By: Annabel Patch
Recess the favorite class of many children, may be one of the most important classes a child participates in. While it may seem as though recess is taking away from time kids could be learning, studies done by Wendy Suzuki and other neuroscientists and teachers prove otherwise. Wendy Suzuki a neuroscientist studying memory has discovered the impact of exercise on learning in people of all ages but specifically children. Suzuki started working out after going through a slump in her everyday life. She wasn’t feeling her best socially and emotionally and decided to start going to the gym as a way to feel stronger. After going to the gym regularly for about a year and a half she started to see the benefit of exercise in her own work. She discovered that since she started exercising the quality of her work had improved.
After seeing this improvement Suzuki decided to investigate the effects of exercise on the brain. She learned that exercise is mood boosting and helps with your cognitive functions, or your ability to process things. The brain is a muscle and like all muscles, it can be strengthened. Suzuki learned that exercise, in particular, is great for strengthening your hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Your prefrontal cortex is in charge of executive functions, such as the control of your behavior. The hippocampus is in charge of memory and some key parts of learning. Both of these structures in our brains are important to learning. By strengthening these we are able to learning is able to improve. By exercising you are enhancing your creative thinking, decision making, focus, and retrieving memories. Suzuki found that after exercising students are able to focus on a task for up to 2 hours.
Along with improving your learning, Suzuki found that exercise is able to improve your quality of life in general. Exercise encourages the growth of new neurons in a process called neurogenesis. This can help with learning. Also, exercise produces hormones like serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and endorphins. These hormones boost your mood and also reduce stress. This can greatly improve your quality of life.
Because of the benefits of exercise, recess is very important to the well being of children. It not only helps them learn and grow, but it can also improve their quality of life. Recess gives kids the chance to run around and hang out with friends. Suzuki found that this exercise, even for only a short amount of time can make a big difference in the lives of children. By studying the children's ability to focus before and after exercise she was able to conclude that exercise like recess is beneficial in kids lives. Although kids may not be using that time to learn new skills such as multiplication and grammar the time is crucial for children's memory recall and attention span. Being able to remember and recall information learned in class is much more beneficial to the children's’ education than learning information is forgetting it because the child is not focused.
How Movement and Exercise Help Kids Learn. (2019, May 22). Retrieved from
I am very familiar to procrastinating. In fact, this assignment is being completed at 11:00 PM the night before it is due. The article “When Bonuses Backfire: An Inaction Inertia Analysis of Procrastination Induced by a Missed Opportunity” about how incentives to complete a task early can actually impede efficiency of completion or cause incompletion of the task. The central idea surrounding these studies is inaction inertia. Inaction inertia is the tendency for a person to be less likely to complete a task at the second completion opportunity once the first opportunity is missed. In other words, when a person doesn’t do their work when the first opportunity arises, they’ll probably push it off the next time too.
Five groups were set up to complete a task: read a two page article and complete the comprehension quiz. There were two control groups with a flat completion reward of 1 credit. The first group had to complete the task in 2 weeks to earn the reward, the other had 3 weeks to complete the task. The three other groups would receive the 1 credit reward for completing the task in 3 weeks but would also receive a bonus (small: ¼ credits, medium: ½ credits, or large: 1 credit) for completing the task within the first two weeks.
It was found that there were two completion clusters. The small and medium bonuses’ completion rates did not vary significantly from each other but were significantly lower (about 30%) than the control groups and the large bonus groups whose completion rates did not vary significantly. However, as the bonus grew, the completion in the third week decreased. In the small bonus group, about half of those who completed the task submitted it after the bonus deadline, while in the medium group it was about 1/13 of completers submitted theirs in the final week. In the large bonus group, no one submitted the assignment after the 2 week bonus period. This result shows that the incentive increases the likelihood that inaction inertia will take hold. As the bonus increased, less participants took the second opportunity to complete the task.
Three groups were set to complete the task in 1 week and were monitored for time of completion. Each subject was promised a reward of 1 credit and $3 for task completion and a 1 credit deduction for failure to complete the task. Each needed to respond to an email stating that they would participate in the study. Two groups were informed that the first five people to respond to the email would receive a bonus (either large: $15, or small $2). These groups were later informed that they were not of the first five to respond. The final control group was not informed of a bonus.
In this study, the small bonus group and the control group did not vary significantly in the time it took them to complete the task. However, the large bonus group took about three times as long to complete the task. These findings demonstrate that a perceived lost opportunity contributes to lack of motivation to work on a task.
When it comes to my life, I should really get things done the first chance I get. Otherwise, inaction inertia could take ahold of me, and I’ll be less likely to do my work. Also this study plays into school. In the past teachers have tried to give my classes extra credit for turning in assignments early, but as this article shows, there is little benefit from these incentives. They can even be harmful. I need to learn to get things done right away so I’m not finishing my psychology assignment at 12:00 AM. Inaction inertia be darned.
Pittman, T. S., Tykocinski, O. E., Sandman-Keinan, R., & Matthews, P. A. (2008). When bonuses backfire: An inaction inertia analysis of procrastination induced by a missed opportunity. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 21(2), 139-150. doi:10.1002/bdm.576
When dog trainers came up with the clicker training method for training dogs, they knew they’d struck gold when it came to conditioning animals. What they may not have realized, however, is how beneficial this teaching method could be with humans, as well.
Many a dog has been taught basic tricks by the clicker method. When a dog completes a desired action, it is marked with a consistently-toned “click” and a treat of sorts. This shows the dog exactly what actions are considered good, and they associate said click with a reward and a desired behavior. Dr. Martin Levy came face-to-face with this method of training when working with his dog, but quickly saw its potential beyond this field of work. He decided to try it out on humans. At the Bronx Montefiore Medical Center in New York, Dr. Levy put the clicker method to the test. He used this method to teach new orthopedic surgeons basic skills such as tying knots, drilling holes, and twisting screws. He broke these tasks down into small steps, and each task that was performed correctly received a “click”, clearing marking to the surgeon his or her success in the task. The only reward for a task done well was a click- no words of praise or criticism. If a task was done correctly, it earned a click. If done incorrectly, it did not. This removed the emotional component from learning and created a situation wherein the reward for doing something well was the knowledge that it had been done well. The study found that the group that had this approach, as opposed to a control group that was taught with the conventional methods of teaching such as demonstration, had more success in mastering tasks and were more precise. 12/12 of the students in the clicker group mastered each of the six steps in the knot-tying, while only 4/12 of the control group did the same.
This experiment is relevant to my life as it is a new approach to learning that may prove more successful than the more traditional ways. At this point in my life, as a junior in high school and in the midst of the college search, the most prominent concept in my life is that of education, and I’m always trying to find ways to learn more effectively. For me, I struggle with being too competitive and needing validation that I am doing something well. The clicker method would likely be very effective for me as it removes the emotion and need for praise from the education process and also makes it very clear when a task is done right as well as exactly what action was done correctly. It is entirely unambiguous, which is key for me as a learner. I like to know exactly what I’m doing right so I feel confident as a learner. I see a lot of potential in the “clicker” method as an approach to teaching that would work well for me.
This study shows the benefits of a new potential education method. The study shows a clear increase in success with the clicker method than with regular teaching, meaning it appears to be the superior method. This demonstrates the potential of emotionless reinforcement of good behavior as a way to help students master tasks. Removing the emotion and verbal praise or criticism from the teaching process can help improve accuracy and confidence, which is an interesting new development very worthy of looking into. It implies that tough love nor coddling is the best way to motivate students; in fact, the most visibly successful way of motivating is removing emotions altogether. Perhaps the best way to foster success in a student is to make their successes clear with a simple, resounding “click”.
Levy, I. M., Pryor, K. W., & McKeon, T. R. (2016, April). Is Teaching Simple Surgical Skills Using an Operant Learning Program More Effective Than Teaching by Demonstration? Retrieved May 23, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26369658
People naturally take on more than they can handle and starts many projects. Most of the time, when someone starts a new project, they start off strong but then they start to run out of time and move on to other things. These projects then remain unfinished for long periods of time but still weigh down on the person who started the project. The reason this happens to people so often is that people naturally underestimate things. We think that a project will not be much of a struggle to finish when in reality, the project is probably 2 or 3 times harder than we expect.
When we start a new project, our brains are rewarded for starting something new which makes us feel good. The problem is, as we work on the project, that feeling faded and we start to lose interest in what we are doing. As a result of this, we end up with many unfinished projects just laying around which can actually cause us lots of stress because of all thing things to do without much free time.
I personally experience this problem quite a bit. On weekends, I sometimes like to start coding a new project that I think would be fun. I don’t expect the project to be very challenging for me and believe that I could finish it during the weekend. Most of the time, I end up not finishing the project and it just remains on my computer half finished. I think about all of the coding projects I have started something but I get stressed because there are so many things to work on with not much time and start another project.
The solution to this problem is to completely consider what the project is before you start it. If you think a project will only take a short amount of time, multiply the length by 3 and consider if it is still worth doing. Try to take on a smaller project rather than bigger ones that will take up more time and is more likely to not be completed. Another problem people need to learn to fix is not giving up. When you look back at all the things you need to do, you get stressed about how much it is. Instead of trying to complete everything you started, try to give up on some things that are not very important.
Herrera, Tim. “Why You Start Things You'll Never Finish.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 10 Dec. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/12/09/smarter-living/why-you-start-things-youll-never-finish.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FPsychology%2Band%2BPsychologists&action=click&contentCollection=health®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=collection.
By: Pie Rasor
I’m sure you’ve heard of the idea that men and women are fundamentally different even though we’re the same species. We think differently, act differently, have different likes and dislikes, and it’s all because of simple biology. Different brains, different ways of acting. Men and women can be neatly set into categories created by our own bodies and the way we think.
Male and female brains is an idea that's been around for hundreds of years. It's usually used to justify sexism. After all, it’s a slippery slope from believing men and women are different to believing that women are lesser.
Over the years, the idea of male and female brains has made it into scientific research. Psychologists at Cambridge used the idea to claim that autism appears in men more than women because they don’t have the same kind of brains. The same thing appeared in a global study by Madhura Ingalhalikar, which claimed that men and women don’t have the same connections in their brains, causing them to have different behaviors.
However, there are a lot of problems with studying the brain with this kind of belief. Studies like these all began with the assumption that there are some fundamental differences between brains that create behaviors adding up to a “male brain” or a “female brain.” And there’s really no basis for that assumption at all, which research today is clearly showing.
A 2015 analysis of data sets of brain scans done by Daphna Joel showed that the sex differences between men and women’s brains aren’t consistent at all. Humans simply aren’t built with brains that are “female” or “male.” Most people are a mix of both. There are no consistent characteristics that show up only in a man’s brain or only in a women’s. We still think in the same way. Scientists continued brain analysis in 2018 by developing an algorithm that grouped together brains with similar characteristics. As before, there was no clear, defining difference. Both male and female brains could have the same type of characteristics.
Psychology studies have backed up the idea that biology doesn’t determine your personality as well. Daphna Joel and other scientists continued their study of male and female brain by analyzing data sets of psychological variable about what worries adolescents. While there were overall differences between genders in how they responded, no one in the survey responded only with “masculine” or “feminine” worries, but rather with a combination of both. No individual person fit completely into one category.
The bottom line is that although there are differences between men and women, our brains aren’t one of them. The type of brain doesn’t determine who you are. A man can like traditionally feminine things, a women can like traditionally masculine things, and both genders can like a mix of both. The idea that there’s some biological difference between men and women that’s impossible to overcome has no real basis in science and psychology. There can be general differences seen between men and women in an entire population, but those are more due to gender roles than biology. And gender roles, hopefully, are something that our society can overcome so that there’s no one way that men and women are expected to behave. In the end, the changes that need to be made aren’t inside our brains, but rather in the society around us.
Joel, D., & Fine, C. (2018, December 3). Can We Finally Stop Talking About 'Male' and 'Female' Brains? [Web log post]. Retrieved from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/03/opinion/male-female-brains-mosaic.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FPsychology%20and%20Psychologists&action=click&contentCollection=health®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=4&pgtype=collection
By: John D'Appolonia
Do you know what study habits are? Study habits are the habits kids form through all the years of schooling. These habits carry on into life and work after college or high school. This is why it is crucial for people to form good study habits early in life. But there is a challenge to finding good study habits for yourself. This is because the best way for you to study may not be the best way for other people. A study was conducted on 1050 senior secondary school students. The students answered questions about how they study and what their grades were like through a questionnaire, and it was found that there is a clear correlation between how you are studying and the grades you will get. Psychologists and researchers from all around the world agree that how you study and what you study will affect the result. For instance, Hussain (2000) says that the lack of good work or study habits is clear at all ages and in all generations. But, to fix it use a combination of attitude, methods, and skills.
According to Harper and Row (2009), the best study habits include studying every day, creating a useful environment for yourself, turning off devices that are not necessary, listening to soft music (If helpful to you), taking breaks, and of course not waiting until the last minute. I really enjoyed reading about this study because it has taught me a lot about being a better student and about how poorly some of my habits are. Parents and Teachers always say put your electronics away when your studying and I never do, but after reading this article with hard facts and evidence it has taught me that some of the things I do are in fact hurting me not helping me. The article talks about the uniqueness of all of us and how no one can set a strict studying method because everyone learns and remember things differently. John (2010) acknowledges that not all students are alike and that I why study habits are different. But he did find that there are basic guidelines for studying that work with all students. One, finding a good location or environment. This means an environment that will not distract you or make you to bored. But, it also means a location that somewhat represents the environment you will be taking the test or presenting the project in. Two, you need a schedule. This means you study at the same time, in the same place, and over the same material. After reading this article I actually used some of these techniques and saw an improvement in my grades even in the short amount of time. I now have a consistent study time and method and a place I go most of the time. I no longer have my phone near me when I am studying but instead, I shut it off and put it away. This allows me to become detached from social media and really pay attention and absorb what I am studying.
F., Ebele Uju, and Olofu Paul A. “Study Habit and Its Impact on Secondary School Students’ Academic Performance in Biology in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.” Academic Journal , 30 Mar. 2017, files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1143649.pdf.
Full Article - https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1143649.pdf
Image - https://broadviewuniversity.edu/student-life/studying-and-diminishing-returns/
By Kiarah Barnes
I'm sure you have heard of treating mental illness. What about solving and curing it? Well it is not that easy. There are many different kinds of mental illness such as Depression, OCD, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Autism and many more. All of these have different causes and because of this scientists do not know what will "cure" mental illness. Although you can not cure all mental illnesses the same way, maybe knowing what certain disorders and diseases are caused by will help lead towards finding a cure or even better treatment. Some diseases and disorders, like schizophrenia, come mostly from genetics and we know this after many years of funding experiment and supplies that lead to dead ends when trying to find a cure but scientists are still studying it.
Scientists started off thinking that mental illness was caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, genetics, or some sort of faulty wiring in the brain. Even if this may be true there was no actual science that backed this up. After a long time we started to find out little things about each disease that would help a lot in the long run. After many trials and errors some important facts were found like finding out schizophrenia is in fact mostly caused by genetics and how autism is also very gene caused as well.
Gail Hornstein is a professor who is doing a study on people who go to a meeting like AA but instead of addiction they talk about their mental health. This study focuses on the participants struggles, how they handle them, and how this group will help them overall. There is a few questions that she would like to answer. She said, “We have underestimated the power of social interactions. We see people who’ve been in the system for years, on every med there is. How is it possible that such people have recovered, through the process of talking with others? How has that occurred? That is the question we need to answer.” Gail also mentions that in order to move forward scientists have to dig deeper into certain individuals and also dig deeper into the theory of how genes effect mental illness. The problem with this is often people who are struggling with mental illness often feel hurt, misunderstood, and mistreated to the point where they will not give all the information needed.
Personally I do not have any diagnosed mental illness. Although I have never been diagnosed I do find that most people that I know, including myself, have had certain depressing times and feeling in their life. Especially during high school. Things happen to everyone and it is how we decide to deal with it that affects how our brains deal with things in the future. Even though genetics have an effect on our mental health past experiences also have an effect. School work, classes, friends, family, and many other things cause stress, anxiety, sadness, etc, even if it isn’t to the point of having to be diagnosed.
Post Written by Meagan Watson
Do you listen to music while you do assigned homework? Do you listen to music while you study? If you are a high school student I would assume that you said yes to at least one of these questions. As high school student, when I am in the library or any public study space I often see the majority of my peers with headphones in while doing their work. Often people’s reasoning for doing this is because they want to “tune out” all of the distractions and conversations happening around them. Furthermore, if they are “tuning out” all of the distracting sounds around them then they think they are successfully staying focused and internalizing whatever material they are working on.
How is this constant auditory stimulus affecting our cognitive processing? In a recent study, Nick Perham and Harriet Currie investigated whether or not listening to music affects comprehension performance. More specifically, they were interested in whether or not listening to preferred music affects comprehension performance. The researchers wanted to know whether or not the type of music that you listen to while you are studying (lyrical, non-lyrical, liked, disliked) can improve how well you retain that information.
According to Kahneman and colleagues, our attention is allocated based on a capacity framework model. This model explains that our attention is a finite resource and different activities and tasks require different amounts of that limited resource. So when you are listening to music, this model explains how you may have less attention at your disposal when trying to read for class or finish that problem set, especially when you are listening to music with lyrics.
Results showed that reading comprehension performance was greatest for the quiet and non-lyrical music conditions and poorest for the lyrical conditions. It did not matter whether or not the participant "liked or disliked" the music, but rather whether or not the music had lyrics. However, participants believed that of the lyric music condition they performed better when they preferred the music rather than disliked it. This means that even though we enjoy listening to music we like, it is not all that helpful when completing homework.
I find this to be true in my own life. I often drift towards playing music that I enjoy as I complete my homework. Honestly, it makes the task of homework completion at least a little more enjoyable. The issue with this, however, is that although I enjoy listening to music, listening to lyrical music is actually harming my performance and concentration on my homework.
These results show that no matter how much you like the music you are listening to, and no matter how much you think it is keeping you focused, it actually provides an attentional distraction that detracts from your ability to process the information for meaning and perform well on a memory test. So now we come to the question of whether or not listening to music while performing tasks that demand our attention for later retrieval, such as studying for an exam, is better than listening to all of the distracting conversations going on around you. According to this article, neither, because in both cases you are only giving a part of your attention to the task, whereas if you were in a quiet location you could be contributing more, if not all, of your attentional resources to that same task. The main take away from this article then is that in order to retain the most information and hopefully get the best results on your next exam try studying without the help of Justin Bieber or Beyoncé and maybe put a little more Beethoven in your life.
To view the full article click here
References (in APA):
Perham, N., & Currie, H. (2014). Does listening to preferred music improve reading comprehension performance? Applied Cognitive Psychology Appl. Cognit. Psychol., 28(2), 279-284. doi:DOI: 10.1002/acp.2994
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Ms. Carrigan's Psych Class
We have been reading articles about psychological studies to inform the way we live our lives. Please explore, and we hope you learn a bit about the psychology in your life!