Daily Archives: October 15, 2016

How much does the way we dress affect our self-esteem?

Since high school I have always been told I “dress nice.” Most of my classmates back then usually dressed in athletic shorts and t-shirts. This trend is still more often true than not in college. I knew then and I know now that my fashion choice tends to be a little more complex than athletic shorts and t-shirts. I do this because I think “dressing nice” is respectable and it also helps boost my self-esteem. This got me wondering how much the way we dress actually affects our self-esteem? For me, I believe it helps a lot, but what about everyone else? Would “dressing nice” increase the self-esteem of people a minute amount, a lot, or not at all? If so, why do people decide not to “dress nice?” Is my assumption that people wearing athletic shorts and t-shirts is not “dressing nice” wrong? Do people consider that “dressing nice?” I will try to answer as many as these questions as I can, but this is my hypothesis: How much does the way we dress affect our self-esteem?

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/498844096205878700/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/498844096205878700/

The first article I found focused on how a person dresses affects the self-esteem of elderly women in nursing homes. This experimental study found that elderly women consistently reported feeling more confident when they would feel they were dressed nicer than normal (Pensiero). Another study that also used older women (55+ years old) found that the way they dress and their overall appearance had a direct affect on their self-esteems. Appearing poorly dressed, having messy hair, and having poorly done make-up were all shown to have negative affects on a person’s self-esteem, while appearing well dressed, having a good haircut, and having well-done make-up resulted in higher self-esteems (Joung). I think it would be acceptable of us to apply both these findings to people other than the well-aged and elderly. We are all people with volatile self-esteems that can constantly increase and decrease. Would it be so much of a risk to try this method if you are lacking in self-confidence?

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/444871269419873697/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/444871269419873697/

The third scholarly article I reviewed did their research on the fashion and self-esteem of Indian women. It found that wearing prestigious fashion brands increased the self-esteem and perceived social status of the women in the sample (Khare). Their results were also reported as having a p-value of .02 (or 2%) which is scientifically significant. This study is yet another example that supplies more evidence towards the claim that the way people dress affects their self-esteem. Why is it that we connect the way we dress with our social status and self-esteem? Maybe it is because we live in a world where we rely on other peoples’ opinions to judge ourselves. It also could be that we strive and ache to live and look like the models and celebrities we see every day. Is this a naturally occurring phenomena? Or is this a result of our society that taps into our innate desires to sell products?

Conclusion

All three of the articles I discussed focus on slightly different aspects with slightly different participant pools, but they all touched on the overarching theme of clothing choice and self-esteem. They all provided evidence to support my thesis that the way we dress affects our self-esteems. So if you ever feel yourself getting a little down, put on your favorite button-down, lace up your nicest shoes, and strut your stuff.

Works Cited:

Pensiero, Marcine, and Mary Adams. “Dress and Self-Esteem.” Journal of Gerontological Nursing, vol. 13, no. 10, 1987, pp. 10.

Joung, Hyun-Mee, and Nancy J. Miller. “Factors of Dress Affecting Self-Esteem in Older Females.” Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal, vol. 10, no. 4, 2006, pp. 466-478. doi:10.1108/13612020610701983.

Khare, Arpita, Ankita Mishra, and Ceeba Parveen. “Influence of Collective Self Esteem on Fashion Clothing Involvement among Indian Women.” Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, vol. 16, no. 1, 2012, pp. 42-63. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/10.1108/13612021211203023.

Pictures (in order of appearance):

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/498844096205878700/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/444871269419873697/

Does Chewing Gum Actually Help Studying?

Does Chewing Gum Actually Help Studying? 

During my freshman year at Penn State, my dad brought me a pack of mint gum because he saw an article about how gum can improve your studying habits. I thought he was crazy and I never looked into it. Until I recently have been trouble concentrating and I thought why not look more into this idea. I have heard that it helps you study for exams and I thought if that’s really the case, then I want to do it!

what-makes-bubblegum-blow-bubbles_7e1219c3-9e43-46f7-859b-648453e2fbd1 Image found here.


Study 1

The first study talks about the outcomes that chewing gum has on your overall mood, brain function and well being. This study also brought up how chewing gum can decrease stress in a person. The sample was 133 volunteers which were later divided in half. Half of the group tested in a quiet location while the other half tested in a more stressful location with loud noises. There were two flavors of gum given, mint and fruit. The volunteers were asked to list how they felt at the beginning and end of each session. The conclusion of this study was that chewing gum can in fact have a positive impact on people’s overall mood, brain function and well being.

There were a couple of things in this study that I would’ve done differently. The first thing is, the researchers didn’t take into account of any third variables such as the flavor of the gum or if the participants had any prior experiences with stress. Although I feel like the sample size wasn’t too large I can see how it might work more effectively with fewer participants. Rather than doing 133 people at once, break it up into a couple different studies and then compare answers.

 


Study 2

The second study talks about again how chewing gun can assist you in concentrating for activities such as schoolwork. The sample size for the study was 38 participants, split into two different groups. One group chewed gum while the other group didn’t. The experiment was to have the two different groups listening to random numbers, 1 – 9, being called out. The researchers themselves rated the participants on how well they listened and how long it took them to notice they were doing a pattern of odds and evens. The participants also completed a survey based on how they felt before and after the activity. The results conclude that chewing gum does help you concentrate!


 

da5132ce-1fde-41e1-a57d-6560646e9210 Image found here.

I came across this image and I thought it was pretty cool to see the differences between test averages of with gum versus without gum.


 

Take home message

The reason I used two different studies is to compare the two and get more insight on the topic. I can conclude from both studies that chewing gum can actually help you concentrate. This is important to know because I struggle with concentrating while doing things, like this blog post. (I just signed out of Facebook for the 3rd time! Whoops!) When looking back at the two studies, the first study pops out more to me because I feel like they did more to prove their point. By that I mean they actually tried two different flavors of gum as well as looked at how stress can play a factor in it. Another underlying potential problem is the confounding variables like IQ that were not taken into consideration. But overall I agree completely that chewing gum can help you concentrate!!

 

chewing_gum_good_or_bad_for_teeth Image found here.

 

 

Therapy Dogs = Happiness

Are therapy dogs helpful to others?

As I stated before I go see a counselor who has a therapy dog, Keona, who immediately brightens my overall mood when I see her. Then I got to thinking are therapy dogs helpful to others? I thought why not dig deeper into this topic to see the results I may come across. It is becoming more common across America for people to come out and admit they have a mental illness. Sometimes medicine always isn’t the best answer, so therapy animals come into play. According to this article, pets are found to be more of a support system than a husband/wife or even family.

keona  This is Keona, isn’t she adorable?!


Study 1

The study I came across talked about how elder adults react to pet therapy. They took a sample of 21 patients who are affected daily with dementia and depression. The researchers were trying to find out if the pets had any effect on the elder adults mood, what they thought about the overall quality of their life and etc. They broke the patients up into two groups, one being the experimental group and the other being the control group. The control group had no interaction with the therapy animals. They made both groups do a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and also made them complete Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) before and after they received pet therapy. This experimental study lasted six weeks.

Both the groups, experimental and control, improved tremendously after the study was finished. In the experimental group the depression scale ratings decreased when means that the pet therapy did play a huge part. It decreased by 50% and had a p-value of 0.013. The Mini-Mental State examination increased by 4.5 and had a p-value of 0.060. The conclusion stated that pet therapy is helpful when trying to enhance mental illness symptoms in people who stay in facilities for a long time.

helps

The above image breaks up how animal therapy can serve as help to different people in different categories.

Study 2

The second study I looked into was how therapy animals can impact someone whose in an institution for mental health reasons. The sample of this study was 230 participants who were at the time patients at the institution and whom were pointed in the direction of curative therapy. A cross over study was used to look at the differences between a session with a therapy animals versus one without. Prior to the session and following the session the participants were asked to complete the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory which allows the participants to evaluate themselves based on how they think their anxiety levels is at that time. The results stated that both of the different sessions decreased anxiety levels for the participants who were patients in the mental health institution.


Take home message

My personal opinion about therapy dogs is that they help tremendously. Every time I walk into my counselor’s office and see Keona my mood automatically spikes into a upward spiral. The study also proved that pet therapy IS helpful among elder adults as well. I just think it is so powerful because just allowing someone to have a pet can increase a person’s mood. How easy is that?! When looking back at the two studies, I think it is very obvious how therapy animals can decrease anxiety and increase happiness. Study one looked at elderly people in homes and study two looked at patients who were in a mental health institution. That could be a big factor in changing the world around us and helping others who are struggling with mental illness feel like they actually have a place. If you are interested in this topic and want to look into it more, I suggest checking out this website!

Does the change in temperature affect school performance?

There was a sudden drop in temperature during the past several weeks. The decreasing level of temperature and the increasing amount of exam made me recall a statement I used to heard about long time ago: Temperature affect study performances. It might be a weird correlation if we think about it at first, but what if that it is real? Maybe the coldness does affect our exam scores. I think it is an interesting topic to explore.

academic_writing_theory_and_practice_ma3

In one study that related to the topic, a test was given to the ninth graders who were separated in six different classrooms. The room was either heated up by hot plates around it, or cool down by sinks of ice. Researches compared the test scores of those students who did their test under different temperatures, in order to come up to a conclusion. However, the results of the first trial wasn’t significant. After some discussions upon the possible errors, a second trial was produced by increasing the temperature difference in the room. The results of the second trial showed that temperature do affect academic performance, but it wasn’t strong enough to show how strong the correlation was between the two variables.

To make the study clear enough, I analysed the bar-graphs of the two study trials below and listed some of my thoughts:

epa-tempgraph1

This graph is the initial data collection from the first trial in the study. The temperature difference was only around 2℉, which didn’t make a great difference. To me, the changes of the scores in this trial weren’t distinctive enough to drive to the conclusion, therefore the differences might be due to change, causes either a false negative or a correct decision. To make sure the results really works. The second trial was set up with some adjustments of the temperature.

epa-tempgraph2

This is the result of the second trial, greater differences in temperature (about 10 ℉) were applied this time. From the test scores shown in the graph, we could say that both cold and warm temperature do bad to scores.

However, the conclusion was only based on one trial of the study. Although the second trial produced a much distinctive trend to support the correlation between temperature and study performances, I don’t think the datas are strong enough. More studies are required to support the correlation.

Another study was based on a single blind crossover experiment on two classes of 10-12-years old students. The temperature was manipulated for a week while two numeral tasks and two language tasks were given during the period to the students. The study concluded that the performance generally improved when the temperature reduced to 68℉ and the outdoor air supply rate increased to 9.6L/s. This means that students performed better in a neutral environmental condition. 

  Both studies conclude that temperature affect academic performances, but I think more things need to be concern about:

  1. The age groups of the participants in both studies are too specific. Most of them are middle school students. Maybe college students would perform differently? So I think there should be more studies on other age groups.
  2. The population is too limited. The datas are too small to represent the population in general.
  3. Maybe students from tropical areas would perform differently. I think more studies need to be done with students in other areas and countries.

In general, I think those two studies are a good starting point. Meta-analyses are required as a further discussion on this correlation. Since, it isn’t a hard experimental designed study, more studies could be done based on this topic, therefore, generates a further discussion on this correlation.

The Five-Second Rule?

I’ll admit it; I’m a huge germaphobe. Thinking about germs and sickness freaks me out, and I would never dare to go without washing my hands after using the bathroom. As a result of my aversion to germs, I abide by some personal rules, one of them being that if a piece of food falls to the floor, I don’t eat it. However, popular wisdom has a different approach to this scenario: if a piece of food falls to the floor, a person has exactly five seconds to pick up a piece of food and eat it after it’s made contact with the ground. This is known as the five-second rule, and it supposedly works because the theory is that the bacteria won’t reach the food before that time limit. Naturally, as a self-proclaimed germaphobe, I find this rule to be disgusting and have never followed it myself. But I am interested to know if I am correct in my dismissal of this logic, or if the five-second rule actually works.five_second

On the surface, there is a lot to consider in the five-second rule—time, bacteria, food, and sickness. It can be an overwhelming proposition, leaving people to just assume it’s correct. But the problem can be boiled down into a testable hypothesis: if food dropped on the floor is picked up in five seconds or less, then it will have less bacteria on it. While we are definitely concerned about the sickness that the germs can cause, this is a hard endpoint, and it is pretty difficult to determine whether a sickness would be caused specifically by the food that was dropped on the floor. Testing just for whether or not someone got sick would make for an experiment riddled with confounding variables. It also eliminates the possibility of reverse causation, since it doesn’t make any sense the other way around; food having less bacteria wouldn’t cause someone to pick up food within that time frame. How would the average person know how much bacteria are on a piece of food? If I were to personally perform an experiment, this would be the setup for my hypothesis.icecream

However, I’m not a scientist, so let’s see what kinds of tests have actually been done to test out the so-called “five-second rule.” Does it hold up in practice? In fact, many scientists have actually found it doesn’t, and other factors come into play besides the timing. Time, type of food, and surface material all have an impact as well, according to a study published by researchers at Rutgers. They tested four different types of food, four different surfaces, and four different times for the food to come in contact with the bacteria. To start, the scientists infected an area on each type of surface with a type of bacteria known to cause infections, and then tested each piece of food for each length of time. The researchers concluded that while more bacteria was transferred the longer the food remained on the surface, some of that bacterial transfer happened right away. If bacteria can be found on food right after it’s dropped, this would mean that the five-second rule doesn’t work. The type of surface also made a difference; the transfer rate of bacteria was generally lower when it was on carpet as opposed to tile.

While this was a helpful study to use to see if the five-second rule works or not, it’s also a study that has a lot going on in it. It shows that the amount of time a food makes contact with the floor does play a role, but it’s just one of many confounding variables. The lack of one clear causal variable and one response variable makes it difficult to determine the link between time and bacteria count.

To try to narrow down the issue, I looked at another study. Again, this study tested all three variables: food type, surface type, and contact time. However, the first two variables were reduced in that only two types of food and three types of surfaces were tested. In this experiment, the researchers infected the surfaces with a form of salmonella, and then tested the two types of food over different amounts of time. Once again, it was found that bacterial transfer was significantly greater coming from tile versus carpet. Wood was also found to have a higher transfer rate. The study also drew the same conclusion about contact time and found that bacteria can be transferred to foods right as it hits the ground.

The multiple factors that went into each study make it difficult to answer my initial question, and I think the issue is even more complex than I originally thought. I didn’t even think to consider the type of surface or food in my initial thoughts. These are all confounding variables we have to think about. However, both studies did conclude that bacteria could be transferred to food in less than five seconds, therefore making it likely that the five-second rule is not a good one. So, in the end, I’m going to stick to my germ-fearing ways and steer clear of any food dropped on the floor.food-drop-on-the-floor-infographicImage Sources:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/33/Five_second.png

http://3.darkroom.shortlist.com/980/a7071758321d598224322f5c8a14d9f2:2d8d6fe6c9aff86df42bdc308308ccca/icecream.jpg

https://cdn01.vulcanpost.com/wp-uploads/2014/03/food-drop-on-the-floor-infographic.jpg

Is Online Forum/Blog Posting Honest?

Blogs and public forums can be a great way to communicate ideas, experiences, and opinions ideas in a  public sphere. It also serves as a great way to encourage public/democratic deliberation. How often do we consider our perceptions of people who post comments to blogs, discussion boards, or online news sites? How likely are we to assume that the comments posted reflect the poster’s personality? Could there be external forces that prompt someone to post a comment in a public online forum? These are all questions that are good to weigh into the discerning of a blog or forum post online and the responses it may elicit.

In consideration of people that post and comment to blogs, discussion boards, or online news sites, there are various types of people who participate. They span the gambit of sex, race, experiences, lifestyles, and much more. For example, the person posting about their admiration of pets can be a middle-aged, small town school teacher in Iowa. A teenager from inner city New York can talk about their experiences with pets, affirming of challenging the original post. It is likely in the broader topics where we can see this variance in responses and people engaged in the conversation. More specified topics (like child birth tips, fantasy football, etc.) typically have a similar pool of people commenting on them.

My assumption that everyone is sharing their true thoughts about the subject posted are based largely on the following: the subject, who is posting/has posted, and the knowledge of the person doing the posting. The subject alone can cause people to not post their true feelings. For example, people will not be as likely to post their views on a more personal subject like their sexual experiences. People generally save those discussions for intimacy for people that they trust completely, not random strangers. Moreover, who is posting/has posted on the subject already matters to whether or not people will be forthcoming with the truth because people want to feel like they belong; that sense of belonging is part of our hierarchy of needs described by Abraham Maslow (American psychologist that determined what is needed for a healthy, full life).

If a group of like minded folks have already posted, not too many people will be comfortable “going against the grain” and present counter arguments for fear of having the group turn against them due to posting a contrary viewpoint. That goes for people who are knowledgeable on the subject as well as those that are not as well versed on what is being discussed. The more knowledge that someone has, in regards to the subject presented, will allow them to feel more comfortable making an online post with an opposing perspective. The more knowledgeable person will not have as hard of a time articulating their point of view and supporting their claim. A person not as informed, however, may present information to the discussion that isn’t completely true or may have more trouble expressing their opinion to those already in agreement.

These are not even taking into consideration the external factors that may come about when working through online posting such as the Practitioner’s Dilemma. If the online forum allows anonymity, people are more forthcoming with information because it cannot be traced back to them. Thus, the fear of judgment is removed. That is why people are more willing to express the rawness of how they feel on Yik Yak (social media site for anonymous message boards) rather than Facebook (where there is a profile picture, biographical information, and even friends). Another external factor can be the makeup of the group that is posting. If the issue forum is about women and birthing tips, the person who doesn’t care for having children will be less likely to give their full thoughts on the matter. In conclusion, there are many things that help shape our perspective on different issues, topics, and subjects. I don’t think that an online post is or should be assumed to be the true thoughts of the poster. It is so easy to craft any message that someone chooses for an online message board, but the truth is much oftentimes much harder to articulate. We can all craft whatever we think is acceptable to say when it is convenient, but it is when we have differing ideologies that we find it to truly say what is on our minds. Sure, you can post something online anonymously, but shouldn’t we all have the same boldness when our name appears under our actual thoughts as well? I think so.

Image result for typing into lie detector

References:

http://timvandevall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Maslows-Hierarchy-of-Needs.jpg

https://lawyerrant.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/polygraph1.jpg

Sanders, Katie. “Honesty and Truth: A Practitioner’s Dilemma.” Progressions. Public Relations Student Society of America, 12 Mar. 2013. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

 

 

Homeschool and Underage Drinking

This last summer I worked at a local swimming pool. One of my coworkers was currently being homeschooled and constantly perplexed me by his ideology and behaviors. One topic that occasionally arose during our breaks together was the idea of underage drinking. While my other coworkers who were still in high school were not against underage drinking, the coworker that was homeschooled would consistently argue against it.

3be30468b43b77444faef4de6f832d5a

https://www.pinterest.com/nvlynnae/homeschool-quotes-fun/

This got me thinking about if there was a correlation between the underage drinking of homeschooled kids and their counterparts that go to public and private schools. Although I only know one person that is homeschooled, I think that people that are homeschooled are less likely to underage drink because they have stronger family ties. Since it is usually parents that tell teens not to consume alcohol, I think that homeschooled teens who naturally form a stronger bond with their parents would take their advice more often than a teen who attends a public/private school. Hypothesis: Homeschooled teens are less likely than public and private schooled teens to consume alcohol. Now I know my whole hypothesis is based off of the assumption that homeschooled teens have a stronger connection to their parents than normal teens, but since a hypothesis is only an educated guess, I think it is worth looking into. To delve into this topic, I will start by trying to find out if my assumption is correct about homeschoolers having a strong bond with their parents. After that, I will dig deeper to test my actual hypothesis.

underage-drinking

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/384002305705236240/

The first study I found used a sample of 3,000 high school students and found that homeschooled teens are less likely to drink than their public and private school counterparts. The study also found that homeschoolers who do drink are less likely to get drunk than teens in public and private schools (Thomson). This study also accounts for third variables like gender, family income, and race. It also uses an interesting connection between homeschooled teens and religion as a possible explanation for why they do not drink as much. If religion was the reason for why they do not drink as much, my hypothesis would be wrong. Another study I found does not discuss underage drinking, but goes into more detail on why homeschooled kids are more religious. This second article explains that parents who do not believe in evolution and other standard public school teachings are more likely to homeschool their kids so they are not exposed to these “lies.” The article is relevant to underage drinking by homeschooled kids because the article also provides evidence that the combination of religion and homeschooling creates a stronger parent-child bond than teens that attend public/private schools (Joyce).

http://prospect.org/article/homeschool-apostates

http://prospect.org/article/homeschool-apostates

After seeing two scholarly articles about homeschooling with large sections relating to religion, I started to wonder how large a role religion had to do with underage drinking and homeschooling in general. So after doing some digging I found another article that has found strong correlations between religion, conservative political ideals, and homeschooling. It shows that states with a high concentration of conservative thinking and evangelicals also have a lot of families that homeschool their children. It then continues to say that these families have stronger bonds because of homeschooling (Vieux). I have some concerns about this article. Although there is a high correlation between conservative thinking, religion, and homeschooling, that does not mean that religion and conservative thinking cause homeschooling. There could be an unseen third variable that the researches did not account for. The only solid information that came out of this study was that parents who homeschool their family form stronger bonds with their children.

Conclusion

Although I could not find much directly relating research to back up my hypothesis, I did find several sources that support the idea that homeschooling teens results in a stronger parent-child relationship. One source also provided evidence that teens who are homeschooled are less likely to drink than teens that attend public/private schools (Thomson). So although I was correct in my hypothesis that homeschooled teens drink less alcohol, my sources and I could not provide a definite mechanism as to why that is. I believe religion could be a contender, but as of now it is just speculation. Religion just might be associated with homeschooling and have no real influence on underage drinking. So I am left with the question of, what is the mechanism?

 

Works Cited:

Thomson, Robert A., and Sung J. Jang. “Homeschool and Underage Drinking: Is it More Protective than Public and Private Schools?” Deviant Behavior, vol. 37, no. 3, 2016, pp. 281. doi:10.1080/01639625.2015.1012411.

Joyce, Kathryn. “THE Homeschool APOSTATES.” The American Prospect, vol. 24, no. 6, 2013, pp. 62-65,67-71. , http://ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/docview/1470786971?accountid=13158.

Vieux, Andrea. “The Politics of Homeschools: Religious Conservatives and Regulation Requirements.” The Social Science Journal, vol. 51, no. 4, 2014, pp. 556. doi:10.1016/j.soscij.2014.06.004.

 

Pictures (in order of appearance):

https://www.pinterest.com/nvlynnae/homeschool-quotes-fun/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/384002305705236240/

http://prospect.org/article/homeschool-apostates

The Dumb Jock-Is there Any Truth to This Stereotype?

If you’re familiar with the CBS television show Survivor, then you know that their most recent season divided the contestants into three teams: beauty, brains, and brawn. I think that this way of categorizing the people on the show (for this season) is interesting because it gives the impression that society believes a person can only be one thing (brains, beauty, or brawn). Anyone that can fit into all three of those categories is looked at as an exception. If someone were to tell you to envision a scientist, images of a person in a white lab coat and various other scientific materials would pop into your head. I can guarantee you that you would not picture a scientist as someone who lifts weights in his/her spare time. This is because mental strength is linked to physical weakness and vice versa. Because of these stereotypes, athletes get the reputation of being less intelligent, hence: the dumb jock persona.

I researched to see if there is any truth to this stereotype and came across a study conducted in 2002 and 2003 that took place at Washington State University. The scientists studied roughly 6,000 undergraduate students who enrolled between 2002 and 2003, (about one third of the 6,000 failed out and did not graduate). This is an observational study because the scientists did not change any variable that would have an affect on the students’ academic performance. The scientists tracked the performance of the students during their first semester of their freshman year, and then again once they graduated. After gathering the GPAs, the scientists looked at confounding variables that may have enabled the students to receive their diplomas. Confounding variables were: major, socio-economic status, gender, race, ethnicity, involvement on campus, and prior (high school) academic performance.

What the scientists found was interesting. The results showed that students that were in a science or engineering program were at least three times more likely to graduate in five or six years than students in other programs. They concluded that student athletes were more likely to graduate between five or six years in comparison to the non-athlete students. I think it’s also worth noting that the study also concluded that students that were members of a fraternity or sorority were, on average, three times more likely to graduate in five or six years compared to those not involved in Greek life. The scientists conducting the study also pointed out that race and ethnicity were not directly related to the achieving of a diploma. However, they said that socio-economic status as well as financial status contributed to the success or failure of a student and that ethnicity and race do have a relationship in this. One of the scientists made a statement saying that athletes were more likely to graduate on time because they needed to show academic success in order to keep their position on a team.

Certain programs (like science and engineering as well as Greek organizations) requires their students and members to uphold a certain GPA, otherwise they will fail out of the program or lose membership status. Similarly, athletes are aware that if they fall below a certain GPA, they could get replaced. If they cannot afford to attend a university without the money from a sports scholarship, then they lose their opportunity at education. I think this study demonstrates how membership, a degree, or a spot on a sports team boosts incentive to have a successful academic performance. Reverse causation can be ruled out because having good grades does not make you an athlete. These results, although don’t prove that every athlete has academic success, suggests that a majority, does. There isn’t a direct correlation between being an athlete and getting good grades, but there seems to be a strong relationship between the two with confounding variables further strengthening the correlation.

 

 

 

Living with Less

More and more, trends of minimalism are on the rise. In the age of social media, many are with taking in the #minimalistlife or #nomadlife.luminous-house-with-translucent-walls-and-minimalist-design-13 But, for as many people embracing this way of life, just as many are concerned with what they have, what they look like, and how their material goods reflect their status. Is living with less the new more? Japanese culture has lived by the concept of minimalism for centuries, why hasn’t this concept taken root in other cultures? Here, I want to explore the possible scientific reasoning behind happiness and materialism, whether it is correlational or causal, and if we can truly fix our levels of happiness. The null hypothesis being that material goods do not affect happiness while the alternative hypothesis stands that yes, the lack or possession of more material goods affects one’s happiness.

Multiple studies have been conducted in which researchers explore this connection. A study conducted at the University of Chicago found that the relationship between self esteem and materialism was causal. As one goes down the other goes up and vice versa. If you think about it, this is why so many companies advertise heavy the early adolescent/young adult age group. We are the ones most likely to buy material items, coping with psychological problems that are buried in the subconscious.

Using a cross sectional survey study, Michael Norton and others from the Harvard Business School and the University of British Columbia released an article later appearing in Science Magazine. “34749958 Separated into three studies, the study focused not just on the connection of happiness to materialism, but more specifically, what and who that money was used for and its results on happiness. This reminded me of parents wanting to buy/support their kids, because it literally makes them happier. Ranging from national surveys to field studies, the most important finding was that the people randomly assigned to go out and not spend money on themselves rated the most happiness. Just 5$ a day could make a significant difference.

In a similar study, Marsha L. Richins of Louisiana State University published “Media, Materialism, and Human Happiness”. Published by the Association for Consumer Research, the methodology she used was data collection. Using 252 questionnaire data, she took from a sunbelt city using half male and half female participants. Here, she found correlational reasonings behind people’s level of life happiness and their satisfaction with material goods. This relationship was highest for the participants valuing material goods. They believed that the more they bought, the happier they would feel.

Lastly, age old psychological understanding of the world tell a lot about human behavior. The concept of always wanting what you can’t have and always thinking the grass is greener on the other side immediately comes to my mind. Also, after a comprehensive and shocking study, two psychologists almost thirty years ago builds on those motos. Their idea of the hedonic treadmill is the concept that no matter what spark of happiness, event, material buy, etc you receive, you always go back to the same level of baseline happiness. The study being titled “Lottery winners and accident victims: is happiness relative” revealed that two very different categories of people (lottery winners and people who became paraplegic/quadriplegic victims post car crash) were equally as happy, reporting the same levels in the data collection.screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-4-50-52-pm

I think going minimalistic would do good for anyone. I am switching to believing in the alternative hypothesis.  Even though happiness is relative, too many people rely on tangible goods as measurements of fulfillment or joy. Happiness is determined within the mindset. Similar to our in class study of wormy kids and levels of intelligence, third variables could possibly exist. Overall though, materialism causes changes in happiness. So next time you think you need to buy that Kylie Jenner lip kit or 89.99 dollar dress, think, do you really need this?

 

http://pages.ucsd.edu/~nchristenfeld/Happiness_Readings_files/Class%203%20-%20Brickman%201978.pdf

http://www.theminimalists.com/scientific/

http://ggsc-web02.ist.berkeley.edu/images/application_uploads/norton-spendingmoney.pdf

http://www.acrwebsite.org/search/view-conference-proceedings.aspx?Id=6720

https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/hedonic-treadmill/

http://pages.ucsd.edu/~nchristenfeld/Happiness_Readings_files/Class%203%20-%20Brickman%201978.pdf

http://www.thisisinsider.com/inside-japans-extremely-minimalist-homes-2016-6

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/319/5870/1687.figures-only

https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/spending-happiness

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071112133809.htm

photo 1: http://cdn.trendir.com/wp-content/uploads/old/house-design/luminous-house-with-translucent-walls-and-minimalist-design-13.jpg

photo 2: http://thirdworld.nl/images/articles/34749958.png

photo 3: https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/The-hedonic-treadmill-graph.jpg

 

Protein Protein Protein

It is all about the bottle

Have you ever seen someone carrying around a shaker bottle on campus? If so,  have you  ever wondered why someone needs to take supplements, specifically whey protein, this blog will answer all of those questions. We know that proteins help us build muscle, but how exactly does that work?

https://www.amazon.com/BlenderBottle-Classic-Shaker-Bottle-Clear/dp/B00MVMCUK8

https://www.amazon.com/BlenderBottle-Classic-Shaker-Bottle-Clear/dp/B00MVMCUK8

Whey Protein

An article found on builtlean.com has complied an article (Leyva,2012) that demonstrates  what whey protein truly is. Leyva claims that whey protein is actually a product of cheese, and while some use it to recover from vigorous levels of activity others drink it casually just to remain healthy. We obtain our normal proteins from meats primarily, they are what we call complete proteins. (Morrow, 2012) Complete proteins are defined as having the benefits of proteins as well as restoring amino acids within our bodies. To determine how much protein one needs per day, is to multiply your body weight by 0.36. For example, if someone weighs 200 pounds they would need to consume 72 grams a day.(Pendick,2015)

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/rm-quiz-protein-myths-facts

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/rm-quiz-protein-myths-facts

What does it even do for you?

Everyone wants to burn fat and look good. How do you achieve that though? You need proteins to help burn fat as well as build muscle. Obtaining Proteins help you keep your muscles that you have, while keeping your hunger from reaching absurd levels of desire and finally protein burns calories. A more thorough summary of what protein can do for your body can be found here.

Lean and mean

The ultimate goal of anyone that is walking around campus with a shaker bottle filed with a protein shake, either wants to get toned or lose weight. The bottle is almost a symbol of motivation, due to its ability to transform you. it is the cool thing to do, you carry it around and you take your necessary proteins. There are several other types of proteins that we can receive benefits from. Chicken is a popular protein among powerlifters or anyone that is trying to build their physique. Proteins help us recover from tearing our muscles down, by recovering our muscles fat is also being torn down in the process. If we do need acquire the necessary amount of proteins, our bodies will not be able to function properly.

Wrap-up

We take proteins to help our muscles recover from a difficult workout. Many  famous bodybuilders consume 4-6 protein shakes a day, in order to reach the status of being “huge”. Weight lifting and protein intake can go hand-in-hand with one another. You often see many powerlifters even consume protein during their workout

Next time you see someone walking around campus with a bottle, it  is not to look cool. They are making sure that their bodies are rebuilding properly, while trying to achieve their goals.

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/arnold-schwarzenegger-8-best-training-principles.html

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/arnold-schwarzenegger-8-best-training-principles.html

 

 

 

Brothers- how they influence you more than you know

As I was haphazardly doing my psychology homework the other day, one video I was assigned to watch caught my attention. It was about the nature vs. nurture debate when it comes to sexual orientation. The video said that the more older brothers a boy has, the more likely he is to be homosexual. Sounds kind of crazy, right? When I first heard it, my first thought was, “what kind of evidence could they have to make a claim like that??” So I researched it more to see the studies done on the topic and if they had any validity.


 

First study- 2006

bflstudy done in 2006 was the first to test this idea. Anthony Bogeart, sexologist from Brock University, held an observational study with 944 heterosexual and homosexual men who had brothers (biological or non-biological). Bogeart studied men with both biological and non-biological brothers to see whether or not “being gay because of older brothers” was due to the just having brothers in general (nurture), or there was more to it and there was a biological factor (nature). Boegart also wanted to study the amount of time the brothers spent being raised in the same household or if they were raised together at all, and if it that had any effect on sexual orientation (if it did, this would lean towards the nurture side of the argument). His null hypothesis is that having biological older brothers has no positive influence on being homosexual and the alternative hypothesis is that having biological older brothers does make a boy more likely to be homosexual. His results suggested one should reject the null hypothesis, there is something going on, on a biological level, that makes a boy with biological older brothers more likely to be gay! He found that the time spent with the biological older brothers and  non-biological older brothers had no effect on sexual orientation. The only element that helped determine if a boy was gay or not was just having biological older brothers. So this would strongly support the nature side of the debate and also suggest that something is going on, biologically, in the carrying mother in which each son is more likely to be gay than the previous.wn2f5z1


Second study

stepbrothersmp08What is the mechanism to explain this finding? The most widely accepted theory, as given my Michael Bailey (sex researcher for Northwestern University), has to do with antibodies. A male baby in a mother’s body is a foreign object. The Y-chromosome has never been in a woman and when the female body is introduced to the male biological system in such a close way, the female body produces antibodies to try and get rid of the unfamiliar material. These maternal antibodies contain female hormones (which, in this case, are what supposedly influences sexual orientation) and the more male babies a woman has, the more of these antibodies she’ll produce. This makes the male babies born after a lot of males more likely to be gay because of the increased female hormones in the mother’s body for the duration of the pregnancy.

Is this theory to be trusted? The evidence is clearly there, in hard endpoints, that the more older brothers a male has, the more likely he is to be gay (A boy born first or without any brothers has about a 2-3% chance of being gay, but by the time a woman has her fourth son, the chance goes up to 6%). But could this pattern be due to chance? According to Bogaert (who conducted the first study) we’re still not sure. He reviewed his original study in 2013 and realized the biological mechanism was never actually tested. The mechanism is a strong theory but no test has been done to see if these antibodies actually increase with each male baby. Until then, we have strong evidence reject the null and to believe homosexuality is influenced biologically, but no concrete evidence.jonas_brothers_2009

pics-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonas_Brothers

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Step_Brothers_(film)

http://lindyslanding.net/events/bluz-brothers/

http://ccp.jhu.edu/tag/brothers-for-life/

Don’t Sleep, Be Happy

Have you ever had that experience where you and your friends are up studying late at night and you hit this wall where you can’t think straight? You all start to giggle at things that are not funny and next thing you know, you are all in the WEIRDEST mood? This state of tired giggles is something I have always heard being called the “Sleepy Ha Ha’s.” It is a mood you can enter where you are ridiculously tired and in desperate need of sleep and you find yourself high on your own exhaustion.

I decided to see if I could find any research done on this very small phenomenon few people have heard of. Although I did not find much information specifically focused on the “Sleepy Ha Ha’s,” I came across several studies that addressed a very interesting thesis: Sleep deprivatsearchion can help ease depression.

This theory was first suggested in the 1970s by researcher Gerald W. Vogel. He compared 14 non-depressed control patients and 14 depressed patients who matched in age and lack of sleep. Vogel than concluded from his results that sleep deprivation, specifically the deprivation of the REM stage of the sleep cycle, improved depression. Today, researches have been able to continuously correlate sleep deprivation and an improvement in depression, however they are still in search of the mechanism.

Recent studies from the Department of Psychology and Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute of the University of California, Berkeley has begun to form a connection between sleep deprivation and the brain’s ability to release positive stimuli. Glial cells called astrocytes regulate the human brain’s chemical that controls sleep. They release adenosine and as this neurotransmitter builds up, the urge to sleep gets stronger and depression seems to be improved but only temporarily, until the person falls asleep.

To test if sleepiness eases depression, The Translational Physciatry Journal reported how scientists performed an experimental study where they injected mice that had depression-like symptoms with adenosine so although they slept, the mice had an increased amount of the neurotransmitter that created the sleepiness feeling. Once they were awake, it was reported that the mice had an immediate rise in their moods for approximately 48 hours.

Now this study forces me to ask: How do mice have depression-like symptoms? What is beingimages measured to diagnose a mouse with depression? What do researches use to detect an elevation in the mood of a mouse? Although this study at first seemed to create a strong correlation between a build-up of adenosine and relief of depression, one must step back to ask how these researchers concluded the mice were at one point depressed and then were no longer depressed. With such a soft-endpoint, a false positive could easily occur with this study.

Take Home Message: So based on this study alone, should you avoid sleep to ease your depression? I would say no. Although this study may support evidence of the alternative hypothesis, mice and humans are very different and more information on how the researchers measured depression in mice would be necessary. Now, based on the years of research for this thesis, should you avoid sleep? I would say maybe it would be worth asking your doctor about since other scientists have found strong correlations between the two. However, we must keep in mind that correlation does not equal causation, so if it were up to me, I would definitely discuss with professionals.

Don’t Take The Chance

    Want to feel “ soft, fresh, and comfortable?”  Johnson and Johnson would say to use a bit of baby powder.  But today, many people would say, “Not so fast.”  You see , although women have used baby powder for years, some now believe that it has contributed to ovarian cancer.  Just as many, however, would argue that there is no correlation between the two. As we learned in SC200, correlation does not always equal causation. So what is a woman to believe?  As it turns out, it may not be an easy answer.

Women have recently begun suing Johnson and Johnson claiming that their baby powder caused them to get ovarian cancer.  Juries in several cities and states have actually awarded plaintiffs hundreds of millions of dollars.  But scientists around the world are not in agreement as to whether the studies have sufficiently proven that talcum powder can cause ovarian cancer.  Dr. Shelley Tworoger, an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Harvard , has indicated that it is very hard to study cancer causes, because cancer develops over a long period of time and is actually influenced by many factors, some internal, and some external. Obviously we can never deliberately expose women to talcum powder and then wait to see if they develop cancer.  Instead, most studies question women who have already been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and try to determine if they all have some factor , like powder usage, in common.  In fact, a Harvard professor, Dr. Daniel Cramer, did just that.  He studied and compared 215 women with ovarian cancer against 215 healthy women.  He did in fact find that women who used talcum powder in their genital area were three times as likely to get ovarian cancer. He has been used as a paid expert by many of the plaintiffs involved in the law suits.    Several studies confirmed those findings, while several studies found no such results.  Critics , however, find that the results are often skewed, because women with cancer commonly look for an explanation for that cancer.  Dr. Larry Copeland, an oncologist from Ohio State University’s Medical Center,  and admittedly a paid expert for Johnson and Johnson, claims that when women with cancer are asked if they ever used talc, they tend to believe that it must be the cause of their cancer.  Dr. Sarah Temkin, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, agrees . She doesn’t believe that the evidence is strong enough to force the manufacturers of talcum powder to place a warning on their labels. She believes that the link between talcum powder usage and cancer is nonexistent or extremely small and finds that it would be more beneficial for women to focus on more well established risk factors such as family history of ovarian or breast cancer.

You may be wondering what the link is between talc use and ovarian cancer.  Specifically, why would powder usage lead to cancer?  Even this is not abundantly clear.  Some researchers believe that the talc crystals move up the genitourinary tract into the peritoneal cavity and subsequently embed in the ovaries.  In fact, Deane Berg, a plaintiff with ovarian cancer who won a verdict against Johnson and Johnson , had talc particles found in her cancerous tissue.   Dr. Tworoger  believes that it may be that talc causes inflammation which can then play a role in the development of cancer cells in the ovaries.  The Food and Drug Administration has refused to require a warning label on the products, finding that there is no conclusive evidence to establish causality.

baby-powder-lawsuit

     So then, why does Johnson and Johnson keep losing lawsuits if the evidence is inconclusive that talcum powder causes ovarian cancer?  It seems possible that the jurors don’t know who to believe.  Both sides hire experts that put forth studies supporting their claims.  Perhaps the jurors just believe that Johnson and Johnson is a multi-billion dollar company that cares more about making money than keeping women safe.  Bottom line – why take the chance? Stick to a talc free, cornstarch-based powder which are considered safe when used anywhere on a woman’s body.  

Link of photo: https://goo.gl/images/mhqaXh

 

 

 

But why Leeches?!

 

 

leech-beauty-treatment

Three years ago I went to India to visit my family. My grandmother’s feet were swollen up. They put leeches on her feet suck the blood and tissue fluid. This of course relived the swelling of her feet. Fun fact, she never knew we put leeches on her feet. I think if she actually knew what was going on, she wouldn’t have let it happen. We just told her to rest, and she slept through it every time.

It’s interesting how leeches are known to be horrendous blood sucking monsters, yet we have used them for centuries for helping treat humans. This method of using leeches has been used for 1000’s and 1000s of years. Back in the day it was referred to as “bloodletting”.

The information we talked about in class was about how people really believed in bloodletting. They went to a whole other extreme of letting blood for a long period of time. Many people died because well obviously they lost too much blood.

 

Why are leeches still used today?

Leeches can be seen as a controlled variable. When people were taking out other people’s blood, back in the day, the blood just kept going out of their system. In this case, if leeches are taking too much of one’s blood they can just be taken off of the skin. Some leeches stop taking blood because they can’t hold anymore in their system. I believe that is why this type of bloodletting system is till today.

 

But what are leeches used for?

 

After reading all the articles about leeches. They do a lot more than you think they would. Especially because we just heard about how they were used back in the day for Bloodletting.

Leeches treat burned skin and provide “blood flow to the damaged tissue” stated from a web article on Leech Therapy, from PBS.com. Leeches also blood clotting, and most surprisingly helps with reconstructive surgery. So when the blood gets clotted, leeches un-clotting it can reattach limps and veins. It is kind of crazy! Leeches help so much

 

So leeches of course start with using their suckers to attach on to a human (or animal) and takes blood from its host. Stated by Melissa Jackson from the BBC News Online Health Staff, “The leeches saliva contains substances that anesthize the wound area, dilate the blood vessels to increase blood flows and prevent the blood from clotting”.

 BBC News on the Magic of Leeches

Overall, I would rather trust a leech than anything else taking my blood. They are controlled, and also they have been used for so many years. How could I not trust them?!

PBS Link on Leech Therapy

This text does have different fonts because I type some of it on word.
Thank you

Naming of Hurricanes

     When I was little, I thought of Sandy as the pretty, blonde girl in Grease, or the shaggy dog in Annie.  But ever since high school, I  now  associate the name Sandy with the hurricane that destroyed so many of my classmates’ homes.  So recently, when I was listening to the news warning of the impending doom of Hurricane Matthew, it made me wonder how hurricanes get their names and why they have names at all.

I learned that the history of naming hurricanes is far more involved than I would have ever imagined.  Apparently an Australian forecaster by the name of Clement Wragge was the first person to not only track storms, but to give them names.  According to Chris Landsea at the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory , it was in the early 1900s when Wragge first started using letters of the alphabet to name the storms.  It was when the government of Australia refused to support his efforts, that he began naming the storms after local politicians that he did not like.

 

hurricane-ivan_200_600x450

 

In the United States, the naming of storms seems to have begun with military forecasters.  Most often they named them by using the alphabet, but there were occasions when female names seemed to sneak into use. But why name these storms at all?  The true need for the names arose in the early 1950s.  During the summer months there were several storms brewing at the same time.  This caused major confusion during radio broadcasts when people were not sure which warnings applied to which storm.  So , in 1950, the United States Weather Bureau and the Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference named the fourth storm of the year, Fox.  In 1953, the Weather Bureau and the Hurricane Conference officially began using female names to label the storms.  Of course, only using female names led to some controversy.  As more women became meteorologists and as women’s roles in general began to change, there was a push to include men’s names as well.  In the 1970s,  Roxcy Bolton, the vice president of the National Organization for Women,  petitioned the Weather Service and requested that the storms be named after congressmen and senators.  Although her requests were denied for many years, by 1979,  Dr. Bob White, the administrator of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration admitted that it was the right thing to include men’s names on the list.

     Today, tropical storms are given a name when they develop a rotating pattern and wind speeds of 39 MPH.  At 74 MPH , they become hurricanes.  There are six lists of hurricane names in use for the Atlantic Ocean.  The lists rotate, with one being used each year.  This year’s list, for example, will be used again in six years. The one exception to that rule, however, is that the names of particularly deadly or damaging storms are taken out of the rotation.  Camille, Katrina, and Sandy, for example, will no longer be used.  A complete list of retired names can be found at the National Weather Service website. 

  This year’s Atlantic hurricane names include:  Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Matthew, Nicole, Otto, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie, and Walter.  I would guess that because of  Matthew’s strength and devastation, it will now be taken out of the rotation . So maybe someday soon I will be able to return to the days of thinking of Sandy as a dog.

Link of photo : https://goo.gl/images/IblYya