe in superstitions, while other see it all as illusory correlation.  I think most of us have believed in one thing or another at a certain point in our lives that turned out to be nothing other than illusory correlation.