Media Production Project

--Original published at CurtisCollegeBlog

What is the reasoning behind adolescents making reckless decisions? According to one study, the key to this is the enhanced striatal activity (activity in the corpus striatum) in their brains. This activity in the brain is generally linked to negative outcomes such as risky behavior and alcohol abuse. While this seems as if it could be detrimental and harmful to young ones, it also shows positivity. From the same study we can see that the enhancement of this activity is adaptive for learning, and shows adolescence is the peak phase for feedback-learning performance.

Over a five year span, 736 fMRI scans were taken across 299 people from the ages of 8-29, none of which were allowed any form of psychiatric diagnosis or psychotropic medication. These scans focused on the levels of striatal activity in three regions: the dorsal caudate, the ventral caudate, and the accumbens. In terms of sensitivity to learning signals, all three regions show a spike in the adolescent age area, with adults and children being lower. Then, they contrasted positive and negative learning during the same tests. In the dorsal caudate, it showed and even flatline across all ages tested. The ventral caudate shows a steady decline as age increases, while the accumbens displays a high level for children then adolescents plummet, and adults start to rise again. In general, the results do show adolescents respond the best (of the age groups) to feedback learning.


I didn’t know how hard it would be to write an article for this study. I judged the pop culture article pretty hard off of not putting enough information in there, but I felt I only added little to know info. I think it was just a basic to-the-point study, and all of the other things added in are just fluff. I think a decent amount of the information I brought forward was also put in the pop culture, with my article adding slightly more detail. I have a little more respect for journalists after writing that. Taking a psychological study and trying to turn it into a nice article for the public to read is pretty hard. This is especially hard when you have to try to answer the five questions of psychology without them being answered in the study you are using. My article shows that striatal activity and feedback are the two variables measured via fMRI. Two big unknowns are how they select the participants, and the doubt for causal claims. We assume the conclusion is generalized toward the right population since it was targeting adolescents throughout the study.


Leiden, Universiteit. “Adolescent brain makes learning easier.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 December 2017. <>.

Peters, S., and E. A. Crone. “Increased Striatal Activity in Adolescence Benefits Learning.”Nature Communications, vol. 8, no. 1, 19 Dec. 2017, pp. 1–9. Nature, doi:10.1038/s41467-017-02174-z.


Spotlight 3

--Original published at CurtisCollegeBlog

I chose to pick apart the topic of year-rounding schooling. I originally thought that summer break is almost like a necessity for kids. As a public-school graduate and a current college student, I am used to a large summer break, with a winter break that is a lot smaller. This was just the normal for me, as year-round schooling is the normal for others. I thought about this a little more though. A lot of my summers included sitting around the house doing nothing. Talking to people was rare, I didn’t always go on vacation, so my summer seemed to go by the wayside. Thinking back a year-round education might have been better for me in terms of enjoyment and learning as well. Every year coming back from summer break, I seemed to struggle retaining the old information from the past year.

Enough about me, we need the cold hard facts to prove if year-round education is better for learning outcomes and information retention. Early on, summer was given off due to America being an agricultural society, the kids helped on the farm a lot. As the idea of this grew it was said to have been an economic necessity to let the kids have time off and be themselves away from school. Traditional schooling allows children to have this time off and be with their families, year-round schooling doesn’t offer this same option as there will be less family time. Scheduling something like a vacation could be hard inside of a smaller time frame rather than the three months allotted for summer break. Another problem with year-round schooling is that it’s generally harder to find child care such as a babysitter or a nanny. Summer is almost like the light at the end of the long tunnel called school, it’s something that the kids look forward to. Also, in the summer you have the opportunities for learning that aren’t offered in school. Summer vacations give way to cultural and artistic experiences.

The big problem that year-round schooling is supposed to solve is the concept of the “summer slide”. This is when students forget or unlearn things when they are given too much time off from school.  The National Summer Learning Association claims this is still true, however an Ohio State study showed there’s no real difference in learning between the two types of schooling. While the average student learns around the same, the big improvement is shown in at-risk and disadvantaged students. These students were shown to lose around 27 % more of the knowledge over summer rather than the average student. Year-round learning allows them to keep their minds focused on school more rather than not in the off-months. This also includes students who are learning in an environment that adheres to their second language. They will be around their second language often, allowing them to develop the linguistics better. In traditional school, the summer is considered too long, because there is no way to totally stimulate a child for that full length of time; children get very bored. It’s said the teachers and students will bond more frequently and have deeper bonds as well.

I’m not totally sold on instituting year-round schooling because of the claim that it’s better. However, most of the evidence supporting traditional schooling didn’t involve anything saying how students perform better in school. All of the support for traditional school seemed to not show anything in terms of actually learning, it was more about freedom for children. Year-round schooling showed learning improvements for disadvantaged kids, so there is an advantage for those kids to study this way. I personally, still lean toward the traditional way of schooling.

Works Cited

10, et al. “Top 3 Reasons the US Should Switch to Year-Round Schooling.” The Edvocate, 13 Aug. 2016,

Kalil, Kimberly Demucha. “The Pros and Cons of Year-Round School.”,, 18 July 2017,

Lynch, Ed.D. Matthew. “Year-Round Schooling: How It Affects Students.” The Huffington Post,, 20 Mar. 2014,

“Reasons Why Year Round School Is A Good Idea-Screenflex.” Screenflex Portable Room Dividers, 21 Apr. 2017,

Weller, Chris. “Year-Round School Doesn’t Solve the 2 Big Problems with Summer Vacation.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 5 Sept. 2016,



--Original published at CurtisCollegeBlog

Stress is said to be a state of mental or emotional strain or tension from certain adversity or circumstances. Everyone on earth goes through stress at times, some more than others. How people deal with stress is a whole other different animal. In essence, dealing with and managing stress is generally the same across different cultures and things like that. I’m going to discuss the tips in detail for college students, athletes and teachers.

As a college student, the amount of stress you deal with daily can be pretty overwhelming. You have to plan out your time with some sort of schedule to stay on top of things. If you have a job, you have plan things around your work schedule. The 1st tip is to prioritize your own health over other unnecessary things in your life. Staying healthy will keep you lively and energetic and with that your mind will also become sharper and able to gain and retain information better. Things like sleep, healthy food, and exercise all keep your health at a maximum level. Meditation is another way to deal with stress as a college student. Even if you don’t want to meditate like a monk, just simply relaxing and breathing will help your cortisol lower along with your stress. Planning helps a lot with stress, because it avoids the possibility of procrastination, which is a killer among students. There’s no need to be stressed about a deadline, if you have all your work done before then. Lastly, they say to be grateful for the life you live, because you’ll never know what could happen. Make sure you’re grounded as a person and maintaining homeostasis. As a student, you have to take care of yourself, so your performance in the classroom rises as well as your own health.

Athletes are some of the most stressed out people in the world, especially student athletes because they have to deal with all the pressures above and even more. Now, you have the pressure to perform day in and day out because of your coaches and teammates. They say athletes need a lot of rest because of the toll that they put on their body. As you sleep, the body naturally starts to restore itself, so you’re replenishing your health physiologically and mentally while gaining energy. Time management is a big issue for student athletes as well, you have balance all your sports stuff, with your day-to-day life. A positive attitude is something that is good to have as mentioned in the article. This is sort of in line with something called the Facial feedback theory. This theory leads you to believe a forced emotion, will lean you more towards actually being in the state of that emotion. If you’re smiling, you will be happier more likely than not. It’s recommended that athletes find some recreational activities. Something that can help you blow off some steam. This way you have more options to keep you sane or level-headed when you get stressed out. The last tip is to develop a support system. This could be any group of people you are around that are there for you and your well-being. This could be your family or a group of friends that you have that have your back no matter what. No matter how bad you play, these people are right by your side. It proves to you there is more to life than just sports.

Teachers get a bad reputation for having an “easy” job, but no job is easy all the time. Even though most teachers have summers off, it’s not always like this. Some teachers teach during summer school, but a lot of them just make lesson plans for the year and prepare. A lot of times, teachers are also coaches (usually at the high school level) which is a huge added stress. Breathing was a big option for teachers, meditated breathing can improve your life in a couple ways. Breathing will lower physical stress and helps you to regain control. A quirky method is to just embrace the stress, view it as something positive. Looking at stress constructively will cause your body to respond differently to it and prevents long-lasting internal physical damage. Teachers are supposed to remind themselves that they are not perfect, and perfection isn’t expected of them. Mistakes often happen, and they’re generally not a big deal. Teachers should try practicing emotional first aid on themselves, which sounds crazy at first. Essentially, it’s just repairing yourself from any mental and emotional strain that you are currently dealing with. Another thing is to work smarter not harder which will help you prevent straining yourself or spreading yourself too thin. When in doubt, ask for help, getting help from others doesn’t make you stupid or look weak, it helps get the job done properly. Teachers are told to develop some sort of close connection as well, whether it’s a deep friendship or love. I feel as though most teachers are married, but in that case it doesn’t hurt to make the bond you have stronger.

These three sources seemed as if they were credible. Most of the tips they gave were in the book’s stress management tips as well. For the most part, the tips seemed to be around the same too. Confirming that four different places lead you to the same couple of tips, seems to make them look credible. All 3 told their audience to connect with other people. Having genuine bonds with other people puts less pressure on you in certain situations. Positivity showed up in a bunch of them as well. That is partially backed up by the facial feedback theory. Pretending to be happy will make you happier. I thought that exercise was going to be put in for all 3 like it was in the book. I assume they didn’t have it in for athletes because they generally are getting enough exercise between their practices and games. (College) (athletes)

Intelligence (my 9th FI)

--Original published at CurtisCollegeBlog

In my opinion, the idea definitely comes from a good, well-meaning heart that genuinely cares about children and their collective futures. However, the execution of the idea was poor, I feel as if it would never work how he intended. It reminds me of another situation. I’m not sure if you’ve seen, but a couple of weeks ago there was a statement realized from a superintendent of a school district in PA. In the statement, he planned to put a bucket of rocks in the back corner of every classroom, in case of a school shooter. Then, instead of sitting there defenseless, the kids all throw rocks at the shooter in attempts to hurt or disarm him. That high school, was my old high school, and since the release of that article, my high school has become a meme, even Chrissy Teigen tweeted something about my old school. This was another example of how someone in power institutes a subpar idea with good intentions behind it. The governor doesn’t seem to understand how many different factors go into developing the minds of children, but he wants them to be overall more intelligent. Different kids will react differently to different types of music and environmental factors. Deaf kids wouldn’t be able to be increase their intelligence via this method, other kids with conditions wouldn’t have the same affect from the music either. I feel that the average level of intelligence across all kids who had the music played vs the kids who didn’t would all be around the same level. Overall, the idea is okay, but his heart is definitely in the right place.


--Original published at CurtisCollegeBlog

To start off this post, I would like to say making the choice to come to Etown was fairly simple. When looking at colleges, I was interested in so many, but I never applied to any unless they fit athletically and academically. So, I looked at many schools that I liked and if they didn’t offer engineering, basketball, and track I generally put them to the wayside. For instance, I thought Wilkes was the school I wanted to go to, but they didn’t offer track so I didn’t want to go. Then, I also looked at schools that offered me free applications rather than ones that charged you to apply, and only applied to schools I didn’t have to pay for. Ideally, I ended up finding Elizabethtown College, over Moravian, Lebanon Valley, and Widener. Since this school was the most expensive, I kind of regret the decision, but I know it will pay off later. Good grades drive me to do well by themselves, because I love to know I’m doing well, but making my family proud is an added bonus. Plus, doing good now will help employers see that I am hard-working and they will want to take the chance on me as a future employee. So, I am motivated to do well now so that I can do big things in the future. This way I can do whatever it takes to provide for myself and all my family. As I say when I eat, we all eat big dog style.

EC JOhari

--Original published at CurtisCollegeBlog

So I completed the Johari window last week, and I filled it out how I viewed myself. I put clever, complex, energetic, extroverted, logical, self-conscious. Every trait that I picked, ended up getting picked at least once by someone else, so at least I know myself, or people agree with me on my personality.  Also nothing that I picked was not picked by others. I did like to see some of the other answers that people gave me, so that I know what people think of me. Most of the ones in my blind spot weren’t surprising to me at all. Like, I would use some of them to loosely describe myself. One that came off kind of shocking to me was trustworthy. I’m not saying I’m not trustworthy or anything, because I am, but the people who I had fill this out haven’t really had anything to trust me with, so I didn’t think that would come up. My most dominant trait was friendly, and it was voted upon by over half the people I asked even though I didn’t choose for myself. Instead, I chose a synonym for it, extroverted, which was voted upon a couple of times. Another trait that I could see for myself that a lot of others voted for was silly, I am generally a jokester and like to make others laugh so I could see why that would be a vote. Overrall, I like this window, because of how it compares how you view yourself versus how others see you. I think this would probably work better if there were less options and you were allowed to pick as many traits as applicable rather than 6. The not known to others section would definitely have more traits inside of it if that were the case.

First Impression: Stress

--Original published at CurtisCollegeBlog

I agree that the world around us is very stressful, and that being a college student adds even more stress and pressure to everyday life. Overall, I would consider myself stress-free or minimally stressed most of the time. I am generally not really ever stressed out unless I have multiple assignments bearing down on me at once. Even then, I still think that manage my stress well, I don’t let things overcome me to the point where, I am panicking and having anxiety attacks or anything. With that being said, I don’t have any special techniques to get rid of my stress or anything, I just kind of live life however it feels natural. When my life seems like it’s too much or I need a break, I’ll just play video games or go play basketball or something. Also, I try to stay out of as much drama as possible, so I don’t have anything to worry about like that. So, if you would call those stress management strategies, I would say mine are decently effective in terms of keeping me level-headed. To be honest, I don’t know any real big changes or techniques I could even add to my daily lifestyle. I guess I could try doing yoga or some kind of meditation activity that would be healthy for me. In fact, some of my other friends like to take walks and go exploring around their school, I could take up doing that because it’s kind of relaxing. My one friend has a big stress ball, so if I really need to I could play with that.

First Impression: Emotion

--Original published at CurtisCollegeBlog

Prior to taking the test, I thought my emotion reading was going to be pretty good. I was pleasantly surprised when I got a 15/20 on it. So, I would say I am probably better than the average person at reading facial impressions. I thought I would do a lot worse considering I started out 3/6 on it. Some of the questions, I would get wrong because I answered too fast. For instance, number seven I got wrong, I put shame, but the answer was contempt. I read contempt as content and I just knew it wasn’t that. So, I don’t think the test is flawless reflecting how good you are at reading emotions. Although it did give scores around what I thought I would get. I thought the emotions that were similar were harder to pick between. The one choice was between happiness and excitement, and honestly, I thought it could go either way, I ended up choosing happiness which was right. I liked the way it gave descriptions after every answer to show you which was the proper emotion and why. It allows you to have the chance to learn from your mistakes, or even expand your knowledge on why you got a question right. I see minimal use for this in day-to-day life. Sure, it would be nice to read how people are feeling based from their facial expressions, but how much better would it make your life. I assume not much better because most people have some way of knowing a little of expression recognition.

Week 9 First Impression Prompt – Sleep (6)

--Original published at CurtisCollegeBlog

I believe my sleep habits are poor at best. Most nights I go to bed some point later than 1:00 AM. A lot of times I just find it difficult to go to sleep. There’s been nights where my roommate and I just have funny conversations until late in the morning like 3:30 or later. We also have a visitor from next door to us, who walks into our room around 1:30 and tells us good night and how he loves us. Then, we also have our nights where we’ll watch Drake & Josh episodes when it’s midnight or later. Even with all that  in consideration, I think I am a pretty healthy person. For the most part I eat healthy, I work out just about every day, I try to stay in shape. I feel as if my sleep has little to no effect on my general health, due to how little I usually sleep.  A realistic goal for me to sleep is 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night, I usually sleep less than that. To improve my sleep, I think I have to stop doing my work so late, and also stop using my phone in bed. I will get in bed at 12:40 and be looking at my phone until 1:30 then try to sleep and it just doesn’t work.

Spring Break First Impression Prompt – Sensation & Perception (my 5th)

--Original published at CurtisCollegeBlog

I enjoyed this video because of how it made me think of the way that I learn. The one sentence he said, “our personal perceptions are at the heart of how we gather knowledge,” and that stuck out to me. I tend to learn things by creating some sort of learning base. Then, in addition to that base I try to add more knowledge on to it. I try to make associations from the new things that I’m learning to add to the base. I feel like its easier than trying to remember a bunch of different things rather than one set system of things that can be built from. I generally do this with math, but sometimes I make the base wrong or incorrectly associate and then I struggle doing problems.

To move on to synesthesia, I think it would be more of a help than a hindrance in day-to-day life. I think it would also be an annoying part of your life. When he mentioned that sentence at the end, he analyzed so deeply that I felt it was unnecessary. I don’t know if his synesthesia made him do that, but I feel like that would be pretty annoying if every time I read something I had to think about other words that could be used in place.