Tuesday, November 29, 2005

a e i o u and sometimes w

Yeah yeah.. I have not been blogging for a while and its starting to become a sort of habit! Nothing that I enjoy, but I have been having my mind occupied with the tons of assignments and projects that were scheduled for completion at the end of semester. That’s right folks, it is the end of semester! This only means one thing! *scary background music and drum roll* Finals are not far away :|

I had fun putting together/producing the play (Cinderella’s Crunchy Christmas Cake) for theatre!! For those of you who missed it, too bad! For those of you who were there, I hope you enjoyed the characters as much as I enjoyed brining them to life! Here’s a quick view of the very colourful cast of nine!

The beautiful cast:
(L-R Bottom row) Salamander (the prince's foot soldier), Millicent (the cook), Violet (an evil cousin of the two sisters), Gardenia (one of Cinderella's sisters), and Isshy (the evil grandma elf). (L-R top row): Prince Charming (him self), fairy godmother, Cinderella, and Ella's other evil sister. (not in the picture, beauuuttiiful Lindsay Price, the author!)

Work with msf:
Work with msf’s refuges population is getting more and more exciting. Met two very delusional individuals. One hears voices instructing him to do stuff like jump off cliffs, hit people. Chile the other believes that blood oozes from his skin and that he has poisoned (the poison has apparently made him very allergic to insect bites, hence the blood).

I haven’t really read any where that acute stress can cause “delusional” type disorders (I am not that well read though), but its an interesting prospect because could that explain the fact that communities tend to be ‘more’ religious in times of excessive stress?

From a purely scientific/pseudo-scientific (Call it what you want) perspective, could it be that those diagnosed as “delusional” are less likely to be religious? Could religion be in fact a socially accepted form of delusion? Though I may never know the answer to that question, I could perhaps see if delusional disorders and religion occur in unison? As I said earlier, would the spectrum of delusional disorders (as categorised by society) be in fact a misguided/misplaced form of religion?

But, as long as the two patients are concerned, they agreed to meet a psychiatrist! *yay*?

Research his an all time low.

On the other hand, my proposed research project with the refugee population, has come to another snag! At first, there was that fiasco with my university claming that I could not do a thesis-paper/special project because I had already done an internship. WTF! But, that has been sorted, and I am now the on the way! Or not so soon.

My research supervisor (lets call him G-sharp-major for now) tells me that ERB would not be happy with one of my variables (legality - “legal” vs “illegal”). Apparently, doing this research would be a sure shot way to get my name printed on the tomorrows headlines. I kept insisting that it would be good publicity for my uni. But, he wouldn’t have any of that.

I however think that there is more risk involved in putting my participants into trouble by identifying them. Since anonymity doesn’t really stand in the eyes of the ‘law’, I wouldn’t want to push it further.

What am I going to do?
I am thinking of measuring other variables that arise as a consequence of being legal or “illegal”. But, that’s a long shot and it makes the study really complicated! but, before that, i think i am gona concentrate on finals! :D

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Colloquium Day

Attended the 10th research colloquium at my university. As, becoming chairperson for the presentations (think Emcee) becomes the responsibility/burden (depends on how you see it), there I was sitting my way for an hour of presentation, heating up the chair for the next ‘chairperson’ to meet his/her fate!

Obviously, the chair person is the only person in the entire audience who cannot see the screen. Unless you turn around, risk look totally weird (but that’s not a problem for a senior psych student.. believe me), risk spraining your neck (KJ has more experience here), and perhaps falling off the chair! But, fear not, cause that’s a great opportunity to stare at all the awesome girls in the audience, and still look respected! (how cool is that? Wana become a tutor?)

Apart from the wonderful experiences of chairing, that 1 hour give enough time to tune into you inner world, a time for self hypnosis of sorts! Having gone through a series of mantra chants with my co chair, and seeing the light (or was that from the balding head of the apPAULer?) I was compelled to jot down some ways about how “research colloquium” could be made more ‘interesting’. If you are not taking me seriously right now, its ok, the 10-commandments was ridiculed at first too. Heres my shorter 5-item version

1. Have poster presentations up during, the same date

2. Extend the duration of poster presentations. Don’t remove posters on Saturday. Its student research and I would like to see that up for longer period cause that would be respecting my semesters worth of work.

3. Have a copy of the power point/outline of the presentation on display with the posters, after the Saturdays main event. This way, it would be easy for those who want to refer back to presentations.

4. Feedback to students from the ‘judge’ is a great idea. How about more than one judge? How about external judges? Guests? Researches from other u’s?

5. The event culd be made more attractive. Current publicity makes it sound more of a chore, rather than a privilege that it rightfully should be. Students work really hard to present their research findings. i doubt that the amount of importance given right now, is sufficient.

Monday, November 21, 2005

SMOKE'in HELP - part II

It has been a while since I had a comment posted! Assignments were plentiful, and I was darn lazy to do anything about it sooner! Weeeel, I am done with writing about the conflict in Rwanda as part of the conflict resolution class (perhaps the class should be called political science? But that’s for another blog). I am also done with the first draft of a theatre assignment that requires an analysis of dramatic styles in two of Tennessee Williams plays, “the glass menagerie” and “a streetcar named desire”. The last one was harder!

It was good to see the comments that came in about the issue of smoking culture, research supporting tobacco companies, and the general lack of no smoking in HELP. I had to think twice about responding to the comments, and decided to have a separate entry. This is because, …. Read on…

Firstly, I would like to answer (or try to) some of questions that KJ brought up. I wouldn’t know if there were many junior psych students in the research. However, I did spot a few well known, seniors! I know that some of us flatly refused to get our selves involved and quit. But, I also know that some seniors continued!

As for my comments on implications of conducting research, that aids tobacco organizations, by junior or senior students would be:

1. It would minimize the negative stereotypes that are held by students. Negative stereotypes and negative attitudes smoking should rightfully be encouraged. There should be no reason to be ashamed of it either. If university is a facility of learning, then you risk teaching students the wrong values. It is generally accepted (and I am not going to cite) that smoking is harmful to health.

2. Psychologists SHOULD be a positive influence on human behaviour. Any form of training, that undergraduate psychology students experience, should be one that fosters the development of ‘positive’ values in them. Teaching them that getting involved in tobacco marketing research is NOT positive, as it will encourage them to be more accepting of smoking. Think cognitive dissonance (I am not going to explain that term. Look it up!)

3.There is a breech of national policy. It is the Malaysian government’s intention to ‘reduce’ or ‘eliminate’ smokers. This pledge was made at an international level (Hence USM VC's comments last week). Encouraging research would result in an ambivalent attitude towards government policy.

As for psychologists taking oaths, I don’t know if we have to! I do know that medical doctors do take oaths promising to value the ethics of their profession. I would like to know if any such oath taking would be done in my clinical school. Ephez is right in pointing out that the inherent variability in the fields of psychology would result in different attitudes towards oath taking and its subsequent practice/adherence.

However, this should not be seen as an excuse. That lack of an oath is no reason why any psychologist (industrial or otherwise) should behave in ways that harm society at large. People dealing with other people need to be held accountable for their behaviour. Psychologists, regardless of their work setting, influence human behaviour, and should not make “the lack of an oath” and excuse.

Further, every professional organization that hires psychologists (or confers their status) have their own ethical code of conduct. Adhering to an ethical code, is as equally important as “just taking an oath”.

The issue in HELP (Dr. Deb, this should answer your question), arises not because of the decisions that the head of the department of the centre psychology made. Instead are due to the decisions that were made the head of University. The head of the University is an economist (that does not exempt him from practicing ethics). Further, the centre for psychology (my defence to them) was not responsible in organising the research project. However, it is disappointing that members of staff from the department (psychology) acted as coordinators/consultants/etc. I believe that these specific members who represented the centre for psychology should have been sensitive in following ethical guidelines.

I also want to clear out a comment made by mythsn_legends. HUC’s management DOES NOT nor DID NOT ‘promote’ tobacco products in campus. I am ‘accusing’ them of supporting marketing research (conducted by a 3rd party advertising company), that is geared towards creating a product placement strategy for BT. My argument is that, regardless of the financial gain that HELP stands to gain from the partnership fostered with the ‘advertising’ company, it is WRONG to do projects without considering the implications of the research findings. In this case, it would equal supporting a giant tobacco company.

Should psychologists support organizations that cause harm or bring no good to individuals and society at large?

I was thinking of a really sarcastic way of replying, but… will stick to a NO (in large font) for now. Reasons, science should be about taking people forward. Its about development and not the destruction of man kind. I applaud you for being brave enough to take your stand in saying NO, and for those of you who asked the many provoking questions.

I am not too sure if “all sorts of rules” about no smoking would really solve the issue unless, some meaningful amount of enforcement is undertaken. Even the simplest of all laws can be broken, when those in authority fail to enforce.

I would like end this blog entry by calling out to you (psychologists or not) to come forward as a student body, to communicate a clear cut message to society.



Interested? What you waiting for? Get active in your university! Or email me if you will support this drive in HELP.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

False Memory: Are Recovered Memories of Past Events Accurate?

The effects of suggestibility (misled vs. non-misled) and source monitoring (yes-no vs. source recall test) and source modality (picture vs. text vs. both picture and no text vs. neither picture or text) on memory were examined. 16- to 25-year-old college students (N = 48) saw a color slide and read either a misleading or non-misleading narrative about the picture. Participants recalled details of the picture by source (source-recall), or recalled details of the picture with no reference to the source (yes-no). Participants in the yes-no recall condition had better memory scores compared to those in the source-recall condition. Misleading narrative did not influence recall of items either from picture or text. Results are discussed in view of the false memory debate.

Click here to read more

Saturday, November 19, 2005


A blog friend (Deb) tagged this entry about the “10 things I recently learned about myself”.

Writing this out was much more difficult than I thought it would! Thanks Deb, i did learn something about me!

Tagged: Ten Things I've Recently Learned About Myself

1. I like the color green: its taken me this long to figure out!

2. I like collecting books and secretly desire to own my own library.

3. I love research, though don’t enjoy the lit-reviews!

4. I love cartoons

5. I love walking along misty pine forests near streams.

6. I am LESS spiritual than ever before! My force, I have discovered, is within myself.

7. I procrastinate a lot more than I hoped I would. But I always beat deadlines.

8. I love to be alone. I am a loner!

9. I believe that intelligent life forms other than humans exist.

10. I like Japanese girls! ;)

*I tag all my blog friends!*

Monday, November 14, 2005


Hail the Government of Malaysia for making attempts to reduce the number of smokers in the country! As the Vice Chancellor of University Sains Malaysia points out a mockery made by the government's system in allowing the tobacco companies organise the “international tobacco conference” in Kuala Lumpur (the VC didn’t think very much about Malaysian Airlines being the national carrier for the event) while other sectors in the government are trying hard to “negate” the effects of smoking (New Sunday Times, 2005), HUC’s head Dr. P tells his students, that research done in aid for an advertising company that is promoting the products of British Tobacco is a “great opportunity”. WTF!

Though he (Dr. P) sees that linking with a giant advertising company, by conducting their research as an “opportunity” for the University to expand its corporate links, it is disturbing to find out that students who were involved in this project were made to do research in less than ethical ways (some of these students include psychology seniors).

The aim of the research project was to carry out observational research and report, back to the advertising agency (by the recruited RA’s), the 'typical' patterns of conversation that people engage in. On the point of view of research ethics, the participants were NEVER given informed consent of this little “recording”. When this point was raised, the spokes person for the advertising company (the one that was doing the media work for BT, denied that ‘recording without permission’ was in any way unethical - Dr. P agreed! (Shame on you)

It gets better. Initially the students were not told that this work was supporting the advertising efforts of BT. It was very much later, that this fact was established. The irony of this incident was that the chief coordinator was a young research assistant who was fully attached to the centre for psychology. Dosent s/he know about research ethics? Do s/he really have to do every thing management tells him/her to do? Is ass kissing that important s/he chooses to violate accepted ethical strandeds of psychological research? Where is ERB when projects like this are undertaken? isent there a stranded of practice that Universities adhere to?

The research data is qualitative and allows for the particular advertising company to place the BT’s products right into Malaysia’s cultural arteries. The particular coordinator I referred to earlier, dismissed this concern by claiming that “qualitative research cant give you much information” (don’t BULLSHIT, you need to get back to your basics in marketing). The results, which is obvious to anyone in the right mind, would be an increase in BT’s market share in Malaysia! Specially among the youth (the research sampled a youth population). (for those of you who are not sure about product placement through qualitative research, think of Nike’s latest campaign in China)

Some moron just told me, that no matter how good the marketing campaigns are, the increase in Malaysian government cigarette tax, will eventually deter its use. Again, bull shit! Think Again, think Nike. Just cause the price is high, doesn’t mean you don’t buy the product. Product placing is a very powerful way of winning consumer share. Supporting research that helps tobacco corporations obtain that data, is like giving into a form of 'neo' colonialism. The independence that Malaysia obtained in 1957, would not mean anything, if you sell out valuble information.

While the VC of USM rightly points out the national divide on smoking policy (i.e. to smoke or not to smoke), I feel that the distinction in any educational institution, and specially in Universities, and more so especially in Universities that specialize in Psychology, should be one that does not support or encourage the use, promotion, sale, or help sustain tobacco companies. HUC, SHAME on you.

Writing this particular article made me think about the existing laws about cigarette use (or cigarette use) on campus. The last page of the little book of University rules (yes, there is such a book) says that smoking is strictly prohibited on campus. I feel that this 'last-page' attitude, has spilled over to HUC’s overall attitude towards smokers to one of tolerance and acceptance.

Apart from the encouraged research project in aid of British Tobacco's marketing interest in Malaysia, HUC is guilty of failure to enforce strict “NO SMOKING” zones within the campus. Students are seen smoking at the entrances, exits, and within the campus grounds. When I contacted a member of the staff, the response given to me was “what can we do, how do we stop them”. HELLO? The university has been ignoring calls be students who were concerned about cigarette smoke getting into the air-conditioning system. This is happening on the same building that houses the Centre for Psychology! Yay, for the future “achievers” of the nation!

I have this to request from the Management, staff, administration, big guns, gurus, and leaders of my University.

1. HALT any form of support given towards tobacco companies. Regardless of the loss of financial gain, have the guts to say NO and set an example for the students.

2. Apologise to the student body for cheaply indulging in research that endorses tobacco marketing.

3. Strictly enforce the NO-SMOKING regulations as that required by the government. It is our right as students to have a smoke free environment within the campus grounds. This is not just my opinion, but is government policy (correct me if I am wrong) under the Universities and colleges act.

4. Introduce severe penalties for those who violate campus "NO-SMOKING" regulations. This means taking a an active role, in stopping the practice of smoking within campus. No Smoking signs (that dont exist either) would not solve anything.

5. Actively take part in more ANTI-smoking campaigns and provide information of the negative consequences of smoking.

And finally two things:

to the VC of USM: I am not sure about the politics that you are involved in dear sir, but your comments on the existing policy towards tobacco et la, is encouraging!

To the coordinator(s) who thought you could bullshit me and get away, i have this to say: You were key in encouraging this research project among young undergraduates even though you knew what you were getting into . When BT’s market share increases (and it will), and some one close to you coughs his/her last breath, I hope you will remember the day you told me “qualitative research would not make a difference”

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Person in Me

Astrorat has a new look ;) (or atleast, is trying on one). After much deliberation, I have finally made the changes. Some readers have suggested that the previous background was too “strong” and hence, I have made a deliberate attempt to include softer colors! I would love to hear your comments on the change.

I guess the change in the blog reflects change that I am trying to bring into my life. The week of public holidays in KL (ew ew ew) have left me unmotivated to continue studying. If not in real life, then at least in the blog!

Comments from my readers:
Thanks to the holiday I have been blogging a lot! I am happy that the people who read my posts are enjoying its contents regardless of my odd use of profanity (ok, perhaps a little more than odd). I even had one reader write back to me, describing my entries as “funny”. Okaaayy!!!

Some of you had commented about my having an strange love-hate relationship with my university. Well, that’s not true, in fact I love my university. I however, do not agree with its policies or practices (this is true for my opinion of psychologists as well). And hence, will voice my opinion in an attempt to change the ‘norm’

A very close friend commented that it would be nicer to see more personal life stories on this blog. And I couldn’t agree more! hence, I have challenged my self to include more of these “the person in me” articles (is that what you call it). But, I guess I would have difficulty not speaking about psych related stuff, because psychology and its related work has become such a big part of my life, that its hard to isolate the two. She (my friend) almost said “sad, no life”, but, I doubt that’s true. I am quite passionate about what I do.

Great news! Or should I say, YAY!
I Was accepted into a clinical program with a full tuition scholarship! Yay! Hence, astrorat is well on the clinical path. There was a time during my undergraduate years, when I wasn’t sure of my major (let alone, how I was even going to pay for it). I once thought that cognitive psych was the way to go. I love cognition. Then there is a part of me wants to become a medical doctor. But, I cant afford medical school right now.

But my encounter with
MSF changed all that and showed me possibilities of getting the best of medical practice, psychology, and cognition in one area = clinical psych. How cool is that?

Though I wish that I could have gotten a similar offer from the University of Adelaide (Australia), I am not going to complain as the full tuition scholarship + opportunity to lecture is wayyy more than I could afford any place else!

Research going wrong:
I have come to a difficult snag with the research that I was proposing with refugees. After spending what seemed like centuries of consultation with the department of law in trying to figure out the legal implications of doing research with undocumented persons, my university tells me that I cant do both an internship and the 4th year paper! what the F***

According to them, since I have completed an internship paper, the special project paper (that I plan to do) would not count towards graduation! *frown* according to the people in UIU, the credit earned from the research paper, will not count towards graduation. *haih* but, I don’t want to waste any more time, I want to get the remaining papers done in spring and I cant afford to spend any more time doodling on, as the clinical school is scheduled for Fall, 06!

The Oath:
Astrorat (that is i) will be taking an oath promising never to physically or verbally abuse women, ever. This events organized by a local Malaysian NGO called AWAM (All Women's Action Society – no URL), and a Malaysian teaching hospital called HUKM
(Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia) and will be held at my university! I jumped to the idea of supporting their campaign and signed up. My thoughts about women, violence, and Malaysia coming up after the event.

Play time with Bingo:
After quite sometime, I spent time playing with my dog Bingo! Though he has a different name on his birth cert (a quite cool one for a dog), but we just choose to call him bingo ;) sorry bingo, though I cant remember your real name, I still love you.

He’s quite old now! An adult by dog years I recon, 7 in human years! Bingo’s a shy type, and refused to pose at this “family” photo session. Its all human feet and doggy back side! But, he’s a funny chap for that! will update more pix of my friend when i do get them.

Guess that’s it from me! :)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Tutors - Part II

My last entry dealt with darker side of tutors, and today I want to spend a little more time talking about those tutors who ‘keep the fire burning’ and then highlight another contributor to the failing tutor system. First however, kudos for the true elite of the tutors (you know who you are, if you read my previous post with little or no guilt). You deserve a standing ovation. Its your attitude of going the extra mile, that makes tutoring a whole lot fun, challenging, exciting, and rewarding.

Ok.. enough of positive thoughts (for a really good article about positive psychology see
Dr. Deborah’s latest article). I however, would like to spend the rest of this post on making some damning comments about a bunch of students who … errr.. read on..

To start with, the tutor-student (or ‘tutee’) relationship in my university is an odd one. Tutorials on one hand are not compulsory, and are really an option that’s been in place to support students who need ‘extra’ attention. Having said that, its ironic how the “university of achievers” usually have their tutorial list filled up on the first day of posting. High demand signups are fine, but what about what happens after that?

I have this to say to those of you who sign up, and then show no interest in turning up for tutorials: why the f**k did you sign up in the first place? It is not only selfish of you (for filling up a spot that another more deserving and needy could take) but it is also disrespects your tutors time.

Having had that very cathartic moment, I would like to make the following *humble* requests from all students.

Respect your tutor's time. Remember, your tutor is a student too, and therefore has demands and deadlines of his or her own. You can show your respect by keeping appointments and by finding out what time is too late to call your tutor at night. No one wants to be woken up at 2AM even though you are staying up late to meet a deadline. For the very least, do atleast Turn up for tutorials. Theres no greater insult than being stood up.

Communicate! Let your tutor know about exam dates and other important deadlines so that the two of you can plan ahead if you need extra time. Also keep in mind that your tutor might like to know how your exam went. Related, your tutor would like to know if you understood what was said. If you don’t speak in English, then say so.

Come prepared. Though tutoring may be a more casual arrangement than meeting with your lecturer, the more you have studied beforehand and articulated your own questions, the more productive your session will be. Psychologists (and psychologists to be for that matter) don’t read minds, hence, adequate preparation will help.

Be specific. The more your tutor knows about your needs before the session begins, the better prepared he or she can be to help you. If you are stumped on a particular problem, for instance, why not e-mail it to your tutor before your meeting?

Don't expect perfection. Though peer tutors have excelled in the courses they tutor, they do not have all the answers. For that, there’s god (don’t know his/her email, sorry)

Be active. One of the most important ways to learn from your tutor is to be active during your tutoring meetings. Make sure you explain to your tutor, in your own words, the concepts that you have been reviewing together. Putting the material into your own words will help both of you to make sure that you have grasped it and can apply it.

I cant believe that I went though a whole page without using much profanity! What’s happening to me? (worried)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Elite of the University: Tutors

Ladies and gentlemen… let me introduce you to the elite of the University: the Tutors!

For those of you who do not know what/who are tutors, they are basically students who assist lecturers and run tutorials in exchange for experience (and a sad cash reward of $1(US) per hour. You start your career as a tutor for General Psych and then apply for other classes based on how well you did for that paper.

Lets see now, All you need to do, to become a tutor is make sure you have an A for your Intro to General Psych (yeah, as if that’s hard) and then maintain a B+ (or 3.3 average for the respective Psychology paper of choice. Besides the having a top grade, it doesn’t matter if you were a loony cause no one really cares.

Tutors come in all sizes and shapes (BIG ones and little ones). They have all kinds of interests, all kinds of hobbies, and all sorts of ideas. While tutoring to some of us is a life time privilege and a huge honor. The tutoring experience, not only looks good on your CV but gives you a whole range of experiences such as delivering real lecturers, presenting tutorials, marking quizzes, and checking papers. None of these are typical of an undergraduate opportunity, hence it is a real privilege.

Students join in this tutor program for all kinds of reasons. Some of the darker reasons are becoming evident as some tutors have become more of an elitist society of bullshitters who are more concerned about the privilege of being called a tutor rather than paying much attention to the responsibilities attached.

Why do I say so?

During a casual conversation, I asked a few student tutors about why they signed up for the tutoring program. Here are their responses.

1. “ It makes chances of dating someone of the opposite/same sex higher”. LOOSER
2. “ I can use the tutor room to sleep/rest/eat”. What the F**k? go home or go some where else. What are cafĂ©’s for?
3. “Look intelligent”. Yeah right! During a tutorial this one tutors reply (defense of utter ignorance) to a complicated question was “that’s the way its always been done, don’t ask why”. FOOL…
4. “Its really cool to be a tutor!” Yeah right! Go join the ‘Image club’
5. “I want my picture on the tutor board!” Moron, this is not a singles lounge.

Why do I think that these elitist tutors are bullshitters?

1. They respond to student questions saying “that’s just the way it is”.
2. When unsure of how to solve a problem, promises student to get back to him/her later, but conveniently forget all about it.
3. Disregard administrative responsibilities. Marking quizzes are a chore, but its still a duty. I know some tutors who just don’t pay attention to administrative work because they find it ‘boring’
4. When asked to explain a difficult concept, start talking in gibberish. On top of that, make it sound as if the student is really stupid for asking that in the first place.
5. Have the attitude that they are above all other students. On top of that, they complain that students are disinterested in attending tutorials. While this issues of student drop out is present, it only affects those tutors who are trying very hard. Bullshitters generally use this as an example to mask the true reason for dropping out (sucky tutorials rather than student disinterest).

I have pondered why tutors like sitting on their “tutorly throne” (or rather swivel-y chair - thanks Kj) and impart knowledge on to the ‘mere-students’.

For you dear tutors/staff I have the following comments.

A) First and foremost, make sure you hire/select tutors with the right attitude.
B) The elitist attitude has to go… learn to relax and enjoy your time with the students. (thanks Kat)
C) If you cant, then get counseling cause trying to cover your own inadequacies (small penis perhaps?) via tutoring doesn’t help anyone (neither is it going to fix your original problem)
D) Get real, the 4RM/hour reward schedule, puts lab rats into shame. Understand that tutoring is not about the financial gain, but rather about the rewards in experience. Its about learning and experiencing the things that you could never exchange for money. Cheating out on that experience would mean that you are depriving another more deserving student from making use of the opportunity.
E)Understand that learning comes from the experiences that are embraced. If you do have aspirations to become a truly good psychologist, then start now. If you feel that its too hard, then perhaps a change of career to Mass communication would help.

I do realize that there are inherent problems with students perceptions of who tutors are. Some very good tutors who I know, face difficulty connecting with their students due a lack of interest on the part of the student. However, this is not to be confused with the elitist attitude of certain that I am highlighting here (my thoughts on students coming up on a later blog).

Finally, I would like to leave you with some comments that tutors should be longing to hear from their students. Perhaps this will give you an idea as to what tutor goals should be built towards.

Here are comments you WANT to hear or should be hearing:

"Not only did I get a better understanding, but I started to love the material, thanks to my tutor."
"I never felt stupid asking him/her questions."
"My tutor seemed sincerely interested in my improvements, no matter how small."
"I think I had my foot in the door and just needed someone to push me in the right direction."
"Her tips will last a lifetime."
"In his clear and straightforward manner, my tutor explained concepts that had totally confused me in lecture. The tutor’s style, however, was never condescending, and I always felt that he respected my intelligence as a student."
"What always impresses me is how my tutor didn’t just explain things, but she always actively involves me in the dialogue. Even if I say I understand the concept, she asks me a question just to reaffirm my understanding. I have found this extremely helpful."
“My tutor pointed out problems with my paper, yet made me think about why it was a problem. This will help me not make the mistake in the future. S/he was just genuinely very helpful and nice.”
“ My tutor helped me break down my overwhelming paper into parts I can handle.”
“ My tutor was patient and easy to understand. I felt comfortable working with him/her.”
“ I like the calm atmosphere, not feeling embarrassed. I wasn't rushed. I was able to work through it all.”
“My tutor was very patient and helpful with my third-grade questions on citing sources”
“ My tutor took the time to allow me to find my own mistakes making sure that I understood the suggestions that were made”

Now.. Do you really think that you are cut out to become a tutor?

Astrorat would like to thank Kj for helpful comments on creating this post

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Sex Differences in Romantic Jealousy: is Neuroticism a Predictor of Romantic Jealousy

Findings of sex differences in romantic jealousy are contradictory. In the present study, sex differences in romantic jealousy and relationship between jealousy and neuroticism was explored with a Malaysian College sample. Undergraduate student’s level of jealousy was measured after the presentation of jealousy provoking scenarios using a repeated measures construct. Measure of neuroticism also was obtained from the same participants. Results suggest that there are no significant sex differences in romantic jealousy. Results also suggest that neuroticism is not a useful predictor of romantic jealousy.

To read more click here

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Spacing Effects in Learning...

The spacing-effect refers to the advantage in memory, for learning information at spaced intervals than a single “binge” session of massed-learning. The experiment carried out with college students in Malaysia demonstrates spacing effect for free-recall memory on intentional learning. Participants were presented with word-lists and were tested for free-recall. Results support the general hypothesis that, spaced-learning has a significant advantage over massed-learning.

To read more click here

Thursday, November 03, 2005


The university concluded this years Halloween feast with much glory! (ya right! though some didn’t need makeup to look scary). Yours truly however, had the opportunity to become one of the many dumbass ‘ghosts’, but more interestingly, got the opportunity to observe the bunch of people as they faced what was meant to be a ‘scary’ experience. Now, I aint much of a fan for scary movies or the reproduction of the same, as I have come to believe that if your props are not up to mark, then you run the risk of passing the show as cheep humor rather than the fear inducing roller coaster that it is supposed to be (hint hint). Having said all that, I do not believe that the guys who turned the entire block of the center for psychology into a theater for the dead and wrestles did nothing less than fantastic job! *yay* ;p. bad ass planning.

Now, that’s the glorious bit. Sounds like I am marketing the event, doesn’t it? I know you want to keep reading, cause my bitch fest aint over. While standing there in my strange ghostly corner, being as useful as I could be, with as little movement as possible, with all but the light turned off, I started to notice something very very strange (like what the hell was i doing in collge at night anyways?). No, nothing out of the world, ermm.. but then.. interesting I would say. The people! Not the actors, but the people who paid 6 bucks to be frightened!. It wasn’t anything superficial that I was so interesting, rather, it was their reactions towards the poor ghosts.

As the lights were off, and the people were moving in their lanes from room to room along the corridors of hell (sounds nice right?), a couple of things happened. First, i was trying to figure out, in terms of behavior, what constitutes, fear (but, that’s too deep for this blog). Second, the behavior people had as a reaction to the fear that had engulfed them.

My observations are categorized as follows:

The Frightened:
this band of brother and sisters were the ones who genuinely were afraid to move past the horror that was created. they were the ones who had the look of concern on their faces. They were, in my opinion afraid. The didn’t any thing much other than hurry past the room hoping that the misery would soon end.

The Screamer:
Unlike the Frightened, the screamers did just that, Scream. And scream out their lungs they did. Don’t get it wrong, and mix them up with the ‘frightened category. This bunch were supposedly PRETENDING to be afraid and were acting as if they were totally afraid. They were trying to convey, “I aint afraid”! but, in sad reality, this bunch of losers are probably the bunch who had trouble sleeping that night. This was probably the bunch who needed to act macho so that they don’t look too bad.

The Wailer:
Unlike the screamers who were mostly male, the wailers were a similar bunch of losers who were female. The difference is really in the pitch difference in the screaming.

The Abuser:
This is the moronic bunch who thought that it was cool taking a punch at the actors. As if to confirm, if the ghosts were real or not, this bunch went around poking their fingers on others. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed slapping one such abuser on the face (piah! take that u biatcch). My explanation of their scum behavior is rather simple. They were seriously so frightened of what went on, that they had to prove to themselves that it was safe. And they went about checking if the objects/actors were in fact real (or not). This bunch would have been most likely to have cried should they be denied any kind of touching.

The Scientist:
This is probably a junior who’s over coming his (I say his cause more men were guilty of this) fear by providing pseudo-scientific explanation to the events. This moron was the running commentator who’s need to provide a rational explanation was the only way of keeping to his sanity

The Damsel:
The typical female, single, junior, who’s trying hard to get so guy, any guy, to notice her cry for protection. She batters her eyes and cry’s for his loving strong arms to shield her from the dangers of the dungeons!

The Knight:
The moron who’s falling for ploy of the damsel.

The Feminist:
This woman (some men included) are totally not afraid. They laugh at the actors face and make some stupid comment like “this place is funny”. Ok, why did they pay 6 bucks in the first place? The truly strange thing about them is that they are most likely the ones who would be convinced that the actors are mannequins.

Bottom line: every one was truly afraid. However, they choose to express this fear in some very interesting ways. Pretty dumbass, but interesting. There must be some fun in getting you amygdale tickled. Fear after all, must be addictive. The reaction from these people only mean one thing, they were all chicken shit scared. To the organisers.. better luck next time cause it was pretty lameass

Perhaps next years fright night can have special consideration for the above mentioned jokers (organisers included). Perhaps an explanation as to other forms of ‘fear-expression’ could be in order! education to all!