Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Mate Value & Good Gene Hypothesis

 The definition of mate value is when one person's traits and characteristics are perceived as desirable to someone else. Mate value is the base of mate selection and formation of romantic relationships. A couple traits that would increase your mate value would be how ambitious you are, if you have a good sense of humor, if you are faithful and loyal, have a desire for children, are responsible, kind and understanding, and if you are emotionally stable. Your total score of traits would be your mate value to another person. Also, people with higher attractive appearances are better at attracting mates. Because of this, I think this ties perfectly to the good gene hypothesis which believes that beauty signals that the person has good genes for intelligence, good immune system, healthy babies and good parenting styles. The good gene hypothesis was first thought and created by British biologist W.D Hamilton and American ecologist Marlene Zuk in the early 1980s. I also learned that women select mates to increases chances of survival of their offspring and men select mates to increase chance pf producing many offspring. For long term characteristics women prefer mates who have good financial prospects which for a lot of people is still preferable to this day. Men would prefer mates who have good psychical attractive looks which is also still the case today. 

Yerkes-Dodson Law

 The Yerkes-Dodson Law was developed by psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson in 1908. The law states that performance increases with physiological or mental arousal. There are two key components to the law which are the inverted-u arousal relationship and how the arousal interacts with task complexity. The inverted-u arousal is a concept that explains how performance can be influenced by arousal levels. This theory suggests that as arousal increases so does performance. It then levels off and then declines. When it comes to the task complexity, low arousal works best for difficult tasks and high arousal works best for easier tasks. Also, task performance is at its best when arousal levels are in the middle range between low arousal and high arousal. A lot of other psychologists came up with multiple other theories on why the level of performance on tasks changes with different levels of arousal. These would include the Hull-Spence theory and the Cusp Catastrophe Model Theory. Both were created by different psychologists but do explain a connection between levels of arousal and performance.

Drugs Caffeine

 Stimulant drugs are a type of drug that speeds up messages between the brain and the body and are also legal drugs. This includes caffeine. This is why caffeine makes you feel more alert and active whenever you drink it. Caffeine specifically stimulates the central nervous system. It also increases blood pressure and increases release of stomach acid. Caffeine is not only found in coffee but can be found in tea leaves, cacao pods, kola nuts, and energy drinks such as monsters and red bulls. Caffeine effects people differently depending on their size, health, the amount of caffeine you consume, and affects you differently depending on what other drugs you may take. A couple side effects of caffeine are feeling more active, relentlessness, difficult sleeping, anxiety, dehydration, urgency for urination, and increased heartrate. Caffeine can also cause long term affects such as nervousness, muscle tremor, and low blood pressure with faintness or dizziness.

Like red bulls or any energy drink, the "come-down" after the effect of caffeine can make a person feel more sluggish and very fatigued. Although legal, like any drug, drinking caffeine over time may make it difficult to stop. This is because the body and brain become used to it being in its system to function every time. This can lead to withdraw. The symptoms would include headaches, fatigue, depressed mood, irritability, and difficult to stay concentrated.

Monday, August 7, 2023

The Influential Mind Book Report


 For the book report, I chose to read The Influential Mind by Tali Sharot. The author is a neuroscientist who in the book explains how our minds work and how influential it can be from day to day in our lives. One of the most interesting topics in the book was how automatically we are hard-wired to not be flexible with our thoughts. Once we make our minds up about something we are pretty much stuck to it. I personally understand because I am such a stubborn person who can be very set on certain decisions or thoughts. I have heard over and over again how I should be more open-minded and think “outside the box” but it can be hard for me. 

In the book, the author talked about a topic called “cherry picking.” Cherry picking basically means we are naturally curious about ourselves and how we want to see what others think about us. I personally don’t like worrying about what other people think about me but sometimes, I just get so curious. I remember back in middle school how worried I was about other people’s opinions. It’s just how our minds work and it can be hard to come out of it. 

In the book, she talks about self-control. In class, we talked about self-control and impulsivity. My favorite analogy she used was being on a plane. You have no control over the path or the speed of the plane and you are pretty much giving all control to the plane. I had never thought about it like this before and it was a really good analogy. It perfectly explains how self-control feels. Now when I get on a plane this is what I’m going to think about. But like she said it would help so much if the airline could give the people data on how fast we are going and everything that is going on. When it’s available, I am constantly looking at the map on the little screen in front of me to see where we are and how fast we are going. I need to know everything in order to feel in control of myself and the situation. 

Another topic I found interesting was how influential our minds can be it can affect others’ moods around us especially when there is an emotional connection. When I’m mad, my boyfriend is gonna be mad also. Our minds pretty much sync and we are able to feel the same thing and we react the same. Moods are contagious and I am also very aware of it now.

I truly did enjoy reading this book and I found it interesting how our mind is so influential can really be. 

I was able to learn more about the mind with the author's TED talk. 

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg Book Report


“The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg explains why habits exist, how they coexist in our lives, and how to change habits to create more successful careers and everyday lives. Habits help steer our decision making and actions and have a strong influence on the successes as well as mistakes we make in life. Duhigg uses vivid images and terminology to demonstrate how important habits are in our day to day lives, and how it is important to identify both negative and positive ones. A lot of the time, we do things during the day without thinking, and we don’t realize that those are habits that we have formed without realizing we even formed them. Duhigg points out that acknowledging the habits that we have created will give us the power to change those habits that we are unhappy with, and create new, healthy habits.

There are many parts of the book that I enjoyed, but I think my favorite part was learning about Duhigg’s “golden rule”. His golden rule explains that bad habits are very difficult to destroy. To change them, you must replace them with a new routine. This relates back to the beginning of the book that discusses "the habit loop", which is a three-step loop that contains a cue, routine, and reward. The cue is what activates the brain and reminds it to do something. The routine can be either physical, emotional, or mental. The reward is what you receive by performing the habit.  Every single habit follows this loop, whether they are good or bad habits. The book states, “This is how new habits are created: by putting together a cue, a routine, and a reward, and then cultivating a craving that drives the loop (pg. 49, paragraph 2)." For example, if someone is obsessed with food, seeing the said food forms a taste of the cake, pizza, or whatever they will be eating before they even touch it. Just the sight of the food will send a trigger to their brain which causes the cravings to happen. In this case, the golden rule really applies because any sort of habit can lead to an addiction, which is very hard to break. But if you follow the “golden rule” that Duhigg talks about, you can combat the bad habit and replace it with a positive routine. In this situation, the cue stays the same along with the reward, but the routine that connects the cue to the reward is changed.

In class, we learned about impulsivity and self-control, and how they affect our daily lives. To tie this into the book, both traits are habits themselves. When acting on impulse, a lot of the time we do so without thinking twice. Just like any other habit, impulsivity can have a negative impact on how we trek through life. Impulsive thoughts are one thing, but when you turn them into an action, the habit is then created and is hard to break. On the other hand, self-control is also a habit, but is more of a positive one. Self-control and impulsivity are opposites, but they both are habits that we form. Just like the book states, we choose whichever habits we decide to form, and by choosing these said habits, they will begin to shape our lives, whether negative or positive.

Linked below is a video discussing Duhigg’s book. The video discusses habits, specifically a bad habit, and why it is sometimes so hard to shake. This video does a great job broadly explaining the core of the book, providing examples that are easy to relate to.


I believe that this book is a great book that can be useful outside of the classroom. A lot of the time, we don’t realize that we are creating a habit. This book is an asset to just about anyone because it addresses an important topic that applies to everyone’s everyday life. We all have habits, whether good or bad, that we create throughout our lives. This book is a great tool that will help you understand the “why” of habits and help

us figure out why we create the habits we do, and how to readjust our habits to live the life we want to. We cannot fully succeed in life or accomplish what we want to accomplish without understanding how habits work. This is why this book is extremely important when wanting to improve your live and live it healthily.




Book Report: Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion

Against Empathy: The Case of Rational Compassion

General Overview

The novel "Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion," is about a fundamental need to understand what other people have experienced can end in harsh and irrational behaviors at home and in public. Paul Bloom demonstrates how empathy affects our judgment in all aspects of our lives, from philanthropy and charity to the authorized system; from health care and education to parenting and marriage. Bloom insists that if empathy is absent, we would make decisions that are more logical, fair, and ultimately ethical. In society, empathy is one of the primary causes of unfairness and immorality in the community, in Against Empathy. Empathy is an unpredictable and illogical emotion that occupies our prejudices instead of assisting humanity to enhance our understanding of others. Many people were against this author upon hearing the title of the book. The purpose of this book is despite empathy's possibility of bias, violence, and other undesirable outcomes, empathy may also have positive results. Paul Bloom is against empathy, and he wants others to be against it as well. "The argument against empathy isn't that we should be selfish and immoral. It's the opposite. It's that if we want to be good and caring people and make the world a better place, then we are better off without empathy." Paul is particularly interested in the notion of empathy as the act of experiencing what you consider other individuals are going through or experiencing. 

Several studies have shown that people possess an innate capacity to connect with others who are similar to us, understand what we say, and give us an impression of protection. Therefore Paul Bloom stated that empathy is the most "biased and parochial." There are two interludes between each of the six chapters in Against Empathy. The first provides an overview of the attack on empathy. The second and third chapters address the characteristics that create empathy useless as a guide to morality while addressing the psychological aspects and neuroscience of the heart. This is followed by an additional section that discusses the connection between empathy and politics, mainly how liberals are seen as having more compassion than conservatives. The fourth chapter addresses intimacy and empathy. The fifth chapter is about evil and addresses the notion that people become worse off when they lack empathy with doubt. The final part of the book makes a step back and supports rational thought, arguing that human beings can manage the world through sound decisions. 

Favorite Part

Among the other six chapters, chapter one, Other People's Shoes, appeared to be my favorite part of the book. The main reason that the first chapter of this book is my favorite is that the author provides enough evidence of examples of why it's essential to have morality and not empathy. Many people tend to misunderstand this author when others hear him saying he is against empathy. As Bloom stated, "I want to make the world a better place. I've just come to believe that relying on empathy is the wrong way to do it (pp.16)." The author Paul Bloom mentioned that he is not against morality, compassion, kindness, love, being a good neighbor, being a mensch, and doing what is right. Empathy is the act of coming to experience the world as you think someone else does." Empathy is to place oneself in other people's situations and be on the same level of emotion as the other person. Paul described that if one's suffering makes the other person suffer or feel what one feels, that's the definition of empathy. However, if one can't handle the pain of others but is not in pain, that's what social cognition, social intelligence, mind reading, theory of mind, or mentalizing, according to Paul Bloom. 

There are many examples that Paul Bloom presented in the chapter to clear out all the negativity regards going against empathy. Paul began this chapter by talking about The Nazi Doctors by Rebert Jay Lifton. The author of the book described that the physicians were intelligent yet applied their knowledge to commit horrific acts. In this book of The Nazi Doctors, there wasn't a place for empathy because these physicians talk themselves into doing a terrible thing to do. If they genuinely cared for prisoners in concentration camps, then they wouldn't have such thoughts in the first place. Because these physicians don't have morality, therefore, these problems showed. I believe everyone has a little or more empathy for others, but it's not often used properly. I agree with Paul Bloom. 

In addition, Bloom mentioned the writer Emily Bazelon who stated that " The scariest aspect of bullying is the total lack of empathy"-she diagnoses both the bullies and those who refuse to support the victims and the bullies themselves.  The solution, Emily suggests, is " to remember that almost everyone has the capacity for empathy and decency-and to tend than seed as best as we possibly can (pg. 20)." I agree with Emily Bazelon that a total lack of empathy is a particularly frightening element of harassment. I believe some students were bullied once in their school/college life. Somehow school/college life is incomplete if there's no bullying associated. A number of cases regarding the death of defenseless black individuals at the hands of law enforcement occurred in the fall of 2014, and many individuals stated their anger about Americans' and especially police officers' lack of empathy for racial minorities (pg.19). In this case, I feel like law enforcement lack both empathy and morality. Some are just full of emptiness. These people take an oath not to agree to be truthful or faithful but to commit crimes. Some police officers do what they feel like doing, and it means shooting whoever goes out of their will. Some of these people don't even have the minimum concern for others' lives and forget about saving them. I agree with Paul that people don't have empathy but morality because not everyone does good, even if they have empathy. 

Moreover, Paul described how empathy can battle with other moral considerations. In an experiment by C. Daniel Batson and his colleagues, volunteers received notice that Sheri Summers, a ten-year-old girl with a fatal disease, was lined up for treatment to reduce her pain. She was able to go in front of the line. She had to be patient as kids in more need got there before her when they were told what to do. They frequently decided to move her up, placing her in front of more worthy kids. Empathy overcame fairness leading to an option that the majority would think was immoral. Another example of empathy Paul proved to his audience is about Zell Kravinsky. He gave approximately forty five-million-dollar to charity, yet he thought he wasn't doing enough. Therefore, he "arranged to donate one of his kidneys to a stranger, over the strenuous objections of his family." It's fascinating to see him as super-empathy because the world would. Others should be motivated and inspired by their moral guts but not by some empathic feelings because one doesn't feel empathy for just anyone or everyone. Zell Kravinsky is one of the perfect examples of this book, Against Empathy, and others will learn that there are ways to do more to help people than to be gripped by some empathic emotions. 

Furthermore,  Empathy can be a choice, which Barack Obama described before he became president (pg. 18). He saw the importance "to see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us-the hungry child, the steelworker who's been laid off, the family who lost the entire life they built together when the storm came to town. When you think like this when you choose to broaden your ambit of concern and empathize with the plight of others, whether they are close friends or distant strangers-it becomes harder not to act, harder not to help (pg. 18)." The following line is a fantastic example of how empathy can be beneficial. Empathy enhances our concern for other people and enhances our willingness to work to make their lives better. People frequently assume that empathy is always good. Therefore, Bloom tends to get an adverse reaction when people hear him say, "I'm against it." One can cry seeing another cry, but it doesn't mean that person genuinely feels what the other person feels. Empathy can't go far if one lacks morality. It is essential to see the world of others through the eyes of those who need anything. By acts of will, it can be focused and directed. Empathy is not a reaction only. It can be well-nourished, established, and expanded. Empathy improves our personal desires by including other individuals by guiding the way we ought to conduct ourselves. Other People's Shoes is my favorite chapter because Paul Bloom presented his logic beautifully. One will automatically agree with him without searching for more evidence of why the book is called Against Empathy.


This book was my first choice among the rest. I was curious to know why Paul Bloom is against empathy and what he has to say about it. Therefore, I chose this book to find more information in detail. Furthermore, I want to extend my report with a current issue of empathy. People believe that emotional empathy is the core of a good human being. However, I don't think it's true. I couldn't agree more with Paul that “empathy is biased”. People would've helped one another in need if we weren't biased. I want to share a current issue of an Asian family regarding empathy. In a family of seven, three sons, two daughters, and parents. When the first two sons get married, the family starts to fall apart. In Asian families, it was expected the daughters-in-law help the in-laws. However, the mother had to do all the work. The daughters-in-law always stay in the room and come out to eat only. They would watch TV and talk on the phone 24/7 with their families, but these women didn't bother to help their mother-in-law since they came to the house as married women. And her sons wouldn't say anything to their wives. 
The mother is aging as days go on, and she can't do all the work alone. These women think that if they help their mothers-in-law, then that would make them servants. Although these women wouldn't do anything in the house, the mother-in-law wouldn't ever complain. One of them said, “She's not my real mom."  When it comes to evaluating other people's beliefs, feelings, and abilities, people are more critical. These women didn't have a connection with the mother-in-law by heart, so they didn't care about the mother a bit. And these women didn't feel anything for the mother-in-law, so they didn't bother to help. I couldn't more agree with Paul Bloom that we only show empathy for those we know. One doesn't show empathy for just anyone. Therefore, it makes sense why these women don’t feel anything for the mother-in-law. However, this world is cruel for good people like the mother. There's no place and justice for the ones who deserve it. There's no place for a mom like her because they are too soft-hearted. This is one of the real-life issues of empathy. Empathy may seem great, but it's not so great for moral guidance. It's no secret that we don't feel empathy for just anyone. And this is the kind of empathy that Paul Bloom is against, and so am I. People naturally put themselves in the shoes of who they know, who they understand, and not the other way around.

Here's a YouTube video of the author, Paul Bloom talking about why he titled it "Against Empathy."

Grit- book report

  The book I choose for my report is Grit by Angela Duck worth. For starters, this book helped me out of the dark spot I’ve been in mentally. I feel very motivated. The term grit is defined as “a personality trait characterized by perseverance and passion for achieving long term goals.” She emphasizes that success isn’t about talent but instead, grit. The theme is perseverance. It hit home due to the last few years, I lost a child, a grandma, a sister, even myself. In order to get out of that rut I needed to persevere the storm. this book also explores how people who have passion and perseverance, are so different then people who do not. usually people with those traits are high achievers. Duck worth also speaks on that the term grit can be accumulated over time.The book also discusses setting stretch goals maintaining focus and being ok when the circumstances change. Duck worth states “ well ok, I didn’t go as well, but I guess I will just carry on.” She emphasizes that just because things might not work in your favor that doesn’t mean to just give up. Always remember that tomorrow will be better than today and to never overreact to setbacks and failures.“ grit grows as we figure out our life philosophy, learn to dust ourselves off after rejection and disappointment, and learn to tell the difference between low level goals that should be abandoned quickly and high-level goals that demand more tenacity. The maturation story is that we develop the capacity for long-term passion of perseverance, as we get older.” In ways this book applies to our other book ENDURANCE. Duck worth states a very powerful statement saying” when you keep searching for ways to change your situation for the better, you stand a chance of finding them. When you stop searching, assuming they can’t be found, you guarantee they won.” Shackleton never gave up. Persevered through the frigid temperatures, angry seas. Hunger and insanity. The crew had grit.


#3 Drugs

Drugs classified as psychoactive, or chemicals that impact mood and behavior. Caffeine, alcohol, nicotine (legal substances), amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, and opiates that considered psychoactive drugs. The most frequently used psychoactive stimulant in worldwide use is caffeine including colas, coffee, and energy drinks.  Individuals report feeling active, alive, energetic, and sensible. Beer, wine, and distilled spirits are among the many examples of alcoholic drinks that contain alcohol, also known as ethanol. Alcohol produces joy and reduces social barriers if taken in moderate amounts. Tobacco includes the intoxicating substance nicotine. Smokers believe that nicotine helps them relax and improves their mood. Amphetamines are a kind of stimulant that can be produced naturally from the kat plant or synthetically. This drug makes consumers alert, pleased, and content. Methamphetamine has a compound that has psychoactive impacts. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is a chemical compound that occurs in cannabis. Both marijuana and hashish include THC. The psychological effects of smoking marijuana include euphoria, relaxation, and sleepiness. Cocaine hydrochloride is a colorless chemical made from coca paste, which has no smell. It leads to greater energy, mental focus, and enhanced senses. Opiates are drugs made from the opium poppy the plant's seed sap. Opioids provide a "rush," an elevated mood, excitement, and a decrease in anxiety. Addiction is defined by an intense need for and seeking. Drug use that is a choice results in either stopping frequent use or obsessive uncontrollable use. The craving for drugs is a feeling of overpowering, and the urge can be uncontrollable. However, I don't recommend any drugs in the first place. The people who don't go near any drugs are the ones that stay safe and alive because drugs do vanish from the world.

#1 Impulsivity & Self Control

Impulsive behavior occurs when one takes quick action without thinking through its consequences. Everybody can occasionally act impulsively, especially when we are young. In general, we tend how to control our impulses as we get older. Although the exact causes of impulsivity aren't well-known, however, environmental and genetic factors might be the cause of impulsivity. When we act erratically, we have a tendency to react to stimuli before giving them much thought. Being impulsive may result in adverse consequences, including rash judgments, disagreements, risky actions, financial damage, legal damage, etc. "Sam quit smoking. He must have a lot of willpower." This is not an explanation, and it doesn't explain why he was able to quit smoking. Sometimes loved ones inspire one to get willpower. One needs to be themselves and what they really value. I like the example of the marshmallow, and it is about one controlling them from doing what they want to do. The kid was given a marshmallow and told to wait so they can get another one. Or they can eat.  Most of them waited until the lady came back. The kids had the patience not to eat it and the desire to get a reward. They wanted to get an extra marshmallow, so they didn't eat the ones they had. This is a motivation! A motivation to get something more. It's not easy to avoid impulsive choices, but if there's a will, there's a way. Although I'm not religious, when I follow, I follow my religion seriously. Therefore, I tend to think about the harmful (forbidden, negative) consequences regards impulsive choices.

#2 Reproduction

"People with higher physical attractiveness are better at attracting mates and have more sexual experiences." I believe it's essential for one to select one with some good traits. Although physical attractiveness is important but that doesn't last long. That attractiveness fades away or expires after a while. Appearance is an excellent biological sign of intelligence, an excellent immune system, healthy offspring, and responsible parenting. I believe people don't look for high or low their time selecting partners with high mate value or low. They choose what they like at the moment. The sex differences in long-term mate selection have surprised me. I wasn't aware of the difference. Women select their mates to increase the chance of survival to a few offspring, and men select to produce many offspring. I found it very interesting. However, it makes sense that women prefer someone financially stable, determined, and industrious. These traits are essential to have a successful family. While men like those who are good-looking, and this indicates fertility. Fertility is an essential trait needed to produce "many children." Emotions that are negative like jealousy can be brought on by the notion of abandoning one's partner. Compared to males, women encounter higher sorrow from emotional infidelity. It makes sense because women are more emotional than men. The structural powerless hypothesis explains why women prefer men who are intelligent, determined, dedicated and have financial prospects. Women prefer males who have financial benefits since they have fewer economic possibilities and lack the power to get them. However, I wasn't aware that men report distress from sexual infidelity more than women. It was fascinating to learn about the biosocial theory.

Book Report: The Power Of Habit

In the book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, we learn about how habits are developed/built, what causes them, and their impact on us and our daily lives. Habitual behavior affect us humans on many different levels including personal, social, and professional. Duhigg begins the book by describing and explaining why and how habits are developed. Duhigg explains the psychology as well as sociology behind habits and their development within a variety of different circumstances and settings. Duhigg offers the reader the chance to take control of their unconscious mind, as he explains what is known as the "habit loop". The habit loop is a method used to identify a habit and how it is formed. The habit loop is broken into three stages. First part of every habit is The Cue. The cue  is what triggers the habitual behavior. Second part of the habit loop is The Routine. The routine is simply the habit or behavior that is being performed. Lastly, we have  The Reward. The reward is essentially what feelings the person who has done the behavior gets from it. This might be a quick release of dopamine or stress relief. The book is much more of a self help book than I imagined. I found myself taking a lot of notes and tips/tricks from Duhigg's writing. Duhigg's main purpose of this book is quite obvious: He wants to help the reader break their bad habit loop. 

My favorite part of this book was actually chapter one. This book immediately grabbed my attention with this chapter. A large part of this chapter was explaining the breakdown of what a habit is. Duhigg also presented his framework for what he calls the "Habit loop". The habit loop, as I previously described, is a method invented to help a person identify the exact cause and trigger of a habits through three basics steps. One part I found very interesting is when Duhigg says that habits never leave us. Once a habit it ingrained in us, Duhigg's claims they always wait under the surface for the right trigger or "cue" to release or perform them. I found this quite thought provoking. This reminded me of when we learned about impulse and compulsion in this class. It was unsettling for a moment to read about our bodies in such a nearly dark manner. To be told that some habits, especially the "bad" ones can be ingrained forever was unnerving. It almost made me view our habits as some type of returning rash or condition that we have to keep under control. It than reminded me of my own personal struggles with Trichotillomania. I had once gone two months actively fighting against the compulsion, trying habit reversal methods to make myself feel repulsed by the hair pulling condition. Yet, when I thought I had unlearned this habit, it crept back during an unpresented stressor. Than, without much notice, the habit quickly and almost unnoticeably slipped back into my everyday routine. Although this was unsettling, the book itself offered so much positive information on how to combat these issues. Although it seemed unpleasant at first, being told that this habits will always be there below the surface actually helped me feel even stronger this time as I attempt to beat trichotillomania. It allowed me to accept the reality of my circumstances and just how powerful these habits can be. However, now that I have accepted and acknowledged my habits and their severity, I can now understand them better and have a stronger probability of beating them. I would recommend this book to everyone, as it has useful information that is applicable to nearly anyone's circumstances. Duhigg did an amazing job with this book, and I will be returning to it for more information regarding habits. 


#3 Negative Reinforcement and Animals

 I wanted to talk about negative reinforcement and animals. One thing I find interesting is the difference between dogs and cats when it comes to training and obedience. It has been proven that no animal, dog or cat, responds well to  negative reinforcement. Negative reinforcement is defined as, "when something unpleasant or uncomfortable is removed or taken away in order to increase the likelihood of the desired behavior"(Article). Dogs and Cats have pretty different forms of motivation. Some studies have proven that both species are food motivated, or reward motivated. However, dogs also have an enate drive to please their owner, and to serve a purpose for their owner. Cats did not show nearly any signs of regard for pleasing their owner, or serving their owner. Both species do not understand punishment, or negative reinforcement, and do not hold onto any "lesson" learned from said punishments. Both animals will instinctively feel scared, anxious, and confused. 

Drugs: Caffeine

 I feel like we all tend to forget that caffeine is a drug itself. I personally love caffeine, I consume arguably too much on the daily basis. Although I enjoy caffeine, I have become increasingly aware of its side effects. The most unpleasant one for me is a pounding headache I have in the morning, that only appears to disappear after I consume caffeine. I wanted to research this, and see exactly why caffeine withdrawals exist, what causes them, and how to stop them from happening. This one article I read mentioned how caffeine headaches can last between 6-9 hours in some people (Article). Another article I read said that caffeine withdrawal headaches are most likely due to our blood vessels enlarging as the result of not consuming caffeine(Article). caffeine is known to constrict and tighten blood vessels, and also plays a role in blocking adenosine receptors, or pain receptors, in the brain. Learning all of this has made me become aware of just how severer my bodies dependency on caffeine is. What seems like an enjoyable, controlled substance we can find in yummy drinks, is actually a highly addictive drug that can give horrible withdrawal affects. I want to combat this awful morning headache without having to give up my favorite beverage. I read somewhere that even just by decreasing your caffeine consumption by a little can gradually help reduce the headache in the morning. Following that, by making the time you stop drinking caffeine for the day earlier, it allows our body to fully process the caffeine out of our system before going to sleep. 

Sunday, August 6, 2023


 Drugs.... this topic hits home to me because i witnessed it growing up. For one i lived near a area where there were drugs sold at every corner. At the age of 7 i knew what heroin bags looked like and I've seen fatal over doses. It amazes me and saddens me how powerful addiction can be. When most people think drugs, they think of weed (sometimes), heroin, cocaine,LSD, mushrooms, meth and others. But not caffeine or nicotine. One of my parents was a ex drug addict and i swore to never do drugs yet here i am 1:35am drinking a monster because i need a boost or pick me up. So many people are technical "drug addicts." SO many people are addicts as well. There are other things like porn, social media, technology. I know most people would go insane if electric grids went off. Of course some can have positive "addictions" eating healthy, working out. But when that line is cross, are they much different from the porn watcher. Sure you work out but what if you push your body pass its breaking point.Eating healthy is great, but what happen if you dont eat enough because your obsessed with eating "so healthy." Drugs arent the only things causing addiction. 


 I always found it amazing how many aspect are put into choosing a mate. Of course sex appeal, cars, pheromones, etc.There are many contributions that are apart of picking a mate. In the YouTube video it talks about women and men. Women love status and men love attractiveness. Biologically, we look to have families and to reproduce. Men, usually associate good looks with fertility and women associate a well established man as a good fit to raise a family. Really, reproduction and sex is really a trade off. Sure your a four, but if your makes 150k your a solid 9.

Jordyn Neff- Book Report

 Jordyn Neff

Book Report 

The Power Of Habit - Charles Duhigg 

General Overview 

"The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg was the book I decided to read for this class. This book addressed the science of habits and how they are developed. He discusses how habits develop, how they may be altered, and how new behaviors can replace old ones. This book discussed the idea of habit formation. Duhigg explains how reinforcements can be used to mold habits and change undesirable behavior. This book is made up of short stories and case studies that show us how habits are significant and may develop or change.

Favorite Part 

My favorite part of this book was chapter 4 titled “The Golden Rule of Habit Change”. I enjoyed this chapter because he used a football-related narrative, which made it fascinating to read about, but I also liked it since it had crucial information. Duhigg describes that in order to change a habit you should keep the cue and reward the same but change the routine which is the middle part. This chapter was also inspiring to me because it described how the coach had been rejected by multiple teams before one gave him a chance, and now his teams are among the best-performing ones and have broken records. This demonstrates persistence and the strength of habit. This brought to mind the reinforcement slides we went over. He said it is more likely to change the pattern and habit if the reinforcement is steady. From reading about this I’m interested in the kind of reinforcement he was using to help these players break old habits and develop new ones.


In chapter 7 titled “How Target knows what you want before you do”  reminded me of one of the motivation lectures titled “Food”. In this chapter, the author shows how Target arranges their food such that you will select it first and how retailers know that if they do this, you will be more likely to select junk food when you come across it in the future. This reminded me of the slide “food preferences” from the “food” lecture. When learning about food preferences it stood out to me that we develop innate food preferences when we are babies, but as we get older we develop learned preferences. Even though they are not entirely related, if retailers have a good understanding of customer preferences, they will probably be better equipped to market and encourage people to buy things.


I decided to design a poster that represents the characteristics of a habit. I added the cue, routine, and reward. In order to change a habit, you must change the routine that is in the middle. To show a habit that is broken down into its various parts, I created a picture. 



I've learned from reading this book that habits are changeable and that we have the power to alter our own behaviors. It has shown me that through small wins we are able to achieve bigger goals.I started to think about my own habits as I was reading this book over the past several weeks. I noticed that I was beginning to get overwhelmed by the amount of things I had to do.  I was taking seven classes over the summer, in addition to working and packing since I'm moving. I had to review my daily routines in order to accomplish as much as possible because I had a lot to do each day. Normally I would have a cue such as boredom, then I would get on social media, and I would reward myself by watching TikTok. Because of this, I felt like I was getting nothing done because I would spend hours on TikTok. After reading about habit loops I began to put it into practice in my daily life. Whenever I would begin to feel bored, I would get one assignment done, and then I would take a break after and allow myself to get on TikTok. This made it easier for me to develop the habit of finishing my schoolwork before taking a break rather than letting it pile up while I was on my phone. Changing that small habit helped me increase my productivity, and overall manage my time better. This book has helped me learn many things that I will continue to implement in my daily life. 


Book report: The Power of Habit

The book that I chose is called “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. Habits are something that we demonstrate every day right when we wake up for the day. Sometimes, these habits can seem like it is just decision making, but it is not actually. Chapter 1 in the book tells a story about a man named Eugene Pauly. Eugene lost his memory but was still able to form new habits. Charles explains that habits are not our destinies. These habits can be changed, ignored or replaced. It is also important to understand how habits work because it makes them easier to control. The habit loop is important to be familiar with. The habit loop is a three step process and it is important because it demonstrates that when a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. 

Chapter 3 in the book talks about the “golden rule.” This states that we can never fully eliminate our habits, but we can change them. With the golden rule of habit change, Duhigg talks about keeping the same cues and rewards, but changing the routine. For example, if someone were to try to quit smoking, they can replace the actual cigarette with nicotine gum. 

My favorite part of the book was chapter 9 titled, “The Neurology of Free Will.” There is a section in this chapter that I found really interesting. It is about a man named Brian Thomas who called 911 saying that he thinks he killed his own wife. Brian and his wife were asleep when he woke up in the middle of the night and found a man on top of his wife. In order to protect her he started attacking the man. He was choking the man until he eventually realized that it was his wife that he was choking. Brian was obviously extremely upset by all of this and called 911 right away. Brian has a history of sleepwalking a lot when he was a child. He would walk into other rooms and even the yard. It got to the point that neighbors would question his mom and ask why he would be out in the yard in the middle of the night. This was a habit that started for him as a child. After the police investigated, it was known that he and his wife had a very healthy and happy relationship. 

Another situation that really stuck out to me and reminded me of the class was Angie Bachmann's story. Angie ended up becoming really into gambling and would gain a lot of money, but also lose a lot. She ended up going to gamble all the time and it became a habit of hers. She relied on gambling to help her feel good about something. Instantly, I started thinking about how her story can relate to self control. Self control is not an issue of willpower, but an issue of conflicting outcomes. We could also say that these habits of Angie's are also very impulsive. She would use gambling as a way to help her cope if she got into a fight with her husband, or felt unappreciated by her kids. She would do this instantly without even thinking about what the consequences of her gambling could cause. Even after trying to get help, she ended up losing even more money, which also affected her husband's life as well. We could also relate her story to reinforcers. If she was winning a lot of money and finally felt good about something, then her behavior would increase. Overall, Angie’s addiction was affecting many different parts of her life, including her relationships with her husband and kids, and it was also affecting her bank account badly. 

Experiencing habits is something that everyone experiences every day no matter what. We can see people with habits in the real world all the time. Our habits can impact our work life and how productive and effective we are. These could be either good or bad. For example, someone could have a habit at work where they prepare for time management and may prioritize different tasks. This could definitely help someone stay organized and on top of things. We also could see some habits where maybe someone got used to calling out of work all of the time, or maybe they just formed a habit where they are not as productive as they should be. 

The video that I have attached was found on YouTube, and it is a great TedTalk by Tali Sharot about how we can motivate ourselves to make changes. 




Mate selection post #3

     The topic of reproduction was very interesting to me. In today's unconventional society, I am surprised at how primal our mate selection is. The selection and maintenance of a mate is based on survival and reproduction. While in today's society, there are many couples that choose unconventional relationships such as polyamory, open relationships, and swinger lifestyles. 

    The way the topic was approached I could relate it to many animal species mating patterns. The generic model of man and woman, who mate for survival and reproduction, is much like all animals. The differences are that most species do not mate for life with a single partner. This is actually extremely rare in the animal kingdom with the exception of a few such as swans and penguins. I think of the lion pride, where the dominate male beds with as many lionesses as he pleases. This is for the single purpose of growing the pride in numbers. 

    General characteristics of attractiveness seem to be generalized and focused on what is considered the norm. This leaves a large gap for those who are not attractive to the general consensus of beauty, but find mates based on personality. Today, there is a growing demand to change the perspective on what is considered beautiful in the world. How will the broadening spectrum of beauty affect the process of mate selection? Also, same sex couples do not fit into the definition of mate selection for reproduction and survival. How does the mate selection process apply to them? These are all questions I would love to know more about. I'm glad that the ground work had been laid by this class for me to be able to do some further research on these topics. 

Drug Addiction and Motivation post #2

     I was impressed that the topic of drug addiction and behavioral addiction had made it into the motivational psychology course. There is a direct correlation between self control, impulsivity, rewards, and addiction. I am a recovering drug addict with 8 years clean. I work in the substance use field as well. I can say that there is no amount of will power or self control that can help a person stop using. Most people continue to use substances, even with the knowledge of the negative outcomes that are associated with their behaviors. 12 step fellowships refer to this as "using against your will". Despite seeing the relationships that are severed and the negative situations that occur in their lives due to their use, they are unable to stop. 

    Years ago, there was much more stigma attached to the topic of drug addiction. Now professions, like social work, take a human first perspective on the situation and attempt to spread this type of compassion. Some new developments include using the term "person suffering from substance use disorder" or "person addicted to drugs", instead of "drug addict". Another change made is the use of terminology towards maintenance such as suboxone and methadone. They used to call this medically assisted treatment (MAT), they now use the title medically supported recovery (MSR). These simple changes can affect the way that people view the world of substance use. By smashing the stigma associated with using, it allows people that suffer from substance use to feel more comfortable seeking help. 

Soft commitment post #1

     The topic of soft commitment was very interesting to me. We learned that soft commitment is the development of valuable patterns of behavior that bridges over individual temptations. This includes the substitution of “positive addictions,” such as social activity or exercise, for “negative addictions,” such as drug abuse or overeating.

    This type of behavioral conditioning is highly influenced by what the person values more. For example, someone who values being productive throughout the day may choose to set an alarm to wake up early and have more time to get themselves together. As where a person who values sleep more, may give themselves more time to sleep than to have time to get ready.

    When there is a pattern of behavior, and its interruption is costly, in the sense that a person would pay some price or forgo some reward not to have it interrupted, a person may be thought of as “committed” to its completion. A soft commitment is considered soft because there is a way out. The pattern is able to be interrupted, but it is also a commitment, because its interruption is costly.

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Book Report: Grit

 "Grit" by Angela Duckworth was a thought-provoking and very insightful book that focused into the concept of passion and perseverance as essential ingredients for achieving long-term success. Drawing from her extensive research in the fields of psychology and education, Duckworth introduced the central idea of grit, which she defines as the ability to sustain effort and interest towards long-term goals. Throughout the book, she presents compelling evidence that talent and intelligence alone are not the primary predictors of success; rather, it is the combination of passion, dedication, and resilience that sets high achievers apart. In the first section of the book, Duckworth explores the origins of grit and how it can be cultivated in individuals. She shares her own experiences as a teacher and highlights the significance of a growth mindset, emphasizing that grit is not fixed but can be nurtured over time. Through inspiring stories of real people from diverse backgrounds, Duckworth illustrates how they discovered and honed their passion, using it to fuel their drive despite facing numerous obstacles and setbacks.

The second part of the book focuses on the power of effort and how deliberate practice plays a crucial role in building grit. Duckworth discusses the importance of setting stretch goals, maintaining focus, and continually pushing oneself beyond comfort zones. She emphasizes that grit is not about blindly pursuing one path forever, but rather adjusting and evolving as circumstances change, all while staying committed to the ultimate goal.In the final section, Duckworth examines how to cultivate grit in others, particularly in the context of parenting, teaching, and leadership. She provides practical advice for parents and educators on fostering grit in children and students, including the significance of creating an environment that encourages resilience and embracing failure as an opportunity for growth. In conclusion, "Grit" is an illuminating book that challenges conventional beliefs about success and offers a fresh perspective on achievement. Angela Duckworth's research and insights provide a compelling argument that passion and perseverance are the true drivers of greatness. Through relatable anecdotes and scientific evidence, she presents a roadmap for cultivating grit in oneself and others, inspiring readers to embrace the pursuit of long-term goals with determination and resilience. I personally felt this book was quite eye opening and inspiring. Throughout the book I was amazed by all of her research. She added personal experience such as being a teacher which to me makes it that much more interesting and heartfelt. I would highly recommend this book to others.

Food #1

My son, he absolutely loves sweets. I never realized that it was a preferred taste all around for babies. It also amazed me how they did a study on carrot juice and the babies ended u enjoying the carrot flavors. When I was pregnant, I Loved chicken, when my son started eating purees, he loved chicken as well. Just is amazing to me how strong food can be even in utero. I also liked reading on the conditioning of food. I stress eat constantly. Im currently munching as i typed this due to being stressed. Again it shows how powerful food can be.

The Power of Habit: Book Report

     “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg details how powerful habits are in shaping behavior on a social, organizational, and personal level. The first part of the book discusses the process of how habits develop in the lives of individuals. Then Duhigg focuses more on the habits of different companies and organizations. Finally, the book examines different societal habits. He emphasizes that we can alter habits if we understand how they function. A significant way to understand how habits work is by looking at the concept of the “habit loop.” The habit loop is a three-step process describing how habits form. This pattern includes a cue, routine, and reward. Understanding this process makes habits more easily controllable because people can recognize the cues that lead to their habits. Marketers also use the habit loop to form new habits for consumers. The book emphasizes that habits can only be changed with the belief that change is possible. Duhigg touches on willpower, and how this can be turned into a habit leading to individual success. He states that people can eliminate negative habits, and form more positive ones. This book was interesting and engaging. It taught me a lot about how important habits are and how they can lead to positive life changes. 

    My favorite chapter in the book was chapter 9 titled, “The Neurology of Free Will” which shares the consequences of habit formation. This section of the book touches on the story of a man named Brian who murdered his wife unconsciously in his sleep due to sleep terror. It also tells the story of a woman, Angie who gambled away all of her money and destroyed her life. The central idea of this chapter is to understand the role that habit plays in responsibility and free will. Angie was able to control and understand her gambling behaviors, so she ended up being found guilty in court. However, Brian did not face such consequences, because he had a lack of power over his behaviors being that he was asleep. 

    This chapter stood out to me mainly because of its emphasis on how our habits come with responsibilities that can be positive or negative. I found that Angie's story relates to the slides on drugs, impulsivity/self-control, and rewards. Angie's gambling is a behavioral addiction that affects all aspects of her life, altering her relationships, finances, and ultimately leading to legal trouble. This situation also connects to impulsivity in the way that she would act on her immediate desires without considering the consequences of her actions. Angie did not consider the long-term effects of gambling all of her money away, proving that she acted impulsively without thought. It is evident that she also lacked self-control, or the ability to resist her temptations to gamble. Lastly, having a gambling addiction also ties into rewards because rewards reinforce habits. Angie was driven to gamble and potentially win the reward of money in this case leading to feelings of pleasure and excitement. 

    Learning about Duhigg's ideas about habit formation, its influence on behavior, and how we can change habits can address many current issues. The book provides ways to overcome individual habits that didn't once seem possible to change or break. For example, addictive habits can become positive habits. Many people struggle daily with addictive behaviors, and tackling this problem through the habit loop can lead to a better quality of life for millions of people globally struggling with addiction. Understanding habits can also increase willpower in the workplace, increasing productivity and making things flow more efficiently. In the video below Duhigg explains in detail how the habit loop works and existing research on its effectiveness. He goes into detail about how willpower is needed in jobs to enhance customer service, and how our everyday behaviors are compelled by habits.

Discussion 1: Food Sensitivities


Sensitivity to Food – Allergy, Intolerance, and Celiac Disease | At-Home  Health Tests

Food sensitivities are a complex and increasingly prevalent topic in the realm of nutrition and health. Unlike food allergies, which trigger an immediate and potentially life-threatening immune response, food sensitivities elicit a more delayed and often subtle reaction from the body's immune system. This immune response can lead to a wide range of symptoms, affecting various bodily systems and causing discomfort to individuals who experience them. One of the most well-known types of food sensitivity is lactose intolerance. This condition arises when the body lacks sufficient lactase, an enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose, the sugar present in milk and dairy products. As a result, undigested lactose can cause symptoms such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Lactose intolerance affects a significant portion of the global population, especially among certain ethnic groups. Gluten sensitivity is another prominent example of food sensitivity. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and individuals with gluten sensitivity experience adverse reactions to its consumption. Though distinct from celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten, gluten sensitivity shares similar gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Additionally, non-celiac gluten sensitivity may also manifest in extra intestinal symptoms, including headaches, joint pain, and fatigue. Food sensitivities extend beyond lactose and gluten.

Identifying food sensitivities can be challenging, as symptoms are often diverse and not immediately recognizable. People may endure years of discomfort without realizing the connection to their diet. Elimination diets, where certain foods are temporarily removed from the diet and gradually reintroduced, can be useful in identifying trigger foods. Moreover, medical professionals might employ skin prick tests, blood tests, and food challenges to determine food sensitivities more definitively. As with any dietary concern, it is essential to approach food sensitivities with care and respect for individual needs. Eliminating certain foods from one's diet can result in nutrient deficiencies if not carefully managed. Consequently, seeking guidance from qualified healthcare professionals and registered dietitians is vital in establishing a balanced and safe diet that meets individual requirements. Food sensitivities can significantly impact an individual's quality of life. Constant discomfort and unpredictability surrounding meals can lead to anxiety and stress. Social gatherings and dining out may become sources of unease for fear of encountering trigger foods. However, increasing awareness of food sensitivities has led to a growing market of specialized food products and allergy-friendly restaurants, making life more manageable for those with dietary restrictions.

Food sensitivities also emphasize the importance of personalized nutrition. What works for one person may not be suitable for another, and understanding individual differences is essential in promoting overall well-being. Moreover, food sensitivities underscore the significance of a diverse and balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods to minimize the risk of deficiencies and optimize health. In conclusion, food sensitivities are a multifaceted and increasingly acknowledged aspect of modern nutrition. Their prevalence and impact on individuals' lives make them a topic of ongoing research and discussion in the scientific community. While identifying food sensitivities can be challenging, gaining insight into one's dietary triggers is crucial for managing symptoms and enhancing overall health and well-being. By fostering a greater understanding of food sensitivities and advocating for individualized nutrition, we can create a more inclusive and compassionate approach to dietary choices and accommodate the diverse needs of people worldwide.