Chapter 2 First Impression- Neuroscience

--Original published at Garrettscollegeblog

After scrolling through and reading the descriptions of the possible TED Talks available, one stood out above the rest. The description of “Miguel Nicolelis: Brain to Brain Communication Has Arrived” mentioned a “brain-controlled exoskeleton that allowed a paralyzed man to kick the first ball of the 2014 World Cup.” My initial reaction was, “How did I miss this? I watched every minute of every game in that World Cup.” After thinking for a few seconds, however, I took a second glance at the statement to assure I read it correctly. A man, paralyzed from the middle of his chest to his toes, was able to kick a soccer ball in a man-made exoskeleton being controlled entirely by his brain.

Thirty years of imagining and fifteen years of planning led up to the unbelievable event that took place on June 12th, 2014. The Brain Machine Interface is what made this dream a reality. This machine uses sensors to read and analyze electrical brainstorms, which then create motor commands. Nicolelis and his partner then transformed the motor commands into digital demands in order for electrical devices to act out.

The most interesting part of this TED Talk emerged from the monkey experiment. In this experiment, a monkey controlled a virtual arm, moving it into designated circles on the screen simply by imagining. I always imagined this type of technology so far in the future I had no idea it already existed and had been used on such a stage as the FIFA World Cup.

Miguel Nicolelis proves himself very trustworthy because of his passion for the subject. He goes through thirty years of peers calling him crazy and years of trial and error. Along with his passion, he utilizes evidence from the World Cup as well as the monkey experiment.

A research idea that came to mind from this experiment was using these same sensors to achieve control over video game characters just through imagining. I would conduct this through creating an entirely new console gaming system. Similar sensors used in the Brain Machine Interface would connect to the console replacing the controller entirely. Instead of these sensors controlling the console as a whole, they will control aspects inside the game, such as characters and decisions.

First Impression Post #1

--Original published at Garrettscollegeblog

The Mythbusters experiment “Do Beer Goggles Really Exist” asks three people to rate groups of individuals on physical attractiveness; once sober, once buzzed, and once drunk. The groups of individuals changed after each rating for each contestant. Outside participation allowed for each group as a whole to be judged and considered equally attractive. Two out of the three contestants discovered that they find people less attractive at the buzzed state of drinking. However, all the contestants rated higher in the drunken state compared to the sober state.

This experiment as a whole contains little strengths. One is that Mythbusters gathers results from both the male and female genders. From this they could discover whether “beer goggles” can occur for both genders, and based off of their results, they can. Another strength is the rating system. Each contestant only receives 5 seconds to rate every individual photo, which means every choice is instinctual. On the other hand, this experiment contains many weaknesses. Physical attractiveness differs from person to person. This means that one group judged by one person as equally attractive could be seen as more or less attractive by the contestant. Another weakness comes about in the drinking act. The contestants drank to their own knowledge and each person is a different weight with a different tolerance level. What one contestant considers a buzzed state another may consider their drunken state, and vice versa. The biggest weakness, however, was the use of deductive reasoning. Three contestants receiving positive results to beer goggles in an experiment containing many holes such as this one is not enough to deem the myth plausible.

Introduction Post

--Original published at Garrettscollegeblog

My name is Garrett Winchilla and I do not have a very strong background in psychology. I took a psych class in high school but it provided an overview of the field rather than detailed analysis of certain experiments and research. I chose to take this class and become a psychology major because I loved the field and wanted to learn more after every class of the high school level course.

What I am looking forward to most in this class after reviewing the syllabus is Moral development, Chemicals & Consciousness, and Coping with stress. Two of these topics were lightly touched in high school but interested me and the third I never learned about before. It is difficult to choose three topics I am least interested in because a vast part of the field fascinates me. However, if I had to choose three topics from the course schedule I would choose Classifying mental illness, psychiatric medication, and How to choose a therapist.

By the end of this class I want to know the most effective way of communication including tone, facial expression, body language, etc. In this generation so much communication happens digitally that some have completely forgot how to communicate, and some never learned at all. By learning this I can help my overall communicative skills and pass that on to others.