Author Archives: aestero

Mondays Aren’t As ‘Blue’ As We Think


Happy Monday!  Or should I say ‘Blue Monday?’  After looking through various websites for a blog post topic to write about, I came across an article talking about why people associate Monday’s as gloomy or unpleasant.  The (old but interesting and relevant) article discusses how cognitive heuristics, memory, and decision-making all play a role in why most people consider Monday as the ‘worst day of the week.’  The peak-end heuristic is at play, which is the tendency to emphasize peaks and recent experiences when summarizing a period of time.  An example of this is the large change in mood from Sundays to Mondays in which people who work weekday shifts experience.  Memories also play a big role in the ‘Blue Monday’ belief.  Researchers conclude that if we have experienced something unpleasant on a Monday, it may lead us to associating Monday with the memory of the mood/emotion we felt on the past Monday.  Decision-making plays a role in the fact that it allows us to draw knowledge from our past experiences.  For example, experiencing an unpleasant medical test on a specific day will determine we choose to do that procedure again.

Arthur Stone conducted a research study in hopes of finding evidence that Mondays were in fact much more ‘bluer’ than other days in the week.  They conducted live phone interviews with people across the United States asking about their mood in the prior day.  With this information, he and his research team were hoping to find day-of-week (DOW) effects on both positive and negative moods.  Overall they found evidence that there were more positive moods on weekdays and Fridays.  With that being said, they did not find any evidence to support the ‘Blue Monday’ belief.  They also found that DOW effects were gender-blind; women were more likely to assess their moods negatively than men, but day to day changes were similar for both sexes.  In addition, Stone also conducted a study that examined the expectations about mood and day of the week.  He found that two-thirds of the participants voted Monday as the ‘worst’ day of the week, even if they may not have felt gloomier that day. 

Knowing and understanding why most people believe in the ‘Blue Monday’ or feel that Mondays are the ‘worst’ day of the week is interesting.  We know that in classifying Monday as ‘Blue Monday,’ there are many cognitive principles that apply to how we do so.  Heuristics play a big role in associating Mondays with unpleasant and gloomy moods.  For example, both peak-end heuristics play a role, as discussed in the article, as well as availability heuristics, discussed in class.  I gave the example for how peak-end heuristics play a role in ‘Blue Monday.’  The availability heuristic plays a role in ‘Blue Monday’ because if an unpleasant and gloomy mood is what is easily available to us on what happened on a Monday, then we are more likely to associate Monday with that mood.  In addition to that, if that is the memory we have with Mondays, that situation is more likely to stick to our memory, resulting in Mondays being associated with a ‘Blue Monday.’  As discussed in class and the article, we know that memory can be flawed, which may be one of the reasons why people most associate Mondays as the ‘worst’ day of the week, when in fact, they do not feel gloomier or less pleasant on that day.

I thought this article did a great job in explaining why people most associate Monday as the ‘worst’ day of the week.  Like most people, I myself associate Monday as the ‘worst’ day of the week and dread Mondays.  After reading this article and Stone’s study, it gave me a better understanding of why people may seem to think this way even though Mondays actually is not a more gloomier and unpleasant day in comparison to the rest of the week.  The article did a nice job in including many different concepts in helping explain why Monday is considered as ‘Blue Monday.’  The article introduced a new type of cognitive heuristic in which I was not aware of, which I enjoyed learning about.  I think that the article gave great examples in helping explaining how the cognitive principles applied to the ‘Blue Monday’ belief most people have.

After reading the article and relating it to past research and what we have discussed in class, I have a better understanding on why we believe in a ‘Blue Monday,’ how that belief is created, and how it may be flawed as a result of memory.  The article discusses how because our memory is flawed, it may be a result of our association of Monday with a ‘Blue Monday.’  This makes me wonder, what if this whole time ‘Blue Monday’ may have been a ‘Thank God it’s Monday,’ but it is not due to our flawed memories of Mondays being gloomy and unpleasant rather than joyful and happy.  I think that the research done on ‘Blue Mondays’ is very interesting and helpful in understanding why the majority of people do consider Mondays as the ‘worst’ day of the week.  I also thought it was interesting to read that the research found that retirees did not make much of a distinction between weekends and weekdays.  With that being said, do you think that people are only ‘blue’ on Mondays because they have to go back to work and/or school on Monday?  What about people who have different work schedules?  For example, if someone had a Wednesday to Sunday work-week, would they consider Wednesdays as their ‘Blue Monday?’

The Forgotten Childhood: Why Early Memories Fade


As adults, we all try to remember certain memories from when we were young but somehow can’t manage to remember what happened.  As we discussed in class a few weeks ago, we call this phenomenon childhood amnesia.  After discussing childhood amnesia and false memories in class, I couldn’t help but feel intrigued to find out more information on childhood amnesia.  I came across this article, which is a year old, but I thought it was still appropriate because it discusses childhood amnesia, and answered some questions I had regarding childhood amnesia.  As we have discussed in class, we know that we have little memory before the age of 4 years old and that on average, the first memory we have is around 3 and a half years old.  This article discusses when childhood amnesia starts, which memories from our childhood persist, and how the power of the memory can determine whether we remember or forget that childhood memory. 

This article discusses multiple research done related to childhood amnesia.  Specifically, the article discusses research in relation to when childhood amnesia starts, which childhood memories persist, and the power of memory.  In terms of research done on when childhood amnesia starts, the article discussed research done to see what happened to memories of children over time.  They recorded 3-year olds talking to their parents about a specific event that happened.  A few years later, researched checked back with the children to see if they remembered the events.  Children who were 7 recalled more than 60% of the events while children who were 8 or 9 only recalled less than 40% of the events.  In terms of which childhood memories persist, the article discussed research done by Carole Peterson who studied children who were hospitalized in emergency rooms as young as 2 years old for injuries.  Because these memories were emotional and significant events, Peterson concluded that children had good memory of those events, even up to 10 years later.  Lastly, in terms of the power of the memory, the article discussed how researchers found that parents play a big role in what children remember.  Specifically, they found that, parents who help shape, structure, and context to a memory, the memory is less likely to fade.

With the many different research done on childhood amnesia, we can figure out specific ways to make memories from our childhood stronger.  The article discusses the findings from research which relates to how we can make our childhood memory stronger.  The researchers discussed reasons as to why our childhood memories from such a young age aren’t always remembered.  Specifically, they concluded that because our brain systems are so immature at such a young age, they may not be working as efficiently as they could, especially in our older, adult years.  The article discussed how childhood memories are more likely to survive if those memories involve a lot of emotion.  For example, we’re more likely to remember events that involved us breaking a bone rather than a memory on what we did for our 4th birthday.  Lastly, our childhood memory is likely to survive if our parents help us make the power of that memory stronger.  For example, if parents help us shape and structure and add context to the memory, we’re more likely to remember it when we’re adults.  All this information and research are all helpful information in trying to understand childhood amnesia.

When I came across this article, I had a lot of questions in which I hope the article would answer.  After I had read the article, I did learn more information about childhood amnesia, on top of what we’ve learned in class.  I think that the article did a wonderful job in explaining childhood amnesia, when it starts, which childhood memories persist, and how to make our childhood memories more powerful.  This article gave me a deeper understanding of childhood amnesia in which we didn’t discuss in class.  I think that the research done was very helpful in giving me a better understanding of what childhood amnesia is.  I liked how they had examples of instances when childhood amnesia occurs and ways to enhance childhood memories. 

After reading the article and relating it to what we’ve discussed in class about childhood amnesia in the last couple weeks, I have gained better knowledge on childhood amnesia.  I think that childhood amnesia is such an interesting topic to talk about and learn about.  As an adult, I often don’t remember certain events from my childhood, except for maybe a small handful.  Not being able to remember these memories at such a young age is a little bit frustrating, especially when family members all know of that one embarrassing memory they have of you, which you have no recall of.  I think that research being done on childhood amnesia is great because the more we’re able to enhance childhood memories, the better.  Being an adult now, that research may not be beneficial to me, but at least they’ll be beneficial to children today.  Unlike us, maybe when they’re adults, they’ll recall of that oh-so embarrassing memory of themselves that everyone else remembers. 

Better Ways to Learn


We all know midterms are coming up after spring break, some of us may have even had midterms already this past week, so when I came across this article, I thought it was appropriate.  This article discusses effective ways to study for exams that allow us to not only retain the information in the long run, but also learn the information, rather than just memorizing it.  This week and last week we’ve been discussing memory and its processing into long-term memory.  Knowing how memory works and ways our memory processes, we are able to use this information in order to learn information better.  The article discusses how in order for us to learn information more effectively, we must study in a way that is effective for us to retain the information for a longer period of time, rather than just for a short period. 

Researchers conducted a study that tests optimal intervals for studying that worked best when learning information.  They concluded that studying in interval levels over a period of time is much more effective than studying for hours for a test the day after.  The researchers also concluded that in order for information to be better retained, one must study the information contextually.  They said that memory gets stronger as the more contexts we use it in.  The researchers also discussed how studying for an exam for hours the night before is not effective because the whole time we are only focusing our brainpower on maintaining concentration rather than using that brainpower focusing on what we have to learn.  Therefore, researchers suggested that studying in intervals and in different environments is an effective way to learn information which we will retain in our memory for the long run, rather than a temporary use.

We all know cramming for tests is not an effective way to learn but rather is only effective for short-term use.  Cramming may help us get through that midterm and maybe even do very well, but long-term use isn’t effective.  The article discusses how cramming doesn’t help us learn and retain information in the long run, rather it just helps us remember information for the day or two after for when we take the test.  With what we have learned in class so far and what the researchers have found in this article, we have a better understanding of how we should study for tests that will enable us to learn the information and remember it in the long run.  As we learned in class, in order for information to enter into long-term memory, we must make meaningful connections to the information.  When studying for tests, it is most effective when we relate the information we are studying to personal contexts that way the information is a form of deeper processing that will allow it for better recall.  As discussed in class, organization is the key to creating connections to the information needed to be remembered.  Therefore, we must organize what we are studying in an effective way for us. 

I thought that this article was very interesting because it integrated what we have learned in class about memory with what was discussed in the article.  In class, we have been discussing ways to effectively study for tests and learn the information we are studying, therefore I thought this article was fairly related and appropriate.  We learn that information is better retained and is easier to recall when we use contextual cues and make connections with our personal lives.  I enjoyed reading this article and being able to make a connection to it with what we have been learning in class. 

The topic, research, and ideas discussed in the article were very intriguing.  As a college student, who occasionally struggles to find an effective way to study, reading this article was very helpful.  I will no longer turn to cramming, even thought it may be tempting at times, because I know it is not an effective way for me to learn information that will still be useful in the long run.  With information from the article and what we have been learning in class about memory, I know that I should study in intervals and make connections with what I am studying with personal things that will help me better retain information that will be used in long term memory. 

Study of Retirees Links Youth Football to Brain Problems

Article Link:

With the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, I thought that this would be an interesting topic that integrates both football and cognitive psychology.  This article discusses research findings on the link between NFL retirees participation in youth football and cognitive problems.  Researchers found that NFL retirees who played football before the age of 12 years old had significantly worse test results than those NFL retirees who started playing football after 12 years old.  These test results of retirees who played before 12 were able to recall less words that they learned 15 minutes prior to the test and had lower mental flexibility in comparison to those who played youth football after 12 years of age. 

Researchers linked these lower test scores as a result of playing football before the age of 12.  The article discussed how 12 years old is an important time for brain development and head injuries during this time results in cognitive difficulties in the future.  Because this age is an important time for brain development, we need to recognize its importance and do our best to avoid injuries that will lead to future cognitive difficulties.  The brain is one of the most important organs we have that determines how we live therefore we must do our best to protect this organ.

This leads to the controversy and question discussed in the article of whether it is safe for children to play football before the age of 12 years old.  Some parents today still allow their children to play tackle football before they are 12 but researchers suggest that parents shouldn’t allow their children to play tackle football at such a young age.  This article discusses how tackle football leads to higher risks of head injuries that interrupts brain development which results in future cognitive difficulties.  Dr. Robert Stern said, “Being hit in the head repeatedly through tackle football during a critical time in brain development may be associated with later-life cognitive difficulties,” as discussed in the article.  With this research done, parents should be aware that signing up their children to play tackle football before the age of 12 years old leads to higher risks of cognitive difficulties in the future. 


I think that this article is a very interesting article because it integrates two important things for parents when it comes to their children—playing sports and development—cognitive development especially.   The article had great research and findings about cognitive development and how it is affected by playing tackle football before the age of 12 years old.  With these findings, we must be aware about whether we should allow children to participate in such a dangerous at such a young age.  If we choose to let children participate in tackle football at such a young age, we must know what risks we are taking and make sure we do our best to take the right precautions to make sure our child develops normally and that we are not disrupting development of children. 

With research such as the one discussed in the article, we can take the right precautions and steps if we do allow children to participate in tackle football before the age of 12 years old.  Findings in the link between youth football and cognitive development allows us to gain more knowledge about cognitive development in children and how it could effect them in the future when playing rough sports such as football.  This article helped me gain insight on cognitive development in children, how their cognitive development is affected by participation in tackle football, and what precautions we can do to prevent delay or interruption in cognitive development.  I enjoyed reading this article and learning about the research and findings they did and found because it integrates football and cognitive development.  I also enjoyed it because it discussed the controversy of whether allowing children under the age of 12 to play tackle football and what it can do to their cognitive development, both in the present, and in the future.