Hypnosis and Depressing WWI footage

March 1, 2009

This post is just a mishmash of two interesting things from my classes.

The first one is hypnosis, which I learned in AP psychology. Now, you might say hypnosis is false, and be skeptical of it. I understand, I mean, hypnosis does sound pretty strange and all. Kudos to you for it, but I think you are wrong. Skepticism is good, but in the face of good evidence, I must say I am pretty convinced. Even those who admitted that they faked part of it said they couldn’t fake other parts. Besides, there are research done on it. For example, on the effects of pain, which hypnosis is able to reduce. What hypnosis is not, though, is superpower. It won’t make you do superhuman things or do things contrary to your conscience. In fact, from my brother’s account, it is totally conscious. That is right, my brother got hypnotized as part of a demonstration for AP psychology and human behaviour!

The hypnosis was made by a man named Ramelle Macoy. We all gave him our thanks, and I am still extremely thankful for his visit, which he did without getting paid a single dime. Anyways, he made a really entertaining show. First, he made people focus into a hypnotic trance, a sleep like state where he gives command. Later, he assigned each one a number so that they could go to hypnotic sleep or wake up at the sound of it. He told them to put their hands together, and to try to get them apart, but that hey won’t separate no matter how hard. To this one girl, he made her put her finger to her nose, she later told me in my Bio class that it was bizarre, that she couldn’t take it off (and considering she faked many of it). For everyone, he made them milk a cow, drive a car, and eat popcorn. Then, he said they were watching x rated movies, and he told them to raise a hand if they wanted to get out. Two hands if they wanted to stay. Most of them raised one hand. One guy eagerly raised his both hands and a girl waved her hands in the air, which were really funny. Then, he did each one individually. To one person, he made him thirsty everytime he said certain word, so that he would grab a glass of water. Another guy felt a jab everytime he was told pins and needles. A girl was made to pretend she had a cat which escaped everytime he said a cue phrase, which she chased after. My brother was suggested to convince her that there was no cat. The funniest part was the “x-ray” glasses. My brother wore it, and “saw” everyone naked. He looked away at the sights. He gave it to another girl, who was told to keep looking, which was even funnier, especially after two guys of the audience stood up in purpose as a joke, one of them spreading his leg.  Then she was supposed to hit him, since he told her at her trance like state to do it after he told her later on that he was looking at her naked with the “x-ray” glasses. Fascinatingly, she didn’t, which shows the limit of hypnosis. Remember, it ain’t superpower. At the end, they all said they thought 5 to 20 minutes have passed. Overall, it was fascinating and strange.

My brother told me he couldn’t remember anything. From what he could remember, he told me that in the awakened state, that when he did things, they were very conscious. He said that hypnosis made him want to do whatever the hypnotist told him to do, that it changed perception, and that it was as if  one part of his consciousness split away. What was really interesting was his account when he saw people “naked.” He said that he actually saw everyone clothed, but his mind believed that everyone was naked so that he looked away. He even said that it was kind of gross that an old man was in front of him naked (even if clothed). ^_^ Later on, he had to interpret “Venutian” from a girl who had been hypnotized into speaking “Venusian” because she was an alien. I wasn’t there, but accounts say that it was really freaky, as if they were speaking in tongues. In the end, it spiked my curiosity, and it was really fun, in a schaudenfreude sort of way.

These are just some observations I thought I would share with you. ^_^

In AP Euro history, we are learning on world war one. In class, he showed us this really depressing video.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Notice the initial cheerfulness of it. Indeed, when war started in Europe, it was met with jubilation. Europe hadn’t had a general war since Napoleon, and they all wanted their badge of honor and manliness, and apparently show that they had a penis. Now, there were other wars, but they were not big, were swift, and many conflicts were a whole bunch of revolutions exploding everywhere in Europe, many of them repressed. Now the new generations had a chance to show off, just like their parents and grandparents.

Apparently, they were looking at the wrong wars. It turns out WWI had more similarity with the American civil war than any war in Europe. That is, trench warfare with unimaginably massive casualties. The soldiers got more than they bargained for. They suffered unimaginable horrors in the trench. They got shelled, got trench foot, shot at, starved, massacred by huge numbers, gassed, lived in terrible trench conditions, etc etc etc. Turns out machine gun was the key to the basically stalemated battlefields. One man could clear out everyone in his field of visuals. As my teacher said, technology outpaced military strategy. Also, the gases were horrible too. Mustard gas caused blisters everywhere, and this cholrine type of gas ensured that your lungs were filled with fluids, so that you drown on land. The flamethrower wasn’t big, notice it was used to clear away the barbed wires. Later in the war, though, they got desperate, and used it on people. How terrible, that people were being made to do such things to other fellow human beings. Basically, not a pleasant war, and they all got a piece of the horrors of modern warfare. The worst part of this is that there would be an even worse war than this one, which is world war two, of course.

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December 30, 2008

I just found a blog about the psychology of driving. You should check it out!

(hat tip: cognitive daily, you should look the video in there about people driving ’round arc of triumph in Paris, crazy!)


Operant and Classical Conditioning

December 11, 2008

I have AP psychology for class, and a while ago, I learned about how we learn. There are two types. Classical is like you learning that the bell in classes mean you have to get out of it. If you hear the bell, and see that everyone gets out at it, then you eventually will get up and leave class automatically after the sound of the bell. Basically, you associate a stimulus, like sound, to another thing, so that if you hear that sound, you react the same way you would have reacted with that other thing.  Operant conditioning is learning to get a reward. You know, you pass a class, and you get A+, that is operant. The reward is getting A+ and feeling good about yourself.

Anyways, there is a web page which simulates the experiments done. One simulates Pavlov’s classical conditioning experiment, and the other one replicates BF Skinner’s experiment with birds on operant conditioning. You should also try out the other simulated experiments, like the split brain one. You could learn something pretty weird…


Talent and Perception

September 3, 2008

On the webpage of Scientific America, there is an article (thanks to skepchick.org!) about how perception affects the geniousness of a kid. I thought I would put a psychology post, as a start up to my first year ever in a psychology class (and in High School!). ^_^ Basically, if you reinforce to a person that intelligence stays the same, then the person will not do the work required to succeed. Even geniuses recquired effort to reach where they were, but to these people, challenging works are kind of an attack on their egos, and since they believe that intelligence can’t change, they are not motivated to work on it. Go and read it, it is fascinating.