Daily Archives: November 23, 2016

Don’t Hug Me, I’m Brainwashed.

The best method for me to convey that we are perhaps being brainwashed by the media is by introducing this video; please watch it in its entirety because you will not be disappointed.

What was that video trying to convey to the world? Well, essentially, it was trying to convey a plethora of things that the media is attempting to brainwash our children into believing. Whether you recognize it or not, the media is a powerful force in today’s world, moreover because of the extended manners it can contact us with our own technology. What the video was trying to argue was that the children born today hardly think for themselves, and thus lose their creativity; the media does all the thinking for them, and, as gullible as the children are, they believe everything it informs and commands them to do. If you  watched the video and are still having trouble deciphering exactly what the authors meant to educate people about, there are an invariable amount of websites out there to help, but I found this one the most knowledgable.

So, where is the science behind all this crazy talk? Well, scientists have recently discovered the exact part of the brain that makes people more gullible, and thus, believe more of what the media has to offer. According to some research I found, the younger generation and older generation tend to believe information more easily than the average adults. The ventromedial area of the prefrontal cortex of the brain allows people to stop and assess the validity of something; in other words, it helps us in finding out if something is truth or fiction. However, this area of the brain is still developing in the brains of younglings. Actually, the brain does not stop growing until early 20’s, so anyone below that age is susceptible to higher rates of gullibility. At the other end of the spectrum, older people are gullible because this portion of the brain has begun to deteriorate, thus reducing its accuracy; the more damage to the prefrontal cortex, the more likely someone is to believing something. This represents a direct correlation.

Erik Asp, who headed this research on the brain, performed an experiment to test his f1e022f1-6be8-4e98-935d-b8a9ee5ab97cdeductions. He selected 39 participants  from the University of Iowa’s Neurological Patient Registry and 10 normal people who would function as the controlled variable (they had no damage in the brain); he showed consumer ads to the 18 people with damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and 21 people with damage outside that area, along with the normal individuals. His hypothesis that there must be a correlation with damage to the brain and gullibility seemed to be correct; those who had the damage were significantly more vulnerable and deceivable than those who did not, actually being twice as likely to trust misleading advertisements and purchase the items in those ads.

Photo Credits

Oligodendrocytes, the cells who have the responsibility of forming myelin, insulate nerve fibers, and any damage caused to these fibers have dangerous repercussions, such as, in this example, higher amounts of gullibility.

On another website, the author George Avery outlines a number of specifics on how, exactly, the government tries to trick us into believing what they want through media outlets. Here is what he found:

  • There are patterns of data suppression and the coercion of journalists and editors for major media news outlets; he knows this because he read a string of emails proving such.
  • Major companies in the medical field influence the research performed on their drugs and devices to show only positive lights with their products, and even government agencies are turning corrupt, as well.
  • A new legislation has passed through the Senate that enables this behavior; the legislation allows for punishment of groups with researchers that publish any results that are not coherent with the agency’s goals.
  • Money can be withheld from an organization who publishes research against a certain company.

Implications and Conclusions:

We are in the prime age to be deceived, fellow classmates! Don’t believe the things major media outlets report to you, and learn to question everything, regardless on whether you think it to be fact or fiction. After all, Andrew has taught us that even the most accomplished scientists have challenged aspects of science everyone once thought to be true!

If you draw any conclusions from the research I have presented to you, it should be that the brain plays a critical role in the gullibility of a person; the prefrontal cortex of the brain is what effects our abilities to be deceived or not. The older you are, the more likely that there is damage, and thus, the more prone you will be to buying into the stupid things people try to convince you of, including advertisements and horoscopes. Furthermore, on the opposite side of the spectrum, young children do not have fully developed brains, and so it is obvious that they, too, will be much more gullible than the average adult.

To Eat or Not to Eat

As the days grow closer to Thanksgiving, the arguments in my family grow larger about what sides we should cook for dinner. There are the obvious favorites such as stuffing, mashed potatoes, and the green beans, but every year we always like to throw in a new and original dish to try something new. My parents and my sister are not picky eaters in the slightest. I am not either, but I am definitely pickier than them. I am curious as to why some people like some foods, whereas others do not.


An article from the Smithsonian explains that it is the number of bumps, also known as fungiform papillae, that determine how sensitive your taste buds really are. There is a test that you can use on yourself in order to count them: cover your tongue with blue food coloring. The blue food coloring makes it easier to see these scattered bumps. Now, if there are more than 30 of the fungiform papillae in a circle about a quarter inch wide, you have very delicate and specific taste requirements. This condition is also known as being a “supertaster”. Though it might sound awesome to be referred to as “super”, this superpower might not be as great as it sounds. Unfortunately, it means you have less of a selection of food you will eat. Both bitter and spicy tasting foods will not be acceptable for your palate.


It was in the early 1990s when a student at Yale University, Linda Bartoshuk, was studying the artificial sweetener saccharin that supertasters were uncovered. While many people labeled the saccharin as sweet, there was a small handful that claimed it had a bitter aftertaste. Bartoshuk became curious as to why these people had such acute taste buds, and so she decided to put together a large randomized control trial to test the subject further. The independent variable were various food chemicals, and the dependent variable was the individual’s sensitivity to the chemical. With this sample information she concluded that about 25% of Americans are supertasters.

She then chose to pay attention to the various physical layouts of tongues that individuals have. The people that were categorized as supertasters had tongues with many of the fungiform papillae scattered across all areas. In addition to needing a high frequency of fungiform papillae on your tongue, you also need to be able to taste PROP in order to be classified as a supertaster. PROP is a bitter tasting compound, however only people with high sensitivity will actually be able to recognize the bitterness.

So like I said before, by having the abilities of a supertaster, yes you will not be able to eat as much as me, but it turns out you might have some health perks. As other scientists completed meta analyses on Bartoshuk’s work, they came to notice that supertasters tend to avoid rich flavors in their food selection. Most of these rich flavors that are not included in their diet are primarily foods with fats and sugars. With this observation they also realized that supertasters are usually skinnier than people with a more open food selection. Since high intakes of fats and sugars are most commonly known for positively correlating with a high cholesterol, they are known to be much healthier on that spectrum. In contrast, many vegetables are too bitter for their taste buds to handle, so they miss out on many nutrients from that food group.

Overall, there are pros and cons to being both a non-taster (food selection is unlimited) and a supertaster. Unfortunately, unlike becoming a vegan or a vegetarian, this trait is genetic, so you are stuck with the condition you are born with whether you like it or not. Regardless of your food choices, I hope you have a delicious Thanksgiving:)!


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Source: Beckam, Mary. “A Matter of Taste.” Smithsonian Magazine. Smithsonian, Aug. 2004. Web. 23 Nov. 2016.