Author Archives: sambridge

Race and Intelligence: Terrible and Dangerous Science

There was an op-ed posted on The New York Times’ website entitled “How Genetics is Changing our Understanding of ‘Race'”. Written  by David Reich, the piece talked about such things as race and IQ, and how there are differences in genetics between different groups of people that might make them different than other groups of people. The biggest idea is that a person’s race has an effect on their IQ. This is a belief that has been debunked before because it does not hold any real science.

There was then an article on Slate talking about the original article which said that David Reich was trying to bring up dangerous science that has been disproved numerous times. The author of the Slate article talked about how he was once a geneticist who fell into the trap of believing that IQ and race went hand in hand but eventually realized there was no scientific facts to back it up.

You see talk like this in certain parts of the world. This is only an example and is not necessarily true in any way, but take the idea of a white southern male who has racist views. He might believe that black people are lazy and dumb simply because of the color of their skin. This holds no weight because that is not how race and character traits work. On the other hand the black person might view the southern white male as being dumb and ignorant because he is a white person living in the south. These stereotype people have are dangerous to have because they are not backed up by scientific evidence.

This idea that race has an impact on a person’s IQ is something that has been used in historical cases with the biggest example being WWII and Hitler’s extermination of the Jewish people. His belief that simply because they were Jewish meant they were inferior led to one of the largest genocides in history. We cannot allow these dangerous beliefs to rise into main stream science and into the everyday persons thoughts because it could lead to something dangerous for us all.


Here is the link to the New York Times’ :

Here is the link to Slate’s article:

The Illusion of Truth and Fake News

Over the past two years, the topic of “fake news” has been all over the news thanks largely in part to Donald Trump and the 2016 presidential election. Throughout the election year and still to this day many websites have published stories that have little to no factual claims. And yet many of these fake news stories have convinced people that they are in fact factual and  credible. The spread of fake news could be related to the illusion-of-truth effect which states that the more someone hears a statement, the more likely they are to believe that it is true. This is closely related to the topic of false memories which are memories that people claim to have experienced something which actually never happened.

There are examples where the illusion-of-truth effect can be seen in politics with such claims as Barack Obama is a Muslim, or he was not born in the United States. These claims are false but the reason they still exist is because of the illusion-of-truth effect. Lets pretend that a website has a story which claims Obama was not born in the United States. Now let’s say 100 people see that story and tell their friends about it or share it on social media which results in more people seeing it. Then another website sees that claim and makes an article about the same false claim. As more and more websites publish articles on the topic, the more likely people are going to believe it or at least think the story has plausibility.

A study from the Central Washington University was conducted to see “whether repeated exposure to fictitious stimuli would cause participants to develop a false memory for having heard about the false news stories from a source outside of the experiment” (Polage). The results of the study found that those who were exposed to fake news were more likely to believe that it was true (Polage). This study is helpful to have research behind the claim that fake news can be influential on a person’s thoughts and memories.

Society is currently in the age of technology where anyone can spread fake news through social media. Just in the last year, there was a good example of how fake news can spread in an instant. The mass shooting in Las Vegas led to a false claim that the suspect was a Democrat who was against Donald Trump. This claim eventually made its way to websites which wrote articles about the false claim. Those news stories were then shared on Facebook and other sites. The more likes and shares these posts received, the more believable this claim became to people (Levin).

The illusion-of-truth effect and the effect it has on news can be quite dangerous in a time where anyone can post something on the internet. False information can sometimes move faster than the truth. This is an issue we will have to deal with in the coming future to prevent false information that could have a negative impact on everyday things.



Works Cited

Levin, Sam. “Facebook and Google promote politicized fake news about Las Vegas shooter.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 2 Oct. 2017,

Polage, Danielle C. “Making up History: False Memories of Fake News Stories.” Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 8(2), 21 May 2012, pp. 245–250., doi:10.5964/ejop.v8i2.456.

Anxiety’s Effect on Memory

Could anxiety actually help you remember you something better? A new research study says that this may, in fact, be the case. The 2017 study done by Christopher Lee and Myra A. Fernandes found that the initial encoding context a person has is capable of influencing how a person remembers that information at a later date. The basics of this study found that if people have higher anxiety they are more likely to have negative emotions and thoughts. These negative feelings will put the individual in a negative mind frame which in turn makes certain events or stimuli more memorable.

The study found that the participants who had anxiety developed a downstream bias in their encoding and also in the retrieval process of information. The researchers mentioned that there have been previous studies that have found that high anxiety levels can have a negative impact on people cognitive functions. For this study, the participants were all people who could manage their anxiety to the point where it would no become crippling and debilitating to them. The researchers also mentioned that their study was completed with traditionally college-aged individuals and that the results might differ depending on the age group being tested.


This article personally interested me because there are times where I am able to remember a memory about a negative event that happened to me years ago. I have always wondered why I am capable of remembering it even though the event was insignificant when I look back at it. It feels like I am able to remember it perfectly and like I am able to watch the replay of the event in my head. But then when it comes to positive memories, I am less able to remember all the details about the event. I know my mother is able to remember the time in her childhood when she accidentally pushed her best friend off a wall and her friend broke her arm. It has been over 50 years since this event happened but she says she is still able to remember all of it. But when asked about going to school dances with her friends, she is unable to fully remember all the details.

This article helped me better understand why those pesky negative memories sometimes pop up in our heads at random times.


Lee, C., & Fernandes, M. A. (2018). Emotional Encoding Context Leads to Memory Bias in Individuals with High Anxiety. Brain Sciences8(1), 6.

Nierenberg, C. (2018, March 01). How a Little Bit of Anxiety May Improve Your Memory. Retrieved March 01, 2018, from



IQ Scores in Children and Psychotic Disorders

Researchers in London and the United States have recently found that individuals who have a psychotic disorder in their life have had a decrease in both their IQ as well as a decrease in a number of other cognitive abilities. This study, which was published in JAMA Psychiatry, tracks individuals who develop some sort of psychotic disorder in their life. The researchers studied 4332 individuals who were between the age of 18 months to 20 years old and resided in the United Kingdom.

The results they found suggested that individuals who developed a psychotic disorder later in their life had an IQ score that was 15 points lower than the average individual. The research found that their IQ began to drop around the age of four and continued throughout their childhood and teenage years. In addition to having a lower IQ score, the researchers found the individuals with psychotic disorders had poorer cognitive abilities such as working memory, attention, and processing speed. The study suggests that individuals with psychotic disorders do not have their mental abilities deteriorate over time, but rather never fully develop them or develop the abilities at a slower rate than individuals without psychotic disorders.

This study is helpful to show the process and timeline of how psychotic disorders develop. The area of mental health is still an area that needs more research. This study helps provide information about what is happening to the brain of an individual who has schizophrenia for example. This study had researchers from both the King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the United States working on it.

The part of the article I found was the most interesting, was the fact that psychotic individual’s mental abilities do not deteriorate over time, but rather never fully develop or develop at a slower rate than healthy individuals. This study suggests that there may be a way to lessen or prevent psychotic disorders from developing if there is early intervention in the individual. This gives hope to the possibility that science is coming closer to preventing psychotic disorders from occurring in individuals, which in turn makes the world a healthier place. There is obviously more research that needs to be done, but this was a step in the right direction.



King’s College London. (2018, January 31). Falling IQ scores in childhood may signal psychotic disorders in later life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2018 from