Author Archives: Amanda Lynn Graham

Dress for Success

It’s college and students are up sometimes all night long cramming for a test, which means fashion, most of the time, goes out the window. Think of the last time you actually got nicely dressed for class. Or do you rock the workout clothes and hat. With the wintertime coming the laziness and lack of effort put into clothing just gets worse. Would you be willing to change that if convinced it could actually benefit you to put in the extra time and effort? Does dressing nicely  truly make you feel better about yourself, and in turn helps you to succeed and conquer the stress.

To get to original image click  here .

To get to original image click here .

An article published in the Huffington Post sites a study that was conducted by researcher at Colombia University and California State University regarding dressing better and how it can result in “more abstract cognitive processing” (Click here for full article). They tested this theory among kids around college age, and gave them tests to determine their cognitive thinking process already. The conclusion, from Slepian, states that “Formal clothing made people feel more powerful, which in turn made them more likely to adopt high-level, abstract thinking” and “formal clothing might improve your mood if you feel good in the clothing and think it looks good”. So, the better you dress the more official and powerful you feel. Power can drive success so it can be said if power and success were correlated that the higher power you feel you have or do have the higher level of success you can achieve. Fancy business clothes make those new to the business world feel like they belong, and when you feel like you belong you feel better about yourself as a whole.

Sticking with the idea of belonging the Washington Post released an article summarizing a study in which the concept of dressing the part helps with your performance in a certain area. The case that was cited here was from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. In short, they gave research subjects the Stroop Test, and made some where white coats, to resemble lab coats, and some were told to wear actual lab coats. The conclusion being that those in the white coats, who identified them as lab coats, did better than those in the actual lab coats (get to full article with study here). This goes to show that when people think they look the part and feel like they belong that their performance enhances.

One way to create an experiment for this concept regarding college students is find the typical outfit a student would wear to class on any given day. Have a random set of students wear something similar to that, and the other half totally differ. If the ones who are wearing clothing that seems more like they belong, they probably had a boost in self-esteem, and may be doing better by feeling that they belong. Then again correlation need not equal causation, so many studies and experiments would have to be done in order refuse to reject the alternative hypothesis that how you dress actually does effect how you act or feel. This would mean rejecting the null hypothesis saying that there is no affect at all.

Personally, I feel that when you put some effort and planning into your outfit, hair, and makeup it makes you feel better about yourself. But, I would rather prefer, as most people dressing for success and power, and to feel like you belong.

Does School Start Too Early?

If your school was like mine it had you waking up before the sun to get ready to catch the bus or  hop in your car to head to school. Class for me for both middle and high school started bright and early time of 7:25. Once I had a car and could drive to school I was able to push the time I left in the morning a little, but when I was at the will of the bus I had to leave as early as 6:30. By the time the end of the day rolled around I could hardly keep my eyes open. I think it would be beneficial for school start times to be later, as to not lose the attention of students throughout the day, and then maybe more kids would be motivated to actually attend school.

The Pediatric’s webpage even states that “the average teenager in today’s society has difficulty falling asleep before 11:00 PM and is best suited to wake at 8:00 AM or later”. So, if a student has to catch a 6:30 bus then the latest they can wake up to make it on time is most likely 6 am. So, if a student falls asleep by 11 then is forced to wake up at 6 they are losing 2 hours of sleep that they need according to Pediatric. They also say that a student needs to receive the optimal amount of sleep in order to maintain good “physical and mental health”, “safety”, “academic performance”, and “quality of life”. Sleep deprivation is one of the leading negative effects amongst students. This one thing causes a domino effect of other issues. The chances of these other issues occurring, given that the problem of sleep deprivation is solved, then becomes much lower then if sleep deprivation played a role.

The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter published an article, found online, in which they conducted their own study altering school start times as well as research the effects from when other schools changed their start times and pushed them back to make them later and allow kids to get a little more sleep. In their own experiment the results of even a 25 minute delay were “reductions in depressed mood, caffeine use, daytime napping, tardiness to class, and falling asleep in class” (Get to article here). The question is why change school start times? For one it is easily “modifiable”. It is one thing that can be controlled. Once teens form sleep habits, like going to bed late, it is very hard for them to break that. It is easier said than done to just simply tell students to go to bed earlier.

There is definitely some type of correlation between sleep deprivation and a students mental and physical health, as well as productivity. Since both of these are essential to success, it is important that it be maintained. Therefore, later school times seem like the best solution. A good way to test this would to be take a school with an early start time, monitor the students and collect data on things such as their mental and physical health, as well as their academic success to establish a baseline. Then, take that school and delay the start time by an hour or two. Monitor the same factors and see if they improve. This needs to be done many times in schools across the country though, in efforts to eliminate as much chance as possible.

Why Become Plastic?

More and more women elect to get work done each day. Between botox, boob jobs, nose jobs, tummy tucks, and face lifts the list never ends. In fact, plastic surgery has become extremely common and is almost, in a sense, normal for many. But why, why do women choose to alter their images through means of surgery, when the risks could possibly outweigh the reward.

The Journal of Advanced Nursing published a paper on the issues of breast augmentation. Also called boob jobs, these are arguably one of the most common types of plastic surgery. The paper states that “in the last 30 years alone as many as 2 million women in the USA alone have opted for breast enlargement surgery” (Get paper access by clicking here). The paper also states that a large reason as to why women are opting to get these surgeries relates to how they feel about themselves, and the more surgeries generally correlates to lower self-esteem and less self-confidence. But, even this paper admits that there is not much research on the topic. The paper makes an interesting argument saying that less focus needs to be put on the actual procedures themselves, but rather more research needs to be done on why these women choose to get these procedures. It is simple, if women did not expose themselves to this surgery and the hazards that can come from a surgery gone wrong, then there would be no risk. But, when women choose to open themselves up to the hazards of surgery, the exposure is at 100% causing the risk to be incredibly high.

Some plastic surgery can be necessary, and even beneficial. Nose jobs a lot of the time help fix people’s breathing, and any type of reconstruction can help those faced with scars and distortions from accidents and old injuries. However, minus complete breast reconstruction for someone who had to get theirs removed, breast augmentation is virtually 100% unnecessary. Leaving only one reason why people do it, simply because they want to. Many people cite their reasons as being their boobs aren’t big enough, they don’t fit the image of a woman, or with such tiny breasts they don’t feel like a woman. This has turned the concept into clearly an identification issue. According to the American Psychological Association “cosmetic procedures increased 44 percent from 2003 to 2004”. This article also brings to light the negative aspects following a surgery that the patient may not be completely happy with, this includes “repeat procedures or experience depression and adjustment problems, social isolation, family problems, self-destructive behaviors and anger toward the surgeon and his or her staff” (see article here). But, even this article agrees that more studies need to be done and more research collected.

For the link to the picture click here.

For the link to the picture click here.

A good example of someone to use in regards to this situation is Lacey Wildd. Wildd has among some of the largest breasts in the world. According to her interview, which can be found via ABC News Wildd was a relatively normal girl from the midwest. Until she decided to change her hair color and start on what seems like her never ending journey of plastic surgery, especially to her breasts. According to Wildd she has her boobs to make money, she states directly in the interview online “my boobs are my paycheck for sure”, except there is nothing safe about them and they pose a huge health risk for sure (see the video here). It is all about her appearance, she gets paid for her looks, more specifically for her boobs. Psychologically this is an issue and a need for attention.

The only way to eliminate the high risks of these elective procedures is to get women to no longer partake in them for no reason. To do this you must find out why they are partaking in them. The best way may be through an observational study. Give women opting to have these procedures done a series of questions to understand why they are getting them done, and if it is for the right reasons. Then, methods and requirements could be put into place limiting exposure, and thus reducing risk.

Have a Seat…or not?

We all have been there, that point in time during class where you just cannot possibly sit any longer. You start to fidget in your seat to try and find the most comfortable position only to find yourself with a numb tailbone or legs and feet that have fallen asleep. My high school classes were 90 minutes long, and the chairs were god awful, not comfortable at all. Many times teachers would try to break up class by giving us a minute or two to stand up and stretch or an activity that required we get up and move around in attempts to keep our attention for the full period. The teachers that did not do this then had to deal with the never-ending bathroom trips from students. No student could have had to go that often, instead they used it as a reason to get up and walk around. With this in mind the question has been posed in learning and working environments if it is, in fact, better to do work standing up versus sitting down.

Think about it, when people are trying to think what is a common thing many tend to do? They pace. You don’t see people trying to come up with ideas laying down quite often. Or, how about when you need to clear your head so you get up from what you’re working on and go for a walk or a run. So, is there a relationship between physical activity and being more productive or being able to think better? Sage Journals produced a study on this with school aged children. Their goal was to determine if standing desks helped children in the classroom in regards to “performance and behavior”. They also evaluated the effect the desks had on “physical activity” (Get to the article by clicking here). The conclusion of the study is as follows, “standing desks may provide an attractive alternative to traditional seated desks as they provide the potential for a less sedentary student body while maintaining and possibly improving academic performance” (Get the full conclusion here). However, even this study concludes that more studies need to be done in order to determine if standing increases children’s productivity.

The above study was an example of an experiment. They put some kids at standing desks and recorded the data regarding behavior, productivity, height, weight, and BMI, then compared that to a baseline from before the kids started at the standing desks.

A second study from The FASEB Journal measured the same thing, but in adults at the workplace. The overall goal was the same, to find if standing helps productivity versus sitting. In short the study replaced workers’, ranging from ages 33 to 66 years old, regular desks with new height adjustable desks, thus increasing their standing time throughout the work day. The conclusion that they found in this study was that “these changes were accompanied by decreased tiredness and increased perceptions of amount and quality of work completed and overall work performance” (Find the page here).

Get the link to this image here .

Get the link to this image here .

These two studies both have enough evidence to reject the null hypothesis that standing versus sitting does nothing. In fact, in both studies it shows that productivity, among other things, increased when standing desks were incorporated. USA Today’s article online provides the first hand account from Jeff Gothelf  saying that he too saw his productivity increase from standing versus sitting. His theory why, as he states, is because “When you’re standing, you are not relaxing or hanging out watching videos or doing other stuff. You’re very goal oriented. There are no distractions. You’re in and out” (see quote here).

I tried to do a study like this for my psychology class senior year of high school. We came up with little brain puzzles and had a random assortment of students, both guys and girls, take them standing and then sitting. We timed how long it took them to complete each one. In the end our findings were inconclusive as the results did not sway in a particular direction. Then again we also had to take into consideration that some people, regardless of their body position, did not understand the puzzles.

I agree that more studies should be done on this to further find out if there is a direct link between standing versus sitting and productivity in both school and the workplace. However, judging by the above findings there is, for sure, a correlation between the two.


Can Coffee Really Stunt Your Growth?

We live in a day and age where everything is go go go and people hardly get any sleep anymore. So, instead people live off coffee and the caffeine within it to keep them awake and able to function. I know if you are anything like me you may need a cup or two before you can even fully wake up, and then another to keep you awake. We know caffeine can be bad for you especially when consumed in mass amounts or if it is too string hence the ban on certain energy drinks. This is also why it was, for so long, considered an adult drink. However, that has drastically changed and kids of all ages are getting either straight coffee or coffee related drinks. I mean even my high school had a full Starbucks style cafe for students. This becomes an issue when we look at the question of whether or not coffee can stunt your growth.

An article on states that Coffee is not, in fact, the reason for the stunting of growth among people. Instead it explains how people are really seeing the effects of osteoporosis. Coffee has been linked to cause osteoporosis due to two reasons according to this source. The first is that “Caffeine can increase the body’s elimination of calcium”, and the second being that this “Lack of calcium can contribute to osteoporosis” (View the article here). This is a prime example of the issue that correlation does not necessarily mean causation. It is most likely true that when the statistics are viewed that it shows a relationship between caffeine intake and the lack or growth. However, there is a lurking third variable and that is osteoporosis, which is truly what causes the stunted growth. Now, the question becomes does coffee truly cause osteoporosis?

To link to image click here .

To link to image click here .

Many of the studies on this issue focus solely on women who are about to go through or have been through menopause already. One of the studies can be found on The Journal of the American Medical Association’s webpage. The overall goal of this study was to find an association between caffeine intake and and bone mineral density (BMD), which can be a way to measure lack of growth from osteoporosis, from analyzing a population of older women. This cannot be an experiment because those administering it had no control over one of the factors, so it was an observational study that measured a women’s BMD and then had them fill out a brief background on caffeine consumption. Now, the results of this study, of course a correlation between those with a higher intake of caffeine and those with a low BMD count. However, this too had a third variable that could affect it, and that would be the amount of milk that these women drank. The study claimed that it wanted “to determine the effect of regular milk intake on this association” between caffeine and BMD. The results found that caffeine intake did not have as much of an effect on BMD if a glass of milk was drank each day. So, this concludes that there is actually more specifically a correlation between milk intake and osteoporosis, and that coffee, if milk is not drank, speeds up this effect the one has on the other. (Note, the above is a combination of summarization and paraphrasing from the study, fine the full study details here).

Another study summary can be found on LexisNexis Academic’s webpage. This study was carried out by Dr. Elizabeth Barrett-Connor at the University of California, San Diego. The goal was to show that in women who do not drink milk at all, the bone marrow density decreases more rapidly when caffeine intake is present. Their conclusion was ” calcium supplements in middle age or beyond can not offset the bone loss induced by a lifetime of coffee drinking” (quote located here). The solution then would be to worry about it at a young age as well as throughout the course of your life by drinking milk and cutting back on the caffeine.

The main point here is that third variable are everywhere. The only way to try to eliminate them would be through experimentation. With this there would need to be multiple groups. One where they didn’t drink coffee or milk, one with just coffee, one with just milk, and another with an equal balance of both. Then after the course of years the BMD’s of each groups would need to be recorded over time and analyzed and compared. But, an experiment like this cannot necessarily be done, one because it is lengthy, and two because it could cause long term negative effects on relatively healthy and normal people. A way around it would be to find people who already fit each of the groups and place them into their respective groups, but this however can be extremely hard, and also takes away the idea of randomization.

The takeaway from this would be that no one can outright state that coffee does indeed stunt people’s growth. These effects occur later in life over the course of time after many have already reached their maximum height. Genetics and family history also need to be taken into account for a person’s short nature. Also, the issue lies between calcium, caffeine and bone density. So, this is not just limited to coffee and milk, but anything from which one could receive caffeine or calcium adding a whole other component of third variables. The studies on this topic need to be more specified, and more need to be done, however it can only stick to observational studies, so third variables will always be present.


Do Gymnasts Eat?

It is no secret that as the years have gone on the typical image of a gymnast has changed. When you think of a gymnast you think of a petite girl. Yes, a girl because by the time most gymnasts reach the ages of 18 to 20 years old they are already retired, or on their way out. Gymnastics has become a sport known to be popular amongst young girls, as the US Olympic team most years are comprised of teenage girls who have not yet reached the age of 20. But, to reach this elite of a level at such a young age means these girls had to have started training at even a younger age, many times as young as 3 years old. The training is grueling, tedious, and really gets to your head. I speak this from experience as I, myself, was a gymnast before retiring at the age of 16 due to injury, as well as due to the impact it had on me mentally. There was always pressure to be the best, be the smallest, have the best tricks, and your coaches pushed you no matter the cost.This leading to the question of whether or not it is true that this kind of image created for the “typical gymnast” has lead to eating disorders in many gymnasts around the globe.

As one can tell these girls are pretty consistent with a smaller body type. You can find the original image here .

As one can tell these girls are pretty consistent with a smaller body type. You can find the original image here .

I was young when I started gymnastics around the age of 3 and quickly worked my way up to the elite level. Image was everything and diets were common. We had to stay thin and petite in order to compete. It was bad enough that this type of training was already postponing puberty, but to be limited to eating very little was worse. We were always told the best way to lose weight was to work harder and eat less. So, from personal experience and data I can conclude that there most certainly is a correlation between eating disorders and being an elite level gymnast.

Personal anecdotes are, of course, the most powerful source of believing whether something is true or false. Most people don’t understand the statistics, but many people understand word of mouth and trust personal experiences. The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry provides a review of US National Champion gymnast Jennifer Sey and her experiences with this idea of gymnastics and eating disorders being correlated. One of the examples Sey provides is how a coach “chastised her mother for allowing Sey to eat a whole bagel after a 7-hour workout”. It is no secret that girls in general are held to incredibly high standards in society, especially with the emergence of social media and modern celebrities. As a society it is our jobs to lift girls up and let them know that this “ideal” body is not actual what a girl should look like. Gymnastics does the complete opposite. It is coaches like Sey’s that are constantly ridiculing them and telling them they should eat less and workout more that causes these girls to resort to extreme methods, resulting in eating disorders.

In an article on Canadian Women Studies this issue regarding eating disorders in elite gymnasts is further discussed using more personal stories. One of the gymnasts mentioned in this article is Erica Stoke. Stokes talks about the harsh treatment she received from her coach. More specifically she notes when her coach called her a “pregnant goat” . Being called names like this especially at such a young age can cause damage mentally to girls, and thus causing them to take extreme measures to become better in a sense. In Stoke’s case the extreme measure was eating and then forcing herself to throw up. This is known as the eating disorder bulimia nervosa.

This same article continuing to talk about eating disorders among high level gymnasts also shares the story of Christy Henrich. Heinrich was your typical petite gymnast weighing in at 90 pounds and standing 4 feet 11 inches tall, and she had her eyes on the Olympic Prize. That was until a judge stepped in. Just how coaches influence gymnast’s lives, the judges play big role as well. It is a lot for a young girl to constantly be told that what she is doing is not good enough, and in the case of Henrich to be told that she would never make it if she didn’t lose weight. It seems pretty plausible that these pressures put on already 90 pound girls to be thinner causes them to feel insecure and strive to be better. With such immature minds they listen to every little thing their told, and attempt to fix it the only way they know how, which in turn causes these eating disorders to take place. Unfortunately, Henrich developed both anorexia and bulimia in efforts to lose weight. According to the article Henrich’s “weight was only 47 pounds”, and she “became too weak and she had to quit gymnastics just before the 1992 Barcelona Olympic games”. Henrich later died from organ failure, likely caused by the damage to her body from the way she had abused it.

The only way that this could be measured is through an observational study. You cannot perform an experiment because you cannot truly control certain parts of it. The only way to do it would be to tae gymnasts and put a random sample of some in an atmosphere with positivity about their bodies and their performance, and then put the remainder in the opposite atmosphere with coaches and judges harshly ridiculing them. This, however, cannot be done due to the fact that it is immoral to purposely impose the consequences of being placed in the harsher atmosphere and developing an eating disorder on the gymnasts. So, the best way would be through surveys and observation figure out how common eating disorders are among gymnasts in different high class gyms across the country, even the world. Also, it is important to note the atmosphere they are in and whether they are being put down about their weight or not. But, as always correlation need not equal causation. So, while it may be true that many gymnasts develop eating disorders there may be underlying factors. It could be an outside factor as to why they want to lose weight. These are young girls, so it could have to do with boys. Gymnasts build muscle and maybe event to them that is freakish looking, and can be to boys too. These are girls that spend their lives in gyms with not much human interaction, so mental status and developmental behavior can play a role.

The Sport Journal published an observational study that they did regarding female athletes and eating disorders. Now, while this is not specified specifically towards gymnasts, it is still relevant because elite gymnasts fall into the category of female  athletes. In summary, the study made up questionnaires and gave them out to a variety of female college athletes. Questions were pulled from an “Eat 26” program which allowed for measurement of the probability of developing an eating disorder, and the rest of the questions were “Athlete” questions which were “used to inquire some factors that may have a relationship with eating disorders among athletes”. Click here to get to the more specific details of the study.

The results of the study showed a correlation between a low score on the Eat 26 test and athletes feeling pretty comfortable about their bodies. A low score on this test indicates little evidence of developing an eating disorder. So, those who felt secure in their bodies scored lower on the Eat 26 and those who did not feel so great scored higher, this demonstrating a negative correlation. Of the 56 athlete participates, 8 were thought to be at risk for developing an eating disorder.

I believe that in terms of just the anecdotes and the one study there is enough evidence to believe that there most certainly is a correlation between gymnasts and eating disorders, however you can never say it one hundred percent to be true. I do think that more studies need to be done on this topic, and more rules need to be put in place to protect the well being of these girls. Most certainly gymnastics gyms need to be observed, and girls would need to be monitored over a period of time to see if they develop a disorder, and possible even be asked why. This could help get more concrete evidence to feel more comfortable about saying that gymnastics can cause eating disorders.



Psychology of Colors

Everyone has a favorite color. But, the trick is can you truly understand why? Subconsciously colors make you feel something, or think a certain way. Most colors have some type of meaning behind them. The colors someone chooses to wear, draw with, describe themselves with can have reasoning behind it. In a way it is a sort of communication. reiterates the idea that dealing with colors is a type of nonverbal communication (pull up website here). Let’s start with just a few examples of what some colors mean based off of Red can mean “energy, passion, action, ambition and determination”. Orange represents “social communication and optimism”. Yellow stand for “mind and the intellect”. Also, “It is optimistic and cheerful. However it can also suggest impatience, criticism and cowardice”. Green represents “balance and growth”. Blue stands for “trust and peace”. Purple tends to show “imagination”. Finally, pink tends to be “unconditional love and nurturing” (For the full list and further explanation visit the site here).

What exactly is a color though? Sir Isaac Newton came up with that when he “discovered that when pure white light passes through a prism, it separates into all of the visible colors” (website for color psychology here). Even though these colors have these inherent meanings, does not by any means mean they mean the same thing for everyone. Everyone perceives things differently depending on personality. However, many companies try to determine what colors to use in advertising in oder to evoke emotion in people. The goal, use color to persuade them to their product. Color psychology is, in fact, a huge marketing strategy. In an article titled The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding a study called Impact of Color Marketing “found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone” (Get link to article here). Many people do relate certain colors to certain feelings or traits.

How does this happen though? Well according to it is neurons in the hippocampus that affect your emotions. This is part of the limbic system. It is this system and the neurons in the hippocampus that enable you to feel and react on those feelings (get to website from here). Gender also plays a roll in color preference. According to The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding Men prefer bolder colors while women prefer softer colors (article located here). Overall, both genders prefer blue to everything else, as shown in the two diagrams depicted.

Overall, colors have meaning behind them. Whether you realize it or not these meanings affect your emotions. Next time you see an ad question why those colors. Think about how they really make you feel. Now, do you really know what your favorite color is, and why?

Does technology help or hinder our youth?

As I sit in classes all I can see is a sea of computers and tablets. Not to mention the endless amounts of smart phones. The question is do we even know how to communicate face to face anymore? Do we know how to learn without technology? Anymore I feel ancient taking notes in what seems to bet the “old fashioned” way with your typical paper and pen. I used a computer once in high school to take notes, and I came to realize that I wasn’t retaining any of the information I was writing down. Also, I found myself doing other things besides what I was supposed to be doing. This made me question. Has all this technology helped us or hurt us when it comes to education and our youth?

Everything now-a-days is linked to technology. Messages are sent through email. Assignments are posted online. Even copies of textbooks are online available to read. There is an online practice module for everything. It is true that this is convenient, having everything right at our finger tips. You need an answer to something, use your smartphone and google it. But, this technology comes at a price. That price being out attention span. Videos and video games aren’t always bad. This isn’t about banning them forever. In fact, sometimes they are good for brain stimulation in babies and young kids. However, this is about putting limits on them. We wish to stimulate children’s brains and not fry them. An article on stated that “studies show that the more time infants, toddlers, and preschoolers spend with screens, the less time they spend engaged in two activities essential to healthy development and learning” and that “Screen time takes children away from hands-on creative play—the kind of give-and-take activities that children generate and control and that are specific to their interests and abilities”. See that article here.

Blod Pd.1 Blog #1 Pic

Photo came from here  (found in google).

The issue now is how do we limit the technology kids use when it is constantly being promoted in school for learning. Sure, there are certain online programs that provide extra practice that prove to be beneficial. For example, on an article titled Science of Teaching and Learning it states how if a student is having trouble in one area it may be a lack of understanding, and more so a fact of memorization (see the details of the article here). In this case, drilling the brain with practice helps to better understand what you are doing. As they say practice makes purpose. However, this kind of practice takes time and focus. Two qualities we are losing with this era of technology. As noted in an article on the Psychology Today website technology writer Nicholas Carr said that “the emergence of reading encouraged our brains to be focused and imaginative” and that “the rise of the Internet is strengthening our ability to scan information rapidly and efficiently” (see article here).

According to it is the reticular activating system, or RAS, part of our brains that has to deal with attention (see website here). Just like any other part of the brain it needs to be trained. It needs to be active, but in the right ways. As also stated in “If the brain becomes accustomed to constant stimulation by rapidly changing visual effects, it may easily become impatient with tasks that require closer attention” (you can access the site here). The site also goes to claim how studying and reading, two key elements in education, require more “demands” on the brain ( Using the internet does not make these tasks easier. Instead the technology provides for internet to be at almost everyone’s fingertips. In turn the internet provides short cuts for finding this information. Student’s don’t need to read a full book when they can find a quick summary. Why take notes and study them when you can watch youtube videos. Technology is taking away from the methods of teaching that were once implemented and once worked.

A final example of just how dangerous technology can be and just how wrapped up we get in it is best demonstrated within youtube or facebook. Youtube is known for its series of related videos shown. Many people get caught up in this. You could be searching an educational video one minute, then get sucked in by the related videos and end up watching a video of a puppy. Just like that youtube caught your attention away from your studies and drew it elsewhere. Facebook does the same. People are constantly sharing things and posting pictures. It shows you a preview of the link or pictures, and next thing you know you’re on a totally different page or sifting through all that person’s photos. This goes to prove that our attention spans do not last long, and we have to, in a way, train them to work the way they need to. If we do not start to crack the whip with children it may be too late. As Psychology Today says about children, “their brains are still developing and malleable, frequent exposure by so-called digital natives to technology is actually wiring the brain in ways very different” (access site here).

So, it is time to take a stand and set an example for kids. We need to limit the times they spend on the tablets and laptops, and increase the time they spend reading and exploring. We need to not let them fall victim to the world of related videos and links. These limitations will help to shape their brains to focus more, and therefore should allow many of them to do better in school and truly understand, without the shortcuts.


Initial Blog Post

Hi, my name is Amanda Graham and I am from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, which is about 45 minutes or so outside of Philadelphia. It is a nice little town and like Penn State we have a little football history  too. I attended Central Bucks High School West, and most of the kids from my school/district ended up coming here to Penn State. Right now I am in the College of Communications and plan on being a Public Relations major with a possible minor in political science. Once I graduate I hope to attend law school.

I chose to do this course because science has not always been my “thing”. It was never something that completely caught my interest. If anything I would get bored, but mostly confused. When I was in high school I tried to take different sciences that I thought would interest me more so than the typical biology and chemistry. I tried oceanography, forensic science, etc. I learned that I am not a technical thinker. When it comes to maths and sciences it is too formal for me. That is part of the reason I am not a science major. I have always been more into the social sciences. I am also very into working with people. This course seemed like it would be a good fit because it is geared towards people who don’t like science. It doesn’t seem to appear technical, but rather abstract thinking. I am super excited to see what new information this course will bring, and how much I am going to be able to learn about science.

I was in California this summer right before I came here, so I figured I would share a picture of my cousins and I in Disneyland because why not (I am all the way on the right).

Cousin Pic