I covered up the blog URL because I don’t want this post (and others to come) to be seen as a personal attack on the blog owner, because it’s not. I am only pointing out the flaw of the claim.
I’m not on an expert on marital relationships. I took a class on Human Sexuality, but it was more about the historical and religious influence of sexuality; defining sexuality, gender, and other sex-related terms; biological aspects of sex; influence of personality on one’s view of sexuality; and aspects involved during sexuality, such as arousal and love. And although marriage was part of the discussion, it wasn’t a major theme.
That being the case, I decided to email someone who may have an answer: Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a College Fellow of Psychology at Harvard University. Dr. Lehmiller studies romantic relationships and sexuality. He has a blog called The Psychology of Human Sexuality, which you can also follow here on tumblr.
Dr. Lehmiller told me that he had never heard of the 80% statistic. “Although I can’t think of any studies off the top of my head that would explicitly address that idea,” he continued, “I think it’s very doubtful that number is correct”
He further warned that
many websites claiming psychological “facts” aren’t all that factual in reality. Any time a blogger mentions a statistic without mentioning the source, you should be very skeptical, because it’s unlikely that it came from a reputable research study.
So there you have it, folks.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the “fact” is BS, but, well, the odds are against it. If something looks fishy and it doesn’t have a source or reference, it may very well be bunk.
I saw this picture a few months ago and saved it to remind myself to find out if it was true or not. It seemed a bit far-fetched, so naturally my skepticism kicked in. After doing a bit of research, I found out the “fact” is somewhat correct - but not entirely.
In a study published in PLOS ONE, Homes and her colleagues (2009) hypothesized that playing Tetris for 10 minutes after viewing a trauma-inducing film would reduce flashback memories for over a week.
Now, why the heck would they hypothesize such a seemingly random thing? Well, they rationalize this on two things. First, the brain has selective resources with limited capacity. This means that the brain either concentrates its resources and energy on one thing or another. Second, there appears to be a 6-hour window to disrupt memory consolidation, or strengthening. If you combine these two ideas, then you can predict that playing Tetris will take up selective resources from the brain, therefore preventing the person from concentrating on the bad memories while at the same time disrupting the way this memories get stored in the brain.
To test out their hypothesis, Homes and her colleagues had 40 participants watch a 12-minute film with traumatic injury and death scenes. There was a thirty-minute buffer period before assigning the experimental conditions. After the thirty minutes, the participants were randomly assigned to two groups. One group (visuospatial task) was instructed to play Tetris for 10 minutes; the other group (no-task) was instructed to sit quietly for the same amount of time. After being dismissed, all 40 participants were instructed to keep a daily diary to keep track of their flashbacks of the trauma film.
Their results showed that persons in the visuospatial task (Tetris) had significantly less flashbacks than the control (no-task) group:
So indeed, playing Tetris did prevent (although “reduce” would be a better word) flashbacks - for the most part. However, playing Tetris did NOT wipe bad memories. As a matter of fact, when given a memory test, both groups performed almost identical in memory recall; both groups remembered the events in the trauma film without a problem.
In short, yes, playing Tetris after witnessing a traumatic scene can help prevent or reduce flashbacks. However, it does not wipe bad memories.
Holmes, E. A., James, E. L., Coode-Bate, T., & Deeprose C. (2009). Can playing the computer game “Tetris” reduce build-up of flashbacks for trauma? A proposal from cognitive science. PLOS ONE, 4(1), e4153. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004153.
I try to read whenever I can, but school hasn’t been generous to me lately; however, now that the semester is over (as of yesterday), I plan to read as much as I can before summer courses begin.
Excuses aside: No, I haven’t read Kahneman’s book. Although I have it in my non-fiction reading list, I probably won’t be reading it any time soon.
For those of you who don’t know who he is, Daniel Kahneman is a Nobel Prize winning psychologist. You can find his biography and list of works here.
Awhile back someone asked for psychology book recommendations. A guest (Helen) commented on the post and gave some recommendations of her own (I added links to the books):
If you want true story, I’d recommend The Day the Voices Stopped (Ken Steele), kind of memoirs of his struggle with schizophrenia, or The Lucifer Effect (Philip Zimbardo), discussing his prison study and its implications for the soldiers at Abu Ghraib, or even Suicide (Emile Durkheim). If you want fiction (murder-mystery - dark enough that some friends didn’t get through it), I recommend The Alienist (Caleb Carr) or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Mark Haddon), from the perspective of a kid with autism.
I’ll probably start up a page for psychology related books. If anyone else wants to chime in and recommend a book, reply to this post and I’ll edit in the recommendations.
Another guest, Rayne, made a recommendation:
I’ve heard Robert Hare’s “Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of Psychopaths Among Us” is a good read. I’ve yet to read it myself but hopefully I can when I’m not so busy.
Today marks a year since I wrote my first post. Ninety-seven posts later, I’ve gained a following of 356 tumblr followers and 7 people subscribed to my blog’s RSS Feed. Not bad; I was actually expecting this blog to plummet after a few months. Seeing that it hasn’t (yet)—and to mark this accomplishment—I have compiled a list of my 15 favorite posts. The list is in order of publication:
- Do Opposites REALLY Attract? (5/18/12)
- Links to Human Behavioral Biology Stanford lectures (5/25/12)
- Links to Introduction to Psychology Yale lectures (5/29/12)
- From Womb to Tomb - What is Development? (6/12/12)
- Hypnosis - Misconceptions (6/18/12)
- Changing Initial Test Answers - Good or Bad? (7/10/12)
- “People in love remember 30% more of their dreams” (8/11/12)
- The Importance of Being Skeptic (8/14/12)
- Bad Statistics Series    
- Letter to Tumblr Psychology Tag (9/2/12)
- The Forer (Barnum) Effect (10/12/12)
- Correlation does NOT Equal Causation (11/21/12)
- Study Tip #1: Divided Attention (1/17/13)
- “Based on a psychological study, a crush only lasts…” (3/9/13)
- Sleeping Positions and Personality (3/16/13)
EDIT: Added Tags
I wasn’t sure either. But yes, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat is certainly a must-read classic. I read the book last October and wrote a short post about it.
Unfortunately I don’t read many psychology books that aren’t textbooks or for research purposes. Sadly, I don’t have the time.
However, I recommend you look at Springer’s Psych 101 Series. They have books that talk about evolutionary psychology, intelligence, personality, psycholinguistics, and creativity, among other topics. I own the book IQ Testing 101; the research is solid and the book is fun to read and easily to follow. I assume this is true for the rest.
And here is a link to the APA Books. These may be more technical and dense than the Psych 101 Series, but who knows, maybe you’ll find something you like.
If any of you guys have book recommendations, don’t hesitate to share them!
Well, it actually depends on two somewhat related things:
1) How do you define intelligence?
By intelligence, do you mean the aggregate of only cognitive abilities, such as verbal comprehension, mathematical reasoning skills, memory, abstract thinking, etc.? Or, if you agree with Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence (I haven’t really looked into), which one would you be referring to? Additionally, what about non-cognitive factors such as motivation and the drive to learn and understand the world around us? Would those count as intelligence?
Think Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory; the guy has eidetic memory (aka photographic memory) and vastly superior cognitive abilities. Yet, when it comes to day-to-day living, he is awkward and lacks common sense. For example, when talking to people, he sometimes fails to understand sarcasm. Other times he is too blunt with this condescending remarks. Would he with his superior mental abilities be considered intelligent, even though he struggles to deal effectively with his environment?
2) What intelligence, or IQ, test did you use to derive the IQ?
Not all intelligence tests correlate at 100%, not even with their own revisions. Some tests may have a slightly heavier emphasis on verbal comprehension, others on mathematics abilities, others in abstract thinking. So, while I may obtain an IQ (or whatever score index the intelligence test uses) of 115 in one test, I may get a score of 110 in another, or 120 in a third.
That being said, intelligence tests are becoming more sophisticated. Since I am not an expert on the topic, I recommend reading Alan Kaufman’s book IQ Testing 101 if you want to know more on intelligence testing. Kaufman develops his own intelligence tests, and he used to work with David Wechsler, the developer of the highly used Wechsler intelligence scales.
I’m not entirely sure. In an ideal world, psychologists should score in the high 90’s since they’re suppose to have better awareness of their own biases, perceptual errors, and other cognitive processes. In short, psychologists should have better meta-cognition when compared to the general public.
However, in my experience—and this is only anecdotal, it may or may not be the case for other psychologists—I think psychologists do not differ that greatly from the general public; I’ve caught several of my professors being biased to their own fields and whatever it is they are doing research on. And we can see this historically when some therapists (including psychologists & psychiatrists) thought repressed memories were the real deal. They saw how real these memories were to their clients that they bought into the memories, some of which, it turned out, were false memories.
In his book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Carl Sagan tells the real-life story of a psychiatrist who buys into the delusion of his patient who claims to be a time traveler. In the end, it takes the psychiatrist a while to notice it was all a farce Sagan also gives examples of psychologists and psychiatrists who truly believed that their patients were abducted by aliens or were part of satanic rituals as children. Of course, now we know that memories are not that trustworthy; even if the patient becomes extremely emotional when recounting these “memories,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that the events actually happened.
So, to answer your question: I think that there is a difference between how objective psychologists (and other professionals who study how the human mind and behavior works) can be when compared to the general public; however, this difference is not that big. But that’s just my opinion.
Thanks for the great question; this topic is very interesting—I’ll make sure to look into what the literature says. I’m pretty sure someone has done a study on this by now.