Media Production Project

Does Sleep Deprivation Increase Susceptibility to False Memories?

Can one be more susceptible to false memory formation due to the lack of sleep?

Steven J. Frenda a psychological scientist, along with his colleagues, at the University of California, Irvine conducted a study on whether or not sleep deprivation increases susceptibility to false memory formation. Two experiments were conducted to reach their results and conclusions on this question.

In experiment one, one hundred and ninety-three undergraduate student’s self-logged the number of hours they slept per night, Frenda and colleagues posed that getting 5 hours of sleep or less was associated with forming false memories. In the beginning, students completed a questionnaire that described a plane crash and had been told that video footage of this crash was widely seen all over social media. The main question participants were asked was if they had seen “video footage of the plane crashing taken by one of the witnesses on the grown.” Experiment one’s misinformation task was that photos and audio of a crime scene were shown to participants and then asked questions about them.

The findings from experiment one needed further confirmation but broadly suggested that less sleep is related to memory suggestibility. Researchers wanted to further understand when during the formation of false memories did restricted sleep have an effect. Researchers were also curious about retrieval of memories and if restricted sleep was the one to blame for that. With these things in mind, they conducted experiment two. Here, the researchers had four main groups with their independent variable being sleep. Participants were either told to immediately sleep or stay awake then take the questionnaire in the morning or take the questionnaire then sleep or stay awake.

The researchers found that students that had read the narratives, viewed the photos and took the memory test after staying up all night were more likely to form false memories and report false details from the text narrative. On the other hand, students who saw the photos before staying up all night had almost very similar results for false memory formation.

“The researchers believe these findings have important legal applications: Recent studies are suggesting that people are getting fewer hours of sleep on average, and chronic sleep deprivation is on the rise,” says Frenda. “Our findings have implications for the reliability of eyewitnesses who may have experienced long periods of restricted or deprived sleep.”

Frenda closes by says that further research need to be conducted before enforcing specific law enforcement and says, “We are running new experiments now, in order to better understand the influence of sleep deprivation on processes related to false memory.”

Reflection:

After writing my own summary of the research article, I underestimated the amount of thought and summarizing that went into writing an inside view on today’s psychological studies. I definitely thought it would not be so difficult to compose my own thoughts and feelings to summarizing a study as well as keeping the readers entertained. It was difficult trying to condense the study’s experiments because I thought that everything was important and worth mentioning in the journal article for the reader to fully understand the material and the flow of the study. In the study there is a shift from experiment one to experiment two and it was difficult trying to create my own shift in the journal article because I had to be careful about plagiarism.

I think the journalist wrote the article in a way that the regular person could understand the article which was something that I struggled with when I first started to re-write the article. The journalist did talk about some parts of the study, but failed to mention other parts that I thought were important to mention and would make understanding the study easier. Adding those details about the study, that the original journalist missed, is something that I added to my re-write of the article that is different from the original creator.

I don’t think that the perspectives of the journalist were wrong, I just don’t think that there was enough detail to completely understand the study in its entirety, but, I did like how the journalist made reading the paper easy without the use of difficult words or phrases that the general audience might not understand.

 

 

References:

Link to the original article: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/sleep-deprivation-may-increase-susceptibility-to-false-memories.html#.WRN-1FKZOfT

Link to the scholarly article: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797614534694

 

 

 


Reflecting over the Semester

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Sadly the semester is coming to a close, though this is a super sad thing there have been so many amazing concepts I have been able to learn thanks to Dr. MacFarlane! Now, going back to my introductory post talking about subjects that I was excited about and a question that I would like to get answered, I am happy to say that not only was I able to answer my question but my knowledge in the topics that I was excited about grew and the topics that I was least excited to learn about I was able to see them in a different light which made them exciting to learn.

My question was “How do I personally cope with stress better?.” I noticed that most of the time when there was a problem I would cope using emotion focused coping which is where one focused on the feelings resulting from the stressor. Even though this is under the umbrella of constructive strategies, for me, I wouldn’t be able to do anything constructive when I was just stress thinking. So, I switched over to problem focused coping which is dealing with the stressor directly rather than focusing on the emotion from the stressor. This has increased my productivity immensely, it is difficult to take that initial step to start dealing with the stressor and not think about the emotion but once the step is taken I’m good to go!

The topics that I was interested in learning were emotion, coping with stress and conformity. I do agree that after taking this course I am still interested in all three of these topics, and  while learning the material I was engaged and interested. As for the topics that I thought I wasn’t interested in because I had been studying them so much for MCAT, the topics were neurons and the brain structure. I actually ended up learning things in a new way and was able to see the same topic in a different light which was nice since seeing the subject the same way over and over again just starts to look like mush and nothing is really gained out of it. Overall, I am happy that after taking this class I was able to learn so much material and gain a good understanding of general psychology. I hope in the future I have more opportunities to learn about psychology!


Media vs Actuality

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After watching the simulation schizophrenia video, I was shocked to see that some people undergo so much stress in their daily lives. Simple activities that I take for granted are an obstacle. Before watching the video I was honestly scared what would be shown and how I would handle it. During the video, I felt uncomfortable and uneasy, I tried to immerse myself as much as I could to really gain that feeling if I was experiencing these things in real life. I felt a sense of paranoia from the voices in the background and overall didn’t like the mental atmosphere that was portrayed.

In the media schizophrenia is portrayed as crazy and incapable of self control. I don’t that the media portrays schizophrenia correctly because these people undergo so much in their daily lives with simple activities that it’s hard for them to have touch with reality and essentially know what is real and what is not real. I don’t believe that these people are crazy in the slightest, their reality is altered and each person who has this mental problem has different ways of dealing with it, the way that they deal with it could come off as uncontrolled or crazy to someone who is uninformed about schizophrenia. Overall, I think that the media should do a better job showing the true side of people with schizophrenia because it is nothing like the way that they are showing it now.


Happiness

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After watching Dan Gilbert’s TED talk about how we sabotage our own happiness I was interested to look back at my day and analyze it based off of what he had mentioned. I really liked when he talked about people are as happy as they make it for themselves, and when I looked back at my day I felt that I needed to stop making it so miserable and try to, not necessarily force but, to have a more positive and happy outlook on whatever I was working on. Also, I thought that the idea of accepting how the day is going is very important, to not put so much emphasis on the word ‘love’ and ‘happiness’. I feel this because the more I try to think that my day is unhappy or unloved, the more unhappy I become, so when he talked about how just the simple word happiness has so much weight on everyones lives is very correct and we just try not to think so much about the word and just try to embody the word in a sense. I liked when he mentioned that even when people do not get exactly what they wanted, they end up accepting what they have and grow to be happy with that. They embodied what they had and grew to accept it and be happy with it. All in all, I thought this talk was a good lesson to be learned and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it.


Motivation

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There are so many ways that ones motivation level could go up or down. For me, certain times of the year and the classes I’m taking influence my motivation level. I wanted to come to Austin College for a couple reason, some reasons were more practical while other reasons were a bit more thought out. Austin college for one, is very close to my home which is only 45 minutes away. Another, Austin College’s acceptance rate into medical schools was very high. I saw this as the first step towards medical school, it would increase my chances in my career pathway and moreover my job satisfaction which is exactly what Herzberg’s two factor theory talks about. In his theory, certain factors causes job satisfaction while certain factors causes dissatisfaction. Secondly, I wanted to go to a school that had small class sizes I thought that Austin College would be a good fit for that. I wanted to have a proper relationship with my professors and peers, feel confident in my work, and achieve everything that I possibly could. My second reason for attending Austin College is summed-up in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, there are 5 levels: physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. Love/belonging talks about building friendship, esteem is to feel confident and respected by others and self-actualization is the desire to achieve everything you possibly can and be the best that you can be. These reasons quite literally sum up why I chose Austin College as my undergraduate school.

Staying motivated through one semester let alone all 4 years is difficult! To maintain motivation to succeed until graduation, I would take the help of my professors, peers, and family. My family the most, I would ask them to hold me accountable for things that need to get done. I would also do my work ahead of time so the closer a due date would come I wouldn’t be so stresses to finish and and be more motivated to do the work with my best effort. I would find students in the same classes as I am and try to study with them. All in all, I am glad that I chose Austin College as mu undergraduate school and I am hopeful that this school will prepare me for my future endeavors.


How are children effected by divorce?

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In today’s society divorce has become so common. We hear about divorce, what it seems from every few people we meet or interact with. If so many people undergo divorce, its no surprise that the children are affected too but how much are they affected… Are there long term side effects or do children come out of divorce with no effects at all? I’ll be arguing both sides of this controversial topic, if divorce is harmful for children or if children can come out of divorce without any serious consequences.

Generally, when thinking about children who underwent a divorce, its normal to think that the child could have longterm effects. Children who’s emotions are not properly dealt with during and after a divorce could potentially lead to long term negative effects that may last all through adulthood. These children could end up feeling alienated and unhappy, the mindset they previously had about a 2 parent household is lost leaving them feeling stigmatized. It is also see that children whose families had gone through divorce had a harder time getting along with their peers and ming new friends, again showing how kids could feel alienated and unhappy.

On the other hand, some suggest that children can come out of divorce without any serious consequences. Children make a rapid recovery after the “initial blow.” A study was conducted by Pennsylvania State University where they observed behaviors and emotions of children with both parents and children who have gone through divorce. They made sure to look at children of all ages. Researchers saw there were not many differences in children between intact families and families who had undergone divorce, suggesting that children handle divorce well. Another study looked at a “good divorce,” which was something that protected children from the possible negative effects of a bad divorce. They saw that the “good divorce” families had the smallest number of behavior problems. These children did not show signs of long term effects due to divorce or major behavioral or emotional problems.

After analyzing both sides of the argument, I believe that divorce does have a negative effect on children, not only at the time of the divorce but also after the divorce has finished. Of course, every divorce ranges in severity but no divorce in my opinion is a happy one. I think that the children struggle to make friends and build relationships that are a vital part of growing up and learning social interactions, thus leading to long term effects of alienation and unhappiness. I hope that every child is give the opportunity to grow up in a happy healthy environment where they have all the possibilities on enrichment.

Citations:

-Arguing that divorce is bad:

http://dc.cod.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1057&context=essai

https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/14470/The%20Effects%20of%20Divorce%20on%20Children–2005.pdf?sequence=2

-Arguing that divorce is ok:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-divorce-bad-for-children/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3223936/


Violence in todays Video Games

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Video games over time have become better and better, not only has the content of the various video games become better but the technology of the game itself has gotten better. This is just from the technology in the society getting better. When I was younger I remember playing a lot of RPG games which are role playing games but they all generally consisted of Disney characters or something that was very calm. Todays culture and game playing society still has RPGs but a lot of them are directed towards violence and graphic displays. As an avid video game player, I personally don’t think that they should be banned because of a couple different reasons. Firstly, these games sometimes portray real world events and gives the young player not only a stimulating game but a way to learn about what has happened in our world. I think that this way the player gains important knowledge that may not be taught in the school curriculum. Lastly, I believe that the act of playing the video games teaches the player the concept of multitasking. There are so many meters and gauges to worry about when playing these games, to worry about all of them together and still shoot with proper aim is in my opinion a skill and talent. I don’t believe that children are becoming more and more violent because of these video games. I think that video games are only letting the child see, gain some knowledge, and/or learn multitasking skills.


Moral Molecule

screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-6-45-09-pmWhat is morality one might ask; morality is knowing the distinction between right and wrong and good or bad. I was drawn to this talk because everyday we are told to make decisions, some of them being hard and some being easy. But, for each decision there are two choices; one that you want to do and one that you need to do.

In this talk Paul Zak talked about how oxytocin is the morality drug. I was interested in this because he mentioned that oxytocin does not last very long and is a “shy” drug meaning that there needs to be a certain stimuli for the drug to be naturally released in the body. If this drug is the one that leads us to make decisions but only last a certain amount of time, how are we to make decisions properly. Another thing that I found interesting, as well as made Paul Zak a more trustworthy presenter was he based his result off of research. He made sure to explain the process of research that he did, as well as some of the challenges he faced when using oxytocin.

If I had to come up with a research idea of my own based on the information based on the talk I would probably do it in a similar fashion that Paul Zak conducted the research only because of the multiple limitations that oxytocin has. I would find participants and explain to them what we would be testing and how we would be testing it. Then I would inject the participant with the oxytocin and provide the participant with a stimulant so that the oxytocin naturally produced in the body would also be released. I would then ask a series of questions that would be same for all the participants and have a scale to measure their responses. After that I would be able to figure out results and since the sample was randomly selected be able to generalize them to a population!


Parenting Styles

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What are the characteristics of an ideal parent? I don’t think any parent to be really knows what types of methods they are going to parent with. I think that as the kids grow older and change into their own person, the parenting style morphs into what is required for the child to grow up happy, healthy and a productive member of the society. Each child is different so each parenting style is different, but all parents want the best for their children so they try to teach them right from wrong and good from bad.

Some parenting techniques that I think work well include, the reward system, learning from mistakes, discipline in the needed circumstances, and the “like mommy/daddy do, the child does.” Of course, there are many others, these are just some of the main ones that I think would be beneficial for the child to grow up to be strong and independent! First, the reward system, I think that when the child is in their younger years giving them rewards for certain positive activities is a good way of reinforcing that they are moving in the right direction. For example, if a child is undergoing the process of potty training and they use the restroom in the toilet, they should be given a reward such as an M&M along with a positive affirmation. If the parent was just giving the child affirmation, maybe the child would not be able to completely comprehend, so, the candy is there to back-up the words and give them something positive that they can understand better. Second, learning from mistakes is a crucial part in growing up. I think this goes hand-in-hand with my third technique, discipline in needed circumstances, because if the child does not learn from a mistake that he/she had already made then discipline is crucial for them to understand that it is not okay to do whatever they did, and this is the last string so they should not do that again. Whatever form of discipline that the parents chooses based on what they think is right for the child, that particular act should not be done again. As the child grows older, I think that the discipline should get more strict since the child needs to become independent. I do believe there should be friendship between parent and child, but there should always be an understanding that the child should listen to the parent. Finally, “like mommy/daddy do, the child does,” this is something that I have noticed within my own family friends. Younger children watch their parents to see what they say and what activities they do, children like to mimic people who they look up to. So, the parent should always be on their best behavior because they are always being watched by the child who is ready to mimic everything they do.

As I mentioned earlier, there are endless techniques and styles for parenting children. Every parent is different and every child requires a different parenting method. At the end of of the day, every parent wants their children to grow up to be independent, healthy, and productive members of the society, they will do anything in their power to do exactly that!


Do Beer Goggles Really Exist??

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Do beer goggles really exist?

The team of MythBusters are ready to chug some beers to test out the idea if the people around you become more attractive the more a person drinks… Adam, Jamie and Kari underwent a series of tests to see exactly that. These tests were to rank a set of people when they were sober, buzzed, and drunk. After each time they were given a score telling them whether or not the hypothesis was true.

Thinking about this in the eyes of the scientific method, a four part method: make an observation, develop a hypothesis, test the hypothesis, and finally build a theory. The MythBusters, firstly, made an observation that there are more male female interactions when people has some form of alcohol in their system. Secondly, they developed the hypothesis that people around you become more attractive the more someone drinks. Next, the needed to test the hypothesis, they did that by ranking a set of people while they were sober, buzzed, and drunk. The higher the score they received, that meant they saw the set of people more attractive. The lower the score they received, that meant they saw the set of people less attractive. Lastly, building a theory, coming up with a conclusion from all of the tests conducted if the hypothesis was true or not.

With every hypothesis, the tests have their own strengths and weaknesses. In this scenario, some strengths I saw included; having an intermediate test between sober and drunk, this gave them a chance to see if attractiveness is a gradual process or a sharp jump. Testing both boys and girls, giving them an idea if this hypothesis is true or false for both genders. Lastly, the tests gave them a general understanding whether or not this hypothesis is true or not. Weaknesses I noticed were, this experiment was not a real world example, meaning every time they went back to rank people there were different people shown. If this were a real world setting, you would see the same people, lets say at a bar and you’d gradually start to see them more attractive. Another would be, there were not enough people to conduct this experiment, the more the people the better the results would’ve been and the results would be more conclusive. Lastly, what if  different types of alcohol affected people in different ways. If this experiment was conducted again with changes I would propose to conduct the experiment in a real life setting, such as in a bar. This will allow the person to see similar faces and see if over time the affects of alcohol made that person more attractive. Another thing I would propose would be to add more people, with more the people in the experiment the outcome would be of a greater sample, so it could be generalized over a population. Not having enough people in an experiment makes the result hard to justify because the data could be highly varied so the average possibly wouldn’t make sense. Lastly, being able to test the experiment with other types of alcohol to see if attractiveness increases or decreases would be interesting because all people are different and not everyone gets affected the same way with beer.

After one long hangover, the MythBusters saw that overall there was a slight increase in attractiveness averaged over the three of them. Sure there were some up’s and down’s in the scores but the general trend was that as more alcohol was consumed the more a person thought everyone else was attractive.