Monday, December 31, 2007

Introduction to Psychology

What psychology has in common with sciences?

1. Observe a phenomenon

2. Construct a hypothesis

3. Use the hypothesis 2 make predictions

4. Test the predictions with further observations

5. Modify your hypothesis to account 2 new facts

6. Repeat 3-5 till no discrepancies remain

· Psychology deals with people n behaviour. Psychology retests methods used 2 understand another.

· Data driven enterprise

· Predicting behaviour in general

· Psychology is not about finding what people r thinking but what the mind enables us 2 think

v Clinical psychologist treat depression, anxiety, schizophrenia

v Counselling psychologists treat marital and family dysfunctions

v School psychologists

v Industrial/organisational psychologists

v Forensic psychologists

v Human factors psychologists

v Research psychologists-conduct experiments and collect observations/on which therapy application r based

v Developmental psychologists

v Personality psychologists

v Social psychologists

v Health psychologists

v Peace psychologists

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Free lectures online

Learning is a life long goal, and if you don't care anymore about marks you're on the right track. So outside of leave it up to MIT to put all their lectures online and provide a great source to education.

Teachers: Please follow the link and learn how to give interesting lectures. Its never to late for you either.

My personal favorite is of coarse psychology. (The prof is actually entertaining too)

Can anyone else provide any free sources of education?

Monday, December 10, 2007

What Does Your Relationship Really Mean to You?- meaning to the questions

The questions asked had a purpose:

Is your relationship worth saving?

~How long have you known him/her?

In order to truly understand someone, before diving into a relationship with them, it is necessary to have known them for a certain period of time. The longer your initial friendship lasted, the better the chances of understanding your partner when considering any form of commitment.

~After how long did you realize you wanted to be in a relationship with him/her?

Some say that love can be found at first sight. However, as we all know, it is simply an initial attraction, an unintentional but nevertheless response of the body and the mind to an interesting new person. However, it could not be said to be love, as love needs time to grow. For some, it takes years to develop such feelings, for other only months. However, the longer you know a person, the deeper that love will become, providing a good basis to keep a relationship.

~How long can you see yourself with your partner in the future?

Considering the future is quite important. Many think only of the present, but in order to maintain a happy and healthy relationship, you must be able to see yourself with your partner for years to come.

~What is the depth of your feelings? Can you honestly say it is love?

No one but you can be the judge of your own feelings.Are you struggling o keep hold of old emotions? if so, discard them.. you must keep the relationship alive, not the emotions you once possessed. The feelings should never have left if they were deep enough. If love truly existed, you need not worry. the relationship will survive. However, if there is no love, but simply lust between you two, beware, for the loss of such a relationship is inevitable.

~Are you more comfortable around your partner or your friends? what about your best friend(s)?

If you are more comfortable with friends, that is not a good sign. For a relationship to be healthy and survive the hardships in this world, your partner must have the closest connection with you, and thus be the one you are most comfortable around. Even your best friend would equal your partner, if not come second. Be careful in such relationships. Do not put your heart on the line when you cannot be yourself freely around the one you are with.

~Do you find your mind wandering when you're with your partner?

a wandering concentration is a bad sign in any relationship, signifying a loss of interest in the person you are or the person your partner is. when your concentration wanes, know that your relationship as dangerously close to an end, the initial spark and bond between the two of you having been lost.

~Does your partner find your body more stimulating than your character?

If it is your body which interests your partner, as opposed to your character and personality, it would be wise to leave before having your heart broken. On the other hand, if both are of interest to your partner, you can rest assured that your relationship has a good chance of surviving.

~Can you hold up a decent conversation without any sexual thought or action?

If sex is the only thought you have, if a decent conversation eludes you, and, in order to make up for a lack of conversation, you resort to physical actions, your relationship is teetering on the brink. BEWARE!

~Have your feelings mellowed to a point where you have to resort to "tricks" in order to keep your partner's attention on you?

If you have reached a point in your relationship, where the ``occasional trick to entice`` is no longer occasional, but has become a daily routine, interest has wavered and holding on could mean more heartache than is necessary.

~Do you think of what would be like together far ahead in the future?

If you can see marriage and children, that`s wonderful. But if you have restricted your thoughts to simply the next days, weeks, or months only, either you are afraid of commitment, or you simply cannot see your current partner in your life until death do you part. What could not be permanent is not worth much to hold onto.

~If you see a life, are you happy?

Your happiness is most important. If being with your partner resembles a cage or shackles, avoid it, leave it, and never look back. NOTHING is worth your continual sadness.

~At present, are you happy as you are with your partner without wanting any change?

If you constantly look at your partner and seriously consider changing him in this way or that, you have found Mr. Wrong and it`s no fun for either of you. Trust me, there is a Mr. Right out there for you. Don`t spend your time with the wrong person, it`s not worth it.

~What is your mood daily on average? How does it compare with that of previous relationships?

If your happy on a daily basis, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! make sure this is the case, that over 90% of your days you are happy, and you have found the right person.

~To what extent are you willing to go in order to save the relationship?

If your ready to spend an eternity fighting for your partner, you have my blessings :)

What Does Your Relationship Really Mean to You?

Have you ever wondered just how meaningful your current relationship is?

Strange as it seems, many people do not realize that the relationship they throw so much effort in to keep alive only drains their strength, leaving them too bitter in the end.

However, there are some telltale signs signifying that to keep the relationship alive would mean more emotional damage as well as an end to whatever friendship that could have been salvaged.

First answer all these questions before checking the meaning of each in a separate post.

~How long have you known him/her?
~After how long did you realize you wanted to be in a relationship with him/her?
~How long can you see yourself with your partner in the future?
~What is the depth of your feelings? Can you honestly say it is love?
~Are you more comfortable around your partner or your friends? what about your best friend(s)?
~Do you find your mind wandering when you're with your partner?
~Does your partner find your body more stimulating than your character?
~Can you hold up a decent conversation without any sexual thought or action?
~Have your feelings mellowed to a point where you have to resort to "tricks" in order to keep your partner's attention on you?
~Do you think of what would be like together far ahead in the future?
~If you see a life, are you happy?
~At present, are you happy as you are with your partner without wanting any change?
~What is your mood daily on average? How does it compare with that of previous relationships?
~To what extent are you willing to go in order to save the relationship?

How to you improve your life (Part 3 of 3)

Part 3 is a summary of part 1 and 2

Classical Conditioning

Operant Conditioning

Automatic Behaviour

Effortful Behaviour

Ivan Pavlov

B.F Skinner

Experiment: Bell and Dog

Experiment: Skinner's Box/Operant Chamber


Positive Reinforcement, Negative Reinforcement, Punishment

Association between stimuli and responses


Spontaneous recovery

  • Shaping/Successive Approximation
  • Imitation or Modelling

Generalization and Discrimination

Acquisition, Asymptote, Extinction

  • law of effect: Responses to stimuli that produce a satisfying or pleasant state of affairs in a particular situation are more likely to occur again in the situation.
  • Learning is any relatively permanent change in behaviour produced by an experience
  • Classical and Operant conditioning are two of several theories on learning which take the behaviourist approach.
  • Classical conditioning is an association of one event with another that results in a pattern of behaviour
  • Operant conditioning however, is “learning that takes place as a consequence of behaviour.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

IT pop culture - Caught On Video!

From the 70's to present day this is what has made this industry into what it is today. Here it is in a heart beat:

In the 70's the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, featuring HAL, captured on film what people were imagining the future to be like. All because a new invention was here that promised to greatly change how man viewed itself. The ending of the movie by the way sucked, but it was fitting. Soon after, everyone became suspicious and interested on what the new frontier awaits...Engage

Now finding ourselves in the 80's...It was the nerds from "Revenge of the Nerds" that captured everyone's heart, and fittingly the industry was all about Comp.Sci. developing raw unadulterated processing power! After all, who could not love the advent of the 007 style wrist watch calculator! The whiz kid had also been born in such movies as WarGames and the crap that was Tron. After watching the trailer to WarGames I'm reminded that somethings never change, like how even today kids are still trying to find sneaky ways to change their grades with a computer. Oh, and who can forget the downfall of IBM and...the rise of Apple? I guess Microsoft crashed the party and spiked the punch with its cheap beer called DOS...Engage(again, but with the next generation)

In the 90's the mystery began to fade, and the average family home begun to make their first purchase of a computer and a dot matrix printer. The early 90's was all about the transition to the next faze of computing. The graphical user interface. The Mac had started it all with the mouse and Mac OS, but its tight grip on its development process did not stand a chance at the market the PC was opening itself up to. The PC with MS DOS and Windows 3.1 in hand, was where the masses gathered. The masses liked its relatively low price at the time, and the commoditization that was occurring. I think the video that most represents what was happening in this era is a video called "Don't Copy That Floopy". Sneaker-net was alive and well. In the next part of the decade we'll see how we can thank the success of DOOM for it's influence.

In the mid-90's the 3D engine in graphic cards was beginning to change things. Up until now, I would like to remind the reader, the transition to a GUI had been natural. Everyone wanted it, and it just made sense. Even the best keyboard jockey's knew that a GUI would be nice every once in a while. Another transition that unfolded, started out in the form of Bulletin Board Services (BBS). BBS's popped up across the globe and allowed the local guy to create a central hub for all the people in their local area code to meet and chat over the computer using phone lines. Oh and let's not also forget the launch of the multi-million dollar ad campaign of Windows 95, and the rumoured multy million dollar licensing of the Rolling stones "Start Me Up" song. The Internet had also begun with companies like CompuServe and AOL offering access to email, or to things like Gopher and Archie and a lot of other crap that died or were transformed into the next generation of what they are today. HTTP.

In the late 90's everyone and his grand-daddy was getting into computers, or selling them. You didn't need to know a thing about it, or even have the heart or the willingness to learn it. That's because everyone was, quite appropriately, a N00b! It was like somebody just yelled out FREE BEER! FREE SEX! FREE ENTRANCE! from the VIP room at a club on a saturday night...Except it was UNLIMITED ACCESS! FREE PORN! FREE 3-MONTH MEMBERSHIP TO AOL! that could be heard from basements everywhere. Everyone was starting to get into it and the mysterious and localized BBS's transitioned into a series of tubes called the Information SuperHighway (later to be known plainly as the Internet). The iMac had resurrected Apple from the dead, and changed the boring beige boxes into colourful little guys, and then the colourful little guys all decided to dress up in black boxes from then on. The PC also moved from the basement to the living room. You also can't forget how the uber nerds from the 70's reappeared and were involved in the linux operating entrance into the commercial space. What I'm trying to point out is that everyone and I do mean everyone was getting drunk off of VC money.

CRASH!!!! The hang over. The party had ended by 2001, and who ever was left standing and sober ended up cleaning house. What we were left with was the Dude from Dell and the tag line that has stuck with the company since - "Dude your getting a DELL!" . With the Y2K bug squashed the Web caught on, and the masses agreed that the next little while would be shaped by the free flowing of music that Napster started providing, not to mention the wave of lawsuits. On top of that lets not forget to mention the lawsuits that came as a result of the gold rush for domain names.

It's now mid-2000 where we find ourselves. Computers today are being shaped more by lawyers involved with upholding frivolous intellectual property, than by computer scientists interested in the robust development of machines to aid humanity like in the past. Google however is an exception, and so is Linux. Google is a major innovator, but only Linux and its many flavours are the platform that is providing major innovation, because it is truly being shaped by what has been the driving force for the past 40 years: The user.

How to you improve your life (Part 2 of 3)

The second in a three part is about how we change our behaviour voluntarily. In psychology one method is called "Classical Conditioning" and the second is called "Operant Conditioning". The person to coin the phrase was B.F. Skinner. His experiments to prove operant conditioning occurs was done using what is called today the "skinner's box" or "Operant conditioning chamber".

It's operation is fairly simple. When the rat pulls the response lever, it is rewarded with a food reinforcement.

In this case the rat is getting positive reinforcement, which is to say. The response following the presentation of the stimuli is strengthened. We can also use negative reinforcement, which would be the reduction of an aversive stimulus to increase the behaviour; Like removing unwanted sound from a room to strengthen the subject's ability to focus on a subject. The opposite of reinforcement is punishment. Punishment decreases the behaviour after punishment is applied. Much like having your mark deducted on an assignment for being late.

Positive reinforcement, Negative reinfocment and punishment are all properties of Operant Conditioning.

The other important aspect of operant conditioning is the reward cycle. It can be either continuous or partial.

Continuous reinforcement schedule (CRF) would reward the desired response every time it occurs. Using the skinners box example, the rat would be rewarded with every pull of the level.

On the flip side of continuous reinforcement there is partial/intermittent reinforcement. There are four types of partial reinforcement. they are:

    • Fixed ratio (FR) - For every x amount of occurrences, reinforce the behaviour with a reward - Ex: FR5 = rat reinforced with food after each 5 bar-presses in a Skinner box.
    • Variable ratio (VR) - an unpredictable schedule for reward. The reward is delivered after a variable amount of responses - Ex: VR5 schedules deliver reinforcement after a random number of responses (based upon a predetermined average)
    • Fixed interval (FI) - FI15 = rat is reinforced for the first bar press after 15 seconds passes since the last reinforcement
    • Variable interval (VI) - VI5 - reinforcement is provided for the first response after an average of 5 seconds since the last reinforcement.

There is also a term to define a gradual shaping of a behaviour, that term is successive approximation. Its kind of like what "training" is for, if that training is supposed to mentally prepare you for something.

So the next time your learning something, ask yourself. Is it classical or operant conditioning? lol

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


As the holidays are approaching and the gift buying madness has begun a relatively few people out there are thinking the exact same thing I'm thinking. How do I NOT overspend my money? You'd think the answer is as easy as - DON'T OVERSPEND STUPID, but realistically it takes a certain mindset, a certain mental preparation, a certain, if you will, winning attitude, to succeed at not splurging the holidays away.

I'm going to outline how I think as I save thousands of dollars month over month and build a cash cushion. Hopefully you can take a bit of this and apply it to your life. As is the case normally, everyone must look at what they are capable of.

Really quick, here are 5 attributes about myself that keep me on track

  1. Be Aggressive - This has got to be the most important attribute to start with. That's because when you become aggressive there are a few things that automatically follow. For one you begin to focus on ways to save, two you make it your priority, and three you ignore the immediate gratification that buying gives you, and you concentrate on your long term outlook.
  2. Be Alert - You have to be aware that on any day you can crack all of a sudden, and throw all your plans out the window, or delay it significantly just because you walked in on a "sale".
  3. Be Smart - Finding ways to cut expenses or ways to increase your income takes smarts. You'll also have to use those smarts to be creative and, as much as I hate to say it, "think outside the box". Face it your existing patterns are not sufficient, and finding great new way can only be done by one person. YOU.
  4. Be Eager - Every day when you begin to feel the pain of living without luxuries you will need an internal motivation. This is something that you need to create in yourself. A tip from me to you: Describe to me the events that took place in your life 3 days ago. Starting from the time you woke up to the time that you slept. I bet you have a vague memory of it, so use this lack of memory in your favour. The next time you need to spend your money, just think to yourself "its only for the short term. I can buy this later if I really need it, even if its on sale."
  5. Always Have A Purpose - This is probably the hardest one to get right. One of the most agreed upon first steps in doing anything is to create a goal, but I'm not here to repeat the same old advice, I'm here to tell you that you need to put a purpose to the goal. When you're making your goal don't just make up a random number like $10,000, instead tell yourself -

· "I am going to save $10,000 in case I get laid off from my job because I will want to cushion my fall when it occurs" or

· "I am going to reduce my student debt by $10,000 every 6 months, because I plan on getting into more debt with a new house"

Those are 5 quick tips to get mentally ready. HAPPY SAVINGS!

How to you improve your life (Part 1 of 3)

How do you improve your life? Ask a Buddhist and the answer will probably be through practice and experience. Ask your family doctor and the answer will probably be "eat healthy and excersice". Ask yourself and what do you say?

In the realm of psychology you can change yourself through "conditioning", and there are only two methods. The first being known as "classical conditioning",
and the second as "operant conditioning".

I'll start off with classical conditioning.

I wish there was something classical about classical conditioning, but there really isn't. It came about when a Russian psychologist, Ivan Pavlov, noticed that dogs salivate when they know they are going to eat. They don't call these guys geniuses for nothing. Unlike anyone else up to this time, Pavlov knew he was onto something. He knew that this behaviour can be an experiment. His experiment was really very simple. Train a dog to salivate when the dog hears a bell ring. Here's how he did it:

  1. Ring bell
  2. present food (dog eats)
  3. repeat cycle

As the dog begins to learn that bell=food he salivates more and more. Up to a certain degree. Here's how it looks on a graph

Psychologist love to make up words so there's also a few terms that I should explain.

  1. Neutral Stimulus (NS) - This is the bell at the beginning of the experiment. Its called Neutral stimulus because the bell on its own would not make the dog salivate, but its going to be used in the experiment.
  2. Unconditioned stimulus (US) and Unconditioned response (UR)- In other words this is a label that s ays "no training needed", and in this case the food is the US and the dog salivating when food is presented is the UR.
  3. Conditioned stimulus and Conditioned Response - The word conditioned here means "you're my bitch. Now do as I trained you". In this case, when the bell=salivation the bell becomes the CS, and the salivation as a result of the CS becomes the CR.

Of coarse the mind is not static, and therefore constantly changes so it should be no surprise to anyone that over time the CS can turn back into a NS. How? By ringing the bell without presenting food. Here's the graph again

and here's how most text books would present the information

In the first third of the graph, when the dog is being trained, it is called "Acquisition". When the level of training has reached a peak and levels off, like when the dog can't salivate any more then physically possible, it is called "Asymptote". When, in the third section it begins to unlearn the behaviour, it is called "extinction".

During the extinction phase it is possible to see a sudden reemergence of the learned behaviour, this is called "spontaneous recovery"...I told you these guys like making up words.

There's one more side effect of classical conditioning, and that's that the CS (the bell that makes the dog salivate) can evoke a similar response from similar stimuli....Basically a bell can be a door bell or a dinner bell or a cow bell (MORE COW BELL!) and the CR would be the same. This is called "generalization". If other stimuli like clapping for instance, is not a generalization of the CS then it is said that there is a "discrimination" between stimuli. Just replace the word "discrimination" with "difference", cause that's all this term means.

How does this apply to you?

Lets say that every time you see your bf/gf the first thing you do is kiss, and that makes you feel good.

What will happen is that if you do this enough times you will begin to feel good in anticipation of seeing him/her, but if you stop kissing when you see him or kissing him no longer feels good then you will not feel so good when you anticipate seeing him/her.

In other words your expectation automatically influence your emotions, and your learned behaviours are automatically acquired and extinct using classical conditioning, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Now that you know this, use this knowledge to uncondition yourself from bad habits and condition yourself into good ones.

Thanks for reading,
  1. digg it! if you like what you read
  2. Give examples of classical conditioning from your own life, please add them into the comments section, no matter how simple they are.
Look out for my next post which will be operant conditioning

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

new post?

dear you,

thank you for visiting this site again. In case you think Dr. Yorke or Dr. Yorkette have checked into a mental hospital, I am writing this letter to assure you of the opposite. Both are swell and relatively in a sane condition.

Dr. Yorkette is still promising to write Part 2 to the follow up on body languages, and Dr. Yorke promises to bring to you a topic on "mental conditioning" or "how memory works".

Stay tuned for a new post this week. Please post your comments and encouragements (yes, you can post anonymously).

Thank you,