THIS SITE IS NOW A LEGACY SITE.
The Class of 2017 site is here.
THIS SITE IS NOW A LEGACY SITE.
The Class of 2017 site is here.
When I first entered Science 200, I thought it was going to be easy. My mentor recommended this specific science class because I am definitely not a science person, and Science200 was apparently good for people who don’t particularly like science. After about two weeks of the class, I realized my arrogant attitude was not going to fly. I realized it was going to take a lot more than what I had expected. Passing and getting a good grade was going to take hard work, effort, and a whole lot of time. As I reflect on my experience in this class, I can honestly say that I have learned a lot. I also feel that I have become more independent and responsible by taking this class. It forced me to manage my time, and I am grateful for that. My favorite class by far was the class focused on blood letting and many other topics. I remember being so intrigued during that class. I didn’t look at the time once! So, I decided to do my final blog on that specific class.
During class that day, we talked about sudden infant death syndrome, blood letting, Thalidomide, and when science doesn’t happen. The point of this class was to show that sometimes even the smartest of people only want to believe certain things about their studies. They do not want to look at both sides. This can result in many negative things—such as death. The first person we talked about was a pediatrician named Dr. Benjamin Spock. Spock proposed that babies should sleep on their stomachs while sleeping. His reason for this was because he thought babies might choke if they are on their backs. He even wrote a book on his findings and it turned out to be a best seller. Millions of people were buying his book and listening to his untested advice on babies. Although Spock might have had good intentions, he ended up only hurting the baby population. Because his theories on babies were untested and wrong, he ended up killing tens of thousands of babies. After hearing about this, it proves that everything must be tested, even if certain findings may seem legitimate to people.
The second thing we looked at during this class was something called blood letting. The idea behind blood letting was that too much blood causes certain diseases, such as yellow fever. So, scientists had the idea to remove blood through things such as leeches and sharp instruments. Because blood letting was not tested enough, it ended up killing thousands of people. Today, people are aware that blood letting in most cases hurts rather than helps. Once again, a theory that was not tested enough ended up killing people. The x variable, was the idea that too much blood causes the y variable (yellow fever). Therefore, researchers thought they were right in removing pints of blood at once. They thought doing this would cure diseases like yellow fever.
We learned that the confirmation bias was favoring only certain parts of information (that you want to believe), and not acknowledging other parts. Scientists and researchers often made the mistakes of the confirmation bias. They wanted to believe their own information, and disregard the rest of the information that went against what they believed. The confirmation bias can do nothing but hurt people. A true researcher must look at all of the possibilities during his studies—not just the things he wants to believe.
One last major thing we talked about during this class was something called Thalidomide. Thalidomide was a drug created by a German drug company (Grünenthal GmbH). Pregnant women who took this drug ended up having deformed babies. One woman, however, was skeptical. Her name was Frances Oldham Kelsey. She wanted the evidence and demanded that science be given to prove the German drug did not cause any damages. Here, the null hypothesis would be that the drug does not cause any deformities in babies. The alternative hypothesis would be that Thalidomide does, in fact, cause deformities in babies. Kelsey turned out to be right, and was admired by people around the world. All she asked for was proof, and she was right in doing so. She ended up saving people from having deformed babies.
Overall, I have learned a lot in this class. Things and questions I had never even thought about came up, and it was interesting to see what the results and outcomes of certain studies were. I learned about aliens, animals, and humans. I learned about science and the supernatural. I now know a lot more and feel a lot more informed on certain topics I might want to know about in the future. One thing that really changed my way of thinking is this class in particular. This class truly showed that although doctors always have the best intentions, we can’t just believe everything they say because they are doctors. We have to do as Frances Oldham Kelsey did and ask for proof.
Many parents and adults believe that vaccines can lead to children having autism. My very close friend’s mother chose to not vaccinate any of her children with many of the recommended vaccines that doctors see as essential for every child. One day as I sat in my friend’s kitchen, I listened to her mother as she told me about how she ” knows people who have children with autism CAUSED by vaccines. “She truly believed that vaccinating her children would increase their chances of getting autism and I thought she was justified.
As a 17 year old at the time, I had no knowledge of this matter and my friend’s mother was very convincing. I had listened to her for about a half hour as she ranted about doctors and vaccines and up until November 3rd, I had been strongly convinced that vaccines could very likely cause some kids to develop autism.
When I saw the subject matter for Andrew’s class on November 3rd I was very interested about what he had to say about the very controversial subject. I thought the class would consist of stories and studies that proved that vaccines do indeed sometimes lead to autism. I was wrong.
During that class I learned two things,
The reason I came to the 1st conclusion is purely because of what I learned in class. Of course vaccines are not safe (as nothing is truly safe), however, with today’s technology and medicine, vaccines might as well be labeled as safe. Just because some children develop autism a certain amount of time after a vaccine does NOT mean that the vaccine caused the autism. CORRELATION DOES NOT EQUAL CAUSATION!!
My second conclusion comes from the conversation I had with my friend’s mother. Just because she was an adult was enough for me to be totally convinced by her opinion. As I sat in science class I thought about how easy it was to sway my opinion and how I should start to have my own opinion. I felt kind of stupid that I considered not vaccinating my children in the future based off of one conversation I had with one person where I did a lot more listening than talking. I’m sure in the future I would have heard more about this subject but Andrew’s class really opened my eyes that day to how I should take people’s opinions with a grain of slat. (Especially the opinions of whom are not professionals).
To be honest, I almost dropped SC200 before I even stepped foot in the classroom. Although I was scared during the first three weeks, keeping this course on my schedule was the best college decision I have ever made. Let me explain.
It made me question everything
It wasn’t until about halfway through SC200 that I realized I had been what I call a “follower” my entire life. I was so easily swayed by people’s ideas, especially when they used statistics. I never turned around and asked my mother why I needed a coat when it was cold outside. I never stopped in the middle of a news article to say “Hey wait a minute!” For my entire life I have been following, taking people’s word for subjects in fields where I was uneducated. I am not entirely sure if Andrew’s main goal was to make us question things, but that is definitely the number one thing I got out of the course. Obviously it’s not good to question every single little thing in life, but it’s important to analyze situations and try to understand the “why” behind so many happenings in life.
This is probably considered weird in today’s day and age, but I actually read the newspaper every day. Since this course has begun I have literally found myself laughing out loud over certain articles. I pick them apart, look for possible errors or flawed reasoning. But then suddenly I stop laughing and become filled with disappointment and sometimes even anger. How could such poorly designed studies be published by national news companies?
Andrew Read’s class was certainly the most practical class I have ever taken. Some of my classes that I currently take involve brute memorization but do not promote any type of critical thinking. As I write this, I am filled with a feeling of joy. The best part is that the skills and materials I learned in Andrew’s class will carry on throughout my entire life. It won’t matter if the year is 2100 and 101 years old! I will always think in a different manner because of this course. And that’s what I really applaud Andrew for, he taught me something that very few are capable of doing, and he did it by changing the way I think. Not many people have done that in my life. I want to close this by saying thank you to Andrew. Thank you for teaching me practical knowledge that I will be certain to use in my everyday life. Thank you for making me question things that would have never occurred to me if I had not taken SC200. Thank you for being my teacher.
Picking a subject for this post is very difficult because I have learned a lot regarding many different topics in science through this class. As a general topic, something that I have learned in this course involves mechanisms. More specifically, the fact that there is not necessarily a mechanism needed to explain why something works. For example, in class Andrew mentioned frequently that there was no known cure for Scurvy, but people noticed sucking on lemons made a positive difference. Nobody knew vitamin C was the solution until later on, but it still worked without an explanation for it.
This has the ability to change my outlook on life because things can be true without having to know the reason behind it. For example, finding solutions to other types of life issues, falling in love, or making new friends. There are many unanswered questions in life and mysterious meanings behind relationships and discoveries. This class has opened my eyes to notice more about what is around me and not taking everything very literal.
When scheduling classes in August, I dreaded the thought of taking a general science course, as I did not know what to expect. From the first class, I got a feel for the way Andrew Read concentrated solely on what we take away from his lectures rather than how we can memorize the information and go great on tests. I did not think that a single class would effect my thinking, and cause me to have a new perspective on the world I live in. However, I was completely wrong in this assumption and in for a rude awakening.
Poor Learning Habits
Coming from the Philadelphia Public School system, the schools I attended were so focused on achieving good grade averages and standardized test scores, that we were not taught to learn material, but to memorize it for the test. I never really had a class in my life that caused me to reach a higher level of thinking, so high to the point that even the smartest scientists couldn’t answer these questions. I’ve never taken a course that required me to hold myself accountable to THINK about the possible answers and reasons for an idea. Honestly, I can say that I have not learned much from past professors and teachers, because they
expected me to go home and memorize the material, rather than requiring me to think about it, in order to fully understand it. When I look back on this fact, it explains why I did so poorly on my Class Tests in this course. I was so used to having the answers right in front of me by simply referring to my notes, but that is not the case in this class. I found what I thought to be the right answers, but I did not think hard enough to eliminate minor details that make it wrong. Another anecdote for why I believe my first Blog Assessment Period received a D is because I did not yet acquire this higher level of thinking, and thought what I wrote was enough, without exploring all possibilities, or other third-causal variables for the topics I chose. This is all a direct causation to the poor teaching habits I’ve endured for twelve years.
When Andrew Is Added To The Equation
I knew for a fact after just my second class with Andrew Read that I would have to really buckle down and take the course seriously, with much more effort than my other classes. Andrew made it clear that this course can only be what you make of it. We also saw testimonies from previous SC200 students that regretted not putting more effort into blogs, tests, and thinking about the material. When I read those, I assured myself that I would not have those regrets come Week 15. Now here it is Week 14, and I’m writing this blog the same day it is due. Well, Andrew also did say that procrastination is a big factor in this course and that is something I’d have to work on myself.
All in all, I firmly believe that this course with Andrew has enlightened my critical thinking. Things that I have believed for so many years I now can question thanks to Mr. Read. I always believed “studies” and “statistics” on news websites and blogs, but now I know that everything is questionable. There is a difference between concrete facts and science. Science will always have error, so there is no definite, 100% right answer. Without Andrew elaborating on this idea so heavily throughout the course I would not have thought of things this way. I always thought “well they’re scientists so it has to be right”, when in fact that is the complete opposite. A main attribute of science is finding error, and creating new knowledge from it. So how could I possibly think that all science was correct? Concepts Andrew taught us such as the File Drawer Problem and Texas Sharp Shooter Problem helped me think critically when evaluating science on the internet, allowing me to spot what is likely to be crap science, or biased.
I truly believe that this course has deeply effected my perspective on the world. Also, I can connect the concepts to my life decision making. Andrew taught us that our intuition is lousy, and I always thought what I initially think to be the best way. But this conclusion that human intuition is lousy, changed my thinking. For instance, the Monty Hall Problem is a prime example of how humans think their intuition cannot fail them.
Instead of thinking, 50-50, there is always a strategic answer to the problem. This caused me to think deeply about the situations I make in life. When I weight out the possibilities of being in situations, I now know that it is not always so defined as going one way or the other, there is always more to the problem. What my intuition tells me to be good for me, may not always be, but critical thinking cannot fail me.
Also, knowing the risk versus the danger of things and situations helps me decide what I deem as “safe” and what I refuse to do. When learning the risk of death by car accident compared to other everyday things such as getting vaccinated it made me really think deeply. Why would I rather endure the risk of getting in a car than getting a shot to prevent me from getting sick in the future? Little everyday things, such as getting on the Blue Loop to class can put me at risk. These are little things I never would have thought about had I not taken SC200, which is why I am grateful for Andrew Read and Penn State University for offering this course.
On the very first day of Science in Our World: Certainty and Controversy, I knew that I would be learning principles that could be applied to my life, even after I had long completed the class for credit. Andrew made a point to say that anything can be accomplished in his class if enough effort is put forth, and now, sitting here writing this blog with only one full week left of classes, I could not agree with him more. Looking back, we were all in control of the outcome of the class, and although I learned that effort can get a person very far, I also learned two critical pieces of information that perhaps might change the rest of my life forever and alter the way I perceive the world indefinitely: question everything and a person’s intuition is unimaginably lousy.
No Matter What, Question it!
Nothing in this world is safe from the shackles of failure and falsity, and thus, everything is susceptible to the possibility of inaccuracy; a clear example is how we learned that nothing in science is actually proven and that the prospect of chance playing a role in experiments is always existent. Whether you have evidence to support your claims, or if you simply have the power of anecdotes behind a hypothesis, nothing in this world can be 100 percent proven to be the truth because there is always a possibility for error and for chance to take its role in a situation or experiment. As we learned in the early sessions of the semester, science is a formalized detection system that is exposed to criticism from others; thus, one can argue that the purpose of science is to question the work, no matter how much evidence has been gathered to prove its truth. Nothing is off limits, and scrutiny is always welcomed in the scientific community; everything is meant to be judged in science, and by extension, the rest of the world.
One of the most notable examples of a failure to question was the proposed solution to Sudden Infant Death syndrome that Doctor Benjamin Spock introduced in the mid 1900’s; in 1946, he published a book called Baby and Child Care: The Common Sense Book of Baby and Childcare that refuted the old myth that babies should not be touched or loved as often to protect them; Instead, he replaced it with the myth that babies should be put to sleep on their stomachs to prevent them from choking on their vomit if such should occur. Of course, since he was a doctor and nobody thought to question him, tens of thousands of babies around the globe were killed, which only further magnifies that when people fail to question, situations turn awry. Perhaps an even scarier example is when we learned about how ancient people used to believe that blood letting, which was the practice of making people bleed to alleviate sickness, was an actual form of acceptable medicine; back then, doctors had no alternative or solution, and so they, too, agreed to this practice. Little did they that this actual made conditions worse, and, eventually, George Washington died from a sore throat because of it.
Fear not, however, because we also learned of the heroic actions of a woman named Frances Oldham Kelsey who questioned a drug called Thalidomide and saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Instead of believing what other doctors claimed to be truth, she demanded FDA approval and refused to believe testimonials. Fortunately for America, she refused this drug because, in other countries around the globe, babies were being born without limbs and other deformities that ruined their appearances.
Lets face it: our intuition is just crappy! Every time we believe something to be truth without questioning it at all, we get let down; above are just simple examples of our world’s history when we fail to question. Thus, it is clear that our intuition is a failed response to a problem, so, although we can find faults in other peoples claims, it is nearly impossible to find them in our own.
In general, SC 200 taught me valuable life skills that I would not have learned otherwise, so I am very grateful to have taken it!
I was always wondering why chicken breeders do not have this problem of diseases in their birds and even though they keep a really big number in a small cage or area. The reason I thought about it is because I used to breed birds when I was at high school, but when one of my birds coughs a disease, such as diarrhea, all the other birds in the same cage get the disease and either die or become very sick, which is not just painful for me to watch them die but is also too costly for me. I came to understand why these business owners do not suffer big losses when I learned in class about vaccination and got a deeper understanding of vaccination around the world. However, I was able to link to my aviculture business only when Andrew discussed in class how chicken industries vaccinate chickens to prevent diseases from spreading and causing chickens to die.
Image found Here
I also used to hear that almost all rabbit breeders vaccinate their rabbits, but I never paid a lot of attention on it. In fact, I did not really care about how important vaccinating was and did not even care if any of the animals that I would buy are vaccinated until I heard from Andrew about the chicken farm he visited to do his research. I then realized how important vaccination is and how useful it is for aviculture businesses and how it could help think of it from both a business and perspective and a science perspective.
when I was at high school, I managed an aviculture business. The birds I was breeding are called Zebra Finches. They are known to their tendency live in big groups in their original habitant. In addition, many bird breeders prefer to put a group (4-50)of them in one cage. When I first bought these birds I put them in one cage, but because of the spreadable diseases that came to many of my friends birds and because of the recommendations my friends had given me, I later decided to put each pair of birds in a separate cage, which, by the way, is very costly and takes a lot time and effort to feed them and clean each cage. But now that I have a better understanding of vaccination, I decided to a research into this topic and look for studies that suggest vaccinating bird, as If I discovered that vaccinating is “proved” to be very efficient in aviculture, I will change my breeding method from keeping each pair in a cage to just one big cage for all birds of a single species, which as I mentioned earlier will help me take care of them in a more efficient way and also prevent diseases from spreading. It will also make the birds feel that they are in their original nature.
While I was researching, I read an article that talks about the potential negative effects of using the current chicken vaccine. I was surprised to know that not only the article talked about the same topic that Andrew discussed in class, but the article has also included quotes from Andrew.
The article was mainly talking about the effects of the current vaccines that are used to deal with some of chickens’ popular diseases such as Marek’s disease.
The article mentioned that in a study done by Andrew and his group, where they studied the effects in Marek’s disease on vaccinated and unvaccinated chickens, they noticed that the unvaccinated birds died after 10 days of getting the disease. The article concluded with a quote from Andrew that said that even though vaccines could have negative effects such as causing viruses to evolve and be able to fight the vaccine, breeders should still vaccinate their birds because of the fact that the chance of an unvaccinated chicken dying from a disease like Marek’s disease is much higher than if we chose to vaccinate all chickens and that we should still vaccinate chickens because they are considered an important role in the food industry.
However, this conclusion does not necessarily mean that it is the same thing with other birds, as the article has mainly discussed Marek’s disease effects on chicken, which I later learned that is not popular with birds such as Zebra Finches. So, I decided to do more research into this topic to decide if I should or should not vaccinate my birds.
Image found Here
After an hour of research, I found out that there any many fast-spreading diseases among Finches species and that the diseases that I should worry about do not have vaccines to “cure” them. The only vaccine that many articles recommended Zebra Finch breeders to use is a vaccine called Polyomavirus Vaccine. I did not know about this disease. However, I have just discovered that the symptoms associated with this disease were almost the same that I noticed in my birds when almost 20 of them died in two to three months. I did not know what the disease was. I also could not find a cure for it even though I kept asking many professional breeders about it. But now that I read about it and know that there is a vaccine for it, I decided to vaccine all my birds when I go back home in order to prevent the disease from spreading and killing my and friends’ birds.
During the first day of class, Andrew told us if we did not want to think hard we should not take his class. He also said one of his goals for this semester was to make SC200 a class we would never forget. I would say Andrew has succeeded in both, making us think critically about problems and providing us with material we will remember for the rest of our college years and beyond.
Scrolling through Facebook, you tend to see studies done that are supposedly life changing. Before taking SC200 I would often skim through the article and believe the results of the study without questioning who conducted the study and how it was conducted. After taking this course, I now look at these articles on my Facebook timeline differently. Just because an article appears on Buzzfeed does not make it true. If they say you can put honey on your feet to cure cancer I should not automatically believe it. I now recognize not every study is conducted well, and even if it is, that doesn’t mean it is correct. The biggest reason how SC200 has changed my life is how I react and evaluate studies.
Say I am reading that article I mentioned earlier about honey and cancer. Now I ask myself, is it observational or is it experimental. If it is observational there are tons of confounding variables possibly lurking. I would also ask myself could the results be to reverse causality. If it is an experimental study, I worry about how the study is conducted? Could the people involved in the study be biased? For example, if they were being tested on how fast they walk, would they walk faster or slower because they know they are being tested on this? How many people are in the study? The more people, the better the study. Is it random? It ought to be. Because randomization greatly reduces the likelihood of chance, although chance is always going to be a factor.
So say the study from the article is well conducted, features tons of people, is randomized, maybe even has a placebo, and does a good job of eliminating confounding variables. Now what do we worry about? Well I mentioned chance earlier. This is another crucial takeaway from the class. Even the most well conducted experiments could be due to chance. We learned about prayer being an effective healing method earlier in the class. This study was conducted very, very well. Except its results were proved to be due to chance after many studies were conducted. This is why repeating studies over and over again are crucial. If you get a false positive or a false negative you’ll know with many studies. A meta-analysis, which compiles sometimes 1,000’s of studies together, is the ultimate way of determining if a hypothesis is correct or not. The meta-analysis was able to disprove the link between prayer and healing.
Another thing I know look at is who did the study. Before I would just assume an impartial scientists did the study. Why is this important? It’s simple. If Coke published a study saying it is good for you, they reap the benefits of this. They’d get a boost of sales because of this study, so they would do everything in their power to make sure the studies benefit them. If the results do not benefit them, they could not publish them and hide them from the public until they get a false positive to show to the public. This is the File Draw Problem. This is extremely evident in studies based on medicine. This is also a reason why I also now look at scientific journals for studies and not Facebook, because these journals are peer reviewed. By publishing a study, the scientists leave the door open for other scientists to review their studies and to see if the results are true and the experiment was conducted well.
The last this class has taught me that has changed my life has been having an open mind. We suffer from motivated reasoning, which is having preconceived notions no matter what. Whenever I read anything now, whether it be politics or science, I try my best to eliminate my confirmation bias. If I thought something was wrong, I would have done anything in my power to find a reason to reject the data, or simply forget it, no matter how convincing the data is. This course has taught me to evaluate everything I disagree with, with an open mind before forming a judgment.
SC200 has certainly changed my life for the better. As I stated, I now have knowledge of chance, the cons and props of different types of studies, false negatives/positives, meta-analysis, randomization, the File Draw Problem, peer review, motivated reasoning, and confirmation bias. Before I knew about any of this I wouldn’t know how to properly evaluate something I read, and as a result, would foolishly believe any study. By knowing about all these topics, now I can properly react and evaluate studies.
As a student who is a product of standardized testing and lessened recess time, I have anxiety problems. These tend to permeate in not only school, though, but also in (somewhat irrational) phobias and fears. The one that seems to perk up the most is my fear of flying. Being from the far away state of Georgia, I tend to have to fly quite often to get home and/or see family. The fear of dying on a plane only truly magnifies when I am on a small plane (thank you, State College airport) or on a plane experiencing a lot turbulence. I’ve only once gotten to the point of having an anxiety attack on a plane, and it was this August flying home by my lonesome from Chicago to Atlanta after visiting my brother. There was an immense amount of turbulence the whole two hour flight. After I landed safely on the ground and cursed the pilot, I vowed to never fly alone again. Sadly, this was a useless vow, because I attend college hundreds of miles away from any close family. Because of having had that most recent flying experience, I was a bit weary of having to once again fly alone on my way to Florida to see my cousins for Thanksgiving.
When my connecting flight from State College to Philadelphia was delayed 30 min. for de-icing, I should have known I was in for a bumpy ride. Thankfully I had a slight amount of apathy in just wanting to get away from campus. As a nice metaphorical ‘have fun on break!’ sentiment from Penn State, I dealt with my two biggest causes of anxiety in flying: being a passenger of a small plane and constantly being rocked by turbulence on said small plane.
I was saved from another anxiety attack, though, by Andrew Read who had taught me and other SC 200 students about risk. The lesson truly applied to my life experiences, and so it changed the way I approached my fear of flying. In class the week before I learned to look at risk through the two components of exposure and hazard. In the review of the lesson, Andrew asked us a question about why the risk of dying in a plane crash in the U.S. is very very low. Plane crashes have a high hazard, it’s occurrence almost ensuring death, but a low exposure, because the likelihood of a plane crash, as stated in class, is extremely unlikely in America. There is a reason you rarely see a plane crash incident being reported on the evening news.
As I was on this plane ride, flying alone, clutching my armrest and shutting my eyes to forget the icy/wintry mix clouds outside aggressively hinting at my death, I remembered risk. To keep myself from silently crying and having a muted anxiety attack on this small plane, I kept repeating in my mind what was taught in class. Being in a plane crash is highly unlikely with modern technology and it’s a statistic of 1 in some-odd-million. The likelihood of me being on the nightly news is close to nothing. I will be in Florida soon.
My plane is not going to crash. My plane is not going to crash. My plane is not going to crash.
Viewing my phobia in terms of risk helped me rationalize my experiences, and I will continue to use these thoughts to calm myself as I experience this phobia of flying.
Since I was two years old I have been dubbed “the oldest.” My reign of only child lasted only two short years when my younger brother came along, then later my sister and finally another brother. I took on the role of older sister with open arms along with it’s many perks and downfalls. In a sense I was the “tester” for my parents, they tested out everything on me and learned from their mistakes. Sometimes it even feels like my younger siblings get away with things I got in insane amounts of trouble for, but I guess that’s what comes with being the oldest. In a family of six there are so many different personalities and attitudes in one household. We are all different individuals growing up in one family. This makes me wonder, does birth order affect our personality?
Some researchers believe birth order is as important as gender and almost as important as genetics. Parents nurture each child a little bit differently and no child plays the same role. Huffington Post puts each child in a category ranging from “the achiever” to “the life of the party.” These roles may differ from family to family but if you look hard enough you may find each of your siblings playing one of these roles. Birth order is a powerful variable in the unfolding of your personality. There is the obvious stereotypes of a family like the oldest being independent, the youngest being babied and well the middle child just being in the middle, however, these stereotypes aren’t too far off. The center of this whole theory is the size of our family and how we are raised.
The first is highly monitored because they enter a family of adults who are proud of their every progress and frightened by every potential injury. The first born are used to insane amounts of attention from their parents causing them to be control seeking, over-responsible, reliable, well-behaved, careful and basically smaller versions of their own parents. Parent’s except their first borns to be good role models and this tends to cause a lot of pressure. Due to their birth order the oldest child is usually a perfectionist and ultimately the boss.
Some may say the middle child really gets the short end of the stick, receiving the least amount of attention. Since their personalities emerge in response to how they perceive the next-oldest sibling in the family. If the older sibling is a parent-pleaser, the middle child might rebel to get attention. The oldest child bosses them around and the baby always gets what they want so how is the middle child supposed to act? The personality trait that defines you as a middle child will be opposite of that of your eldest and youngest sibling says a study in Huffington Post. Due to their birth order the middle child is usually laid back, fair and cooperative.
Finally we come down to the baby of the family. As the youngest child, you have more freedom than the other siblings and, in a sense, are more independent. As the youngest child, you also have a lot in common with your oldest sibling, as both of you have been made to feel special and entitled. The youngest child gets away with murder because at this point the parents are too tired and have given up. The youngest child is used to learning from their older siblings so they may seem advanced. The baby of the family is usually the token “wild child.” Due to their birth order the youngest child’s if far different from his/her siblings’.
While we may not notice it, our siblings shape us and make us the person we are today. Our behavior and attitude is due to the role we play in our family. Overall I have found that birth order truly does affect our personality.
Personally, when I think of emotions, science is probably the last word that would comes to mind. I like to think of emotions as one of the things on the planet that can’t be calculated.
The lectures on October 4th and 6th focused on the question, can prayer heal. When I saw this, I immediately tilted my head to the side, trying to understand how prayer can be measured scientifically… Church and science have always found themselves at a strong divide, and this was really unexpected. These are the classes that made me stop, and realize that we not only should, but CAN question anything.
While I usually prefer to stay in headspace I’ve gotten very acquainted with, this class has taught me otherwise. I may have held onto certain beliefs my entire life without ever so much as thinking to challenge them.
I’m aware that emotions like happiness and depression can be broken down into the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine that are present in the brain.
I started to wonder what emotion would I never think to calculate. Love. My strong belief that love is free from the cold calculation of science, was instantly challenged.
Naturally, dopamine has a role here as well. Dopamine production enhances the release of testosterone. As we know, testosterone greatly influences our sex drive by affecting multiple organs, including those used for reproduction. Testosterone also causes our sweat glands to be more active, and even heightens our senses.
If you recall what I said earlier, dopamine is a major player for our levels of happiness and excitement as well.
Neurotransmitters norepinephrine and phenylethylamine cause a person to focus on the object of their affection. (You know, that obsessive, can’t stop thinking about that person feeling? Yeah, blame these two.) They’re responsible for the feelings of being unable to sleep when consumed with thoughts of that special someone, a sense of euphoria, as well as giddiness.
Remember Pavlov’s experiment with his dogs? Eventually, the dogs would associate the sound of a bell with getting food. Falling in love is kind of like that. With all these chemicals floating around, there starts to be a sense of reward. Sure, initially a lot of this can be sexual. However, this is why when you see someone you’re falling in love with, or they touch your arm, etc. there’s usually a sensation of euphoria that follows.
According to the findings of Helen Fisher et all, the brains of those whom would consider themselves passionately in love, show the reward center in their brain being activated when put through an MRI.
Falling in love is amazing, it’s one of the best feelings in the world in fact. However, now we know that’s it’s not just the work of cupid. There’s a lot of science behind it.
Friends started coming up to me saying, “Since you got that Beetle, I keep seeing them everywhere.” It’s funny, because I started thinking the same thing as I drove around more.
In class, one of the first lessons we had, was correlation need not equal causation. Even if something lines up with the timing of something else perfectly, that’s not proof they have anything to do with each other.
My sophomore year of college, I wanted a more “grown up” vehicle (which I totally regret.) and I became the new owner of a grey, Mazda 3.
The more I drove around, the more I started to notice how many Mazda 3s were around.
So, there are a few possibilities here.
The easiest conclusion (and also the most ego centric, would be to assume that my purchase of this car, somehow influenced other people.
However, after having the concept of correlation need not equal causation written loudly in my memory now, it’s more likely due to a 3rd variable.
Because a Mazda 3 now has significance to my personal life, I’m bound to notice others more. (I can’t prove this without testing, but it’s the most likely.)
Whether we know it or not, hair color can tint our personality and the way the world sees us more than we think. As someone who has loved changing my hair color throughout my entire life, I’ve actually noticed this phenomena myself.
My time spent with black hair, people would assume I was a little more poetic, meditative, even mysterious. My time as a brunette, I was noticeably more respected and viewed as someone who was a hard worker. (regardless of the amount of work or effort I would do.) And then my freshman year I spent some time as a blonde. Blondes have more fun. At least that’s the common perception a lot of people have.
According to an article in National Geographic, Hair and skin color only make up 1/3,200,000,000th of your body’s chemistry. In our gene sequences, our hair color is decided from one, very minuscule change. With one pair of letters, (again, out of the 3.2 billion pairs that we have…) one letter will change. This determines, how much melanin a person produces (this is what makes our skin darker or lighter.) It determines our hair color as well.
It’s fascinating to me that we focus so heavily on something like this, because it’s very visible to us. It just so happens that hair is one of the most noticeable things while seeing a person. We can’t see if they have the DNA sequence for Parkinson’s (until it develops), we can’t see if a person will like the taste of coffee or not.
Back to the question of whether or not blondes have more fun.
Blondes are typically used to receiving more attention than other hair colors, due to the fact that their hair is just naturally more eye-catching. It’s very light, which will cause people to be drawn in their direction. As humans, we form stereotypes that really limit our perceptions to the world around us. My personal time spent as a blonde I often found myself teased for being dumb (even if playfully,) or expected to be the one that would want to be out instead of staying in and doing work. As soon as I changed my hair color, that stopped.
Stereotypes are difficult. In class we learned heavily about reverse causation, and I wonder. Do we stereotype blondes because of the way they act, or do they act a certain way due to this stereotype?
Plagiarism was always a moral issue with me more than academic. If you cheat your way through anything, then you are not reaping the benefits of learning. and that is serious. I was asked to do this post on plagiarism after I tried to do the test for more than 7 times! I finally got it right and I was late. I thought it was very hectic and at one point I thought I should give up and try to figure out what to do with this test. But I persevered and tried until i got the score I wanted. I believe that plagiarism is rampant because its an escape and easy route to a diploma, but what kind of diploma do you want? one where you know what you were talking about and did the things you were supposed to do? or one skipped and breezed along? its common for people to cheat since each and every professor has his or her own method of teaching that can be overwhelming to some. that why cheating is always easy. but I truly believe, from personal experience and other, that cheating is only a momentary gratification. because in the long run, you not only wasted your money, but your also embracing a culture that does not respect hard work and ethics. two very important factors in succeeding and winning in life. I always think about it this way, if I cheat now? whats next? Am I going to cheat at my job? if claiming one’s work for myself is the beginning, then the end cant be good right? will I get fired because of that ? There must be a scene of self discipline because if you dont abide by it, you will get caught and disciplined by whoever is inn a position to do something about it. Just depend on yourself, and even if you fail, at least your conscience will be clear and you will learn many lessons that will empower you in ways you wont be able to imagine, dont cheat! its bad for your career! Believe me! (in Trump’s voice)
As a musician almost my entire life, not a day goes by where I’m not listening to music. It doesn’t feel right. There have been a few times that I’ve been too busy with school and work that by late evening I just noticed myself feeling duller than usual.
It’s not just me that feels that music has the ability to cause feelings of euphoria. In fact, it’s been scientifically proven.
You know that feeling when you’re driving in your car, and your favorite song happens to come on? You may get tingles, goose-bumps, or just in general feel really happy. So why do we have this reaction exactly?
Dopamine is what controls our reward center. Things like food, sex, and chemicals cause our brain to release this neurotransmitter, causing us to get a sense of euphoria. This article talks about a study that was one of the first bits of proof we’ve had that dopamine is responsible for emotional responses to music.
The study involved multiple volunteers that were instructed to bring in one song that had significance to them, and then another would be used as the control. By use of a PET scan, researchers were able to see increased brain activity in the mesolimbic reward center.
Interestingly enough, you would assume that dopamine levels would be highest at the most anticipated parts of songs, however the levels peaked when the subjects were anticipating the high they thought they would feel.
One thing this article says is that music isn’t necessary for survival. I disagree.
Yoga and the science behind yoga have been studies this man kind first began. For years people have used yoga to get the full mind and body connection they look for. For year scientist have studied yoga and all it’s practices to try find how yoga can connect you to special parts of your brain.
MRI’s have been the best way for scientist to learn how yoga and meditation correlate with your brains activity. Scientist through MRI’s have found that yoga and mediation actually do change the way your brain works. Some scientist have said it could possible change your brain overtime Is what’s called brain plasticity. Your brain will be more functional over time inducing the yoga and meditation activities more over time. Scientist say you will see a change in the bodies stress reacting system overtime. Other things like your immune system builds up and becomes stronger as well.
Yoga and meditation isn’t something people should do when they are stressed up. Yoga and meditation are practices that you should try to do on a more consistent basis. They have physical, mental, and physiological benefits that can help everyone. Scientific researchers find new benefits every day.
Hello all! Like many of us, I spend a lot of time on youtube, and recently I have found a new discourse: are nonbinary people real, or are there just two genders and nonbinary people are just pretending?
First, let’s get some definitions out of the way, for those who aren’t quite up to date on current LGBT vocabulary. Cis is someone who identifies as the gender they were assigned as, while trans is not. Nonbinary people are those who identify outside of male and female. Sex is what is your genitals/what you were called when you were born. Gender is what you identify as. Lastly, a trans-trender is someone who pretends to be trans for attention.
Now, psychology has proved that trans people are real, and that sex has nothing to do with your gender, which is stated in the link above along with the definitions. So, first I will present what being trans is, the possible motivation of trans-trenders, and then see if nonbinary people are real and is it a valid gender.
Trans people suffer from gender dysphoria, which is the feeling people often describe as feeling as though “you were born in the wrong body/gender”. Gender dysphoria is the very thing that causes people to identify as a different gender. Gender dysphoria is a mental illness, and the cure is transitioning. I have seen many people often ask why some trans people don’t get “the surgery”, and the answer is trans people do not transition for the public, but rather to alleviate their own self-hatred and mental illness. This is where trans-trenders differ.
Trans-trenders don’t transition at all, more often than not identify as nonbinary, and will often times argue that there is no need to have gender dysphoria, which is where my confusion sets in. I will admit that at one point, I agreed with this thought because I thought this was saying that the public cannot police how trans people exist, but see, if a person has no gender dysphoria, then why would they identify as another gender? Now, this could very well be to a misunderstanding, as gender dysphoria does not have to be physical. As I said, gender has nothing to do with one’s physical body, but rather how they feel and mentally identify, so their dysphoria could be mental. However, I do have a theory as to why people might feel the need to identify as trans when they are not.
There’s a website called tumblr, and while I’ve been on there for four+ years and enjoy my time on that platform, there is a very toxic area on the website that hates privileged people, and believe white, cis people are scum, and even though “down with cis” was a joke, too many took it seriously. Now, I will say that I’m not cis gendered myself, but I can definitely see why they loud hatred of cis people can make someone want to hide from that label. Why else would someone willingly subject themselves to transphobia? Do these people just not realize how many trans people are attacked, harassed, and more likely to be killed? Now as to why most of these trans-trenders identify as nonbinary? I have a theory that it’s just easier to look androgynous than the opposite sex.
Now, my next question is, are nonbinary people real? I have yet to see the trans community hate nonbinary people, in fact the only youtubers I personally have seen have been cis men with commentary channels, and the trans community seems to overall accept this identity pretty much completely. But does science?
As I stated before, psychology supports that gender has nothing to do with psychology, which is stated on page as I stated above, which would open the doors to more than two genders. This article goes over the experience of being nonbinary, and discusses gender dysphoria and transition processes, which would make them trans by definition, as I discussed before.
The main argument that I see besides nonbinary people are trans-trenders is that many people just deny their existence or say it isn’t possible. Now, I find this unlikely, as there are older people who identify outside the gender binary, making it unlikely it is something teenagers with underdeveloped brains do, and the state of Oregon, one can legally identify as nonbinary. Now, in order for a state to justify this gender, surely there must be some sense behind it? I don’t understand how many people can just deny it isn’t possible to identify as nonbinary, but it is legally in Oregon.
The way I see it is, nonbinary is a real and valid gender, and people can identify as it, but the gender has unfortunately been used by people who wish to be apart of the LGBT+ community either for attention or to avoid being harassed on the internet, only to be harassed more for identifying as trans.
Another classic battle of the sexes! This time, it is whether or not men are the dominant gender when it comes to the productivity in an office setting such as a corporation, cubical, etc. A UC Berkley study released in 2006 by Trond Petersen, Vermund Snartland, and Eva M. Meyersson Milgrom says that men and women produce at relatively the same level (all things held equal). There was an interesting insertion in the findings about men taking more sick days than the women in the study by one percent or so, which I also thought was interesting. Assuming that two candidates (one male and one female) are doing the same job and all things are help equal (experience, education, work ethic, etc.), which will be more productive. That’s what this seeks to investigate.
Here, the independent variable is the work done (i.e. the occupation); and, the dependent variable is the self-identified sex of the person in the study. However, what is important to keep in mind is to make sure that the field or occupation is gender neutral, which means that the field cant be dominated by men or dominated by women. It needs to be equal opportunity for success from both to prevent bias from creeping into the equation. It’s easy to make an alternate hypothesis like this and say that women are less productive than men because of their time spent socializing and shopping online. I would argue that men waste time that they could using to be productive as well. There is some correlation between gender and success in particular occupations due to the physical make up of a man or woman. For example, a woman is more equipped to be a midwife than a man is.
For just about every statistic that says a man is more productive, there seems to be an equally present on that says that a woman is either just as productive or more productive. If we want to get more into the deeper underlying causes of why men may be more productive than women, we can talk about the wage gap that has existed between men and women for decade, since the women’s suffrage era. Even today, women are paid cents to the dollar of a man, which can cause underlying bias about the work ethic of women and the value of having a woman versus a man in a particular role. Just like real estate, one important thing that wasn’t mentioned much in the study was the role of location. In some places there are equal opportunities for men and women and equal pay.
To conclude, the study was conducted mostly outside the United States, but it is still quite relevant tot he working woman vs the working man. I will accept this hypothesis of the study because it is partially true. In a way, women may be more productive than men because they are doing the same work at less the rate of pay. However, this hypothesis may not be true with the presence of a 3rd party variable – location.Those cases are few and far between though. The primary reason I will accept is because there is relatively no difference in productivity if all things are held equal in a scenario. Specific occupations, even if things held equal for both a man and a woman, may prove slightly advantageous to a particular gender.
Guns have been a hot topic the last few years. There are hundreds of types of guns you can buy, and each gun has its own way of working. Along with the different types of guns, you have all kinds of ways to customize your guns. You can buy lasers, sights, and much more, but I’m going to be talking about silencers. Whenever you think of silencers of guns James Bond pops into a lot of people’s minds. How can a silencer make a gun almost silent?
The real name for the common word silencer is actual compressor. It is called that because it is impossible to make a gun that is silent. The sound of a gun comes from three main sources of the gun, the hammer, gun powder, and pressurized gas. The pressurized gas coming out of the powder is 3000 pounds per square inch, that’s how the bullet is push out the end of the barrel.
Compressor lower the sounds with the way the barrel is made. The barrels of compressors are longer and bigger than the barrels on the guns. Inside the compressors there are special groves and chambers that give all the compressed gas a place to expand. Normally without a compressor the gasses come out at 60 pounds per square inch, but with a compressor drop them to about 20 decibels. 20 decibels are about the sound of a whisper. That’s how a compressor works.
Steroids are one of the most popular and well known drugs in the world. When most people think of steroids they think of professional bodybuilders, or other sports athletes like A Rod, but were did steroids come from and how do they work?
Steroids started in 1939 in Germany. A Germany scientist named Adolf Butenandt, who won a Nobel Prices for his research on testosterone. From then on Germany was the Mecca for steroids and steroid research. Over the years Germany had leaps and bounds in the steroid world. German scientist found through countless hours of research that when a man works out that testosterone levels drop dramatically. Along with testosterone levels dropping, gluco-corticoid builds up in the body. Gluco-corticoid has an catabolic effect on the body, meaning that it breaks down the muscle tissue. Steroid stop the bodies testosterone levels from falling and blocks the gluco-corticoid. That means the muscles get bigger, stronger harder, faster.
One issue that has become increasingly popular on our campus is the attention we pay to mental health and those who suffer from mental health issues on our campuses. In fact, Penn State did a study and reported the findings about it in an online document that can be accessed easily. I think this is an absolutely fantastic idea, and it should continue to be an ongoing conversation because of the relevance it has in the live of over 46,000 undergraduate students and University Park. Our commonwealth campuses are focusing on it as well. Within the this wide range of data presented in the study and the findings, I am presenting the hypothesis that religion has a significant impact on the mental health of the students that use the resources. Significant in this case would mean more than 50% of the sample population.
After investigating the data presented, I cross referenced the graphs on page 28, more specifically the graphs about the religious preferences of the participants and to what extent (self identified) that the participants felt their religious or spiritual preferences play a role in their life (see below).
The question isn’t whether a differing religion will make the difference in mental health, but that may be interesting to explore at another point. Remember, the hypothesis we are looking at is “religion has a significant impact on the mental health of the students and Penn State”. The null hypothesis is that religion has no effect on the mental health of the students at Penn State. The dependent variable here is the presence of a religious affiliation; the independent variable here are the students that self identified in this data.
Most students that were surveyed self identified with some form of religion within the study. From the data, we can see that, as expected, most people identify as Christian. This seems to be the classic science vs religion argument because Psychology Today says that religion may have a negative affect on the health of people, including students. Interestingly enough, the data from the table shows us that most people said that they possessed a neutral stance (34.7%) on their religion’s importance in their life, followed closest by people saying that it plays an important (23.5%) role in their life in the Penn State study. With these two combined, we can see that majority of the people in this sample of Penn State students is either indifferent towards the role of religion in their health. However, Live Science says that religion can be good for health, especially mental health because of the stress reduction from increased levels of coping.
In conclusion, the highest percentage of student seemed to be indifferent to the role of spiritual activity/religion in their lives; this doesn’t support my hypothesis too much. Its like I should reject both my hypothesis and the null hypothesis because religion has a varying impact on the individual and can be the difference in health situation through coping with the stress. The null hypothesis says that there would be no link between mental health and religion at all, which isn’t entirely true from the aforementioned data and studies. Religion definitely can have a positive correlation with health, in some cases, but we all know that correlation doesn’t equal causation. What is the better suggestions is that there is another variable that can be more prominent for causing health to become better, like medicine or frequency of visits to the Health Center. Thus, an alternative hypothesis would likely be adopted to better explain the improvement in mental health of Penn State students.
The topic of psychokinesis, or “telekinesis”, being used in science is a blurry one. While the null hypothesis states that it doesn’t exist and it’s impossible, with no other existent “magical” forms having been found yet, it’s impossible to say it most certainly doesn’t exist. However, I wouldn’t get your hopes up too high.
In an online survey conducted by psychologist Richard Wiseman which surveyed 400 magicians worldwide, the question “Do you believe that psychokinesis exists (i.e., that some people can, by paranormal means, apply a noticeable force to an object or alter its physical characteristics)?” was met with a mostly negative response. In fact, 83.5% of the magicians surveyed said NO, while only 9% said YES. The other 7.5% were UNCERTAIN. While this in itself is not evidence by any means, it gives a good sample of what those who practice the art of deception have to weigh in on the subject.
While many believe that because we supposedly only use 10% of our brains, meaning there’s nearly infinite possibilities for what we may be able to do if we were to access the other 90%, this is in fact a myth, as we have been shown to use 100% of our brains through the use of imaging (including PET scans). As a matter of fact, according to the same article, if our brain waves were able to have some sort of impact on the physical realm, it would be rendered useless, as the waves would only travel a few millimeters away from our heads.
On the contrary, a longitudinal study cited in this article highlights the potential of our mind’s power through the use of Random Event Generators (REG). While the results may have appeared promising, though subtle, we run into the same problem that we did with the studies on preemptive prayer. As such, with the lack of additional studies to back this work up, as well as the lack of a mechanical explanation for it, it’s very possible that this study suffers from a false positive.
The problem is, without a mechanic that can undeniably explain it, save for some more wild theories on quantum mechanics, it’s hard to make progress on the possibility. But at the same time, we run into the opposite end of the spectrum: The fact that it can’t be proven that a mechanic doesn’t exist out there. Until we have definitive evidence that things like quantum superposition exists beyond just theories, you probably shouldn’t expect to see any breakthroughs in telekinesis that aren’t surrounded by a LOT of superstition and caution.
The science behind squatting. Squatting like all exercises has different forms and variations like front squat, back squat, high bar, low bar, and many more, but what’s the science behind how to properly squat, and get full benefits from it without getting hurt?
The Squat is an exercise that works the muscles in your legs. When most people think of squat they thing about their quads, but the squat is an exercise that is a full body exercise. The main muscles you work are the quads, but secondary muscles like you adductors, abductors, glutes, and many others are thrown in the mix too.
There are a few steps to start a squat. First you want you to walk up to the bar and have your feet a little more than shoulder width apart. You want to grab the bar and make sure your hands are even, and place the bar right above your traps. Once set lift the weight up keeping your core tight, squat down keeping your knees lined up with your toes and go down below parole.
There are two parts to a muscle contraction, you have your acentric and eccentric. Controlling the weight while going down in the squatting causes your muscle to have an eccentric contraction. The eccentric contraction will turn into an acentric contraction on your way top to the top of the squat. When developing muscles, the eccentric contraction is just as important as the acentric contraction, so go down controlled. That is the basic science behind a squat.
The last decade the supplement industry has taken over the fitness world. You have your bigger main stream supplement companies like BSN, ON, Cellucor, and dozens of others. It seems like a new pre workout supplement is coming out, but how do these companies make the supplements?
Looking at the back label of a pre workout supplement you might see up to twenty different ingredients. The scientist the supplement companies hire do experiments and studies to see what combination of supplements works the best. The basic overall goal of a pre workout is to give you more endurance, energy, and focus during a workout. One of the main ingredients in all pre workouts it caffeine. Caffenie is a stimulant that works with a chemical in your body called adenosine. Adenosine is a chemical in your body what when it builds up causes you to get sleepy, caffeine in the pre workouts lowers the adenosine activity in your body. Beta-alanine is an ingredient you will find in almost all pre workout supplements. Beta-alanine is an amino acid. The scientist put beta-alanine in pre workout because there’s histidine in your body. When you mix histidine and beta-alanine it makes up carnosine. Carnosine helps with lactic acid build up in your body increasing your overall performance. Citrulline malat is an ingredient that increases your bodies ATP production in our body. The ingredient citruline malat overall with combination of processes in your body helps you recover faster.
There are a lot of pre workout supplement companies out there. Each one will tell you their better than the others, but there supplements are all made with the same three basic ingridents that scientist have found to work best. Caffeine for energy, beta-alanine to hold off laic acid, and citrulline malat to help you recover faster between sets.