leigh urbschat's blog

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You Are Getting Sleepy: The Pros and Cons of Hypnosis

When most of us think about hypnotism or hypnotists we might think back to a high school assembly or carnival show in which we’ve watched volunteers get up on stage and made to act like chickens. For most people, the idea of hypnotism may be more of a magic show than means for psychotherapy or forensic investigation. These two fields, however, have been relying recently on hypnotism to get answers. Therapists may use hypnotism to uncover childhood abuse that can lead to other problems in adult patients, or to rid a patient of a phobia or bad habit. Hypnotism has also been used by the judicial system to enhance the memories of witnesses or victims of crimes. In both fields, however, the use of hypnotism to get to the bottom of things is a controversial subject. Hypnotism can often lead to pseudomemories in the hypnotized subject, which can be very misleading or simply false. With the information that follows, I hope to make readers familiar with the risks of using hypnotism both inside and outside the therapeutic context as well as with when hypnotism can be of real psychological help.

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Review of Malcolm Gladwell's Blink

In the introduction to Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, he tells the story of the J.

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Color Blind: Who's to Say?

Color vision is an evolutionary adaptation that has assisted the survival of vertebrates in many ways. From choosing a fit mate to heeding warning signs to finding food, color vision is a neurological property that has many benefits. In considering specifically humans, the question arises as to how color blind individuals view the world around them, and how their condition affects their perception of reality. From our discussions in class, we have discovered that the notion of reality, when it comes to sight, is very subjective. Our brains see a very different picture from that which is taken in through our retinas. One of the most astounding differences is that the world does not have color until the light that it gives off comes through our retinas and is processed within our photoreceptors. With such a difference between the image of the world outside of the brain and inside of the brain, there can be no question that there is at least some variation between individuals when it comes to color. With that said, I find it difficult to classify anyone as color blind. There are so many degrees of color deficiencies added to the inevitable variation between those with “normal” color vision, that too classify color blindness as a disability seems rather ambiguous.

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Synesthesia: Blending Senses

Each of us has encountered a “loud” shirt or “warm” colors, however, for most individuals these terms are metaphors and not actual physical experiences. Those living with the neurological condition synesthesia, in fact, do encounter this blending of senses on a regular basis. Senses like hearing and vision, or touch and taste become combined in the synesthete’s brain rather than remaining separate as in the majority of the population. The study of synesthesia dates as far back as 1880 with the work of Francis Galton in the journal Nature. However, due to the stigma that synesthesia is the product of the imagination, memories from childhood, or drug experiences, little interest was expressed in the subject until recently.1 The condition is very subjective in nature, causing most of the data obtained to be qualitative rather than quantitative. This fact makes it difficult to have any conclusive physical evidence about synesthesia. Scientists do not have a clear answer as to what causes synesthesia or even as to what is occurring within the brain of a synesthete. Although many theories have been purposed, the many complexities of this fascinating condition are likely to keep researchers puzzled for years to come.

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