Mental Illness: not just a human thing

Mental Illness: not just a human thing

In America, there is a large stigma against mental illness. While I believe that people recognize that mental illness exists, there is a stark resistance to accept it. This resistance stems not from others but from recognition of the problems within ourselves. We fear being called “crazy,” being unaware of our mental facilities, being broken. The culture around us paints a nasty picture of people suffering from mental illness, even though it is likely that at some point during our…

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Origins of Language – “The Hardest Question in Science”

Origins of Language – “The Hardest Question in Science”

Today in class, I began my lecture series on the origins of language, with three questions in mind: Where did language come from? What are the requirements for language? How do we know so much about our own language without being explicitly taught? And it occurred to me that for all three of these questions, we can only give partial answers to our students, as we don’t  have enough evidence to fully support one theory over the other. To address…

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Type 1 vs. Type 2 errors and Stats Nonsense

Type 1 vs. Type 2 errors and Stats Nonsense

I recently had a discussion with some students on avoiding Type I and Type II errors in their research. However, it soon became clear that after some discussion, no one in the room knew what theses errors were, and upon further digging, most of the terms many scientists talk about e.g. p-values, central limit theorem, ANOVA, etc., are just that: talked about, not understood. This isn’t a new problem, in that we all “fake it ’til you make it,” but I think…

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Anchoring Bias – A problem in the age of information

Anchoring Bias – A problem in the age of information

In my classroom, I always warn students about cognitive biases that could affect them as students and scientists, and one in particular, anchoring bias, is an incredibly prevalent problem in the modern social landscape. Anchoring Bias, or simply anchoring, is when someone tends to “anchor” themself to the first piece of information they hear, making a decision off of the one (and typically only) source. For some context, imagine a student browsing Facebook or some other social media of choice and seeing…

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How to be a more confident public speaker

How to be a more confident public speaker

  When it comes to speaking in public, for many, it induces panic and sweat. Those are never fun things to have while standing in front of a group of people, so whether you’re a student looking to give a presentation, a new employee presenting a report for your boss, or merely ordering at a restaurant, follow these three concepts and you’ll crush it. And then crush it again.   (1)       Confidence Okay, so obviously having confidence…

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Adding EOG to our Workflow

Adding EOG to our Workflow

Our lab at MSU started from a few boxes of equipment in an empty room, and has since grown into a burgeoning and cooperative lab environment running two EEG systems. Amidst our growth, we have learned several new techniques for gathering EEG (electroencephalogram) data, processing it, and interpreting it. Recently, we have incorporated EOG (electrooculogram) into our lab. When you build a lab from scratch in a field that’s relatively new with no experts in your department, nothing is handed…

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