Author Archives: Kaitlyn A Kaminski

Why Do We Laugh In Uncomfortable Situations?


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If you are anything like me then you laugh when you are in an uncomfortable situation. This doesn’t happen because you are laughing at the other person or because you don’t know how to react… it’s because this is your normal reaction, but why?

Emotion Regulation is a factor in learning how to control your emotions and this can be learned, but humans express conscious and unconscious  behaviors that make it hard to regulate their emotions.

People like to mask their feelings due to not wanting others to really know how they feel- so people may laugh in times of nervousness because they are trying to balance their anxious feelings. In a study the researcher, Oriana, Aragon explains how emotion needs to be regulated because if you begin to laugh obnoxiously for no reason in a time that is not appropriate that can mean you had enough of a certain stimulus and you don’t need it anymore.

This study was experimental and observational because Aragon watched people in social situations and learned by studying their brain that the stimulus is overworked. Too many signals are being sent to the brain at one time causing the laughter to take place.


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Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran explains in his book, that we signal ourselves when horrible things we’ve just encountered aren’t that bad because we want to believe this. By making ourselves believe that the situation is not that bad- it can be a defense mechanism explaining our behavior to mask what’s really going on. We decide to put a wall up because our anxiety overrides us and we do not want to look weak to others.

X Variable- Stimulus (What’s going on in your life?)

Y Variable- Laughing at inappropriate times

Confounding Variables- Did you think of something funny? Did someone look at you weird? Etc.

**This experiment can be due to chance as is every, but this one more so because people laugh at the most random things. Reverse causation isn’t present here because you can’t laugh out of nervousness and then your stimulus decides to overreact. The stimulus needs to have a reaction first and then the laughing would occur.

By looking at this theory of nervous laughter, when people are able to make light of traumatic events in their life- although it is a sign of healing, people have come to terms with the fact that they are able to be happy again. With this said- there doesn’t have to be a traumatic event in your life to have nervous laughter. This can just be who you are. Laughing makes people feel better and it is one of the few universal things in life- after all we all want to believe that everything is going to be okay.


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Why You Should Never Pop Your Pimples.


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I don’t break out, or so I thought… until three days ago.

The other day I looked in the mirror and cringed. I discovered a huge pimple on my chin just in time for a wedding that I am going to this weekend…perfect timing right? I never experienced popping a pimple and I hope I never do, but I picked this one and I have never seen my roommates yell faster at me than after I told them.

“You’re going to scar,” they said. “Don’t ever do that!.”

I didn’t know and now I have a giant scab on my face. I tried googling everything under the sun to get rid of it, but everything thus far has failed me… I’m just going to give it time and let it do it’s thing.

But this whole thing got me thinking- why do pimples scar? You would think that the cells recreate themselves and the skin would die off eventually creating new skin, but that’s not the case.

It turns out that it is very dangerous to pop pimples!

1.Doctor Julia Tzu advises that inflammation can become much worse than what the pimple already has if you pop it. With this scars can occur when the area is effected.

2. Scabs can be formed. Mental Floss explains how a scabs occurs, but scabs are harder to cover up than a pimple so do not pick at the acne.

3. Discoloration can occur. Post Inflammatory Hyper-pigmentation-PIH is when the spot is darker than the skin around it.

4. Infection can occur. If your hands are dirty, you use a dirty tweezer (or whatever you use),etc. you are putting yourself at risk for an infection.

You are entirely taking a gamble (Or a chance!) When you pop a pimple.

X Variable- Pimple

Y Variable- Scar

Confounding Variable- How many times you’ve picked the pimple, if you keep touching the area, if you’ve used past things on the spot to remove the pimple, etc.

This experiment concludes that you will get a scar from picking a pimple- chances are the scar will be minute, but you can make it worse. It’s best to leave the pimple alone when you first see it on your face.

In this journal, people explain how acne scars can never fully go away, the results of a scar are permanent and can never fully disappear. Yes, the scarring can be minimal, but you will never have “perfect” skin ever again. This study was done after looking at lasers/how the skin is made up. By learning all of the ingredients in what you are using on your face, you can find what works and what doesn’t.

I would look at acne as both an experimental study because you can try a million home remedies/different medications or scrubs, etc., but it will take a while to learn what works on your skin and prevents future pimples from appearing on your skin.

I think people can watch acne appear and see it go away or reduce; you can see a scar clearly on a person’s face and you can see when a pimple is inflamed.

I think people cannot predict when they are going to break out or if they’re going to wake up to a pimple on their face in the morning, but they can use preventable ingredients to lessen the looks of the pimples.

Why would anyone want to risk ruining their skin permanently??? Next time you think about popping a pimple, take a step back and think about your face.


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Does Biotin Make Your Hair/Nails Grow?

I went out on a limb and decided to cut my hair to my shoulders and it was quite possibly one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made. I then proceeded to make this decision even worse by getting layers…My hair has never been shorter and I want it back to the length that it once was- so I decided to take Biotin gummies- specifically Nature Bounties.


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With these gummies I took them twice a day and saw my nails grow obnoxiously, but my hair not so much.I realized that while my hair had no significant difference, my nails did-so I wanted to take a look at how Biotin works.

Biotin also know as “Vitamin H,” is a part of the Vitamin B complex and promotes healthier skin, hair, nails and liver. The vitamin also assists the nervous system in functioning normally. Although it is rare, people can be deficient in Biotin- it happens and cracked corner of the mouths, hair loss, and brittle nails are just a few of the symptoms to look out for if this should ever come across in your life.

I decided to test this like I said previously on myself because I did not want to spend money on extensions nor have the patience to wait for it to grow- although I was let down by the results…my nails looked great!

With this observational study, I made the following:

X Variable- Hair

Y Variable-Biotin

Confounding Variable- How fast my hair grows, chemicals used from hair dye could have ruined my hair, genetics, etc.


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My roommates have tested the vitamin on their hair with the capsule forms with different brands and saw that their hair was less likely to fall out, it wasn’t growing fast than usual.

In more recent trends celebrities like Kim Kardashian among others have sponsored Sugar Bear Hair, a blue bear gummy with a high dose of Biotin in them. These bears have been all over the place because people swear that their hair has grow up to six inches in 3 months of taking them which is double the length of not taking Biotin vitamins. I have yet to try these gummies, but results vary for everyone.

By looking at my study I have concluded that Biotin can work for some people and the end results are different for everyone because everyone is different.

There is no reverse causation in this case because Biotin makes hair thicker/stronger the same with nails… If you had all of these previously and took Biotin- you might not notice a difference in your results. However- Biotin does not make hair thin or brittle or nails weaker so in this case, reverse causation is ruled out.

I’m attaching a study that was done with Biotin therapy on a boy who had UHS- Uncombable Hair Syndrome… the results were amazing! This study was entirely experimental although you can argue observational because the results were visible. His mother decided to test the boy’s hair follicles and see if the structure would change and if UHS would improve- check it out!


Do Fish Drink Water?


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I have a book sitting in my room that I’ve never read titled “Do Fish Drink Water,” and it made me curious…do they?

I decided to look into this more and identify the fish as the x variable, water as the y variable and the fish’s size, type,etc. as the z/confounding variable.

For this experiment, I also knew that this could be due to chance and that correlation does not equal causation in my results. I would take this as an observational experiment because you can watch the fish in their environment and how they interact with it.

I have found that fish do not drink water, but they get water through osmosis. In this process the water is diffused from a higher to a lower concentration. Since fish do not technically drink water and the water diffuses through the body from surrounding water in osmosis, fish do not need to drink water like humans. Their body is entirely different than humans and they do not need to drink water like us (8 glasses a day) to stay alive.

However, Aquaculture Specialist William Wurts, found fish need to drink salt water if they are in a salted body of water. Robert Kennedy of the University of Rhode Island also validates fish drinking salt water. This is because when drinking the salt water, the fish is replacing the lost fluids and getting rid of the excess salts. Interestingly in these findings, it was expressed that fish who live in fresh water, have a higher level of salt in their bodies than those in salt water- who knew? You would think that the salt water fish would have a higher level of salt since they swim in it constantly.


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Just like every living thing- it will need to properly function and in order to do that, fish must maintain a level of salt in their bodies. Additionally, there is always water being flown throughout the fish’s body correcting the level of salt making sure the level of salt is equal to that in the surrounding body of water. The fish needs to be balanced and not have too little salt because it could die.

When salt gets low in a fish, their kidneys work excessively making sure that the excess water leaves the body in the form of urine. The fish’s body is put into override mode to make sure the fish can get back to normal and live a healthy life.

Let’s take:

X Variable-Fish

Y Variable-Water

Confounding Variables- types of fish, size of the fish, etc.

We can take these and make an experiment and see how the fish live in his/her environment and conclude that not all fish need to drink water, but instead use osmosis to survive.

Why do Feet Sweat?

Ever wonder why your feet sweat? You could have a disorder called hyperhidrosis.

Hyperhidrosis– occurs when someone’s foot sweats out of nowhere and excessively; there are no triggers and the sweat glands become overly produced.

This can also be genetic.




-Sweating excessively in the feet looks to be an inherited problem. Scientists are unsure of why this occurs, but people who sweat excessively have a different set point than other people. This is because everyone is different and people cannot be compared (i.e. people have different heights, weights, etc.– these can be considered other confounding variables when testing to see how people sweat). Instead of just sweating when it is hot out, people with Hyperhidrosis sweat excessively almost all the time.

  1. Sweating in the feet. (People may have their feet slip in their shoes). When there is a constant wetness in the foot, the skin can be broken down and an infection can occur.
  2. The feet can release an odor as they typically do when they sweat.
  3. People can have emotional stress due to worrying about their foot odor. This becomes a problem for teens with hyperhidrosis because of sweat-related anxiety and isolation.


  1. In order to prevent your foot from smelling– good hygiene is essential. One should wash their feet in order to prevent an odor. One can also use corn starch to prevent feet from smelling.
  2.  Change socks during the day. Stash an extra pair of socks at school or at work, and change socks mid-way through the day.
  3. Wear shoes that are made of breathable materials… the same goes for socks.When all home remedies fail, that’s when it is time to visit a podiatrist. They can do a starch-iodine test to confirm the diagnosis. The test is completed as such- first, an iodine solution is applied to the bottom of the feet. After the solution has dried, cornstarch is sprinkled over the area. The treated area turns dark blue if excessive sweat is present.According to the US National Library of Medicine, they express how less than 40 percent of people with this condition seek expert help.

If we wanted to conduct an experiment of feet sweating, we would have to take the feet and use them as a variable then test them through out the day. I would take two different subjects with the same characteristics (height, weight, gender, etc.) I do not think this would work with opposite gender nor people with different weights/shoes sizes because of them being confounding variables (z variable).

Feet = x variable

Sweat= y variable

Height, weight, shoes size, gender, etc. = z variable

As learned in this course, I know that correlation does not equal causation and the result can be due to chance.

I would test my subjects with the iodine test as mentioned above to see if my subjects had the condition and I would see if the corn starch would prevent odor along with changing socks. I’d have these people controlled and monitor their sweat.

I always thought that feet sweat just because they are hot, who knew there was actually a disorder that could contribute to this? The next time your feet sweat take caution-you could have Hyperhidrosis because according to this study- 2.8% of the population surveyed has Hyperhidrosis and it effects more people than we think. With this study being entirely experimental sending out random samples to selected people, we learn just how Hyperhidrosis effects people and the population.


(Photo by Adelaide Hebert MD University of Texas c/o International Hyperhidrosis Society).

Do Red Heads Feel More Pain?

I have always been fascinated with red heads- I don’t know why, but I think their rareness interests me.

We all have heard at least some form of jokes thrown around about red heads, but who knew there was some truth behind their hair color?

There appears to be some kind of correlation between your hair color and how much pain you feel just by what is being produced and how your body can process things.

The X variable in this experiment is the red hair (MC1R- I’ll explain what this is later) and the Y variable is the amount of pain the person feels.  When the variables are measured you can see in the hypothesis that the sensation of pain is altered.


Researchers studied the tolerance of pain in redheads and have found that they are more suceptible to pain than other hair colors. In this study you will see how a person’s hair color can have an effect on a person for the rest of his/her life. This experiment is entirely observational and can possibly be a mechanism due to redheads feeling pain.

Oddly enough, researchers have found that redheads need 20% more anesthesia due to their sensitivity to pain. Scientists believe that this is due to a genetic mutation that has to do with the MC1R gene (produces red pigment in hair).

The MC1R is responsible for the red hair and fair skin, but can also do with a lower tolerance to cold weather and pain medication.  Interestingly, redheads will typically avoid dentist appointments because of fear/anxiety- they will receive more tooth aches and a tolerance to novocaine than other hair colors. Dentists and doctors will have to increase the dosage of medication typically in order so redheads do not suffer in pain.

With having paler skin, redheads will typically avoid the sunlight and create a vitamin D deficiency within themselves since they are not getting the proper nutrients.

While certain key vitamins are missing in a mutation- extra vitamins may need to be taken to assure good health for personal reasons. There can be serious health problems like the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer and asthma. It’s important to note that these are effects if the deficiency is not taken care of.


When the MC1R gene is mutated it produces pheomelanin instead of melanin, (allows you to tan/have darker features) a protein that accounts for red hair, pale skin, and freckles.

When experimenting with redheads researchers found that those effected with the MC1R mutations also had an altered perception of pain and the effectiveness of certain drugs meant to block or numb the sensation of pain did not work right.

Unfortunately there is no way to test redheads in a situation like this, but there seems to be some kind of correlation between redheads and not having melanin. Whether or not pain is different for redheads, it doesn’t seem to be causing an issue in their daily lives.

This experiment rules out reverse causation because you cannot make someone a “real redhead,” yeah- you can dye their hair, but they will never fully be a “real” redhead. This has to be done to an actual, born redhead in order to see results and test their pain.

The article and research concluded that the evidence isn’t clear as to if in fact redheads actually do feel more pain, but there is a clear correlation that the mutation has something to do with redheads having more sensitivity.

The next time you are out- appreciate everyone’s uniqueness because without you and I, we wouldn’t be here.

Mythbusters Video -In this video the Mythbusters test a group of redheads and non-redheads to see who can withstand more pain with their hand in a cold bucket of water. The evidence speaks for itself, take it as you will, but there seems to be something here- whether it has to do with hair color or not.

Why Do We Sneeze When We Pluck Our Eyebrows?


Every time I pluck my eyebrows, my eyes tear up and I’ve always thought it was a normal reaction… I didn’t think anything about it. My roommate recently told me that she sneezes every time she plucks her eyebrows- this was not the first time that someone has told me that, so I thought I should look into this more.

It just so happens that by plucking your eyebrows, you are stimulating your nerves!

Doctor Jeanie B. Downie, explains that plucking eyebrows is a reflex– a normal human reaction…who knew? When you go near the face, you might flinch when someone moves their hand in front of you, throws a ball near you, something gets close to you- this is a reaction (a reflex) because your body is reacting to whatever is near your face. The same thing happens when you pluck your brows, your eyes tear, you might sneeze, you might have a tear stream down your face, etc. You are touching your nerves which are highly sensitive.

Interestingly enough, Doctor Gervaise Gerstner also explains how by tweezing your eyebrows, the facial movement is triggered from pain causing you to tear up whereas the sensation on your face causes you to sneeze due to irritation.

It turns out that your nose and eyebrows are on the same branch of the trigeminial nerve- this causes you to sneeze with irritation (apply pressure to the area and you should be good). Ever notice in the Spring when allergies are bad your eyes bother you and your nose?… Blame your nerves!

This study can be observational because you can watch people when they get their eyebrows tweezed and witness this, but it can also we experimental. You can take the X variable which would be tweezing the eyebrows and the Y variable would be applying pressure to the area to experiment and take note of the differences. I don’t think there would be any confounding variables (maybe if your skin was already irritated/dry or if you were sick/had allergies and actually had to sneeze)?

There is a phenomenon called ACHOO or Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helioopthalmic Outburst- that explains why people sneeze when they look at the sun, this is the same phenomenon that can explain why people sneeze when they tweeze. Overexposure to light will make anyone sneeze, but when you pluck near the visual cortex you are disrupting the area causing an achoo.


There has been an experiment conducted that if antihistamines would control the sneezing because the study shows a possible correlation between allergies- however, the experiment is not strong enough to suggest that taking allergy medicine will cure the tweezing and sneezing phenomenon.

Brow specialist Kristie Streicher of Striiike salon in Los Angeles says she will hold the area above the brow when she shapes clients’ eyebrows because she wants to reduce the pain they might feel. Although she admits that there is no effect on a client sneezing when she holds the brow, she believes it relieves some pain.

Streicher emphasizes how around 15 to 20 percent of her clients have sneezed due to tweezing the brow. There is no evidence on if eyebrow waxing or threading has the same effect, but it is something that can be further investigated.

Unfortunately no one knows how to reduce the sneezing; we can only reduce the pain at this point. I wouldn’t bother with allergy medication only because I don’t think it will work just because it’s a nerve problem. I think you can psyche yourself out and believe the medicine does something… someone can experiment with a placebo and make a new group that’s controlled and test to see if the medicine does something.

I observed my roommate, Jill, after I decided to experiment with this and it was one of the funniest things I’ve seen. I advise you all to try this sometime and watch the results.

Below is a video explaining ACHOO



Does Nail Polish Cause More Problems Than We Think?


If you’re like me than you will always have nail polish on your nails at any given time. I couldn’t tell you the first time I discovered the colors of their names that came with it- it was a glorious moment.

But with all the chemicals listed online that’s in a nail polish bottle, I had to do more research. Could it be that nail polish is doing more harm than good?

In a Daily Mail article, Doctor Thu Quach explains how nail products can contain dangerous materials. Upon these findings Toluene, which is found in gasoline according to the Merriam Dictionary, Formaldehyde, which is known to cause cancer according to I know the brand Essie that sells nail polish stopped using Formaldehyde in its products a few years ago because my neighbor is a manicurist and she would talk about how things were changing.

Doctor Quach also explains how exposure to certain chemicals can cause problems with people’s hormones, nervous system and potentially cause cancer/fertility problems.

This can be an observational experiment because you can be watching how nail polish creates problems years later, or it can be experimental because you can test how much nail polish you put on and what happens. X variable- nail polish coats, Y variable- side effects, confounding variable- which brands did you use, did you use UV gel, what other products did you use, are there any fertility problems in the family, is there cancer in your genes, etc.?


There is much speculation as to if you work in a nail salon that one is going to have respiratory problems because of breathing in chemicals all day- there is no proof that nail products cause this, but some people have complained of experiencing skin irritations, eye injuries and allergic reactions which can also create memory problems, nausea or cancer.

Doctor Quach emphasizes how women working in salons can have birth defects- spontaneous births, preterm delivery, undersized babies, etc. because of the chemicals. It’s important to note that not only nail polish can cause birth defects, but other factors such as genetics, living area, not the proper medical care, stress, etc. can.

I think there is a social standard and people, especially girls, feel obligated to wear nail polish. Whatever the reason is as to why we continue to wear hazardous chemicals, we all need to educate ourselves.


The FDA has tried to regulate the products that companies can use, but some are still ignoring the laws. They warn against using certain chemicals, but it is up to you to use what you want and feel is right.

Clearly there is a correlation between using nail products and health problems, whether it takes years for the products to destroy our bodies or months- (again) every one should be careful.

People weren’t mixing chemicals on purpose to see what was giving people side effects and serious health issues- those happened over years. I think that nail polish will get safer when we eliminate the toxic chemicals and create new ways of making nail polish safe and healthy for all of us.

As I have mentioned before I am a huge supporter of nail polish. I think it looks pretty, I feel better about myself and if I do not have a color on- I will bite my nails completely off, which I cannot stand. I know I should probably stop wearing it, but I won’t.

I found an interesting video on why a woman decided to throw out all of her nail polish and it made me re-evaluate everything. I advise all of you to watch the 11 minute clip because it puts things into a new perspective.

Disclaimer: If you are going to throw out nail polish, please let them dry out first and then dump them… DO NOT throw them down the sink because then they will be in our drinking water and we all know how that ends.


You can run from science, but science cannot run from you

Hello, I am Kaitlyn Kaminski a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. I plan on minoring in CAS and obtaining a sports journalism certificate from The John Curley Center. Look for me on ESPN or NBC Sports (Pierre McGuire needs to go… agree with me someone) in about two years!  I am from New Jersey so don’t hold this against me because I will have to be impartial towards all of y’alls teams… but I am a New York Giants, Rangers and Yankees fan (Again, I apologize, but loyalty is loyalty). I am also a fraternal twin so when you date me, you date her- we are literally the same person (it’s annoying).

As you can probably tell- science is not something I prefer. I was kind of pushed into the science field by my uncles, but clearly failed to listen to them. I aced my bio and chem class during high school, but then physics happened and science wasn’t fun anymore… you live and you learn 😉 I could never imagine myself going into a career path that I’d hate and I feel like I’d be miserable if I did so with science.

I am going to be completely honest with you- my advisor told me to take this class, so I did. I googled the class then the professor and became interested in it. RateMyProfessor did not scare me off and come on… I needed to hear the accent! So far so good, I am not disappointed with anything and I cannot wait to see how this semester turns out!

If there is one thing that I have learned it is that- You can run from science, but science can never run from you. I have always thought that my major was a safe one-no math/no science… BOY, I WAS WRONG… Two math classes and three science classes later I can say I am almost officially done with the classes forever, but never the material. Even though my major won’t involve science specifically…it is there. You have how fast a ball flies in the air, what happens when someone gets a concussion, helmets designed for impact, safety equipment, the mechanics of stadiums, etc… science is EVERYWHERE. While I am glad I will never have to sit with a pencil/paper and write an equation ever again, I cannot avoid science.

Here’s a link to an extinct bird species found in the Galapagos- Click here I just thought this was an interesting read and I like birds.

You can read some of my work covering hockey and different random events Here

Please enjoy this picture of the GOAT (do not argue with me on this :))… my husband- Derek Jeter and some…birds that are in Galapagos.