Tuesday, July 16, 2019


After  finishing Lansing’s book, Endurance, about Shackleton’s expedition to cross the Antarctic
Continent from the east to the west coast, I cannot get this story out of my head.  The story of
Endurance is an absolutely amazing feat.  Even though the expedition did not meet its goal,
the expedition was an unbelievable accomplishment that shows the power of endurance.  It’s
unbelievable how persistent the 27 crew members were from the beginning to the end of
the expedition.  After watching their ship trapped in ice and eventually crushed, they
continued to persevere.  They kept their spirits up when they were trapped on ice floes for
months while they drifted.   The journey that Shackleton took with his five crew members in a
small boat for an 800-mile voyage across the treacherous Drake Passage to South Georgia
Island was exciting to read.  It’s hard to believe that the 27 men survived for almost two years
in the wet and freezing the Antarctic.  Their diaries showed their persistence and drive throughout
the endless days of boredom, despair, and threat of starvation. It’s amazing that no one died
on this expedition. I have to say that this was the most exciting non-fiction book that I have
ever read and I can’t believe no one has made a movie of it.  Check out this footage from the
expedition that was filmed over 100 years ago: 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Drug Lecture

Drug addiction has become a large epidemic in our society today and in past generations. I have personally known people addicted to drugs which resulted in losing people whether it was by death or lost them because of their addiction. No matter what the type of drug it may be, they are all going to negatively affect one's life in some aspect. Drug addiction not only affects the person, but also their loved ones. The video about heroin in this lecture was very impactful because it is believed that no one can use this drug in a recreational manner; it is highly addictive and deadly. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2017, nearly 494,000 people in the United States (12-years old or older) reported using heroin in the past year, which is an estimated rate of 0.2 per 100 persons.2 And in 2015, 81,326 emergency department visits occurred for unintentional, heroin-related poisonings in America, which is an estimated rate of almost 26 per 100,000 people. The statistics are astonishing. 
This video goes more in depth about heroin addiction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g49kXbRaZDU 

The Influential Mind: Does Evidence Change Beliefs?

In this book, Tali Sharot discusses the influence that data has on people and their own beliefs. Have you ever been in an argument with someone and you have presented data but they still are sticking to their belief? According to Tali Sharot, studies show that data as only a limited capacity to alter the strong opinions of others. Seems hard to believe because data is simply data but it is where the data is collected and the people involved in that data being collect which alters the results. Presenting people with information that contradicts their opinion can cause them to come up with altogether new counterarguments that further strengthen their original view, which is known as the, "boomerang effect." Tali Sharot gives a great example in the book to have a better understanding of the idea of data such as, "Bulletproof Coffee" which is a theory that putting butter in your coffee can be extremely great for you, but within seconds you can find an article contradicting that giving all the reasons why it is bad for you; this goes on with many other ideas also. Another study that she mentions is that when a person is searching for statistics or data through Google, once they type into the search engine the results are customized towards the searcher all according to past searches and Web activity. For example, if a person is a Republican, searching for the latest stats on the presidential debate, their searches are going to be more geared towards the republican side. I found this topic overall to be extremely interesting because it is almost as if people are blind to other opinions because of biases. Google is going to give a person the type of data results that they want to see and most likely will not show results that they disagree with. This makes a debate very difficult because there is data for just about anything.
Here is a great video that might help give a better understanding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxYrzzy3cq8

Food Lecture: Stress Induced Eating

This lecture discussed all about food ranging from, unusual foods that different cultures eat, different ways we eat, overeating etc. Stress induced eating was one the last topics discussed in this lecture it is basically when people overeat due to stress. They did studies on this and showed that people at the movies at more popcorn when watching a horror film, compared to people who were watching a comedy film. This is because stress arises when watching a thriller, causing a person to eat without even realizing. I chose this topic because I can relate to it. I tend to eat when I'm feeling stressed whether it is personal reasons, school related or work related. I believe that when a person is feeling stressed, they eat to raise their serotonin levels which helps a person feel happier; much of the time it is short lived and begin to feel stressed again. There has been studies where stress eating can even lead to obesity. I found an interesting link that discusses all the different types of stress eating behaviors: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4214609/

The Paradox of Choice

I finally realized why I hate to shop for new clothes or to shop for basically anything at all.  Barry Schwartz discussion about the paradox of choice explains why with regard to choices, “more is less.”  Schwartz explains how we live in a world where we have so many choices for anything from selecting cereal to buying a house.  With so many choices, we become paralyzed with our decision making. With so many choices, it takes us a long to time to decide and sometimes we cannot decide at all on what we want. Finally, when we finally choose from the many options, we are often left with regret for making the choice.  It makes so much sense.   When you have so many options and then you are not satisfied with your decision, you can only blame yourself.   Schwartz also talks about opportunity cost which is when we select one activity over another and we know are giving up something.  When we make are the ultimate choice, we are aware of what we have missed out on something which causes distress.  I am not sure if there is an answer to the paradox of choice.  For me, I think I will try to decide exactly what I am looking for before I go out to shop so that I do not become overwhelmed and paralyzed when I get to the store!

Sunday, July 14, 2019


I found the topic of sex appeal very interesting to learn about. I read through the powerpoint, and watched the videos and a lot of what was said made sense. When you think about it of course everyone wants to be with the most attractive person. A very basic idea of this in our society is the captain of the cheer team dating the quarterback of the football team. These people usually are the most popular and overall the most attractive. This would be examples of two "10's" being together. Then the thought that most people who fall short of being that "10" usually end up with someone of the same level of attractiveness also makes sense. This was seen in the video when everyone was stripped away or their nice clothes and hair, which I thought was very interesting to see it in person. Then the thought of social class and money being very important for women was introduced and that made a lot of sense as well. I just never thought about it very much, women do not have as many opportunities, and the pay is unfair so it would make sense that women out want to pair themselves with high paying men to support them and build a good life with. The fact that men did not consider this is concerning but in the end makes sense as well. Overall this was a very interesting topic to learn about. I looked more into the science of sex appeal and found another video which I will list below.


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Science of Sex Appeal

I found the videos about the Science of Sex Appeal to be very interesting and thought-provoking.   Dr.  Kenrick conducted a study where he dressed the male and female participants in similar clothing and removed their individual’s differences such as hairstyles, accessories, etc.   The participants were given a random number which represented desirability.  The participants could see others’ desirability number; however, they did not know their own number.  The participants were then instructed to “pair up” by putting their hand out to someone with the objective of pairing with someone with as high of a number as possible.    At the end of the experiment, participants paired up with individuals with a similar desirability number as themselves.  This demonstration showed how in reality, when looking for a mate, we aim high and “work down” until we find someone who will accept us.    Another related study done by researchers in Austria found that women change their perception of a man based on the car he drives since car represent dominance and power.  The authors stated that social and financial status is important for women because their objective is to choose a partner, keep the partner, make a nest and have children.   This research seems discouraging to me…when it comes down to finding your soulmate, is it really all about status and money?
If you find this topic intriguing, check out this video:  The Science of Sex Appeal – Unsexy Scents. This short video explains how physiologically we have an aversion to the scent of relatives which keeps us from being attracted to someone with our own genetic make-up.

Monday, July 8, 2019

The Influential Mind: The Amygdala of The Internet

When reading the book The Influential Mind by Tali Sharot, I found it very interesting how the author touched upon the topic of social media and how it impacts people's emotions. Last year in my Arguments and Persuasion class I chose the topic of negative impacts that social media has on today's society, which lead me to find very convincing evidence as to how social media has the potential to give people anxiety when using social media apps. During this segment of the book, the author enhanced my argument by describing the many ways people have proved the direct relation between how social media heavily impacts people's emotions. A group of researchers used twitter for an experiment to observe people's feeds and related each tweet to being either positive or negative.   These researchers found that when a person posted an uplifting tweet, their feed just prior included around 4% more positive tweets than negative tweets. Then when someone posts a negative tweet, their feed just prior to them posting their tweet contained 4% more negative than positive posts. Another piece of evidence they found was that tweeting is a very emotionally arousing activity due to the fact that studies show that tweeting raises your pulse, makes you sweat and enlarges your pupils. Studies have also shown that tweeting and retweeting enhances brain activity that indicates emotional arousal by 75%. This study just shows how social media can impact your mood and what you post can also impact other peoples moods and behaviors. With that being said, it is best to remember your audience and try to stay as positive and uplifting as possible when posting online!

"It is important, then, to be mindful that we are altering people's emotions simply by experiencing feelings ourselves. Similarly, other peoples emotions change our own state - we are constantly synchronizing with each other and everyone around us" - Tali Sharot

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Food and Personal Preferences

A subject that I really enjoyed learning about was the topic of food. Growing up, I was always interested in why some people developed "pica" an eating disorder in which people eat things that are not classified as food and do not contain any nutritional value.  In the "food" section of the lecture, Professor Berg explains food neophobia. Food neophobia is the tendency to avoid novel foods and to prefer familiar foods. With food neophobia being instilled in humans, my interest peaked and rose questions in relations to pica. Technically speaking, with food neophobia being in place due to evolutionary precations, pica should not be a disorder, right? Wrong! In my research, I learned that maybe those who eat clay (which would get them diagnosed with pica) may have origins to Australia or Turkey. In those areas, clay was eaten as a fertility food which may explain pica and how it has progressed in different forms. In the video I linked within this post, you can watch Nicole explain how the disorder has affected her.


Welcome Summer 19' Students

I look forward to reading your posts here!