What did I learn

Hello my fellow readers, this week’s blog is going to be a little different as I will be discussing what I have learned through my journey in this class and learning about social cognition. So let’s begin.

First of all I would like to say good for the people who do a daily blog because this is actual quite difficult, and no I’m not talking about people that just blog about their opinions, I’m talking about people who blog every single day about an interesting piece of information, so good on you people.

So let’s jump into this.. what have learned? Quite a bit i must say. I won’t give you the whole thing where I simply define social cognition because really who cares about that? So I guess i’ll talk about what I found most interesting in my research.

The first and most interesting thing I researched was the effect of hallucinogens on the brain.  I unfortunately wasn’t able to study it as much as I wanted because I didn’t have the time but i would recommend people look into it. The fact that researchers think they are the gateway to are persons consciousness should be enough  to entice you.

Another thing that I found interesting within my research was self-talk and mental imagery. I found this interesting because I attempted to directly apply it to my life and found that my research was quite true! For example I told myself (before my presentation on self-talk) that it wasn’t going to be bad and I was going to do just fine and it worked! My anxiety levels decreased as well as my stress levels which lead me to give one of the best talks I’ve had (or so I think).

Finally the third and most interesting thing I learned was when I started to research mindfulness. Once again I was able to apply this in life and found that what I research was in fact true! Mindfulness meditation has lead me to be calmer, have less stress, and have increased happiness. Now I’m not trying to sell you on this but I would say you should at least try mindfulness meditation before having a solid opinion on it (as everything life no?).

So those were my three most interesting topics in my opinion. Now you may have noticed that I did not mention anything I’ve learned from my other classmates. Well I did learn many things in this class but there are too many to list off and this blog is getting to be quite long.. One thing I will mention is how funny I thought it was when whenever there was topic on sex or relationships people would flock to it. Are we all just interested and sex or are lonely and want to know more about relationships so we can finally have a stable one? Who knows, but maybe one day people in a class like this will research this.

Thanks for reading

I hope you enjoyed it.

P.S this last comic is my favorite but beware it does have profanity

Image result for poorly drawn lines all done

 

Motivated Cognition: Part 4

This is my final blog involving motivated cognition and it will be a synthesis of the last three. So first of all what is motivated cognition? Motivated cognition is simply when our intentions, goals, and desires influence our thinking in two ways: what we think and how we think. Motivated cognition also has theories explaining why it does what it does, or in other words why our motivations affect the way we think so much.

The main theory I focused on was the force field theory which states that there are multiple forces that affect our cognitive activity. The main force is the driving force which guides our active thinking, and opposite to that is a restraining force that limits the driving force or in other words limits our thoughts or feelings that might get in the way of our main motivations.

Now motivated cognition has 3 main principles that describe what it exactly is. The first principle stated is that motivated cognition is pervasive meaning that one’s motivations can have a large affect on a person’s judgments and even their own perception. Motivated cognition is also goal – directed meaning that a person’s cognition is sometimes biased as it follows a person’s need to achieve their certain goals. Finally motivated cognition is impactful. This means that it can have consequences (good or bad) and that its adaptiveness has been debated in the past.

To go along with these 3 main principles, there are 3 ways that motivated cognition can affect the information processing system, by affecting perception, attention, and decision making. When it comes to perception motivation can influence what people see, in others and in themselves. Attention is affected in a way where people tend to direct it towards certain information that supports a desired conclusion (their motives, beliefs, ideas). People also tend to completely ignore information that tends to not support their desired conclusion. Decision – making is affected in a way that when people need to make a decision they often make those decisions that will help reach their desired goal. It has been even found that people will even change their beliefs in order to reach the desired conclusion they would like to have.

Motivated cognition highlights the idea that even low – level perceptions and inferences are subject to motivational forces. By learning more about motivated cognition and our own desires, motivations, and beliefs we can reduce our harmful biased thinking. By doing this and bettering our understanding of motivated cognition, it could provide us with strategies to influence motivation in ways that reduce harmful biases. These strategies may also allow people to gain self-insight, maximize adaptive decision-making, as well as to reduce favoritism towards close others and in-group members, and improve inter-group relations. In the end people should have a good idea of their true motivations so they can make good decisions in the future to come.

Hughes, B. L., & Zaki, J. (2015). The neuroscience of motivated cognition. Trends in cognitive sciences, 19(2), 62-64.

 

Motivated Cognition: Part 3

So last week I talked about motivated cognition and how it affects individuals in three ways: attention, perception, and decision making. For the third piece of this motivated cognition puzzle I will go on to describe the principles of motivated cognition.

Motivated Cognition is pervasive:

A person’s motivations can affect a large array of judgments and a person’s own perception (see previous blog) including self and other person enhancement. It can also lead to illusions of control, confirmation biases, and in-group biases.

Motivated Cognition is goal directed:

Motivated Cognition or in some cases biased cognition follows a person’s current need to fulfill relevant and most sought out goals. For example, self-enhancing yourself through telling someone a positive thing about you rather than telling someone about the one time you did something foolish. It was also found that individual differences that are related to elevated motives predict a person’s bias.

Motivated Cognition is impactful:

It can be said that motivated cognition can have many consequences good or bad and that its adaptiveness has been previously debated.So for example, If you do take part in self-enhancement like the one previously suggested, it could lead one to better overcome adversity. However, another example, a bad example this time, would be that certain people that are overoptimistic about their health and well-being, then they are more than likely going to fail to take preventative health measures. One other example is that people who have been found to self-enhance themselves are thought to be more arrogant.

Thanks again for tuning in this week! Come baxk next week for the last installment of motivated cognition!! 🙂

P.S the comic this week really has nothing to do with this subject but I liked it and am biased so please enjoy!!

Hughes, B. L., & Zaki, J. (2015). The neuroscience of motivated cognition. Trends in cognitive sciences, 19(2), 62-64.

 

Motivated Cognition: Part 2

Last week I started talking about motivated cognition. Specifically what it is and some theories on the subject. For those who haven’t read my last post (which you totally should…because it’s really good..) motivated cognition is defined as  goals and needs that shape an individuals thinking, it is unconscious and guides intelligent actions. So now that you have that basic idea of what it is allow me to go deeper into the subject and talk about the neuroscience of it and how it has to do with social cognition.

So let’s talk about motivated cognition and how it affects the information processing system. So first of all motivation doesn’t only affect what people think, but it also affects how they think.

First let’s talk about how perception is affected. It was found that a person’s motives influence what they see. A good example would be that people tend to see more desirable objects or things as being closer to them than they would appear. Motivation also influences a person’s visual perception of themselves and others. So an example of this would be people see their own faces and faces of others that are close to them as being more physically attractive than they truly are. So from this data we can conclude that motivation has been found to influence perception towards desired conclusions and away from the undesired ones.

Next we are going to talk about attention. It was found that people tend to direct their attention towards certain information that supports a desired conclusion. So for example have you ever accepted information that made you look good, but then deny any negative information about yourself? This just goes to show that people may take particular notice to their motives by simply ignoring certain information that would otherwise threaten their wanted conclusion.

Finally! Decision making. Very often people make certain decisions (good or bad) that will help them reach their desired conclusion. An example I found explained that people use information in a biased manner to uphold a positive self-image. So for instance when you discuss a time you did something smooth or cool rather than something foolish or stupid. Other times people have been found to shift their attitudes or even beliefs sometimes, just to simply reduce awkwardness or the feeling of being uncomfortable. A classic example of this is people are asked to make statements that contradict previous beliefs. This contradiction of a person’s beliefs threaten the image of a person as being moral and or intelligent. So in order to dispose of the threat, people tend to change their beliefs to make themselves more consistent with their behavior.

So motivated cognition has been found to interact with information processing especially in areas like perception, attention, and decision making. It seems that it would be in our best interest to take a step back and look at our motivations and goals in our life and ask how do they affect me and in what way? My question to you dear reader is did you find anything you could relate to in this week’s blog?

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you all here next week for part 3

Image result for poorly drawn lines motivation

Hughes, B. L., & Zaki, J. (2015). The neuroscience of motivated cognition. Trends in cognitive sciences, 19(2), 62-64.

 

 

 

Motivated Cognition: Part 1

Have you ever thought of something or made a big decision in your life then realized that you may have had an vested interest in the outcome of your thinking and or decision making? An example I found would be when you engage in hopeful thinking about a sick relative or even whether your sports team (Go Montreal Canadians!) will win the next game. Well fortunately if you have done this you aren’t alone as this is extremely common and is known as Motivated Cognition (Motivated Cognition, n.d.).

So what exactly is motivated cognition? Glad you asked! Simply put, motivated cognition refers to goals and needs that shape an individuals thinking. Motivated cognition is often unconscious and effortless without the individual knowing they are even doing it. (Brent L. Hughes, 2015). The purpose of motivated cognition is to guide intelligent action (Kruglanski, et al., 2012).

There are found to be different theories on motivated cognition. One I found to be quite interesting is The force field theory. This theory states that purposeful cognitive activity (active thinking) is guided by a “driving force.” The strength of this driving force is dependent on a combination of goal importance and the amount of available mental resources. It also states that this cognitive activity is guided by a “restraining force.” The strength of this force is dependent on the individual’s other current goals, current task demands, and their choice to conserve mental resources. It then goes on to discuss the “potential driving force” which is the maximum amount of energy or effort individuals are prepared to put into cognitive activity. The fourth and final force (bare with me here) is the “effective driving force.” This is the amount of energy an individual actually invests in attempt to match the “restraining force.” (interesting right?) (Kruglanski, et al., 2012).

So now that you have a grasp of what motivated cognition is we are now able to start talking about “what effects does it have on us? ” Next week this will be discussed in full detail. Hope you enjoyed this so far!

*and I would just like to point out that there are a finite number of these comics so I’m kind of stretching the relationship between my topic and these but I hope you still enjoy them 😀

Image result for poorly drawn lines motivation

Brent L. Hughes, J. Z. (2015). The neuroscience of motivated cognition. trends in cognitive science, 62-64.

Kruglanski, A. W., Bélanger, J. J., Chen, X., Köpetz, C., Pierro, A., & Mannetti, L. (2012). The Energetics of Motivated Cognition: A Force-Field Analysis. Psychological review, 1-20.

Motivated Cognition. (n.d.). Retrieved from Psychology : https://psychology.iresearchnet.com/social-psychology/social-cognition/motivated-cognition/

 

Self-talk and mental imagery

 

“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can”….this is an example of positive self-talk from the little engine that could. Although this is quite a cheesy example it has some merit to it.. So first of all, what is self talk? And secondly what is mental imagery?

Self-talk is described as talking to one’s self either aloud or mentally. There are many kinds of self-talk including positive, negative, complimentary (complimenting yourself), motivational (motivating yourself with you inner voice), outer dialogue (talking to yourself to help make decisions), and goal-setting (setting a goal out loud) (Sapadin, L. 2012). Mental imagery on the other hand is defined as imagining a successful performance of a task before it is actually completed (Manz, 1992).

There have been found to be many benefits to self-talk and mental imagery. A study looked at cognitive self guidance programs which trained impulsive children to participate in positive self-talk. They found that it was effective in tests which assessed things like cognitive impulsivity, performance IQ, and motor ability. A different test looked at handicapped children and found that when they were taught to use self-talk, it positively influenced their academic and communication performance. Finally the last study I looked at found that when mental imagery and positive self-talk were practiced, a racquet ball team showed better playing performance, and decreased levels of state anxiety. It was also found that overall the best performance was when mental imagery and positive self talk were used both at the same time rather than one or the other (Manz, 1992).

Unfortunately as mentioned above there is such a thing as negative self talk. This is simply the opposite of positive self-talk and instead of telling ourselves good and motivating things , we tell ourselves negative things. This of course can have negative effects on us as negative self-talk can actually increase our anxiety levels and in sports can actually have players perform poorly (Hatzigeorgiadis, A 2008).

The main take away from this week’s post is that we must be positive and tell ourselves positive things and we must also avoid telling ourselves negative things as it could harm our well-being. Yes you can get you’re paper done on time, yes you are beautiful, you will wake up at 6am to exercise. If we do this our lives will become better and we ourselves will start to become more positive and better in the process. So go ahead and talk to yourself! (I promise no one will think you’re crazy…)

Image result for stay positive poorly drawn lines

Hatzigeorgiadis, A., & Biddle, S. J. (2008). Negative Self-Talk During Sport Performance: Relationships with Pre-Competition Anxiety and Goal-Performance Discrepancies. Journal of Sport Behavior, 237-253.

Lindsay Rosin. (1983). The effects of rational and irrational self-verbalizations on performance efficiency and levels of anxiety. Journal of clinical psychology, 208-213.

Manz, C. P. (1992). Thought self-leadrship: The influence of self-talk and mental imagery on performance. Journal of organization.

Sapadin, L. (2012). Talking to Yourself: A Sign of Sanity. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 3, 2017, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/12/07/talking-to-yourself-a-sign-of-sanity/

Violent Video games!

Image result for violent video games collage

For the longest time there was a lot of debate of whether violent video games were actually bad or not. This problem got put into light after many school shootings. Towns like Springfield, Oregon, Littleton, Colorado, and Jonesboro, Arkansas were all places that had school shootings take place and it seems that violent video games were the ones to blame for corrupting the kids that took part in such a violent heinous crime. (Anderson, 2004) So are violent video games truly the problem? Or are we just using them as a scapegoat for bad parenting?

First a little background in regards to playing video games. A survey in 2002 showed that about 88% of boys and about 64% of girls have reported playing video games at least 1 hour a week and showed that about 29% of boys played a total of 3-6 hours a week (average). In the same paper in was reported that about half of the adolescents in a sample preferred games with human of fantasy violence which made up about 48.9%. Then there was non-violent categories which was made up of sports games (29.4%), general entertainment (19.7%), and educational (1.8%). Finally it was reported that as video games advance with technology they are becoming more graphic and even more violent (ever play doom or mortal kombat?)  (Bruce D. Bartholowa, 2002)

I did some research into the matter and the whole thing is well.. unsettled. What I mean by that is that their are a lot of studies that agree and disagree with the relationship between aggression and playing violent video games. A study done by Ferguson, C.J did a study on violent video games aggression and their findings concluded that playing violent video games didn’t seem to lead to aggressive behavior, it did however find that playing violent video games were associated with higher visuospatial cognition. Visuospatial cognition is simply our perception and how we interact with our visual world (Ferguson, 2007). Of course I’m sure that simply playing just video games enhances visuospatial cognition.

I found another study which said the opposite. They actually found that violent increase aggressive thoughts in males and females, adults and children. It was said that playing violent video games seem to have a short term affect of increasing aggressive thoughts and long term affect of actually developing an aggressive personality (aggressive cognition)(Anderson,2001) Finally the last study I looked at said the same thing. violent video games effected these 5 variables: increased aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, increases arousal, and decreases helping behaviour.  (Anderson, 2004).

So it seems that the debate of violent video is still ongoing.. as people say that they do cause aggression which lead to a person having an aggressive personality and others say that they simply aren’t correlated. Personally I’m not sure what to think as I have played violent video games before and I seem to have no problems with aggression..I would suggest taking a look at the parents of children that play violent video games to see if they are learning from them as children are observational learners (Bobo doll anyone?) But I will admit… violent video games are quite fun.

(couldn’t find a comic this week that is directly related to aggression but anyways…)

Image result for poorly drawn lines aggressive

Anderson, C. A. (2004). An update on the effects of playing violent video games. Journal of Adolescence, 113-122.

Bruce D. Bartholowa, C. A. (2002). Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior: Potential Sex Differences. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 283-290.

Craig A. Anderson, B. J. (2001). Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior, Aggressive Cognition, Aggressive Affect, Physiological Arousal, and Prosocial Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Scientific Literature. sage journals.

Ferguson, C.J. Psychiatr Q (2007) 78: 309. doi:10.1007/s11126-007-9056-9