Have you ever thought about standing the wrong way in the elevator, or laughing at a funeral; probably not, right? We’ll have you ever thought about why you don’t do those things? In sociology we talk about how we conform based on others around us; this means we are going to stand the way others stand in a particular setting, and have the same emotion as others have in a particular setting. Solomon Asch did many studies on people’s tendency to conform when they are in a large group and he found that even when the individual knows the group is wrong they still conform to the group’s behaviors.
Solomon Asch’s study had actors and one participant in the room. There was a line drawn and they were given card with three choices; one of the choices was matching line to the one that was drawn and two of them were clearly not. The actors were instructed to to always give that same answer; however in some trials that answer was to be correct and in some of them incorrect. It was then record if the one participant in the rooms how was not an actor followed the group even when they were wrong or if they said the obvious right answer. The null hypothesis in this study suggested that participants would not conform to the group, but the alternative suggest that they would conform to the group. At thee end of the study it turn out the overwhelming participants would conform to the group even though they were wrong. So Asch had to reject the null hypothesis.
This study seems to be one that was done well and it is likely that Asch’s findings are accurate, but I had to wonder if anything else could have lead to these results. First, I thought what about reverse causation; is it possible that conformity caused the group instead of the group causing conformity. This did not make sense however being as though the groups were all ready set and did not change based on participants responses. The second thing is chance, but there have been a number of studies to follow this one that have the same findings; this means that there are multiple lines of evidence, suggesting that it is not do to chance. Lastly, is a possibly third confounding variable but this is not likely because of thee control put in place. By this I mean the fact that the actors sometimes said the right answer suggest that the change in the answer caused the change in thee behavior. I will say however that this aspect of the study could have been done differently. Perhaps, they all should have written down their answer and turned in their answer and then they should have responded allowed. This way we might be able to see a change in people’s responses. This study is convincing, but there is always room for improvement and skepticism when it come to science.
Kitty Genovese was murdered out on the street and 38 people watched from their apartment windows…weird right? In an instance where someone is in eminent danger I think we would all like to believe that we would help the person in trouble, however a study done by John Darley and Bibb Latané suggest that if you are in a group you are likely to do nothing at all. However, we are not completely thoughtless; they also found that it is very likely that if you are alone you will do something whether that be directly or trying to get help. You are probably no think why wouldn’t anyone do anything; well in many social science you are taught that there are barriers of independent behavior. This means that when you are in a group you are likely to conform to what the rest of the group is doing instead of speak up. There are a number of barriers of independent behavior, and in this case it was diffusion of responsibility. No one saw anyone else do anything so they analyzed the situation as normal, possible hoping that someone else would do something. However, the truth is unless one person decides not to conform to the group the whole group will likely not take action. I thought that this was a little crazy to think about at first, but after looking at John Darley and Bibb Latané’s study as well as a meta-analysis it seems to be true.
In Darley’s and Latané’s study the null hypothesis was that being in a group does not affect a person’s reaction; while the alternative hypothesis suggest being in a group does affect a person’s reaction. To test the alternative hypothesis they had smoke coming out of a closed door into a room where people were working. First they would send one person in and watch their response and then they would do the same thing except with multiple people in the room. They later tried an experiment where people had headsets and an actor pretended to have a seizure once again first doing it with one individual and then with a group. In both examples participants that were alone were more likely to do something than those in a group. At the end of the study they decided to reject the null hypothesis.
Through meta-analysis I was able to determine the accuracy of their result better. The studies that made up the meta-analysis were done during the 1960’s to 2010, and over 7,000 people were tested; the likelihood that the results for all these studies were due to chance is very small, so I believe that it is most like being in a group that changes a person’s reaction. I found that reverse causation could not happen in this case because a person’s reaction is not the deciding factor of whether they will be in a group they already are or are not. However, I also found that third confounding variables may play a role in people’s reactions. For example many other studies showed that the perception of how dangerous it was to do something affected the result. People’s behavior changed when the perpetrator was there versus not and whether they could be in any physical harm or not. I realize that it is hard to analysis human behavior because we’re are not all necessarily the same but the studies doe to prove the bystander effect are very convincing.
Classical conditioning is all about learning behaviors through associations. I want to look at how both Ivan Pavlov and John Watson used classical conditioning to control behavior, and if it is truly possible to shape or control behavior.
In Ivan Pavlov’s experiment he gave a dog food and saw that this was a positive stimulus that would cause the dog to drool. So each time he would feed the dog he would ring the bell and the dog began to drool every time he heard the bell because he associated it with his food. Eventually the dog would drool after hearing the bell without ever receiving any food.
John Watson wanted to see if the same thing could happen for people and so he did an experiment using baby Albert. First he socialized Albert with a number of animals, a coat, and a Santa mask; Albert seemed to like all these things especially the rat. In fact he associated all the other things shown to him with the rat. However, Watson then rang a bell which made a loud noise and scared Albert; he did so whenever Albert would reach for the rat. Albert began to fear not only the rat but everything else he once liked because he associated everything with the rat and the rat with the loud noise that scared him. Watson wanted to see if this same thing would work over a period of time so brought in Albert later on to watch his response and it turned out that Albert still feared the loud noise and the rat he associated it with.
Each of these studies, although semi-unethical, are credited with discovering something new about human behavior; however I would like to analysis to what extent they engage in the scientific process.
In both of these studies the null hypothesis would be the behavior is not learned through associations. The alternative hypothesis would be that you do learn behavior through association. The correlations within these studies is that as perceived associations change so does behavior. Both of these experiments are not randomized. Being a though they both only have one subject. They do not have a placebo because there is no way to fake a bell ringing. They are also single blind experiments because while Pavlov and Watson knew what was happening the dog and baby did not. The issue with all of this is that as we have seen in the past, when the only the participants do not know what is happening the results can be affected by the scientist or observers. The scientist what’s the alternative hypothesis to be true and so by him partaking in the experiment he may be unintentionally be push the behavior to change so that he gets the results he wants. The mechanisms in each of these studies are the bells that ring; they provoke the behavior of the subject and their association further shape their behavior. However without the original stimulus the behavior cannot be provoked. Something else to point out is that reverse causation would not be considered in these studies because of time and third confounding variables are unlikely the reason for their behavior changes. In closing, they both rejected the null hypothesis and I agree because there have been studies to follow these two that suggest the same. Not everything they did in their studies convinces me that they are accurate, but what convinces me outweighs what does not.
Have you ever watched one of those action packed thrillers that revolve around a main character who somehow has been able to access parts of the brain that no one has previously been able to access. For example like in the movie “Lucy” when Scarlett Johansson ends up with chemicals in her system that allow her to use more than 10% of her brain. The movie centers around the superhuman abilities she gain from being able to use more of her brain than anyone else. However, the conflict is that she is in harm’s way if she ever reach using 100% of her brain. I realize that “Lucy” is just a movie and that the details of this movie are highly unlikely but I do wonder if we as human use the full capabilities of our brain or rather just 10%. There has been a long going myth about this topic and I want to find out the truth behind just how much of our brains we actually use.
After some research I found that it is likely true indeed that we use more than 10% of our brain. I found out this information not so much from a formal scientific experiment or observers but through the fundamentals of science. On the first day of class we went over why science was important and we continued to explore this matter throughout the semester. In fact when Dr. Jason Wright, a visiting speaker, came to lecture the class he expressed more specifically what made the scientific process so important. The key to science is that is admits ignorance and because it does so there is a process scientist go through to make sure that what that find as factual is actually true. We discussed a few of these step they go through, in class and I discovered that this process could be used to find out if the 10% myth was likely to be true or not.
The steps that we discussed in class included; confirmation bias, logical fallacy, rhetorical danger sign, motivated reasoning, and multiple independent lines of evidence. In the case of finding out whether we only use 10% of our brain that most important things from this list are logical fallacy and multiple independent lines of evidence. As far and logical fallacies go, we believe in the 10% myth because someone once said it and it was picked up by the media and repeated to us continuously. The movies and tv that we watch suggest that the myth is true and psychics who try and push the paranormal on us say it. It’s not so much who is telling us but the fact that some many are telling us it is true. If you look at the sources independently the may not be so believable but when everyone is telling you something it creates a banned wagon effect. You begin to think that it must be true because why else would so many people say it is. The issue with this is that there is no science behind this reasoning; you are just taking people’s word for it. First of to take the word of someone who uses paranormal reasoning can’t be scientifically accurate because science doesn’t use the paranormal to explain fact. Secondly, there is no experiments or observations behind this reason which means it can’t be science. All of this suggest that the 10% myth is likely to be false, but furthermore there are multiple lines of evidence that prove it is false.
Medical advances in technology has allowed us to see that human defiantly use more that 10% of our brains. For one there are test like; EEG’s MRI’s, and PET scan that show us which parts of our brain are active, and it a whole lot more than 10%. Secondly, we know that a neurosurgeon has to map the brain of his or her’s patient before surgery because if they take out too much of a certain region of the brain a person can become physically impaired, disabled, or even brain dead. So if it were the case that we only used 10% percent of our brains mapping wouldn’t be so important because that would mean the majority of our brains were of no use to use. Third, if we only had 10% percent of our brain it would be like having the brain of a sheep, and as far as I know they don’t have the same mental capabilities as an animal. Finally, we have seen through illnesses and disease that losing much less than 90% of your brain’s functioning ability can affect a person drastically. Patients with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease or effect of a stroke may have more than 10% use of their brains and they are still in horrible condition.
So saying as though my hypothesis would be seeing if we do use only use 10% of our brains logical fallacies and multiple lines of evidence would lean more towards either rejecting the hypothesis or accepting the null hypothesis. Being as though logical fallacies are the main source of proof toward only using 10% of our brains and multiple line of evidence suggests we use more than 10% of our brains I can confidently say that I accept the null hypothesis for the time being. But you never know science is ever changing after all.
So I was sitting in the library the other day trying to think of topics for my blogs, and I just couldn’t think of anything. I had no idea what would make a good topic but then I thought about something funny that I encountered last year. I was hanging out with my friend at her grandmother’s house and all her cousins were there, mind you they are all very young. We had to watch them while they played outside. Two of her cousins were maybe a few months old and we had them stay with us on the porch. Anyway these two little girls started having this whole conversation, and normally that wouldn’t be anything to laugh about, except for the fact that they didn’t really know how to speak. So me and my friend are just sitting there staring in astoundment at the fact that these two girls are having a whole conversation without actually ever saying a coherent word. As I sat in the library thinking about this experience I wondered if it were possible that babies could really even speak to one another? I wondered was it possible that they had their own language that only they could understand and so I decide to do some research and make this one of my blog topics.
From my research I found that to a certain extent babies can communicate with one another. The only catch is that when they are babbling to one another it not actually secret baby words they understand but each other’s emotions or moods. In the Psychology journal Infancy, Mariana Vaillant-Molina, Lorraine E. Bahrick, and Ross Flom wrote an article on how babies use facial expression and vocal inflection of other babies to understand each other’s moods. Flom and his co-writers expressed how it is common knowledge that babies can perceive the emotions of adults however they further researched whether the same was such for infant to infant communications. At the end of the study they found that babies four months of age could in fact match certain vocal inflections (positive and negative) with their adjacent facial expressions. Furthermore the amount of emotions they could perceive increased greatly as they grew older; up to about the age of 7 month when which they can perceive a vast variety of moods or emotions. Also babies four months old cloud pick up on emotion through video, but not a still image and recording separate from one another.
In the study there were 59 participants 19 of them were excluded from the result due to various reasons and the rest were equal divide between three and a half months and five months old babies. These baby viewed the facial expression and listen to the voice of infants seven and a half months old and eight months old. The images and audio used for the study was from thirty different infant however what was used was the eight best representation of positive and negative emotions (two for each emotion). This result in different vocalization and facial expression for each mood simulation. All infant on the screen wore the same thing with the same background allowing only their face to be seen and each video was roughly ten seconds. The controls in place for the participants included seating them all the same distant from the monitor. A video feed placed above the monitor allowed an observer to record the time frame in which the baby’s face was fixed on the monitor. The infants on the on the monitors were randomly selected so that each baby watch saw one out of the two video for each emotion. The audio would play and two photos would appear this was done in twelve trial which were divided into two blocks. Observers saw how long it took the babies to fixate on the image that correlated with the correct recording.
So flom found something really interesting, but I wonder did he use good siente to find his answer. I would like to review the steps of his study order to find this information. One thing that would make his study more convincing is if there were a meta-analysis; it is concerning that he only used 59 participant, 19 of which he did not use, it makes me wonder if the result would have been different if the study was larger or if there were just more of them. I will however motion that Flom’s study was a randomized single blind study; I believe the babies were randomly distributed and the observers that timed them could not see the screen. With these controls in place it is less Ike to have bias results. The observers not seeing the monitor stop them from reacting when they match the video to the voices versus when the babies do. I am concerned that while the babies were randomized they took 19 of them out of the study. This puts into question if the Texas sharpshooter problem is an issue in this study. You can not select which babies to keep in the study and which not to. They said they were taken out of the study because of excessive fussiness, but what if their fussiness affected the results of the study; perhaps they were outliers excluded because of their responses. There were controls put in place for this study but I really have to wonder if Flom suffered from a bit of confirmation bias. The last thing I would like to make a remark on is is the fact that the babies watching the video and those in the video were different ages and I wonder still if babies have to see older babies to understand their moods or if the can understand those emotions of their peers.
After watching Julia Galef’s Why you think you’re right–even if you’re wrong I realized that what she was indirectly speaking about was commonplaces. Commplaces, in the rhetoric sense, are are ideas that are shared within a group of people, they are a form of knowledge. This definition bring me to the science of sociology.
In sociology you learn that people demographics inform their beliefs. This means that a commonplace can be formed based on, gender, race, socio-economic status, and even the geographic of an individual. I say all these things to help you understand the possible controversies different commonplaces can lead to. One example of these controversies is discussed in Galef’s Ted talk.
Julia Galef points to the fact that a French commonplace back in the nineteenth century was that Jewish people were not good people and should not be trusted. They believed in this so much so that they let a seemingly innocent man go to prison. The French were able to put this man away and honestly feel justified in doing so. This fact makes me question whether commonplaces lead to motivated reasoning, whether they allow for ethnocentrism.
In some cases commonplaces may be a good thing, but I feel like Galef’s speech made me realize that if they are not challegened they can lead to inaccurate knowledge. Galef’s explanation of the soldier and the scout made me think of a passage by Ortega Gasset I read in my philosophy class. That passage talked about personal convictions versus social conviction.
The person who has a social conviction believes something because everyone else says it is fact, in this case the French soldiers had social conviction, they believed Alfred Drefus was guilty because of the widespread belief in anti-semitism. However, Colonel Picquart had a personal conviction even though he believed in the commonplace of anti-semtisim he challegened that commonplace in order to find the truth.
This speech showed me that society should not be so quick to believe in commonplaces. While our demographics might shape our beliefs, we still need to challenge them to insure that our knowledge is not bias and is as accurate as possible.
Hello my fellow classmates of SC 200, fall 2016, I am Mya Avant. It is my first year attending Penn State, and previous to moving to State College I lived in two different places. The first place being Delaware, where which I lived in a very suburban area. I moved to South Jersery in 3rd grade. I moved to a very small community, where which everyone knew everyone, and you had to drive 40 minutes to go do anything significantly fun (i.e. movies, mall, dinner, etc.). As much as I loved being able to have what felt like family around me there were many down sides to living there. One which made me have a strong distaste for science. In high school I had a science teacher who although very kind ruined science for me. Not only did he never explain the real life ties to science when he taught, he flat out rarely taught in his classes. This lead me to believe that…
… in which science is fun. Thus, I am not a science major.
I’m taking this course to challenge this thought process of mine. I knew that a large reason I hated science was because I didn’t see how it related to me, and so I’m hoping this class, that is fully based on science in our world, can somehow intrigue me. I am taking this course to give science a second chance because perhaps it’s not science that is the issue but the educational system itself. By this I mean that the structure in which we learn may be fractured, and this may be why we don’t enjoy it. So I ask you all to take a look at this Ted Talk, that made me think of education differently, and give your opinion on what is being stated. Do schools kill creativity?