Category Archives: blogging

Brief Mood Introspection Scale

I knew I wanted to use the BMIS, I just needed to know what it was exactly. The BMIS uses series of adjectives such as “happy” and “sad” to provide a better quantitative measure of overall mood that the PSS. I used this in my proposal to determine the overall moods of vegans and non-vegans.



Mayer, J. D., & Gaschke, Y. N. (1988). The experience and meta-experience of mood. Journal of personality and social psychology55(1), 102.

Vegans forever

A study from Medical Hypotheses found that a low-methionine diet can increase longevity, especially when coupled with a low calorie diet, which is also proven to slow the aging process. However, it can be kind of hard to limit the intake of a specific amino acid.

UNLESS you’re a vegan, in which case, it’s pretty much a breeze.

I found this article really interesting from a nutritional standpoint, and I plan to use it as background information on the health benefits of a vegan diet.

McCarty, M. F., Barroso-Aranda, J., & Contreras, F. (2009). The low-methionine content of vegan diets may make methionine restriction feasible as a life extension strategy. Medical Hypotheses, 72(2), 125-128.

Glowin’ Hormones

I used an excerpt from this book to learn about chemiluminescent assays for cortisol. It had easy to follow steps and some great pictures. Basically, serum samples are treated with certain proteins and enzymes that bind to cortisol and that cause it to break away from plasma proteins. Then an electrode is inserted into the sample and a charge is run through it. The brighter the chemiluminescence, the less cortisol is in the same


Nussey, S. S., & Whitehead, S. A. (2001). Endocrinology: An Integrated Approach. United Kingdom: Bios Scientific Publ

100 ways to Measure Cortisol

OK, so it may be slightly less than 100 ways, but this article provides a wide variety of assays to measure cortisol levels. It also provides great background on the hormone itself. This article also tells how precise an assay could be, what the environmental impacts are, and most importantly, what everyone else is doing.

For my proposal, the differences in the measurement abilities of different tests are significant due to the fact that I’m measuring both salivary and serum cortisol levels.

Kirschbaum, C., & Hellhammer, D. H. (1994). Salivary cortisol in psychoneuroendocrine research: recent developments and applications.Psychoneuroendocrinology19(4), 313-333.

PSS – everybody’s doing it

I noticed another blog post about the PSS, and I’m not surprised but it may be the greatest tool.

The perceived stress scale (PSS) has been shown to provide significant representation of stress individuals, while providing quantitative data to researchers. This is super useful in my proposal, as provides a more cultural perception of stress, rather than just a blood or saliva biomarker.


Cohen, Sheldon, Kamarck, Tom., Mermelstein, Robin. 1983 A Global Measure of Perceived Stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 24(4):385-396

Remember, remember

Giving a detailed account of the history and use of the Wechsler memory scale, and offering improvements on the method of comparing immediate and delayed memory, Tulsky, Chelune, and Price’s “Development of a new delayed memory index for the WMS-III” is invalvuable for understanding the use of the Wechsler memory scale. In particular the analysis of the test and how it can be adapted to suit the experimental purpose should play into the method of the proposal. Of particular interest are the revise General Memory Index (GMI) and Immediate Memory Index (IMI) that allow more transparent comparison. Having a means of comparing long term and short term memory is essential to a study of attention, encoding, and learning, especially in the classroom. Without them, the study would not be significant or interesting in the broader context of education and retention.

Tulsky, D. S., Chelune, G. J., & Price, L. R. (2004). Development of a New Delayed Memory Index for the WMS-III. Journal Of Clinical & Experimental Neuropsychology26(4), 563-576.

Education, Age, and Neurological Measures

Lam, Eng, Rapisarda, and Subramaniam in “Formulation of the Age-Education Index” aim to determine the validity of different measures of one’s education level using cognitive batteries. Unfortunately from the perspective of the proposal, their measures and methods did not have a clear relation to attention. Nevertheless, they give an important account of how neurological tests are affected by education. Most importantly for the proposal, they note that these tests are particularly influenced by language and literacy. Their focus is more on using these neurological measures and education level to assess individuals facing memory and other cognitive deficits, which is beyond the purpose of the attention proposal, but might be useful elsewhere.

Lam, M., Eng, G. K., Rapisarda, A., Subramaniam, M., Kraus, M., Keefe, R. E., & Collinson, S. L. (2013). Formulation of the age–education index: Measuring age and education effects in neuropsychological performance. Psychological Assessment25(1), 61-70. doi:10.1037/a0030548

Statistically thinking

Marambe, Vermunt, Boshuizen in their “A cross-cultural comparison of student learning patterns in higher educaiton” remind us that there are not simple models of the Asian learner, especially because of the way that education systems are set up and the impact of colonialism. They show that an ANOVA analysis of cognitive batteries, in this case the ISL, ICB, and ARPM can show differences in the use of cognitive faculties. In particular, while there was a significance between Dutch learners compared to Sri Lankan and Indonesian learners, there were almost as many differences between Sri Lankan and Indonesian students.

More than just establishing the significance of their results, Marambe, Vermunt, and Boshuizen place the results in a cultural context, noting how similarities correspond to the place of the student in all of these societies, while cognitive differences match socio-cultural differences as well as the relationship between educators and educated.

Because of how well this cognitive test could correspond to cultural differences, I was tempted to include it in the proposal. Ultimately, it seemed like an interesting test, but one that would add too much workload to the researchers, especially if they were going to process heat maps and the simpler memory scale. Although the Weschler memory scale is not as comprehensive, it does have clear elements related to visual processing, which can be compared to the attention data.

Marambe, K., Vermunt, J. j., & Boshuizen, H. (2012). A cross-cultural comparison of student learning patterns in higher education. Higher Education64(3), 299-316.

TM. Tan. Laundry.

Multiple studies have shown the efficacy of TM as an intervention for treating stress. One blind study by MacLean et al. (1997) took a random sample of men ranging in age from 18-32 and tested them in a laboratory setting for acute effects of a variety of stressful tasks. The stressors were mental arithmetic, mirror star-tracing, and isometric handgrip. Measurements of hormones were taken before intervention as a baseline and after participating in TM or stress education classes (SEC) for a total of four months (twice, daily). After running a t test and ANCOVA, researchers found that the TM group’s cortisol levels significantly decreased in both baseline and overall amounts and that cortisol response was markedly more sensitive for the posttest in comparison to the pretest (MacLean et al. 1997:381).