Author Archives: Tiffany Elizabeth Breon

Can We Actually Visualize What You’re Thinking?!?

Just imagine: you’re dancing with beautiful ballerinas on an island made of dark chocolate and shortbread cookies. Flowers are falling from the sky like rain. Everything is in slow motion. You’re cheeks are cherry red from all of your laughter; it is absolute paradise – suddenly….you wake up. Immediately you know you’re never going to experience that again because it was only a dreams and dreams aren’t meant to be relived…or are they…?


In 2011, some research had been conducted to figure out if we can, in fact, see what our minds are visualizing inside.’s actually possible. Scientists from UC Berkeley have a system they developed that analyzes brain activity and matches it to different motions and shapes. The subjects were fed these video clips that are on the left side of the screen and what researchers were able to reconstruct is showed on the right.

The way they break it down and figure out what our brain sees is based on a map of our brain that is flattened and studied based upon which parts of the visual cortex are flared up. It is explained in further detail in this video.

They used three different subjects for the experiments—incidentally, they were part of the research team because it requires being inside a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging system for hours at a time. The subjects were exposed to two different groups of Hollywood movie trailers as the fMRI system recorded the brain’s blood flow through their brains’ visual cortex.

The readings were fed into a computer program in which they were divided into three-dimensional pixels units called voxels (volumetric pixels). This process effectively decodes the brain signals generated by moving pictures, connecting the shape and motion information from the movies to specific brain actions. As the sessions progressed, the computer learned more and more about how the visual activity presented on the screen corresponded to the brain activity. –


It seems as though our brains can construct things that are more familiar to us (like people) as opposed to things that are less familiar (like abstract art)( However, this technology still opens up an unimaginable amount of doors for us – especially in psychological areas. Using these techniques we can further analyze the human mind and better understand what someone is or was going through. It’s a great new way to communicate what we mean.

The only downside that I can see to this is people taking advantage of this technology… But that’s besides the point. I’m really impressed with this technology and I’m surprised I haven’t heard of this already, considering this research was conducted three years ago. With my experience in psychology classes, I know it’s still being taught that it’s not possible to view the images our brain sees and the only brain behavior we can study is brainwaves. It makes me wonder why these studies haven’t been as widespread as they ought to be. Although I admit, some of the brain images would be a bit hard to depict if they weren’t compared side-by-side to the actual images but I feel like that’s something that will improve as technology gets better. It’s also important to consider the fact that this was only a study done using the most basic form of visual perception so of course it’s going to look a bit botchy. And who knows, one day we might actually have a vivid movie that we can replay on special pillows that capture our dreams and oh what a day that will be!


Diaz, Jesus. “Scientists Reconstruct Brains’ Visions Into Digital Video In Historic Experiment.” Gizmodo. N.p., 22 Nov. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. <>.

“Movie Reconstruction from Human Brain Activity.” YouTube. YouTube, 21 Sept. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. <>.
UC Berkely Campus Life. “Vision Reconstruction.” YouTube. YouTube, 1 Dec. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. <>.
Howard, Jacqueline. “‘Mind-Reading’ Scientists Reconstruct Human Faces From Brain Scans.” The Huffington Post., 01 Apr. 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. <>.

Being Thankful Can Improve Your Health!

What do you know? As it turns out, having gratitude and being thankful can have certain health benefits, but how is this possible? Well, Robert Emmons – a psychologist at the University of California says, “grateful people engage in more exercise, have better dietary behaviors, are less likely to smoke and abuse alcohol, and have higher rates of medication adherence…Gratitude is good medicine“(


Okay, that’s cool and all, but first of all, how does one become truly thankful? Here’s a few helpful tips from our friends at Tip number one is to create different ways that you can help others – buy them gifts, offer them services – realize that you are doing something for them out of the goodness of your heart. Another tip is to simply say “Thank You!” as often as possible; it’s a good way to connect to others and build stronger relationships. A third tip is to just take a step back and realize how fortunate you are; even when all things seem to be going wrong, appreciate the things that went right. These are just a few tips, if you want to check out the full list visit:

Alright. So we’ve got the feeling of thankfulness down, but what exactly is that supposed to do for us in the long run? Well, it has important health benefits that not only allow us to become more active and healthy individuals but it also alters our brain chemistry. It gives us an increase in endorphins that allows us to be happier individuals. Phillip Watkins, an Eastern Washington University psychologist noted, “When you look at personality traits or virtues that correlate most strongly with people’s happiness, gratitude is always up there within the top three, if not the top one.”( It’s also been shown that people who practice gratitude have higher quality sleep at a longer duration of time than those who don’t. The study, from the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, believes that it’s likely because gratitude tends to produce positive feelings in the thought process before falling asleep.

In the article, they recognize that people who are more thankful than others may only be that way because their health is better in the first place. However, they looked at several studies where people asked over the course of a week to write down at least three good things that occurred to them every day. At the end of the studies, people revealed they had a general happier attitude than they’d had before. “A key to the effect, however, is that it must be other-focused. In a paper published in June 2014…Watkins and his colleagues showed that keeping a diary of three blessings worked much better to boost happiness than recalling three times when a person felt a sense of pride in his or her own accomplishments” (

I personally believe that this is a good topic to take note on since Thanksgiving is literally tomorrow. I think the study was good in the points that it was making, although I feel like some of them were pretty self-explanatory (i.e. when you’re happier you have positive thoughts) – that part to me seemed redundant. Another problem I had was the fact that there was no real details on the studies themselves (and I clicked on all of the links provided) so it’s hard to tell how accurate their examinations are. I did, however, think it was very interesting that as far as personality traits come the feeling that is most often correlated with happiness is gratitude; I had no idea it was that important in our sense of happiness, I would’ve thought the feeling that brought us the most happiness is love. I guess that means if you want the best chances of becoming happy work a little gratitude into your life!


Ghose, Tia. “Thanksgiving Science: Why Gratitude Is Good for You.” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 25 Nov. 2014. Web. 26 Nov. 2014. <>.

Parry, Wynne. “7 Tips to Cultivate Gratitude.” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 01 Jan. 2013. Web. 26 Nov. 2014. <>.

Parry, Wynne. “How Gratitude Can Improve Your Life.” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 01 Jan. 2013. Web. 26 Nov. 2014. <>.

Does Spanking Have Even More Negative Effects Than We Thought?

This is a hot topic among society today because many people were raised with a family who used spanking as a form of punishment. As many as “half of  the women and three quarters of the men in the United States believe that a child sometimes needs ‘a good hard spanking'”          (


Some people believe that spanking doesn’t work for correcting rebellious behavior and a new study suggests that it may even alter the brain chemistry of those under it’s wrath. The way it does this is by literally beating the gray matter out of your child’s head by exposing them to Harsh Corporal Punishment (HCP). “Harsh corporal punishment in the study was defined as at least one spanking a month for more than three years, frequently done with objects such as a belt or paddle. Researchers found children who were regularly spanked had less gray matter in certain areas of the prefrontal cortex that have been linked to depression, addiction and other mental health disorders, the study authors say”(

The main problem with losing the gray matter is the fact that it’s very important in a child’s development and is what also helps with self-control so when parents punish their kids for having no self-control by spanking, they are essentially making the situation worse. (

The study method was as follows: “Respondents (N = 2461) participated in the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study (1998–2005), a population-based, birth cohort study of children born in 20 large US cities. Maternal reports of CP, children’s aggressive behaviors at 3 and 5 years of age, and a host of key demographic features and potential confounding factors, including maternal child physical maltreatment, psychological maltreatment, and neglect, intimate partner aggression victimization, stress, depression, substance use, and consideration of abortion, were assessed” (

I found this study to be very interesting because if you think about it, ONE spank a MONTH is not that much, in retrospect. Some kids are punished with spanking far more than once a month which leads us to believe that there is even more brain damage done to that child. However, the problem with this study is that there are no absolute risks. It’s hard to tell exactly how much damage is done by spanking a child and whether it’s worth discontinuing the behavior for some people.

I don’t think I would spank my children to begin with, but if I were thinking about it I don’t think this study would convince me otherwise because of the fact that it’s so subjective and there could be many other contributions to the loss of gray matter in the brain. The other main problem with this study is the fact that it used volunteers as candidates to study and not people who were randomized and controlled thus leaning to potential bias and skewed results.


  Kovac, Sarah. “Spanking the Gray Matter out of Our Kids.” CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <>.

 Taylor, Catherine A. “Mothers’ Spanking of 3-Year-Old Children and Subsequent Risk of Children’s Aggressive Behavior.” Mothers’ Spanking of 3-Year-Old Children and Subsequent Risk of Children’s Aggressive Behavior. N.p., 7 Jan. 2010. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <>.
Tomoda, Akemi. “Reduced Prefrontal Cortical Gray Matter Volume in Young Adults Exposed to Harsh Corporal Punishment.” NIH Public Access. PMC, 12 Mar. 2009. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <>.
“BNL Newsroom | Gray Matter in Brain’s Control Center Linked to Ability to Process Reward.” BNL Newsroom | Gray Matter in Brain’s Control Center Linked to Ability to Process Reward. N.p., 29 Nov. 2011. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <>.

Choosing A Partner: Frog Love vs. Human Love (Part two)

In a previous blog I discussed how tree frogs attract each other in the mating process. The males do so by making croaking noises which the females will pick up on and then choose a mate However, the choosing process is not as simple as we think it’d be for an animal. It’s more than just finding a frog of the opposite gender, but it has more to do with finding one that’s more masculine (aka has more chromosomes) and therefore a better mate. This is similar to how humans find mates of their own.


As it turns out, there’s actually a science behind kissing, much like there’s a science behind female frogs’ mate choice. According to behavioral scientists, there’s a theory that states humans engage in kissing because it allows us to prospect “genetic potential” in our mates  ( Essentially, it’s basically like our bodies are using and analyzing the DNA of the person we kiss to determine if they would be suitable to create offspring with. What our bodies are actually searching for is an immune system/genetic qualities/fitness levels that’s polar opposite of ours so that you both could come together and make an offspring that has a combination of the best assets of the two of you in their DNA  (

Of course, there are many other reasons why we, as humans, engage in kissing like keeping a bond between one another after a relationship has already been established. But the key idea here is that upon the first kissing encounter the main idea of kissing is to determine if someone is compatible with you. This is much like how female frogs determine whether the male frogs’ tones are more or less suitable as ideal mates.

There are probably many more species that identify their mates through some sort of “genetic testing”, if you will, but I just so happened to come across the articles about the frogs and it reminded me of a discussion we had in psychology class about why humans kiss and the experiment found that the frogs do so in a similar way.

I think that it’s interesting how, on the lowest level, both humans and frogs choose ideal mates on the basis of genetic potential and compatibility. This idea is similar to Charles Darwin’s idea of “survival of the fittest” and that’s what I think it comes down to. The reason both (or more) species choose based on genetic qualities is because it increases the predicted survival/longevity of their offspring and the ultimate goal of a species is to never die out.



Gayomali, Chris. “Why Do We Kiss? Behavioral Science Weighs In.” The Week. N.p., 11 Oct. 2013. Web. 04 Nov. 2014. <>.

“Kissing Helps Us Find the Right Partner – and Keep Them.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2014. <>.

Choosing a Partner: Frog Love vs Human Love (Part One)

Since we were discussing fruit fly sex the other day in class I thought this would be the perfect blog topic. The subject on which I’m writing has little to do with the actual sexual encounter between male and female frogs and more to do with the mating process. I’m taking a look at how female frogs can determine who would be a good match by the sound of their mating call and comparing it to how humans determine how well off they are with someone depending on how much of a ‘spark’ there is when they kiss.


As it turns out, the female tree frog is the one who chooses which male to mate with. Carl Gerhardt, an expert on tree frogs believes that the lek mating process is the most common; this is when the male is not in control, instead he is the one who must do the ‘wooing.’ During this process the males let out what is known as an “advertisement call” which gives the female tree frogs in the area the signal that that particular male is ready to mate as well as sending a signal to other male tree frogs to back off.  “Just how the male performs his advertisement call matters much to a female. Gerhardt’s own research showed that female gray tree frogs (Hyla versicolor) prefer advertisement calls that are long rather than short, because producing long calls is energetically costly and requires the male to be physically fit. “The females are choosing on the basis of an honest advertisement, on something that is costly to the male,” Gerhardt said.” (

According to a new study from the University of Missouri, there is a reason behind the female frogs choosiness when picking a mate. Not only does the type of call reveal the physical state of a male frog, but it also reveals the number of chromosomes a male frog possesses; a higher number of chromosomes is more pleasing to a female frog. “In previous studies, the scientists found that tree frogs with more sets of chromosome have larger cell sizes, which slows down the trill rate. What was not known was whether the calling preferences of females are similarly linked to chromosome number.”(

Mitch Tucker, a doctoral student at the University of Missouri who was working alongside Carl Gerhardt, created a simulation of male tree frog calls and once the female frogs reached maturity levels, they were exposed to the calls and it was found that they “hopped toward the calls with the trill rate of the males with matching chromosome numbers, which indicates female preference” ( This also indicates that males with lower trill rates have larger cell sizes with also tells us that they have more chromosomes. 

Because of this discovery, it’s assumed that the chromosome number in the tree frog species is what “controls the behavior that keeps the species separate” (

I think this study was very interesting. I always just assumed that animals (specifically male animals) used their calls to simply attract a mate; I didn’t know their was a status quo that female frogs followed in respect to the calls. In a way this is similar to how humans find a mate – there’s actually evidence of the same type of thing happening in the human species which I will discuss in part 2 of this blog.


Works Cited

Castro, By Joseph. “Animal Sex: How Tree Frogs Do It.” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 16 Oct. 2014. Web. 27 Oct. 2014. <>.
“Frogs Use Calls to Find Mates with Matching Chromosomes; Tree Frogs That Look Similar Hear Chromosome Difference in Calls.”ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2014. <>.

Is Food Addiction More Common In Women Who’ve Endured Trauma?

A new study suggests that women who have undergone some sort of traumatic event such as miscarriages, rape, abuse as a child, etc. have been linked to addictions to food. These women took a survey where they were asked if PTSD was experienced because of the trauma that these women endured; they were asked if they had certain symptoms to determine if it was PTSD. Along with these questions the women were also asked if they’d noticed that they were  eating food more often than not which, as the survey shows, is relatively true.


There were almost 50,000 female participants in the study, all of whom were asked the same series of questions. It was found that the women who had more symptoms of PTSD were more likely to be addicted to food.

Overall, 66 percent of those who had experienced a traumatic event reported at least one symptom of PTSD, according to the study.

The researchers also found that 8 percent of all women in the study had food addiction. But this disorder was more common among those with PTSD symptoms: Nearly 18 percent of women with 6 to 7 symptoms of PTSD had food addiction, compared to 6 percent of women who had no PTSD symptoms during their lifetime. (Although the study did not ask whether a doctor had diagnosed the women with PTSD, people with four or more symptoms of PTSD may have the condition, the researchers said.)

The link between food addiction and PTSD symptoms was strongest among those whose PTSD symptoms occurred before age 10 (Trauma and Food Addiction Linked for Women).

One problem with the study that was pointed out is that it did not ask when their PTSD started, therefore it cannot be determined whether the food addiction or the PTSD came first. For me, another problem that I had with this study is its accuracy. What other food addiction levels is this study being compared to? What if there’s little difference between other women who have other conditions like depression or anxiety which have little to nothing to do with trauma? Also, why weren’t men surveyed. If they were surveyed and showed similar results couldn’t it be determined that food dependency was a side effect of PTSD rather than another linked issue? There are many problems with this study because it allows so many questions unanswered. If it was conducted in a better way, I’m sure it would be more convincing.


 Rettner, Rachel. “Trauma and Food Addiction Linked for Women.”LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 17 Sept. 2014. Web. 19 Sept. 2014. <>.

A Real Superhuman: Is It Possible?

Have you ever wanted to have the power of healing yourself like the heroes in the comic books? Well, that might be a possibility in the near future. There is a new research program out that has dedicated itself to figure out if a chip implanted inside of the human body would allow it’s inhabitant to tackle any infections or injured organs at rapid speeds.



How this would happen is the tiny chip would send electrical pulses through it’s inhabitant’s body; doing this allows the chip to gather information on the condition of your organs and send the necessary stimuli to help combat the infection/injury.

The idea for the technology is based on a biological process known as neuromodulation, in which the peripheral nervous system (the nerves that connect every other part of the body to the brain and spinal cord) monitors the status of internal organs and regulate the body’s responses to infection and disease. When a person is sick or injured, this natural process can sometimes be thrown off, according to DARPA. Instead of making a person feel better, neuromodulation can actually exacerbate a condition, causing pain, inflammation and a weakened immune system (Tiny Implants Could Give Humans Self-Healing Superpowers).

Now you may be thinking, “Hey, don’t they have devices that are very similar to this already available?” And the answer to your question is yes. However, the neat thing about this device is that it is very small and can be implanted with just a needle. It’s quite a revolutionary design because that enables it to be placed “exactly where it is needed at the nerve endings” (Tiny Implants Could Give Humans Self-Healing Superpowers).


I think this is a very interesting idea as well as it is a revolutionary one. It baffles my mind thinking about the actual size of the device and then comparing that to it’s task. It seems unimaginable. Granted, the device hasn’t actually been made yet but the fact that we believe it’s possible is still pretty exciting. It makes me think about all of the innovative technological devices that are yet to come. If we could create something that helps heal our bodies, perhaps we could create something that adds years onto our lives, or prevents us from dying for a while. Heck, if we can create devices that can conquer death, maybe a time machine isn’t out of the question either.



 Palermo, Elizabeth. “Tiny Implants Could Give Humans Self-Healing Superpowers.” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 18 Sept. 2014. Web. 19 Sept. 2014. <>.
 “DARPA’s ElectRx Project: Self-Healing Bodies Through Targeted Stimulation Of The Nerves.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2014. <>.

A Remarkable Brain

There was a recent discovery by doctors in China who were examining a woman who had come in for check up. As it turns out, the woman had been operating a normal lifestyle for 24 years without a Cerebellum which is the part of the brain that controls balance and fine motor skills. A person who is able to function and walk properly without on of these is practically unheard of.



The woman did have some symptoms like dizziness and vomiting, but normally the symptoms for a missing cerebellum would be much more extreme like the complete inability to walk. In the woman’s early childhood she did have some issues with walking, but she was eventually able to walk somewhat normally by the age of four.

When the doctors scanned the woman’s brain, they found she had no cerebellum, a region of the brain thought to be crucial for walking and other movements. Instead, the scans showed a large hole filled with cerebrospinal fluid…CT and MRI scans revealed no remnants of any cerebellar tissues, verifying complete absence of the cerebellum” (Extraordinary Brain: A Woman’s Missing Cerebellum Went Unnoticed for 24 Years). 

This development indicates that a young brain can adapt well to serious abnormalities, much better than an older brain could. There have been cases of young children with missing cerebellums before this case however, most of them did not live very long and during their lives they had pretty severe health issues such as mental disabilities.

It is very possible that other people have a condition such as this who have not yet been diagnosed with a missing cerebellum. To me, this raises a question about human evolution. It reminds me much of the appendix and how we are still debating it’s exact function within the human body. At first we thought it had no function whatsoever, but further research has proved that as an inaccurate statement. However, there is evidence that the appendix has evolved throughout different species to adapt to their behaviors.

The cerebellum has obviously served a great purpose to us and we thought that there was no way a person could function normally without one. The fact that this woman has been doing relatively fine her whole entire life without a functioning cerebellum begs the question of how it is possibly similar to the appendix and it’s evolving between different species. Is this woman just a medical miracle or is this possibly a window into the next superhuman race? I don’t know.


 Yu, Feng, Qing-jun Jiang, Xi-yan Sun, and Rong-wei Zhang. “Brain.” A New Case of Complete Primary Cerebellar Agenesis: Clinical and Imaging Findings in a Living Patient. Oxford Journals, n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2014. <>.
 Barras, Collin. “Appendix Evolved More Than 30 Times.” Science. AAAS, 12 Feb. 2013. Web. 14 Sept. 2014. <>.
 “What Is the Function of the Human Appendix? Did It Once Have a Purpose That Has since Been Lost?” Scientific American Global RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2014. <>.
 Bailey, Regina. “What Is the Cerebellum?” About. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2014. <>.

Religion Does Not Make People More Moral

According to a new study, there is no more moral obligation in people who are religious compared to people who are not religious. A study conducted on 1,252 people who are of different religious as well as political backgrounds found that no matter which religion or political background they were affiliated with they all reported back around the same amount of moral acts committed by themselves.


In the study they were specifically asked to “record the good and bad deeds they committed, witnessed, learned about or were the target of throughout the day.” (Religion Doesn’t Make People More Moral, Study Finds). With each report, the researcher Dan Wineski found that all of the subjects no matter their religious or political stance reported that they had committed more moral acts compared to immoral acts and that they were witnesses to or heard of more immoral acts. However, there were some differences with how people emotionally responded to the acts. For instance, religious people had negative feelings after carrying out an immoral act; they also felt more positively about committing moral acts compared to non-religious people. On the political side of the spectrum, Liberals and Conservatives differed as well. The Liberals were more keen to describing more “honesty” and “fairness” acts of morality whereas Conservatives were keen to describe “loyalty” and “sanctity” related moral acts. 

The neat thing about this study is that it’s the first of it’s kind in this related field. Rather than study candidates in a laboratory setting feeding them imaginary moral/immoral acts, they are asked to report the acts themselves. This is a more individualized approach and it can also help to narrow the viewpoint of how different political and religious affiliated people categorize moral and immoral acts and how they feel towards them.

I believe that this is a well done study, considering the individualization of the results. However, the issue of religion vs. relationship is something I thought about as I was reading the study. My point is that someone who may consider themselves “religious” could very well not be as religious as someone who is truly and honestly  dedicated to their religion and all of its implications. If someone is dedicated to their religion, I assume they have some sort of relationship with their God/Gods; let’s refer to them as the “relationship type”. The relationship type may have a higher degree of morality than those who aren’t as dedicated to a given religion meaning that these people (the relationship type) could have completely different results as compared to the so called “religious” people in the study. This could be likely because I know of many different people who consider themselves religious (while I’m aware that this is an anecdote, it still applies). Some of them act no different than anyone else other than going to church – which I guess is enough for them to consider themselves religious. Others who claim that they are religious truly are by not only learning and believing in their religion but also by carrying it out into their daily lives. These are the people I believe would have a higher morality than those who aren’t as religious.


 Palermo, By Elizabeth. “Religion Doesn’t Make People More Moral, Study Finds.” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 11 Sept. 2014. Web. 11 Sept. 2014. <>.
 “Isn’t Jesus about Relationship, Not Religion?” English Name of the Content Author / Nom En Anglais De L’auteur Du Contenu. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2014. <>.
 Bastaki, Jinan. “Developing Our Relationship with Allah.” N.p., 20 May 2011. Web. 11 Sept. 2014. <>.


Learning a Second Language Is Easier for Children, But Why?

Not only do children grow and develop at extraordinary paces, but they learn  information quickly as well. A child who is exposed to multiple languages at a young age has a much easier time processing and remembering the information they receive, but why is this? And why do we lose this ability as we grow older? I often ask myself this question because I am in the middle of learning a new language myself (Spanish) and I find it very difficult at times. I could hear a word 100 times over and know what it means but when I’m asked to match the word to its meaning on a test, I find my brain drawing a blank. The only thing I’m able to think of is the English term because that comes much more naturally to me. I always wished to be exposed to Spanish at a younger age so I would have a much easier time now.


According to  oncology nurse, Suzanne Robin in her article “Why Is It Easier for a Child to Learn a New Language Than An Adult” she lists several reasons as to why children learn languages so easily. For a child, learning language is part of their brain chemistry. They are literally built to absorb information; they do this in an unconscious state of mind, like they’re learning and they don’t even know it. Adults and older children, on the other hand, have to consciously learn the information which makes it harder because when we learn that way, information sometimes gets lost or disassociated. To make this easier to understand, think of it like listening to a song. When you listen to a song enough times, you learn the rhythms and lyrics whether you like it or not; this is unconscious learning, similar to how children learn languages. However, when you are reading to study for a test some or all of the information is not absorbed, this is because you are making a conscious effort to learn which makes it harder for your brain to gather information.

Learning languages as a child is also easier because there’s much less complex information to digest. When you learn at a young age, you usually only learn to associate words with their meanings. When you’re an adult, you have to do that as well as learn all of the grammatical rules thus making a second language harder to learn.

Another simple and obvious reason as to why children find learning languages easier is their diminished levels of self-consciousness. They aren’t afraid to sound like idiots and learn from their mistakes. They take pride in practicing out loud, even if they sound dumb. This can be very beneficial in helping the brain absorb information.

Although these are supportive facts for why children could learn languages easier, I’m questioning why adults can’t just adapt to this behavior and perhaps learn better themselves. It’s obvious they aren’t going to be able to rewire their brains back to when they were children so they can absorb information easier, but is it possible to teach them like we’d teach children? Instead of learning everything at once, maybe we should teach them little by little. It would take longer but I believe it’d make learning a language much more enjoyable and easy.

Robin, Suzanne. “Why Is It Easier for a Child to Learn a New Language Than an Adult?” Everyday Life. Global Post, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2014. <>.



First Post

Hi! My name is Tiffany Breon and I’m from Centre Hall, Pennsylvania (which is about 15 minutes away from State College) so I grew up around here.

I am taking this course to complete the gen-ed credit for science. And also because the course description sounded exactly like what I wanted a science class to be like; rather than focusing on the facts, it’s geared more towards ideas and applications.

I am choosing not to be a science major because I have more interest in the film and video major here at Penn State and I feel that I could be of more importance in that field than in anything science related. I didn’t always want to be a film and video major, I was planning on just doing business but I came across Olan Rogers on YouTube and ever since then, I’ve been determined to become involved in the film industry.

Here is a funny science related picture. Enjoy.

chemistry cat