Author Archives: Dhaam Sakuntabhai

Does listening to music make you smarter?

Music is present in everyone’s life whether you like it or not. Be it at restaurant, at home or even while watching movies, they are always going to be music somewhere. This makes me question whether listening to music actually have beneficial traits especially in terms of cognitive abilities. Thus, I wanted to research on whether listening to music makes us smarter.

What is the impact of music on cognitive performance?

Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky (1993) conducted a study to find out whether listening to Mozart’s music would improve spatial abilities. They recruited 36 undergraduate students and put them into three experimental conditions. One condition had to listened to Mozart, the other stayed in silence and the last one was being intructed on relaxation. However, the article did not mention anything about the relaxation instruction and how it worked. After being in these conditions for around 10 minutes, the researchers gave them an abstract visual reasoning test. They found out that those who listened to Mozart’s composition were performing better than those who did not. However, it should be noted that the enhancement in spatial abilities last for only 10-15 minutes. They called this the “Mozart effect”. 

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I think that the hypothesis of Rauscher et al. (1993) was whether listening to music improves spatial abilities. The null hypothesis would be that listening to music does nothing. Moreover, the design of this study is likely to be a randomized control trials because the participants were being put into different conditions. The independent variable should be listening to music while the dependent variable is the spatial abilities. This should demonstrate that they are trying to find a causal relationship between the variables.

The meta-analysis of Chabris et al. looked at 16 studies that looked at the Mozart effect on the performance of various cognitive task. Chabris had mentioned that one study concerning British schoolchildren that performs better when they listen to popular music for their ages. He came up with an explaination that the Mozart effect works as a means for arousal.  The study defined arousal as a mental and physical activation from hearing what the participants are enjoying, not necessary has to be only Mozart’s music.To put it simply, I would explain this arousal effect by thinking about how our mood follows the flow of the music. 

Schellenberg conducted meta-analysis to further investigated both Rauscher and Chabris’s findings. One of the experiment were Thompson, Schellenberg and Husain (2001), who looked more into this arousal theory. They tested the participants with fast tempo piece by Mozart in a major key and a slow tempo piece by Albinoni in a minor key. The results were that arousal were “higher” with the Mozart piece than in Albinoni, meaning that there is the Mozart effect on the spatial activities while there is none with the Albinoni. Moreover, the arousal level were proportional to the speed of the Mozart piece. These researchers conducted a similar study a year later but change it for non-spatial abilities such as test processing, where they also found similar results as the speed was better with Mozart than Albinoni. 

Schellenberg and Hallam also tested cognitive performance for children who did not have arousal nor mood at their disposal. The participants were 10-11 years old children and they uses pop music and Mozart composition in their controlled conditions. They found out that children performed better at spatial tasks with pop music than Mozart’s composition and this was explain that it is due to their preferences. The article did not give further specification about this experiment, whether they had a silent group or not. 

Moreover, Schellenberg did another study with 5 years old children and looking at their creativity. They have to draw with crayons after listening to either Mozart composition or familiar children’s songs. They also include singing for the children’s song.  They found that children who are either listening or singing their familiar songs are more creative and took more time in drawing than those who listened to Mozart. Listening and singing had little differences between us each other. Schellenberg concluded that music can makes us smarter as it has shown to benefits us in the short term. 

Schellenberg’s meta-analysis seems to have rejected the null hypothesis because all of his experiments seems to find a causal link between listening to music and cognitive performances such as spatial and non-spatial abilities or creativity.

music

The article also highlighted two more studies that also found no sign of Mozart Effect. The first study was conducted by Stough et al. (1994) who uses the Raven’s Progressive Matrices to test out whether music helps spatial abilities. The Raven’s Progressive Matrices was considered to be an intellectual test that requires visual-spatial skills. This was stated to be similar to the test used by Rauscher et Al. They tested it on 114 college students of age 18 to 51 years with a mean score of 27.3 years old.  The researcher found no mean score differences from the test between those who were exposed to Mozart and the group who did not listen. The other study was conducted by Kenealy and Monseth (1994) who uses similar testing measure for spatial evaluation and controls group with music and none. The partcipants were between 14 to 16 years old. They also found the same results where there is no significant difference between the controlled groups. Thus, this means that these two studies seems to have failed to reject the null hypothesis.

Evaluating of the studies:

I have found two opposing results with the Schellenberg studies, who found that listening to music does benefits our cognitive abilities for a short period of time while the Stough et al. (1994) and Keanealy and Monseth (1994) studies claims to have found nothing about the Mozart effect. However, I think that it is important to bear in mind that the studies conducted by Schellenberg were meta-analysis. This means that the results are unlikely to be a fluke and were guarded against false positives. However, there is a possibility of file drawer problems in a meta-analysis study. This means that the experimenters could have select what data they wanted to published. However, I personally believe that this is unlikely because he did choose to published that the results only last for the short-term.

Also, we should consider that the studies of Stough et al. (1994) and Keanealy and Monseth (1994) have not put to test non-spatial task. Hence, more meta-analysis studies are needed on the non-spatial task to demonstrate whether his findings were a fluke or not. Moreover, the design of all the studies were likely to be randomized control trial because they all have control group of people involving at least two conditions, one being exposed to music and one being in silence. Hence, the design of the studies were experimental which also minimized the possibility of a third confounding variables. The dependent variable all of these studies were soft-endpoint because they are looking at things that are believed to correlated with intelligence such as spatial and non-spatial task or creativity in drawings. Meta-analysis are more generally reliable than studies. Thus, I am more lenient toward the Schellenberg’s meta-analysis conclusion.

If I were to replicate these studies, I would try to put increase controlled group with more variety in the type of music such as pop, rock, jazz etc … because all of these studies seems to focus only on either classical music such as Mozart pieces and a bit of the popular music for the childrens. This is not wide enough compare to the large genres of musics that exist in this world. Therefore, I believed that more studies are needed for stronger evidence that listening to music can improve our cognitive abilities.

 

Sources:  

http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED390733.pdf

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/12823070_Prelude_or_requiem_for_the_’Mozart_effect’

http://cdp.sagepub.com.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/content/14/6/317.full

http://pms.sagepub.com.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/content/81/3_suppl/1379.full.pdf+html

Will divorce affect someone negatively in their long-term life?

I believed that almost everyone of you know people that have experienced parental divorce, if not yourself. My parents are not divorced but I am still very curious about this topic because I had few friends with divorced parents, which their feelings and actions reflect well the effect of their childhood tragedy. I also did date someone with divorced parents and it clearly affected our relationship. I always have been constantly discussing these issues with my friends, parents, professors etc … Thus, I would now like to pursue more research on this issues and find evidences to support what I have experienced. My hypothesis would be: Does divorce causes negative effects for people in their long-term life?

Seems at first that divorce effects the child badly in their long term situation.

From the articles that i have read, i found unexpected results. The first article I read talk about a survey of 500 children and teenagers of age 14-22. This was conducted by Revolution, a strong association of family lawyers in England and Wales. They found out that kids who experienced divorced are more likely to turn to drugs, alcohol, poor academic achievements or self harm. They also found that around a quarter of these children struggle to complete their school assignments be it homework or essays. 12% of them admit that they skipped class and 11% of them are getting themselves into more trouble at schools or college.

divorce

On the other hand, study in the US provide different results.

However, this point is being argued by another article that talks about the study of Constance Gager, a researcher of Montclair State University in New Jersey. The study does a national survey involved 7000 married couple, with only 1952 of them being eligible for the criteria to be in the experiment. Read the details of the study on this link. The findings were that children with divorced parents does better than those that did not. The researchers emphasize that this could be due constant exposure to parental conflicts, which could be worse than just one or two year of depression from the divorce.

Moreover, another study that was published by scientific american website. The article suggests that divorce did made an impact on children in the short-term but they are also pretty quick to recover from the event. Sociologist Paul Amato and PSU conducted a quantitative review of literature to find out the effects of divorce on children in their later life. The researchers looked at children with divorced parents and children with married parents. They followed the life of these children in their later stage of life and look at their education level, emotional and behavioral issues, personal beliefs and social relationships. The researchers found extremely small differences between these two types of children suggesting that divorced children fare pretty well.

strong-child

Conclusion to draw from these studies?

The Gager study was probably less reliable as it only has 1952 valid participants in their study so the lack in numbers could affect the credibility of the results. However, both the Revolution and quantitative review were findings from multiple studies. This means that their results are probably more likely to be reliable but we should also bear in mind that it is still observational. Thus, we cannot really draw a clear answer to the effect of divorce because the information could be false especially since they both found different results.

Another things to take into account are third confounding variables such as culture; especially since the Revolution study was conducted in UK while the quantitative review in the US. For instance, UK children might be more prone to depression or initially less focus on their studies while US children might be better at coping with stress as their school might taught them more differently. Therefore, I would conclude that we cannot yet draw a conclusion on whether or not we can accept the hypothesis. I believe that more elaborate scientific methods needs to be conducted to find stronger results.

By Dhaam Sakuntabhai

Sources:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-divorce-bad-for-children/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/divorce/11249446/Divorce-the-devastating-cost-for-children.html

http://www.livescience.com/6648-divorce-bad-kids.html

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/24/divorce-bad-for-children-lets-not-fetishise-marriage-parents-children

 

 

Is eating two chocolate bars a day healthy?

Chocolate is many people’s lover, it is without a doubt one of our guilty pleasure. During my sophomore year, I remembered that my roommate used to tell me that eating a chocolate bar a day is healthy and I did believed him but did not do any further research on it. Since taking this class, I somehow had a reminiscence of what he told me. Thus, I decide to write a blog on it and read numerous article about this myth.

chocolate-bar

Is eating two chocolate bars a day healthy?

According to the article I found, it seems that eating two chocolate bar (100g of chocolate) is actually helping our heart to be healthy. The first article talks about a study, which tried to find ouat whether eating dark or milk chocolate is beneficial to our health. Their sample were 21,000 people from UK, in Norwich and the researcher have been regulating them for 12 years. They found out that the regular chocolate eaters, who ate around 100 grams per day, were less likely to get heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular diseases by 11% and also found that there is 25% reduction in the chance of dying from these heart issues.

To test the validity of these findings, I look into other article that had numerous study. It first mentioned a study conducted by Harvard, where they look at 31,823 Swedish women of age 48 to 83 who ate an ounce of chocolate each month. The women were showing to have their heart problem reduced by 32% and the study also mentioned that eating more would prevent the benefits.This is only 28 grams a month which already contradicts with the Norwich study findings who said that they are consuming 100 grams of chocolate per day. This means that they miscalculate and gave a false amount in their results.

However, this same article also mentioned a study with 44,000 participants who ate chocolate weekly were having 22% less chance of getting stroke compared to those that do not eat at all. Moreover, Both these article recognizes the fact that both dark and milk chocolate have flavonoids, which is an antioxidants that helps the blood to flow better. Milk chocolate also have other beneficial compounds such as calcium and fatty acids. Therefore, it would still be safe to say that eating chocolate is beneficial to our health but not at 100 grams of it.

What should I conclude and do?

reasons-why-you-should-eat-dark-chocolate-health-food-get-fit-in-shape

As mentioned, it seems that the correct amount of chocolate that needs to be consumed is still skeptical. Another article I found also criticized the Norwich study and states that we should eat on average only 7 grams of chocolate per day. They did say that eating chocolate can be beneficial but it is too reckless to believe that consuming 100 grams of chocolate would be healthy. On the other hand, I would conclude that we should still reject the null hypothesis because it seems that there are still many evidences of large sample that demonstrate that chocolate is beneficial to us. However, we should bear in mind that this might still be a false positive because these studies are observational so it is difficult to really relates the cause and effect.

By Dhaam Sakuntabhai

 

Sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3125548/Chocolate-curbs-stroke-heart-attack-risk-Regularly-eating-dark-milk-varieties-beneficial-health.html

http://www.livescience.com/36754-eating-chocolate-health-benefits-heart.html

Is eating 2 chocolate bars a day healthy?

 

 

Does eating late at night makes you gain weight?

I was curious about this topic because i love eating at night. I also believe that everyone has at least eat at night before and most of you living a lifestyle that makes you do it often. I believe that many people think like me, that we get more munchies at night and that food taste better. Also, many situations call people to eat at night such as coming back home late in the night without having the time to eat an early dinner or going to a party and getting hungry afterward. Hence, i wanted to find out about this myth so that i finally can argue whether we get fatter or not if we eat late.

So does eating late at night makes you gain weight?

From the many articles i read, it seems to confirm that we indeed does gain weight for eating late at night. In Jeremy Duval’s article, he states that there were one study with 400 participants and they found out that late night consumption has lead to weight gain. Despite the rejection of the null hypothesis, all these articles still debate on the fact that weight gaining mostly comes from other factors than the time we choose to eat. A good example would be the fact that many “easy” food that we tend to grab at night are more sugary or contain lot of carbohydrates. Thus, this is also one of the factor that made us gain weight at night time.

fridge with food

According to Adam Bornstein, our body is not on a 24 hours clock which means that it does not matter at what time we choose to eat but more on the quantity and the quality of our food. For example, if we eat something sugary or eat above your calories count, then it is likely that we will gain weight. In this same article by Bornstein, Israel researchers have conducted a study to prove whether eating at night causes fat by comparing two type of participants. One type have to eat their heaviest meal at breakfast while the other at night. The results were that those who ate at night lost more fat and were more satisfied with their hunger. You can read more details on the findings of this study on this link.

In other studies such as the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, the researchers found out that people who eat at night ate 12% more calories than daytime eater. This is also backed up by the International Journal of Obesity study who also said that people who eat at night are more likely to binge-eat. Therefore, we can conclude that eating at night does not directly make you gain weight but many other factors still causes it to happen. Thus, i would say that we should accept the null hypothesis and refers to these other factors instead.

So under what condition should i eat at night to not gain weight?

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Well as mentioned above from the findings, it seems that we should eat right and plan it well to not gain fat. This means that we should choose our diet so that it will consist of low carbohydrates or low sugary meal at night or eat less during the day to have more calories intake available at night. Moreover, we should leave some time for digestion because sleeping while digesting is not the best idea. Lori Zanini, an expert and educator in diets and diabetes, stated that we should eat at least 1.5 to 2 hours before going to bed to ensure that we are done with our digestion and actually make our body rest while sleeping. Duvall article also emphasize on this point. 

Lastly, we should also take into account our lifestyle preferences and how our hunger is being triggered. As stated by Bornstein, we sometimes eat at night out of boredom or just having the urge to eat something rather than feeling hungry. Thus, we should try to control that if it happens because it usually leads to surpassing our calories intakes per day. Moreover, we should not have a heavy late night meal if it can be a trigger for us to eat snacks at further late time such as 2 am. I would conclude that eating at night and not gaining weight is only feasible if we control our calories intake, digestion time and diet for the whole day.

By Dhaam Sakuntabhai

 

 

 

Sources:

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/06/26/will-eating-at-night-really-make-you-gain-weight

http://www.bornfitness.com/eating-night-not-make-fat/

http://greatist.com/health/will-eating-night-make-me-gain-weight

Images source:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwiVhJGilOrPAhVCMyYKHaqtB8AQjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.care2.com%2Fgreenliving%2Fheres-what-eating-late-at-night-does-to-your-body.html&psig=AFQjCNFAIjJ-jK6xP1dXi7OBFKI_sFQTVg&ust=1477079546107574

 

Sleep paralysis

How does it feel?

If you never had sleep paralysis before then you are really lucky. I had it pretty frequently this summer and it was really annoying because it forces me to wake myself up in an uncomfortable way. Here is how i feel: I suddenly thought i am awake and start to move. However, I later realized that I cannot really move and no matter how much it seems that I moved, I came back to my sleeping body all the time. It’s as if I saw my soul separate from my body and it keeps teleport back to my body. The fact that it is annoying is because I am struggling to get oxygen and find myself breathing heavily. I do not know if this happens to other sleep paralysis victim as well. The only way I did to wake myself each time I had this paralysis was to try to concentrate very hard and try to lift myself up. It is very hard to explain but it feels like I am being pushed down by a strong gravitational force and I have to fight against it. There were sometimes where it is tougher to lift my body and wake myself up.There were once where I saw horrific figure appears as well as scary sounds. This woke me up. As one of my friends told me about it beforehand, I was able to tell myself that the figure was not real and I turn out fine as I woke up. However, after I fall asleep once more, I kept waking up to another type of horrific figure; which really was more annoying than scary since I still was aware that it was not real.

This article talks about a severe case of sleep paralysis which the victim experienced his first time in a military base and was so shocked that it made him called reinforcement. It is exactly how I felt and would have believed so if I did not spoil me the secret.

how-to-stop-sleep-paralysis

What exactly is happening to your body while it is paralyzed and what causes it?

According to to the American Academy of sleep medicine, sleep paralysis is categorized as a parasomnia, which is having undesirable events during your sleep time. It states that “Atonia” is the process where your brain commands your muscle to stay still and relax while asleep. The explanation they gave was that we are awake while we are still in this “Atonia” process. This is why we feel as i mentioned above, awake but still asleep.

From numerous article i found, it seems that one of the main causes of sleep paralysis is from depression and anxieties. The sleep paralysis project has look into their 2011 paper about the prevalence of sleep paralysis, which consist of a gathering of 30 studies altogether. The sample size was over 36,000 people and they found that around 8% of the people are experiencing sleep paralysis, which increases to 28% for those who have irregular sleep patterns and still rise further up to 34% for those that suffers psychotic disorders. Another study by Penn State University has also found a similar results with 7.6% of the general population and 31.9% of the people having psychotic disorders such as depression or anxiety are suffering from sleep paralysis.

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Therefore, this lead me to conclude that depression or anxieties are a huge factor causing sleep paralysis because the sample size was huge and many studies have found similar results. Moreover, it is unlikely that one would lie about their experience on sleep paralysis and the study was con, which also boost the reliability. Thus, we should reject the null hypothesis and assumed that depression and anxiety does increase the likelihood of having sleep paralysis.

How to deal with it?

The American Academy of sleep medicine suggests that we should see a sleep specialist. In most cases, the treatment varies depending on the cause of the sleep. For example, if you lack sleep, then you should just aim to sleep enough in which the usual optimal times are six to eight hours. However, if you have mental stress or psychotic disorders, then you should consult a psychologist. As you can see the way to deal with this problem is individualized.

According to The Sleep Paralysis Project, they came up with numerous way to cope with this issue. The first is that in the case of feeling being attack by an evil spirit, the victim tries to detach themselves by manipulating their mind so they believed that they are a third party. They would basically feel less involved by the attack and be able to endure it better. Another common way is that they would try not to sleep on their back and staying calm by trying to breath as usually as possible for relaxation. They were also cases where some people can regulate their breathing such as stopping it or increase its intensity to recover. They can also try to induce noises to signaled someone nearby to wake them.

 

By Dhaam Sakuntabhai

Sources:

http://www.sleepeducation.org/sleep-disorders-by-category/parasomnias/sleep-paralysis/diagnosis-treatment

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/07/what-its-like-to-have-severe-sleep-paralysis.html

http://www.thesleepparalysisproject.org/about-sleep-paralysis/treatment/

http://www.livescience.com/50876-sleep-paralysis.html

http://www.thesleepparalysisproject.org/about-sleep-paralysis/prevalence/

Does marijuana cure cancer?

I am sure that many of you have heard about the news where marijuana are being used for curing cancer. This new is so famous that it also reached my home country, Thailand where they discussed about potential legalization. This made me curious about the details to know whether this myth is true and i did some research on it to find out.

First off, for those who do not know, what is marijuana?

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 19: Dave Warden, a bud tender at Private Organic Therapy (P.O.T.), a non-profit co-operative medical marijuana dispensary, displays various types of marijuana available to patients on October 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Attorney General Eric Holder announced new guidelines today for federal prosecutors in states where the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is allowed under state law. Federal prosecutors will no longer trump the state with raids on the southern California dispensaries as they had been doing, but Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley recently began a crackdown campaign that will include raids against the facilities. Cooley maintains that virtually all marijuana dispensaries are in violation of the law because they profit from their product. The city of LA has been slow to come to agreement on how to regulate its 800 to 1,000 dispensaries. Californians voted to allow sick people with referrals from doctors to consume cannabis with the passage of state ballot Proposition 215 in 1996 and a total of 14 states now allow the medicinal use of marijuana. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Marijuana is a cannabis plant that contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes the user to be “high”. While under this “high” effect, marijuana users have reported that their pain and nausea are relieved and that it reduces inflammation. Some users feel that it helps with depression but it can  also causes anxiety and paranoia in others.

Marijuana has different type of strains, which have different effects. Some strains causes body “high” while other causes head “high”. There are two known means of taking marijuana; one is by mouth and other is by lungs.

According to cancer.org, when taking it by mouth, the THC is slowly absorbed and take hours before we can start to feel the “high”. However, the effect of taking by mouth would be stronger than by lungs. When taking it by lungs, the THC would be absorbed very fast and causes the marijuana to run through into our bloodstream to reaching our brain. This means that we get high much faster than by mouth but the effect also last less. Further scientific explanation can be found here, on the marijuana section.

So how can marijuana cure cancer?

cancer-sucks-300x168

From the articles i read, it seems that marijuana was not fully proved yet that it can “cure” cancer but it acts more as a reliever for cancer-related symptoms.

According to Jeremy Kossen from Leafly.com, a website specializing in marijuana, the cannabis was an effective medicine for relieving many cancer and treatment side-effects such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetites, anxiety, insomnia, pain and even depression.  This means that cannabis is indeed useful for cancer therapy and treatment but it cannot be used alone in curing cancer.

In addition, Kossen also stated that many scientific studies were conducted on and find out that there are potential positive results because cannabis has been shown to stop the growth of cancers. Further details can be viewed on this link, on the “cannabis cancer research shows promise, but we need to do more” section. Moreover, in this same article, they also stated that one study conducted by Madrid’s Complutense University has found that injecting synthetic THC in rats can destroy brain tumors and also extending life.

Many of these researches has causes the National cancer institute to acknowledge that cannabis does kill cancer cells in pre-clinical studies. The issues are that it is still difficult to get permission to do clinical studies with marijuana for ethical issues because marijuana is not yet allowed for any medical purpose as it is still considered as a schedule 1 drug. Therefore, they concluded that further clinical studies needs to be done before fully acknowledging cannabis as a cure for cancer. However, it would now be safe to say that it is a cancer symptoms and cancer treatment side-effects reliever. I would then say that we cannot really decide yet whether or not to accept the null hypothesis.

 

 

By Dhaam Sakuntabhai

Sources:

https://www.leafly.com/news/health/can-cannabis-cure-cancer/

https://www.leafly.com/news/science-tech/government-run-cancer-institute-quietly-acknowledges-that-cannabi

http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/physicalsideeffects/chemotherapyeffects/marijuana-and-cancer

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/main-stream-media-finally-admits-cannabis-potential-cure-cancer/

 

Cheating experiments

The article “Cheating Lessons” was divided into three parts and talks about the many experiments that were conducted to find out people’s incentive to cheat on multiple situations. The article itself was written based on Dan Ariely’s (The duke economist and behavioral theorist) trade book called “The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone, Especially Ourselves”.

Cheating lessons part 1

The first part of “Cheating lessons” starts by talking about how the experiments have to create environment where there are ways, stimuli or even incentive for people to cheat.  The control condition was to design an assignment that would allow the research to perceive the average level of dishonesty in adults. The experimental condition was that the researchers would alter the assignment in various ways to see whether the level of cheating would increase or decrease based on the factors.

Ariely had concluded from his experiments that most people would be willing to cheat when given the chance to. He called this “Fudge Factor” and it helps him to explain most cheating real life situation. The paragraph 3 and 4 on this link provide more details about the usefulness of “fudge factor”.

The article then continue by explaining how many researchers have tried to change the behaviors of the cheaters; especially students in higher education. However, Ariely believed that we should focus on the structure of the environment instead of the many individual possible cheating inducement factors of the students. This is mainly because he believes that they are too many dishonesty in our daily life and changing it would be a very difficult task to do. The paragraph 9 and so on this same link would provide more details about what could have been changed to reduce the willingness to cheat.

The article then gave the example of the “Princess Alice” experiment to demonstrate a situation where they videotaped a group of children of age 5-9 who were told that if they succeed in throwing a Velcro ball at a target and sticking it, they would be given a reward. This task was seen considered almost impossible for the participants to ensure that the children would have more incentive in cheating.

The group of children were divided into 3 groups under 3 different conditions:

  • The first one was put in a room with the presence of a friendly female observer.
  • The second one was put in a room without any supervision.
  • The last one was put in a room where the children were told that an invisible figure called “Princess Alice” watching over them.

The results were that children are less willing to cheat when there is the presence of an adult and higher when they are left alone in the room or in the room with “Princess Alice”. However, we should also noted that some children did not believed that “Princess Alice” existed. Only one children who were uncertain about the existence of “Princess Alice” was still willing to cheat despite the uncertainty. The first part of the article concluded that these conditions are similar to certain circumstances within our college level classroom and that we should avoid allowing students to be in these conditions to minimize the cheating. The paragraph 11 and so on would describe on this same link the full details of this experiment.

Cheating lesson part 2

The part 2 of this article focuses on the stimuli that would induce cheating. Whether higher stakes would induce people to cheat. They looked into the psychologist George M.Diekhoff’s researches, who targeted American and Japanese students and look at their cheating behavior. He used the basic strategy of gathering data by listing varieties of academic cheating behavior and asked the students whether they used to commit any of those behavior during their time in college.

He found out that 29% of the American students acknowledge that they cheated at least in one exam while the Japanese students rate was at 55%. The difference in the percentages was due to the greater pressure to succeed in an exam for the Japanese. This was believed to be caused by their learning environment where Japanese students had only one big major final exams which will determines their grade. On the other hand, Americans students are usually given many short exams and quizzes more frequently over the year, allowing them to progress over their past mistakes. This means that Japanese students are more pressured to succeed because one exam can determine whether they pass or fail their year. Thus, the article concluded that rare and high-risk exams causes people to be more willing to cheat. To read more about this experiment, please refer to the paragraph 1-10 on this link.

The article also gave another example about the Chinese civil service exams where it would reward the well-achiever of high income and stable place within the Chinese government. This means that even peasant would be given the chance to get a better sustaining life. These exams were held rarely and also were very high-stakes exams because failing would be consider as a shameful position and make the person questioned themselves if they should study again for two to three years before the next exam. The punishment for cheating in this exams were extremely severe because it could lead to death sentences. Despite these severe punishments, all kind of cheating still occurs due to the high-stake factors and demonstrate that preventive measure does not stop cheating. To read more about this experiment, please refer to the paragraph 14-19 on this same link.

The conclusion of part 2 was that we should provide a learning environment with frequent and many low-stake assignment when possible. However, they still would be certain cases where high-stakes exams are still required. The article suggested that we should prepare the students to be ready by giving them frequent assignment of similar format where high-stakes exams skills would need to be put to use so that the students can practice it more often.

Cheating lesson part 3

Part 3 of the article starts by talking about the cheat rate over the past 50 years. He starts by telling us about the first survey of cheating in higher education conducted by a Columbia students named William J.Bowers during 1963. The results were that 75% of the students admitted that they cheated at least once during their time in college. The author then compared this results to the 2002 to 2010 results by looking into “Cheating n College: Why Students Do It and What Educators Can Do About It”, a book that includes results from many surveys over the past years. The results were that 60-70% of the students admitted that they cheated before. The author of the article questioned the reliability of these results because the researches in the book used Web to gather information while Bowers used paper survey. Nonetheless, the rate of cheating is still very high because it exceed the average of the students meaning that even in a small class of 10 students, at least 6 of them would cheat.

The article still concluded similarly to part 1 and 2 where high-stakes exams induce cheating and the frequency of being able to put those skills into practice. The article further explains how low-stakes exams is beneficial because it helps student to learn better. They also stated that the best prevention against cheating would be to provide students enough tools and interest for them to learn it in a morally way. The article also highlighted that learning through low-stakes evaluations such as quizzes helps student learn better than the usual traditional way through text-book, notes or highlighted text.

The article then talked about Henry L. Roediger III and Jeffrey D. Karpicke’s experiment. They divided their participants into 4 groups and ask them to learn and memorize 40 English-Swahili word pairs for 4 study sessions. Afterward the experimenter gave them a week before coming back to recall their words. The study finds out that repetition in testing helps the students to learn faster as repetition also allowed them to have better retention of the words. You can read further details of the study on this link.

Therefore, the article concludes that repetitive learning, rehearsals, frequent testing allow the student to learn better and reduce their incentive to cheat because their memory are consistently being used, helping the students to gain confidence.

By Dhaam Sakuntabhai

Source:

http://www.chronicle.com/article/Cheating-Lessons-Part-1/139453

http://www.chronicle.com/article/Cheating-Lessons-Part-2/140113

http://www.chronicle.com/article/Cheating-Lessons-Part-3/141141/

 

Link

Hi everyone, my nickname is Keanu and i am currently a senior majoring in philosophy at PSU. I am from Bangkok in Thailand. My first name is Dhaam, however Thai people do not usually go by their first name and it is more like a formal name that is rarely used unless it is for serious matter. So i would be more familiar with Keanu.

I am doing this course because i need a requirement in natural science and I do not like to study science. However, i do have interest in scientific progress but i simply do not want to understand the details because i do not have any plan on being an expert in it. Well my biggest interest in academics so far is philosophy and it is a reason why i am not in a science major. Although philosophy would be called social science because it is a form of science; mainly the science of life.

I used to study finance at the university of San Francisco during my freshmen year. I choose finance because i did not know which subject i liked and think it would come in handy if i were to do business. During my sophomore year, i happen to take one introductory class of philosophy and found out that I am having fun in thinking in this way. I also realized that philosophy was my thing because the way that i think about my life goes well with it. Moreover, i am now more curious about how well i can develop if i go all in into this major. Thus, i decided to change major and also transferred school to get a new life experience. Since i lived in the West Coast, i choose East and got into Penn state. So here i am now.

The link here are free ebooks that anyone can read online about philosophy and there are many philosophers and topics you guys can choose to dig in.

Here is an image of my favorite philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche

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Dhaam Sakuntabhai