Posts Tagged ‘Psychopathology’

Cognitive Implications of a “Journey Through Madness”

November 20th, 2020 No comments

Misconceptions about Schizophrenics

Have you ever interacted with a Schizophrenic individual and wondered how this mental illness affects their lives?  My guess would be that most of us have not had this moment of deliberation, and it is quite interesting to consider just how much this debilitating mental illness affects those who suffer day in and day out with a disorder that impacts about 1.1% of the world’s population.  Some of the most crippling symptoms that these individuals endure are cognitive deficits that affect their attention and memory abilities significantly.  It is important to first give a quick overview of Schizophrenia disorder as I know it is a particular disorder that many people do not actually know much about but commonly associate schizophrenics with crazy people.  Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally as it affects people’s ability to think, feel, and behave clearly (Tripathi, Kar, & Shukla., 2018).  The disorder is characterized by thoughts or experiences that seem out of touch with reality, disorganized speech or behavior, and decreased participation in daily activities, as well as a difficulty with concentration and memory which is what I will get into shortly.  Schizophrenic individuals often exhibit poor learning and retention of verbal information and this is the hallmark of cognitive impairment which, interestingly, is at a degree that is more severe than individuals with bipolar disorder (Tripathi, Kar, & Shukla., 2018).  Living with Schizophrenia is far from easy and the disorder unfortunately manifests itself in so many aspects of life and these cognitive impairments play an immense role in the struggles of these individuals. Read more…

Mood-Congruent Memory and Depression: A Vicious, Unrelenting Cycle

November 20th, 2020 No comments

Imagine this: You enter your dorm room after a long, difficult day, and you’re in a bad mood. You’ve been in the library all afternoon, you’re drenched to the core from walking back in the rain, and you still have what feels like an actual mountain of homework left. As you’re unpacking your bag, events from the day run through your mind, and they’re all negative: the test that didn’t go so well, the lunch that wasn’t great, the workout that felt particularly hard… the list goes on. Your day was not entirely bad, yet you’re only able to remember the not-so-great moments.

If you can relate to the above story, you’ve experienced the effects of mood-congruent memory, which is the idea that the memories we retrieve tend to be consistent with our current emotional state. This explains why people who are in a bad mood recall negative memories, and the same goes for all types of moods. Interestingly, mood-congruency affects people’s attention, too, as is mentioned in this post on attentional biases. However, for the purpose of my blog post, I’m going to focus on memory. Essentially, individuals’ moods dictate the types of memories to which they have access, which in turn reinforce their current mood state. This can be helpful when the positive memories contribute to the happy mood, and it’s generally not a big deal when the bad mood is temporary, since the negative memories will likely soon be replaced by more cheerful ones. That being said, the reciprocal relationship between mood and memory can be dangerous when the unhappy mood state is constant. Consider, for instance, individuals who suffer from depression. 

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How Just a Loud Noise Can Ruin Someone’s Day

May 2nd, 2014 1 comment


Have you ever been focused on something, such as a homework assignment or a TV show, and been suddenly startled by a loud noise?  If so, you probably quickly focused on the noise and its source, then returned to the task at hand.  This is an example of attentional capture.  Attentional capture is the involuntary redirection of attention to an environmental cue, with the purpose of surviving potential predators or dangers.  Although we aren’t usually in danger, cues such as loud noises, flashes, or quick movements temporarily grab our attention from our current task.  Once we label the potential danger as being safe, we easily return our focus back to our original task.  However, not everyone can return to their previous task so easily.

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Money helps ADHD students perform on task!

November 23rd, 2013 1 comment

More and more children are being diagnosed with Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) across the United States every year. ADHD symptoms include problems paying attention, staying focused, controlling impulses, and uncontrollable hyperactivity (NIMH). There is much debate about whether this increase in diagnosis is because of an increase in occurrence of ADHD, or an increased need to pathologize childhood behavior in order to medicate. With this influx of ADHD diagnoses across the country, there are more ADHD students in schools across the country that are having significant problems learning and attending to different information. So, it is important that cognitive researchers look at the ways that ADHD affects the cognition and learning process of students so that school lessons can be more effectively taught!

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Bipolar Disorder: A Cognitive Curse or an Ego Booster?

November 16th, 2013 No comments

What do Britney Spears, Kurt Cobain, Marilyn Monroe, Jim Carrey, Robert Pattinson and Ben Stiller all have in common? Other than being rich, famous and having household names, they all struggle(d) with a mood disorder called Bipolar.

Bipolar Disorder (BD) is a mental disorder involving extremes. The stereotypical bipolar patient vacillates between severe depression and severe manic episodes with brief too long periods of remission between episodes. Remission simply refers to the time where a patient isn’t exhibiting symptoms from either category (e.g. they aren’t “cured” of BD, they just aren’t having a manic or depressive episode). A manic episode generally consists of extreme impulsivity, lack of control, feelings of grandeur, distractibility, racing thoughts, and feelings of irrational elation among other things; whereas depression generally consists of hopelessness, extreme sadness, lack of energy, irritability, lack of appetite and other various other symptoms.

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Categories: Memory Tags:

Memory in People With Schizophrenia: What is Impaired, What is Preserved?

April 30th, 2013 3 comments

One in four: This is the proportion of Americans living today that have suffered from a diagnosable mental illness within the last year (“Mental Illness,” 2011). Examining this statistic, it is clear that the effects of mental illness are widespread. In the US, for example, costs for direct treatment of mental illness are estimated to be US$ 148 billion annually, and indirect economic costs – like lost employment (due to medical leave) and decreased productivity, are two to six times higher than that (Panthare, 2003).

If you yourself aren’t directly afflicted with a disorder, chances are someone in your immediate or extended family may be. The outward physical manifestations of these disorders may be minimal for those possessing them, making them seem at times like “invisible illnesses;” that is, you may not be able to tell that someone has one of these disorders simply by looking at them. Complicating things even further for individuals with a mental disorder, many who are afflicted may not have received a proper diagnosis or are struggling without professional medical help.

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The Difference Between A Trip Up The Stairs and PTSD

April 30th, 2013 4 comments

We’ve all experienced it in some form. The sweaty palms, the pounding chest, the gasp of breath: the reliving of some unfortunate memory. Maybe it was a trip up the stairs, or a poorly executed class speech. These minor traumas delay our hectic lives for a moment; give us a second’s pause. But for some people, that pause lasts years instead of seconds.

So where is the distinction between these inconsequential daily events and a true trauma? What constitutes a true trauma for people our age? In 2006, Dorthe Berntsen and David Rubin designed a study to establish that distinction between a trip up the stairs and Post Traumatic Stress. The formal American Psychiatric Association (APA) definition for PTSD is “a history of exposure to a traumatic event meeting two criteria and symptoms from each of three symptom clusters: intrusive recollections, avoidant/numbing symptoms, and hyper-arousal symptoms” (APA, 2000). In other words, a mental roadblock.

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Categories: Memory Tags: , ,