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Old Blog – Resurrected

March 10, 2015

Hello there!

1) If you are reading this, thank you! I’m always surprised when someone reads this blog.

2) I realize that years passed between my previous two blogs. I am currently a graduate student studying psychology. As much as I love the subject, I need a break from research every once and awhile. Thus, the resurrection of this blog.

3) What can you expect? Honestly, at this point I am not completely sure. You may get random blogs about my life like I used to post as an undergraduate. You may see blogs like my last one in which I describe a psychological phenomenon. You also may get to see some of my poetry or writing. It will likely vary as my interests vary.

Well, I hope you enjoy my blog and continue or start to read! I’ll do my best to make it worth while!

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Clark Kent is Superman?!: The ease of identity concealment

February 27, 2015

Some people claim that it is unrealistic to believe that people will not recognize Clark Kent as Superman and vice versa. However, that is vastly overestimating the accuracy of eyewitnesses.

Superman’s disguise as Clark Kent is quite simple, consisting mainly of his eyeglasses. With them on he is Clark Kent. With them off he is Superman. Of course his clothes/costume changes, but let’s take a moment to discuss his eyeglasses. Righi, Reissig, and Tarr (2012) conducted a study examining the effects of changing hairstyle and/or the presence of eyeglasses. They found more accuracy when eyeglasses were added than when they were removed at the time of identification. In the context of Superman, this would point toward a lesser likelihood of people who know Clark Kent seeing Superman and recognizing him as his reporter self. However, if someone – say Lois Lane- is accustomed to seeing him without his glasses and they see him with glasses, they would be more likely to recognize Clark Kent as Superman.

On top of this, there are several other factors that would also decrease the likelihood of recognizing Clark Kent as Superman. Consider the heightened stress that people are generally in when in the presence of Superman. Such heightened stress would be likely in any crime scenario, yet alone some of the more intense situations that Superman finds himself. Actually, it is likely that these intense situations would lead to an even greater amount of stress. This is important to note because heightened stress decreases the accuracy of eyewitness identification (Deffenbaucher, Bornstein, Penrod, and McGorty, 2004).

Along with the stress and the other aspects of incidents that would draw attention away from Superman, the amount of time people have Superman’s face in view is important to note. It has been found that a longer exposure duration leads to greater accuracy in identification (Memon, Hope, & Bull, 2003). Considering that Superman can go faster than a speeding bullet, how likely is it that the majority of people will have a quality view of his face for an extended period of time?

The last aspect that I will discuss, though there are several more, is the infamous red underwear. Some say that it is ridiculous to wear underwear on the outside, but it may not be as ridiculous as it appears. Research has examined whether the weapon focus effect (attention is drawn to a weapon and, thus, identification accuracy is decreased) has also looked to see if this effect is actually due to the novelty of the object. Erickson, Lampinen, and Leding (2014) found that people were more likely to identify the incorrect person when there was a novel object or weapon when compared with an object that belongs to the situation. I, for one, would consider red underwear on the outside of clothes as novel. Thus, it is possible that the red underwear serves as a distractor, lessening the likelihood that someone will accurately recognize Superman as Clark Kent.

Combine all of these factors and add in the decay of memory (the longer people have to remember something, the less accurate their memory is), it becomes more understandable that the majority of people do not recognize Superman as Clark Kent.

**For more information on the fallibility of eyewitnesses and the relation of these factors to real-world contexts, you may want to check out the article by Wells, Memon, and Penrod (2006). **

Deffenbacher, K. A., Bornstein, B. H., Penrod, S. D., & McGorty, E. K. (2004). A meta-analytic review of the effects of high stress on eyewitness memory. Law and Human Behavior, 28, 687-706. doi: 10.1007/s10979-004-0565-x

Erickson, W. B., Lampinen, J. M., Leding, J. K. (2014). The weapon focus effect in target-present and target-absent line-ups: The roles of threat, novelty, and timing. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 28, 349-359. doi:10.1002/acp.3005

Memon, A., Hope, L., & Bull, R. (2003). Exposure duration: Effects on eyewitness accuracy and confidence. British Journal of Psychology, 94, 339-354. doi: 10.1348/000712603767876262

Righi, G., Peissig, J. J., & Tarr, M. J. (2012). Recognizing disguised faces. Visual Cognition, 20, 143-169. doi: 10.1080/13506285.2012.654624

Wells, G. L., Memon, A., & Penrod, S. D. (2006). Eyewitness evidence: Improving its probative value. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 7, 45-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-1006.2006.00027.x

Childish Trust

July 30, 2012

The trust of children just amazes me. I was camping with my parents the other day when these random children came up to us as I was trying to buy a drink from a vending machine.  It was a group of sisters, three of them, all on their bikes. At least one still had training wheels.

However, that is not the point. The point is that these three children just came up to us and started talking. (Actually it was a little difficult to disengage from the conversation).  That’s kids for you. Strangers or not, they will trust others. It’s how they make friends and explore the world. It doesn’t matter if they’ve never seen you before or if they will ever see you again. They are just willing to talk to anyone, and just want to have fun.

They trust that you won’t harm them and will be nice.

For example, one of the girls got me to kill what she thought was a wasp that was on her bike. She trusted that I would do so for her.

At what point in life does this trust and openness diminish or disappear?

I’m not sure, but generally speaking, adults don’t talk to everyone they meet. What’s the point? You could be some sort of criminal and if not they will probably never see you again. So, there is no point.

 

But children, they just don’t care, they just want to enjoy life.

 

Can I go back to that? Please?!

Eccentricity

July 26, 2012

I have a weird tendency, or is it weird? Well I don’t know, you can be the judge. I really don’t care either way, I accept my eccentricity.

What is this weird tendency of mine?

… Well, sometimes, I sing whatever pops into my mind… out loud… but usually not in crowded public places. So, perhaps it is not that weird.

Anyway, here is a story for you.

I was walking down the street trying to figure out the motivation and backstory of some characters in a story and eventually my rambling to the fields turned into singing, which is fine, nothing too odd about that.

But then, as I was headed back home, and after my random singing turned into more of a repeating about how messed up everybody is, a guy biked by and said something to me. It sounded like it was either “amen” or “Hey, man”. I’m really not sure… maybe he wasn’t even speaking to me, but I think he was.  Though, I have no real way of knowing since he just biked on by.

 

This leaves me with several questions.

  1. Was his comment actually directed to me?
  2. Provided it was, what did he actually say?
  3. Did he even hear me singing.
  4. If so, what part did he hear/ was agreeing to?

 

So many questions!

Which made me think about how sometimes the capacity to read minds would be useful, but then I don’t really want to read minds all the time. Or perhaps just being able to rewind and review what happened would be beneficial to understanding what transpired. Thus omniscience becomes a desirable characteristic, although perhaps not always.

Of course, there is always the less complex way to look at it.

Maybe I should just not walk around singing in general… but where is the fun in that?

Power of Ranting

July 12, 2012

Today, I take a break from the whole Europe-changed-my-life topic to talk about something that is more familiar to people… ranting.

Ranting is a rather powerful thing.

It can be used as a cathartic release.

It can be used to make a point (although it may not be the most effective way).

It can even be used to make important decisions.

How can ranting do this?

Well, let me explain with a story (that’s the best type of explanation anyway, isn’t it?)

The other day I was driving my friend home, ranting about there is no way I could manage to do everything that I was planning on doing during the upcoming semester. Literally, there are not enough hours in a week. Anyway amidst all this ranting I realized what it was that I was most willing to give up. I wasn’t really allowing myself to think of quitting it before because I helped to start the student organization, but by the time I made it to her house, I realized that it would add a lot of time commitment and I am not set on doing it. Although I may still go to some meetings, and definitely show my support… there  are other interests I would rather develop, and if I lack the time to do it all (and I’m betting I will) I now know what will be the first thing to go.

All thanks to the power of ranting.

Adjusting

July 7, 2012

So there’s this thing called “Reverse Culture Shock”. It’s the term for when you return from a time abroad and you experience culture shock… but the culture “shocking” you is your own… but now you’re different than you were and you have adjusted to living in a different country with a different way of living.

Luckily, I have yet to experience that too badly (I returned to the USA about 4 days ago). What I have experienced is disappointement when I went to the grocery store ( I prefer my store in Spain…), eating fast food at McDonalds for the first time in about half a year, and having a messed up sleep schedule… among other things.

So far, the hardest part really has been the sleep schedule. As grateful as I am that I didn’t have jet lag like I did when I arrived in Spain, it was rather frustrating being exhausted today but not able to nap… which, by the way, I never have problems with. I’m a sleep-aholic, it makes no sense that I couldn’t fall asleep for a nap… I blame the adjustment phase.

Although eating McDonalds was interesting as well… I mean, it tasted rather good because that’s the point of McDonalds, it’s all processed to be delicious and addicting, but since my belly is used to food that is more fresh, without much, if any, processing it wasn’t too happy… but that’s ok.

Anyway, I’m bound to find other things different about being back here… I can already think of several other things, but that’s alright, it’s all part of adjusting. Besides, everyone has adjusting to do in their lives… my current adjustments just happen to refer to these changes.

European Fairy Tale

June 24, 2012

In the movies, when a woman goes traveling to or through Europe it generally is a fairy tale of sorts. (Except for movies like Taken… but let’s not think about that too much). You know what I’m talking about… the woman always gets whisked away on some grand, probably romantic adventure. But let’s face reality, shall we? I and my friends have been in Europe for 5 months now… none of us have met our “prince charming”.  Life isn’t a fairy tale. (Even though companies like Disney would like us to believe so.)

Fairy tales don’t exist, and even though princes do exist… movies like Cinderella, Snow White, and The Little Mermaid are absurd on various levels, but I digress.

As nice as it would be for life to become a fairy tale, for everything to fall into place, and yada yada yada… it’s just not going to happen. Life takes work and effort and you have to make your life into the “fairy tale” you want or it just won’t exist.

For my time in Europe that has involved traveling to the places I wanted to see, even if no one wanted to come with me, meeting some pretty awesome people along the way, and challenging myself in more ways than I have been challenged in a long time. I’ve learned that I can make what I want happen, if I try hard enough.  Seeing the Eifel Tower glisten, finding a September 11 memorial in Pompei, Italy, wandering in the first ever national park of Ireland (as well as several other cities), and everything else I’ve done with my time here, all of it went into creating want has been an amazing European adventure.

But you know what it hasn’t been?

A European Fairy Tale.

Besides having been lost, missing trains, etc., the ideal fairy tale involves a Prince Charming, whom I have not met… I guess it could have been the guy in the metro with the flag acting like a matador as I walked by, but I was busy writing in my notebook at the time.

Besides, if it was, I think I prefer to live my life sans a “fairy tale”

… or wait until I find The Doctor and his TARDIS…

whichever works out.