Posted by: Anne E. Stuart | December 7, 2012

Friday Five – December 7, 2012

This is the last week that my Intro students are required to do a web assignment. However, I have told them I will let them do an extra-credit assignment next week (also some of my Human Sexuality students still need to gather points), as long as their comments are posted by Noon on December 15th. So there will be a December 14th edition of the Friday Five.

I still haven’t decided what I’m doing over semester break and what I’m doing next semester. I lean towards doing some sort of weekly post during the semester, but not certain if I want to keep doing the Friday Five format. Whatever direction it takes, I suspect there will be a lull in posts between December 14th and January 18th.

Despite it being an odd and busy week, I did manage to retweet over 30 links this week. Several of the links this week give you a taste of the topics I’ll likely select next semester.  I’m teaching both Social Psychology and a Topics course on Social Influence, so many links will be related to those courses, no matter what format I take for the blog next semester. Don’t worry, I’ll probably still throw in a few sexuality links here and there. My interest in sexuality doesn’t stop just because I’m not teaching the course.

Here are this week’s selections:

Psychology Today: Emotional Sobriety (Ingrid Mathieu) – December 2, 2012

I don’t think we can help comparing ourselves to others. In and of itself, social comparison isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The direction in which we socially compare, and what we make of the outcome from comparison can have a big impact on us. Just the other day, a colleague and I were walking to lunch and passed an administrator on his way to yet another meeting. We joked about how happy we were to be faculty and not administration – and suddenly, we weren’t so grumpy about the classes we had just been teaching. In our case, we were engaged in downward comparison, which often results in feeling better. The Psychology Today link discusses upward comparison, which can result in feeling worse.

PsyBlog (Jeremy Dean) – December 4, 2012

This link discusses why people come to believe weird things in the first place and ways to counter that misinformation. Of course, you’ll need to beware; often the people spreading the misinformation are wise to the ways to counter that information. As I tell my students when I teach about persuasion: I’m not just teaching you how to persuade others, I’m also teaching you how to avoid being persuaded by others.

The Wall Street Journal (Sumathi Reddi) – December 4, 2012

I saw this article a few days before it made its way across my Twitter feed. A colleague had run across it and emailed the link to me. The colleague pointed it out for the fact that the journalist is not simply citing the name and affiliation of the researchers doing work, but also cites specific journals in psychology. As you may have noticed over the links this semester, there is a lot of variety in how topics are presented. Some provide a much stronger link to the scientific research behind the ideas than others do. As a consumer of research, this can make it difficult (pulling from the link above) to sort out true information from misinformation.

Bedsider: Get on Top – November 2012

I needed to provide a link for my Human Sexuality students who are still trying to earn some points off blog posts in the next two weeks. This link pretty much speaks for itself.

PsyPost (University of Iowa) – December 4, 2012

Intro students, this link connects with the Child Development chapter we just started this morning. The link describes research done at the University of Iowa on infants’ looking behaviors. They researchers found that infants as young as 6-weeks old can learn and remember objects they have seen.


  1. The first article I read was, “Why People Believe Weird Things…” I thought it was true why people do believe untrue facts. Its true that humans like to see emotion when telling a story. When there is an emotion it makes is seem more true and makes us want to tell other people to see their reaction. I think the 8 tips provided to make us less gullible can help us in the long run. We can start being the people to get the exact details instead of the gist of things.

    The second article I read was, “Infants learn to look and look to learn.” It makes sense that infants do this. They just came into the world so they do not know anything so to learn about things they look at them. It is the same the thing when you start to get older. You have to look at things to learn them. Sometimes we do more but most of the time its observing. Babies have to observe because they have no idea what anything is.

  2. The article I read was “5 fantastic arguments for better birth control access” and I agree with all of the arguments. This was a very good article on the facts of birth control. It’s so true how expensive unplanned pregnancies are on taxpayers and also how convenient it can and cannot be. Even though now a day it’s easier to gain information about birth control, not every teen knows a lot about it. Teens shouldn’t be so scared to buy condoms and forms of birth control or even to ask and get information about it.

  3. The first article that I read was “Why People Believe Weird Things and 8 Ways to Change Their Minds.” I agree with this article because people do believe in weird things. When someone tells a story with a lot of hand movements and emotions, it makes the story more interesting and believable. I think that the 8 tips that were given would be very helpful.

  4. The article I read was 5 fantastic arguments for better birth control access. I found this article extremely interesting. Ever since we learned about birth control and abortion in class I found that stuff extremely interesting. I found it interesting in the article that birth control actually benefits tax payers. I agree about the abortion decrease as well.

  5. The two articles I chose to read were “The Science Behind Gifting” and “Compare and Despair”.

    Not only was the article about gift giving informative, but it is also timely. As the holidays quickly approach, the one thing to worry about are gifts. Many people worry over which gift is the perfect gift. However, after reading the article, the answer is quite simple. I was surprised that a well thought out gift was less important when compared to a requested gift. When it comes to gift giving, it is difficult because both sides want to be pleased; the giver and the receiver. However, after reading, I have found out that even if it may not be pleasant for the giver, a requested gift is most important. Hopefully during this holiday, givers will focus on what is really important, not the gift, but who the gift is going to.

    After reading the article about comparing ourselves to others, I was very surprised. I had never known that people had found such depressing feelings when comparing themselves to another. I also found it surprising that even though comparing brought negative feelings, people are still eager to do it. The article hinted at the idea that there will always be a gap between actual and perceived status. In other words, no matter how hard we try, there will always be disappointment. Moreover, this article reiterates the statement that no one is perfect.

  6. The first article I read was “Why People Believe Weird Things and 8 Ways to Change Their Minds.” I do agree with the fact that we love sensational stories,and we like to pass them on to make listeners feel a strong emotional response. Who would want to listen to a boring story, though they are more likley to be true. They 8 ways to counter misinformation are good to know.

    The next article I read was “The Science Behind Gifting”. In the article they say to be a really successful gift-giver, we need to get inside the head of the intended recipient. I try this alot, and I find it difficult to do, I always end up second guessing myself,and end up having to rush and pick something last minute.

  7. The first article i read was “Why People Believe Weird Things and 8 Ways to Change Their Minds”. They said that there are many reason why people believe in weird things. A lot of outside influence will make up stories or not tell the complete story because they want people do believe their way. This causes the person who hears the story to repeat the same bias version to someone else, and so on. We do not question these stories because we naturally believe that the news and politicians are telling us the truth. The steps they give us can really help the prevention of fake stories.

    The second article I read was “The Science Behind Gifting”. This article touched on the issue of gift giving during christmas. They stated that everyone gets stressed about shopping for that special someone. People want to give the perfect gift, and go to extreme lengths in order for that to happen. People should focus on giving a gift that they think the person will like, and the receiver should appreciate whatever gift they get. Christmas is only stressful for the people that make it stressful, it should be a fun experience, not a hassle.

  8. I read the article, “Infants learn to look, and look to learn”, and after reading it I found it very informing. This is because I actually learned how baby’s learn. And that people can develop there learning abilities at when they are baby’s. Also, it would make sense why some people have a hard time learning now. Simply because how they analyzed things when they were younger.

  9. The article I read was “5 Fantastic Arguments For Better Birth Control Access.” I really enjoyed reading this article, and there were some things I wasn’t completely aware of. I didn’t realize how birth control actually saves the tax payers a fortune (even though it’s quite common sense). I understand how it can decrease abortion across the USA and benefit a woman’s health. Overall, the article is a great resource for people who might not know all their facts or come from an older generation that doesn’t approve of abortion. I definatley could have used this article when discussion contraceptive methods with my mother and doctor.

  10. •No Controversy: 5 Fantastic Arguments for Better Birth Control Access
    Birth Control has so many benefits it is hard to be against it. If it is good for women and always for taxpayers and businesses, there shouldn’t be any controversies. I believe that all women that are sexually active and are not looking to get pregnant, should use birth control. It is absolutley the smart thing to do.

  11. The first article was “Compare and Despair.” I agree with the article because its true that many people compare themselves to other people. Most peoples state of mind is that you should be “better” than others in order to obtain happiness. Everything will not always include peace and happiness and you have no choice but to accept that. The article is pretty much saying realize what is in front of you.

    The second article that I read was “The science behind gifting.” The article speaks about many peoples problems during the holidays. Which is what to get somebody? Will they like the gift? Should you regift and give it to someone else? It seems like a lot of thinking comes during the shopping process for a holiday. Some people don’t think that the cost of the gift matters, and look more at the love put into the gift.

  12. The first artile i read was “5 Fantastic Arguments for Better Birth Control Access” Birth control is something that should not be controvercial in any way. If a women is sexually active but isnt looking to have children there should be no reason to not use birth control. The benefits outweigh the negatives and it is good for women, and businesses alike. It is the females choice as well.

    The second article i read was ” The Science Behind Gifting”. During the holidays many people become very stressed out and i am not one of them. Some people think the gift they buy is everything, from the price, to what it looks like. Although i dont think it is a bad thing to put a lot of thought into a gift, i believe as long as you make the person you are giving the gift to happy in the first place, then it wont matter what you get them, they will love it regardless.

  13. The first article I read was “5 fantastic Arguments For Better Birth Control Access”. I found this article very interesting because I have alot of knowledge about birth control and abortions. I feel like if you dont want a baby, birth control is the way to go. Birth control is used to prevent pregnancies. Pregnancies can affect many girls’ likes. That is why birth control was invented. It saves you money when you dont have the money to support you and a baby. I am all for birth control in the end.

    The second article I read was “The Science Behind Gifting”. This article was great for this week because the Christmas season is coming up. Every year gets harder and harder to go shopping for people. This year is going to be very stressful beacuse financial issues happening in the world. It makes it much easier when the person you are giving a gift to requests something they really want.

  14. The first article I read was “Why People Believe Weird Things and 8 Ways to Change Their Minds” and I agreed with what the author was saying. People tend to believe weird things because it can sometimes get traveled through other people and we sometimes want to believe it. What we hear from other people can sometimes have an influence on us. The more we hear it, the more we believe it. The author used a great example with politicians and the media.

    The second article I read was about birth control. I agree that the five factors are beneficial. Especially for the taxpayers and the girls who use birth control as well. It can potentially save a girl from having a baby she is not ready to bring into the world, especially if she cannot support it. Birth control is better for the girls health and it can save them money. It is better to support birth control than pay for healthcare for yet another teenage mother.

  15. -“Why People Believe Weird Things and 8 Ways to Change Their Minds”
    In my opinion I thought the author was totally right many people are gullible and will believe anything. Many people will believe what others tell them through rumors and think everything will be true. When once the story gets passed along everyone adds their two cents to the story. I have to admit I do that sometimes, but after a while if we hear it repeatedly we will believe it more and more.

    -“The Science Behind Gifting”.
    Shopping for others is very difficult especially around this time of year. Trying to find the right gift without asking the person what they want. Most of the time I try to play with the persons head to see what they want without making it obvious and that is very difficult. That is the reason why I start buying presents in a month in advance so I won’t be so last minute.

  16. Nikki Lyss
    Psych 101
    December 8, 2012
    Article #1
    The first article I read was called “No Controversy: 5 Fantastic Arguments for Better Birth Control Access.” The article highlighted five facts that people should know about birth control considering it’s such a common method of contraception that many people don’t really have a solid education on. The first fact was that birth control grosses so much money, as well as saves taxpayers money. We end up saving $3.74 for every dollar invested in birth control through Medicaid. Businesses benefit because they save money paying for birth control, opposed to paying for millions of unplanned pregnancies down the line. Another fact is that birth control reduces abortion. With birth control being so easily obtainable, effective, and most of all- inexpensive, unplanned pregnancies has decreased drastically over the years. This leads to less abortions being performed because the birth control is very effective. Almost half of unplanned pregnancies in years past ended up in abortion. It is shown that women taking birth control who aren’t looking to get pregnant are responsible and take it consistently. That shows that if you use the product as prescribed, once a day, every day at a set time, your birth control is 99% effective. I also learned the health benefits to birth control. Birth control prevents unplanned pregnancies, leaving the time when you DO want to get pregnant, to be able to be healthy and not involuntarily exposing the fetus to harmful things like tobacco and alcohol. Birth control can cause a problem with some because in certain parts of the U.S., it may not be as accessible as it should be. Birth control requires doctor’s visits and prescriptions unlike the easier option of just buying condoms over the counter. Overall, people should know that birth control can be easy to obtain for the most part, generally very cheap, and is a very effective choice of contraception.
    Article #2
    The second article I read was called “Why People Believe Weird Things and 8 Ways to Change Their Minds.” This article was about how people come to believe the weird things they do and what sparks their position on a subject. I learned that people learn weird things from rumors and fiction, that’s a given. People love interesting stories and will pass them on to get excitement out of people. This is when the birth of most rumors usually occurs. People also get their ideas from politicians. Obviously we know that some politicians will say anything to get a rise out of their opponent, and to get as many people on their side as possible. For the most part with these people, we can never tell what’s the truth vs a lie because it all seems to mesh into each other a little while. The number one source we get our information from is the media. The media loves to provide the latest information, regardless if it’s factual or not. The media is known for fabricating and exploiting stories, as well as dwindling them down and oversimplifying them. Last but not least, the fourth source we get our information from is the internet. The internet is a black hole of never-ending amounts of information and its very easy to get lost. People adopt one view, and there is hundreds of websites with supporting information on the topic, so why shouldn’t it be true? People are misinformed in a lot of ways. They become misinformed because it is convenient for them, or its what their political view suggests, or because its a popular view. None of these should be the case and none of these should be a reason why you pick your side. There are ways to prevent this misinformation from happening. You can explain the matter in a simple, short and sweet way that the person better understands the situation and can form a more accurate assumption. You can help by not repeating the myth to avoid spread of misinformation. You can do this in return with repeating the true facts so that it becomes the true source, rather than a myth.

  17. The article I decided to read was ‘5 Fantastic Arguments for better Birth Control Access’. It was very interesting. I had no idea how much tax payers pay for abortions or births for Medicaid patients. That’s an astounding number! I also never realized how birth control can benefit businesses.

    I feel that the affordable health care act is a great way to stop unplanned pregnancies by making birth control free. There are so many children born to unwanted parents or born into provety. I am a firm believer of birth control and I feel it should be free and easily accessed to young adults, we can’t stop them from having sex!

  18. The first article I read talked about “compare and despair.” I find this article accurate because there are many people who compare themselves to others, especially in social situations. There are people in this world that have imaginations and fantasies that they are living a satisfactory life, and this leads to the happiness and dreams coming true. The article continues to state that there will always be a gap in life where not everything we want is fully desired. For me personally, I have the desire to be many things when I grow up, teacher, architect, businessman, etc. However, I know I have a limited amount of time that will only satisfy one of these dreams.

    The next article I read talked about the weird, and sometimes false, information people believe. There are many false information in the world that places false information in our head. This is caused by rumors, the media, and the internet. Politicians also play a role in why people believe misinformation as well.

  19. The first article I read was, “Compare and Despair”. This article was interesting and it is pretty accurate. I think it’s human nature to compare yourself to others. The article does acknowledge that, at some point in your life, everything you desire won’t be fulfilled. The article also talks about how no one is perfect and there will some level of disappointment with yourself at all times.

    The second article I read was, “Why People Believe Weird Things and 8 Ways to Change Their Minds”. I found this article to be truthful. I believe that people like to believe the big story. We find them more interesting and we like to relay that information to our friends.

  20. The first article i read was “Why People Believe Weird Things and 8 Ways to Change Their Minds”. They said that there are many reason why people believe in weird things. A lot of outside influence will make up stories or not tell the complete story because they want people do believe their way.

    The second article I read was “The Science Behind Gifting”. This article touched on the issue of gift giving during christmas. They stated that everyone gets stressed about shopping for that special someone. People want to give the perfect gift, and go to extreme lengths in order for that to happen.


%d bloggers like this: