Author Archives: car0linec0llier

Decision Making and Impulse Buying

Decision making is referred to as “the act of evaluating (i.e., forming opinions of) several alternatives and choosing the one most likely to achieve one or more goals.” You make decisions everyday, whether you realize it or not. What to eat for breakfast, should I go to class, should I buy this? The crazy thing, though? Sometimes the impulse to buy overcomes your cognition momentarily.

When making decisions, scientist have found that it is the frontal lobe that is activated in the brain when making choices. This was found not only during fMRIs, looking at what parts of the brain light up when activated, but also through research with those who suffer from a brain injury. When one has a brain injury they can see what is left impaired, and in this case it is  not being able to make decisions or choices.

So, now that we have gone through the basics–imagine this.

You are in your favorite store and they just released their new shoe line. You don’t necessarily have the money to spend on this, but you go over and these shoes are aesthetically beautiful and have great qualities (waterproof, comfort, etc.). You try and use your good, logical decision making, but next thing you know your leaving the store with a brand new pair of shoes and there you are wondering… how did this happen?

That my friend, is called impulse buying. Chances are this was an unplanned buy, meaning you had no intentions of making that purchase you just did at the beginning of the day and research shows it is usually due to your emotions overcoming your logical decision making. Impulse buying spans from smaller purchases, to much greater purchase that can lead to financial difficulties for the person buying and their respective families. This can lead to a cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is described as “the feelings of discomfort that results when your beliefs run counter to your behaviors and/or new information that is presented to you.” There are different levels of dissonance that depend on to what degree their beliefs vary. For example the site talks about if cognitions are more personal or beliefs that are highly valued, then the dissonance tends to be significant. Then the greater the dissonance, the more one feels the need to relieve this feeling of discomfort. This is especially true and can be hard for those who make financially large impulse buys.

On a final note, I read a very interesting journal on an experiment correlated with the The Influence of Affect and Cognition on Impulse Buying Behavior, in which the researcher, Youn, talked about what impulse buying was characterized as, who impulses shops, and why. Impulse buying is defined in the journal: “characterized by an urge to buy or feelings of pleasure and excitement, consists of unplanned and sudden purchases.” In this, Youn argues that “if the affective state overcomes cognition during decision making, impulsive buying behavior becomes more likely.”



Within the large category of learning disabilities, there is one I closely identify with–dyslexia. As a young girl I struggled with dyslexia and while there is no “outgrowing” it per say, I live with it to the best of my ability. I often felt embarrassed to speak up in class, read aloud and even work in teams with classmates. To this day, I am still pretty quiet in my classes. For as long as I remember it has been hard for me to follow lessons that involve both listening and taking notes, partly to do with my poor auditory working memory (which I will address later), but also it is very hard to take handwritten notes quickly when I are struggling compute what I am seeing and hearing and then ON TOP OF IT must spell words correctly so that my notes aren’t just a bunch of scattered letters all over the page. As schooling has progressed, it has become easier manage classes and learning. At a young age, I was in speech therapy and math development classes helping me at first, catch up to the rest of my classmates and continued these classes until middle school. They were very helpful and fundamental to where I am now. Ever since I started typing my notes, I worry a lot less about spelling correctly (thanks autocorrect) and direct more attention on listening to the content I am presented with.

Dyslexia is a pretty common neurobehavioral disorder. It affects the development of the brain in which makes it hard for the learner to make accurate and comprehensible word recognition(s), along with word/letter reversal. Dyslexia makes reading, writing/spelling, and even math hard.

Example from the reading:

Word Reversal: was / saw

Letter Reversal: confusing b’s and d’s

One who has dyslexia has no control over whether or not they have it, but with the proper help (tutoring, in class help, special classes) their brain can strengthen and adapt (neuroplasticity). Although scientists have yet to discover a precise cause, there are a few things that could affect one developing dyslexia. The first thing is genes. Scientist have found links between children who have reading and processing difficulty, and their parents also having had struggled with reading and processing as well. Second was found through imaging. People who have dyslexia and people who do not have dyslexia have different brain anatomy seen through MRIs affecting the part of the brain dealing with key reading skills (involving sounds and written word).

Dyslexia is one of the most common disabilities among disabilities that fall within the brain’s nerve system. Since dyslexia is an underdevelopment within the brain in which perpetually easy task to do can be made difficult for the diagnosed, such as reading and writing. Dyslexia occurs in the left temporal lobe of the brain having an affect on its development. In class we talked about the four cerebral lobes within the brain and although they have their specific functions they work together seamlessly. Dyslexia also affects working memory because dyslexia affects reading, writing, and even speech. Reading requires working memory and with dyslexia you lack good auditory working memory making someone who is diagnosed work even harder to recognize sound units which make up a word. With poor auditory working memory it is hard for one to understand and or become familiar with new vocabulary, or information just read or even spoken to them. Strong working memory is crucial for understanding processing written work.

Dyslexia was just something I have always had but now I am more informed than just surface level what it is.




Method of Saving

Hermann Ebbinghaus originated the term Method of Savings also known as the savings effect. He used himself in this study to practice learning nonsensical words to a perfect recall. He recorded how long it took to learn them the first time. He then stored the words away for a certain amount of time before coming back to them and then once again trying to relearn what he had once learned and again seeing how long it took to recall the words perfectly. He found that it took less and less time, each time he tried to recall the words and he ended up coining this phenomenon as the Method of Saving.

While learning about this in class I instantly related to it. Not in the sense that I sat at home learning nonsensical words for fun, but because when I first began learning Spanish in high school–I felt somewhat like this. I would review words over and over again, or conjugations, and at first it was very hard. When I finally got a grasp on the language and fulfilled the language requirement needed for an advanced diploma in high school, I just put my Spanish things away and did not look at them again until Mary Washington. I then took a few years off from taking Spanish which was very anxious to continue it in college. It took me until my Junior year to begin fullfing my language requirement for UMW. To my suprise, when I began re-learning the language it came back to me very quickly especially when using my study strategies I once used in high school. As I continued to take Spanish here at University of Mary Washington, each semester it gets easier. The information came back to me more easily, the more I reviewed and re learned the topics presented.