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Mind Wide Open? Yes. Deep? No

Steven Johnson opens a very wide door into the mind but all the reader can see is a foyer of a large estate with several locked doors. Through personal and researched examples he briefly describes each door and what it holds, without opening it for the reader to see. The book is structured so that the audience learns through examples and the author’s personal experiences while he adds facts and historical data to complete a picture.

Attempting to explain the complexity of the brain, he writes in a clear and simplistic manner to target all audiences. Unfortunately, the book is not consistent and oversimplified. Some examples require previous knowledge without which the reader is confused or will not obtain the insight the author describes. Other examples are very clear and knowledgeable and require no further analysis or research.

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Chocolate: Can you Finish the Puzzle?

Chocolate is a food we are all familiar with and occasionally develop cravings for. Why we develop these cravings (intense desires to eat particular foods [6]) is an interesting area of research. Usually at emotional lows [1] or times of boredom cravings begin to arise. It was found that 40% of women and 15% of men have admitted to developing chocolate cravings [10]. The difference in gender frequency will be further explored. It is obvious, by the availability and vast consumption, that chocolate has some mysterious power; it is very palatable and can elevates one’s mood. How? It is a substance that we all love and yet it consists of over 300 known chemicals [8] and many more that have yet to be discovered.

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Placebo Effect: Is it a Placebo?

With vast amounts of research and testing going on all over the world it is important to incorporate some method of control comparison. A placebo, a pharmacologically inert substance distributed in order to observe a medical effect or non at all.[1] A response to the placebo is known as the placebo effect. If a placebo is considered a blank, why are they used? In order to answer this question one must consider the amounts of various tests and experiments currently in progress. There are psychological, neural, social, physical and philosophical tests performed throughout the world. Not only do the types of tests make an impact on the experiment but the subjects themselves; they vary in environmental conditions, financial situation, personality, time and age. [5].With a placebo one can somehow attempt to group the variables because they are already being combined in the experimental group.

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Are we Internet Addicts?

As I do several times a day, I sit at my computer screen with the knowledge that I have plenty of school work that could be done but for some reason I have to check my email (all 3 email accounts), check facebook (maybe someone left me a message or wrote on my wall), and check (for any interesting new stories) before I can begin my work. Even after I start working, I can easily be distracted by a song playing across the hall that I must immediately download and while I’m downloading I will check my email, facebook, and nytimes again to see if something has changed. Am I addicted to the internet or do I have the control to stop myself? In a world where we have access to so much at the touch of a keyboard we seem to constantly search for something whether it’s an email, a stock or a message on facebook and yet we cannot stop. Is this addiction or is this normal? For a college student, is this normal or is this too much? Are we constantly on the internet because it is so accessible or is it so accessible because we want to be constantly on it? Would reading a newspaper ritualistically everyday during breakfast be more normal than checking the latest stories online? Has our world become so reliant on the internet that we cannot distinguish if we are addicted to the internet or not? What is internet addiction and how do we define it? Is internet addiction real or is it a fabrication? I think the concept of internet addiction can be argued both ways and therefore further research should be performed to develop stricter guidelines to determine what is internet addiction and how can this be treated.

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