Posted by: Anne E. Stuart | November 2, 2012

Friday Five – November 2, 2012

It was an interesting start to the week with a Hurricane Day on Monday. Thankfully, at least around here, things weren’t anywhere near as bad as last year’s October snowstorm. I know the same can’t be said for other parts of the east coast that took the brunt of Hurricane Sandy on Monday.

I’m glad to see that some students took my challenge last week and changed up their comment style from previous weeks. I continue to challenge you for the coming weeks. It was interesting to see some of your personal styles come out in your writing when you weren’t sticking to the “The first article I read was…” format.

Now that I’ve pulled together all the links for this week, I realize I’m lacking links with a clear connection to Human Sexuality. I don’t know what it was about this week, I just didn’t find many sexuality links worth choosing for the Friday Five. Human Sexuality students, you might be able to pull some connections to the course out of the 2nd and 5th links.

Here are the links for this week:

Psychology Today: The Real Story of Risk (Glenn Croston) – October 28, 2012

In this post, Glenn Croston discusses why people are often underprepared for rare risks like Huricane Sandy. Unlike more normal risks, like burning oneself on the stove, where we have repeated experience with the painful consequences, rare risks leave us with more experience of near misses where nothing bad happens. Thus, we begin to underestimate the likelihood of a rare risk.

A related discussion about why some people stay behind despite warnings of natural disasters can be found at this mental_floss article (What Were They Thinking? The Psychology of Riding Out the Storm) by Matt Soniak on October 30, 2012.

Psychology Today: Day In, Day Out (Mathew J. Wolf-Meyer) – October 30, 2012

I know, another sleep study? Not exactly with this one. This link actually discusses the intersection between the scientific study of sleep and social research. More interesting to me, is Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer’s discussion of how beliefs about what is “natural” behavior may actually reflect a shift in behaviors over time due to cultural factors.

Scientific American: Cocktail Party Physics (Jennifer Ouellette) – October 31, 2012

In honor of Halloween, Jennifer Ouellette reposted a 2009 article on the psychological disorder of lycanthropy (the belief that one can transform into a wolf), the mythology inspired by this disorder, and the rare genetic disorder of hypertrichosis (excessive body hair).

Psychology Today: PreFrontal Nudity (Alex Korb) – October 30, 2012

I’ll leave critical evaluation of this one to those readers who have actually run a marathon. I haven’t, but I am signed up to run the Long Branch half marathon in May. I haven’t yet run anything longer than a roughly 8K race, and I know that training for a half marathon will be quite a challenge – particularly over the winter. I suspect I will need a lot of mental training as well as physical, so maybe I’ll come back to this post as I’m training. I know that I’ve had a few rough runs this summer when my mind kept focusing on how I wasn’t doing as well as I wanted.

Discover Magazine: Not Exactly Rocket Science (Ed Yong) – October 30, 2012

I had drafted most of this post last night, but headed to bed with still one link to pick out for today. Then I got a morning text message (thanks, Bill) to the comments about the above story. Both the story and the comments (both on the post and at reddit) are amusing. Human Sexuality students, perhaps you can find something to talk about from the various comments on this link.


  1. I’ve never thought about the social/industrial relevance of the 8-hour sleep block before! Damn those English industrialists! Ruining our biphasic sleep patterns! And now I also have another use for the term “biphasic” which previously had been relegated strictly to the physical sciences.

    Interestingly about overcoming the wall, I’ve never hit it in a long distance race. I’ve hit it in training runs once or twice, but never in a marathon or half marathon. By “it” I’m defining it as the physiological wall, where I just plain ran out of glycogen reserves and had to stop running. Usually a gel packet would help. Of course, then don’t mention that when you hit the wall, sometimes the last thing it’s possible to do is to choke down a gel packet.

    Training plan! You need to set up a training plan for the half. I’ll be looking for it.

  2. The two articles I read were “When Experience Is Not the Best Teacher”, and “How Natural is Human Sleep”. I found both of these articles very interesting due to the fact that both focus on human alterations of natural processes.

    I had found the article about experience very interesting. It was surprising to notice that what had once been a warning has now been degraded into a suggestion. After one has made it through a natural disaster or situation without harm they tend to see themselves as indestructible. The fact that weathermen are sometimes wrong in forecasts causes listeners to become skeptics. It is very surprising to believe that people ignore weather warnings solely due to the lack of experience, or the experience of it not happening. Whether or not one has experienced a natural disaster, ti is important to hear the warnings; it may save your life.

    The article pertaining to sleep was particularly interesting because I tend to sleep more than a normal human being. it was interesting to find out that sleeping is becoming heavily affected by science rather than nature. The fact that sleep is no longer natural and that we have been programmed over the years to believe we need certain amounts of sleep is scary. What I once thought was benefiting my body, may actually be harming it. I can longer trust whether or not I am getting enough sleep, due mostly to the fact that sleep is becoming a study of science rather than nature.

  3. The first article I read was “When Experience is Not the Best Teacher.” I agree that us humans do not take natural disasters seriously. We think that every thing will not be that serious so we do not take action. When people make a big deal out of the disasters and nothing happens we start to think nothing is going to happen for the rest of the storms. We feel like nothing will happen because the last time nothing did. We will not evacuate our homes because we think it is not that serious.

    The second article I read was “Overcoming the Wall.” The tips that were given were to me the best tips. I think everyone should take the tips not just runners. Sometimes we feel ourselves almost hitting the wall and we can take these tips so we are less likely to hit it. The one about reducing your stress is a common tip but it helps a lot. I never thought about how much pain comes until you really start to think about it. I also never thought to lie ti myself but I think that can actually prevent someone from hitting the wall.

  4. In “When Experience Is Not the Best Teacher”, it spoke about hurricane sandy and people not responding because they have been through a natural disaster before. It was very interesting what experience makes us do. Just because we have been through a certain event already, we think that if the situation comes up again, we can face it unlike last time. I think experience is actually very effective because if someone goes through a natural disaster that really effected their life, they will probably evacuate whenever there is a warning because they would be traumatized. I think if someone goes through a natural disaster that did not effect them as badly, they tend to not think much of the next storm. It is all about your previous experience that determines your actions of the next similar experience.

    The second article i read was “How Natural is Human Sleep?”. It spoke about how sleep is now more scientific then natural. It said that the effect and amount of sleep we need pertains on what we are told over the years. What was once thought to be a natural process, is not. Sleeping is something we all rely on in order to function day by day. Now that it seems to be more scientific we can actually be effected by what people tell us about sleep. We actually have more control over sleep then we previously thought. This could be good because we can try to get more out of sleep but it can be bad because we can limit the sleep we have.

  5. The first article I read was “When Experience Is Not the Best Teacher.” I agree with the article because these natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy and Katrina was not a great teacher. You can learn from the experience but at the end of the situation there is nothing you can do about the hurricanes. Like the article said its not like touching a hot pan and learning not to do it again.

    The second article that I read was “Overcoming the Wall.” If I had to run 20 miles I would have to be strong mentally and physically because that is a journey. Training and practice plays an important role on whether you can overcome the wall or not. When it comes down to events like this anybody has a chance of winning out of 20,000 people. Does not matter in the gender to me.

  6. I read the article “when experience is not the best teacher” and this article is very true because if we expect a huge storm and it doesn’t come, the next time we won’t expect it. Even if there’s warning all over, even if some people are evacuating, we still won’t leave because of past experiences. In this case, experience is not the best teacher, because it doesn’t get us ready for the worst, just in case it happens.

  7. The first article I read was ‘When Experience Is Not the Best Teacher”. This article stated facts about Hurricane Sandy. In most cases we learn from bad experiences such as burning, falling, or forgetting something. What do we to fixthese minor mistakes? We put a bandage on and take more percaussion next time. Or we take a closer look before we step. Or leave a note so we can’t forget. But what happens when a natural disaster wipes out your whole city? or Even your whole state? Can you really learn from that ? I personally don’t inkg you can. Sure you can tell people to evacuate from their homes. Maybe your state could save extra money for the reliefe of the storm. But it’s rarely ever good enough.

    The second article I read was ” Bad Moon Rising: The Science of Werewolves.” The article was picked at a proper time considering halloween was this past week. REading the article I noticed it was talking about the “mythology” of Werewolves. Werewolves Were claimed to be transformed in autum. The “Twilight” series also complements werewolves. Males are more comman to have the syndrome because of the “X-linked” chromosone. This disorder was more comman in the 1500’s but there is still people aflicted by this disorder today.

  8. I actually never thought that experience was the best teacher. experience always just made me aware of my surrounds and what could possibly happen based on what has happened in the past. If I was always at risk of going through a bad storm i would always take the measures to make sure that everything was going to be okay and safe. Lots of people do believe that that nothing bad will happen to them so they don’t always prepare for the worst.

    The other article that I read made me really notice how boring and uninteresting mythology is to me. Even though the werewolf could possibly be one of the most famous made believe characters. It doesn’t interest me one bit. A part of me kinda wishes that they where real. haha it might actually spice up my life a little. Its kinda boring going out of night having to worry about rapist or robbers. I wanna worry about werewolves and vampires for a change.

  9. From what I read in the first article, it there is really some truth when it comes to humans not taking natural disasters seriously. For some reason we try to ‘sugar coat’ the situation, and we dont realize that anything can happen. These types of disasters are not in out control. Also when the media makes a big deal a natural disaster and it doesnt turn out to be that bad, we think that it is going to be that way for all. We need to take all the percautions, because we never know.

    The second article said that in the U.S., we tend to prefer nightly, consolidated sleep – eight straight hours, with no nap during the day. I really dont think thats true. I think nowadays most americans take naps, and dont get that much sleep at night. Eveyone is on different sleeping patterns and we all sleep differently. But overall sleep needed.

  10. The two articles I read were “When Experience is Not the Best Teacher” and “12-year-old uses Dungeons and Dragons to help scientist dad with his research”.

    I agree with what the author was saying in the first article, but I don’t think we should live in fear. The author was explaining how after we go through these rough natural disasters (like Hurricane Sandy), we fail to think anything bad can happen to us. I think we could learn to be more prepared as a society. When we thought Hurrican Sandy was going to hit, everyone prepared like they did with the tornado last year. Everyone tried their best to stay safe. You can only really do your best to survive and prepare as best as you can. I agree that we shouldn’t assume that nothing bad will happen to us. We should just be prepared.

    The second article was interesting because the psychologist’s son helped him with an experiment through Dungeons and Dragons. The study was about why eyes are in the center of our face and how humans make eye contact. They linked this with the game because there were monsters who had eyes that were not on their face or just multiple eyeballs. It was an cool experiment because the game was used for research and it got Julian interested and involved in psychology in a way.

  11. Two of the five articles that caught my eye were “When Experience Is Not the Best Teacher” and “Overcoming the Wall.” Both great articles and I enjoyed reading both of them! The article “When Experience is Not the Best Teacher” made the most since and I agreed with 100% because since both hurricanes many people didn’t think hurricane Katrina was going to be bad but look what happen. A huge disaster many people lost their lives and homes. All because they didn’t evacuate and its sad but you can’t really do much to avoid that because its nature. The only thing someone can do from a situation like that is learn the hard way its sad but true.

    “Over Coming the Wall” was very true and me being a football player and having knowledge of the game that 90% of it is mental toughness and 10% of is psychical. Plays a huge roll whether you want to continue playing or not. I can’t count how many times I wanted to re think playing football because of the 2 day and 3 day practices in the pre-season and the extra sprints we would have to run. Can drive some crazy and want to give up. After a while I stopped thinking about the pain and kept on pushing just like the article said if you lie to yourself and not think about the pain then you will be fine.

  12. When Experience is not the best teacher:

    It amazes me that after Hurricane Irene and what happened on the shore that people who live on the shore would not evacuate for Hurricane Sandy. I know about near misses but Hurricane Irene was not intented to do as much damage as it did, and some people did not evacuate and their homes and lives were lost. So for Hurricane Sandy when people were told to evacuate i dont know why they did not, because this hurricane was repoerted all over the news to have much stronger winds and was estimated that it will have more damages. For Hurricane Irene, I personally suffered for 10 days without light, so when I heard about Hurricane Sandy I immediately got my flashlight and food prepared. I filled all three cars with gas because I remember what last year was like waiting in line at the gas station. I guess experience is not the best teacher in cases like this, some people did not do any preparation at all even after what happened with Hurricane Irene. Thank god my area was not affected, but my heart and prayers go out to the people that were.

  13. The article “How Natural is Sleep?” was really interesting to me. When it comes to sleep, I don’t get enough of it. Ever since I started school, I have been going to sleep really late. Then the next day after classes, I would take an hour to an hour and a half nap. When I read the article, I was to surprised to see that sleep is supposed to be natural but we are making it into something that is affected by science.

    “Overcoming the Wall” was also an interesting read. I can relate to this article because usually when I exercise, I always feel like I am going to hit that wall. So the tips that they give seem like they can really be helpful.

  14. The two articles I chose were, “When Experience Is Not The Best Teacher” and “Overcoming The Wall”. Out of the five articles, I felt that these two I could relate to the most.

    “When Experience Is Not The Best Teacher” was very interesting. Reading about how after a natural disaster, people become more risky than being more cautious. They believe that no natural disaster will match up to the one they just faced and that they don’t need to take proper precautions. The article talked about normalcy bias, which I think is the reason for high death tolls associated with natural disasters. People don’t listen to warnings from authority because of all the times they have been wrong.

    “Overcoming The Wall” gave very helpful tips to get passed “the wall” when you reach a breaking point while doing an activity. Being able to keep a high level of mental toughness allows you to succeed when you don’t think you can. The article talks about how you only stress if you allow yourself to stress out. I like their suggestion of keeping pace so you don’t start to worry about losing track. When they talk about expectations, I agree that you need to expect yourself to get through that wall to get passed it.

  15. The first article i read was “When Experience Is Not the Best Teacher”. Although i never thought about expereince not being a good teacher, i totally agree with it. Learning through experiencing painful events is very common, but this article points out what happens when an experience is suppose to be painful, but ends up being fine. I can think of a perfect example of this in my life. I have an inground swimming pool, and almost every rain storm, whether its thunder and lightning or not, me and my brothers decide to go for a harmless swim. Although we know full well lighning could very easily strike the pool injuring us severly, it has never happened so we dont worry about it. This is a perfect example of what they go over in this article.

    The second article i read was “Bad Moon Rising: The Science of Werewolves”. I found this article interesting because I myself am a werewolf fan. Ever since watching the “Underworld” movie series, i found werewolves fascinating. I always knew some of the mythology behind the eledged curse, but learning more about it from this article was interesting. I also had known about the disorder in which hair grows all over the body, and remember a family in the news a few years ago having it. However i did not know all the background information on it and enjoyed reading about it. I find mythology too be very cool, and fun to learn and read about, especially werewolves and shapeshifting.

  16. The two articles I read were ” 12 year old uses dungon and dragons to help scientist dad with his research” and “how natural is human sleep”.

    The first article ” 12 year old uses dungeon and dragons to help scientist dad with his research” was very cool. It basically talked about how humans always look at the center of objects, such as eyes on a human. I thought it was crazy that the idea behind this study came from a twelve year old who played Dungeon and Dragons.

    The second article I read was “how natural is human sleep”. I found this article quite interesting.I never knew how sleep disorders had been around since the early 1820’s. I also found the fact that sleep is more scientific that natural which I never would have thought.

  17. The article regarding experience does not make sense to me. I fully believe that experience is the best teacher. If human beings didn’t have experience, they would not know how to handle certain situations. The author referred to natural disasters. Those who have experienced hurricanes or tornadoes in the past know how to prepare for these storms. It is a rare risk that can harm us, but it stills proposes the possibility of being killed so it makes sense that were have learned from experience to prepare.

    Jennifer Ouellette wrote an article about the science of werewolves. This is appealing to me because I like reading about abstract topics. It analyzed the legends of werewolves dating back to when civilization even occurred. The author continued to mention various myths and legends about this hairy creature that intrigued me even more. One legend evolved from the movie, The Wolfman, where if someone was bitten by a wolf, he would turn into half man and half wolf. I believe this article produced a sense of imagination to minds across the globe. More myths need to be created in order to keep young minds processing in order to develop creative minds

  18. The two articles I read were “How Natural is Human Sleep?” and “When Experience Is Not the Best Teacher.”

    I found the article about sleep to be very interesting because I often get tired very quickly and very often. I am anemic so thats one reason why I am tired because of my iron. I thought it was very interesting that science plays a bigger role then nature. I definitely thought that it would be the opposite and that nature would be the main affect of how sleepy you are and to find that its not is very shocking. I think sleeping disorders are so interesting and I would love to know more and how the brain works when sleeping and how disorders come about.

    When I first read the title of how experience is not the best teacher i immediately was intrigued because I personally think that it is. When I was reading the article it started to make sense how if something is supposed to be painful but nothing ever happened from it, then you don’t learn anything from the experience. Surviving sandy was the perfect example. I took a walk during the storm when it was down pouring and dangerous and nothing happened, so I would not be afraid to do it again. I now see both sides to how going through the experience can be beneficial and negative.

  19. “When experience is not the best teacher” is the first article i read. I thought it was a very informative article because it happens to me the same way. I feel like experience can and cant be the best teacher depending on the situation at hand.

    “How natural is human sleep” was the second article i read and inenjoyed the article. It was a very informational article when you want to think about human sleep. I think human sleep is a very natural thing because everybody does it.


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