6 Organisation Tips for Students

organisation

Staying organised can be difficult but it becomes a necessary part of being a student. It enables you to become a master of the learning process. It is more than just meandering through your education, it is part of embracing what you’ve learned. Organizing your notes takes a bit of time but it’s so worth it. Here are some organisation tips I’ve found that work:

  1. Preparing beforehand

If your university or college makes the taught lectures available online before the actual lecture, it is worth printing these off the night before or on the morning to take with you. In my experience, a lot of lecturers speed through a lot of information so quickly so this allows me to write additional notes that they might give that aren’t already provided. These help me to understand the concept more and therefore I have more to write about in my assignments and exams.

2. Saving the syllabus

If you can access your lectures online, then it is wise to save these to your computer and back them up again, so you don’t lose them! I save all my lectures to my computer and also to my OneDrive account, and I also keep all my printed lectures and additional notes in binders (see below).

3. Organizing your notes into binders

I keep a separate folder for every unit/module I am taught at university. I tend to keep my notes in weekly chronological order with details on who taught them and their relevant contact details. I have also kept the notes I made at college and previous years at university for future reference. You never know when you’re going to need them! For instance, some of the notes I made at college I am now using for my dissertation! Read More »

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Trait Theories of Personality

Our personality encompasses all that we are. All our little quirks, characteristics, behaviours, and thoughts which make each one of us unique. Personality plays a huge part in individual differences research and over the years many different theories have emerged.

One of the sectors of these theories are trait theories. These are also known as psychometric theories due to their measurements of personality traits through psychometric tests. Trait theories argue that every individual has certain unique traits resulting from our genes which predispose us to act a certain way in a variety of situations. These are thought to be consistent across situations and time. There are lots of trait theories of personality but here are a few of the most influential:

Eysenck’s Personality Model

Eysenck conducted factor analyses on personality questionnaires and found three dimensions of personality:

  • Extraversion (extraversion/introversion)
  • Neuroticism (stable/unstable)
  • Psychoticism (added in 1966)

According to Eysenck, extraverts are sociable and impulsive; introverts are reserved and serious; neurotics are anxious and worrying; and stables are emotionally calm and unworried. Those which fall under psychoticism tend to be lacking in empathy and more aggressive.

He also related a person’s personality to the functioning of the Autonomic Nervous System, in that someone’s personality is dependent upon the balance between excitatory and inhibitory processes within the nervous system (explained in more detail as a biological model in further posts).

The measures of these personality dimensions have been developed through many different psychometric tests, but the most recent is the Revised Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ-IR).

eysenck's neuroticism and extraversion model

Read More »

Is Consciousness an Illusion?

The notion of consciousness reopens that age-old contest between philosophy, psychology, and biology. Does consciousness arise from mere physical processes from the brain (Koch and Greenfield seem to think so) or is it more of a spiritual entity, closely related to views of the soul (advocated by the likes of Plato, Aristotle, and Descartes – I talk more about these views here).

In the debate about consciousness, what goes hand in hand with it is the unconscious. Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of the unconscious argues that it harbours repressed and traumatic feelings and memories from our early childhoods, as well as socially unacceptable desires. However, the general view about the unconscious mind is that it is responsible for implicit knowledge (automatic skills and habits). It is believed that the unconscious presents itself in our dreams. Rosalind Cartwright argues that there is a degree of continuity between conscious life and the unconscious representations which we find in dreams. It is believed that they serve the purpose of compartmentalizing and regulating the emotions we experience from conflicts in real life. Dreams offer the chance to work out our problems and make better sense of the world. Perhaps this is why we feel better about something after we’ve gone to sleep.

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Our dreams express many unconscious perceptions about our waking life.

Some of the most famous work on consciousness comes from the Libet experiments in the 1980s. Benjamin Libet produced some of the most fascinating findings, and has since been heavily cited in discussions about free will as well. Read More »

Dementia: Myths, Risks, and Treatments

I recently wrote a guest post on PsychReg about what I learnt about dementia from the work experience I did over the summer with my local NHS service. I wrote about what dementia is, the myths and stigma that surround it, certain risk factors that increase the chance of developing dementia, as well as how the service assessed and treated those who suffer with dementia.

The link to the post is here: http://www.psychreg.org/dementia-myths-risks-treatments/

Also, PsychReg have been nominated for a second time at the UK Blog Awards. They post such great content, and definitely deserve to win. Please vote for them here: https://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/ukba2018/entries/psychreg

Thanks for reading,

Alice

Consciousness in Philosophy and Neuroscience

Embodied within many ancient philosophical texts and continuing within contemporary brain research, the debate of the existence of consciousness has plagued many for centuries. Essentially, consciousness encompasses awareness of the self and the perception of the thoughts, feelings, and experiences we face every day.

I always think it is interesting to think about the philosophical theories about concepts, as often these are what ground psychological research (but how the general philosophical-psychological link interacts is for another day). The concept of consciousness has evolved significantly throughout history and begins in Ancient Greek philosophy, in which Plato and Aristotle considered consciousness to arise from the soul. They thought that our souls were our essence, that which makes you who you are, deemed as synonymous with the mind and the self. Plato believed that the soul is a non-corporeal substance i.e. it exists separate from our bodies. On the other hand, Aristotle argued that although the soul is still not a material object, it is works and interacts in conjunction with our body and therefore is inseparable to it.

Later views of the soul and consciousness stem from Descartes’ Cartesian model. Descartes termed the soul/mind res cogitans and he famously set out to conduct a ‘method of doubt’. He put forward a mind and body distinction in which he could imagine his mind without a body as the body is merely a machine. (however, I shall point to Rebecca Schuman’s blog post ‘‘I Think, Therefore I Am Getting the Goddamned Epidural’ which interestingly and hilariously debunks this!). Descartes argued that everything could be doubted, and concluded that all he knows is that he knows nothing. Read More »