Chapter 15 first impression

--Original published at AlexisPattersonBlog

When looking through the website about a week to change direction by Michelle Obama, I found it to be a good way to be active with issues that are present in our lives. Mental Health is a big topic in society now a days and I think bringing light to it and even helping educate people with have many benefits. Some of its strengths is that it draws attention to people in different ways, there are week long sessions, day sessions, 5k races, videos, etc. I think the more options they have, the more they will be able to help spread awareness.

Some weaknesses of it might be that there will be some sections where it won’t be as effective. I find that most of the times when you force teenage students around our age to do something, they tend to do the complete opposite. When something is not forced however, you will likely get more people to participate or find interest in learning new things, rather than doing it to say you did it. I think if Etown was able to do this, we should have it open to everyone to participate and to have some form of interactive piece such as a 5k, etc. A lot of students here like to get involved and stay active in the community at school, but when tasks are brought upon us that are required, I also find that to be a trend that is the least interesting to students.

First Impression: Mental Health Treatment

--Original published at Jessica K's College Blog

When it comes to mental health, the first thing that comes to mind for mental health treatment is the image of a therapist, asking them about their personal life while the patient lays on a sofa. For therapy, there is more than one form of treatment and different dynamics for identifying and coping with a person’s mental health.

First, there is psychodynamic therapy. It follows the standard role of weekly visits to a therapist’s office, following simple conversations about the patient’s personal experience in their life. It mainly helps with understanding current mental health problems and mapping out solutions from their perspective. Humanistic therapy is meant to fulfill the patient’s sense of self-fulfillment, following a path of growth and taking responsibility to their own emotions. Behavioral therapy allows the patient to understand that their reaction towards a certain problem is overexaggerated, like stressing over a test if the logical solution is to study beforehand.

Finally, cognitive therapy is similar to behavioral therapy, but it also follows a person’s generalized thoughts on events and memories. When related to depression, people overgeneralize certain responses as criticism, insults, or pity; letting the therapy work past the ideology that a negative event needs to result in negative thinking of their self or others.

In my opinion, depending on the mental health problem, I believe that cognitive therapy is more probable because it helps to work past a person’s tendency to over-rationalize any situation or response to something that works with or against their general understanding. No matter the case, therapy is one of many ways to solve problems with a person’s mental health, and the general idea of someone else helping them through their own problems and thoughts is an important step to recovery.

What Our Dreams Mean, According to Science.

--Original published at Jill Distler's Psychology Blog

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer,” Harriet Tubman. 

But where do our dreams really come from? There is actually a real science behind what goes on behind the scenes of the dreams that we create subconsciously while we are resting, and the physiological answer to this science is found within the Hippocampus of the brain.


The hippocampus is a neural center in the limbic system (neural center (including the amygdala, hypothalamus and hippocampus) located below the central hemisphere; associated with emotions and drives (Page 52 Myers & DeWall).) that helps to process explicit memories for storage. 

According to a group of scientists from Germany and Rhode Island, the process of moving memories to different storage centers during sleep, causes dreams to be produced from the experiences from the day that are being transferred to different storage locations. The hippocampus is essentially emptied every night while we sleep, to make room for more information coming the next day. It is believed that while the brain sorts through a day’s worth of experiences, that the brain is able to “steal” parts of these memories and fabricate them into some of our wildest/craziest dreams. 

Dreaming is also thought to be used as a purging method, since we can’t recall 90% of the dreams that our brains create overnight. This thought was also summarized by the famous Francis Crick, who in 1984 said, “We dream to forget,” in his development of his “garbage disposal theory”. 

Many people wonder what the crazy dreams they are having may mean, but there is no exact answer for why our minds create such specific and elusive visions to entertain us while we are in our most vulnerable state: sleep. Since we really don’t know how these images are created, we at least tried to understand how the brain is able to transfer memories to different areas of the brain. That ended up coming down to studying the electrical signals during sleep cycles, especially those signals being passed around in the structures within the limbic system, but mainly, the hippocampus and the neocortex. The neocortex being a section of the cerebral cortex (The most highly developed part of the brain that is associated with thinking, perceiving, producing, and understanding language.) that usually is known to be focused on sight and hearing, but while sleeping, helps to send memories to long-term storage.

While dreaming can be a confusing concept, they actually help the brain problem solve through endless possible experiences, both good and bad. The brain, while asleep, actually continues to work on its problems that it faced while awake. Creating dreams to allow us to “physically” work through the problems, but we only remember a few each night when we wake up the next day. The remembered dreams being the most extreme and bazaar solutions to these issues.

Although there is not a possible way to fully understand the complexity of the human mind, we can certainly try to find answers, and if we can’t, there is still many other things for scientists to discover along the way.


Media Project

--Original published at Phil's College Blog

Love is not easy. However, neither is telling someone that you do not love them anymore. This is a normal issue that many people deal with everyday, and there is something psychological that reveals why it can be problematic. A new study from psychologists from the University of Utah, Wayne State University, and the University or Toronto have found the explanation for this problem.
The issue is that the person who wants to break up is too concerned with how the other person will handle it. This will cause the individual who wants to break up to hold on to the relationship for the other person involved. These universities came to this conclusion by conducting two different studies to display their results to the public. The first study involved around 1400 participants and the second included an extra 500 from the previous 1400. Throughout the study, the participants were monitored by answering questions about their relationships. Then the participants were checked on over 10 weeks to see if they stayed with their partner. The second study was almost exactly the same however, it was used to see how many people thought of ending their relationship over the same time span. This allowed the researchers to have an in-depth look at both sides of the spectrum.
In both studies, the people that wanted the best for their ex-partner stayed longer than those who did not think about their ex-partner’s feelings. Furthermore, if the partner could see how much the other was putting into their relationship, they were inclined to stay in it longer because of the feelings for the other person.
In the end, people do break off relationships for different reasons, but it is true that partners do care about how their partner would feel if they left them. So next time you think your friend should break up with their partner, maybe you should give them time because maybe the process is already happening.

I found this article easy to summarize because it was about a topic I could understand because I had this happen to me. I was able to summarize the article easily because it did not have science specific definitions that would be hard to explain to the general public. However, I do feel that it was hard to fit in the reasons the scholarly article provides for why people could feel the way they did in the surveys and questions they answered. The answers such as the Prosocial Decision Making theory and Interdependence Theory could have been key bits of information that could have provided the reader with reasons why the participants felt the way they did. I believe that not having the space to put that type of information in hinders the piece’s affect. The reader was not able to see the complete side of the participants decision to break off their relationships because the reader could only see the results and not the explanation for them.

Furthermore, I decided to omit the same information as the original author as well because I would not have been able to conclude the article due to the space I was provided. The information that was left in my summary was just enough to get my point across. hat is all I wanted to put in my article because lay people do not want a long explanation with results, charts, and long definitions because that bores the reader. That is why I kept the information I did because it carried the story and kept the reader interested by not bogging them down with information that is not necessary.

Finally, my perspective on journalists have changed for the better because of this series. I never understood how hard it would be to keep an audience engaged and wanting to read without boring them with the unnecessary information. I never thought of how hard it would be to create a story with so much detail in the background but summarize the information into an article that makes sense in a defined length. Without doing this series, I never would have understood the editing of information required in order to release results to the public in a manner the public wants, while still keeping the integrity of the information by keeping the entire article credible with the information presented.


Media Production Project

--Original published at Bogo's Blog

            Doctor Elliot Ludvig from Warwick’s Department of Psychology, with colleagues at Princeton and Brown Universities, came up with an experiment that displays that forming good, or bad, habits depends on how often an action is performed rather than how much satisfaction the action ensues. The researchers created a computer simulation, where digital rodents were given a choice of two levers, one of which was associated with the chance of getting a reward. The lever with the reward was labelled the ‘correct’ lever, and the lever without the reward was labelled the ‘wrong’ lever. The reward was swapped between the two levers, and the simulated rodents were then trained to pick the ‘correct’ lever. Doctor Elliot Ludvig, Associate Professor in the University of Warwick’s Department of Psychology and one of the paper’s authors, commented, “Much of what we do is driven by habits, yet how habits are learned and formed is still somewhat mysterious. Our work sheds new light on this question by building a mathematical model of how simple repetition can lead to the types of habits we see in people and other creatures. “

            When the digital rodents were trained for a short period of time, they managed to pick the new, ‘correct’ lever when the lever with the reward changed. However, when they were trained extensively on just one lever, the digital rats stuck with the ‘wrong’ lever stubbornly, even when it had no chance of giving them a reward. Rather than having a chance of getting rewarded, the rodents stuck with the lever they were trained on. Dr Amitai Shenhav, Assistant Professor in Brown University’s Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences and one of the paper’s authors, commented, “Psychologists have been trying to understand what drives our habits for over a century, and one of the recurring questions is how much habits are a product of what we want versus what we do. Our model helps to answer that by suggesting that habits themselves are a product of our previous actions, but in certain situations those habits can be supplanted by our desire to get the best outcome.” This model could potentially be a small step towards understanding human habits more concisely.


            When I was writing the summary for the article, I did not really think too much about the five questions because I felt like a summary should stay true to its source. Changing the summary so it fits all five categories would be changing the story and, hence skewing the truth. I did have some difficulty in keeping the summary concise enough to fit the length of the article. The most difficulty was deciding which details to cut out and which to keep, while keeping the reader in mind. I did not want to have the length required but end up writing a confusing summary. To make sure the limited number of words were enough, I used quotes from the people who ran the experiments. My summary was aimed at the general public, so I tried my best to keep it to basic terms to avoid confusion. The main mission was to make sure that the summary was understandable by everyone and easily interpreted, so anyone could pick it up and know what is going on.

            Doing this has given me some appreciation for journalists because it is very difficult to make a summary on an experiment and keep it interesting. If I had to pick between my summary and the article, I think it would be the article because going over both, mine is missing something. The article seems to appeal more to me, possibly because it was written by someone with more experience. The article also had an interesting title that made you want to read it more, granted the title was clickbait and overstated the extent of the experiment I still find it effective.


University of Warwick. “Train the brain to form good habits through repetition.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2019. <>.

Media Production Project: Correllation between Stress and Sleep

--Original published at Jessica K's College Blog

As far as anyone knows, sleep is a very important aspect of life. While it helps people feel refreshed and energized in the morning, it also helps repair the body and sort out old and new memories for the next day. However, there are different stressors in life that may disrupt a person’s good night sleep, leading to a stressful night and stressful morning.

A study performed by the University of Surrey tests a group of lab mice for the connection between lasting stress and the subsequent change of sleep cycles. In a nine-week period, the mice were introduced to the scent of a predator on random intervals, increasing stress measuring the changes in rapid-eye movement sleep (REM) and non-REM sleep (nREM). During that time, mice exposed to the stressor decrease social activity with other mice, and increase in depressive behavior.

As for sleep cycles, mild stress increases REM activity in the mices’ brain, while nREM stays the same. With the increase in REM sleep, which is in between wakefulness and sleep, generally prevents the body to repair itself and reduce stress in of itself, leading to less energy in the morning.

With the information made, the increase of mild stressors in life may lead to a stressful waking experience, and if the effect continues, may cause symptoms of antisocial behavior and depression.

So while people encounter their own forms of stress on a near-daily basis, too much stress can be just as detrimental as any tragedy, big or small.

For more information on the topic, visit the summarized study below.

Media Production Project

--Original published at WilliamsCollegeBlog

One of the big topics surrounding the generations today is the attention span of everyone in daily lives. A large issue comes with children diagnosed with the attention problem Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which affect about 1 in every 20 children. It is scary how easily our attention can flip from one serious matter to the latest email popping up on the screen. Cell phones and any other mobile device has become part of a person’s life and will not go anywhere without it. This idea of having multiple screens in front of a person became a study too good not to dive deeper into. A group of researchers from Cambridge University, led by Barbara Sahakian, decided to look into how we could use mobile devices to enhance one’s attention span and keep them on task.

The main method for looking at such a study was designing an application where players would have to remember certain patterns or look for sequences in a list of numbers. The game, Decoder, was invented by the research team and requires concentration in order to complete a level. As people grow, the part of the brain responsible for concentration and attention is meant to grow and help people be adults. Decoder is supposed to help sustain such attention and allow for motivation amongst players.

For the researchers to get accurate results, they went out and setup an experiment. Seventy-five young adults were recruited from the local Cambridge area based on what the researchers defined as healthy and young. They were considered healthy based on psychiatric and ADHD tests. The experiment was carried out by randomly assigning the participants to three different groups, allowing twenty-five people per group. One group was given the task of playing the Decoder game, another to play the game Bingo, and the last group played no game at all and carried their lives out normally. The last group was considered the control group and was used as a baseline for the results of the other two groups. Bingo was used because of its similar stimulus but does not give the same training for attention. The perimeters for the two groups playing a game was allotted to eight 1-hour sessions of gameplay over a 4-week span.

After each session of gameplay those two groups were asked to rate their experiences based on four levels of criteria. Those being alertness, enjoyment, motivation, and positive mood. At the end of the 4 weeks, all seventy-five participants were given a test to measure the outcomes. Over the eight sessions there was a significant difference between the Decoder and Bingo group in terms of all four groups. Two other tests, the CANTAB Rapid Visual Information Processing Test (RVP) and Trail Making Test (TMT), were given to assess sustained attention by completing a task requiring a certain level of awareness and concentration. The RVP test tested a participant’s ability to react to a certain sequence while the TMT looked at the response time and completion of test.

The experiment came out as a success, with the results concluding the original thought. While playing the game Decoder, attention and concentration showed improvement in comparison to the other two groups. The experiment used participants considered to be healthy, but now there is possibilities to achieve improvement for children and adults that suffer from ADHD. People who already have poor attention abilities and get easily distracted have shown improvement when using the game Decoder.

The future for these studies is endless. The success of the first experiment showed good improvement and the research behind ADHD patients shows promising results. People who suffer from concussions and traumatic brain injuries are also able to benefit from games like Decoder because they have impaired sustained attention. The cognitive training is huge and will be able to allow large advancements in this field.


One of the biggest challenges I found while writing this article was keeping the information concise and not adding too much detail to a subject when details were not necessary. Most of research article brought up terminology from neuroscience and the normal reader would not understand. Keeping this in mind, determining what I needed in the article itself was not difficult. I believe that the original article did a good job describing the experiment without using all the terminology and it helped keep me in line when writing. While writing, I knew I had to keep the 5 critical questions in the back of my mind and consider what the original did. The purpose is to make the paper make sense to whoever is reading, eve though would not be looking to make sure those questions are included.

In the original article, not all the 5 critical questions were addressed, and it made for a little bit of confusion on my part. The one they missed was talking about how they operationalized their variable. I would believe that is one of the most important questions to answer in the beginning. As I was referencing the original, I made sure to include the important details that they forgot to include. Writers are known for adding a bunch of extra words to make themselves sound better and it was obvious. There was a lot of generalization and assumptions about the research that should not happened. After reading the research, I made sure to make those distinct differences. Since the original article used many of the critical questions, it was rather simple finding a way to incorporate the same ones into my article. Questions involving the selection of participants and how they were assigned were straight forward and clear questions to answer in the article. The use of causal claims is important since it secures a sense of validity for the research itself. Keeping all those questions in the back of my mind, made for an easy time writing this article.

After finishing this project, there was a lot to learn about journalism. A main takeaway for me was how generalizing is a large part of making an article sound well written. Obviously not all readers are going to be as skilled as noticing when a piece of information is missing so generalizing is the key for most writers. Once we got the scholarly article that the pop culture article was written from, the level of writing had gone down. It is once again a key factor of generalizing. Journalism is great for creating a new story based on original concepts. Audiences do not want to read about statistics relating to a study; rather they want to hear the story behind it and why they should be reading anyways. If the audience is captivated by the information, writers know it is a good piece of work.


Avramova, Nina. “This brain training app may help you stay focused.” CNN. Cable News Network, 21 Jan. 2019. Web. Accessed on 28 Jan. 2019.

Savulich, George, et al. “Improvements in Attention Following Cognitive Training With the   Novel ‘Decoder’ Game on an iPad.” Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, vol. 13, no.   2, doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00002. file:///C:/Users/wscho/AppData/Local/Packages/Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe/TempState/Downloads/For%20Will%20S%20(3).pdf

Impact of Facebook on Body Image

--Original published at Ariana's Blog

Is using Facebook affecting how you see yourself? The short answer is yes. Many people today have a Facebook account and spend countless hours scrolling through their feed. Young teens and even adults now post many selfies either as a profile picture or just as a post. This raises the question if it affects how people view their body or face. To answer this question, we turn to the results of a recent study on this issue. 

Researchers Jasmine Fardouly, Phillippa Diedrichs, and Emma Halliwell hypothesized that Facebook increases body dissatisfaction, negative mood, and weight discrepancy. In their study they tested 2 different impacts—increased negative mood and body dissatisfaction. There had been correlational studies that found Facebook did increase body concerns; however, the researchers wanted to conduct their own experimental study. 112 voluntary participants were selected based on the criteria that they were female between seventeen and twenty-five years old. The researchers believed that this was an appropriate sample because they were testing the effect of Facebook on only women. They all completed a pre-exposure state measure of mood and body dissatisfaction. The participants were randomly assigned to 3 different groups. They either scrolled through Facebook, a fashion magazine website, or an appearance neutral website. All websites were checked to make sure each was equal in appeal and comparison opportunity.

Each participant was told to browse the feed of the assigned website for ten minutes a day for a week. After the week, the women were asked to rate their mood on a scale of 1-100 and to rate how different they would like their appearance to be on a scale of 1-5; one being a little different and five being extremely different. Responses were categorized into 3 groups: weight, body, or facial discrepancies. 

The results were unexpected. Women who browsed Facebook for a short time reported being in a more negative mood and had increased facial dissatisfaction. It turns out that women compare their facial features instead of body features. This could be due to the type of posts that are uploaded—up-close selfies! There needs to be further experimental research on this issue to determine whether Facebook is the cause of facial and body dissatisfaction as well as mood. 

Through this experiment the researchers hope to encourage women to follow positive, inspirational accounts to decrease body image concerns. They want to bring attention to the impact that Facebook may have on a person’s view of themselves. 


This project has made me realize that not everything we see on the news or in articles is accurate and further reading should be done in order to find the truth. To make sure that my readers knew the importance of the study, I explained the issue and gave a bit of background information on previous correlational studies. In this article, I chose to include important information so that the audience was able to answer each of the five critical questions. This is significant because it makes the article credible and reliable. I also chose to state that additional research is required to verify the article’s findings so that the audience is aware that there may be errors in the study. I chose to leave out information that I didn’t believe was necessary and was too scientifically based, such as the scientific terms for the specific scales used to operationalize their variables, so that the article was easy to read and understand.

The original article had a bit of important information that was also put in my article; however, it left out some critical information that it should have contained. The summary I wrote is more fact based and portrays the relevant points of the research instead of giving facts about Facebook to appeal to the audience. I recognize that the data may have made my summary less compelling to read, but I felt it was critical information that needed to be included. The original article failed to present the information needed to answer any of the five critical questions, such as how they selected participants and how they operationalized their variables etc., so I made sure to clearly state the information needed in my summary.

I understand that journalists writing pop culture articles have word limits, but I also noticed that they use that space to appeal to the audience instead of giving the facts that would make their article credible and important. It is important for journalists to answer the five critical questions of the scientific study, so the audience can determine its reliability. I also learned that being a journalist of a psychological study comes with the responsibility of interpreting the research so that the audience is able to understand the outcomes. It is difficult to write an article that appeals to a large group of people while simultaneously containing enough factual evidence, especially with the regulations placed upon journalists.

Media Production Project

--Original published at AlexisPattersonBlog

When you get ready to go out to eat with someone, the first thing that pops into your head is the first impression you want to make on that person. You don’t want someone to judge you, or think that you talk too much, eat too fast, etc. Yet if you have a diet restriction, does that change the atmosphere? Would you feel more pressured if you were the one with the restriction? Lots of people would say they feel a certain way when having to present themselves as different in today’s society, especially when meeting someone new. This is even more stressful when people are going to eat with someone they just met for the first time. This pressure is best explained as consumption stereotypes. For example, this is where someone will judge someone else based off what they order or eat, depending on how picky they are, etc. A study was conducted by psychology students from Western Connecticut State University and University of Toledo who also wondered this. These students came together to present the question of whether people that a dietary restriction have such as gluten, would face conflict when it comes to dating or choosing a dating partner.

To conduct the study, students hung up flyers and sent out emails with incentives to obtain the test objectives. These students wanted the test to be random, to show the effects it could have on anyone, not one targeted group.  There were two rounds of this study done, both producing the same results. The first study was a series of open-ended questions about gluten free individuals and their thoughts about dating someone who would have a gluten free diet restriction. This study showed both positive and negative results. A part of the research showed that if you’re gluten-free, you’re more likely to be following a healthy diet, but unfortunately also to be picky, high-maintenance, difficult to please, demanding, concerned about your appearance, and entitled. Gluten-free individuals were perceived as complaining, critical and judgmental, and controlling and dominant

Think about this; if a boy and girl both had a dietary restriction, who do you think would be more likely to be a picky partner? Would this change your mind on your feelings towards them?  The second study was conducted to simulate it as if it was realistic dating. Students were then given certain scenarios, as if they were looking at a profile of someone with a dietary restriction. The reactions to those profiles were recorded and analyzed. Just like the first study, they were asked to reflect on the profile based off a list of traits to describe them. Regarding gender perceptions, gluten-free individuals were more feminine and less masculine than others (Whitbourne 2019). The results led to show that there is a balance between if people do think one would be considered picky or not, leaving room for further research.


When writing my own scholarly article, determining what to include was one of the easier things to do. You wanted to include information that allowed the reader to understand what was going on in the study, so the more information the better off they are of being able to understand. Yet determining what was relevant was also crucial as you do not want to add information that is not needed. Starting the article was one of my struggles when writing as you want to hook the reader and give them more of a reason to want to read more. Another struggle was trying not to be repetitive from the first article. It is hard when you already have a summarized article that was published and already looked over. Everyone is human, so out of habit they will want to look at that one to help guide for this one. You want to find a balance of information that is relevant but concise.

When reading the research, I used the five questions as a base line for what should be included in my article. You want all aspects to be answered for the study to be reliable and easy to understand. Some similarities with my summary and the article are that they both started off situational, where the reader was put into a situation and asked their opinion on the information provided. Yet the pop culture article is more like a story and my article focuses more on questioning your own personal opinions. One difference I found present between the two articles that helped me when writing my summary was the lack of explanation of the effect of gender roles on the outcome of the study. It mentions gender roles in a sentence or two towards the end of the article, yet it is only mentioned briefly, assuming the reader would already know.

When writing each of the different pieces, I was able to observe the level of detail that goes into each. For a pop culture, you want to appeal more to an audience, stating factual information but keeping the tone of the writing easier to understand. The scholarly article is more study- based. It goes more into depth about the study, how it was performed, and the data that was obtained by it. The scholarly article reflected to be more of a scientific paper rather than an article to put in the media. The media production is similar to the pop culture as it is more summary based and not as detailed as the study. For example, the article was broad in the sense that it did not show statistical data that could support the findings. In the study, the open-ended response questions were analyzed, and percentages were given to explain the most common answers that were given.


Aloni, Maya, Geers Andrew L., Coleman Mykelle, Milano Karissa. “Too picky for my taste? The effect of the gluten-free dietary restriction on impressions of romantic partners.” Appetite. Elsevier, 15 September 2018.

The Rise of Fake News and What Can Be Done

--Original published at Alex's Thoughts

In the recent tumult of national politics and partisan ideologies gaining traction in the United States, one must ask the question, why do people not bother to look at the other side’s viewpoints? Are they simply intellectually lazy, or do they attempt to rationalize their own partisan beliefs, even at the cost of the unabashed truth? Political scholars have been debating which one makes more sense in the context of modern society, especially after the 2016 election cycle. According to a recent study conducted by psychologists Dr. Gordon Pennycook and David Rand, the first theory is the most likely one.

The study in question relied on a convenience sample of Mechanical Turk workers. They were given a well-respected psychology test to determine political affiliation while avoiding the personal bias of the researchers. After being given the test, they were assigned tabloid and actual news headlines and asked to determine which ones were true and which ones were false. Generally speaking, neither side of the political spectrum was better or worse than the other at detecting false headlines. People who were more inclined towards critical thinking were more likely to detect false headlines, instead of attempting to rationalize them like the second theory would claim. This was true whether or not the headlines aligned with their own political views. After controlling for factors like level of education and political leaning, this was still found to be the case. Overall, the results of this study seem to coincide with the idea that people will not attempt to rationalize fake news for their own sense of entitlement, they simply do not care to research the topic in question.

While this study is merely a small sample and demographic relative to the United States population, it would seem to indicate that the question is still worth being researched. Increased samples with the same test administered would most likely corroborate with the findings of this study, adding more evidence to the idea that people will not rationalize false headlines, especially if they are adept at critical thinking.

This study and the topic as a whole are meant to address the question, what can be done about the proliferation of fake news? If the results of this study are found to be repeated a repeated pattern in further studies with much better samples and more diverse sampling options, then the answer would seem to be quite simple. Think before speaking, as thinking about the implications of the news versus the reality of the situation will give one a much better sense of what is occurring in the world. The American people do not need to be reminded about the partisanship in the nation, they need to be reminded about the innumerable benefits of being an informed, alert, and vocal citizen of the United States of America. Questioning news sources, reading literature and informing oneself about current events, and simply maintaining an open mind to the viewpoints of others would go a long way towards resolving both the ills of the media and the nation as a whole.

Original Article:


Pennycook, Gordon and David Rand. “Why Do People Fall for Fake News?” 19 January 2019. The New York Times. Website. 13 February 2019.

Original Research Article:


I learned a lot about how the media chooses to portray psychological research in order to sell a particular viewpoint to the public in the hopes that “new research” buzzwords will cause them to immediately and unquestioningly believe whatever is espoused in the article. I understand that it is done to garner interest in the publication and ultimately sell ads, but the sensationalism that is originally innocent could prove poisonous if proper research is not cited to back up the claims of the article. For example, the original article goes into great depth about how the original variables in the study were operationalized, but skimmed over how their participants were selected and grouped. If they mentioned this up front, it would have confounded any conclusions they were trying to draw with the data, as the participants were not randomly selected or grouped at all. Additionally, they attempted to generalize the findings to the American population. However, the convenience sample of Mechanical Turk workers do not come anywhere close to allowing the results to be generalized to the population of the United States. To be fair, the authors of the original article attempt to assert that they have other studies in the works that corroborate the results further, but the studies have not been published or peer-reviewed as of yet. As such, I attempted to remedy the ills of the original authors in my reinterpretation.

I was up front about the sampling methods and stated that it was a convenience sample of Mechanical Turk workers. I praised the method of operationalizing variables, and went into detail about how the test was conducted. I later stated that while the sample and demographic were small when compared with the population of the United States, the question was still worth looking into. Larger samples with more diverse sampling options would do much to bolster the assertions of the original article and the findings of the researchers.

Overall, the quality of the assertions of the original article were quite poor, as no deductions can be drawn from data that is derived from such a lacking sample. The way I finished my article was all based under the assumption that if further studies with better sampling methods were conducted and found to have the same results as the one conducted by the authors, then perhaps something can be done about the widespread proliferation of fake news. Until then, nothing has been distinctly proven or disproven about the topic, and the American people will have to draw their own conclusions as thinking citizens.