The two IAT Test’s that I took we on age and weight. The age IAT Test was supposed to determine if I chose young people over old people, while the weight test was for me to see if I chose thin people over fat people. I want to say that I was surprised on what my results were, and I expected something different from what appeared. For one, I thought I didn’t really care for my preference over both age or weight, however my results showed otherwise. I want to doubt the results, because I did not like the way we had to be tested. For example, I did not see the point in having to correctly choose which person is fat and which person is thin for 10 minutes, because I do not understand how that would help determine if I prefer thin over fat people if I am just simply matching the pictures. I think instead of the simulation, it should have been more questions. I don’t think this test would necessarily be beneficial for college students, unless you just want to know the results just out of curiosity. I do, however, think this test would be great for people who are trying to get a job. For example, people who are unsure about what kind of field they want to work in, what kind of environment they would work well in, or who they would work better with, are all questions that can be answered by taking one of the IAT Tests. Maybe these kinds of tests should even be required to take in order to start applying for jobs. Overall, I thought taking these tests were interesting due to the results you get, but at the same time the way these tests were set up made me doubt my results.
Author Archives: aelynrodriguez
Do Women Handle Stress Better?
Ever wonder why people say that women are better at coping with stress than men? A new study explains why this could actually be true.
Researchers have been saying that men tend to react with the “fight or flight” response, and women are generally less aggressive and turn to the “tend and befriend” response, that is women are more likely to seek out social support instead of lashing out or avoiding the issue completely.
A journal article by State University of New York at Buffalo tells us about a study they created that explains the answer behind the question of why stress responses differ between sexes. The researchers behind this study point out that the Pre-Frontal Cortex region of your brain is the target of stress hormones, cognition, and emotion. This study was tested with 4 weeks old juvenile-adolescent Sprague-Dawley rats, because during this time there PFC region undergoes critical postnatal development. There were various tests that showed how the PFC region can be tested.
One of the tests compared the impact of repeated stress on cognitive functions in young female and male rats. These animals were exposed to 7 days of repeated stress, and examined every 24 hours. It turns out the male rats that were the control spent more time exploring the less recent object in the test trial, whereas the stressed group lost the preference to the less recent object. In contrast, the control and stressed female rats spent more time looking at the less recent object in the test trial.
In addition to the repeated stress on the rats, another test examined the possibility that estrogen influences the impact of stress. Researchers manipulated the amount of estrogen produced in the brain. At the end of it, they found out that when estrogen signaling in female brains was blocked, stress had negative effects on the brain, and when estrogen signaling was activated in male brain, the negative effects of stress were blocked.
Males and females show different biochemical, cellular, and behavioral effects of stress, and they connect this with the PFC. Their results showed, “In contrast to the impaired cognition in male rodents after chronic stress, female rodents show unaffected or enhanced performance on the same memory tasks after the same stress.” In other words, female rats responded better to the chronic stress than male rats.
This experiment has not only helped to discover new ways of treating stress-related disorders in men, but also how they are now able to see sex differences in mental health more broadly. Another study related to this was found was women may cope with stress in better ways, however they internalize stress to a greater degree, and have higher stress levels than males. The only difference is the coping mechanisms between them.
Overall, writing this new journal article was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I re-read both the scholarly article and the news article again and I thought it was going to be easy to combine both of them to create a new one, however the scholarly article holds too much information to where I can pin-point the main details from the study and put them in the new article. I realized that I had to sacrifice a lot of information that I felt was important for readers to know, but at the same time I know that as a reader myself it is very hard for me to get interested in a certain topic if it holds a lot of scientific information with terms that I do not understand or can’t even pronounce, so I knew that finding only the main details was what I had to do. Also, looking at the journal article from Huffpost, I felt that the article was way too broad for people to gain any kind knowledge on why women handle stress better than men. So I needed to figure out a way to create a new article that is not to broad, but not to much information where the people get bored either. I also now understand how difficult it is for journalists to do this for a living. They have to be able to look and analyze scientific research, but also make sure they do not plagiarize the researchers work, and create it as there own. This project gave a brand new perspective on how research/journal articles actually work and how difficult it is to come up with something brand new.
Stress is your Friend?
This TED talk was about stress, and instead of stress being harmful to your body, health psychologist, Kelly McGonigal, expresses how we should turn that harm to something positive happening to your body. I found this video very interesting, and I learned things that I never knew before. I enjoyed how she talks about the side effects of the stress response (such as heart pounding, starting to sweat), and instead of viewing the stress as harmful, all these side effects can be helpful and “prepare you for action.” One of the main messages discussed was on the neuro-hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin functions is various ways such as making you “crave physical contact with your friends and families. It enhances your empathy. It even makes you more willing to help and support the people you care about.” I did not know that Oxytocin does this, and more importantly I did not know that it is a stress hormone. How is it possible for a hormone to do two completely opposite things simultaneously? McGonigal succeeds on turning the tables around for stress, and explains how this hormone being secreted can actually benefit you. The trick is whenever you are stressed and you reach out to someone else you are releasing more of this hormone, and your stress response becomes healthier, and you actually recover faster from stress. I find this fascinating, because who knew stress can actually be a good thing, and the key factor into recovering is as simple as reaching out to a friend when I need help. After watching this video, I now see stress in a different perspective. I should not let stress wear me down, but instead I should let it help me accomplish what I need to do if I just look at it in a positive way.
Why Do We Sleep?
In this TED Talk, circadian neuroscientist Russell Foster mentions and explains three popular theories about why we sleep. The theory that sounded most convincing to me was his third theory, which is about brain processing and memory consolidation. When Foster states, “What’s turned out to be really exciting is that our ability to come up with novel solutions to complex problems is hugely enhanced by a night of sleep… Sleeping at night enhances our creativity. And what seems to be going on is that, in the brain, those neural connections that are important, those synaptic connections that are important, are linked and strengthened, while those that are less important tend to fade away and be less important.” I started to think about what we learned in our psychology textbook on sleep, and how neural connections and synaptic connections are linked.
Doing more research on this theory, I found a website where its main focus is about sleep- what it is, how it works and why we do it. It begins by talking about how sleep is related to memory and learning. It states, “Several studies have shown how sleep facilitates long-term memory processing, both the conversion of short-term memories into long-term ones, and also the reconsolidating of existing long term-memories.”Going further, it explains how there is a connection between memory and sleep deprivation, because it has been shown to reduce short-term and long-term memory. It begins talking about REM sleep, and how it benefits procedural memory, motor learning, and visual learning. Just like Foster was describing neuronal and synaptic connections, this website goes into more detail and says,” neuronal and synaptic activity in the brain during sleep has been shown to be significantly greater in the same areas where learning took place during the day..” It then talks about connecting REM sleep with synaptic connection. In the end, this article explains how sleep facilitates creativity, flexible reasoning, and higher level “insights”. I find this article trustworthy, because this website is solely based on sleep so I think much of research has been done to do this kind of website. It goes into much detail, breaking down not only this theory but other theories on why we sleep. I also like how this part of the website connects entirely with Russell Foster’s presentation.
Video Game Voilence
You can find kids these days sitting on the couch playing the latest “Call of Duty” video game for hours each day. Eventually, does all this time staring at the screen and shooting people actually take a toll on the kids? Does it affect them in any way? People today are saying kids who play violent video games have an increase in aggression and can lead to violence. There are also other people stating how that simply isn’t true. I was not able to find two articles that each explained one side to the debate, however I did encounter two articles that contained both sides of the argument.
U.S. News Health wrote an article called, “To Play or Not To Play: The Great Debate about Video Games” which discusses two studies about whether or not video games are bad for kids. They started by discussing the recent case of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, explaining how the gunman was an avid video game player. With that being said, researchers evaluated 5,000 males and female teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 for four years and found those who “played violent video games were more rebellious and eager to take risks. The effect was greatest among those who played the most as well as those who played games with antisocial main characters.” There was another study right after that that discovered children who play video games “for less than an hour a day were better adjusted than children who either played no video games or played for three or more hours a day. These children were found to have fewer emotional problems and less hyperactivity, and they were more sociable overall.” In the end of the article, it discusses pros and cons of video games such as:
- No negative consequences for bad behavior, players are rewarded for violence.
- Time spent playing video games is not spent doing activities like reading, playing outside, or engaging with friends
- Improves in hand-eye coordination, faster reaction time, improved visuospatial skills, and peripheral awareness
The other article I read was on HealthlineNews, which focused on the research done by the American Psychological Association (APA). “Scientists have looked into the use of violent video games for more than 20 years, but task force chairman Mark Applebaum, Ph.D., said, ‘There is very limited research addressing whether violent video games cause people to commit acts of criminal violence” The APA report says that “no single risk factor consistently leads a person to act aggressively or violently, but rather it is an accumulation of risk factors that leads to the aggressive or violent behavior. Violent video game use is one such risk factor.” APA is stressing how video games should have increased parental control over the amount of violence video games contain. They end this article by stating that it is impossible to do a scientific study on linking first-person shooter video games and mass murderers, but they still are probably not healthy for children.
I personally do care about whether or not video games lead to violence later on in children’s lives, because my little brother plays violent video games, however fortunately I do not see any changes in his behavior. I think both of these articles are trustworthy enough to believe, because both articles are unbiased towards the debate between video game violence. I agree with the U.S Health News article on how video games should be monitored by the parents, because they are the ones who can put a stop to the kids playing the video games.
Driving with Heels
In this Mythbusters mini-myth, the hosts, Adam and Jamie, challenge themselves and their driving abilities by walking in heels, wedges, and snow-boots. They want to see if it actually is more difficult to drive in heels, and also if it takes up more time. They used the experimental research method, and set up a track where they had to do numerous amount of turns and they took turns trying on the shoes and taking turns driving while the other waits at the finish line of the track with a stopwatch. Their time results were the same every time they tried on a different pair of shoes. They concluded with saying there is no difference when driving with heels or regular shoes.
Some of the strengths this experiment had was they had different types of “high-heeled” shoes, and not just the same pair. They also used the same track each time they ran the test.
Unfortunately, their are some weaknesses that I did notice throughout the video. For one, a reason they all got the same times could be because of speed limit they were driving at. Their speed limits during every trial probably were different every time, so I believe they should have put a cap as to how fast they were driving. Another weakness was they should have not only tested this in an automatic car, but a manual car as well. Perhaps there could have been a difference of times or a difference in how it felt to drive with the heels on. Lastly, they should have ran this experiment with a controlled variable. The controlled variable should have been the time of each of them driving with regular tennis shoes on. That way they can actually see if there is a timed difference between driving with heels and driving with tennis shoes.
Mythbusters is an interesting show that does a great job “busting” myths that have been questioned around for long time. With a few corrections on how they conduct their experiments, I feel that their results will be a lot more precise and accurate then before.
Coke vs. Pepsi Taste Test
In class we had to do an experiment seeing if people can really tell the difference between the taste of Coke and Pepsi.
The strengths of this study was:
- Having more than 2 trials
- Having a server so the person drinking would not know what it was
- The sodas were given at random
The limitations of the research design and the problems we saw with how the experiment was carried out was
- How we picked a person who supposedly said he “knew” the difference between coke and pepsi. It shaved have been a person picked at random
- We shouldn’t have told the taster there was going to be a difference of drinks
- It was only 4 tasters
Alternative explanations which this experiment cannot rule out was:
- Devon (my groups taster) could have lied and said he did know the difference between Coke and Pepsi when he actually didn’t.
- Devon told us he had a coke earlier that morning
- Devon had to drink water after every taste
If we were going to replicate this study, we would improve it by
- Randomly selecting a taster
- Not tell the taster there was going to be Coke and Pepsi. Just tell them it is soda.
September 21, 1996 was the day that I was born, and exactly 99 years (1897) before that Albert Beckham was born as well. According to the American Psychological Association, he is known as the first African-American to hold the title of school psychologist.
Graduating with his masters degree from Ohio State University, he joined the military as a war professor of psychology. After, he was offered a teaching position and became the the first professor to not only teach psychology at Howard University, but teach all the psychology courses there. He also created the first psychological laboratory on campus, which provided counseling, intelligence testing, and consultations.
Eventually, Beckham left Howard University and moved to New York to complete his doctoral degree at New York University in educational psychology. Once he achieved that he left New York to pursue a position at the Institute of Juvenile Research in Illinois. He did various of works such as treat childhood disorders, administer vocational and educational tests for reading and math, provide in-service training to teachers, and conduct mental health assessments for children. He also as a side job became a school psychologist working for Chicago public schools.
On a personal level, around that time Beckham married Ruth Winifred Howard. Ruth was a scholar and psychologist at the Institute, which is where they both first met. Once married, they eventually started their own private practice.
Albert Beckham was a school psychologist for over three decades. He not established the first psychological clinics in public schools, but he also published over 20 articles on the effect of counseling on high school kids, childhood behavioral problems, intelligence testing, and life satisfaction. He contributed a lot to the psychology field where he is recognized and honored by all psychologists today.
I think to share my birthday with Albert Beckham is interesting because he is credited for helping others with his expertise of Psychology, and is still remembered today.
American Psychological Association (2016). Featured Psychologist: Albert Sidney Beckham PhD.http://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/psychologists/albert-sidney-beckham.aspx
I chose to take this class because I have decided to major in Psychology. When it comes to the word “Psychology”, I associate it with the study of the human mind and our choice of actions, as well applying it with research and data. The 3 topics that interest me the most that we will be discussing throughout the course would be Sleep, Memory Failures, and Brain Structures. I want to see how the different structures of the brain affects our memory and sleep. The 3 topics that see the least interesting to me would be Research Methods, Experimental Design, and Attachment Theory. I just think those are boring topics and non-interesting. The one thing I want to be able to answer by the time this class is over is “Why is it some people have really good memory and just others don’t?”