Monthly Archives: August 2016

Introduction

Hello, everyone my name is Syetta Berkley I am a Junior here at Penn State  with a major in Psychology . When I am not taking class I work, I currently work Full-time at a  medical school. I think it will be interesting to learn about ways that will better help the environment and other action that can be done to continue to take it. Also, learning about the advantages and disadvantages of climate change. No, this is not my first online class. I have been talking online since I started school, I find it flexible since I now work full- time.

Wishing everyone success on their career paths and goals…….

Visual Imagery

 

Screen shot 2016-08-02 at 1.19.11 PM

A book is a friend that knows the secret to waking up its reader’s imagination. An artist enhances the imagination by sharing experiences associated with visual imagery.

My friend Amber is a gifted artist, who created the artwork for my children’s book. I remember our first meeting at her studio. Amber enthusiastically took her place at her state-of-the-art workstation. Her artist’s palette was smudged with sample watercolors that allowed me to visually roll in a surreal field of wildflowers. Her art books felt right at home on a family heirloom bookshelf. I selected one of the books, inhaled deeply and said, “It still has that wonderful, musty, library smell.”

Amber reached for a seasoned charcoal pencil then focused her energy and talent on a sketchpad she took almost everywhere. She immediately started creating characters as I verbally described them. Within minutes, she had the lisianthus and monarch butterfly sketched, much to my amazement. She visited my gardens on many occasions and could visualize the flowers and butterfly, which frequented the gardens as well. We “clinked” our ice tea glasses as a sign of good things to come.

Now is the perfect opportunity for me to share the power and beauty of visual imagery as it applies to artists. Visual imagery allows us to see in the absence of visual stimuli. (Goldstein, Bruce E. 2011) I dared to think that visual imagery might be an art form in and of itself.

Some researchers suggest that visual imagery is the result of perception, and that artists benefit from bottom-up processing. If that were the case then electromagnetic energy (light) would focus an image from a visual stimulus onto Amber’s retina. That energy would then be converted into action potentials through the process of transduction and sent to her brain. (Lesson 3) The end result is perception, which is a function of the visual cortex. However, it has been suggested that the transduction associated with perception doesn’t apply to visual/mental imagery (recreation of the sensory world in absence of physical stimuli), and that imagery originates as a top-down process. (Goldstein, Bruce E. 2011) The cerebral cortex (grey matter) is defined as a higher brain area responsible for many cognitive functions such as perception, memory, thought, creativity, abstraction, and synthesis of movements. Because there is no visual input to be processed by the visual cortex, visual/mental images are the result of knowledge, expectations, and experiences, which reflect top-down processing. (Goldstein, Bruce E. 2011)

Researchers using a voxel-based morphometry scanning devices determined that artists have more grey matter in a part of their brains called the precuenus, which is located in the parietal lobe. This region might be linked to visual imagery and the ability to “manipulate visual images in the brain, combine them and deconstruct them.” (Hogenboom, Melissa 2014) Additional research suggests that artists have more grey and white matter in the cerebellum, which is responsible for the fine tuning of motor movements that make those movements more adaptive and accurate. (Knierim, James, Ph.D. n.yr.)

Other research builds a case for nature vs. nurture in that an artist may have a genetic predisposition for artistic talent, and that environmental upbringing and training are influential in terms of cultivating the talent. (Hogenbroom, Melissa 2014) Amber’s mother was a gifted artist as well.

I hope you experienced visual and mental imagery as a result of “visiting” Amber’s studio. Her visual imagery and apparent top-down processing assisted with the book’s character creation. Although I do not share the elements critical for the visual imagery that may define an artist, I appreciate the power of the brain areas that activate the visual and metal images.

Works Cited

Goldstein, Bruce E. “Glossary.” Cognitive Psychology Connecting Mind, Research, and Everyday Experience. 3rd Edition. Wadsworth Cengage Learning. Copyright 2011, 2008. pp. 270, 274.

Web Publications

Swenson, Rand, DC, MD, Ph.D. “Chapter 11: The Cerebral Cortex: General Organization.” Review of Clinical and Functional Neuroscience. Dartmouth Medical School. ©Swenson 2006. Web 28 July 2016.

https://www.dartmouth.edu/~rswenson/NeuroSci/chapter_11.html

Hogenboom, Melissa. Artists ‘have structurally different brains.’ BBC News. Science and Environment. © 2016 BBC. Web 28 July 2016.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26925271

Knierim, James, Ph.D. “Cerebellum: Section 3, Chapter 5.” Neurosciences Online. ©1997-Present. The University of Texas Health Science Center.

http://neuroscience.uth.tmc.edu/s3/chapter05.html

An accurate memory

Memories are something amazing. For some you think about them in your mind and they play for you like a movie. If the event had a significant impact on you, you can remember almost everything regarding it: the weather, the conversations during it, any music that may have been playing. You might even remember yourself…in third person. Which of course is inaccurate. How can you imagine yourself in third person? It seems unlikely that memories that seem more vivid and accurate aren’t so, but more often than not, this is the case.

I have a few memories like that, an example of one is first time I got to see my little brother. I remember it like it was yesterday:

My auntie came to pick me up from school, which was unusual. Usually my mom came to get me. I remember that it was a warm day, and that I had my sweater tied around my waist as we walked down the street. I noticed that we weren’t taking the usual way route home so I questioned we where we going. My auntie told me that it was a surprise. She dropped me off with my stepfather who was waiting with my 3 older step-siblings. We all went to the hospital to see my new brother. When we got to my mother’s room I gave her kisses and a hug and promptly flipped back the curtain to see if my brother was on the other side. I asked her “mommy, where’s your baby at?” and my entire family looked at me in collective confusion (they also laughed). “TJ, your brother’s right there” “Where?”, now my mom looked at me with concern “TJ, don’t you see your brother laying there?”. She gestured towards the baby in the basinet towards her feet. And I had seen the baby, I looked down at him momentarily before checking behind the curtain. I looked at my mother in her eyes and told her “Na-uh, that’s not my brother because that baby is white!” (my family and I are all black).

That story has been told time and time again from various perspectives, at various family functions, and at varying levels of soberness. Which just causes me to question, “how accurate is my memory?”. I was only 6 when my little brother was born, and I’m sure I’ve heard the story hundreds of times. Is my memory the memory of what actually happened? Or a smorgasbord of all the retellings I’ve heard over the years. Human memories are known to be imperfect. Yet, we still count on our memories to help the law catch criminals and to help us save lives. I think that the narrative rehearsal hypothesis (Goldstein, 2011) can be used to explain why my memory seems so accurate to me. Because of my family’s retelling of the event, sometimes with the added photos taken in the hospital room, I have most likely concocted my own version of what really happened that that. I find it so interesting the faith we have in our memories knowing that they can be faulty.

Goldstein, E. B. (2011). Memory for “Exceptional” Events . In E. B. Goldstein, Cognitive Psychology (pp. 208-213). Belmont: Wadsworth.

Spacial Perception to guide your Hike

 

In today’s world travelling in a car require a GPS in order to get around. The days of paper maps have long since been dated. Yet, there are occasions that maps are needed when there is not GPS coverage.  One such place is at the North end of the Grand Canyon to South end via a walking trail through the valley below. In order to traverse through the valley there are certain skills that are needed from a directional point of view; Map, 3d visual perception; height, length, and depth, and decision factor.

One of the items needed is a Map, the map I found was developed in two dimensions and so I had to find another map for depth (Topography). These maps did not lay out how the actual trails were in the valley between each area but enough information to help develop a mental map.

Once the map was analyzed for its data and imbedded in the mind, it became a 3d work of mental art, so I seemed. Over the course of the first mile, it was concluded that the mental image of the map is actually different from the actual trail as the point of reference changes. This visual confirmation corrected the brain map to coincide with the perception noted. I continued to hike another mile and more changes to the perception of the trail to my mental map. Once the mental map was finally adjusted, at every break I would scan my mental map and determine the next miles of hiking. The difference in my mental visual perception was that now mentally I was spinning the mental map in my head as I visualized the trail. Depending on the difficulty, I would lay out my hike pattern within 2 miles or 5 miles. The 2 miles was faster to map then the 5 miles.

The third aspect was the decisions that had to be made based on water signs, they were determined when studying the actual physical map, on the mental visual map.  These decisions also were on outside temperature, humidity, and fatigue factor. Each one was a sensory input that had to analyzed and incorporated to the decision for the hike success.

In each factor of navigation though the Grand Canyon relied on mental visualization and the perception of the trail relative to the orientation of where I faced (North, South). Spatial layout of the Grand Canyon with the trail and the topography made the journey without unnecessary stress. Yet, using “tacit knowledge explanation because it states that participants unconsciously use knowledge about the world in making their decisions” (Goldstein, 2011) But it is clear that when I visualized several different distances, it did take longer to determine visual representations of the distance on the trail to each goal. This is because as I visualized the trail, I kept imagining, based on experience, that the topography changes and adds or reduces the hike resistance therefore, making my decision to reach next hiking goal meaningful. Ultimately, my mental map guided the decision tree as all inputs; visual and biometrics were assessed contributed to a successful hike efficiently complete in 12 hours.

 

Reference

 

Cognitive Psychology, Connecting Mind, Research, and Everyday Experience, E. Bruce Goldstein, 2011

Visual Imagery in Problem Solving

When I was in elementary school, I got to skip math class. At the time, that was all I knew – every day, when the rest of my class went to math, 5 other kids and I went into a separate room down the hall for ELO. I later found out that ELO (which stands for Extended Learning Opportunities) was a special class for kids who already met our grades’ math standards, meant to help us develop additional learning skills instead of making us repeat simple arithmetic at which we had already proven ourselves sufficient. In ELO, we mostly did puzzles: we completed tangrams almost every day, were given a constant supply of 3-dimensional “break-apart” puzzles, and completed more riddles and word puzzles than I can count. This blog post, however, isn’t about how I got to play games instead of going to math class – it is about the valuable visual imagery skills I developed while playing them.

In high school sculpture and art classes, I had some classmates point out to me that I am strangely good at figuring out shapes and compositions; I had never noticed this ability before, but I could very easily draw different perspectives of objects or still-lifes that my fellow students had more difficulty with. It is well known that mental images can be rotated in our minds just like they can be physically rotated in our hands (Shepard and Metzler, 1971), and that it becomes easier to mentally rotate objects that we are more familiar with (Cooper and Shepard, 1973). Because of this combination of factors, I believe that my practice with shape-puzzles like tangrams (fitting small laminated shapes to fit a specific pattern or mold) and 3-dimensional riddle puzzles in elementary school has contributed to my affinity for physically fitting things together. Since I had so much practice with so many combinations of shapes and objects, I have somehow maintained the ability to mentally rotate many things I encounter to solve puzzles and visualize interesting perspectives for my art pieces. These visual imagery skills have proven immensely helpful to me, as I love making art and playing with interesting perspectives of bodies and geometric shapes, and being able to mentally create compositions allows me to translate my ideas on to paper. The skills I developed also greatly helped me with problem solving, as I can apply aspects of visual imagery and manipulation to generate ideas.

The development of problem-solving skills should not only be applied to my case – there have been studies about the increased “cognitive load” of students who are allowed practice with puzzles and other problem-solving activities and the benefits these students have later in their education and lives (Paas and Van Merrienboer, 1994).

 

References:

Goldstein, E. B. (2011). Chapter 2: Cognitive Neuroscience. Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research and Everyday Experience (3rd ed.)(pp. 23 – 45). Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Shepard, R. N., & Metzler, J. (1971). Mental rotation of three-dimensional objects. Science171(3972), 701–703.

Cooper, L. A., & Shepard, R. N. (1973). Chronometric studies of the rotation of mental images. In W. Chase (Ed.), Visual information processing. Oxford, England: Academic Press.

Visual Imagery

Screen shot 2016-08-02 at 1.19.11 PMLisianthus & Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

A book is a friend that knows the secret to waking up its reader’s imagination. An artist enhances the imagination by sharing experiences associated with visual imagery.

My friend Amber is a gifted artist, who created the artwork for my children’s book. I remember our first meeting at her studio. Amber enthusiastically took her place at her state-of-the-art workstation. Her artist’s palette was smudged with sample watercolors that allowed me to visually roll in a surreal field of wildflowers. Her art books felt right at home on a family heirloom bookshelf. I selected one of the books, inhaled deeply and said, “It still has that wonderful, musty, library smell.”

Amber reached for a seasoned charcoal pencil then focused her energy and talent on a sketchpad she took almost everywhere. She immediately started creating characters as I verbally described them. Within minutes, she had the lisianthus and monarch butterfly sketched, much to my amazement. She visited my gardens on many occasions and could visualize the flowers and butterfly, which frequented the gardens as well. We “clinked” our ice tea glasses as a sign of good things to come.

Now is the perfect opportunity for me to share the power and beauty of visual imagery as it applies to artists. Visual imagery allows us to see in the absence of visual stimuli. (Goldstein, Bruce E. 2011) I dared to think that visual imagery might be an art form in and of itself.

Some researchers suggest that visual imagery is the result of perception, and that artists benefit from bottom-up processing. If that were the case then electromagnetic energy (light) would focus an image from a visual stimulus onto Amber’s retina. That energy would then be converted into action potentials through the process of transduction and sent to her brain. (Lesson 3) The end result is perception, which is a function of the visual cortex. However, it has been suggested that the transduction associated with perception doesn’t apply to visual/mental imagery (recreation of the sensory world in absence of physical stimuli), and that imagery originates as a top-down process. (Goldstein, Bruce E. 2011) The cerebral cortex (grey matter) is defined as a higher brain area responsible for many cognitive functions such as perception, memory, thought, creativity, abstraction, and synthesis of movements. Because there is no visual input to be processed by the visual cortex, visual/mental images are the result of knowledge, expectations, and experiences, which reflect top-down processing. (Goldstein, Bruce E. 2011)

Researchers using a voxel-based morphometry scanning devices determined that artists have more grey matter in a part of their brains called the precuenus, which is located in the parietal lobe. This region might be linked to visual imagery and the ability to “manipulate visual images in the brain, combine them and deconstruct them.” (Hogenboom, Melissa 2014) Additional research suggests that artists have more grey and white matter in the cerebellum, which is responsible for the fine tuning of motor movements that make those movements more adaptive and accurate. (Knierim, James, Ph.D. n.yr.)

Other research builds a case for nature vs. nurture in that an artist may have a genetic predisposition for artistic talent, and that environmental upbringing and training are influential in terms of cultivating the talent. (Hogenbroom, Melissa 2014) Amber’s mother was a gifted artist as well.

I hope you experienced visual and mental imagery as a result of “visiting” Amber’s studio. Her visual imagery and apparent top-down processing assisted with the book’s character creation. Although I do not share the elements critical for the visual imagery that may define an artist, I appreciate the power of the brain areas that activate the visual and metal images.

Works Cited

Goldstein, Bruce E. “Glossary.” Cognitive Psychology Connecting Mind, Research, and Everyday Experience. 3rd Edition. Wadsworth Cengage Learning. Copyright 2011, 2008. pp. 270, 274.

Web Publications

Swenson, Rand, DC, MD, Ph.D. “Chapter 11: The Cerebral Cortex: General Organization.” Review of Clinical and Functional Neuroscience. Dartmouth Medical School. ©Swenson 2006. Web 28 July 2016.

https://www.dartmouth.edu/~rswenson/NeuroSci/chapter_11.html

Hogenboom, Melissa. Artists ‘have structurally different brains.’ BBC News. Science and Environment. © 2016 BBC. Web 28 July 2016.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26925271

Knierim, James, Ph.D. “Cerebellum: Section 3, Chapter 5.” Neurosciences Online. ©1997-Present. The University of Texas Health Science Center.

http://neuroscience.uth.tmc.edu/s3/chapter05.html

Does the Media Curve our Heuristics? B3

Does the Media Curve our Heuristics?

Lately the news has been filled with violent crimes, murderers, protests, and police brutality. How much of our perception to the media change our heuristics and create our stigmas. People are protesting the way news reporters display victims of different races. Availability heuristic states that people are guided by what we remember in the past (Goldstein, 2011). When watching the news or reading the newspaper perception might be altered from what we experience. Descriptions like Ala. suspect brilliant, but social misfit and  Montgomery’s latest homicide victim had history of narcotics abuse, tangles with the law can effect it (Wing, 2014). The first post was about a caucasian who committed murder the second post is about a black individual who got murder in police brutality (Wing, 2014). Although this may not seem that it alters your stigma and stereotypes, seeing constant portrayal of these groups of people changes perception. This can especially happen when you do not get a chance to meet other cultures and races. In that situation it is easy to make assumptions and stereotypes. It is similar to the effect of when people are asked which deaths occur more on airplane accidents or automobile accidents. Most people believe that more people die from airplane accidents rather than automobiles. This is because our memory is not perfect. We easily remember events that are tragic like 9/11 but don’t really remember all of the auto accidents that happen on the news. We also do not hear about every auto accident that happens. In addition, as humans we also wrongfully assume that some small samples can represent for a larger groups or populations (Goldstein, 2011). This does not make it any easier to ease stigma and stereotypes. Some people may take a stigma across a whole group of people. People also tend to use causal interference. This happens when reading a headline like Ala. suspect brilliant, but social misfit. Reading this my perception of the sentence can be, this tragedy happened because he was brilliant, but a social misfit so he must have a mental problem.

Goldstein, E. B. (2011). Cognitive Psychology. Belmont, Canada: Cengage Learning .

Wing, N. (2014, 8 14). When The Media Treats White Suspects And Killers Better Than Black Victims. Retrieved from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/14/media-black-victims_n_5673291.html

 

Deductive Vs. Inductive Reasoning

 

Deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning are the topics I have decided to write this post on. Let’s start by defining them:
Deductive reasoning is a logical process in which a conclusion is based on the concordance of multiple premises that are generally assumed to be true. This is sometimes referred to as top-down logic. Inductive reasoning is reasoning in which the premises are viewed as supplying strong evidence for the truth of the conclusion. This is sometimes called bottom-up logic. Both of these styles of reasoning have deeply-rooted origins in philosophy, going as far back to Aristotle, perplexing philosophers throughout history. Inductive reasoning does not guarantee statements to be true. It underlies much of human cognition. The salience of it is hypothesis selection based on some relevant criteria. Inductive reasoning is tired to heuristics and particularly the Representative heuristic, which encourages us to judge something purely based off how many features it shares with something else. This can be very faulty and is definitely not necessarily true. . In my own life, I very frequently fall for the lure of inductive reasoning and see that my judgment may have been valid, but certainly was not true, like in the case of when I tried to befriend someone many years ago that I felt sorry for. They struck me as friendly, but ended up being very horrible in the end and I have not spoken to them in years. Such is inductive reasoning – associating something with a characteristic or group because it appears to resemble them, but in truth it isn’t part of them.

There are different types of syllogisms that exist that are used to study reasoning. Such examples are categorical syllogisms and conditional syllogisms. Categorical syllogisms showcase premises and conclusions, demonstrating the correlations between categories, and making use of quantifiers such as “all,” “none,” or “some.” Contrasting, with conditional syllogisms, the first premise has the form “if/then.” Many people have a hard time understanding the difference between truth and validity. Just because something is valid does not make it true and just because something is true does not make it valid. These two things are often confused, being used interchangeably, when they are not truly mutual.
Rationality itself is a very complicated thing that few people truly understand. “Why is the sky blue?” some ask, but there are the overwhelming majority that just don’t care why it is blue, and there are some that will claim it is green. In terms of decision making, either deductive reasoning or inductive reasoning can be used. It is probably better to use deductive reasoning though. Cognitive psychologists have divided the decision making process into five tasks: Set or revise goals, gather information, make plans, structure the decision, and the final selection. This is a complex task, but can be aided with the use of utility theory. Expected utility theory refers to the hypothesis that if humans have the relevant information, we will make decisions in a rational way and will chose options that result in the maximum possible expected utility. Benefits and costs are also factors that determine our decision making.
In my own life, I have used both forms of reasoning many times. An example of using deductive reasoning would be when I began signing up for classes this summer. I took a physiology class due to a requirement in my major. Naturally, with it being a biology class,I assumed that it would be very hard. “All biology classes are hard. Physiology is a biology class. Therefore, it must be hard…” In this case, it was both valid and true, because yes, the CLASS IS VERY HARD!!!!!! As a gay man, an example of inductive reasoning in my life was when I first met my boyfriend and mistook him for straight when in fact, he is gay. He is very masculine and handsome, not being feminine acting or sounding at all. He is athletic and has a strong German accent and is very rugged in his features, being 6’5 in height and fairly muscular. I was instantly attracted to him, but I shot down my own hopes by telling myself “He’s gotta be straight…” To my shock later on, I found out quite the contrary and that he liked me back… I, myself, am not feminine or stereotypically gay acting at all, so I should’ve known better, but I didn’t. Using the representative heuristic, I made that initial error in judgement, but it turned out that despite strongly resembling a straight guy, he is gay… and European 😉

References
Elbich, D. (2016) Lesson 14: Reasoning and Decision Making. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Web site:
Goldstein, B. Sensation and Perception. 1980.

Phonemes: The Accent Problem

From the time I was small child, I was absolutely fascinated with different cultures and languages. I swear that I got the travel bug at the tender age of five. This was when my family moved to Germany to accompany my father on a three-month business trip. Ever since then I have loved to travel and immerse myself in different cultures. In high school I was so enthralled with the idea of traveling that I applied to be an exchange student and so I ended up spending my senior year of high school in a small town just an hour outside of Barcelona, Spain.

Upon arriving, I had almost no knowledge of Spanish. I was constantly bombarded with the sounds of a foreign tongue, one that I was able to hear and perceive, but unable to understand. I would later learn that this was because I was unable to properly convert the sound waves that I was receiving and perceiving into information that I could understand (Goldstein, 2011). But within just a few days, I began pick up on the similarities between English and Spanish (and quite frankly every other language). As mentioned by Goldstein (2011), all human languages are similar in two very important ways: they are governed by rules (although, a different set of rules) and hierarchical. These two things were what allowed me to begin to learn Spanish. Soon after arriving, I realized that I would need to learn these new rules in order to be able to efficiently communicate with those around me. I also realized that by learning vocabulary, I could slowly build up my language skills to be able to fully able to express whatever I wanted to (Goldstein, 2011). After just three months I was fluent enough to be able to hold a conversation about almost any subject. However, throughout the year I heard the same phrase over and over again, “You speak very well, but you still have a strong foreign accent.” The only problem was that I couldn’t hear the accent myself and I still cannot today. This is due to something called phonemes.

According to Goldstein (2011), phonemes are the sounds that you produce when you speak words. According to Birner (1999), this problem plagues many people who become multilingual later in life due to the fact that some of the sounds made in other languages undoubtedly don’t exist in one’s native language. Interestingly, babies actually begin to babble in the phonemes of all languages when they learn to babble, however by around nine months of age, they begin to babble in the phonemes of the native language that they most frequently hear. By the time a baby is one year old, they loose the ability to distinguish between sounds that aren’t relevant in their own language. After doing some research on this subject, I was happy to find out that this wasn’t an unusual phenomenon that I was experiencing. It just happens to be that I am not as readily able to hear (meaning that I can’t always distinguish between the sounds that I make when I speak and the sounds that native speakers make) and make all of the sounds in Spanish. Luckily though, due to the way in which people perceive words, native Spanish speakers are able to understand the words that I mispronounce (due to phoneme mispronunciations) by relying on the context of the other words used in the sentence (Goldstein, 2011).

Although, my time in Spain may not have lessened my foreign accent, nonetheless, I am ultimately able to achieve the overarching goal of learning a new language: communicating with others.

 

Sources:

Goldstein, E. Bruce. “Perception.” Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research, and Everyday Experience. Third ed. Australia: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2011. 51-57. Print.

Birner, Betty, ed. Why Do Some People Have an Accent? Washington, D.C.: Linguistic Society of America, 1999. Linguistic Society of America. Linguistic Society of America. Web. 30 July 2016. <http://www.linguisticsociety.org/sites/default/files/Accent.pdf>.

Decision Making

 

Decision Making

Chinese or American for lunch? Grab a taxi or ride a bike? Engineering or medicine? Through our life, we face many questions to decide on.We choose actions and form opinions with our mental processes which are influenced by biases,reason,emotions,memories and culture.Decision making or what our textbook calls it “Choosing among alternatives” is an everyday process that we go through whether we are conscious of it or not.In this blog post, I’ll be talking about how people make judgments that involve choices between different courses of action and factors that influence decision making.

Decision-Making

When decisions are made two properties are put in mind: benefits and costs.This makes an individual choose the right decision that would benefit him and not harm him.However,I believe that people have different styles and ways of making decisions.For example,when it comes to my family my husband is always the one who give me the choices and make me decide at the beginning of our marriage and after a while, I told him can you stop letting me decide because it’s sometimes very tiring.What he replied made me think twice as he told me that its hard for him to decide as he would be overthinking and creating all different scenarios and sometimes it’s indifferent to him whether we choose A or B so this makes it much more difficult.This made me think that some people always like to set decisions and they would easily do it while others may find it hard.This difference in decision making leads us to our next paragraph which is the factors that affect decision making.

Several factors influence decision making.Some of these factors are past experiences,cognitive biases, and individual differences.Also,the types of decisions could affect our choices as we handle political decisions,personal decisions,medical decisions,romantic decisions and financial decisions differently than day to day decisions like what to wear or what to eat today.Some choices are simple and seem straight forward, while others are complex and require a multi-step approach to making the decisions.

Past experiences can affect how we decide in the future as it could encourage us on deciding the same way or avoid repeating past mistakes.Furthermore, as I said that cognitive biases influence our decisions as it changes our thinking patterns based on observation and generalization.This leads the individual to over rely on expected observations and previous knowledge while dismissing the uncertain information.Finally,individual differences such as age,Socioeconomic status (SES) and cognitive abilities may influence decision making.Older people may be overconfident in making decisions.

Furthermore,emotions play a major role in decision making in several ways.Expected emotions are what we predict we will feel after a particular outcome.Whereas Immediate emotions are emotions that are experienced at the time of decision.Integral immediate emotions are emotions  associated with the act of making a decision.Incidental immediate emotions that are unrelated to the decision.For example,Expected emotions are when I predict how I will feel when I will graduate with a masters degree.Immediate emotions would be when I decide on continuing my studies and taking a masters degree.Integral immediate emotions would be deciding whether I take a masters degree or not.Lastly Incidental immediate emotions  would be a fight with mom earlier in the day.

As a conclusion, decision making is an important area of research in cognitive psychology. Understanding the process by which individuals make decisions is important to understanding the decisions they make.There is yet a lot of research to be conducted on decision making, which will enable psychologists and educators to positively influence the lives of many.