My Daughter Karens Sociam Media presntation in one of my 4 classes. It was a busy day for Professor Freberg 2.0

My Daughter Karen’s Social Media presentation (“Managing your on-line reputation) in one of my 4 classes. It was a busy day for Professor Freberg 2.0

Here is what I am reading today:

“In a playground filled with gleeful shouts, you approach a group of children. Suddenly, your vision turns blurry and pixelated. The echoing screams become raucous.

It’s the experience of sensory overload, according to a new game called Auti-Sim. The simulation, created by a three-member team at the Vancouver Hacking Health hackathon, aims to raise awareness of the challenges of hypersensitivity disorder and help people understand how it can lead to isolation.”

“Three-dimensional mapping of the brains of 7 adults with a rare brain birth defect has shed new light on the cause of autism.

Known as agenesis of the corpus callosum (AgCC), the defect is characterized by complete or partial absence of the corpus callosum, which connects the left and right sides of the brain. One of the primary genetic causes of autism, it was part of the brain physiology of Laurence Kim Peek, the savant portrayed by actor Dustin Hoffman in the 1987 film Rain Man.”

“The study, to be published in the May issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, found that participants given more powerful roles in two experiments attributed fewer uniquely human traits—characteristics that distinguish people from other animals—to their peers who were given less powerful roles. “I think a lot of us have the intuition that some powerful people can be pretty dehumanizing,” said Jason Gwinn, a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and lead author of the study. “But our goal was to test if power, when randomly assigned to ordinary students, would have that effect. That would say something about power itself rather than about the sort of people who have the drive to take power.””

“Overall, participants who chewed gum had quicker reaction times and more accurate results than those who didn’t chew gum. This was especially true toward the end of the task, according to the study, which was published March 8 in the British Journal of Psychology. “Interestingly, participants who didn’t chew gum performed slightly better at the beginning of the task but were overtaken by the end,” Kate Morgan, of Cardiff University, said in a journal news release. “This suggests that chewing gum helps us focus on tasks that require continuous monitoring over a longer amount of time.””

“…”These regions are important for social behaviors, particularly mating behavior,” said lead author Maggie Mohr, a doctoral student in neuroscience. “So, we thought maybe cells that are added to those parts of the brain during puberty could be important for adult reproductive function.” To test that idea, Mohr and Cheryl Sisk, MSU professor of psychology, injected male hamsters with a chemical marker to show cell birth during puberty. When the hamsters matured into adults, the researchers allowed them to interact and mate with females.”

“We humans love us some caffeine. The mild stimulant have saved many a student, parent, and hard working adult from nodding over their desks. And it’s a natural product of plants like the coffee plant and the tea bush. But the question is, why do these plants have it in the first place?

It turns out that there are two answers to that question. First, caffeine is a natural pesticide, which can paralyze and kill insects that want to chomp on the leaves, berries, or other parts of the plant. It’s good for keeping a bug off your back.”



kategraceOL · March 13, 2013 at 8:14 pm

In class we learned about Psychopharmacology in chapter four. One of the most interesting topics out of the different sections was, stimulants. Caffeine was the first one we looked at and its role on the human brain. In the article “Plants Give Bees a Caffeine Buzz”, it talks about how bees that pollinate caffeine plants and Citrus genus plants get a buzz that triggers a long term response, to the point of returning back to that specific plant (Scicurious)! This was interesting because, for us, caffeine only gives us a boost in alertness, and takes away sleepiness. Other components in our brain, like the hippocampus, helps us in memory—unlike the bees, according to the article, have a special Kenyon protein. This study is fascinating that the affect of a drug, not even brewed and taken in like we are normally use to, actually has a similar affect. Simply the intake from the pollen of a caffeine plant suggests that caffeine is quite powerful. Kind of scary, realizing caffeine’s effectiveness on our brains and neural receptors, when I begin to think about how much caffeine I’m consuming a day!

kategraceOL · March 13, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Our amygdala is very important to our overall healthy function of our brain. Good thing we have a component in our brain that helps us detect threat, fear, and rage. We’ve learned new cells being added to our brain has been studied but according to the article, “Brain Adds Cells in Puberty” it is a new discovery that cells are added in the specific area of the amygdala. I think our bodies are incredible to know when we are the “right” age to generate new cells. Even though the study is not one hundred percent accurate that new cells are in fact added specifically during puberty, it makes me wonder, as studies continue, if we will be able to know for sure some day? Being able to count and see new cell growth during puberty could give new observational insights that could possibly correlate to cognitive behavioral aspects as well.

kfrance · March 14, 2013 at 8:24 am

In response to auto-SIM game
I do behavioral therapy with children with Autism and to think that this game could possibly give us some insight into how they perceive the environments around them is amazing. In my experience, my clients have the hardest time when we go into the community, when they have to work on playing “with” friends, and any environment that is loud. Playing by themselves in a quiet environment is so much easier for them and less stressful. I have a client who throws tantrums when we enter any environment that is loud. It really is something that is hard. I have another client that would rather sit in a corner in silence than play with her peers on the playground. To an outsider this doesn’t make sense, but maybe this game can help us better understand what they are having to cope and deal with in this difficult situations.

kfrance · March 14, 2013 at 8:29 am

In response to give your brain an edge… chew gum!
This was really interesting. I have always been told that during a test you should chew gum and that it helps you perform better. It is cool that there was a study that actually supported this. I want to know why this works. As cool as the findings are, I want to know why chewing gum helps stimulate our memory/ concentration for a longer period of time compared to not chewing gum. I think it would be interesting if a study took that route in somehow investigating what is going on to help us better concentration while chewing gum.

rachel.simons · March 14, 2013 at 8:30 am

In response to: Give your brain a new edge…Chew Gum

It is interesting how chewing gum could potentially make you concentrate more effectively. I have definitely experienced this. It is also very effective during long car rides and helps me to concentrate on the road better. I would like to read more about what exactly is going on in the brain while chewing that keeps us awake and concentrated.

traoufi · March 14, 2013 at 12:33 pm

In response to “Plants give bees a caffeine buzz”-
I found it interesting that coffee flowers contain caffeine and that caffeine is an insect pesticide. It’s incredible the defenses plants evolve to have in order to protect their species. I had originally thought that only beans contained caffeine but it would be a great idea to make a “honeyed nectar” drink like the author mentioned. The results of the experiment concluded that caffeine does effect memory in bees which in turn keeps them coming back and pollinating the plants. I also found it fascinating that bees have receptors in their mouths that tells them when they’ve had enough caffeine so they don’t overdose and die, if only humans had that for drugs!

traoufi · March 14, 2013 at 12:52 pm

In response to “Brain adds cells in puberty to navigate adult world”-
We had learned in class that our brain produces some brain cells in puberty. In this particular study, researchers looked at the cells that were developing in the amygdala which is responsible for emotional memory and threat detection. I found it interesting that cells were being produced in this particular structure in the brain at puberty, a time when individuals can become more irritable, emotional, and at times angry. I wonder if the developing amygdala causes teens to become defensive and get into arguments with parents as most teens do during this time. It would be interesting to see results in humans since the study subjects were hamsters.

lily gomez · March 14, 2013 at 12:54 pm

People with power dehumanize….

In previous psychology courses we have discussed the Standford and Milgrams experiment, which I believe show how people in power can take advantage of the power given or follow those who are higher in power. I think societal expectations and influences shape the way we think, act and behave towards others. I participated in a similar experiment at UCSB where two individuals were given money and were asked to split the money based on how much that other person deserved. After participating in the experiment, I realized that sometimes moral values are hindered by greed and selfishness, which is what the majority of Americans are known for. Our environment has shaped our attitudes and has prioritized power and money more so than other values as the article explains.

sisandhu · March 14, 2013 at 10:27 pm

In response to: “Does chewing gum give your brain an edge?”

I found this article quite interesting, from previous classes it was explained how chewing gum while studying and then again during a test would produce context dependent memory. Improving your overall performance. But in this study it explained how in the earlier portions of the task, people who were not chewing gum were performing better than the gum chewers, but later were surpassed. I never would have suspected chewing gum improved focus on tasks that take longer periods of attention.

sisandhu · March 14, 2013 at 10:45 pm

In response to : “Plants give bees a caffeine buzz”

This article gave insight into a fascinating aspect of caffeine. To some extent it could be understood that caffeine plants have evolved to have caffeine for a specific reason, however I was always under the impression it was to deter insects that would harm the plant. Here we learn that the caffeine plant actually has caffeine in its nectar, thus when bees come to pollinate they consume a small quantity of it. The caffeine plays a similar role as it does in humans, except instead of affecting our hippocampus the caffeine acts on the bees Kenyon cells. Kenyon cells are similar to the hippocampus and that they both organize signals during learning. Kenyon cells have adenosine receptors, so when caffeine is consumed the cells are more likely to fire which is what causes the association between the bees memory and the location of the plant. I would be quite interesting in reading an article to see if the bees were actually fond of the caffeine and if so how dependent on it they could become.

jbfournier · March 14, 2013 at 11:01 pm

in response to: brain adds cells in puberty

I have always learned that brain cells cannot be regrown and that the cells you are born with are the only cells you’ve got. The fact that new cells have now been found to grow is really interesting and has changed my perception of cell division in the brain immensely. It is also really cool that these cells could be linked to behavioral characteristics associated with the changes of puberty. I think a related question to this finding is how much does new cell growth in puberty determine sexual conduct and interaction of individuals during puberty and after puberty.

jbfournier · March 14, 2013 at 11:07 pm

in response to: give your brain an edge…chew gum!!

I would really like to know what the cellular mechanisms or biochemistry that is behind the increased performance rates associated with chewing gum. Does the increased performance result from some hormone release associated with chewing, saliva production, and the anticipation of eating? Is there a chemical in the gum that increase cognitive abilities? Is there some sort of placebo effect that chewing gum made participants more likely to focus or find patterns faster. I feel there is a lot of area for further research and possible some huge findings.

ctamblin · March 14, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Response to “Dehumanizing” article:

This article reminded me of the shock experiments in which the participants felt social pressure to continue torturing the other “participant”. While that particular experiment crosses ethical guidelines, it is true that it lead to a greater understanding of a person’s mentality in extraordinary circumstances. I believe the same applies to people in this article. Dehumanizing other individuals is a way that the person in charge can rationalize his or her behavior. I would love to read more about this topic when time permits.

nfuentes25 · March 15, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Like a few people have already mentioned, I’ve always heard that chewing gum helps you concentrate better in class, but I’ve always attributed that to more of a method to help you stay awake in class rather than actually doing anything in terms of helping your learning process. It makes me wonder if a comparison could be made in the grades of one student who doesn’t chew gum for a quarter and grades from a quarter in which they chew gum regularly. Obviously the classes would have to be of comparable difficulty for the test to even be possible, but I still think it would be interesting to consider.

nfuentes25 · March 15, 2013 at 5:38 pm

I thought the Auti-SIM game seemed like a fairly good idea especially for families to get an idea of what they might expect in a child with autism. As I have a couple of cousins with autism, I felt that it was interesting enough to share with the siblings of those cousins as it it something that they have to see and live with every day. I think it is also a good preparation tool for the parents if they do happen to get the news that there is a chance their child will be affected with autism, and might hopefully give them a little more patience/understanding what their child might be going through. I just hope that no one plays the game and automatically assumes they know what each person suffering from autism is going through.

lily gomez · March 15, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Give your brain an edge.. chew gum!

I have always known that chewing gum increases saliva amounts, which helps with throat acid and relief from heartburn. Now, it was interesting to learn that gum can help with quicker retentition times and accuracy. Having had many psychology courses I have learned that the brain develops connections and shortcuts. In my opinion individuals find things that works form them to form better processes.

Leave a Reply