Author Archives: Yinghui Huang

Why we are afraid of keeping eye contact

I am wondering if you guys have such experience before: when you are talking with someone, you try your best to look at his or her eyes to show politeness. However, if you keep staring at him or her, it may give both of you a creepy feeling. Here the questions come: Do you ever have trouble in making eye contact in a conversation? What causes that nervous or embarrassed feeling? Before we go further into this topic, I want to firstly show you the following photo of Marina Abramović on her art exhibition ‘The artist is present’. She is an artist aimed for behavioral expression. She sat with strangers and made eye contact with them, sharing one-minute silence.


Talking back about the topic, why it’s hard for some people to make eye contact? There’s an illness called Social Anxiety Disorder, which is also called Social Phobia. The symptoms of social anxiety disorder includes fear of making eye contact or being judged, over-nervousness toward social situations and avoidance of social contact. Actually, this phobia, which is easily to be neglected is affecting people’s daily life negatively. According to a statistics published by Anxiety and depression association of America, about 15 million American adults have social anxiety disorder, which is quite an astonishing result. This severe psychological illness affects our normal life, social contact and even job career. There are three potential factors that cause the social phobia: biological (parents’ heredity), psychological (past shaming experience) and environmental (observe others’ misfortunate experience).


So can social phobia be prevented? Unfortunately, the answer is no. The best way for treatment is to seek for professional help. After reading this article, you still think that you are merely afraid of eye contact?

Picture source:ć+the+artist+is+present&biw=1362&bih=652&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwi577SIy5LPAhVDFz4KHS5eD0YQ_AUIBygC#imgrc=OYy4M_tnYSMa-M%3A


Right, right! Left, wrong?

When a little girl held a pen to write for the first time, something weird happened: She was left-handed without any hereditary. The family started a heated discussion about the rectification since in China, the left means inauspicious. Ironically, many Chinese treat left-handed people as intelligent and gifted ones. However, when this case comes to their children, they will definitely say ‘No, correct it!’ maintaining a firm attitude. The traditional culture tells us to be unified rather than unique. Consequently the left-handed girl was forced to change her original writing habit. I was exactly the main protagonist of this story.


When I grow up, I have become an ambidexter, using my right hand to write and left hand to do the other things. I try my best to adjust to the general hand preference; however, there are still many conflicts. When I use left hand for meals, I may bump against others’ right hand. When I use scissors, it’s quite inconvenient as the scissors are designed with their sharp blade on the right side. When I look around, I find that all the people are right-handed except me; all the staff is designed especially for the right-handed people. Such phenomenon encourages me to consider that what factors contribute to people’s inherent left-handed preference.



There are many theories trying to explain factors that influence the hand preference. The first one is called anatomical theory, which we are all aware of. This theory states that our left hemisphere controls the right part of body, while our right hemisphere controls the left part of body. Aristotle believes that our right part of body is originally more dominant than the left. That’s why about 90% people on the world are right-handed. The second is called genetic theory, which states that if both parents are left-handed, children are more likely to be left-handed. However, more and more genome-wide association studies conducted show that this theory doesn’t prove the correlation between parents’ hand preference and children’s hand preference. The third popular theory aroused by neurologists at Harvard in 1980s gives the following explanation: when left-handed people were still in their mothers’ wombs, they experienced a dislocation of brain due to the high level of testosterone, which changed the hand preference. The dispute seems never come to an end. Until now, the psychology study of this field has not conceived any persuadable explanatory for what affects the hand preference.


As a person who once suffered from the social stigma and repression of left-handedness, it may be more perusable to say ‘Stop the bias toward lefties!’ We are indeed the 10% in the world, but we didn’t break the law. There’s no need to be uniform in every single thing. Right is right, left is also right.




6 or 8 hours’ sleep?

6 or 8 hours’ sleep is always a controversial topic these years. According to a report on Daily Mail, Sarah Chalmers, who is 46 years old attended a sleeping experiment. The following photos show the contrast of her face when she sleeps for 6 and 8 hours.


It’s not hard to see that when Sarah sleeps for 8 hours, she is in fine fettle. While the right side picture, which shows her face after 6 hours’ sleep looks like she is listless and obviously needs more sleep. This photo encourages people have 8 hours’ of sleep for health. We hear an old saying all the time that people spend about 1/3 of their life for sleeping. Based on this saying, it may seem better that if we have 8 hours for sleep (24/3=8). More people suggest 8 hours’ sleep because less sleep may cause cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, further threatens people’s health.


But is that true? 8 is better than 6?


A report called ‘Forget eight hours of sleep a night-we only actually need SIX, scientists declare’ is also posted on Daily mail. This report, rather than the previous one, suggests that people should have 6 or 7 hours’ sleep instead of 8 based on the study on hunter-gatherers. These hunter-gatherers in tribes sleep for 6 or 7 hours but they’re in better health condition than normal people. But draw a crude and rush conclusion just based on merely one study? I really hold my doubt. Because there may be third effect (confounding variables) affects the experiment result like hunter-gatherers innately have better health than normal people as they exercise a lot or the high-nutrition food they eat.


We still can’t tell 6 or 8 hours for sleep, which one is better. However, choosing a healthy lifestyle such as not stay up too late or combine exertion and rest is quite essential for college students. Remember that health is wealth.

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Science is so-so, while SC200 is cool

Heyy, Penn Stater! I’m Huang Yinghui from China. This is my first year in PSU and SC200 is my first GN class taken in Penn State. The only reason I chose this sounded boring course is my advisor’s strong recommendation. To be honest, my original thought is that just go to the first class, if it doesn’t go well, then drop it. Fortunately, I didn’t give up before I tried. Andrew is quite a unique teacher. He introduces obscure scientific knowledge with vivid explanation. Now I choose to stay in SC200 with all of you. : ) An interesting phenomenon I found in class is that not like other classes I’ve taken, this class has few Asian. This may be a good sign that helps me get involved in the class and adapt to the culture shock as soon as possible.

Talking about why I’m definitely not major in Science is that science is always followed by strict rules and regulations. I hate things which have to be repeatedly done like memorizing formulas. Overall, science is too serious for me. I’m currently in DUS and plan to enroll in Smeal School of Business. But who knows, the only thing doesn’t change is change itself; I may change my mind to major in Science in the future after finishing SC200.

The following is the video that Andrew showed part of it to us in the very first class. It’s TED called ‘The bugs are getting smarter. Are we?’ Hope you can enjoy it all. Happy SC200!!!

Class 2016 view 2