Thursday, March 26, 2020

What to Do During Social Distancing

By: Angelina N.

What is social distancing, and why is it important right now? 
Social distancing refers to going out minimally, avoiding physical contact with others, and refraining from large gatherings of people. It is used to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The contagiousness of a disease is measured based on the R0
"R Naught Ebola and Flu DIagram" by Kiera Campbell is licensed
under CC BY-SA 4.0
(pronounced “R naught”) value, or the average number of individuals that an infected person transmits the disease to. For diseases exceeding an R0 value of 1, such as COVID-19 (which has an R0 value of about 2.2), the number of infections can multiply rapidly because each infected person will infect more than one other person. In addition, COVID-19 has an incubation period of between two and 14 days, with the average being five days. This means that after contracting the disease, an individual will not exhibit symptoms for an average of five days but will still be contagious during this time frame. Since many infected people do not realize they are infected, they can unintentionally transmit the disease to people that they come into contact with. Actively social distancing is therefore necessary to prevent people from unknowingly infecting those with compromised immune systems or older individuals, who are much more likely to experience severe and possibly fatal symptoms. By taking precautionary measures, the number of infections can be reduced significantly. This also alleviates the burden on hospitals, which may experience a shortage of supplies, equipment, or staff otherwise. 

Although practicing social distancing is beneficial to the community at large, spending most of your time at home may seem like an incredibly difficult and dull adjustment. However, instead of viewing it as a major impediment to social contact and various forms of entertainment, you should view it as an opportunity to accomplish tasks you normally wouldn’t have the time for. Below is a list of ideas of how to spend your period of social distancing in both fun and/or productive ways. 


Find a fun mental stimulus 
Doing a mentally stimulating activity is a great way to combat boredom. 
  • Play a board game: Options include Monopoly, chess, Scrabble, etc. — the choices are endless! 
  • Go old-fashioned: Try your hand at Sudoku, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, brainteasers, or crafts (online DIY videos are a great source of inspiration). 
  • Write a short story or poem: Brainstorm ideas that you could turn into a piece of writing. 

Take time for self-care 
Since most events have been cancelled, your schedule is most likely cleared right now. Instead of sinking into boredom, you should see it as a calm refuge from the chaos and incessant hassle of normal life. Now is a great time for you to reflect on your mental and physical health. 
  • Practice meditation: Meditation is focusing on being more present and aware in all aspects of daily life through techniques such as mindfulness. It has been scientifically proven to be conducive to both mental and physical health, with some of its benefits being lower blood pressure and stress levels, improved sleep and memory, and a stronger immune system. There are numerous meditation apps that can be downloaded with the press of a button (Waking Up, Headspace, Calm, and many more), so meditation is a practice that can be conveniently incorporated into your daily routine. 
  • Self-reflect: Oftentimes, we get so caught up in seemingly endless tasks, whether that be
    Pixabay license- no attribution required
    schoolwork deadlines or upcoming exams, that life seems like a ceaseless “this, that, this, that” and so on so forth. During social distancing, it may seem like everything has suddenly come to a standstill, which is a chance for you to look back on the past few months and plan for the future. Take some time to reflect on your personal growth and accomplishments, as well as what you are still working towards. Set goals for yourself and determine how you will reach them. Jot these ideas down in a notebook, or type them on your computer for future reference. 
  • Do what you enjoy: This last one is simple — spend time doing activities that you love! This may be different for every person; it could be spending more time with family, having a movie night with popcorn, or reading a book that’s been on your to-read list for some time. 

Start good habits 
It can be hard to incorporate new habits during most of the year because we are often too occupied to feel motivated to do so. Now is the time to pick up good habits that can have a positive impact throughout the rest of your life. 
  • Stay active: Staying at home all day makes it easy to fall into a sedentary routine. However,
    Pixabay license- no attribution required
    social distancing does not necessarily mean refraining from leaving the house entirely; in fact, it’s a great idea to go outside for a walk or a run in a park or other uncrowded areas during the day. There are also many great at-home workout videos online that provide fun and engaging ways to be active. Learning creative ways to exercise and experiencing the rewards of being physically active may motivate you to include it as a regular part of your routine in the future. 
  • Eat healthy: A great way to use your spare time is to learn about nutrition and creative healthy recipes. Experiment with various dishes, and determine what works best for you. This may help elevate your consciousness about healthy eating habits in the long-term, which will beneficially impact your life in countless ways. 

Do some extra studying 
Since after-school events, most extracurriculars, and transportation time have probably been taken out of your schedule, there is now plenty of extra time to study, even if your face-to-face school is requiring you to attend virtual sessions. 
  • Study for AP classes: AP exam season is coming up, which means that it’s a good time to start
    Pixabay license- no attribution required
    reviewing information from last semester. It is also a good idea to keep up with College Board’s updates on modifications to the AP exams this year. College Board has already posted the changes to every AP course curriculum, along with the general structure of the altered exams. Make sure to check their website to avoid studying material you are no longer responsible for and to be prepared for this year’s test format. 
  • Do some SAT and/or ACT practice: Use this time to read some SAT/ACT prep books, as they contain helpful techniques for succeeding on these standardized tests. Once you’ve reviewed these techniques, take a few practice exams; these are lengthy and typically difficult to fit in with other obligations, so now is the perfect time to try them. 

Learn something new 
If you’re still having a hard time deciding what to do, it may be a good idea to try something completely new and possibly discover new interests in the process. Ideas include learning some magic tricks, trying out calligraphy, or learning a new language through Duolingo. If you’re still having a hard time choosing, there are great sources of inspiration all over the Internet. 


Donate for a good cause 
Taking social distancing seriously is already a great way to protect the well-being of those around you, but you can take it a step further by donating during this time of need. 
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attribution required
  • Donate blood: Due to the ongoing pandemic, blood drives have been cancelled, meaning that there is currently a severe blood shortage. If you are interested in donating blood, check out the requirements for a student blood donor using this link: https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/info-for-student-donors.html 
  • Donate to a food bank: Families who face food insecurity are especially vulnerable during this time, with grocery store supplies being depleted rapidly. If possible, consider donating even small instant food packages, candy bars, or personal hygiene products; although it may be difficult to donate in bulk quantity right now, even the smallest contributions can make a difference. 

Social distancing may seem extremely monotonous, but it is actually a great chance to try fun at-home activities, take time for self-reflection, and get ahead in schoolwork and studying. So take advantage of this time to plan out a list of to-dos and start checking it off! 


Works Cited 
Caddy, Becca. “Best Meditation Apps: Practice Mindfulness with Headspace, Calm and More.” 
TechRadar, TechRadar, 21 Mar. 2020, www.techradar.com/news/best-meditation-apps.
Cascella M, Rajnik M, Cuomo A, et al. Features, Evaluation and Treatment Coronavirus 
(COVID-19) [Updated 2020 Mar 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): 
StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554776/ 
Hersh, Erica. “Coronavirus Incubation Period: How Long Before Symptoms Appear?” Healthline
Healthline Media, 19 Mar. 2020, 
www.healthline.com/health/coronavirus-incubation-period. 
“185_factsheet_social_distancing.Pdf.” Santa Clara County Public Health Department. 
“What Is R0?: Gauging Contagious Infections.” Healthline
www.healthline.com/health/r-nought-reproduction-number.
Vongkiatkajorn, Kanyakrit, and Laura Daily. “How You Can Help during the Coronavirus 
Outbreak.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 21 Mar. 2020, www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/03/21/how-you-can-help-during-coronavirus/?arc404=true.  

Thursday, February 20, 2020

What to Do When You Feel like School is Taking Over Your Life

By: Sonia G.


Copyright free
Does the school week ever seem like a boring routine to you? Do your days look the same? Do you have time for family and friends, or do you feel like school is taking over every aspect of your life? School should be a priority, but it should not be the only one. Your family, friends, and possibly religion are also a priority, and if you play a sport or do activities outside of school, you have even more priorities to balance. But sometimes, school and all the stress that comes along with it can feel like it’s taking over everything. 

You might feel like your projects and studying barely leave you with time to interact with family and friends. Or that all of the cumulative stress leaves you unable to function. Either way, I have developed a plan that can help you whenever you begin to feel like school is becoming your life. 

First, I would recommend that you take breaks. If you can find a way to work and then take a break, you can give yourself a boost of energy. Your break can be as quick as checking your email or as lengthy as watching a movie. Just make sure that whatever you choose, your break is not longer than your work time and still allows time for you to finish the rest of your work. 

Another idea is for you to work during times that you do not typically think of as being opportunities to do schoolwork. Depending on your school, you may have a study hall or designated time when you can work. If you’re not as lucky, I would like to point out times that you may have overlooked. For example, on the ride to and from school, you have time to read and study. At lunch, you can create a study group with other friends and study, do worksheets, or work on projects. By applying this principle to your own life, you may also find other “free periods” that you can take advantage of. This will help you free up space so that you don’t have as much to do. 

Finally, I would like to suggest that you allow yourself to relax. Take time to do things that you enjoy so that you can approach your schoolwork with a clear mind. When you are able to focus on your assignments, you are much more likely to put forth the best effort possible and do much better than you could have done when distracted. 


Thursday, January 23, 2020

Jacinda Ardern: Prime Minister of New Zealand (2017 - Present)

By: Gracie B.

This post is the first in a series of four articles highlighting the unique contributions of influential female world leaders. This month's article features Jacinda Arden, the current Prime Minister of New Zealand.



“Jacinda Ardern” Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia,


"You can be strong, and you can be kind.”  – Jacinda Ardern

It was September of 2018, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand boarded a plane to New York for a United Nations General Assembly. While other politicians invited translators and advisors to the summit, Ardern brought an unexpected guest: her infant daughter, Neve.1 After becoming the second woman in modern history to give birth while leading a nation, Ardern sought to express her support for working mothers.2, 3 In this bold show of solidarity, she demonstrated the progressive, empathetic nature of her prime ministership. “You can be strong, and you can be kind,” she said when asked to explain her ideal of compassionate government. In an interview on The Today Show, the Prime Minister outlined her goal of promoting the overall wellbeing of New Zealanders.4 Although accomplishing this agenda is no easy task, Ardern has refused to shy away from the complex challenges facing New Zealand. Her willingness to tackle contentious issues head-on has garnered global interest in her innovative leadership style.

Jacinda Ardern was born in Murupara, a part of New Zealand riddled with poverty and Maori gang violence. She witnessed destitution first-hand, and her early experiences sparked her passion for inciting political change.5 After relocating to Auckland, Ardern joined the Labour Party at just seventeen years old.6 The Labour Party shapes New Zealand politics through a tripartisan coalition government, which brings together a multitude of different perspectives to create policy.7 Although the Labour Party is often described as center-left, Ardern has skirted its most liberal fringes. For instance, her service as president of the International Union of Socialist Youth earned her the nickname “Socialist Cindy.”8, 9 Yet, despite conservatives’ concerns over her overt leftism, Ardern gained a wide following after becoming leader of the Labour Party in 2017.10 The country was soon caught up in a craze known as Jacindamania, which fueled her campaign for the prime ministership in the same year. Thirty-seven-year-old Ardern was appointed to the position by the Governor-General, becoming the youngest Prime Minister in New Zealand’s history.11, 12

As the newly appointed head-of-state, Ardern proposed a sweeping policy agenda. She marketed a ‘fairer deal’ for New Zealand citizens, which included free college, decriminalization of abortion, and initiatives to mitigate childhood poverty. In contrast to pro-immigrant American liberals, she has pushed to reduce the number of migrants entering New Zealand.13 Although Ardern is a self-described champion of humanitarianism, she posits that curbing immigration would mitigate the country's housing shortage.14 Additionally, Ardern has been hailed for her contributions to the feminist movement. She was a proud participant in the 2016 Women’s March and argued against the expectation that women reveal family plans to potential employers in a fiery interview exchange.15, 16 Many analysts have been charmed by her unconventional conduct, which is summarized by journalist Maureen Dowd in her New York Times’ Op-Ed entitled “Lady of the Rings: Jacinda Rules.” Dowd, who sat down for an interview with Ardern, was immediately stricken by the Prime Minister’s casual demeanor. From preventing a proposed raise to her own salary to shopping at K-Mart, Ardern’s frugal sensibility has allowed her to prioritize the interests of ordinary citizens.17 Yet, her “relentless positivity” was threatened by the 2018 Christchurch mosque shooting, in which an Islamophobic gunman killed dozens of worshippers. Jacinda Ardern was quick to comfort the families of victims, condemn bigotry, and push for gun control. Ardern’s clarion call for tolerance received worldwide praise, demonstrating her ability to lead in both triumph and tragedy.18

Although not without controversy, Jacinda Ardern’s prime ministership is transforming New Zealand. Ardern champions an approach to policy that is designed to be both practical and compassionate. In prioritizing education, healthcare, and housing, Ardern hopes to create a more equitable society in which all people can share in the country’s prosperity. As she continues to challenge conventions and push for change, Jacinda Ardern’s progressive policies will undoubtedly continue to play an influential role in global politics. 



1 France-Presse, Agence. “New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern Says Baby Neve Will Attend United Nations with Her, as She Returns to Work.” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 2 Aug. 2018, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/08/02/new-zealands-jacinda-ardern-says-baby-neve-will-attend-united/.
2 Dowd, Maureen. “Lady of the Rings: Jacinda Rules.” The New York Times, 8 Sept. 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/08/opinion/sunday/jacinda-ardern-new-zealand-prime-minister.html.
3 McLaughlin, Kelly. “New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Has Been Applauded for Her Actions Following the Christchurch Mosque Shootings. Here's Everything You Need to Know about Her.” Business Insider, 20 Mar. 2019, https://www.businessinsider.com/new-zealand-prime-minister-jacinda-ardern-biography-2019-3#ardern-joined-new-zealand-parliament-in-2008-2.
4 “New Zealand’s Prime Minister Talks About Being a New Mom and a World Leader.” Today, NBC Universal, New York, New York, 24 Sept. 2018.
5 Wallenfeldt, Jeff. “Jacinda Ardern.” Encyclop√¶dia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jacinda-Ardern.
6 Wallenfeldt, “Jacinda Ardern.”
7 “New Zealand : Constitution and Politics.” The Commonwealth, Commonwealth Secretariat , https://thecommonwealth.org/our-member-countries/new-zealand/constitution-politics.
8 Wallenfeldt, “Jacinda Ardern.”
9 Dowd, “Lady of the Rings: Jacinda Rules.”
10 Wallenfeldt, “Jacinda Ardern.”
11 “New Zealand : Constitution and Politics.” The Commonwealth.
12 Dowd, “Lady of the Rings: Jacinda Rules.”
13 Wallenfeldt, “Jacinda Ardern.”
14 da Costa, Ana Nicolaci. “New Zealand PM Says No Immediate Cut to Immigration.” Reuters, 6 Nov. 2017, www.reuters.com/article/uk-newzealand-politics-ardern/new-zealand-pm-says-no-immediate-cut-to-immigration-idUKKBN1D708L.
15 Dowd, “Lady of the Rings: Jacinda Rules.”
16 Wallenfeldt, “Jacinda Ardern.”
17 Dowd, “Lady of the Rings: Jacinda Rules.”
18 McLaughlin, Kelly. “New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Has Been Applauded for Her Actions Following the Christchurch Mosque Shootings. Here's Everything You Need to Know about Her.”

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Scientifically Proven Study Tips

By: Sonia G.

Studying can feel like a chore. Some students study for hours and cannot seem to improve their grades, while other students do not study at all and easily maintain “perfect” averages. There are many myths around the topic of studying, but have no fear, scientifically proven study tips are here.

1. Study before you sleep

Open Book, Library, Education, Read, Book, School
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No Attribution Required
What do you do before you go to bed? Many people wind down by reading or listening to music, but it might be worthwhile to try studying. In a 2012 study by the University of Notre Dame, psychologists studied 207 students who habitually slept for at least six hours per night. Participants were randomly assigned to study different types of word pairs at 9 a.m. or 9 p.m. and returned for testing 30 minutes, 12 hours or 24 hours later. At the 12-hour retest, memory overall was much better following a night of sleep compared to a day of wakefulness.1 So next time you learn a difficult concept in class, consider studying before you go to bed.

2. Study out loud
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No Attribution Required

Talking to yourself can feel weird. People tend to look at you and you draw a lot of attention to yourself. But when it comes to studying by yourself, you may study better when you study out loud. One study shows that people who explain ideas to themselves learn almost three times more than those who don’t. The Harvard Business Review stated that “talking to ourselves is crucial to self-explaining and generally helpful for learning. For one thing, it slows us down — and when we’re more deliberate, we typically gain more from an experience.” 2
When University of Illinois psychologist Brian Ross enrolled in a computer course, he found it hard to keep up with his younger counterparts. After reading assigned texts, he asked himself, “What did I just read? How does that fit together? Have I come across this idea before?” This helped him guide his self-studying, and these same questions can be used as you self-study. Next time you study, consider studying out loud (just not in the library).

Athlete, Athletics, Female, Moving Math, Runner
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No Attribution Required
3. Exercise before you study

Do you like going for a jog in the evening? Do you like to do yoga before bed? No matter your answer, you may want to incorporate some exercise into your studying schedule. Exercise stimulates a brain structure called the hippocampus, which research has shown is important for reasoning and memory. Besides short-term boosts in cognition, regular exercise can help slow down the shrinkage of the hippocampus that comes with age. Additionally, exercise helps reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. By doing just 20 minutes of physical activity before studying, you not only get in a good workout, but you also harness the stress-reducing, positive cognitive effects that can assist you as you study.3


As you read this, it is my hope that you will consider incorporating these tips into your study routine. You may find that after using these tips you will see an improvement in your grades, or your study time will become more efficient. Even if you feel comfortable not studying, it is still a skill that can help you in the future by helping you become more confident in your answers. By making the most of your study time, you may grow to appreciate it and might actually learn something new. Studying is a good skill to hone in high school and can be helpful throughout your future career and other endeavors, if you do it correctly.



1 University of Notre Dame. “Sleeping after Processing New Info Most Effective, New Study Shows.” Notre Dame News, 23 Mar. 2012, https://news.nd.edu/news/learning-best-when-you-rest-sleeping-after-processing-new-info-most-effective-new-study-shows/.
2 Boser, Ulrich, et al. “Talking to Yourself (Out Loud) Can Help You Learn.” Harvard Business Review, 25 Sept. 2017, https://hbr.org/2017/05/talking-to-yourself-out-loud-can-help-you-learn.
3 Pittman, Olivia, et al. “5 Study Hacks Proven By Science.” College Raptor Blog, https://www.collegeraptor.com/find-colleges/articles/tips-tools-advice/5-study-hacks-proven-by-science-and-why-they-work/.

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Teenage Brain and Factors that Impact Its Development


By: Angelina N. 

Have you ever acted on impulse and later regretted what you did? Maybe you said something unreasonable in the heat of the moment or made a decision without considering the consequences. This kind of behavior is commonly associated with adolescents, particularly teenagers, whose frequently poor choices and dismissive attitude have given them a bad reputation. Although most people assume that teenage behaviors stem from the lack of maturity related to having fewer years of experience than adults, irrational behavior during the teen years is actually based in science. Specifically, the development of the brain throughout childhood and into early adulthood has a significant impact on our logical abilities, and thus, our behavior. 


Parts of the Brain 

In order to understand the stages of brain development, it is necessary to be acquainted with the fundamental regions of this wondrous organ. The brain can be divided into four main parts: the spinal cord, the cerebellum, the amygdala and hippocampus, and the cortex. The spinal cord, which is connected to the base of the brain, is the literal backbone for the body’s communication system. It also serves to regulate involuntary functions, such as breathing and digestion. The cerebellum is responsible for the coordination of movement and other functions of the brain. The amygdala and hippocampus control emotion and memory, and the cortex is primarily involved in the perception of our five senses. In addition to this function, a section of the cortex, called the prefrontal cortex, is where fine judgement and control takes place. The development of these last two parts of the brain throughout childhood and the adolescent years explain much of the difference in behavior between children and adults. 


Brain Development 

The large size of the human brain combined with the narrowness of the human pelvis has made it so that the majority of our brain development occurs after birth.
Rapid development takes place between the ages of three and five, and by the age of nine, the brain has acquired its overall structure and all of the necessary pieces to establish long-lasting neural connections. However, development does not stop once we reach adulthood or stop growing in a vertical direction; in fact, MRI scans have shown that our brains continue to undergo noticeable changes until the age of 30. 


Children are born with the limbic system, which is composed of the parts of the brain that control emotion, but they rely on their parents for emotional regulation. This is due to the fact that the amygdala, which is responsible for immediate reactions (fear, aggression, etc.), develops early in life, but the prefrontal cortex, which allows for reasoning and other examples of higher thinking, does not establish connections with the amygdala until later on. In fact, the prefrontal cortex does not experience much development until the transitional phase from childhood to adulthood, which is mirrored by changes in behavior that are usually seen as increased independence and emotional balance. 


How is Teenage Behavior Related to Brain Development? 

Overall, the erratic emotional outbursts and headstrong choices that characterize the teen years are a direct result of the unfinished development of the prefrontal cortex. Studies have shown that while
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adults use the prefrontal cortex to assess situations and determine how to act, teenagers predominantly use the amygdala. This gives them the propensity to perform emotionally-fueled actions, rather than logically-fueled ones. Incomplete development of the logical, rational prefrontal cortex leads to a higher likelihood of engaging in dangerous activities, acting impulsively, misinterpreting social cues and emotions, and exhibiting other examples of irrational behavior. 


Factors that Support… or Hinder Brain Development 

Although teenagers may experience a period of time in which their actions lack awareness and/or rationality, they develop more perception of their surroundings as their brains mature. The adolescent years are crucial to the formation of strong connections between the parts of the brain, a process that is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Genetic characteristics may be difficult to alter, but there are certainly many ways to build a healthy environment for growing brains… or hinder their development. The infographic below depicts a few things that support brain development and a few things that hinder it: 

The teenage brain is a constantly growing, changing structure that is shaped through a variety of internal and external components, from the DNA in your cells to your behavior and to others’ behavior toward you. Its malleability is an incredible characteristic that you can use to your advantage by making good choices starting now, the beneficial consequences of which will accompany you throughout most of your life. However, also keep in mind that mistakes are an inevitable aspect of the process of brain development—the next time your parents get mad at you for making an unwise decision, just tell them that the part of your brain that allows for you to make wise decisions has not yet finished developing (DISCLAIMER: this, however, should NOT be seen as encouragement to intentionally make poor choices because voluntarily making good decisions is an essential part of brain development as well). Technically speaking, it’s not your fault that you pranked your teacher and got stuck in detention, but science’s fault. 

Sources: 

Monday, September 30, 2019

A New Theory on Memory


By: Austin S.

Some people think that science is relatively static, that it rarely changes. However, contrary to popular opinion, science is the most dynamic field of expertise. Every field of science has experienced a change in the commonly accepted theories. These changes may soon include a change in the accepted theory of how memory works. For a long time, people thought that memory was separated into short-term and long-term memories. With this, people came to the conclusion that, after a while, you can never recall any short-term memories. Now, after my analysis of memory recollection and research that has already been done, I have created a new theory: the theory of constant memory.


"Neurons, confocal fluorescence microscopy" by ZEISS Microscopy is licensed
under 
CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 


About the Theory

The theory of constant memory means that no memories are ever lost, only that lack of usage of these memories decreases the ability for these memories to be recalled. In a way, they get “buried underneath” other, more important memories. This also means that either the brain is constantly growing or that it originates with enough neurons to hold a lifetime of memory.

The Old Way of Thinking

For a long time, people thought that the brain was static.1 After the discovery of adult neurogenesis,2 this mindset was changed completely. People began to realize the dynamicity of the human brain: the brain is constantly changing. However, many scientific assumptions about the brain that were created before this discovery still remain. For example, short-term and long-term memory were originally thought of as separate categories of memory before the discovery of adult neurogenesis. People today still believe that the brain simply filters through unimportant memories3 and discards them but keeps the important memories.4

The Transition to the New Theory

Now, you may wonder why the old theory is inadequate at describing how people learn and why it should be replaced with the theory of constant memory. Have you ever tried to recall something, but failed until you saw something that reminded you of that memory? This is known as prompted recall. You may wonder how this relates to the new theory. It appears that prompted recall only shows how the brain remembers things. However, it also happens with seemingly unimportant memories, which should be discarded as short-term memory. Other times, you completely forget something and don’t even recall it when the memory is prompted by an external stimulus (sight, smell, sound, etc.). The old theory of memory explains this as a memory that has lost its neural connections due to lack of use. However, hypnosis seems to magically allow you to remember what you have forgotten.5 If the memory was discarded, no trace of it should be found, let alone the memory itself. So, how is hypnosis possible if neglected memories are simply removed? What if, instead of memories being discarded, they were ordered by importance in the brain? The less important memories would be “buried underneath” the more important ones, meaning that they would be more difficult to recall. Working memory6 would be at the bottom, followed by memories originally defined as short-term, and finally, long-term memories. With this, you may wonder why working memory is easy to recall while in use. This is because the brain is constantly re-ordering memories based on importance. While in use, working memory is highly important and is easier to recall, while it would otherwise be practically impossible to do so.

The Theory and Neurogenesis

This new theory also suggests that neurogenesis plays an important role in memory. The theory shows that every moment in a person’s lifetime is recorded in memory. The original theory of a static brain suggests that the brain would most likely not provide enough neurons to store this vast amount of information. Therefore, neurogenesis must help provide space for new memories. This correlation between neurogenesis and memory capacity may also explain some mental diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

The Application of the Theory in the Treatment of Mental Diseases and Disorders

If this theory were proven, it would be groundbreaking in the fields of neurobiology, psychology, and medicine. If mental diseases such as Alzheimer’s were caused by a deficit in neurogenesis (which studies show7), it would mean that new medicines could be developed to stimulate neurogenesis and potentially cure Alzheimer’s and other mental diseases. According to the theory of constant memory, mental disorders such as MPD8 could be caused by the re-ordering of memories. Multiple personality disorder could be explained as the re-ordering of memories in groups of each personality. Therefore, as a certain memory is prompted, the person’s brain would re-order the personality that memory is in as more important than the other personalities. The theory of constant memory could revolutionize the treatment of mental diseases and disorders.

Implications on Education

This new theory of memory could encourage learning like never before. If memories of every moment in a lifetime are stored, memorizing a specific fact would not have any effect on the remaining capacity of memory. Application of the theory of constant memory could also help people to train their brains to provide easier recollection of memories. If a person could get his/her brain to increase the importance of less important memories (originally classified as short-term memory), recollection of memories would be much easier. This is because the brain would put less emphasis on the importance of a memory and would have an easier time finding any memory, as the neural connections would be very strong.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a new theory of memory is emerging that challenges the basic foundations on what we know about memory. It could mean that there is no short-term memory or long-term memory, but just memory with different levels of importance ordered by the brain to allow easier recollection of important memories. This theory could also have the potential to treat mental diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, and help people deal with disorders, such as multiple personality disorder. Finally, this theory could expand the potential of education infinitely and could help people train their brains to improve memory.



1See “Neurogenesis in the Adult and Aging Brain” under part “Historical Context” 
2Adult neurogenesis is the production of neurons in the hippocampus during adulthood 
3Short-term memory 
4Long-term memory 
5See “Does Hypnosis Improve Memory?” 
6Working memory is memory that is used for a short amount of time in order to process information and act on it. For example, you use working memory to remember previous calculations when solving a math problem in your head. 
7See “Depletion of Adult Neurogenesis Exacerbates Cognitive Deficits in Alzheimer's Disease by Compromising Hippocampal Inhibition” 
8Multiple personality disorder 


Works Cited


“Does Hypnosis Improve Memory?” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hypnosis-the-power-trance/200909/does-hypnosis-improve-memory.

Hollands, Carolyn, et al. “Depletion of Adult Neurogenesis Exacerbates Cognitive Deficits in Alzheimer's Disease by Compromising Hippocampal Inhibition.” Molecular Neurodegeneration, BioMed Central, 8 Sept. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5591545/.

Riddle, David R. “Neurogenesis in the Adult and Aging Brain.” Brain Aging: Models, Methods, and Mechanisms., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 1970, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK3874/.