Author Archives: schung2

Cognitive challenges after stroke

Bill was a flight attendant for 12.5 years and he had a youtube channel about his career. Suddenly he had a stroke last year and while recovering, he uploaded videos of his recovery and symptoms. One of the videos I found while searching for short term memory loss inspired by the movie called “Memento” is ‘How my short term memory loss effect my daily life’.


The symptoms you can see through this video just have passed 2 months after he had a stroke. He has speech/language problems, slow and cautious behavioral style and short term memory loss. He had to write down what he will speak first and read it by paying special attention to his words.He said he likes to read and watch tv but they are too much for him to understand. He also mentioned that he wanted to express himself but he couldn’t find a word for the right expression sometimes. Even sentences he made don’t make sense; that’s the reason why the video is pretty long. He also complained of his pain on the right arm. This means he has paralysis on his right side of the body which is because the left hemisphere of the brain controls the right side of the body. In other words, these symptoms indicate that the stroke occurred in the left side of the brain and the right side of brain is also affected. It seemed especially Broca’s area where controls speech function got damaged.

Bill is affected by aphasia, which makes him speak in short or incomplete sentence. He also has amnesia, which is the short-term memory loss and inability to recall new information. Yet he is able to recall old memories. Here is more informations about strokes, including strokes in both the right brain and the left brain. This article also introduces some simple methods to improve memory.


This is a PET scan of a brain taken from a post-stroke person who was also injured in the left brain. This person also had aphasia like Bill and there is more information here about what PET imaging offers and how the recovery works.  .

It was good to explore about strokes on youtube by watching Bill’s previous and recent videos and learning about brain damage by stroke by researching. As you can see in the recent videos, his treatment and efforts seemed to be worked well and he seemed like he is getting better about speaking. His paralysis of the right side got better by physical therapy, as well. It is always good to watch youtube videos and research about what you want to learn more, especially this research helped me a lot. Usually people know brain damage is mostly from falls, traffic accident, and firearms but it can also be happened by stroke. If there is a person who wants to learn more about brain damage and imaging in the future, I hope they could help someone to recover by their great research.

Here is more about imaging, which I excluded from the post. If you have an interest in imaging, there are a lot of informations about which imaging was effective to people who have amnesia or aphasia ;

Note taking by using computer makes you better recall

When you get into the college, have you ever agonized about your note-taking skills? For me, studying in high school and studying in college was drastically different. Professors talk about a variety of fields and I have to remember all of the main points and examples at the same time. Thus, my freshman grade was pretty bad and I had to take advice from my parents and professors to improve my study skills. There are many ways to review what you’ve learned, but this journal gave me a new perspective of recalling memory. You might’ve had to take notes by using a computer instead of hand writing them. If you have a lecture where your professor talks really fast or talks a lot, you might have used or thought to use a computer to take notes.

The study I want to share is about improving memory recollection by using the alternative note-taking skill I’ve previously mentioned; transcribing by using a computer. This experiment was conducted by Dung C. Bui, Joel Myerson, and Sandra Hale of Washington University. They hypothesized three things, but here, I want to focus on the first experiment. The researchers wanted to compare taking notes by hand with taking notes using a computer in terms of their effects on test performance. The researchers gathered eighty undergraduate students and tested free recall and short answer after showing them a lecture. There were four conditions: Hand_organized, Hand_transcribed, Computer_organized, Computer_transcribed. As a result, there was more recall when using a computer than when using your hand to take notes when transcribing a lecture. This study explained the limitations of writing by hand due to the speed of writing and the length of time. Also, considering the aspect of the quantity of the notes, working memory had a relationship with recall ability. In another blog, I found a study where students who took notes using a computer wrote an average of 310 words per lecture while students who took notes by hand wrote an average of 173 words. This number supports the finding that using the computer is much faster in inputting words.

Summarizing shortly about the second and third experiment, organized notes were better in recalling delayed test performance than transcribed notes, but not for immediate test performance. Also, in terms of note-quantity, if the note was transcribed, the quantity could be greater. Next, the researcher hypothesized that working memory is related to recalling. In addition, working memory is essential for effective note-taking. If there is an individual difference, it is due to the variance of working memory abilities that have an effect on organized notes, not on transcribed notes. So the second and third experiments were vital to support the first experiment and explain the exempted situations.

Myself, I like taking transcribed notes by hand or paraphrasing what the professor is saying in my notes. This type of skill is good for weekly quizzes but not for the mid-term or final exam. According to this research, I should have taken notes based on transcribed notes for the final. Especially if I am going to write transcribed notes during the lecture, I think I’d better use my laptop than my hand so that I don’t have to always ask the professor about points I missed. If you were worrying about your own note-taking style, this research might help you develop the proper studying-skills for each situation. Again, this is based on the result of test performance. The strong point of this research is it defines the situations well so that you don’t doubt any exceptions or questions in your mind. The conclusion is shortly after using your computer, you can write a lot during class especially if it is typed. Yet, there are a lot of situations that need another style of note-taking skill. I hope that you, the reader, will use this post to switch between note taking skills. If you haven’t tried to do so, I think that this is a good method to study.

Women and Men, which gender is better at multi-tasking?

Have you ever heard that women are better than men at multi-tasking? For me, it was an obvious fact that most people agreed with that usually women are outstandingly at multi-tasking and men are not. In my life, I never doubted that women were much better at multi-tasking than men. In other words, I couldn’t think of any examples where men can beat women at multi-tasking tasks. Men are known to have good skills at single-tasking and women are known to have good multi-tasking skills. However, these days, I found some exceptions to this, women that aren’t good at multi-tasking, such as my mother, men that do really well with multi-tasking, such as my boyfriend. My mother always said “Don’t talk to me while I am concentrating on cooking”, “Don’t talk to me because I am writing something down”. On the other hand, my boyfriend always say while talking in phone that he is playing computer game, and talking to his roommate as well.

I really liked to learn about attention from our cognitive psychology course, and I was excited to read and learn about multi-tasking through our text. However, since the professor didn’t talk about gender differences in multi-tasking, I separately asked the professor whether women and men are different, implying women are better than men, but I got an answer “No”. This reply gave me a shock and made me research about “Gender difference in multi-tasking”.

To cut to the point, we cannot generalize that women are better at multi-tasking than men. There are many research materials that support the idea women are superior to men at multi-tasking because the brain is different. Yet the word  “superior” can be only used in specific situations. There is one hypothesis that claims this is due to the evolution that women can keep an eye on their kids while foraging for food. Also, women are superior at finding missing items according to Fiona Macre science correspondent. There is one research article that concludes that women are better than men. They had two experiments ; in first experiment, they collected 120 women and 120 men and tested computer-based task switching paradigm to each group, and in second experiment, they  compared 47 women and men each given “paper-and-pencil” multi-tasking tests. The first experiment result was that men were slower than women when two tasks were rapidly interleaved. The second experiment’s result was that women were better at devising strategies for locating lost keys. When you watch the video below, you would see women are better at multi-tasking but specific condition like caring babies, which women usually do, or household activities that women are usually good at in general. I think this is also a reason of evolution.



On the other hand, the journal I found called “Gender difference in multitasking reflect spatial ability” mentioned that men outperformed women in monitoring accuracy of multiple tasks. It said the ability to coordinate multiple tasks are due to the ability to maintain and update multiple goals and the ability to coordinate spatial relations. According to this journal, we cannot generalize multi-tasking tasks by gender differences, but individual differences are also affecting multi-tasking given some conditions that may show reversed or declined gender differences because of task specific-constraints and strategies.

In short, generalizing that women’s multi-tasking skills are superior to men’s multi-tasking skills is wrong, due to individual differences in multi-tasking. This is more complex, like men and women, and there would be a lot of exceptions if we generalize. Still, it is true that women are better in multitasking in terms of household activities or scheduling and men are better in terms of spatio-temporal activities. This study made me understand well about the exceptions when I generalized about it myself. It would be hard to get rid of the bias that women’s multi-tasking skills are better than men’s as it was issued in the past and many people are interested especially in “gender differences”. I wish to inform my peers about the generalization and stereotype of this matter in hopes to eliminate some future errors.

Deep thinking about Artificial Intelligence in the movie “Her”

Recently, I’ve been recommending one of my friends to watch the movie “Her“. The movie “Her” is one of my favorite movies. This is due to two things: it can be interpreted in many different ways and also because the Artificial Intelligence (AI) fell in love with the main character, Theodore Twombly, which was very new and impactive idea to me. While thinking something interesting to post on the blog, I thought of some key words, such as brain, computer, memory, and intelligence.

There are a lot of AI movies; robot movies, which talk about the future world. At first, it started as pointing out people’s alienation as technology began to become increasingly highly-skilled. The imagination in these sub-genre of movies made the audience consider the possibilities of a world riddled with new technology and also the problems that followed as a result. However, our current world is already high-tech. Researchers and inventors are already making a lot of devices that were influenced from movies.

An article written by Vlad Sejnoha mentioned Deep Neural Networks (DNN) and the high accuracy of Samantha ( the invisible woman played AI role in the movie). A deep neural network (DNN) is an artificial neural network with multiple hidden layers of units between the input and output layers.  DNNs depend on ‘learning from examples’, the networks are classified with the labeled training exemplars and learn relationships between the input datas and the desired classification. Like most of you, I have not heard of DNNs as well. However, this concept is already into our thinking naturally. According to the article, DNN’s topology mimics brain structures and it is easy to understand AI by interpreting its DNN. In the movie, the AI Samantha seemed different than most computer in terms of her processing. While a computer is processed by a serial processing system, AI is processed by a parallel processing system just like our brain. AI combines symbolic processing and a machine learning system to help it adapt to unexpected situations. AI can multi-task, tasks like speech recognition, natural language understanding, speech generation, dialog, reasoning, planning, and can even learn new things. The following is an example of a neural network pattern shown in Samantha’s speech in the movie. “Sorry, nothing’s available until 9pm. Would you like another Italian restaurant in the area at about 6:30pm?” How can an AI suggest a restaurant and take into account the time, location, availability of the attendees and the type of restaurant? This is what neural network matching does; it learns the connections of each possible chance and the desired next step from trial and error. I am not going to talk about DNN deeply, but anyone who wants to learn more about it than speech recognition, can watch this easy youtube video.

AI interactions with humans is not a new concept, but this movie is new in that it’s based on emotional intelligence. In the movie “The Island”, the main characters are clones but have emotions and have the self-actualization that their existences are not real. “The Island” was released in 2005, and the movie “Her” was released in 2013. It’s been 8 years and a lot of things have changed. This movie is based on the emotion Samantha feels. She also gets confused about her feelings of love, worry, happiness, sadness, just like a human. This journal provides a good debatable issue, “Is it necessary for Artificial Intelligence to have emotions like a human?” I think it is unnecessary for AI to have emotions but they can be systemized to speak a right sentence in right situation in order to make a human to feel an emotion to them. To bring it in the real world, a current AI could be without emotions but if it could make its human user experience a plethora of emotions could be a more sophisticated machine. If you have a similar or different opinion, I want you to share with me and other readers.

  To close the post, in the future, I hope nowadays’ technique could deal with unstructured information such as pre-structuring of information sources, reasoning for not only superficial, but also introspection. In addition, as the author of this journal said, we should consider AI as not just an Artificial Intelligence, but also an Amplification Intelligence.

  Lastly, this youtube video shows ten high-tech movies so if you are interested in other good hi-tech movies, watch this.


Source:, wikipedia, youtube,