Media production

The article about transience memory is about the idea of never forgetting as a memory superpower. Dr. Richards and Frankland challenge function of forgetting. Dr. Richards and Frankland suggest that the best model of memory could be one that forgets. This was published in the Neuron and was socking as it suggested that our brains purposely forget. In a case study by Russian Neuropsychologist Luria’s patient remembered every minute of every day. This hindered the patient in his every day life. No experience was ever new.  He had trouble separating events remembering what was normal and what was new.  Some memories constantly haunted the patient in vivid details while other important facts were mixed around among st every detail of the patient’s life. Overfitting or never forgetting can cause adverse impacts on the individuals life. Richards and Frankland’s study focuses on the importance of transience in decision making. Richards and Frankland propose that transience and persistence combined is the optimal decision-making model.

Forgetting is an implicit function of memory to weed out the important memories from the fluff.  Memory is important for humans to make informed decisions based on past mistakes. In order to understand the forgetting and memory there are a few important terms. Memory is defined as making information permanent information permanent or persistence (Richards & Frankland, 2017). Transience refers to forgetting the past or petty details (Richards & Frankland, 2017).   Remembering is reactivating the patterns of nerve activity that were present at the encoding stage . Long term potentiation can explain the increase in synaptic strength between neurons. On the other hand, a depression can also increase memory. Richards and Frankland researched the enzymes necessary for transience and persistence. Intelligence is a balance of memory and transience.

The key enzymes Blake and Frankland studied were in relation to persistence were CA2 and ZIP to help encode and ensure memory In. forgetting the key enzyme is GluA2.  To start with forgetting there was research previously that promoted GluA2-containing AMPA receptor endocytosis and could also promote forgetting. Protein kinase PKC maintains Long term potentiation.  Long term potentiation was then blocked first to stimulate GluA2. Richards and Frankland also found that neurons were generated from the stem cell.  When neuron cells assimilate into the hippocampus then a memory is made. When new neurons come into the hippocampus the circuits rewrite memories.

This was then studied in rats to support the findings.  The version studied in rats was Rho GTPase Rac1 which potentiated the spines through dendric targeting. The shocks caused shrinkage. The increase in shocks caused more transient memory. In natural forgetting actin dynamics decrease forgetting. In an enriched environment neurogenesis was more likely in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is where memory is processed. Then the paper focuses on decision making since the individual has only important memories left then the individual can make informed decisions. The error to trusting in memories as they are not always remembered with reliability. Memories may be flawed but they are changed based on experience to help the individual succeed in the future. For example, maybe a person hates beef because they got very sick after eating one once. Memory helps decision making even with reliability issue.

Article length 750

Summary length 530

Reflection

I further respect journalist because while trying to summarize my research article it was very difficult to decide what is important. It was also difficult to compete with the pop news article because I felt it just catered to the exciting headline instead of the actual science behind the headline. I feel in journalism it is so easy to twist the truth and miscommunicate the facts. This is because when someone else is recounting an event there is always bias to what someone feels is important. I felt the science was more important to understanding how transience memory worked. On the other hand, someone else could easily feel the overall meaning is what they want to read in a news article. I did agree with national public radio that the case study of patient S was important to understanding the concept of never forgetting.

I feel national public radio conveyed transience as if we just forget the concept of neurons was nonexistent. The news article focuses on reader interaction instead of scientific findings. Funding on the other hand runs scientific findings so public interest runs innovation either way. I included key definitions for understanding. I then followed by outlining the enzymes that caused transience and persistence of memory. I found this process very difficult as I did grossly summarize the presses of encoding and memory formation. I felt I included the science but only to a limited degree. I included the combination of transience and persistence as these were the crucial themes.The five critical questions were not clearly included in the research article therefore I could not integrate them into the media production project. The five critical questions were not addressed in the scientific study or the pop media article therefore I could not address them.

 

Richards, B. A., & Frankland, P. W. (2017). The Persistence and Transience of Memory. Neuron, 94(6), 1071-1084. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2017.04.037

“Public Radio Finances.” NPR, NPR, 20 June 2013, http://www.npr.org/about-npr/178660742/public-radio-finances. Accessed 23 Sept. 2017.

 

 


Media Production: Alcohol use disorder

Increasing in many situations is a goo thing but no for Alcohol use disorder. Increasing in alcohol use disorder (AUD) this is not to be taken lightly as it has shot through the roof by 49% from 8.5% to 12.7% in just a decade.  

Data collected about alcohol use disorder and high-risk drinking. Looking over the data that is displayed there are multiple statistics that stand out. Significant increases in alcohol use disorder occurred in subgroups and minorities over the last decade from 2001-2002 and 2011-2012. The highest increase in AUD was from the 65 and older age. The senior citizens age group increased by 106.7%. This group is almost 14% higher than any other age group or minority in America. The next highest increase would be by African American individuals. This group is 13.9 % lower, but still increased at an alarming number of 92.8%. The age group of the highest increase in alcohol use disorder was odd itself but it comes back for the the forth highest increase. Thats right ages 45-64 was just the beginning and once you got over 65 you got to the a higher increase in AUD.  Alcohol use disorder  in the ages between 45 and 64 increased by 81.5%. this is the same number as the CNN new article says. Most of the statistics raised by more than 50 % and is very alarming. All these results have been found in other national surveys showing alcohol use disorders are increasing at an unhealthy rate. The higher rate of increased high-risk drinking and alcohol use disorder in groups are less likely to have adequate health coverage. This is concerning for the 65 and older group since it has the highest increase AUD at 106.7%. The older you are the more you can inherit multiple preexisting disorders that can be exacerbated by heavy drinking. When at the ages of 65 and up you take medications ad many will interact adversely with alcohol. This results in significant medical problems and costly health consequences. Increased AUD in lower education and income is alarming because these individuals who drink often can not afford appropriate health insurance that does not limit or does not cover alcohol-related treatments. When the collected data women showed up to be high at 83.7% of AUD which was the third highest increase in all of the Unites States. Women also increased at 16% of drinking alcohol and 58% in high-risk drinking. In the CNN article it explains that AUD is not juts the problem here it also is the high risk drinking. This is a problem because suboptimal childrearing practices, and children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, with potential lifelong functioning impairments. All in all if the absence of access to medical care for individuals with long term, often severe medical problems associated with heavier drinking is likely to result in the individuals to turn to emergency departments. CNN also talks about what happens to health care and medical treatments. This results in increased costs to taxpayers both directly and through higher insurance. 

Reflection:

When reading this article it is not that hard to read. It does give you a lot of numbers and percentages but they all seem to add upend make sense. I picked out the percentages and  the study results to show the differences in AUD. When it comes to experiments the only thing that matters is the numbers and what they stand for. SO in my summary I tried to give you those numbers and what they mean to give you the data that the experimenters received. The only other trouble was remembering all the data so I wrote it all down to remember the results of the study. Usually when researching a study of some sort they use large terms and scientific work but luckily my article did not so it helped me with understanding hat is being done. I did leave out some information as I could not fit all. I Took out pieces that were confusing and not important. I went to the facts and stayed there to give you the difference in AUD. Overall these sources helped out a lot and realizing that drinking has become a problem.

 

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/10/health/drinking-alcoholism-study-trnd/index.html

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/2647075

 

 

 

 


Media Production

Yoga and Meditation Good for the Body and Mind

New study tests the effects of hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation on body’s brain function. They can positively increase one’s mood and energy in short amount of time being involved in these relaxing activities. Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation are well known and practiced in many Western societies. Yoga involves specific body positioning, breathing patterns, and meditation. Mindfulness includes mental training focusing on emotion with the surrounding environment.

This study was published in the journal Mindfulness, conducted by Kimberly Luu and Peter Hall at Waterloo University in Canada. It consisted of thirty-one female participants with experience of this yoga and meditation. Their experience ranged from four months to five years. All participants took part of three sessions: hatha yoga, mindfulness meditation, and quiet reading. They were timed 25 minute sessions conducted by a professional yoga instructor to allow for a positive yoga and meditation session. These were followed by 5 and 10 min post session testing to measure executive function of the brain. These tested functions such as emotions, behaviors, and memory.

As said in the study, “results revealed that 25 min of hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation significantly improved executive function task performance”. Immediately following the individual sessions participants showed signs of improved mood. “…single session of hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation may have similar cognitive and mood benefits for moderately experienced hatha yoga practitioners”. The results were more prominent from the 10-minute post session rather than the 5-minute post session. For an overall effect, hatha yoga shown to be more effective than mindfulness meditation.

 

Reflection

Over the course of this project I have learned various aspects needed to be a journalist. I was able to get an inside view of the work needed to produce a well written article and how it can be presented to the general public. It must be appealing to the audience, but include valuable information dedicated to key findings within the study they were reporting.

I did find it troublesome being able to make the results easy to understand if someone is new to the study. After reading the original study, I found it difficult to understand the numerical data given to prove the benefits of yoga and meditation. I had to figure how to put it into words and describe the effects of yoga and meditation on the participants. This made me understand how the journal article could have become biased while being written. I tried to remain neutral while writing whether or not participating in hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation was beneficial to the body and mind. The original article had limitations and variations that may have contradicted their original results. Although, I was only reporting Luu’s and Hall’s study, which gave positive effects following yoga and meditation.

While writing the new article on the study I wanted to show the experiment to seem reliable to the readers. I tried to provide exact quotes from the original article similar to how the news article did. However, the original news article had quotes not found within the written article of the study. This showed me how there is more to writing the summary to the study. More research and sources are needed to give a well-rounded article.

There is high pressure put on journalists to produce a good article for many people to view. This opens a door to criticisms and degrading of the study. It needs to be professional and unbiased to the public’s eye. Simple enough to understand, but keep the scientific integrity. Be able to keep an audience’s attention, but present all the information needed to interpret results.

 

References

Luu, Kimberley, and Peter A. Hall. “Examining the Acute Effects of Hatha Yoga and                     Mindfulness Meditation on Executive Function and Mood.” SpringerLink, Springer             US, 26 Dec. 2016, link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12671-016-0661-2#citeas.

 

Rick Nauert. “Study: Yoga Meditation = Better Brain Function, More Energy.” Psych                   Central News, 7 Sept. 2017, psychcentral.com/news/2017/09/07/yoga-meditation-                   better brain-function-and-more-energy/125664.html.


Media Production Project

Midlife crises… Real epidemic or completely fictional? No matter who you are, where you live, or what your occupation is I am sure you have heard of people that have experienced a midlife crisis. Whether you believed they existed or not, one study performed by researcher at Dartmouth College and the University of Warwick went out to determine the validity of midlife crises. After some careful research they discovered a general trend to their data, and people in fact were experiencing a psychological low on average between the ages of 30-50 (Blanchflower, D. & Oswald, A.). The study was conducted online, it asked questions about the person’s overall happiness as well as life satisfaction. Their data was collected from over one million randomly sampled citizens from countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, thirty-six other European countries, and fifty-one other nations from around the world (Blanchflower, D. & Oswald, A.). Along with these datasets, they received statistics from the UK Office of National Statistics and the US Centers for Disease Control. The information was then analyzed using two separate methods: a descriptive approach and a ceteris-paribus analytical approach. A descriptive approach is only taking into account well-being and age, while the ceteris-paribus approach takes into account a number of socio-economic influences that could have an effect on a person’s well-being besides age, such as a person’s health and income. It was important that the researchers include these other factors because age is not the only thing that influences a person’s well-being. Once the researchers collected their data, they noticed that the data was plotted in a U-shaped pattern which means that their data proved that there is a significant decrease in life satisfaction during the middle of a person’s lifetime. This is a pretty depressing thought… there is nothing that you can do, right? Well, there have been a few other studies that have found conflicting results, so the argument is not unanimous across the board (Blanchflower, D. & Oswald, A.). There are researchers whose data did not find any significant decrease in happiness throughout a person’s lifetime. We may be in luck!  

 

After these projects, I have gained a newfound respect for journalism. I used to always think that journalists conveniently changed stories to fit their own agenda. While I still think that is the case in some situations, I now realize how hard it is to compile information from a ten or more page academic journal into a well-rounded, five-hundred word article. Sometimes it is just impossible to try to include everything. It’s is hard to decide what is important enough to include and what is okay to be left out so the writing can be condensed. I had to make the choice to leave out a couple of details; my original article was about five-hundred words, but it focused a lot of the article on the U-shaped curve and what it is. While this was the focus in the pop culture article, it was not the main focus in the scholarly article, so I did not think it was necessary to include as much information about that subject. In the scholarly article, it went into more detail about the two different methods they used to analyze their research. I think this is important because there were a variety of factors that could have influenced their results, such as income which would had skewed their results. So in order for the audience to know that these factors were considered when writing this article, I thought more of the word count should have been devoted to explaining the two methods and why each one was beneficial.

Blanchflower, D. G., & Oswald, A. J. (August 2017). “Do Humans Suffer a Psychological Low in Midlife? Two Approaches (With and Without Controls) in Seven Data Sets.” 1-24. Retrieved November 1, 2017. <file:///C:/Users/Alana/AppData/Local/Packages/Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe/TempState/Downloads/For%20Alana.pdf>.

Soergel, Andrew. “Study: Happiness is a U and Middle Age is Depressing.” U.S. News, 22 Aug. 2017. Accessed 10 Sept. 2017. <https://www.usnews.com/news/economy/articles/2017-08-22/study-happiness-is-a-u-and-middle-age-is-depressing>.


Media Production Project

It is important to gain a solid understanding of what Autism is and how it effects someone later in life. It is a developmental disorder that alters mainly behaviors as a child grows older. For high risk infants, MRI’s are done in order to see how efficient the temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes are performing to give a proper diagnosis. But these tests are not always done in a timely fashion, so the diagnosis is prolonged and ultimately too late for some with severe symptoms at a young age.

But how early can Autism in children be detected? In a recent study at McGill University, 260 infants ranging in ages 6-12 months had MRI’s to test how efficient their brain regions were operating. This was tested in order to have an estimate of their overall network efficiency, or risk of Autism. The infants were a mix of high and low risk for developing Autism, even though it has not yet been proven that it is a completely inherited disorder. This supports the reasoning as to why studying the brain at a young age is necessary; to observe if Autism is inherited, or the environment plays into the development of Autism. In a previous study, children at two years old with Autism had a poor network efficiency, leading us to wonder how early these deficiencies can be detected.

The fact that the inefficiency in the brain gave us a better insight on the severity of the disorder makes it even more crucial to diagnose at an early age. Giving families a heads up on how the disorder may affect their future depending on the severity of it is positive information to have. It gives families more time to prepare and be proactive in raising a child with a disorder. The early diagnosis can further our knowledge into how infants are born with Autism, as well as what genetic and environmental factors play a role in this abnormality. The research that was done at McGill University holds up to the age at which Autism can be detected through how efficient the regions of the brain are connecting at six months.

Reflection:

I chose to leave out super scientific terms that were hard for me to understand while reading the article initially, this way my summary can be as concise as possible. It was also important that I left out information that was not relevant to the study, such as the lengths and strengths of the network connections in the brain and how these pathways work. This information was very anatomy based, and not necessary to know in order to grasp the goal of the study. My summary is different in the way I explain how the regions of the brain perform together as a unit in order to have levels of network efficiency. I break down how this network efficiency is a main deciding factor in how severe the Autism might be. It also clues scientists into how the disorder may progress over time, even from six months old. Overall, writing this summary held some challenges from the beginning, as I had to re-reads my sources in order to get a grip on the experiment again before writing. I also had a hard time making the summary condensed enough; I truly felt that every detail was important for the reader to know, even though this was not allowed in an abbreviated version of the article. It is hard to write about Psychology due to how one must use logical terms, but also scientific terms in order to successfully explain an experiment. This was another obstacle that I had to conquer while summarizing this article, but was something that the article critiques in the past have helped master. Writing about an experiment in Psychology is much harder than I originally thought, but has made me gain a greater appreciation for articles like this one.

 


Media Project: How Many Emojis are Needed to Get Your Feelings Across? It Turns Out That 27 Might Be the Right Answer.

The use of emojis as a form of communicating emotions over text and social media is a growing trend among people of today’s society. As this trend grows, so does the number of new emojis describing “different” feelings, such as the recent additions of the “pondering face” or the “brain explosion” that have become so popular with today’s youth. But are all these additions really necessary? Do the basics of sad, happy, and angry no longer suffice? An experimental study from the University of California on emotions suggests that now, humans can experience a range of about 27 different emotional categories.

Alan S. Cowen and Dacher Keltner, researchers in Berkley, California, set out to study and define the creation and organization of emotions in psychology. Before Cowen and Keltner did their experiment, there were many different viewpoints on emotion. One of the most commonly held viewpoints was that the brain activates six basic emotions during an emotional experience, and focuses on valence and arousal. In this viewpoint, the six basic emotions are considered to be anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise that are described through disconnected feelings and are organized in a limited number of clusters in the semantic space (Cowen).

In the study done by Cowen and Keltner, they came to the conclusion that emotions are subjective experiences linked to an interconnected array of points in the semantic space of the brain, in which there are both “discrete clusters” and “continuous gradients.” Cowen and Keltner came to this conclusion by performing an experiment on 853 English-speaking participants, 403 which were female and 450 of which were male. The participants were randomly assigned to one of three different groups based on the self-reporting style they would be using to respond to the videos (Cowen).

Out of the 2,185 five second video clips chosen for the study, the first self-reporting group was to create a free response to 30 different videos they were given, based off their interpretation of their emotional response to each video. The second group of self-reporting people also watched 30 video clips each, but was instead given a set of 34 emotions that they used to rate each video. Lastly, the third group only watched 12 videos, but placed each of the 12 videos along 14 scales of affective dimensions (Cowen).

In order to make sure the videos did not contain a bias towards any type of emotion, but did contain a broad range of emotional experiences, the 2,185 videos were chosen by searching 34 prominent emotional categories into different and random search engines and websites. This produced many different types of videos ranging from births and babies to explosions and modern warfare (Cowen).

After analyzing the self-reports of each of the three groups, Cowen and Keltner found that “75% of the videos elicited significant concordance for at least one category of emotion,” supporting the idea that the responses recorded to the videos were not purely due to chance, making the information reliable (Cowen 3). As well, by using a system called split-half canonical correlations analysis that Cowen and Keltner created, they determined that “between 24 and 26 statistically significant semantic dimensions of reported emotional experience” were found, leading them to discover the 27 different emotional patterns that are linearly connected (Cowen 3).

So, what does this mean for all you emoji-fanatics out there? Well, if the emoji you use gets across the message of admiration, adoration, aesthetic appreciation, amusement, anger, anxiety, awe, awkwardness, boredom, calmness, confusion, craving, disgust, empathetic pain, entrancement, excitement, fear, horror, interest, joy, nostalgia, relief, romance, sadness, satisfaction, sexual desire, or surprise to the person you are sending it to, then it is clearly doing its job.

 

References:

Cowen, Alan S., and Dacher Keltner. “Self-Report Captures 27 Distinct Categories of Emotion Bridged by Continuous Gradients.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Edited by Joseph E. LeDoux, vol. 114, no. 38, 5 Sept. 2017, doi:10.1073/pnas.1702247114.

 

Original News Article

Scholarly Research Article

 

 

 

Reflection:

Overall, I did not find it very difficult to summarize the whole research article. The organization of how the research article was written made it easy to track the most important steps of the research study, the conclusion, and any mishaps that may have happened. What made it even easier to write the news article was that for the second part of the media project, we had to analyze and summarize what the research article was about; therefore I already had all of the pertinent information about the research study identified. As well, we assessed how many of the five critical questions for reading research were answered by the research article during the second set of the project, so I also had that to use as a reference. I did not really need to reference the pop culture news article at all.

However, there were certain aspects of the research article that I could not include in my news article, just like the pop culture article. Most of the information that I was forced to omit involved the mathematical processes behind the results and some of the details about the videos. I chose to leave these pieces of information out as I believe that going into detail about them would not only confuse the reader, but would take away from the overall focus of the article. This process helped me to relate to journalists on a certain level, as you have to not only keep the scientific integrity of the study in mind while writing an article, but you have to keep your audience and their extent of knowledge in mind as well. After this process, I can better understand why so many journalists tend to falsely advertise scientific studies to the public.


Media Production Project

Mid-life crisis is a common term which is often used generically.  This expression is not as misused as it may seem. Studies show that lowered emotional states occur in most adults during middle age. Despite the existence of multiple factors, such as economic status and education, mid-life crisis effects nearly everyone. Regardless of ethnicity and location, middle age leads to spikes in stressors. Multiple data sets have confirmed a U-shaped pattern in emotional well-being. The dip in the pattern is caused by lowered emotional well-being during mid-life. Other patterns have been disproved over time. The correlation between emotional lows and age has been tested in various conditions.

Tests which involved age and emotional patterns were conducted in over fifty countries across the globe.  The results, though somewhat mixed, point to a drop in happiness once adulthood is reached. Emotional well-being decreases from approximately age 20 to age 50. A significant dip in happiness occurs at approximately age 30. Emotional states are high during childhood and rise again during old age. These patterns are the cause of the U-shape which describes happiness throughout life. Mid-life is the stereotyped period of crisis in human life. Increased stressors, such as unmet adolescent expectations and financial status, occur during this stage of life. Increased stress and worry cause large decreases in emotional well-being. The U-shape of happiness seems to label mid-life crisis as factual.

Mid-life crisis seems to affect adults worldwide. The inevitability of lowered emotional states during middle age may be the cause of a rational fear among adolescents. The resurrection of  happiness in elderly adults is little compensation for increased stress and decreased enjoyment of life. Middle age can truly be considered a time of crisis.

Blanchflower, David G. Andrew J. Oswald. “Do Humans Suffer a Psychological Low in Midlife? Two Approaches (With and Without Controls) in Seven Data Sets.” University of Warwick. Web. Accessed 23 Oct. 2017.

file:///C:/Users/sabpi/Downloads/For%20Steph.pdf

Soergel, Andrew. “Study: Happiness is a U and Middle Age is Depressing.” U.S. News & World Report. Web. Accessed 9 Sept. 2017.

https://www.usnews.com/news/economy/articles/2017-08-22/study-happiness-is-a-u-and-middle-age-is-depressing

Reflection

I omitted many small details found in the original article. I also simplified the information about the data sets. The original article is convoluted and difficult to understand. The language is extremely verbose. The critical research questions are not answered in a comprehensible manner in the original article. There is an excessive amount of detail in this article. The news article does not contain enough information about the mid-life tests which were conducted. This article omits much specific data. My summary combines the information found in both articles while remaining concise.

I am considering journalism as a full-time career. This project did not affect my views of journalists. I believe journalism is an outlet of self-expression and an excellent writing career. Journalists have the freedom to insert opinions into their writing while discussing specific real-world topics. Journalism is an optimal career choice for me.


Media Production Project

For over a century, neuroscience has believed that memories are stored in the synapse of neurons. This thinking has driven efforts to treat mental illnesses like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Alzheimer’s. Findings from a recent study could potentially shake up all of this. Scientists at UCLA have found evidence suggesting that memories are not actually stored in the synapse and could possibly be located in the nucleus of the neuron.

The study, led by David Glanzman, focused on neural activity in a mollusk called Aplysia after it was given pulses in its tail. The Aplysia were put into groups and given the pulses. Then, after 24 hours, they were either given more pulses, nothing at all, or a blockade that should prevent the memory from coming back. In order to find out whether the Aplysia still had the memories of the pulses and how strong they were, the scientists looked at the varicosities in the neuron’s synapse. Varicosities are areas that react to the pulses. Glanzman’s team then ran two more experiments; one with another blockade and one with a blockade and more shocks to see if a memory could be “brought back”. The expectation was that the amount of varicosities would go up with the amount of pulses and that the varicosities that were made by the pulses would stay there.

Surprisingly, not all of the scientists’ expectations were met. The Aplysia that received two rounds of shocks had more varicosities. Ones that received either the blockade or nothing kept the same amount. This was expected but what the scientists did not see coming was the varicosities not staying in the same place. Some new ones formed and ones that were there for the first measurement disappeared. The second experiment followed the same pattern and the third experiment gave Glanzman’s team another perplexing result. Even when the Aplysia were given the blockade, memories of the previous pulses could be triggered by more pulses. None of these findings were consistent with the accepted theory that memories were stored in the synapse. This led the scientists to believe that 100 plus years of thinking could possibly be wrong. Memories may not be stored in the synapse.

Now while these findings could mean big changes in neuroscience, the experiment does not allow for causal claims. Before anything can be set in stone, more testing must be done and testing must be done on the human brain. To the scientists’ credit, this was acknowledged and they said there would be more experimentation to come.

There is a long way to go before it can be proven that memories are not in the synapse but imagine the implications if it is. Treatment for PTSD and Alzheimer’s is based off of the thinking that memories are stored in the synapse. This could change everything about how these illnesses are handled. New, more effective treatments will come out for those suffering. People will get their lives back, families will get their loved ones back. And on the negative side, people will have thrown away loads of money based off of false thinking. If Glanzman and his team are correct, their findings have the power to change science.

 

 

Reflection:

This project gave me a lot of insight into what being a journalist really is. There is so much more that goes into writing an article that I previously thought. Along with just summarizing something, there are deadlines and restrictions. All of that just adds stress. For me, the words restriction was the hardest to overcome. The article I found was a little over 550 words and it seemed like there would not be a problem at all. Then I started typing and came up on my restriction pretty quickly. I had to go back and really make my word use more efficient and that was really hard. In the end, I was able to get all of the information I wanted in but there were some details left out in the process. Most of the information that was left out had to do with the procedure of the experiment. There were a lot of steps taken in each procedure. I felt like I could leave them out because they were not very controversial steps and I thought I was able to give the reader a good understanding of what was happening even without those steps. What the findings of the experiment meant were the most important to me and leaving out the steps in the procedure gave me the space I wanted to talk about the findings. This project has not really changed how I see journalism but it does give me a new respect for it. The writing itself is not that difficult but what did it for me was the decision making. You need to think long and hard about what you need the reader to see and how you can do that given your restrictions. I can honestly say I was not prepared for that aspect but working through it was pretty eye-opening.

 

Links:

Original Article:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/memories-may-not-live-in-neurons-synapses/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Scholarly Journal:

https://etown.instructure.com/courses/5871/files/996724?module_item_id=212156

 


Media Production & Reflection

New Study Shows Your Memory is Far from Foolproof

by Scott Kennedy

Memory is becoming a much less concrete concept with new discoveries in manipulating it. In a study led by Julia Shaw—a renowned psychologist who has studied memory in great detail—various mental exercises and carefully scripted interviews were used to convince college students they had committed a crime that never actually occurred.

While it may seem possible to remember specific details of an untrue event, we now know that the human mind can be tricked into doing so. In a recent study, Shaw’s team of researchers managed to effectively synthesize a false memory for nearly three-fourths of the participants. It is important to note that the study does not explore a natural phenomenon in human memory, but rather attempts to test if it will treat an invalid memory the same as one that is true. The experiment followed a similar outline to past studies on false memory, in which researchers managed to get participants to recall meeting celebrities and even vicious animal attacks that never actually happened.

When the participants of Shaw’s study were selected, their caregivers were asked to give information to the researchers about a deeply emotional event in the student’s life, specifically between ages 11-14. The students were then interviewed three times by Shaw’s team, who began by recounting the details of the emotional event, then asking about the false memory, the crime that they never committed. Beginning this way showed each participant that the information must be valid, as their own caregivers had reported it. When none of the participants recalled the false criminal event during the first interview, they were each asked to practice visualizing the event’s details every night. This mental exercise would help prime the memory retrieval process, ultimately starting formation of the memory by asking the student to repeatedly imagine it.

During the second and third interviews, the researchers gave several cues and details to the participants, all made to seem like they came from their file of actual life events. By the third interview, 70% of the students recalled committing the crime they were led to believe in. In a second group of students, 77% of students were able to remember a highly emotional event—instead of a crime—which also never happened.

Shaw’s study certainly raises the question that if a false memory can be formed in a three week study, could it happen over time in everyday life? We now know that memory is malleable, and it may be possible that some of our memories are false. While it’s unlikely that your friends will use the same communication tactics and mental exercises to get you to remember an event the same way they do, it’s still possible that with enough repetition, a memory can altered falsely or newly formed altogether.
Original news article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201605/three-reasons-not-trust-your-memory

Scholarly news article: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IScvrTbyeUMhpjpOPt5bzE2bY5J_NTzr2K8hsm1n2f8/edit

 

 

Reflection

Successfully encapsulating the significance of a great study into a simple news article is most certainly a challenging task for any writer. In all of the three assignments, I began to see several strengths and weaknesses in the original news article and even the study it was based on. Though Shaw’s work was inspiring, thorough, and revolutionary, there were several questions I still had about the variables in the experiment. While completing the scholarly article critique, I found it difficult to only address the clearer points in the study that could be improved. Reading research provokes many different questions from the reader, and when your job is the regurgitate a highly detailed study and discuss those details, you have to careful and deliberate in which questions you include into consideration.

While completing the media production project, it was an even bigger challenge, as the time I spent critiquing the original news article also seemed necessary for my own work. I chose to completely avoid the main idea of the news article, which felt like a bold move, though necessary. The original new article based its overall message on the journalist’s interpretation, misrepresenting the findings of the actual study. In my own article, I chose to simply summarize the study in a concise way–not as concisely as the original article did, however–and discuss the significance of the findings. Rather than twisting the information into unlikely everyday-life applications, I made sure to emphasize that Shaw’s study does not give a reason to stop trusting your memory, but does show an interesting vulnerability in memory.

 

 


Media Production: New Findings Pave the Way for Resilience to Stress

 

In this day and age where stress affects everyone, it is important that more research is done about stress biomarkers. Constant exposure to chronic stress can lead to serious mental illness such as anxiety and depression. Stress can affect individuals differently depending on their biological makeup. Some individuals might respond negatively to stress while other might respond positively and form resilience. According to Thomas Larrieu’s research, stress plays a significant role in a range of mental illnesses. Yet, stress does not disturb everyone equally; while some individuals become depressed when dealing with continual hardships, others acclimate and endure. Larrieu and his team set out to show the risk influencers and biomarkers for susceptibility to social status depression.

The findings from an experiment lead by Thomas Larrieu helps us understand why individuals have different responses to stress. The experiment primarily tested if social status effects susceptibility to stress in adolescent mice. In particular, the researchers exposed mice to chronic social defeat stress (CSDS). Before finding out the effects of social status on stress, the researchers had to distinguish the subordinate mice from the dominant mice. Within the mice population, to initiate social status, the young mice were placed into cages of four for seven weeks before exposure to any stress. After seven weeks they measured social ranking by performing several tests on the mice. One test, categorized as a social confrontation tube test; consisted of putting two mice from the same social environment in the middle of a tube. The mice were previously trained to get out of the tube by walking forward. For the test, the mouse that walked forward and essentially made the other mouse back out of the tube was considered the dominant mouse, the mouse that was forced to walk backward was the subordinate mouse. With this social test and several others, the researchers were able to determine the social ranking of the mice. They ranked the mice from 1 to 4, 1 and 2 being dominant and 3 and 4 being subordinate.

After the researchers established the social hierarchy of the mice, they started to expose the subjects to different scenarios that would induce stress. When dominant and subordinate mice were exposed to a very aggressive mouse from another species for ten days, the dominant mice showed social avoidance whereas subordinate mice were not significantly affected. Researchers then analyzed the effects on the brain when mice felt defeated and showed signs of depression. The researchers measured the concentration of metabolites in nucleus accumbens. The nucleus accumben plays a role in motivation and reward that would affect whether an individual is resilient or not (Schlaepfer et al.). The more activity there is in the nucleus accumbens, the less likely the individual is susceptible to depression. The experiment showed that subordinate mice have more activity in their nucleus accumbens when exposed to stress than dominate mice do. From their findings, the researchers discovered the biomarkers for resilience to stress in mice. The resilience to stressful situations comes from the amount of activity in a nucleus accumbens.

After discovering the correlation between social status and susceptibility to stress, the researchers did recognize the fact that some mice could have been more susceptible to stress just from having trait anxiety, which could have affected the results. Nevertheless, they hope that their findings can help with the progress of researching vulnerability to stress. Now that stress biomarkers have been detected in mice, there is a greater possibility that scientists will find ways for humans to become more resilient to stressful situations.

 

 

I did not find it hard to summarize the research article. I found it harder to summarize the pop culture article. I thought the research article made more sense to me, so I was able to summarize it with no problems. The research article went into to detail about how the researchers came to their conclusions, whereas I was a little skeptical about the pop culture article because I don’t think there was enough information. I had to leave out other tests the researchers conducted to determine their social ranking. I also left out other procedures they did to induce stress on the mice. I left those components of the research out because I did not feel that was the crucial points that needed to go into the summary. I wanted the reader to have one example of how the researchers assigned social status and how they exposed the mice to chronic social defeat stress. While reading the pop culture article, I questioned what procedures the scientists conducted to figure out the mice social hierarchy. I also wondered how they were exposing the subjects to stress. It was important that I elaborated on some of the researcher’s procedures that lead them to their conclusions to reduce skepticism from the reader.

I did not think much about journalism before this assignment. I am more skeptical about reading pop culture articles. But now, if the author does leave out some vital information I will be a little sympathetic, knowing that they have a word count and not all the information can go into the article.