Daily Archives: December 3, 2016

How Siblings Affect Our Personality

Since I was two years old I have been dubbed “the oldest.” My reign of only child lasted only two short years when my younger brother came along, then later my sister and finally another brother. I took on the role of older sister with open arms along with it’s many perks and downfalls. In a sense I was the “tester” for my parents, they tested out everything on me and learned from their mistakes. Sometimes it even feels like my younger siblings get away with things I got in insane amounts of trouble for, but I guess that’s what comes with being the oldest. In a family of six there are so many different personalities and attitudes in one household. We are all different individuals growing up in one family. This makes me wonder, does birth order affect our personality?

Some researchers believe birth order is as important as gender and almost as important as genetics. Parents nurture each child a little bit differently and no child plays the same role. Huffington Post puts each child in a category ranging from “the achiever” to “the life of the party.” These roles may differ from family to family but if you look hard enough you may find  each of your siblings playing one of these roles. Birth order is a powerful variable in the unfolding of your personality. There is the obvious stereotypes of a family like the oldest being independent, the youngest being babied and well the middle child just being in the middle, however, these stereotypes aren’t too far off. The center of this whole theory is the size of our family and how we are raised.

The first is highly monitored because they enter a family of adults who are proud of their every progress and frightened by every potential injury. The first born are used to insane amounts of attention from their parents causing them to be control seeking, over-responsible, reliable, well-behaved, careful and basically smaller versions of their own parents. Parent’s except their first borns to be good role models and this tends to cause a lot of pressure. Due to their birth order the oldest child is usually a perfectionist and ultimately the boss.

Some may say the middle child really gets the short end of the stick, receiving the least amount of attention. Since their personalities emerge in response to how they perceive the next-oldest sibling in the family. If the older sibling is a parent-pleaser, the middle child might rebel to get attention. The oldest child bosses them around and the baby always gets what they want so how is the middle child supposed to act?  The personality trait that defines you as a middle child will be opposite of that of your eldest and youngest sibling says a study in Huffington Post. Due to their birth order the middle child is usually laid back, fair and cooperative.

Finally we come down to the baby of the family. As the youngest child, you have more freedom than the other siblings and, in a sense, are more independent. As the youngest child, you also have a lot in common with your oldest sibling, as both of you have been made to feel special and entitled. The youngest child gets away with murder because at this point the parents are too tired and have given up. The youngest child is used to learning from their older siblings so they may seem advanced. The baby of the family is usually the token “wild child.” Due to their birth order the youngest child’s if far different from his/her siblings’.

While we may not notice it, our siblings shape us and make us the person we are today. Our behavior and attitude is due to the role we play in our family. Overall I have found that birth order truly does affect our personality.







The role of siblings in children’s mental health


The Scientific Explanation for Love


Personally, when I think of emotions, science is probably the last word that would comes to mind. I like to think of emotions as one of the things on the planet that can’t be calculated.

The lectures on October 4th and 6th focused on the question, can prayer heal. When I saw this, I immediately tilted my head to the side, trying to understand how prayer can be measured scientifically… Church and science have always found themselves at a strong divide, and this was really unexpected. These are the classes that made me stop, and realize that we not only should, but CAN question anything.

While I usually prefer to stay in headspace I’ve gotten very acquainted with, this class has taught me otherwise. I may have held onto certain beliefs my entire life without ever so much as thinking to challenge them.

I’m aware that emotions like happiness and depression can be broken down into the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine that are present in the brain.

I started to wonder what emotion would I never think to calculate. Love. My strong belief that love is free from the cold calculation of science, was instantly challenged.

Naturally, dopamine has a role here as well. Dopamine production enhances the release of testosterone. As we know, testosterone greatly influences our sex drive by affecting multiple organs, including those used for reproduction. Testosterone also causes our sweat glands to be more active, and even heightens our senses.

If you recall what I said earlier, dopamine is a major player for our levels of happiness and excitement as well.

Neurotransmitters norepinephrine and phenylethylamine cause a person to focus on the object of their affection. (You know, that obsessive, can’t stop thinking about that person feeling? Yeah, blame these two.) They’re responsible for the feelings of being unable to sleep when consumed with thoughts of that special someone, a sense of euphoria, as well as giddiness.

Remember Pavlov’s experiment with his dogs? Eventually, the dogs would associate the sound of a bell with getting food. Falling in love is kind of like that. With all these chemicals floating around, there starts to be a sense of reward. Sure, initially a lot of this can be sexual. However, this is why when you see someone you’re falling in love with, or they touch your arm, etc. there’s usually a sensation of euphoria that follows.


According to the findings of Helen Fisher et all, the brains of those whom would consider themselves passionately in love, show the reward center in their brain being activated when put through an MRI.

Falling in love is amazing, it’s one of the best feelings in the world in fact. However, now we know that’s it’s not just the work of cupid. There’s a lot of science behind it.

Why Everyone Else Probably Didn’t Get The Same Car Because of Me.

My junior year of high school, I got my first car. A lime green Volkswagen Beetle I had appropriately named Walter.

Friends started coming up to me saying, “Since you got that Beetle, I keep seeing them everywhere.” It’s funny, because I started thinking the same thing as I drove around more.

In class, one of the first lessons we had, was correlation need not equal causation. Even if something lines up with the timing of something else perfectly, that’s not proof they have anything to do with each other.

My sophomore year of college, I wanted a more “grown up” vehicle (which I totally regret.) and I became the new owner of a grey, Mazda 3.

The more I drove around, the more I started to notice how many Mazda 3s were around.

So, there are a few possibilities here.

  1. I got a Mazda 3, so everyone else simply had to go get one as well.
  2. For whatever reason, me, among many other now Mazda owners, got the urge for that car at the same time.
  3. It’s complete coincidence that we all had Mazda 3s. By chance.
  4. There has been no increase in the amount of Mazda 3s on the road, but something is causing me to notice them more. (Y variable)

The easiest conclusion (and also the most ego centric, would be to assume that my purchase of this car, somehow influenced other people.

However, after having the concept of correlation need not equal causation written loudly in my memory now, it’s more likely due to a 3rd variable.

Because a Mazda 3 now has significance to my personal life, I’m bound to notice others more. (I can’t prove this without testing, but it’s the most likely.)

Do Blondes Really Have More Fun?

Whether we know it or not, hair color can tint our personality and the way the world sees us more than we think. As someone who has loved changing my hair color throughout my entire life, I’ve actually noticed this phenomena myself.

My time spent with black hair, people would assume I was a little more poetic, meditative, even mysterious. My time as a brunette, I was noticeably more respected and viewed as someone who was a hard worker. (regardless of the amount of work or effort I would do.) And then my freshman year I spent some time as a blonde. Blondes have more fun. At least that’s the common perception a lot of people have.

According to an article in National Geographic, Hair and skin color only make up 1/3,200,000,000th of your body’s chemistry. In our gene sequences, our hair color is decided from one, very minuscule change. With one pair of letters, (again, out of the 3.2 billion pairs that we have…) one letter will change. This determines, how much melanin a person produces (this is what makes our skin darker or lighter.) It determines our hair color as well.

It’s fascinating to me that we focus so heavily on something like this, because it’s very visible to us. It just so happens that hair is one of the most noticeable things while seeing a person. We can’t see if they have the DNA sequence for Parkinson’s (until it develops), we can’t see if a person will like the taste of coffee or not.

Back to the question of whether or not blondes have more fun.

Blondes are typically used to receiving more attention than other hair colors, due to the fact that their hair is just naturally more eye-catching. It’s very light, which will cause people to be drawn in their direction. As humans, we form stereotypes that really limit our perceptions to the world around us. My personal time spent as a blonde I often found myself teased for being dumb (even if playfully,) or expected to be the one that would want to be out instead of staying in and doing work. As soon as I changed my hair color, that stopped.

Stereotypes are difficult. In class we learned heavily about reverse causation, and I wonder. Do we stereotype blondes because of the way they act, or do they act a certain way due to this stereotype?

Extra post on Plagiarism

Image result for cheating

Plagiarism was always a moral issue with me more than academic. If you cheat your way through anything, then you are not reaping the benefits of learning. and that is serious. I was asked to do this post on plagiarism after I tried to do the test for more than 7 times! I finally got it right and I was late. I thought it was very hectic and at one point I thought I should give up and try to figure out what to do with this test. But I persevered and tried until i got the score I wanted. I believe that plagiarism is rampant because its an escape and easy route to a diploma, but what kind of diploma do you want? one where you know what you were talking about and did the things you were supposed to do? or one skipped and breezed along? its common for people to cheat since each and every professor has his or her own method of teaching that can be overwhelming to some. that why cheating is always easy. but I truly believe, from personal experience and other, that cheating is only a momentary gratification. because in the long run, you not only wasted your money, but your also embracing a culture that does not respect hard work and ethics. two very important factors in succeeding and winning in life. I always think about it this way, if I cheat now? whats next? Am I going to cheat at my job? if claiming one’s work for myself is the beginning, then the end cant be good right?  will I get fired because of that ? There must be a scene of self discipline because if you dont abide by it, you will get caught and disciplined by whoever is inn a position to do something about it. Just depend on yourself, and even if you fail, at least your conscience will be clear and you will learn many lessons that will empower you in ways you wont be able to imagine, dont cheat! its bad for your career! Believe me! (in Trump’s voice)

Music and Euphoria

As a musician almost my entire life, not a day goes by where I’m not listening to music. It doesn’t feel right. There have been a few times that I’ve been too busy with school and work that by late evening I just noticed myself feeling duller than usual.

It’s not just me that feels that music has the ability to cause feelings of euphoria. In fact, it’s been scientifically proven.

You know that feeling when you’re driving in your car, and your favorite song happens to come on? You may get tingles, goose-bumps, or just in general feel really happy. So why do we have this reaction exactly?

Dopamine is what controls our reward center. Things like food, sex, and chemicals cause our brain to release this neurotransmitter, causing us to get a sense of euphoria. This article talks about a study that was one of the first bits of proof we’ve had that dopamine is responsible for emotional responses to music.

The study involved multiple volunteers that were instructed to bring in one song that had significance to them, and then another would be used as the control. By use of a PET scan, researchers were able to see increased brain activity in the mesolimbic reward center.

Interestingly enough, you would assume that dopamine levels would be highest at the most anticipated parts of songs, however the levels peaked when the subjects were anticipating the high they thought they would feel.

One thing this article says is that music isn’t necessary for survival. I disagree.