Posted by: Anne E. Stuart | October 12, 2012

Friday Five – October 12, 2012

Greetings from Atlanta. As most of my students know, I’m currently at the Society for the Teaching of Psychology Best Practices Conference in Atlanta, GA. This year’s conference is on the teaching of statistics and research methods. My colleague and I are presenting two talks today: one on the changes we have made in our Advanced Statistics course, and the other on the changes we have made in our Experimental Psychology course.

Mean professor that I am, I have left my students with “homework” while I’m away. But while they get a break from listening to me talk, I’m spending my day in talks –today’s sessions run from 8:15am to 8:30pm. There are more talks tomorrow from 8:15 to noon.

This week’s picks come mostly from tweets I saw on Wednesday. Monday was a holiday, so I didn’t spend much time following my feed. Tuesday was an unexpected sick day and I also didn’t follow my feed. Thursday, I spent most of the day travelling with mixed internet connectivity.

I do acknowledge that this week’s picks are a little more relevant to my Human Sexuality class than Intro Psych, but I hope you’ll all find something of interest here. Here are this week’s five:

Huffington Post (Carolina Moreno) – October 9, 2012

We generally think of there being only two genders, but as this is not always the case. This video and text explain that in southern Mexico, the Zapotec people have embraced a third gender, the muxes.

PsyBlog (Jeremy Dean) – October 10, 2012

We often think other people can read us like a book. We think our feelings are obvious to others and often get offended when others don’t realize how we feel. Well, as this link shares, we’re not as transparent as we think we are. What’s amusing is that, even though I am well aware of this illusion of transparency, I often catch myself expecting others around me to know what I’m thinking.

HuffPost: Gay Voices – October 10, 2012

October is LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) History Month in the US. It encompasses October 11, which is National Coming Out Day, and honors the history of gay rights. The link presents 21 influential black LGBT icons. [Author’s note: Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I will not tolerate comments that are intentionally derogatory towards others.]

The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice (Lindsey Fitzharris) – August 7, 2012

This link came across my twitter feed after I had posted last week’s Friday Five. Had it come across earlier, I’m certain something would have been sacrificed for the inclusion of this link. But, I get to include it this week. I always find it interesting to teach sexual and medical history to my students. The ideas of years past seem so foreign given today’s knowledge. (For instance, I had to explain in Wednesday’s Human Sexuality class that humans didn’t always know that germs caused disease, and as a result, we weren’t so concerned about hygiene.)

Scientific American (John McCarthy) – October 10, 2012

The brain is a marvelous and mysterious organ. As much as advances in science have allowed researchers to study the brain and mental processes, so much still eludes study. This link describes the ways in which attention can be known and the ways that are still a mystery to researchers.



  1. The first article I read was “The Illusion of Transperency.” I think its true that we think everyone around us knows how we feel at the moment. We feel a certain way inside and we feel like they can feel it too. I believe that we can over exaggarate the fact that people can see exactly how we feel. For example, when I had to do competition for cheerleading, I was so nervous and I felt like everyone in the audience knew exactly how nervous I was. People came up to me and did say anything about my nerves. We just expect everyone to know how we feel at the moment but its not always that way. We probably think Obama has no nerves at all but he could have so many. We think we can read people but we cannot.

    The second article I read was “O, Wandering Womb! Where Art Thou?” Medical history is always interesting to hear about. Such as, when they thought someone “crazy” they would crack your skull open and thought that was the cure. This one about hysteria is kind of funny. I think it could have been more common in women in that century so they made up the theory that it had to do with their wombs. But now they say it can happen in any gender so it could be that they did not pay attention to the men who had it because they wanted to believe so bad that it was a “woman disease.” We no longer think this because we have the technology to know that is not true.

  2. The first article that I had a huge interest in and I totally support is “LGBT History Month: 21 Influential Black LGBT Icons”. The reason why I support this article is because I did not know that there were so many African American LGBT icons. Also how they have their own history month and actual day to express their sexuality with others. I didn’t know that so many great musicans and actors where LGBT icons like Langston Hughes and James Baldwin just a couple of names to point out that were both involved in the Harlem Renaissance and The Civil Rights Movement. I have so much respect for them and the fact that they are Icons.

    The second article I read was “O,wandering Womb! Where Art Thou?” I thought this article was also intresting because when they thought someone was loco they would crack their heads open to get rid of a evil spirt or curse. I thought it was totally wrong how they called the disease a “woman disease” If I was a women I would be totally insulted.

  3. The first article I read was “The illusion of Transpareny”. As I read this article it began to make more and more sense. When I first started reading it I was thinking to myself “im pretty sure people know excatly what im thinking by my facial expressions”. I honestly still feel like my emotions are transparent to others that are around me. Maybe thats only true in certain cases. When I got to the part in the article about the “Tap out Song” I found it super funny because that happens to me all the time and I swear that the other person is going to guess the song. I guess the illusion of transpareney only exsitcs to some people. The second article I read was ” How the Brain does ” Attention” is still Unknown” this article kinda shocked me just a little bit. It made me wonder how the brain works with people who have attention dissorders. I found it interesting that monkeys and people can focus attention on one object and ignore distractions. Reading that part of the article made me wonder if attention dissorders can happen in monkeys.

  4. The first article i read was “The Illusion of Transperency.” It delt with the idea that people think others can sense their nervousness when infact they cant. People think their emotions are easily readable by others. I can see why people think that because when i have to present a speech in front of the class i feel like everyone can sense how nervous i am. This article made me realize that people actually cant sense your nervousness as much as we think. This is gonna help me a lot especially when it comes to speaking in the future.

    The second article i read was “O, Wandering Womb! Where Art Thou?”. It was about how back in the day (18th C) people thought hysteria was a physiological issue. They thought women could only get it. I thought this was funny because it was like men couldn’t get hysteria.

  5. The first article I read was called the “Illusion of Transparency.” I learned that most people actually overestimate how people view their nervousness. I always that it was obvious for an audience/crowd to recognize whether or not a speaker is nervous. The presenter would move around, mix up words etc. I have found myself sending text messages and having the interpretation being the complete opposite than what I actually meant to say. I believe that sending messages via the web can give off mixed signals and definitely can’t always reflect our true emotions and feelings.

    The second article I read about muxes in Mexico, was one I found interesting. Every culture has their own way of accepting people for who they are, and I find that these muxes are similar to what we call transgenders in the United States. I admire that the indigenous people of Mexico are accepting just like many Americans are accepting of the similar, drag queen like people.

  6. The first article I read was “O, Wandering Womb! Where Art Thou?” I found this article interesting and funny because people really thought hysteria and pregnancy were connected. The only cure would have been to get married and have children. It was interesting to see how back in the day that nobody knew a lot about anatomy or psychology.

    The second article I read was “The Illusion of Transparency”. This was about how we overestimate how others perceive our emotions and feelings. We think others can see that we’re nervous or embarassed, but they cannot see it as much as we do. They used the example of tapping out the tune of a song. The other person listening perceived the tune completely different than what the person tapping thought. It goes to show that people cannot detect our feelings just by looking at us.

  7. The two articles I chose to read were “The Illusion of Transparency”, and “How the Brain Does “Attention” is still unknown”.

    Upon reading the article pertaining to the illusion of transparency and public speaking, it was very surprising to learn that our feelings are not easily known. In this article, I have realized that the problem with public speaking fright, or “stage fright”, is both perception and self-confidence. The fact that we perceive that one can read our emotions strongly affects our self-confidence when in front of large crowds. I also found the “tap a song technique” very helpful. It is a strong representation of the truth of transparency. While we often think we are as readable as a picture book, we are actually not.

    I found the second article about attention particularly interesting. I was surprised to learn that such an important task of the brain was unknown. The fact that a sense of attention if undefinable, is sort of scary. However, scientists have found small hints to as how humans become attentive, but the whole idea of attention is still a mystery. Even through rigorous tests that affect the neurons, attention still remains unknown. Hopefully, in the near future, the true meaning of attention and how we become attentive will be revealed.

  8. The two articles that I chose was were “Muxes in Mexico” and “LGBT History Month.”

    The article about muxes in Mexico was not really that interesting because I already heard of these type of people in America. Except we do not call them muxes, we call them gay or transvestites. That is pretty much what their third genders are. The way they are different from America is because they actually accept these third genders and consider them as blessings.

    The LGBT article I found interesting. The reason is because I never knew that Langston Hughes was gay. I also found out a few other historical blacks were also gay. I think its a good look for Obama to support same sex marriage because that will get him more votes in the polls.

  9. The first article that I read was “The Illusion of Transparency”. What I learned from the reading was that people assume they know what someone’s feeling just by their facial expressions or actions when in reality, they really can’t. I used to believe that when a person’s expression looks a certain way, you can tell how they are feeling right off the bat. Though, a person can look one way on the outside and feel completely different on the inside.

    The second article I read was “O Wandering Womb, Where Art Thou?”. When I read this article, I thought it was interesting because they thought that only women got it. I remember talking about this in class on how they would crack people’s head open to solve the problem of hysteria.

  10. The two articles I chose to read were “The Illusion of Transparency”, and “How the Brain Does “Attention” is still unknown”.

    I believe that others think people get stage frighted because they are not confident in themselves and the facial expressions show others their moods. But sometimes because you look like you happy doesnt mean you are, or it could be the other way around.

    The second article was very interesting to know that a small part of are brain witch involves attention has not been discovered yet. For our attention not to be fully discovered yet is kind of weird somewhat. Hopefully nearby scientist will find the results to this.

  11. The first article I read was, “The Illusion of Transparency”. I found it interesting that people are better at hiding their emotions than they think. They assume that people will be able to tell how they feel by how they look at any point. The idea of tapping out a song just enhanced the fact that people are hard to judge even when playing songs like “Happy Birthday” and “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

    The second article I read was, “O, Wandering Womb! Where Art Thou?” This article is just another reminder on how far we have advanced medically through our understanding of the human body. Thinking that hysteria can only occur with women is almost foolish nowadays. But, in ancient times, the womb was looked at the reason for such a disorder. They determined that hysteria was a physiological problem instead of a psychological problem. It just makes me wonder how many other disorders they wrongly documented.

  12. First article I started to read was The Illusion of Transparency and I noticed the facts written in the article happen to me all the time. When presenting in a crowd I’ll get nervous and I always felt like people could see how nervous I actually was whether or not I was sweating or shaking. When the article explained written communication I immediately started to think, that must happen to everyone. Reason why is say I’m texting someone a long story and I think I said everything correct and explained myself as thorough as possible. But they text me back saying “What did you say?” or “Huh?”. I completely understood what I said but they misinterpreted it or jumbled the words around, illusion of transparency.
    I read the other four articles and the only one I could explain would be How the Brain Does “Attention” is Still Unknown. Humans focus on certain things, remember one’s face at one point. But then forget little things, the brain is remarkable. As for monkeys as the article explains, they don’t pay attention to those sort of things. They can focus like people. Monkeys trained have a great attention span focusing on say a red dot it moves and they press a button said in the article. I wonder if this explains how monkeys are trained to go in space though? Just a random though.

  13. The first article I read was ” the illusion of transperacy” I found this article to be interesting because most of the time what other people perceive about you is most of the time not always true.. But a lot of the times we expect others, especially our significant others to know how we are feeling but yet what they perceived is not even a slight but of how we feel.

    The other article I read was “how the brain does attention is still unknown” so this article I was surprised about, I thought with all the technology in the world today we would have this one down…

  14. The first article i read was ” The illusion of transperancy”. I found this article interseting being i always believed that emotions were easily readable, especially nervousness. When a speaker gets in front of an audience i felt as though everyone in the crowd knows if the speaker is confident or nervouse, however this is not the case. If a speaker is in fact nervouse, it is not as easy for the crowd to detect this as the speaker may think. I found this to be very interesting and changed my perspective on group speaking.

    The second article i read was ” Muxes in Mexico” which dealt with the contriversy of “muxes” which are comparable too transgenders, and how the culture of mexico is learning to except them as individuals.

  15. The articles I read were “The illusion of Transparency” and “how the Brain does “Attention” is still unknown”.

    The first article”The illusion of Transparency” was very interesting. It made sense to me because it happens commonly where you think your so clear with telling someone something over and email or a text and the meaning gets twisted or changed. Also when your nervous or lying you think your so obvious about it, but in reality your not. So I thought it was interesting because I seem to find myself in these situations often.

    The second article I read was “How the Brain does “Attention” is still unknown”.This was also interesting because of the tests that were run. I thought it was crazy how they used monkeys to test there theory (or question about the brain) by having monkeys focus on the red square while all the distractions were around the square and yet they were still able to focus and push the button when it moved. It was also kind of cool the way the body can just fire neurons focused on one thing even when there are many distractions.

  16. The first article i read was “The Illusion of Transparency”. I found it interesting that most people can’t tell how nervous someone really is when speaking publicly even though they think everyone can tell. I also thought it was interesting that you think you always clear when sending a text or email but sometimes the meaning can get skewed very easily. Also how when you’re telling a lie you believe it’s obvious you’re lying even though its not that apparent.

    The second article i read was “How the Brain does “Attention” is still unknown”. I thought it was interesting how they used monkeys to test there theories. Also that humans can focus on certain things and remember important things but forget the little things. Lastly I thought it was interesting that theres a small part of the brain involving attention that hasn’t been discovered yet.

  17. The two articles I read were “LGBT History Month: 21 Influential Black LGBT Icons” and “The Illusion of Transparency”. I was especially interested in “LGBT History Month: 21 Influential Black LGBT Icons” because I was interested to find out that so many famous people support this cause. I am also a very big supporter of the LGBT community because I am a part of this community and it is nice to see people in action who are supporters of the cause. I had no idea that there was an entire month dedicated to the LGBT community. The second article “The Illusion of Transparency” is interesting to me because most people have told me that I wear my emotions on my sleeve so it is very easy for people to understand my emotions judging by my facial expressions. However, I think that this is only true in certain circumstances.

  18. The first articlei read was “The Illusion of Transparency”.I think that everyone has their own way to make themselves think that they aren’t nervous by either thinking everyone is in their underwear or just making believe that they are the only ones in the room. Also that some people just dont think they ar ebeing ovbious about lying when they really aren’t.

    The second article that i read was “LGBT History Month: 21 Influential Black LGBT Icons”. I like to have some other peole supporting the samething that I support. I like the community because I have some family members that are gay or lesbian and they dont effect me because you are given the right to love anybody no matter same sex or not .


%d bloggers like this: