Aducanumab against Alzheimer’s

Here it goes! The last post of the year!

Exciting and perhaps groundbreaking results from the study The antibody aducanumab reduces Aβ plaques in Alzheimer’s disease reveal what may be a possible treatment for the deteriorating Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid-Beta plaque formation are key indicators of Alzheimer’s. The study performed research on the Aducanumab antibody, which is something in our bodies designed to fight off pathogens when helping our immune systems, which demonstrated success after being tested for on subjects for a whole year. Using this antibody in therapy could possibly reduce memory loss in a dose dependent fashion (Sevigny et al. 2016).

Previously, old therapies were not successful in removing plaques, however this study was successful in causing a decrease in the amount of existing plaques, at least in some of the participants that they tested (Sevigny et al. 2016). Aducanumab was developed by the company Biogen, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, found when observing human memory B cells that made these antibodies which could bind the amyloid plaques.

The aim of the trial was to find an adequate, yet safe, dosage of the antibodies that could clear these harmful plaques. A total of 165 participants between the years of 50 and 90, with either a mild form of Alzheimer’s or prodromal Alzheimer’s, Alzheimer’s with lots of asymptomatic plaque build up, were tested. This was a double blind, placebo using experiment. One group was set up as a control, receiving a placebo, while the experimental group received one of the four dosages of Aducanumab, depending on their body weight of 1, 3, 6 or 10 mg (Sevigny et al. 2016). Afterwards, the researchers gave the placebo or antibody through an infusion 14 times over the span of four weeks. However, only about 20 individuals stayed as patients dropped out throughout the study (Sevigny et al. 2016).

Scans were done on the subjects in order to see how they were doing with the new treatment. Amyloid actually absorbs Florbetapir, so they used this see how the plaques changed. The scientists found that plaques ultimately shrank and the higher the dose administered, the better the results were. The Amyloid Beta plaques seemed to decrease in amount as well (Sevigny et al. 2016).

Additionally, the study performed this testing on mice as well, to further explore the effects in larger numbers. They found that as Aducanumab bonded, cells in the brain were activated to eat up Amyloid Beta plaques (Sevigny et al. 2016).

Some tests were given that asked participants to answer a series of questions, however it was inconclusive as some revealed what could have been a decrease in cognitive decline while other tests didn’t reveal anything (Sevigny et al. 2016).

Like other drugs, Aducanumab treatment had a noticeable adverse side effect called ARIA, or an amyloid-related imaging anomaly. Basically, it indicates more fluid found in a part of the brain which could signal a hemorrhage. Those that received higher dosages of the antibody showed more cases of the negative symptom, among which were headache and urinary tract infections. At 10 mg, 41% of patients developed ARIA. Scientists don’t exactly understand the reasons why ARIA forms (Sevigny et al. 2016). Thus, in future studies, they aim at managing these side effects because the benefits to the drug are immense and could really help our society as a whole and those who are suffering with this neurodegenerative disease.


Upon reflection, writing a summary on my particular research article “The antibody aducanumab reduces Aβ plaques in Alzheimer’s disease” was extremely challenging in more ways than one. Just getting started and remembering what I had read previously was difficult. The research article, like other primary literature pieces that I read for other classes, is written educated individuals that had full knowledge on the topic and procedure at hand as they performed the experiments themselves. They fully understood what took place and made their own interpretations based on their findings, and their purpose, therefore, was to convey to other researchers like them and journals why their research was significant and what the results mean in terms of its effects on us. Like I previously mentioned, their target audience is not the common lay person, who has little to no previous psychological or scientific background. So, the language that they used contained terms and phrases that were complex. It was up to myself to change the words and ideas in a way that was both clear and easy to understand. In addition, I had to make sure that I did not leave any details out of my summary as well. This time around I included information on the procedures as in how the doses were administered and how much of it was given. I also made the effort to define some terms and explain in really simple ways how procedures were brought out and simplified what they found by a lot as well. I have always known that the role of a journalist is no easy task. However, I did not realize that they covered and read scientific literature and cited them as they reported on findings. Covering the bases of the journal article in a way that catches the eye of the reader is not an easy task at all.


News Article-

Research Article-


Uncovering our Thoughts

I chose to take two Implicit Association Tests: One of them being the sexuality (Gay Straight) IAT test. I understood that these test results did not indicate whether I was definitively racist or homophobic, and that its purpose was to shed some insight in my own thoughts and how this self understanding helps me interact with others.

The results of my sexuality test revealed that I apparently have no automatic preference for gay or straight people. This was something that I have believed in pretty strongly since high school as a result of my schooling and being around people with different preferences and interacting with both gay in straight people in quite positive ways.

For the second test, I was expecting myself to get the same answer, where I did not have a preference, but as the test went on, I could see myself leaning another way. I was surprised at the end at myself and felt a sinking feeling in my stomach as a result.

From these results, I think that these tests can give us insight in how we tend to associate perceive others. Revealing these parts of our thoughts can help us take actions to change. Now that we have a heightened awareness, perhaps the next time we feel ourselves being biased in some sort of way, we can think about this test and prepare what we ought to say.


Psyched to be Stressed Out

Before watching the TED Talk video “Making Stress Your Friend”, I read the title thinking that having the ability to change our relationship with stress in a way that helps us is a little too good to be true. I agree with the statement that stress is not all that bad. For me personally, I have found that stress is a way to motivate me and remind me of an approaching deadline. If I didn’t have any stress or if I just pushed my stress aside and went along with my life in denial or suppression of the approaching exams, my exam scores would be very, very poor if we’re going to be honest.

Kelly McGonigal, the speaker, describes that stress does not  have to lead to harmful effects. Instead, how we view stress and how we act towards it, can lead to a positive or negative experience. If we choose to think about our bodily responses to stresses as natural processes, a way for our body to energize and prepare us in meeting our challenges, then Kelly claims that we should have more confidence and better performance. As we hear our heart pounding, we are told to think of this as we are breathing faster to get more oxygen to our brains. I could believe the part about participants of this study feeling less anxious and stressed, but the part about the blood vessels being less constricting as a result, was hard for me to believe. This could be true, but she did not mention the statistics of this as random assignment to conditions and how many people had this relaxed vessel.

The statistics that she had made me a little skeptical. For example, “ researchers estimated that over the eight years they were tracking deaths, 182,000 Americans died prematurely, not from stress, but from the belief that stress is bad for you” I would like to see the study they did, and if there were others to back this one up. Another claim she made was another study, I presume, “tracked about 1,000 adults in the United States, and they ranged in age from 34 to 93″ and “for every major stressful life experience, like financial difficulties or family crisis, that increased the risk of dying by 30 percent” but for those “who spent time caring for others showed absolutely no stress-related increase in dying.” To me, it sounds more like people who took care of others had no increase in dying because they were spending time with others and helping them, not asking people around for help and support. I think she would have to clarify and explain that more.

Also, I understand that Kelly is a health psychologist, but how did she just recently find out about these findings, and how much evidence did it take for her to fully believe all of these stats and interpret in ways that make it seem like the solution to not dying early from stress, is to think of stress as helpful? It all seems a little counter intuitive to me. If you don’t think of stress and anxiety to be negative, would you even consider being stressed anymore? To me, stress indicates a feeling of high pressure and resulting panic, not something that gives me courage. I believe that preparing myself mentally for a performance of some sort such as swimming, singing, or playing violin, and having enough practice to back me up is the only way to help calm my nerves. Tests are a whole other monster for me, because I am very much affected by my old test scores and performance, and have my goals and aspirations in the back of my mind. So, telling myself during a test that my sweaty palms and aching back is actually there to help me is very hard to do, especially if it gives me pain.

Another point mentioned in the video, was the idea that we seek others in times of stress and need. This was interesting, as I do this all the time. I feel as if this is very much dependent on personality type however, so it varies person to person. There are some people who just do not want to get help or choose to deal with their stress on their own in their own way and it works for them. I wish it worked that way for me. Kelly goes on to saying that stress makes us more compassionate and seeking to connect with others. But, what if the people you are trying to seek help from do not want to give it, or what if they are too busy and stressed out themselves? That’s a problem I often run into.

However, it still feels pretty good as the speaker ends by saying that if we do think of stress as a not-so-negative thing, “You’re saying that you can trust yourself to handle life’s challenges. And you’re remembering that you don’t have to face them alone.” Maybe I can try to apply this in my own life and tell myself the next time my heart races a million times a second that my body is doing this to help me in this endeavor and that it will help me instead of harm me when taking this test. We will see!


My Johari Window


The Johari Window was a test invented in the 1950s to map out awareness of our personalities. The way you describe yourself can be very different or similar to how your friends and peers describe you.’s+test

Here is mine!


(known to self and others)

caring, cheerful, extroverted, friendly, happy, spontaneous

Blind Spot

(known only to others)

able, accepting, bold, brave, complex, confident, energetic, giving, idealistic, intelligent, loving, observant, powerful, proud, self-assertive, self-conscious, silly, sympathetic, trustworthy, warm, witty


(known only to self)


(known to nobody)

adaptable, calm, clever, dependable, dignified, helpful, independent, ingenious, introverted, kind, knowledgeable, logical, mature, modest, nervous, organised, patient, quiet, reflective, relaxed, religious, responsive, searching, sensible, sentimental, shy, tense, wise

Dominant Traits

56% of people think that Tina’s Test is bold
81% of people agree that Tina’s Test is extroverted

All Percentages

able (6%) accepting (6%) adaptable (0%) bold (56%) brave (12%) calm (0%) caring (25%) cheerful (25%) clever (0%) complex (6%) confident (50%) dependable (0%) dignified (0%) energetic (37%) extroverted (81%) friendly (50%) giving (6%) happy (25%) helpful (0%) idealistic (6%) independent (0%) ingenious (0%) intelligent (6%) introverted (0%) kind (0%) knowledgeable (0%) logical (0%) loving (18%) mature (0%) modest (0%) nervous (0%) observant (12%) organised (0%) patient (0%) powerful (25%) proud (12%) quiet (0%) reflective (0%) relaxed (0%) religious (0%) responsive (0%) searching (0%) self-assertive (18%) self-conscious (6%) sensible (0%) sentimental (0%) shy (0%) silly (18%) spontaneous (31%) sympathetic (6%) tense (0%) trustworthy (6%) warm (12%) wise (0%) witty (12%)

Created by the Interactive Johari Window on 13.4.2017, using data from 16 respondents.
You can make your own Johari Window, or view Tina’s Test’s full data.

I Can Be My Motivation

Motivation is not an easy thing to obtain. It is hard enough to find motivation when you are not in the mood or when you are in a sub-optimal situation. And as it turns out, it often seems that keeping the motivation going is even harder to accomplish. In times of extreme difficulty and stress, I often find myself in a state of hopeless- if I were to personify my life, my life would be one that lost her balance and fell into a well-camouflaged cliff- and every time she tried to climb out and the light on the top of the hole seems to be close, my life just loses her grip and falls right back done.

Thus, I seriously am in need of some strong motivation. Two theories of motivation that could help me rediscover my purpose and passion for learning and working, are incentive motivation and hierarchy of needs theories. Thinking back, I once did seek out these motivators when applying and making my choice in attending Austin College. The most basic and surface theory I feel, is the incentive motivator. I was really drawn to Austin College because of its prestigious pre med program. The beautiful image of becoming a medical doctor and redeeming myself; taking this second chance to show the world and myself that I could make something of myself and that my intrinsic reward would be the pure satisfaction that I made something of myself in the eyes of others as well as to myself. The extrinsic reward was also one of little importance now thinking about it: the prospects of wearing a fancy lab coat and strutting around in whatever cute outfit I would like; so, looking cute while saving lives.  Another theory that led me to my current school, is the arousal theory. Again, it was the fantasy of becoming a doctor, telling myself that college would be a fresh start and that if I desired it, I could become a great success of a student. Thinking about doing well in school, getting all A’s and getting into medical school used to give me pleasing feelings.

I feel as if I should change my incentive motivation into something new. My new driving mindset could be the desire to attain the extrinsic reward of seeing myself improve- not so much as focusing on the grades that get better, but by my work ethic, responsibility, study methods, and outlook on life. I would continue to do this, while getting other extrinsic motivators such as praise and reassurance from my caring professors. I should set my goal in mind and reflect on my actions and see if they are bringing me closer to my goal every single day. The arousal theory could be modified and used in part of my path to success. I would try to be more “aroused” by obtaining new knowledge and be excited as I learn something new. I will try to write down something new I learned and make sure I do learn something new every single day. I will try to get to the point where my goals are about obtaining knowledge and try to make studying and reading fun for myself. As I see my grades improve and my understanding expand, hopefully, my arousal levels will increase and my motivation to work hard will never stop, but instead, continue and lead to actions that will give me great success and happiness.

Who Do You Think I Am?

Take the four personality tests linked below, discuss how accurately they describe your perception of your personality, and discuss the credibility of each test. Make sure to use the tag “Personality” on your post.

On the human metrics personality test, I got ESFP. The letter E represents extroversion, which I am only classified as moderate: 50%. I disagree with this as I would like to believe that I am 90-100% extroverted. I like talking to almost everybody, unless I am at a party that involves drinking, where I don’t know anybody because I feel like I cannot communicate with the rest of the people when they’re intoxicated. Also, if I am with lots of adults who are a lot older than me and they give are super successful, I can get intimidated and can freeze. Otherwise, I have little to no problem talking to people. I will often go up to people I don’t know to make conversation. I am not afraid to ask for things either. The next letter S, represents sensing. I got a score of 50%, saying I have a moderate preference of sensing over intuition. I don’t really have an opinion on that. I don’t quite know myself. The next letter, F means feeling, where I scored 66%, says that I have a distinct preference for feeling. I would have to agree. I am very emotional and often let my emotions cloud my judgement and guide my decisions. Lastly, the letter P represents perceiving. I only scored 44%, meaning I have a moderate preference of of perceiving over judging. Further explanations say that my type loves people, excitement and fun. Also it says that I am impulsive and spontaneous and love to entertain. That is true. Also, it says that I can say something then stop mid sentence and jump to something else. Many of my friends actually have pointed this out to me. The test further says that ESFPs in general love to talk and are good storytellers. I would have to agree with that with a huge yes. This test in my opinion would be most accurate when compared to the rest I am about to mention.

On the Jungian Personality Type Test, I also got ESFP. The basic description stated that I radiate warmth and optimism. And am smooth, witty, charming, and clever. I can be fun to be with and am very generous. I apparently could make for a good performer, and love to talk on the phone. All these are scarily accurate in terms of how I perceive myself and how others perceive me (when they do tell me of course). The description says that my type has a huge need to socialize, which could be problematic in school. Hello, freshman year! Also, I still struggle with balancing my time between being happy by socializing with people I care about, while not losing focus of why I am in school: to study. The part of losing liberty is something I disagree on. To the test, SP’s in general resist rules and can feel defiant if they feel like they don’t have freedom. I might have been that way when I was younger, but I think that I have changed throughout college. However, I do agree with the test when it mentions that ESFP’s can become overwhelmed with stress and will thus behave in ways unproductive to themselves and others. I am still trying to work on that, but it is something I face and have to deal and work through. This test was close to how I felt about myself in some aspects, but also not quite there in terms of others, in terms of defiance.

On the IPIP Big Five Test, there are 5 different categories, essentially five big personality traits. The test states that for factor I, I am labelled in the 95th percentile in terms extroversion. Because I scored high in this category, I am said to be outgoing and social. I can definitely agree on this part. I thrive on the constant company of others. Without it, I can feel lonely and depressed, sometimes not knowing what to do with myself or what to do with my time alone. For the second factor, emotional stability, I only scored 5% above others, with a low raw score as well, which means that I am the opposite of being stabile emotionally, I am “negative emotionally”. Although this sounds pretty bad, I also agree with this statement. I have been putting a lot of stress and pressure on myself recently, as I am a junior trying to put together her pieces of her life together while improving my GPA. My emotions really get to me and if I am in a state of emotional instability, or if I am triggered by a thought that affects me a lot, it is not rare for me to break down and cry. Holding in my emotions when I am under a lot of different stressors is extremely hard to do for me. For factor III, the one talking about agreeableness, my raw score was pretty high, but it shows that I am at only 56% more than others. Still, I would say that I am pretty agreeable, although I do feel at times that I am pretty aggressive as well. The conscientious factor, factor IV, is next. I only scored 3% above others on this, and my score was pretty low, meaning that I am impulsive and disorganized. This is very true. I can get very neat and tidy, but as soon as I put one thing out of place, or if I am having a bad day, my room can reflect my state of mind, and look like a total mess in a matter of days. For the last factor, factor V, intellect and imagination is measured. I am in the 28th percentile for this, and scored relatively high in terms of raw score. So, this implies that I am pretty open to new experiences, but others scored higher. I have mixed feelings about what exactly this measures. However, I would still say that yes, I am less conventional and more liberal than most, but the percentile does not reflect that. In terms of reliability, I cannot really measure this and compare it to the other tests because the categories used are not the same. In terms of accuracy, to how I feel I am, I think this test is pretty accurate for the most part. The raw score along with the percentile is pretty deceiving, however. How are you supposed to interpret a high raw score that has a very low percentile?,1.6,3.9,2,3.5#_V



On the Color Quiz Test, certain parts of my life are supposedly explained, which should tell me more about my personality. For the first category, existing situation, I apparently am authoritative. And I feel that current difficulties are causing problems in my life, hindering my progress. Still, I am determined and commanding and work at my goals despite these obstacles. I would say that those are accurate statements that describe how I feel. I don’t really know how they came up with this based on the order of colors I chose, but ok! In terms of my source of stress, the next category, it says that I am trying to develop my independence and wants to make up my own mind with freedom for my own choices. It says that I want to be seen as one with respected and wise opinions and that its hard for me to admit that I am wrong. Also, this also meant that I am reluctant to accept or respect other’s point of views. I do want respect and be seen as smart, but I am pretty good at admitting when I am wrong. I may not like it, however I do feel as though as I try my best to listen to other’s point of views. I might not be able to deduce or observe their values right then and there, but once they tell me I can react appropriately. The next category is restrained characteristics. The test says that I have high emotional expectations and desire to be the center of attention, which makes it hard to be in a satisfying relationship. This last statement is very wrong of me being cautious and emotionally distant. Otherwise, the part of having high expectations on people, as in what I put in is what I expect to get out is true. Also, I do love and thrive on attention. It’s something I’ve developed as a little girl. The next category is desired objective which essentially says that I want to be known for being accomplished and win people over, showing my emotional, romantic, and sensitive sides. This is all true. Then comes the actual problem category. It says that I am impressed by unique things and different people and in being this way, try to take characteristics she likes and incorporate it to myself. I guess you could say that that is true, but how is that a problem? The second “actual problem” is another category. It says that I long the freedom and plans on my own and use charm to get what I want. I actually no longer yearn for freedom as I feel that I have it. Also, charm does not always work for me. There is no way that I can say that this test is credible. I can’t see how choosing colors and not answering any questions can give all this. I think that the descriptions given were like fortune cookies, vague and nonspecific, which means that it could fit many people in the category.,5,3,2,0,1,4,6,7,5,5,2,3,4,1,0,6,7,6&p=full



Studying about Studying- Spotlight Post 1

There are three websites listed below that give advice on studying skills. The first, which I will refer to as Method A, is geared toward college students. The second, which I will call Method B, is directed toward middle school students. The last website, which I will mention as Method C, is meant for parents.

Method A: College Students

  1. Ask for help
  2. Block Off Time to Study Outside of Class
  3. Use your Peers
  4. Get organized
  5. Go to sleep
  6. Eliminate Distractions
  7. Maintain Health
  8. Track Your Habits
  9. Stop Procrastination
  10. Work on Your Soft Skill

For the college student advice, points 5 and 7 are health related as it is proven that mental health will come with the right amount of physical health. In the US National Library of Medicine’s article About Sleep’s Role in Memory, we learn that slow wave sleep (SWS) is critical in consolidating memories. In addition, sleeping is the best state for encoding memories as compared to being awake. Overall health is impacted by sleep as the amount of sleep you can affect your immune system which in turn affects your health. As told in the article Sleep and Immune Function, factors that affect your immunity peak during sleep in the night. Examples of this are numbers of T cells and proinflammatory cytokines. Points 2, 9, and 8 have to do awareness and the concept of time management. As discussed in the mini lecture on studying, studying and spreading that over a longer period of time can help create long term memories as well as help us recall better. Similarly, you should not leave things to be done at the last minute as this will put loads of pressure on the student as well as not having the benefit of creating long term memory of what you’ve learned.  Tracking habits sounds like it could help as knowing where you are putting your time is important, however, it doesn’t seem to be as important and helpful in studying better. Points 4 and 6 relate to having a less jumbled mind and being more focused. You need to be organized and have no distractions in order to focus. Being organized can lead to having one less distraction, as if you were focused on cleaning your desk, you would take away energy and time that could be used to study. Also, unless you are focused, information you have in your short term memory will not be stored in your long term memory. Points 1,3, and 10 relate more to utilizing others to benefit you. Asking for help whether that be from professors or in a study group fashion with friends can benefit the student, only if the student first understands the material for the most part and as seen in the mini lecture, practice testing another to get the student to practice test taking. These tips seem very broad and basic, but I believe that they are credible and useful for helping the student study more effectively.

Method B: Middle School

  1. Make academics the focus of your life
  2. If you are struggling ask for help
  3. Talk about assignments with friends
  4. Make your own study guide
  5. Make study cards
  6. Stay organized throughout the year
  7.  Dedicate a space for every class in your book bag
  8. Buy an agenda and use it
  9. Don’t wait until the last minute
  10. Select a consistent place to study

It is true that making academics the focus of your life can make studying a lot easier. Tip #2 of asking for help is mentioned in Method A as well. Tip #3 of studying in groups is also talked about in Method A. It makes sense, as discussing can lead to the possibility of giving meaning to the things studying. Discussion on topics can really increase understanding as well as show what parts of the exam one is lacking in. Tips #4 and 5 are shown in the studying mini  lecture. Writing notes in your own words and creating what seems to be almost a study guide of your own could help engrain the knowledge learned into long term  memory and increase the number of connections made. When trying to memorize definitions or key concepts, writing the word on the front and definition/ key characteristics on the back and then testing yourself to see if you remember, can really be effective for studying. Shuffling the cards and changing the sides that you start with are also good to do as well. Tip #9  of not procrastination is just like Method A. In tip 10, I think changing up the place to study can be more beneficial than going to the same place again and again as you could get bored. This can only help if you are studying in the place similar to where you will take the test. This concept is called state-dependent learning as learned in lecture. Tip #8 is a little more simple and obvious. Most people know by now to write down what assignments are due because we only have a certain capacity of holding information, and not writing what is due every day is prone to forgetting some of the assignments and dates mentioned in class. Tip #7 of assigning space for every subject in the backpack seems unnecessary as well. If that was the case for me, currently, I would always have a overfull backpack, one that I could not carry.

Method C: For Parents

  1. Planner
  2.  Know the expectations
  3. Designate a Study Area
  4. Develop a Study Plan
  5. Think Positively
  6. Create a study group
  7.  Practice active listening
  8. Review test taking strategies
  9. Read actively
  10. Look to the future



    Tip 1 of having a planner is mentioned in Method B. Tip 4 is like this, when you have a planner, you make study plans for the rest of the week. If you want to go way ahead in planning, tip 10 does the trick- looking to the future. Tip 3 of designating a study area is similar to Method B, and one that I disagree with. Tip 8 is interesting as it is in a way talked about in lecture, not the mini lecture. People are prone to get nervous, but as mentioned in the intelligence lecture, how nervous they get before a task, in this case a test, will predict their outcome and performance. So finding methods to destress and calm down before taking the test could really be helpful. I already agreed with tip 6 as shown in Method A. Tip 7 seems to be common sense. Active listening has to do with being focused, and as mentioned before, is essential in moving things to long term memory. Tip 9 I believe is the most helpful tip of this list. Using different and unique ways to think about concepts in class such as forming concept maps and diagrams, can really instill what you’ve learned into your long term memory as you give it meaning semantically. Tip 5 of thinking positively can relate to tip 8 of being calm. This is very elementary to me, but in my personal experience, telling yourself that you can do it can really do wonders. At the very least, I know when I tell myself that I cannot do something or that I am inadequate and not understanding of anything, my test performances seem to not be as good as compared to when I am confident and optimistic in my abilities and time spent on studying. Tip 2 of knowing expectations is obvious in my opinion. If you know what is expected of you and know how much time you need to spend for each class, you can better plan.




    If I had to choose, I would say that Method A was the best, followed by Method C, and then Method B.

    Method A:

    1.  Sleep and Memory:
    2.  Sleep and Immune System:


    Method B:

    Method C:


It’s the Little Things that make the BIG Difference

In your blog post, react to what you saw in the videos, reflect on your own interactions with educators throughout your school career, and discuss what, if any, changes to the school system based on the concepts in these videos could improve students’ performance in the classroom.

Were we born smart? Or do we learn and develop intelligence, constantly being shaped and supported by our environment and the people around us? In the three videos shown above, different aspects of effects are explored- showing how children can be impacted and grow according to how others interact and treat them.

In the first video called Pygmalion Effect and the Power of Positive Expectations, there was a study done where a test was done with school teachers- a list of students that were labeled “late bloomers” that they were treated differently and were transformed by teacher’s positive expectations. The Pygmalion Effect is the concept of a person having the potential to be transformed into something great. Teachers expectations actually had a huge impact on pupil’s intellectual performances. 4 factors of self fulfilling- teachers do these differently if they have favorable expectations: 1) warmer climate- nicer to them, 2) input factor- teachers teach more material to kids who they have better expectations for, 3) opportunity factor- call on those students more and allow to let them talk more and lastly, 4) feedback factor- favored kid is praised more and gets more positive reinforcement and also differentiated feedback when they get a wrong answer. If a “bad” answer is ignored then they might not favor those kids. I could really relate to this first video. Often, more than not, I have felt inferior to some of my peers and could feel differences in behaviors toward me by my school teachers. I envied students who got what I felt like was special treatment. Those kids were treated better, were taught more with more eye contact, (almost as if I was not there), were called to answer questions more often, and got the most praise and adulation. When I didn’t get called on even after raising my hand up, or when my answers didn’t get much feedback, positive or negative, I felt neglected and a little less confident in my abilities and I believe that this feeling has been carried down with me throughout high school and even up to now. It is great to see what these micro actions can do to a kid in a positive manner. At the same time, it is disheartening to know the kids who are left out of this potential growth and nourishment.

In the second video called Stereotype Threat – social psychology in action, threats of stereotypes are explored. An experiment of black and white students were told to be tested of athletic aptitude. When told one test was one of athletic ability, African Americans did better on scores than white students. When told that the test was of sport strategy, White American subjects did better on scores. Stereotypes here seem to have subconsciously got to the students, making them believe that they were less apt at either strategy or athleticism. This intimidating society made construct is regularly present in every day life and it is eye opening to see how even if we say we don’t believe in the stereotypes, we actually do.

My favorite video by far was the Jane Elliott Brown Eyes vs Blue Eyes. This video told of a study Jane Elliot, an elementary school teacher, who did a demonstration showing what discrimination was and really felt like. It showed that negative expectations could really shape students’ realities. Prejudice is easy to create and a new reality could be easily made on differences between students. The teacher Jane Elliot said that the blue eyed people were “better” and “smarter” than brown eyed people. She told of people in history and said that those with blue eyed people were better. She told the blue eyed people not to play with brown eyed people. The brown eyed students talked about not feeling like they belonged  and how they didn’t wish to participate in anything. Fighting actually occurred as a name that was used to call the kids in a derogatory manner was “brown eyes.” Children turned nasty, viscious and discriminating in just 15 minutes. When asked about the experience afterwards, the blue eyed said that they felt better than the brown eyed people. This was crazy to me. The lesson was that any cues of facial features could be basis of demonstrating and values could be added. 1- Any difference that is visible can be used by others to make people make worthless. 2- The brown eyed people when this flipped, kids didn’t learn compassion but learned about power and used it on the people who once tormented them. Revenge was more powerful than reconciliation. 3- inferior position set grades went down and superior position grades went up. Your intellect and performance is actually influenced by your attitude toward yourself. 4- All this can make people feel worthless. This was reminiscent to what I felt like was the German treatment of Jewish people in the Holocaust as well as pre- civil rights movement era.

With all this being said, I believe that schools should really take these factors into consideration and see how the way teachers treat their students really affect them. Also, for schools to note how stereotypes are very harmful and should be avoided being used in negative ways. Differences should be celebrated and appreciated. Lastly, telling kids that one was better than the other is never the right way to go as the kids may start to truly believe that they are worth “less” than others.



Shooting for Fun or Shooting for Real

Desensitization is the concept that comes to mind when seeing the trends of video games going from violent to full on gore, as characters in the games are shooting and killing other characters with no mercy or consequence. The video gamers are constantly bombarded with images of appendages being blown off, with blood spilling out everywhere. And the messed up thing is, all this excessive carnage and body counts are actually encouraged for getting points to a better score, or for passing a certain round or area.

My perspective on this matter is one of great hesitation and fear. There are ratings set in place where parents can check the back to see if the game is appropriate for kids. However, some kids can still get a hold of games by going over to friends’ houses or by using the consoles of their older siblings. I don’t think that children ought to have access to or even be exposed to such violence.

Especially when the child or adult is playing these games day after day, they will get so immersed in the game. You can often witness this when trying to grab the attention of a child or teen playing a video game and they give no response to you whatsoever. This could be a problem since the players of the game are so into it that they start believing what they see on the screen is real and okay; that violence in games like Grand Theft Auto are fun and normal. And, if they see this enough, that perhaps they can inflict damage to people in the real world and get that same sense of thrill they get from a video game. I’m not necessarily sure whether it is making all kids around the world act more violently, as people can separate good from bad and from what is fantasy and reality, but a good amount of people can get used to the idea and feeling and feel no mercy or sense of consequence.

I don’t believe these games should be completely banned. I do, however, believe that young kids should not be able to get ahold of these video games. Early exposure I think is pretty dangerous in influencing the minds of our young generation.


Blazing It

Marijuana is an interesting drug- it is pretty taboo and hush-hush, yet at the same time it is pretty widely used, especially among college students (in my observations during the 3 years in the school as well as asking friends in college back home).

I understand that marijuana comes from the plant Cannibis sativa and from my knowledge is non-addictive. It does leave a weird smell that is true, but besides that, it doesn’t really impact others that much. I believe that marijuana is not necessarily a bad thing. I think that it could be made legal to be used for medicinal purposes, to alleviate stress and to perhaps stop seizures in its tracks. However, like any drug that affects your brain, there may be some long term side effects that we may not know of. To my knowledge, marijuana does not lead to lung cancer, but what is it to say that it may very well affect your lungs negatively? Any amount of inhaling in smoke can’t be good for your health or well being. Still, I think that it should be made available to people who would like to use it. Just, that it should be made in a law that those who smoke it, cannot drive while under that drug’s influence. Just like alcohol, I know that the effects of the drug can impair judgement, reaction time, and vision. It is still better than tobacco in my opinion, which for some reason, is still up in the market due to the huge companies that have a stake in it. If you use this substance wisely, I believe that it is fine to use.