Wednesday, July 31, 2019


I was a professional chef for over 17 years. I knew cooking needed to appeal to the senses, but I had no idea that how the body was responding was called  "Cephalic Responses". 

Brian Wansink, an American researcher and professor, talks about the "Bottomless Soup Bowl Experiment" (this won him the 2007 lg Noble prize). The theory is that as a person eats a bowl of soup, the level of soup goes down. When the person stops eating the soup, the bowl fills back up, therefore the person believes he is not eating that much because the bowl is always full. In other words, he focused on portion control.

Rob Rhinehart created Soylent in 2014 - a drink that can take the place of a meal. The drink supplies all the necessary vitamins nutrients and minerals so a person doesn't have to worry about eating right.

From the culinary/nutrition side of it, I am bothered a bit. I believe that a person needs to eat food, especially more than 10% (the amount Rhinehart stated he consumed)  but in a healthy way. Your body, teeth, organs etc needs to do their job and process food.  Feed your body what it needs, when it needs it. Just like most things in life, there are boundaries.  That also applies to food.

 I've never won a Nobel prize, but I do believe in eating 'Farm to Table' and portion control. Respect what you put into your body and respect the food. Eat when your legitimately hungry, not emotionally hungry.  You'll definitely come out healthier.

Rewards and Reinforcement

I found the chapter on rewards to be very interesting specifically the part on positive and negative reinforcement. It made me think more about the fact that both positive and negative reinforcement play a role in all of our lives every day. I think an example in my own life that is very important is how pos/neg reinforcement affects my schoolwork. I work hard to get good grades because doing so gets me positive reinforcement such as being on the Dean's List, getting praise from my family, having a better chance of getting into Graduate school, and so on. Where as negative reinforcement like the possibility of not doing well in a class and ruining my gpa also keeps me working hard on my schoolwork. The Big Bang Theory had a funny segment on Positive Reinforcement that while funny, also explains how the concept works quite well. Whenever Penny does something Sheldon approves of, she gets a chocolate which in turn makes her want to continue doing the behaviors he approves of.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Paradox of Choice

Watching "The Paradox of Choice" by Barry Schwartz I was able to relate a lot of what he said into my own life.
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I don't know about you, but too many options makes my head spin. It really doesn't matter what you are looking for, the shelves are stocked with options. If you don't have an exact name, size, description, you could be staring at the shelves for hours.  And if you can't find it at the store, you can go online and become more overwhelmed.

Recently my 27 year old son (he suffers from ADD) and I went to a local grille. After looking at the menu for a minute he said "Oh My God!! This menu is so easy to read! There's only a few items, I'm not going to have a panic attack...this is great!"

Just as Barry Schwartz pointed out that too many options can lead people not to participate (insurance example),  I wonder how many other business' lost sales due to offering too much.  Clearly the "KIS" theory works. (Keep It Simple)

Speaking of choices,  I discovered several years ago that emotions can be a choice. For example, every day I choose to wake up happy.  Do not think its 24/7 365 days - sometimes life can smack the crap out of you. But for the most part, I'm a happy person.  So what does my choice do? It makes me a better. I'm better for my family, friends and whomever I come in contact with.  I'm healthier, I have less wrinkles and I find my "FLOW", Mihaly Csiszent, (Incentives) in the many skills I possess.

 In no way am I boasting. For many years I suffered from depression that ruled every area of my life. Its so much better now and all I had to do was make a choice.

Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion - Book Report

Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion.
This book was written by Paul Bloom, a professor at Yale University. Bloom argues that we are using too much empathy, and “using our hearts more than our heads”. The definition of empathy is the ability to feel the suffering of others four ourselves, or “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes”. Bloom also states that there is something called emotional empathy, which is the tendency to mirror the feelings of another. He gives an example of if a doctor could feel your pain, they wouldn't be able to do their jobs. Another example is if you see a drowning child, are you going to mirror their behavior, or are you going to jump in and save them? He argues that “kindness motivated by empathy often has bad effects”. With this, he says that good parenting sometimes involves coping with the short term suffering of your child, for example, grounding your child for misbehaving. Bloom also argues that empathy causes us to only see the singular problem as an issue, rather than the big picture. For example, the war in Iraq was fueled using our feelings, causing us to empathize with the suffering citizens so much that we don’t think about all of the soldiers who are then going to lose their lives at war. He includes how empathy affects our moral foundation, how its used as a political tool, and also how it affects violence and cruelty. He explains that empathy is incapable of consistently delivering desirable outcomes.
This book was so interesting, and really makes you question something you normally wouldn’t. I really enjoyed his chapter on intimacy, in which he included a quote “Empathy is what makes us human; it’s what makes us both subjects and objects of moral concern. Empathy betrays us only when we take it as a moral guide.” This chapter relates to our chapter on Reproduction, in which we looked at what attracts us to a mate. Bloom included information on studies in which desirable traits were measured, and kindness was found the most in both men and women. In my own personal experience, there is nothing more unattractive than an unkind friend or potential mate. For example, once I was on a date, and my potential mate was so rude to the nice waitress that I never called him again. 
Bloom suggests that a solution to this problem of emphasized empathy is to adopt “rational compassion”. This means using our heads more than our hearts, and finding the best solution, rather than letting our feelings get in the way. We need to start better understanding others than just mirroring their behaviors. I really loved this book, and how it sparked something in me to change how much I empathize with others, and to start looking at the big picture of life.

References: Bloom, P. (2018). Against empathy: The case for rational compassion. London: Vintage.


I found this chapter very interesting, especially about the Energy Drinks.
I use to work for a major beverage company that sold energy drinks. Selling this product for over 6 years, I was able to see first hand of what these drinks can do to you. During a 1 hour meeting, my co worker would drink two. By the end of the meeting he was so "amped up" and talking sooooo fast that he was spitting and stuttering.  I'm not sure if its related, but he is now on disability due to a heart problem.  Depending on flavor, the drink can change a persons mood. For example, my manager would drink the "yellow can" and he become very short tempered and mean. When he drank any other flavor, he was a pretty decent guy.

And lets not forget the tooth decay...

So I ask, regardless of the drug, is it really worth it?


Self control and procrastination plays a big role into each other during plenty of situations. During this lecture you see how these two relate to each other, especially to college students. By having self control you would not procrastinate any school work during the semester which a lot of students are guilty of when it comes to this topic. We all have that mind set we are not going to push off any work and do everything ahead of time. When it comes down to it we all tend to brush it off with no self control and procrastinate until we stress our self's with all the work at the end of the semester. Self control is something everyone should have in there life. When you are mad and do not want to express a certain side of anger they are ways to control your emotions using self control. Another example would be being on a diet and making sure you follow the specific diet so you can lose the weight or just stay healthy in general. Self control is key on a diet because you want to stay mentally strong and focused on the task at hand. This video below describes Why it is important & how to master self-control.

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Positive reinforcement is huge everyday in life. This chapter opened my eyes on how many times we as humans have used this method everyday. When I played football it was used everyday I got a big run and had a good game. The more I ran the ball well the more I ended up getting the ball. They promised me a starting position if I keep playing as well as I did. Everyday I pushed my self to succeed and with them cheering me on everyday saying how great I was doing pushed me in a very positive manner. As for dogs, when we get a new puppy we have to train them to be potty trained. Most people give there dogs treats to show them that they did something good and that they should keep doing that because if they keep listening they will get a treat from doing what was right. This is a pure example on how positive reinforcement works not only on humans but on any house trained animals as well. This video below explains how positive reinforcement works on dogs and how to successfully do so.

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Caffeine Addiction

By caffeine being the most used psychoactive stimulant in the world and has shown to be very addicting. This lesson was very interesting to do research on why caffeine is addictive the way it is to people around the world. Caffeine is a stimulant to the central nervous system, and regular use of caffeine does cause mild physical dependence. But caffeine doesn't threaten your physical, social, or economic health the way addictive drugs do. Caffeine enhances dopamine signaling in the brain. dopamine is a chemical that helps control movement, motivation, and emotions, so enhanced dopamine signaling makes a person feel more awake and alert. Because caffeine produces that alert feeling, it’s classified as a stimulant. Having lots of friends who drink it everyday and tend to get a lot of stomach aches and head aches when they do not drink it for a day is mind blowing. This video below explains why caffeine is the worlds most popular drug.

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Monday, July 29, 2019


I have always found the idea of rewards to be very interesting. To see how people react to rewards it quite interesting. The idea of behavior training when it happens to animals and adults seems different. In my life I have played baseball, it was my sport and it was what my life revolved around. The way coaches manipulated you and pushed you all had to do with psychology. When you hit well or did well you would be praised. If we made an error we would have to run sprints, in order to try to negate the mistake, and stop us from making it later on. This was all behavior training, when you practiced better you earned more playing time, and batted higher in the line up. This was a strategy to do better, but it was also a lesson. If you were one of the worse players who was criticized a lot, then you had to push yourself to be better. The goal was always to get the reward.


Before I came to Stockton I was a Division II athlete as my previous University. I was reading the powerpoint on performance and some things stuck out to me. I was reading about the Yerkes-Dodson Law and it said that for hard tasks you perform better when you have low arousal. This made me think about my time in college baseball, we had certain tricks to calm us down. The goal was to slow the game down, and calm yourself down. You wanted to stay in the moment, I think this is what the powerpoint is referring to. It is easy to get over excited, or nervous in those big moments. We then performed better as a team if we could stay within ourselves. I know first hand this is true, and it was really interesting to see that there is this research that supports the lessons we were taught during baseball.

“The Willpower Instinct” – Book Report by Victoria Wolford

“The Willpower Instinct” – Book Report
"The Willpower Instinct" was written by Kelly McGonigal, a psychologist at Stanford University, with the goal to explain and create a better understanding of self-control and how it can improve our health, happiness, and productivity. McGonigal describes the definition and meaning of "willpower" and why it is essential to today's society. (McGonigal, 2013).
The book describes willpower as being a "mind-body response" and not a "virtue." This means that willpower can be improved through things such as awareness, observation, exercise, nutrition, and sleep. An essential aspect of the book is when McGonigal describes that giving up control is sometimes the only way to gain self-control. (McGonigal, 2013).
This book can relate to the class lectures and the personal blogs towards self-control and willpower. For example, in my blog I discussed the topic of willpower. I explained that Roy Baumeister, who is a psychologist and researcher, believes that self-control is what leads to willpower. He states the people should have a clear goal in mind, people are more likely to achieve their goals if that person tracks their actions towards a specific goal, and that people need to control their behaviors to achieve any goal. (Cherry, 2019).
My favorite part in the book is when McGonigal states “You need to recognize when you’re making a choice that requires willpower; otherwise, the brain always defaults to what is easiest.” (McGonigal, 2013). This quote affected me personally when I read it. It took me back to a time in my life where I needed the “willpower” to keep going. At the age of twelve years old, I was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis. This is rare spine disease involving my S1 and L5 vertebras to fall into my pelvis ever since in was born. I had a thirteen hour surgery, two rods, a metal plate, sixteen screws, and artificial bone that will be in my spine for the rest of my life. I needed to find the willpower in myself to go forth with the surgery and be able to deal with the intensive recovery process. At twelve years old I had to teach myself how to walk again. I went from walking around everywhere to knowing I can walk but not psychically being able to. That was extremely hard for me to overcome that part in the recovery. However, I was determined enough to teach myself how to walk with three days. That is the definition of that quote. If you do not choose the willpower to overcome your fears and struggles, you will not accomplish things in life that you want to. In other words, “the easy way out.”
McGonigal, K. (2013). The willpower instinct: How self-control works, why it matters, and what you can do to get more of it. New York: Avery.
Cherry, K. (2019, March 11). How to Improve Your Self-Control. Retrieved from