Posted by: Ed Darrell | March 30, 2008

Don’t look at the moonwalking bear

Borrowed from Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub, with permission:

This is a great ad. It gently pokes your pride in your ability to see what’s going on — from a bicycle safety campaign in Britain urging motorists to look out for bicyclists:

Posted by: Ed Darrell | March 18, 2008

Encephalon 41

Pure Pedantry hosts the neuroscience blog carnival, Encephalon 41 — go see.

Posted by: Ed Darrell | March 17, 2008

Blog carnival on neuroscience: Encephalon

Mind Hacks hosted the 40th incarnation of the blog carnival known as Encephalon.  There are lots of links to articles on topics we’ve studied and will study — a fun place to point your browser toward.  It’s a good way to track current developments in psychology and neuroscience.

Encephalon 41 is due on March 17, at Pure Pedantry.  Watch for it there.

Posted by: Ed Darrell | March 9, 2008

Brain Awareness Week! March 10-16, 2008

Billions of people around the world breathlessly await the arrival of Brain Fitness Week, starting Monday, March 10!

Brain Awareness Week, 2008

Well, they should be excited about it, even if they aren’t.

The week of commemoration, discovery and study is promoted by the Dana Foundation, which focuses on several issues dealing with brain research and mental health.

The Dana Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation with principal interests in brain science, immunology, and arts education. Charles A. Dana, a New York State legislator, industrialist, and philanthropist, founded what is today the Dana Corporation. He was president of the Dana Foundation from 1950 to 1966 and actively shaped its programs and principles until his death in 1975. His abiding beliefs were in the capacity and responsibility of individuals to shape and advance their lives and in the singular role of philanthropy in helping them to do so.

Here are some of the resources the Dana Foundation ropes in:

Tip of the couch’s pillow to Sharp Brains, which promises to have features throughout the week on Brain Awareness.

Posted by: Ed Darrell | March 3, 2008

Homework! For Friday, March 7

For our next class meeting:  Considering your readings today on adolescence and development, think about cultural influences that affect families raising children today.

Cultural influences on raising healthy,  balanced kids:  Good or bad, what is a parent to do?

Formulate a position or opinion on this question, and be ready to discuss at our next class meeting (Friday — testing on Wednesday for many, late arrival for others).

Or, perhaps you might begin the discussion in comments.

Posted by: Ed Darrell | March 3, 2008

More on sleep deprivation

A blog with a wonderful name, Phineas Gage’s Fan Club, features an article on peer-reviewed research on sleep deprivation recently published.

Using brain scans, the researchers suggest that sleep deprivation may be a cause of depression, as well as a symptom. 

It’s an interesting article.  While you’re there, noodle around the blog and see what else you can find of interest.

Posted by: Ed Darrell | February 26, 2008

Test review questions

Here is a list of questions you should be able to answer, in order to ace the exam scheduled for Thursday, February 26.  Below the fold. Read More…

Posted by: Ed Darrell | February 20, 2008

Caffeine users’ guide: Optimally wired

One of the Seed stable of blogs, Developing Intelligence, has scientifically-based advice on how to use caffeine to improve performance.  Since No Child Left Behind requires research-based tools, I thought you might want to know.  Go see.

Posted by: Ed Darrell | February 20, 2008

On-line support for textbook

Want to study class material on-line?  Our textbook’s publisher keeps a website that features reviews of chapters and interactive quizzes on chapter materials, among other things.  Go visit the site for Understanding Psychology herehttp://www.glencoe.com/sec/socialstudies/psychology/psych2001/index.php.

Cover of book newer than oursCover of book newer than ours

You’ll probably find it very useful to do the on-line quizzes.  I haven’t had a lot of success with the current events feature, but check it out.

Posted by: Ed Darrell | February 4, 2008

Let’s sleep on it (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz . . .)

Sleep disorders plague more people than we count.

Here is a link to the news story we used in class, from the American Psychological Association, about sleep difficulties for high school students: “Sleep deprivation may be undermining teen health.”

True to its nature as a newspaper of public record, the New York Times features several stories on the issue of sleep, most recently an editorial on February 1, urging more attention be paid to sleep deprivation among teenagers.

The obvious remedy would be for high schools to start later — well after 8 a.m. A handful of schools that have switched have reported beneficial results. School officials in Minneapolis say that attendance improved and students’ grades rose slightly after they changed to an 8:40 a.m. start several years ago. In Wilton, Conn., where the high school start time was pushed back to 8:20 a.m. from 7:35, teachers and parents reported improved student behavior and greater alertness. Surveys of students in both districts indicated that they did not use the later starts as an excuse to go to bed later.

The editorial was prompted by a January opposite-editorial-page opinion piece on getting more sleep, that noted these facts:

In 2002, high schools in Jessamine County in Kentucky pushed back the first bell to 8:40 a.m., from 7:30 a.m. Attendance immediately went up, as did scores on standardized tests, which have continued to rise each year. Districts in Virginia and Connecticut have achieved similar success. In Minneapolis and Edina, Minn., which instituted high school start times of 8:40 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. respectively in 1997, students’ grades rose slightly and lateness, behavioral problems and dropout rates decreased.

The Times is serious about the issue. Here is their health columnist, Jane Brody, talking about sleep deprivation last October. And see the full, special Science Section devoted to sleep.

Update: See especially this column from the Wall Street Journal about the dangers of sleepy drivers:

Even without actually falling asleep, drivers can go for miles in what some experts call “highway hypnosis,” with their reflexes slowed and their judgment impaired. And it doesn’t take much to reach that state. Averaging four hours of sleep for five nights builds the same level of cognitive impairment as being awake for 24 hours — the equivalent of legal drunkenness, says Charles Czeisler, a professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School. Having one beer in that condition, he notes, has the impact of a six pack.

Chronic sleep deprivation has also been linked to diabetes, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, depression and obesity, which leads to obstructive sleep apnea, which causes even more sleep deprivation, according to the Institute of Medicine.

What do you think? Would more sleep help your grades?

Let’s sleep on it.

(Comments are open — please comment.)

Other resources:

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