Author Archives: kware

Is Emotional Intelligence Important?

Intelligence is an ill-defined term because it can encompass many things. Experts agree that there are differences in intelligence, but what do those differences really mean? As we learned, the expert definition of intelligence refers to the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, and think abstractly, among others. This to me, seems to encompass many things outside of just the traditional “book smart” definition of intelligence. It is my belief that there are many types of intelligence therefore, there are variety of ways to define intelligence. Intelligence is so abstract that it becomes difficult to define it into one category.

I first came across Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence my senior year of high school. Since then, I’ve seen it come up time and time again particularly emphasizing the importance of emotional intelligence. According to Psychology Today, emotional intelligence is defined as “the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.” Emotional intelligence encompasses three skills: emotional awareness, applying emotions to tasks such as thinking and problem solving, and the ability to manage emotions.  Being able to harness emotional intelligence is extremely important because it goes beyond being able to solve a problem on the first try. An emotionally intelligent person embodies skills needed to be successful in academic, professional, and personal relationships. This to me is a very important skill because you can be at the top of your class, but if you’re not emotionally intelligent, you won’t do well at relationships in the workplace, let alone in personal and romantic relationships. The image below demonstrates characteristics possessed by low emotionally intelligent people and high emotionally intelligent people. Emotional intelligence seems to be what allows individuals to become successful in their personal and professional careers.

Emotional intelligence is important for daily living. Now, this is not to say that other types of intelligence should not be valued, of course they should be! Being intelligent in other areas is also important, but being emotionally intelligence is what brings the package together. What do you think?

You can take an online quiz that measures how emotionally intelligent you are! There is a total of 15 questions. Click on the link and try it!


The Mandela Effect

Without Googling it, when did Nelson Mandela die? Some people may say that he died while he was a prisoner in the 80s. Others may not even know he was dead. He actually passed away in 2013, long after his prison release in 1990. I came across an article called “The Mandela Effect” which really caught my eye because it was strange to hear of something called the Mandela Effect. Upon reading the article, I was surprised to discover that I have been very guilty of experiencing the Mandela Effect.

The Mandela Effect is a phenomenon in which one is so convinced about a particular event (thing, memory), that they have false recollections of that event, even when that event is completely false. In other words, it’s remembering something as one way, but discovering that it has been remembered all wrong. This is what happened to the thousands of people who reported seeing Nelson Mandela’s funeral on T.V.—way before he actually passed away. Another example of the Mandela Effect is the phrase in Snow White: mirror, mirror on the wall. Did you know that the actual phrase is, magic mirror on the wall? Yet, people falsely remember and claim that the phrase is, mirror, mirror on the wall. I sure did! I had to look this up and hear it for myself because all these years I’ve been thinking the same thing. But, it’s true! It is “magic mirror on the wall.” Hear for yourself:

So, what’s the psychology behind it? The Mandela Effect is explained through false memories. As we’ve learned, false memories are mistaken beliefs about a past event. These beliefs may have not even occurred or the existing memory may have been distorted. The Deese-Roediger and McDermott paradigm demonstrates how people can falsely recognize related words. Participants were given words that were closely related such as “bed”, “tired”, and “rest” and when asked to recognize the words that previously appeared, participants falsely recalled words that were related to the ones previously presented, but where not actually presented.

It is quite fascinating seeing how people can produce false memories. It makes me suspicious of my own memories—especially memories of my childhood. I wonder how much of my childhood memories are real and how much I have misinterpreted. I remember of a time when I got in trouble for stealing $1 from my mom’s purse. My mom tells me this never happened, but I can swear that it did. I even remember me going in her purse and contemplating between stealing her Tick Tacks or the $1 bill. The Lost in the Mall Study by Loftus and Coan also demonstrates how people can make up memories that never happened. As we know, participants of this study were able to be convinced that they were lost in a mall as children. They were presented with false evidence that made them believe this really happened. Similar studies have also demonstrated a similar effect. Participants are primed to falsely recall events from their childhood that never happened. Isn’t this fascinating?

Most of these false memories can also be explained through schema driven errors. Schemas give us an inference about things and help us fill in things that are not present in a story. This can be very useful when trying to infer facts in a story. However, schema driven errors can have negative effects on memory. Intrusion errors add details that fit your schema that weren’t necessarily in the story.

Can you see how memory errors can contribute to the Mandela Effect and false memories, in general? I wonder if what we know about how false memories are created have been used to trick people into confessing crimes they never committed?



Over the past month, my daughter, Harper, has become increasingly vocal. Her speech has increased dramatically and she’s amazed her dad and I with how much she is able to remember. Lately, we tell her something just once, or just a couple of times, and she is able to repeat that word and remember it hours and even days later. She’s able to recall her animals and their sounds (cow, chicken, dog, cat, duck, sheep) after being told just once or twice. We even thought her “more” in sign language and some words in Spanish and she was able to recall either after once or twice of just telling her. It’s amazing to think that she’s already a-year-and-a-half and saying phrases such as, “bye, mama” and “hi, doggie.” Until you become a parent, you never truly understand how incredible it is to watch your little baby, now toddler, learn and discover things about the world.

Based on what we have learned during lecture, I started wondering how much of what Harper remembers are implicit memories and how much are explicit memories. As we learned, implicit memories are memories that are recalled without necessarily thinking about them. They are influenced and triggered by previous experiences no matter how long ago they occurred. One way to define implicit memories is by saying that we learn things without awareness—we have that memory stored, but we are not aware that it is a memory. On the other hand, explicit memories involve explicitly retrieving that memory from storage. These types of memories involve actively searching for that memory from the past and recalling it. It shocked me to learn that toddlers do not have explicit memories until they are about three to four years old. In Harper’s case, when we teach her a new word and recalls it weeks after or she sees her sippy cup and remembers that it is usually filled with her, “agua”, she is using her implicit memory.

Remarkably, an article from Today’s Parent mentions that children are actually able to retrieve explicit memories from toddlerhood, however most children forget these memories because they experience something called infantile amnesia. The article mentions that infants are able to experience explicit memories, but are unable to recall them later on in their lives because those explicit memories happened before that child had any language. As children get older, they begin to forget more and more memories from their childhood because of infantile amnesia.

I wonder if Harper will experience this childhood amnesia? Implicit memories are easily recalled because they are automatic, but how will her explicit memories be affected by childhood amnesia? A study done by the Psychology Department at the University of Otago in New Zealand sought to find out more about the childhood amnesia phenomenon. They observed that most children and adults have no recollection of their early childhood. Something that was very puzzling to them was the fact that although learning happens from birth on, yet the memories that are created from this early learning are somehow lost. Here is an excerpt from their findings:

“If forgetting occurs within days or weeks during early infancy, it is hardly surprising that those memories are unavailable when we try to access them after retention intervals of years (or decades)! Over the course of development, however, the forgetting function gradually flattens, increasing the accessibility of a given memory even after very long delays. Furthermore, even after forgetting has occurred, data collected using re- minder procedures has shown that the accessibility of the representation varies dramatically as a function of age. Older infants retrieve their memories more quickly, over longer delays, and once retrieved, maintain them for longer periods of time.”



Saving and spending seems to be something that any college student would be willing to do. Make that a college student with a 16-month-old at home (that’s me!) and you will scour the internet for anything on how to spend less and save more. Part of my weekly routine before grocery shopping is looking at grocery store flyers to see which store has the cheapest berries (my daughter’s favorite), where I can buy organic and not the break the bank, and where I can get chicken and ground turkey (a Ware family staple) cheap by the pound. Spending less and saving more seems simple enough; just spend less on what need and you will save more in the long run. However, as “Want to Save more? Try Making It Automatic” tells us, “the field of psychology has shown most of us tend to overvalue the short-term over the much hazier long-term.” As the article states, this explains why we choose to eat the chocolate cake now and not think about improved health, or why we choose to splurge on something now, rather than saving for later. Having to think about willpower can become useless, especially if willpower is what we rely on for long-term decisions. So, does my daughter really need another cute set of pajamas? Does my husband really need more socks (he’s really particular when it comes to socks) even though we just bought some last week? Or do I spend less by not getting useless things so that I can save more for the future? How can I not rely solely on willpower to make this happen?

So, what does this have to do with cognitive psychology? As cognitive researchers and behavioral economists have discovered, “we set ourselves up for more cognitive fatigue if we have to make a choice to, say, spend less and save more—repeatedly.” It is simply taxing for our brain to have to make the conscious effort to make short term decisions repeatedly. Instead, they suggest different long-term techniques we could apply when making the decision to save more. Interestingly, they suggest that one should adopt “a plan that sets you up for repeated saving or spending.” All of these saving techniques deal with boosting contributions to retirement plans and 401(k) plans (something I am not a pro at) and the spending less techniques deals with examining your habits. Think about what you are spending extra money on. First, do not eat out all the time. Cancel the recurring monthly charge of $1.99 for those magazines you don’t even read. You don’t need to buy another pair of headphones because you think you “lost” your other pair. Second, stay away from the word upgrade. This is just a ploy from tech companies to get you to buy even more expensive junk. And most importantly, if you are really thinking of spending, go and shop for something in person. You become more aware of what you’re purchasing and for how much. Shopping on line makes it easier for you to just click it and forget it.