Friday, January 27, 2012

A Very Merry Unbirthday

This year, my birthday fell on a Monday. Unfortunately this past Monday was a day where most of us (including me) were very busy. I decided to postpone my birthday until yesterday. At first I thought I would ok with no body really celebrating my birthday until Thursday, but I was a little sad that I had to wait a few days to feel special. But, yesterday I did feel special. Which is always nice.

Eight of us went out yesterday afternoon for a meal. It was a lot of fun as I don't really see two of my friends much any more and it was great to catch up. Then after the meal we went to buy snacks for boardgames. We headed over to the designated house of gaming and played a few board games. I didn't win any and, to be honest, I got quite annoyed at one game. (Can I just say, "Stupid Thief card in Dominion!! I will beat you!)

I also got to watch an Irish comedy called "Mrs. Brown's Boys". It was interesting and really did feel like I was watching my Irish friend, Ryan, up on TV. 'Twas interesting and very enjoyable.

I also got a package from my parents (admittedly I did have to pay for the import tax and had to collect it this morning since it didn't come until after I had left for lunch). I'm thinking about buying myself a game. I always like buying myself a little something because I'm sure to love it. Oh, I know that sounds shallow, but let's be honest people. How many times have you gotten a birthday gift that you had to pretend not to laugh at or put on a happy face even though it's not exactly what you wanted? We've all done it which is why I have installed my "one birthday gift for myself" rule. But, let's not misunderstand what I say. I'm appreciative of every gift I receive no matter if I want it or not. They usually show that people have been thinking of you and that's always a nice, warm feeling.

Seriously though, I had an enjoyable unbirthday yesterday.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sigh of Relief?

Dress for success as I always say. Well, dress in a baggy shirt and an over sized hoodie at least. These past two days of exams have been...hell. I mean, not to put too fine a point on anything.

But it's all over now and that's the most important part. Yesterday afternoon was the English exam and I wouldn't say that I did fantastically but I don't think I failed either. Always a plus. And this morning something happened that was amazing. I looked at the first questions of the Psychology exam and I actually knew the stuff! I knew all 6 questions for developmental and all 3 questions for language and I could have gotten the full 5 points on each.  Too bad that I was only allowed to answer 4 from developmental and 2 from language. Also unfortunately, that's where my uber confidence stopped. I answered the rest of the questions, but I don't think that I got the full marks for the rest of them. But...and this is a BIG but...I think I might have gotten the grade I needed to get the 16 overall in the course. That'd be swell.

Anyway, the rest of today I've spent calming down a little. I'm a worrier so the relieve of stress after exams is actually more like spontaneously combustion. I might be the only person in the world who doesn't want exams to end. I just hate the feeling afterward. I've always been this way...ask my dad. After opening night of plays when I was younger I couldn't sleep and was prone to cry. Excitement he called it.

What's on the agenda for tomorrow? Cleaning my room. Pre-exam Erin's room looks a bit like a paper monster threw up everywhere.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Revision Week: Day 9

Well it's been a long, stressful 9 days of studying. That's not to say that I've only been studying for the past 9 days, but these 9 days were the "study only" days. Anyway, tomorrow is my first exam and I've worked it out. I've already passed the course. It's a barely pass, but if I were to not show up tomorrow I could still wouldn't have to take the makeup exam. It's a nice feeling really seeing as I know that I'm going to get more than a 0% on the exam. Less stressed? Yes.

Now...the problem is that my second exam is Thursday. I've also worked that out. I have to get at least a 17 on that to get the 16 overall in the course I need. It's my Psychology exam and that's the one that
I've been studying for mostly these past few days. I know I'll pass the exam...but pulling off a 17 is going to be hard. *sigh*

English exam is tomorrow
1 day until the Psychology exam

"There are different parts of the brain that deal with different parts of movement. There is logic to our movements and that's where the frontal lobe comes in. The frontal lobe plans/selects our movements. It co-ordinates our body and executes precise movements. The brain stem produces our basic or primitive movements such as eating, drinking, and sexual behaviour. The spinal cord is responsible for our reflex movements such at blinking and breathing. The cerebrum produces our voluntary movements. We cannot have voluntary control over our movements if our brain is disconnected from the spinal cord."

The Neuroscience bit of Psychology sometimes really goes over my head.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Revision Week: Day 8

2 days until the English exam
3 days until the Psychology exam

What I learned today: I'm done for. These exams will be the death of me. That is all. Good night.

And thus begins the exam freak out. Tune in tomorrow to see how everything goes.

Revision Week: Day 7

Well, my laptop decided that it had had enough studying for the revision week and decided to take a break yesterday morning. I was filling out some flashcard to help commit researchers' and psychologists' names (my true weakness) when all of a sudden the mouse pad stopped responding. I closed him all up and let him take a break for a little before opening him back up. The mouse still wasn't responding so I decided to try and shut it down. But the keys were also taking a short break. That left me with a manual shut down. I don't like doing those, but there was no way to turn Harry off. After the shut down and a five minute rest I turned Harry back on and he started doing a routine drive check. At this point, I was thinking, "Alright Harry, you do what you need to do."

Well he found a problem, something that has never happened. A little screen popped up asking if I would like the computer to automatically fix it. Of course I pressed the "yes" button. Too bad Harry couldn't figure out how to fix his problem. *sigh* So for the whole morning Harry kept saying that there was a problem and it couldn't be fixed, "press finish to shut down."

Now, I started freaking out a little. As a child of the technology age I don't really know how to function without my laptop. The first thought that popped into my head was, "How am I suppose to study!?!?!?" That's when I thought that perhaps I rely a little too much on technology and if my parents and their parents could study without the Internet at home then so could I.

I went to the library and checked out five very heavy books. Then I found a computer and printed off all the SAQs I had answered and written up so that I would have a guided study with my books. Retro right? Anyway, while online I took the opportunity to ask my friend if he could help Harry. He agreed and I spent the rest of the day worried about how I would study. I mean, who uses books anymore right? Haha!

Anyway, that evening I went over to his house and he fixed Harry in about an hour. I'm keeping the books though. It might be interesting to see what happens when I have to read a few chapter from each. Might even get a better mark on my exam because I didn't just listen to the lectures and review notes. I did extra stuff. *smile*

What I learned yesterday: You can study even when you don't have access to the Internet 24/7.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Revision Week: Day 6

Today was again a pretty relaxing morning. It was very lovely just to lounge in bed for a while before having to get up around half past nine. Then I wondered around town with a friend for a while. Which was also nice...but gotta admit, not as much as I liked sleeping in this morning.

But then it was back to work this afternoon for a few hours. Today I decided to try and study a little Shakespeare. Now, I love watching Shakespeare plays but reading them is a little hard for me. Not because I don't understand them but because it takes me forever. Why? I act them out in my head. And then I get bored of doing all the voices.  It's a tiresome activity.

4 days until the English exam
5 days until the Psychology exam

What I learned today. In Shakespeare's play "Richard III" Shakespeare depicts Richard as a real bastard. Apparently though...he was an ok King. But, he wasn't part of the Tudor family and since Shakespeare's main backer was the Tudors he had to make out the other monarchy families out as bad guys.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Revision Week: Day 5

Well, I had a very relaxing morning. It was quite nice. I woke up at half past eight (which is sleeping in for those of you who know me) then answered some emails, went for a jog, and had a late breakfast. I didn't do any studying really until I got to campus about 2 hours ago. Unfortunately, I've gotten into cognition. Now, I'm sure that cognition is interesting...actually, it is interesting. Too bad my lecturer for this part of the course was pretty boring. I mean, he was a nice enough guy but his voice puts me to sleep and his lectures aren't that well organized. So, it's like double work for me to try and get anything out of them. *sigh* Oh well, it happens right? Just means that I actually have to work to understand what he's saying.

5 days until the English exam
6 days until the Psychology exam

What I learned today. We have no idea how our mind works. Absolutely none. Anyone who says differently is crazy. Umm...yeah. That's kind of all I got from these two lectures that I've listened to this afternoon. Oh gosh, I'm pretty much done for aren't I?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Revision Week: Day 4

So, today is big brother's birthday! We're getting so old. Haha!
Happy Birthday Big Brother GREG!!!!

Over the course of the day I have knocked my bowl of cereal onto my carpeted floor (which led to the discovery that wet Wheetabix is really hard to get off of the floor), fell off of the stair leading up to my flat, ran into a doorway, and fell asleep at the computer while studying. What has all of this led me to do? Take a long break.

I think I've discovered something. There is such a thing as over studying and not giving yourself enough down time. Now, I've been giving myself down time after studying in the afternoon. But I've been up at 7am every morning since Monday and have been studying for 6 hours a day. I guess I never fully understood "over studying". Did you know that you can do it before the night right before the exam?! But today, I just studying for 4 hours and I'm going to let myself sleep for as long as I need tonight. *smile*

Right well...
6 days until the English exam
7 days until the Psychology exam

Let's go to spoken speech recognition. "There are a few models which try to explain how humans can process and understand speech. One of these theories is called the Cohort Model. A "cohort" is a group of possible words a word can be before you figure out what the word is. Let me try to explain that a little better. Within the Cohort Model model there is something called the "uniqueness point." The uniqueness point is the point where that word can only be that word. Some words have early uniqueness points and others have late uniqueness points. Words with early uniqueness point are easier to identify if speech gets distorted in any way. This uniqueness point is what the Cohort Model is based around. Basically, if you hear the sound /c/ your mind thinks of a million words that start with the sound /c/ (like cat, cabbage, carrot, crate, crab, etc.) Then you hear the /ca/ sound, so your mind eliminates the words that don't fit with that sound and you're left with those words that do. Then you finally hear /cat/ and you're left with only one word that can be. The word "cat" has a late uniqueness point. There are early and late models. The main difference between these two models is that early versions believe that we use top-down processing (we use the context to help in word recognition) and later versions believe we use bottom-up processing (it's all data driven)."

Odd question to ask...does that make any sense? I'm trying to figure out how I would explain the Cohort Model if it came up in a Short Answer Question in the exam.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Revision Week: Day 3

So, last night as I was walking home from a movie night with friends after a full day of studying I thought of something. I saw a father walking with his two children toss his cigarette aside without putting it out. Let's, for a second, ignore my issues with the whole "smoking around children" thing and focus on what it actually made me think of. He didn't step on it or throw water over it or anything. For a second I was really confused. If he didn't put that out completely he ran the risk of starting a fire right there on the sidewalk. Didn't he?

Well, maybe not. I live in the boring, icky part of California. It's hot nice months out of the twelve and always dry. It's dry heat and dry cold. Basically, it sucks. And everything is flammable. You know all those fires on the highway in LA? Well, I'm fairly certain that 99% of them start because careless people decide to throw their still lit cigarettes out of their car windows. But Aberdeen is definitely not as dry as where I live. It's wet and rainy twelve out of twelve months so...would he be completely wrong not to put out his cigarette? I'm not sure anymore. He's wrong on the account that he's littering, but he probably wouldn't have started a fire on the sidewalk. I do know that if he ever goes to California he might inadvertently start a fire. Lesson of the day: Put out your cigarettes and dispose of them in an appropriate manner.

These are the things I think about when studying. Anywho, I did my usual 6 hours of studying this morning.
7 days until the English exam (that's one week!!!!)
8 days until the Pyschology exam

"We all can lip read. We may not think we can, but we do. In fact, we do it everyday as a tool to use when processing speech. We use a lot of tools to help in speech processing and there is evidence to suggest that we also use the visual as well. The evidence is in the McGurk effect. The McGurk effect is, basically, when you hear something when watching the person and something different when you're not watching the person. If you watch someone saying "ga ga" you will hear "ga ga", but if you don't watch them you will hear "ba ba". Visual information helps so much with processing speech when it is muffled or deteriorated in any way. We don't depend solely on visual information to understand speech, but it is a useful tool." 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Revision Week: Day 2

So continues the exciting saga of Erin's revision week before exams. I have to say, I don't think I'll ever get use to this whole exams after winter break thing. Though, I'm surprisingly more prepared this year. I've actually studied. Sign of maturity?


8 days until the English exam
9 days until the Psychology exam

"There is evidence that infants can not only imitate facial expressions but can understand the emotions behind them. In a study, infants were tested to see if they could understand emotions. The experimenter first got the child use to passing objects back and forth. Then the child was presented with a bowl of broccoli and a bowl of fish crackers (you know...the snack the smiles back). The child was encouraged to choose a snack to eat. Inevitably, the child would choose to chow down on the fish crackers. After the child has sometime to eat their snack the experimenter would take the two bowls. He tried a bit of broccoli and made a pleased face with satisfied "yum" noises. Then he tried a fish cracker. He looked disgusted and made "yucky" noises. He then passed the two bowls back to the child and asked them if they could give him something to eat. In most, but not all cases, the child will eventually pass him a bit of broccoli. This provides evidence that young children can use facial expressions to guide their own social interactions." There are videos to go along with this of babies who "pass" and "fail" this test. There was one we watched which was absolutely hilarious. This little girl looks at the experimenter as if to say, "Really?! You want this!?" Adorable.

But quite possibly the most important thing I have learned (or revised I should say) today is something my lecturer said during the original lecture. "If you give broccoli and fish crackers to a child they will never eat the broccoli." Life lessons right there.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Revisions Week: Day 1

For revision week (well, really 9 days) I've decided to post something every day that was part of my studying. I'm hoping this makes everything stick in my head even more.

Revision Week: Day 1
9 days until the English exam
10 days until the Psychology exam

Children gain a better understanding of their own mental abilities as they age. If you were to ask a young child what they could expect themselves to remember when learning a list of words they would overestimate by quite a bit. They would average about 3 more items than they would really remember. As children grow up they begin to be more realistic as to how many items they can remember. By about age 10 children are not far off when guessing how many items they are able to remember. They still overestimate, but only by around one item.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Happy New Year's and Updates

I've been a little busy the past week I've been home. So, I'm sorry that I haven't been posting often.

I had a...pretty good new year's eve. My friend hosted a party and I went. It was the first new year's party I had been to where I was legally aloud to drink. Did I feel grown up? Kinda. I mean, it was nice to go out and buy my own alcohol and then go and drink the alcohol and a party. It did end a little sooner than expected, but wasn't and overall bad night. Well, it wasn't the best night I had ever had either, but that had very little to do with the party or Friends or other stuff like that.

Anyway, my brother came in for a visit on the 2nd and then just left yesterday morning. It was good to see him again and good to have family. I wish I had taken pictures of his visit, but it would have been of food he taught me to make since we really didn't travel. The next time he comes for a visit I'm hoping that we won't both have exams to study for and I'll have found out how to get buses to fun places here. I'm thinking next time he comes we'll go to Loch Ness. I haven't been there yet so it seems like a good place to go. Anyway, I really enjoyed his visit. He made me feel better and he brought me Swedish chocolate. Both are always appreciated.

Now it's on to studying for exams and forgetting. Well, not forgetting but...oh what's the word? Well, I don't know the exact word or phrase. But, it's a new year and everything will be better. Hope you all had a great new year's and have all of your resolutions put together. I've got mine. *smile*