About Me Recap

I first started using this blog for my psychology class assignments in February. I ended my first post with the question: “Does the knowledge of psychology change the way that individuals view the world?” Well I never got a straight forward answer but it’s not really a straight forward question so I had to interpret the results by my own experience from the class. I believe the answer is yes, knowledge of psychology definitely changes a persons’ perspective. I learned it first hand. Learning about mental disorders was the most beneficial to my life because many of my friends have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety and sometimes both. I have always been there for them to listen, but I never really understood what was really going on in their heads. Now, I’m one step closer and I’m learning how to acknowledge what they are going through.

A lot of things have changed since my first “About Me” post, so let me catch you up. I am now a junior at Austin College. I switched my major over the course of the spring semester from biology to english and my two minors are now biology and music. I plan on pursuing a career in biology-based journalism in the future, hopefully with a job that travels. I experienced new things in my life that have given me a different perspective. I’ve developed bonds with new friends that I never imagined would happen. I’ve met new people and reconnected with old friends. I’ve dealt with drama here and there, some of it being of my own doing, though unintentionally. I’ve done some soul searching and realized that I don’t know myself that well. I guess I have more progress to make in that department. Overall, I’ve done a lot of learning and emotional growing over that past 4 months.

I plan on using this blog site as a place for me to practice journalism but also get some of my ideas for creative writing out there as well. I will be reviewing movies, posting some of my poetry and short story ideas, and relaying my ideas on a few Ted Talks that I watch.  This is mostly for me, but if you are reading this I hope that you enjoy what I write and please feel free to comment your opinions!:)


Schizophrenia is a long-term mental disorder that can cause a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation. It is generally a mentality that is characterized by inconsistent and contradictory elements.

The simulation that I was required to watch really opened my eyes about schizophrenia. The video warned me about visual and auditory effects that were designed to demonstrate the multiple hallucinations and delusions that someone with the mental health issue experiences on a daily basis. It used a first person shot, so that the viewer could experience the video from the perspective of the patient. This helped the voice-overs to represent the “voices in his head” and the illusions portrayed to seem more realistic.

The video reminded me of a horror video game, which are programmed with certain features that are meant to thrill the player. The first person view was similar to video game design as well as the voices talking to me and telling me what to do. It was even more intense when the voices would contradict themselves and what the character was doing. Another effect commonly used in games is bizarre altercations like the bubbling pizza and the altered letters on the box that read “Poizzon”. My favorite part which really freaked me out the most, was when the weather man started talking through the tv to the main character, telling him that the weather was out to get him and mocking that he wasn’t going to do anything about it. The multiple voices arguing at once was very distracting and made it difficult for the character to perform actions that he wanted.

In the media schizophrenia is commonly seen as so out-of-control that the patient needs constant attention and a safe location such as a mental hospital. The hallucinations are thought to be so extreme that the person is unable to live in reality at all, when actually the person is situated in reality with a few additions that make it difficult to perform actions without fear.

The media has used movies like A Beautiful Mind, The Soloist, and Donnie Darko to portray schizophrenia in film. This has the effect of over-exaggerating and adding things that are “sexy for the screen”, and don’t accurately portray the realities of living in the mind of a schizophrenic. I have not seen any of these movies, nor any other movie (as I am aware) that demonstrates the mental disorder. This may or may not have effected my reaction to the video watched. I have never really learned in much detail about the mental disorder, schizophrenia, I just always knew it was a struggle for those who suffer from it.


What do you Prefer?

Sugar in Coffee. Honey in Tea. Why does Nobody understand Me?

I took two of the Implicit Association Tests to determine how biased I am at the unconscious level.  I found the tests to be fun and interesting. I was curious to see my results because I personally find myself to be a fairly understanding and accepting person. I believe that all people are equal no matter size, color, sexuality, or social status. I have always been this way. As a child, I was kind to everyone and even though I wasn’t considered one of the “popular kids”, everyone liked me. I got along with the popular kids, but I also would play with the “weirdos” that no one else liked, because they are still people. That’s one of the issues with feminism that I have. I don’t want to be seen as a weak domestic woman who belongs in the kitchen, but I also don’t want to be seen as a strong independent woman who don’t need no man. I just want to be seen as a person, with my own goals, my own opinions, and my own potential for greatness.

Coming here to Austin College has been beneficial to me because I have been exposed to the liberal arts ideas as well as befriending people who are politically liberal. Not that I was extremely conservative before, but the exposure has helped me grow as an individual as well as learn more about others.

The first test that I took was the Gay – Straight IAT. I was interested in this test because I have multiple friends here at school whom are bisexual or homosexual. Even more so because I am learning more about my own sexuality. My results suggested that I have little to no automatic preference between gay and straight people. I would say this is fairly accurate because I am a supporter of gay rights and I accept my friends that are in the noodle club. Some of my closest friends are bisexual, one of my best friends is a lesbian, and I’m currently dating a man who is confused about his own sexuality. As for me, let’s just say that there is a reason they call me Zaloodle when alcohol is present.

The second test that I took was the Fat – Thin IAT. I decided to take the test over weight because I was curious about my results. Before taking the test I thought about the people I hang out with and my preference with dating. I noticed that the majority of my friends are thin and exercise regularly. I am also a member of the volleyball team, so I am exposed to that environment more often than not. Due to the fact that I am mostly around thin people, I was curious to see if this was pure coincidence or if there were underlying reasons behind my choice in friends. My results suggested that I have no automatic preference between fat and thin people. I was relieved by this, because I like to think of myself as a person who accepts all people, no matter their appearance.

Personality is another matter though. I’ll get to that later.

Megamind Memory

Did you know that the brain is the only organ to name itself?

It has always been known that the brain is amazing. It holds so much information. It learns so fast. To put it simply, the brain is really smart. The big question that scientist have been scratching their chins about is “how much?” Well, a recent study over memory capacity shows us evidence of just that. Researchers at Salk Institute for Biological Studies ran an experiment to measure the memory capacity of the human brain using the hippocampus of a rat.

First, we will explore some background information on the brain before jumping into the experiment. The brain is made up of specialized cells called neurons that can receive and send information. Brain cells are made up of dendrites that receive signals and an axon which sends information through axon terminals to other neurons. Approximately 100 billion neurons make up the entire brain. They form a uniques system of connections known as synapses that encode, store, and retrieve information in the mind.

The experiment began with an interesting finding during the reconstruction of a rat hippocampus, a part of the brain that is deals with memory. Scientists noticed that for some neurons, the axon would form synapses with multiple dendrites of a neighboring cell. This would mean that the message being sent from sender to receiver would be duplicated, leaving the researchers to wonder if the receiving dendrites were of the same size and strength. If they were, then the information being transferred would be strong and the information would be the same. If they were different, then the information would be slightly varied, leading to a complexity of receiving different information from the same axon.

When furthering the investigation, the researchers found an eight percent difference between the dendrites, which is calculated to be approximately twenty-six new synapse sizes. This means that the variation of storage size, a 10-fold increase in storage capacity in the hippocampus, is much greater than once thought. One of the scientist, Tom Bartol, tells of how “It’s an order of magnitude more capacity than we knew was there”.

It is argued that if we can hold so much information in our brains, why do we forget things? It takes longer to store and retrieve info than it does to absorb and interpret events that occur in the world around us. It’s almost impossible to completely measure the exact amount storage space there is because of a few reasons. 1) Each individual has a different amount of space and a different pace of storing and retrieving info. 2) There is so much information absorbed that it is difficult to keep tabs on what all we take in. 3) The synapse process is so insanely quick that technology is not ready to keep up with it yet. As for the future, the Salk institute hopes to run more tests to see if there are similar pathways like the ones in the hippocampus.

Do You Know Me Yet?

Test 1:

Humanmetrics Jung Typology Test™
Extravert(12%)  Sensing(12%)  Feeling(22%)  Judging(9%)
I found this test to be only slightly accurate to my personality type. The questions were accurate to predicting my personality, but they were redundant and too repetitive. Most were not in-depth and only offered the same questions. The results are hard to interpret, and although they are mostly similar to my type, they are still far off from what they could be.

Test 2:

INFJ “Author”

Strong drive and enjoyment to help others. These are serious students and workers who really want to contribute. They make good therapists, general practitioners, and ministers. 1% of the total population.

This test was more accurate to what I would consider my personality to be like, but it still did not feel as precise as I would have liked. The questions weren’t very detailed and didn’t give enough options for it to produce an accurate answer to each question. Sometimes I wanted to choose both or neither for a question but I was forced to pick one or the other.

Test 3:

This test allowed me to choose on a scale, which I found to be the most true to answering the various questions. It was easier to decide and I agree with my results to a point. I don’t find myself to be as extroverted as the test predicted me to be.

Color Test – Results

Your Existing Situation

Works well with others. Needs personal relationships which are understanding and relatively conflict-free.

Your Stress Sources

“Feels empty and isolated from others and wishes to overcome this feeling. Believes life has more to offer her than what she was experienced thus far, and doesn’t want to miss out on anything. she purses all her goals and dreams, fearful that any missed opportunity will cause her to miss out on even more. Quickly becomes an expert in any field she pursues and can sometimes come off as overbearing and nosy.”

Your Restrained Characteristics

Current events leave her feeling forced into compromise in order to avoid being cut off from affection or future cooperation.

Feels unhappy and isolated because she is unable to succeed in finding the cooperation and understanding she desires.

“Current situation makes her feel unable to prove himself, but tries to make the best of things.”

Open and emotionally involved in relationships and easily finds satisfaction through sexual activity.

Your Desired Objective

Very active imagination and may be prone to fantasies and daydreaming. Always dreaming of interesting and exciting things to happen to her. Is a charmer and wants to be admired for that.

Your Actual Problem

“Fears she will be held back from achieving things she really wants, leading her to search endlessly for satisfaction and become involved in activities which are pointless.”

Your Actual Problem #2

“Feeling held back and restricted from moving forward, looking for a solution that will give her more freedom and less obstacles.”

This test was surprisingly 100 percent true. I found it bizarre that a test that was so simple in design could produce such complex and accurate results. The color test was silly to take because I felt that I didn’t have to try, which may have brought out my true personality and have led to the most precise answers. This test demonstrates me completely, more than I thought I knew about myself. 

Don’t Judge Me

In the first video, I observed how discrimination can be learned when even small differences are found between two people. The value of each type is weighed and the trait that is deemed superior gains a sense of power that is unnecessary and harmful to the community. Children who had blue eyes were determined as having a higher intelligence and value than the children who had brown eyes. After learning this, the brown eyed children were treated differently because they were seen as lower. In the class, there was fighting and hating that hadn’t been there before.

In the second video, I learned how stereotypes are not always applied to other people, but can be applied to ourselves because of threat. Stereotypes threaten people because they feel like they are doomed to be judged by others. The negative stereotypes prevent individuals from performing their best or presenting their true self because the image of the stereotype gets in the way.

In the final video, I learned about how the pygmalion effect and positive expectations can help students increase their intelligence. The first factor is being nice to the students that are given the positive expectations. The kindness in the tone and words of the teacher helps the child to respond positively and increase their efforts. The second factor is the input factor where teachers give more information to students they believe will be able to learn more and won’t waste their time on children who won’t be able to. The third factor is the response factor where children who have more expected from them are called on more and have longer time periods to answer questions. And the last factor is feedback, giving positive feedback to students with positive expectations and negative or no feedback to students with low expectations.

Overall, these videos have taught me that not all teaching styles are equal. As I remember back to my own experiences, I can recall these different types of learning that happened in the schools I attended. To fix this, teachers will need to learn and understand the importance of equal opportunities in the classroom.

Level Up

Video games have become increasingly bought in todays’ society, with the most popular for adolescent boys being violent. Games such as “Call of Duty”, “Grand Theft Auto”, and “Assassins Creed”, involve first-person visuals of mass amounts of violence and are some of the most popular games. The actions of fighting, stealing, and shooting involved in these games has been accused of causing aggression leading to public violence in the world. On the other hand, some might view violent war games as propaganda that can help prepare future soldiers for the traumatic events they will encounter.

The website, http://videogames.procon.org/#Background, provides valid evidence for both sides of the argument on video game violence. Below are the two sides of the argument listed on the website:


  • Game sales have increased while juvenile crime rate has decreased
  • Studies claiming a causal link between video game violence and real life violence are flawed
  • The US Supreme Court ruled that violent video games do not cause aggressive actions
  • Players are able to release stress and anger in games
  • Gamers can distinguish between violence within a game and appropriate behavior in the real world
  • The population that plays violent games is too large to show a causal relationship with people who commit violent crimes
  • Many risk factors are associated with youth violence, but video games are not among them.
  • Violent video games provide opportunities for children to explore virtually the consequences of violent actions and to develop their moral compasses.
  • Statistically, gun violence is less prevalent in countries with high video game use.
  • The competitive nature of a video game is what arouses aggression, not the level of violent content.


  • Playing violent video games causes more aggression, bullying, and fighting
  • There is broad consensus among medical associations, pediatricians, parents, and researchers that violent video games increase aggressive behavior
  • Many perpetrators of mass shootings played violent video games
  • Violent video games desensitize players to real-life violence
  • By inhabiting violent characters in video games, children are more likely to imitate the behaviors of those characters and have difficulty distinguishing reality from fantasy
  • Exposure to violent video games is linked to lower empathy and decreased kindness
  • Video games that portray violence against women lead to more harmful attitudes and sexually violent actions towards women
  • The American Psychological Association (APA) lists violent video games as a risk factor for aggressive behavior
  • Video games encourage and reward violent behavior
  • The US military uses violent video games to train soldiers to kill

The website provides a strong argument for both sides that is backed up with observed evidence. I personally am not a fan of violent video games because I find it unnecessarily aggressive, but I do not believe they have a connection to violent acts in the community.

Feeling Crazy?

Jim Fallon: Exploring the mind of a Killer

I am interested in how someone becomes a killer. Mostly because I am a fan of crime shows such as criminal minds, but also because people with this brain malfunction live among us. I want to know if it is genetic, environmental, or something else, maybe a multitude of factors that result in a psychopathic mind. Jim Fallon used scientific studying of the brain to analyze the differences between a normal mind and a psychopathic one and figure out what factors cause the mind to be corrupt. He evaluated that there is a gene that can be activated when a traumatic environmental event occurs to a person who has not yet hit puberty. The gene is sex-linked on the X chromosome and males are more susceptible of inheriting the gene. This is because males are hemizygous (containing an X and a Y chromosome) and they only inherit one X chromosome, from their mother. Therefore, there is not a second X chromosome to counteract the initial gene, like there is in girls. When a person expresses the gene, they release an immense amount of serotonin, more than a normal amount, which causes the brain to become insensitive to the chemical. Serotonin is the chemical in the brain that helps keep a person calm. When there is a problem involving serotonin, anxiety is increased which can lead to depression. Another key factor of develping the mind of a psychopath, is precise timing. During the development of a child before puberty, a trigger that turns on the gene, is a traumatic act of violence that they see in real life. As Fallen put it:

Having the gene + seeing a lot of violence = disaster

Before watching the video, I would have assumed that having the kind of brain damage to be a psychopath would have solely depended on environmental factors. I didn’t think that nurture had as big of an affect as nature, but after seeing the video I can tell that the environment is the trigger and the gene has the biggest cause of brain damage. I think that Jim Fallon was fairly trustworthy because he showed evidence of his research by showing the PET scans and comparing the varying types. He had a good argument for what he proposed and his presentation was clear and went in an order that was easy to follow.

Being a biology major who is interested in the genetics field, I am interested in investigating further about how the gene is inherited and triggered, especially how it affects girls. I would also investigate how much serotonin is too much and what happens if there is not enough and how those two differ. And finally, if the different types of psychopaths are caused by nurture or nature.




Coffee Nut

Wake up. Coffee. Go to class. Coffee. Homework. Coffee….

Does having early classes increase the intake of coffee by college students?

If a college student is taking morning class, then they will increase their coffee take. A majority of college students stay up late doing homework irregardless of what time they need to wake up. The average student with morning classes will get up early to have class and then nap in the afternoon, leaving all of their homework to be done in the evening. This results in the student going to bed late and not getting enough sleep to fully function in the morning class. Therefore, students with early classes will feel the need to drink coffee to get through the morning.

A cheap and easy method to test this, is by having students fill out a survey. For a more detailed study, the researcher might send a survey during fall semester and then a follow-up survey in the spring to the participants of the first survey. This would show a comparison between the two semesters,  where a student might have a different schedule and therefore, a different intake of coffee.

Some of the questions asked will be:

  1. How many morning classes do you have each day? (Between 8am and 10am)
  2. How many days in the week do you drink coffee?
  3. How much coffee do you drink daily?
  4. How often do you skip/ sleep through your morning class(es)?
  5. How often do you sleep during class?
  6. What time do you go to bed on average?
  7. How often do you take naps?
  8. When, on average, do you do the majority of your homework?

Running a survey is quick and asks direct questions related to the topic being studied. It would test all college students, from which a random selection of volunteers would participate, giving the study a good variation. Unfortunately, the survey would leave availability for lying and bias because it asks about a student’s sleep schedule. Student’s know that it is wrong to sleep during class, so they might lie about not doing it. This can alter the results and cause an inaccurate study.


About Me…

Hi, I’m Zoe. I am a biology major and a english and music double minor. I am on the volleyball team for Austin College as well as in the A Capella choir. I am a sophomore and I live in Houston. I just returned from the Hawaii Jan Term and I recommend that if you haven’t been there you need to go. If you are reading this, you are either in my psych 101 class or lost somewhere on the internet. I choose to take this class for two very simple reasons: first of all, psychology is an interesting study and everyone should learn about it; and second of all, it will help me with my major. It is basically a fun class that interests me but will also benefit me in the long run. Bonus!

When I think about psychology I remember a saying my father always said “Individuals are smart, but people are stupid”. It makes you think about people as individuals and how their actions and behaviors make up what is the entire human race. Given this, I would like to learn more about how the society affects the individual and how the individual affects the society. I am really looking forward to the blogs because I have never done one before and I think it is a good way to write down your thoughts for the world to compare. I also find the pop culture research to be a refreshing assignment that will give me a chance to set down my history books and take a look around the present. It’s neat to know instead of studying ‘what was’ I will be reviewing ‘what is’. Lastly, I can’t wait to jump in and learn about memory so that I can improve my own as well as help others! I am not so excited for weekly quizzes simply because I don’t like them and I’m not sure how I feel about the online lectures yet although they do free up class time. The blog comments aren’t going to be my favorite either because I don’t like criticizing other viewers thoughts, beliefs, and ideas. I leave that to the professors.

At the end of this semester I would like to know: Does the knowledge of psychology change the way that individuals view the world?