Media Production Project

--Original published at Zach Nawrocki's Blog

The age of technology has been taking over humans lives for decades now. One such branch of technology is photography. Have you ever gone on vacation and find an amazing view or monument and the first thing you do is take out a phone or camera and take a picture of it? An interesting new study in the journal, Psychological Science, suggests that taking a photo of an object may actually reduce how much you remember about the object later. Linda Henkel, author of the study and researcher in the Department of Psychology at Fairfield University states, “Taking a photograph is as easy as pointing and shooting, providing an external memory of one’s experiences.”

The first experiment in the study was comprised of a group of 27 undergraduates (6 men and 21 women) who were taken to a museum to observe objects. They were randomly split into two groups, with one set of students asked to read the name of an object, observe it for 20 seconds and then they were to take a picture of it. The second set of students was asked to read the name of the object and then to only observe it for 30 seconds.

 The next day the students where asked what they remembered from the previous day about the objects by participating in a free-recall test.  This test is a name-recognition test which consisted of the 30 objects including 10 names that were randomly intermixed among the objects and also a visual-recognition test with 10 pictures of objects that were not on the tour. From these tests the students were asked to recognize which objects where on the tour and other details about the objects, such as, “What did the warrior have in his hands?”. From the data it was found the recognition accuracy was lower for photographed objects than for observed objects and was higher when participants saw photos of the objects in the visual-recognition test.

               The second experiment conducted in the study was fairly similar to the first one with a few minor additions to make the experiment more accurate. In this experiment, a group of 46 undergraduates (10 men, 36 women) were taken to the museum and asked to observe 27 objects. This time however, they were given 25 seconds to observe the object, then an additional 5 seconds to either take a picture of the whole object or were asked to zoom in on a specific part of the object. They were also asked to only observe some objects without taking a picture of the object. Out of the 27 objects, each participate was asked to take a picture of a whole object 9 times, take a picture of a specific part of an object 9 times and to only observe an object 9 times for a total of 27 objects.

The next day the participates were asked to remember the various pieces of art (the 27 old objects and 10 objects randomly intermixed which were not on the tour). They were also asked to indicate whether they had taken a photo of the object or just observed the object. The participates were asked to rate their confidence about the details that they remembered from the objects that were observed. This experiment had some interesting results however. From the data obtained it shows that participants remembered fewer details about the objects when photos of the whole object were taken, however, participants remembered a similar amount of detail about objects when zoomed in on it compared to objects that were just observed with no photo taken. This data shows that if a person zooms in on an object, they not only remember more detail about the zoomed in part but also the object as a whole since a person has to focus more when zooming in on a picture.

This study shows several interesting facts that were concluded from the data. There is more to either taking a picture or not taking a picture that can affect your memory about an object. Thousands of photos are taken each day and many different factors go into photos including different angles, zooming in and how long you have to take a photo. All these factors can have an impact on how well a person will remember the object in the future. While this study seems professionally done it does not explain how the participants were selected so it cannot be generalized to a population. Nevertheless, remember when taking your next photo to always take another look at the view after you take a picture!


               Throughout the process I started to realize how difficult it can actually be to summarize a study with a limited about of space. Most studies (including mine) are pages long talking about how the study was performed and the results from the study. It proved difficult to pick out only the important information that can be used to explain the whole study with limited space. One item that I did leave out was the p-values that were obtained from the study. I decided to leave this out because since this is for the general population I feel as though it is not common knowledge to know what a p-value is or what they are used to show. I was still able to explain the results from the study however without the use of the p-values. Another piece that I left out except for a small part were the five critical questions of research. I decided to leave this out because the five critical questions are not common knowledge to know and some of the questions use words that not everyone might know what they mean. Nevertheless, I did include one critical question which was that since the study did not explain how they selected their participants it cannot be generalized to the population. When comparing my summary to the original news article there are several similarities and differences. Both my summary and the news article describe how the study was performed and how the data from the study was obtained and what the data meant. There are some differences as well. In my summary I go more into the detail of what tests were performed on the participants to obtain the concluding data. I also go into more detail about what that data means and the conclusions they got from the data. The news article never mentions anything about the five critical questions. Knowing that it can be difficult to include the questions into the summary, in my summary I still mentioned the one question which was that the study was not able to be generalized. Overall, while writing this summary I had to remember that it is for a general population to read which made my job of selecting what information to include and what not to include harder since some information that is used in the study is not common knowledge for most people.

While writing this summary I came to realize that we shouldn’t be so harsh on journalists because it is very difficult to include all the data that you want to include to make an article. A lot of information must be left out if you are to make the article understandable for the general public. I also realized that it is very difficult to make an article “attention grabbing”, when you read an article, journalist find ways to make even the most boring topic interesting. I find this very difficult to do being that you are talking about a study which a lot of people don’t want to read about. After writing my news article I have come to find a new appreciation for journalists and the struggles they have to go through to write an article for the public to be able to understand and find interesting.  


Original News Article –

Scholarly Article –

Stress Option 1

--Original published at Zach Nawrocki's Blog

College is a package deal, you get a good education, but stress also comes with that. It is normal for a college student to have at least a little stress or anxiety (if you don’t are you really going to college?). For me a lot of my stress about school work/tests comes right after spring break when all my classes are rushing to cram in all the material before finals, and this takes a major toll. Freshman year the one main thing I learned is that procrastinating in college is not an option. Procrastination causes my work to build up and subsequently causes my stress/anxiety to go through the roof, however I do have several ways I manage my stress. One way I manage my stress is my exercising, when I am working out I forget about everything else that is happening and my mind is clear. Another activity I do is when it is nice out I like to go for a little walk to calm myself down and get myself back into the right mindset and focus on what I am doing, this really helps me when I am studying for important tests. Lastly, I like to get most of my work done about two days before it is actually due, this helps prevent my work from piling up and it also makes it look like I really do not have that much homework to do. All three of these strategies really work and help me manage my stress. One stress management activity I would like to incorporate into my routine would be to meditate at night before I go to bed. I know several of my friends do this and they all say that it really helps calm them down and relieve some of the stress that has been building up.


--Original published at Zach Nawrocki's Blog

One thing that everyone strives for in their life is to be happy. One way that many people try to achieve happiness is by setting goals (either long term or short-term goals) and by achieving these goals people feel happy with themselves. Nevertheless, if you don’t achieve those goals many people tell themselves that it wasn’t meant to be, or they will try it later and produce happiness that way. On the other hand, even if people reach their goals they will be happy for a short period of time until they set new goals. People are always chasing happiness which is a never-ending cycle.

In the Ted talk Dan Gilbert talks about how we sabotage ourselves by saying “it wasn’t meant to happy” or “I don’t care” which produces synthetic happiness unlike if we get what we want it produces natural happiness. This way of thinking can make many people second guess themselves which then makes them less happy. He explained an experiment in his talk were a group of students had to give up one of two pictures they took, however half the group was given time to think about switching the picture they give up while the other half did not have an option to switch. He found that the group of students that had a chance to switch which picture was given up got unhappier over time with the picture they kept while it was the opposite for the other group of students. I find this amazing but at the same time if I think back on experiences in my life it is very true. I believe that Dan Gilbert is a very credible source considering he is a Psychologist at Harvard and the experiments he explained seem very well planned out and conducted well.

I can incorporate more synthetic happiness into my life if I reduce the amount that I overthink on a daily bases or comparing myself to others. I always find myself overthinking or second guessing myself about assignments that I did for class or general activities that I do throughout the day. When I look back on experiences I have had throughout life I always feel happier when I make a decision and don’t have a chance to switch it or overthink it and accept it and appreciate it.


--Original published at Zach Nawrocki's Blog

I am currently in my second year of college and I have learned a lot about my sleep schedule and how much rest my body needs each night to feel fully awake and focused during the day. In my first year of college my sleep habits were all over the place. One night I would go to bed at 2 or 3 a.m. and the next night I would go to bed at 10 or 11 p.m., this took a major toll on my body. Since my sleep pattern was so messed up from going to bed early one night to going to bed really late the next night I never really felt fully awake during the day and it showed in how I performed on tests and overall in class. I did this irregular sleep pattern all of my first year of college.

For my second year of college I have gotten a lot better at controlling my sleep pattern and having a more regular sleep schedule. Now the latest I have gone to bed this year has been 1 a.m., which has only happened 2 or 3 times. I mostly go to bed around 12 a.m. and get up around 7:20 a.m., this means that I get around 7 hours of sleep per night usually. Considering that I am a college student I feel that 7 hours of sleep per night is a good amount of rest. My body also feels a lot better during the day and I feel more motivated to do homework rather then go back to my bed and take a “short” nap which most college students do.

I consider 7 hours of sleep a sufficient amount of sleep per night for a college student considering the amount of homework that most students have and also a social life. One way that I plan to improve my sleep habits is to tighten up my sleep pattern a little more so that I consistently go to bed around 12 a.m. Lastly, I plan to turn off my phone early so that I am not laying in my bed watching YouTube or messing around on social media right before I go to bed.

Motivation. Option 2

--Original published at Zach Nawrocki's Blog

There are multiple reasons that I chose to come to Elizabethtown College originally. One reason being that it is only about an hour away from where I live so if I need to come home for some reason whether that be an emergency, or I just want to go home for some reason I can. The main reason I came to Elizabethtown though is because it is a small school which allows for personal interaction with teachers and really getting to know the teachers where as at a big school you don’t get that type of personal interaction and you don’t feel as important.

One of the main things that I do to motivate myself is plan what grades I want to get for that semester and work hard to accomplish that goal. Another thing that I do to motivate myself is that if I do not do as good as what I wanted to do on an assignment or test I put it behind me because I can’t change the past, but I work even harder the next time to improve my grade and keep moving forward. This is the main type of motivation that I use because then if I do better it keeps me motivated to keep working that hard to keep my grades up.

One way to maintain my motivation to succeed until graduation is to keep planning goals for the grades that I want and to work hard to get those goals met. I also need to keep reminding myself of why I am working this hard to graduate and to remind myself I want to go for my master’s degree in biotechnology and possible my PhD., however that will not be possible if I don’t stay motivated and keep working hard to achieve my goals.

Sensation & Perception – TED Talk

--Original published at Zach Nawrocki's Blog

I found this TED Talk extremely interesting. I knew that some people could imagine words or numbers and represent them or correlate them with symbols or colors, but I never knew that is was called Synesthesia. I feel as though Daniel Tammet did a very good job at describing exactly what this disorder entails and how exactly he perceives the world around him. I have always wondered what it would be like to see numbers and perceive them as symbols or colors. From this video I learned that synesthesia is when multiple senses can communicate with each other and work together. Daniel Tammet did a good job at demonstrating the ability to see words as symbols by showing the audience how he perceives the number pie and the elaborate pictures that he makes using numbers. After watching this video, it is interesting to think about how everyone perceives life differently and two people can be looking at the same thing but be perceiving that object completely different from everyone else.

I believe that it would be both difficult and beneficial for someone that is living with this condition. I feel like it would be difficult because I feel as though it would be easy for someone to get a “sensory overload” when looking at a bunch of numbers or reading a book. Nevertheless, as he demonstrated in the video it could also be beneficial for him. He can do complex math in his head that most other people would need to use a calculator for, and he is also able to “feel” if a word has a happy or sad meaning. I find it very unique what he has, and it is both beneficial and difficult to live with depending on the situation he is in.


--Original published at Zach Nawrocki's Blog

I am currently a sophomore and I feel as though my study habits have improved dramatically from last year to this year. I feel as though my study habits this year are so much better then what they use to be but there are obviously still things that can be improved. Some of the things that I do well for studying is I start studying at least a week before a test, so I do not cram everything into one or two nights. One other thing that I do well is I restudy the stuff from one day to the next until I have gone over all the information and feel comfortable with it. Lastly, I not only read the slides or notes I took in class but also read the given book for the class and take notes on that. The one main thing I struggle with while studying which I feel a lot of students can agree on is staying focused for a certain about of time. This seems to be a growing problem among the younger population and is a real problem when it comes to studying and retaining information. For the first exam in this class I am reading the chapter in the book and taking notes on that then after I finish one chapter I am looking at the slides that were covered in class and connecting the information from the book to the information covered in class. To prepare for the next exam one thing I want to start doing is after each class go over the information again to make sure I understand it completely right after we go over it and ask any questions that I am confused about to better prepare for the upcoming test.

Learning. Prompt #2

--Original published at Zach Nawrocki's Blog

The increase in violent video games has been obvious, as there seems to be a new first-person shooter game coming out every month. Personally, my brother and I both grew up playing these more violent games and neither of us became violent people as a result of playing these games.

As most people know the first few years of a kids life and what they are taught or shown in that period of time will define how they will act in the future. Personally, I don’t see a bunch of 5-year-old kids playing Black Ops. Nevertheless, even though there are age restrictions on games that have violence in them many kids under that age will be playing them, I would say kids that are around 13 playing games like Black Ops. I feel as though kids at this age that are playing games like this have developed their brain enough to realize the difference between a video game and the real world and have been taught that violence like that is not okay. There is a difference however between kids getting more violent while actually playing the game such as kids “rage quitting” and having that violence persist after the game has been turned off. I feel as though once the game has been turned off most children understand that it is a game and will quickly get over it. I do not believe that violent first-person shooter games should be banned but just have better parental control about what their kids are playing. At a certain age when they believe their kids can handle the game and understand that it is just a game, then allow them to play those types of games.

Overall, I feel as though violent first-person shooter games do not have a major impact on weather or not a kid will become more violent due to these games. I think with proper control by the parents that at a certain age when kids understand its just a game should they be allowed to play them.


--Original published at Zach Nawrocki's Blog

The TED Talk that I chose to watch was “Can the damaged brain repair itself?” by Siddharthan Chandran. The reason I chose this TED Talk is because when I had the neuroscience class we talked about neuroplasticity which is when the neurons in the brain change when the brain is damaged and to rewire the brain to keep it functioning. I find this topic very interesting because of how complex the brain is and how amazing it is to be able to do some of the things it can do.

In this talk Siddharthan Chandran talks about the effect that different neurodegenerative diseases have on the functioning of neurons in the brain. The main disease that is focused on in the talk is Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and how it degrades the myelin sheath. He also talks about how research is taking so long to discover new treatments/medicines and the main reason it is taking so long is because most screening for new treatments is done on animals instead of humans. One way that the process is starting to be sped up is by taking human stem cells, growing them in the lab and actually doing screenings on them to find new treatments. The main topic of the talk however, is that he is finding a way to use existing stem cells in the brain to create new myelin to repair the neurons in the brain.

The thing I found most interesting about the talk is how scientists can use existing stem cells in the brain and activate/trigger them to create new myelin that would be able to repair neurons on its own. One other interesting fact that I found is that if we cannot active the existing stem cells we can grow some in a lab and physically plant them in the brain to help repair neurons.

I find the information that is being presented in this talk by Siddharthan Chandran very trustworthy. He is the Head of Neurology at the University of Edinburgh and the Director of the Centre for Clinical Brain Science and Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research. He has been in the field of regenerative neuroscience for many years and is well known in the field.

One research idea would be to take stem cells from an animal (such as a mouse) and grow them in a lab. With them you can then use different medicines on them to see how it effects the activation of the stem cells outside of the brain. Once the best medication is found that stimulates the stem cell the most the next step would be to transplant them into a mouse brain that suffers from a disease such as MS or some other motor neuron disease and scan the mouse brain every few hours to see if the stem cell is in fact repairing the damaged neurons. Nevertheless, as explained in the talk the best research would be to conduct this using humans instead of mice however, this is a touchy subject because of how ethical it would be to do research like this on a human.


--Original published at Zach Nawrocki's Blog

There are several different styles of parenting that all lead to different ways that children act and deal with situations as they get older. The three big types of parenting styles are tiger parenting, jellyfish parenting, and helicopter parents. Tiger parenting is a very strict and demanding style of parenting that puts a lot of pressure on children to do the best that they possible can at everything. Jellyfish parenting is the opposite of tiger parenting where this style of parenting has little rules, lacks control and overindulge their children. One more type is helicopter parenting, this style is when a parent pays very close attention to a child’s experiences and problems and doesn’t let that child out of their sight. I feel as though the best style of parenting is a combination of these three styles depending on how old the child is. Nevertheless, there are many ways to parent a child depending on the situation the child is in.

Parenting is such a complex web of different ways to parent a child as they grow up that there is not a certain way to parent but more of a general way to do things in response to how a child is acting. While a child is growing up between the ages of 5-16 years old it is important to have set rules to follow and if the child is following them to reward them in some manner such as ice cream or a toy. Nevertheless, it is also important to be strict with these rules and if the child doesn’t follow them to punish them somehow such as timeout or take a toy or phone away. This shows the child that if you follow rules something good will happen but if you don’t something bad will happen, this is important because when that child gets a job later in life it is important to follow bosses’ orders or rules and if you don’t you could get fired. As a child gets older however it is better to let a child be more independent and have few rules to follow. At this stage in a child’s growth it is important to let them experience the real world and let them handle situations on their own because as they get older a parent will not be always be there to help them. I feel as though a combination of all three is the best way to parent a child as they grow up and adjust the style of parenting in certain situations.