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Issue 1 Spring 2022

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Risk It For the Kiss: Epstein-Barr

Virus and Multiple Sclerosis p.4

The College Blues: Freshmen

Take On Anxiety p.10

The Raisin-Brain of a Cereal Killer

p.24

S

S

CIENTIFIC

CARSDALIAN

COVER TBD

ISSUE I

SPRING 2022


SCI

EN

TI

FIC

EDITORIAL STAFF

EDITORS IN CHIEF

CINDY DEDIANOUS

SIMONE GLAJCHEN

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

OLIVIA LIU

NEWS EDITORS

ROSE KINOSHITA

JADEN TEPPER

OPINION EDITOR

MATTHEW BAROTZ

FEATURE EDITOR

IRENE LI

ADVISOR

DYLAN PRENDERGAST

The Official STEM Magazine of Scarsdale High School


At a glance...

2

Crossword Puzzle

4

Risk It For The Kiss: Epstein-Barr Virus and

Multiple Sclerosis

SCA

RS

5

Illuminating the Brain

6

Thawing Your Seasonal Depression

8

Why Are Kids Stressed?

9

Women in STEM: Perspectives on Gender Bias

10

The College Blues: Freshmen Take On Anxiety

12

Mental Health at SHS

14

Reading Body Language

15

Our Working Memory is Squawk-ingly Poor

16

How Personality Tests Work

18

The Real Reason You Procrastinate

19

Derstroying Your Mental Health

20

Fictional Characters with Mental Illness

22

Our Dreams Under a Microscope

23

Ink Drops and Blots: Rorschach Tests

24

To Stand By Or To Stand Up: The Bystander

Effect

26

Frequency Illusion: The Brain and its Bias

27

IQ Tests: Intelligence Quotient or Inane

Quackery?

28

The Raisin-Brain of a Cereal Killer

DA

LIAN


ULTIMATE CROSSWORD

Created By: Rose Kinoshita and Matthew Barotz

FIND THE ANSWERS ON

scientificscarsdalian.org


Across:

1. When 19 is 10011 (6)

4. The fifth month (3)

6. School transportation (3)

9. Celtic soothsayer (5)

12. Where you might find two peas (3)

13. For cooking or engines (3)

14. Automobile (3)

16. Opposite divided by hypotenuse (4)

17. Cofunction of #16-across (6)

18. Most common personality test (4)

19. In addition to (4)

21. Not under (4)

23. Baby carnivore (3)

24. Between vinyls and MP3s abbr. (3)

25. Hair clump (4)

27. Brain network (6)

28. Federal tax agency abbr. (3)

30. Everest guide (6)

34. Put underground (4)

35. Chimney deposit (4)

36. Night bird (3)

38. Corn unit (3)

39. *Name of the SHS science magazine (10)

42. Force unit (6)

45. Attention-grabbing (11)

47. Employ (4)

48. Carnage (4)

50. *Insect of our first environmental article (6)

52. Highest or lowest card (3)

53. Relevant Greek letter (7)

54. *Form of depression on page #6 (8)

56. Removed the top (6)

58. Test that’s more accurate than a rapid (3)

59. Cultural food (7)

63. Thin (4)

64. BTS song or mini twisted ladder (3)

66. Deceive (7)

67. Sole (3)

68. With XY (4)

70. Pronoun in texting (2)

72. Swoon (5)

74. Anagram of tea (3)

75. Fad (5)

76. Long term #81 across (7)

78. For each (3)

79. Tissue sac (4)

80. Rival (9)

81. Emotional or physical tension (6)

83. Longest working SHS physics teacher (7)

88. Nut most commonly found in pies (5)

90. Figurine (4)

95. Desperate (4)

95. A bar used to pry (5)

97. Grade 9 science (7)

98. Like 2, 8, or 946 (4)

99. Rock (5)

101. Video game or light circle (4)

102. Abbr. #84 down (3)

103. Who, what, when, where, why, and ___ (3)

104. Confidentiality agreement abbr. (3)

107. Not off (2)

108. Person who #7-down’s (4)

110. Cost (5)

112. Charged atoms (4)

114. Treble or bass (4)

116. Friend (3)

118. Take a break (4)

119. Boast (4)

121. One of the unalienable rights (4)

123. Soak something completely (8)

124. Thus far(3)

125. Narcissistic (11)

126. Word used to make something negative (3)

127. Needed to produce rotation (6)

128. To be in second person (3)

129. Protein found in blood hemo______ (6)

130. Instant (6)

Down:

1. 007 (4)

2. Caesar’s death date, ___ of March (4)

3. Stretchy loop (10)

4. Absent military person abbr. (3)

5. Without exception (3)

7. Utilize (3)

8. Male equivalent of madam (3)

9. Erase (6)

10. ___ and flow (3)

11. Central points (4)

12. Photos (4)

14. Legal or tennis (5)

15. Decay (3)

20. Shock (4)

22. Extremely cold (6)

23. Copy (5)

26. Additional info abbr. (3)

27. Less than one (4)

29. Old-style (5)

30. Salt water mass (3)

31. Overactor (3)

32. *Magazine theme (10)

33. Antioxidant berry (4)

34. Experimental (4)

35. *See 39-across (11)

37. Cube root of 512 (5)

40. Weather for remote learning (9)

41. Blaze (4)

43. *“An Ode to ______” (6)

44. Unrefined mineral (3)

46. Featured in the chalk article (12)

49. Message sent with a click (5)

51. *The focus of the article on page # (6)

55. *Nickname for Science Research teacher (6)

57. Safety or bobby (3)

59. Use MLA formatting (4)

60. Target audience (5)

61. Game, ___, match (3)

62. Life-threatening episode abbr. (3)

64. Fox’s home (3)

65. Defeat with democracy (7)

66. Charted (6)

69. Lack vitality (8)

71. Bread grain (3)

73. Wide open (as a mouth) (5)

77. With diet or college (2)

79. *Author of the first published article and crossword enthusiast (5)

82. *Co-editor-in-chief or star American gymnast (6)

84. Not a street or road (6)

85. Permit (5)

86. Used to justify the means (3)

87. Harsh (6)

88. University with Einstein’s lab (9)

89. Coca-___ (4)

91. Rectangular? (6)

92. Large cats (5)

94. Celebrate (5)

95. Environmentally-friendly light bulb (3)

96. Swerve (4)

100. Pitch or attitude (4)

102. Comp-sci acronym (5)

105. Leave behind (6)

106. Delighted (6)

109. Wing ____ (4)

110. Planet? (5)

111. Heated (5)

112. Fury (3)

113. Breakfast grain (3)

115. Hail (4)

117. Elemental unit (4)

119. Farewell (3)

120. Period of existence in years (3)

122. Unwell (3)

125. Immediate help unit abbr. (2)

*related to Scientific Scarsdalian

CLUES

3


Risk It For The Kiss:

Epstein-Barr Virus and Multiple Sclerosis

Written By: Simone Glajchen | Designed By: Alison Jiang and Olivia Liu

"The kissing disease,” also known as

mononucleosis, is an illness that most of us have heard

of. The disease is transmitted through bodily fluids,

most commonly saliva. It can spread from any form of

saliva exchange: sharing a drink or food utensils, and of

course, kissing. Mononucleosis is most commonly

caused by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is a human

herpes virus that, following the initial infection period,

remains dormant in the host’s body for their whole life.

EBV is so common that 95% of people contract it in

their lifetime. Some symptoms of mononucleosis are

fatigue, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and an enlarged

spleen. Infection with the virus is unpleasant, but there

are generally two main concerns: rupturing one’s

spleen or developing certain types of cancers (both of

these conditions are extremely rare). However, new

research has revealed that the Epstein-Barr virus can

have other grave consequences—it is associated with

the debilitating neurodegenerative disease multiple

sclerosis (MS). MS is a rare disease in which the

immune system attacks the protective coating (myelin

sheath) of nerves, affecting 2.8 million people

worldwide. The degradation of myelin harms

communication between the brain and the rest of the

body, paralyzing many MS patients. Although there is

no cure for MS, some experience periods of remission.

increases the chances of contracting lung cancer 25-

fold. The study also concluded that other herpes

viruses, such as cytomegalovirus, were not linked to

higher rates of MS.

But why is MS rare when EBV is so common?

Research shows that several factors such as EBV,

smoking, and vitamin D deficiency must be present in

order to significantly raise the risk of developing the

illness. Don’t panic if you’ve had EBV—a very small

percentage of those who have the virus become ill with

MS! The discovery that MS is linked to EBV holds

promise for the future of MS treatments. Advances in

EBV treatments could significantly reduce the number

of MS cases, as well as other rare cancers. Moderna is

currently conducting a phase 1 trial of an mRNA

vaccine for EBV. The National Institute of Allergy and

Infectious Disease is also starting a phase 1 trial for an

EBV vaccine in February. By eradicating EBV, we would

be eliminating one of the driving factors of MS

development.

There has been a suspected connection between

multiple sclerosis and the Epstein-Barr virus for years,

and new research conducted at the Harvard T.H. Chan

School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School

suggests that this hypothesis is true. Researchers used

blood samples from about 10 million U.S. military

members. 95% of those included in the study were

positive for Epstein-Barr; 955 people included in the

study (about 0.00955% of the total participants)

became sick with MS. Science published the results in

September: being positive for Epstein-Barr virus

increased chances of developing multiple sclerosis 32-

fold. By comparison, smoking


Written By: Cindy DeDianous | Designed By: Cindy DeDianous

Mind control is real! With the flick of a switch, we have

the power to turn the brain on and off. Cutting off your

sense of smell, restoring blindness, reactivating lost

memories—they’re all within the realm of possibility. No,

this isn’t the plot synopsis for a dystopian sci-fi movie.

With a technique known as optogenetics, scientists are

now doing the impossible.

In 2005, researchers at Stanford University capitalized on

this connection. Using a virus, they altered the genetic code of

a group of neurons to give them the ability to produce opsins.

When a specific wavelength of light was shone on the brain,

only the neurons that had been genetically modified to be lightresponsive

were activated or inhibited. This specificity is the

key to optogenetics. Instead of activating entire cell

populations, researchers could now target certain neurons or

brain circuits and definitively link resulting changes in animal

behavior to the cells' function.

Having a bad day? Think about your happiest memory. Did

that improve your mood? According to researchers at MIT, one

day, it might. They exposed mice to a pleasurable experience

and used a light-sensitive protein to label the cells in the

hippocampus that were storing the positive memory. The mice

were then exposed to high-stress situations, prompting

depression-like symptoms. A fiber-optic cable that emitted blue

light was implanted into the mice's heads. When optogenetics

was used to activate the positive memory, the mice temporarily

experienced a drastic change in mood and behaved like mice

who had never experienced depression!

The secret behind this technology can be found right in

Scarsdale’s backyard: green algae. Photosynthetic

organisms like algae use specialized proteins, called

opsins, to locate areas with optimal light conditions for

photosynthesis. When activated by light, opsins open

channels in the cell membrane. As ions flow across, they

generate a change in charge that alerts the algae to move

toward the light. Remind you of anything? This movement

of ions is similar to the process of depolarization, which

causes neurons to fire.

Optogenetic ‘mind control’ is closer to reaching

humans than you might think. Researchers at Sorbonne

Université recently used a combination of optogenetics

and tech-savvy goggles to return some characteristics

of sight to a blind patient. When the goggles sense

shifts in light intensity, they project the corresponding

light pulses onto the retina optogenetically stimulate

retinal ganglion cells, which play a vital role in image

processing. The results were astounding: the patient

was able to locate and count different objects!

Optogenetics almost seems too good to be true. But

don’t worry, it’s not being used to brainwash me or you

(yet). Instead, it’s prompting breakthrough after

breakthrough and shedding light on the deepest secrets

of our brain.

5


THAWING YOUR

DEPRESSION

Written By: Rahm Bharara

Designed By: Sophia Garcia and Olivia Liu

SEASONAL

SAD Students

Winter! You know what that means: hot chocolate,

holidays, gifts, and of course, seasonal depression.

What is seasonal depression?

The formal name for seasonal depression is

seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and it is defined

as a type of depression that occurs at the same

time every year, usually beginning in the autumn

and continuing for several months, through winter.

In a given year, about 5% of the American

population experiences some form of seasonal

depression, and 80% of these people are women.

Regions further away from the equator have higher

rates of seasonal depression, likely due to shorter,

colder, and darker days during the winter. No

surprise, the symptoms of SAD are quite similar to

those of general depression and include mood

changes, lethargy, and anxiety.

How has the Scarsdale environment

affected/exacerbated your mental health?

“The constant pressure to accomplish things is

quite detrimental to my mental health, especially

during the winter months when the cold and

darkness combine to create conditions that are

almost impossible for me to maintain productivity

in.”

--SHS student

The Science Behind SAD

As sunlight lessens approaching the winter

months, the brain generally produces less

serotonin, an important neurotransmitter most

commonly associated with regulating mood.

Having deficient levels of serotonin is linked to

depression, worsened sleep, and a generally duller

mood. Those specifically diagnosed with seasonal

depression often contain a greater abundance of a

certain serotonin transporter protein that serves to

remove serotonin from the body.

As darkness further invades the afternoons and

mornings, melatonin, a hormone with the purpose

of regulating a person’s circadian rhythm, is

produced at increased rates. While melatonin is

essential for sleep and the regulation of a person’s

internal clock, excess melatonin is linked to

depressive moods and an interruption in a person’s

sleep and wake rhythms.

What are the main pervasive thoughts you have

throughout the fall/winter months?

“I can't go outside as much. I feel like crying all the

time.”

--SHS student


Treatment

There are a wide range of treatments for SAD, none

of which are 100% successful. Phototherapy, or bright

light therapy, is one of the most effective and involves

being exposed to intense lights for up to four hours a

day, which helps suppress the brain’s secretion of

melatonin. Some patients also resort to

antidepressants, which can mitigate symptoms but

also cause unwanted effects. Unfortunately, many

people do not recognize that they have SAD or do not

feel comfortable going to a doctor, so their disorder is

left untreated.

Do you personally experience a notable turning point in

the spring where your mood lightens again?

“Definitely yes! My tutor noticed a very visible shift

between the winter and spring. When I go outside and

sit in the sun, I become much happier and more

relaxed.”

-- SHS student

Seasonal Depression at SHS

Most diagnoses of seasonal depression are within

the age group between adolescence and early

adulthood, notably high school students.

We can see that students are already dealing with

sleep deprivation, so a lack of Vitamin D in the

winter only exacerbates moodiness and lethargy.

The extensive stressors and copious amounts of

work not only damage a student’s sleep schedule,

but also add to a student’s negative neuro-reactions

to melatonin and serotonin.

Scarsdale is notorious for its reputation of an

environment centered around competitiveness. This

atmosphere often creates toxicity and a suboptimal

atmosphere for students to cope with their stress

and mental health, leading to worse symptoms.

What are some words you would use to describe

your seasonal depression?

“drowsy, deflating, defeating”

“overwhelming, lonely, and numbing”

“awful, soul-crushing”

To those who deal with SAD, follow the advice of

Jonna Jinton, a Youtuber who lives in Sweden and

has to face almost complete darkness for six

months every year:

Instead of trying to fight seasonal depression, we can try to appreciate the change in seasons.

A flower would never force itself to bloom during winter, so why should we?

7


Why Are Kids Stressed?

Written By: Amanda Nudelman & Jessica Silvers

Designed By: Claire Chou

Picture this: you are sitting in the Learning Commons with your friends during second lunch on a

Wednesday afternoon, trying desperately to scarf down all of your food in the allotted twenty-five minutes,

when you overhear two of your friends completely flipping out about their math test next period.

“I tried to cram all of last night. I’m so stressed

out that I keep on forgetting all of the material.”

“Me too. We’re going to fail.”

This situation may sound familiar to many stressed

Scarsdale students. These days, it's pretty common to see

someone around you freaking out before a test, and these

stress-induced frenzies may be a result of test anxiety.

Test anxiety involves feeling incredibly anxious before a

test, so much so that academic performance is hindered.

Although a little bit of stress before any important exam is

completely normal, too much can negatively impact test

performance and mental health. Some symptoms of test

anxiety include dizziness, headaches, and heart palpitations

before a test, or having your mind go blank during a test.

.

There are plenty of ways to mitigate the effects of test

anxiety. The Mayo Clinic suggests using study time

effectively, not cramming for quizzes or tests, and creating a

study routine. It is overwhelming to try to study every single

detail, so focus on the big concepts to make sure you

understand the overarching material on a test. Minor actions

such as sitting up straighter, closing one’s eyes, or breathing

slowly can help someone destress during a test. Even

thinking to yourself ‘nobody’s perfect (in the words of

Hannah Montana) and ‘do your best’ can reduce anxiety.

Test anxiety is very prevalent in the Scarsdale community

and in the wider world of high school students. A fear of

failing is one of the biggest causes of test anxiety here at

Scarsdale. Acknowledging that test anxiety is prevalent in

our community is crucial to alleviating the pressure under

which Scarsdale students struggle. Daniel Hochberg ‘23

believes that the change can begin with Scarsdale teachers,

who can be “more upfront about what will be on the test

instead of leaving it up to chance.” Eliminating a degree of

surprise from an already stressful situation can serve to

reduce students’ test anxiety. Solutions should be

considered from the top-down, from the school

administration down to students experiencing anxiety.

Tests can trigger anxious emotional responses and

harm one’s ability to stay calm and alert. Test anxiety is

most often caused by a fear of failure, unpreparedness, or a

history of poor performance on previous tests. Additionally,

a fear of how friends and parents will react to a bad test

score can increase test anxiety

However, anyone suffering from test anxiety is definitely

not alone. The American Test Anxiety Association reports

that in high schools and colleges, 16-20% of students

report high test anxiety, and another 18% of students report

moderate test anxiety. The competitive, high-pressure

Scarsdale environment can contribute to the development

of test anxiety in high school students.

Stress spreads quickly. Typically, one person who is

stressed about a test tells another person about their

worries, who tells another, and another, and another. Soon,

an entire class has fallen victim to a stress domino effect.

We asked Halle Jakubowicz ‘23 about her experience with

test anxiety in Scarsdale and she said, “Before tests, it

becomes hard to focus in class and be in the moment

because I am so consumed by the thought of the test and

not being well enough prepared. I have noticed that the way

everyone deals with the stress is different and talking about

the material or what everyone has done to prepare makes it

worse.” Meritxell Sainz Barrionuevo ‘23 added, “Everyone is

very anxious before tests as a whole which contributes to

an environment of anxiety, especially during testing week.”


Women

in

STEM:

Perspectives on Gender Bias

Written By: Matthew Barotz and Simone Glajchen

Designed By: Olivia Liu

Ms. Yokana, the sole female teacher in the design and

engineering department at Scarsdale High School, has felt

the burden of being a woman in a male-dominated field

her whole life. As a child, she loved working with her dad, a

mechanical engineer, on soldering and woodworking

projects. However, when she decided to major in

engineering, she was told that “girls don’t do that.” Since

then, society has seemingly turned a new leaf, with Twitter

feeds and New York Times articles filled with buzzwords

like “Women in STEM” and “girl-boss”. The topic has

become so widely discussed that it no longer feels like an

issue. Has gender inequality in STEM actually dissipated,

or is it just masquerading itself in different ways than it

was 30 years ago?

Statistics reveal that gender inequality in STEM is still

quite prevalent. A 2021 UNESCO report found that only

28% of engineering graduates are women, with an even

greater gap existing in developed countries such as the US

(20.4%) and Japan (14.0%). STEM faculties are also

horribly unbalanced — a 2014 study found that women

make up only 15.7% of engineering faculty. The proportion

of research published by women has grown substantially

from 12% since 1960, but it has only reached a peak of

35%, never coming close to true equality.

While these numbers are striking, for Scarsdale

graduate and Columbia biomedical engineering student

Emma Glajchen, gender inequality hasn’t been a significant

obstacle to her education. Although “only about 15% of

[her] professors throughout college have been female”,

having predominantly male instructors hasn’t negatively

impacted her learning. None of her professors have

treated her differently, and they have all been “extremely

kind and supportive.” Columbia itself is unusual in that its

engineering student body is evenly split, but attracting

female researchers and professors has been a challenge—

especially because of the small number of women to

receive doctorate degrees in science from previous

generations.

The progress in gender inequality in STEM specialties

has been experienced at SHS too. Ms. Yokana remembers

that when the STEM department first started, boys would

tend to choose courses like computer science or electrical

engineering, while girls would gravitate towards designbased

classes. However, in the six years since its

founding, she says that “many young women are now

being empowered” to pursue their passions, even if they

are greatly outnumbered by men.

Alexandra Simon ’23 spoke about her experience as

the only girl in her robotics class, and she explains that

“[aside from] when certain stereotypical boy jokes are

made, it’s been really fun working with my classmates

and we do have a really great environment.” Her

comments differ from what many people believe: that

male-dominated groups create negative environments for

girls to thrive in. Instead, she says that she hasn’t felt

excluded in class and isn’t treated differently because of

her gender.

Now, this is not to say that gender inequality has

completely disappeared in Scarsdale either. Girls are still

heavily underrepresented in many STEM electives, with

some robotics and app design classes having no girls this

year. And students are not the only ones affected. Ms.

Yokana recalls that when the design lab was being built,

her opinion was ignored by the architects, despite being

the resident “makerspace expert”. Despite the progress

that has been achieved, there is still much work to be

done in Scarsdale to make girls in STEM truly equal.

Luckily, there are a plethora of programs designed to

encourage young women to pursue STEM careers. The

Girls Who Code Club, for example, teaches Scarsdale high

school’s female students the basics of computer science.

The GEMS club also introduces girls to science from a

young age, performing science experiments—such as

harvesting strawberry DNA and making chromatography

butterflies —with girls at Scarsdale elementary schools.

SHS and the global community at large are making

important strides toward achieving gender equality in

STEM specialties, something the world needs. Ms.

Yokana says it perfectly: “[what is] so important about

design and engineering is that you need different

perspectives. You need different voices.”

9


THE COLLEGE BLUES:

FRESHMEN TAKE ON

ANXIETY

Written By: Yuval Cherki

Designed By: Alison Jiang

You have just moved into your dorm. You unpack your new furniture, getting ready for

the new academic year with the exhilaration of a new chapter motivating you forward.

You are in college, away from your hometown gossipers and busybodies, and your old

school spirit begins to dwindle into a collection of name-brand sweatshirts that exert

newfound college pride. You have made it, and it looks like it was worth all the effort.

But just as you begin to feel the relief of independence wash over your body, an

overwhelming wave of loneliness drowns the excitement of your new environment. For

the first time in your life, you are truly alone: left to fend for yourself in this new

academic sphere. With nowhere to turn, you descend into darkness, resorting to any

means necessary to remedy your misery: the beginning of a never-ending cycle of bad

decisions.

Anxiety and depression are relentless disorders that plague learning environments in

modern society. College is the first time many kids spend time away from their parents,

and that sense of independence, combined with rigorous coursework, can become

severely damaging to a student’s mental health. According to Noam Cherki, a Scarsdale

High School alumni currently in his junior year at Duke University, “there are more

pressures to figure out different aspects of your life and create a life for yourself without

the support system that you have when living at home to support yourself.”

Jessica Robbins, a recent graduate from Rochester University, also shared her

personal college experiences. She said, “I think the main shift I noticed in myself and my

friends was an increase in social anxiety. Most people grow up in the same place for

many years and are used to the same friends, people, and social dynamics, but then you

got to college, and it’s like BOOM new group of people, okay go make friends.”


Jessica and Noam were not alone in their struggles. In 2020, it was

determined that over half of the students in Boston University screened

positive for anxiety and/or depression. In addition, over 83% of students in

the same study declared their damaged mental state had caused a clear

adverse effect on their academic performance. However, long-term

physiological disorders have also arisen as mental health statuses have

dropped. Per a survey conducted on over 274 establishments, there has

been an 88% consensus on the spike of self-injury, eating disorders, sexual

misconduct, substance abuse, and learning disabilities over the past five

years.

So what solutions can be provided to those struggling with loneliness

and mental health issues? On the brighter side of the ongoing mental health

struggle, Sarah Ketchen Lipton, a mental health researcher at Boston

University, shared “We [mental health researchers] know mental health

stigma is going down… People are being more open, having more dialogue

about it, and we can better identify that people are struggling.” Counseling

centers and mental health programs are becoming more necessary as time

goes on, and as a pleasant surprise, many kids take advantage of these

resources to better themselves.

"Having a therapist helped, and so did generally having people to talk to,” said Gal Cherki,

Scarsdale alumni and current student at Rochester University, when asked about his solution to

mental health issues. He added, “A lot of people just refuse to take care of themselves because they

feel like they don’t have time to. However, you can always make the time, even if it means stopping

doing something you want to do. You have to be proactive about your mental health, no one is going

to fix it for you.”

Relying on outreach programs and counseling is only one step to achieving a higher standard of

life for college students. Real progress in adjusting to college life comes through learning how to

take care of oneself in this uncharted environment. Noam also shared, “the easiest thing to forget is

to take care of your body with sleep, exercise, and food. Figuring out that stuff is a big step, and then

learning how to take pressure off of yourself and think rationally about things is important.”

College and high school experiences are extraordinarily different. After going through ACTs, SATs,

college applications, and the moving process, actual college life can seem intimidating, especially to

freshmen dealing with their new environments. However, the most important thing to remember is

that struggle is normal, and that taking care of oneself and reaching out for help whenever needed is

pivotal to avoiding the spiral into unhealthy habits. It takes time to adjust, but once a happy medium

is found, the experiences earned in college can last a lifetime.

11


Mental Health at SHS

We asked students to anonymously describe their mental health experience at SHS.

Written By: Anushka Kumar | Designed By: Olivia Liu

"While Scarsdale has provided me with an

incredible education, amazing memories,

and even better friends, it has equally led

to depression, an eating disorder, and an

array of other mental health and self

esteem problems."

"The school’s biggest flaw isn’t its rigor or

competitive nature but rather its horrible

attempt at masking it. The school

“preaches” inclusion and mindfulness so

much that when students are overworked

socially and academically, they feel

invalidated."

"...breaks people..."

"... [we] feel invalidated."

"SHS is an environment that

breaks people so they never

want to move back and yet

puts them in a bubble so that

they feel like they have to. "

"SHS is an environment

where the students are

hyper focused on grades

and packing their

transcripts which

provides for a breeding

ground for mental health

issues."

"Students at SHS have a shared belief

that academic validation determines

your self worth, as well as an exclusive

social climate that leaves people

feeling isolated and alone."

"...a breeding ground for mental

health issues."


"It is the status quo

to compromise your

wellness for

academic success. "

"Detrimental health

habits ... are normalized."

"Scarsdale High School creates an environment so subtly toxic that most

students aren’t even aware of how unhealthy their experience is until

after they graduate. Detrimental health habits such as sleeping very little

and barely eating are normalized."

"While there are a plethora of mental health

issues at SHS, I feel that it is unfair to blame the

faculty as the majority of teachers and staff are

taking whatever steps they can to reduce stress

and connect students with appropriate resources.

The root of the issue lies in the toxic environment

that unfortunately cannot be solved by

administrative policies."

"The root of the issue

lies in the toxic

environment..."

"The toxicity at Scarsdale

makes Bronx Science look

like preschool."

"...an inherent competition among students..."

"The college process has

created an inherent

competition among students,

and it prevents them from

truly building a community

and enjoying themselves in

high school."

13


Written By: Stephanie Liu and Chloe Ji

Designed by: Sophia Garcia

Mind reading, but not really...

Your crush just glanced at you

from the corner of their eye. But

what does this mean? Do they

perhaps like you back, or was

that just a look of disgust? If only

there were a way to tell what they

were thinking...

Luckily for you, there is: reading

their body language!

A total of 60% of how we

communicate is through

subconscious body language,

such as eye movement, nodding,

or gesturing, while only 7% are

actual words spoken. Thus, next

time you have a conversation,

pay special attention to their

mannerisms and gestures to

more clearly understand what

your peer is saying. Make sure to

pay attention to the number of

times someone blinks

when speaking to you as well.

Frequent blinking can indicate

stress, however when

accompanied by the touching of

the face, these blinks can also

indicate lying. Glancing at certain

things is also an essential way of

telling whether or not someone is

interested or not. Glancing at a

person usually means that they

are interested in talking to them.

People often nod when they are

listening to the person they are

speaking with. The speed at which

someone nods can also reveal

some thoughts they are having.

Slow nodding typically means that

the person is interested in what

you are saying and wants to hear

more. Fast nodding can show

restlessness. This probably means

that they want a chance to talk.

The direction the head is tilting can

also signal attention, interest,

confusion, or disagreement.

A rather unexpected form of

communication is the position of

the feet. Similar to head tilting, the

direction that feet are pointing can

also show interest. If their feet are

pointed towards you, the person

wants to engage in conversation

with you. If they are pointed

elsewhere, they probably would

rather focus on that instead. This is

not the most reliable thing to watch

out for, but it can still provide some

useful hints.

You may not be able to know what

exactly the other person is thinking,

however, you can tell a lot by paying

attention to someone’s body

language.


Written By: Jaden Tepper | Designed By: Claire Chou

Calling someone a “bird brain” is a

rather malicious insult, but as it turns out,

it may be true that some human brain

processes are just as weak as birds:

namely, working memory. Working

memory is the brain’s way of retaining

information temporarily. It allows you to

remember numbers between one

calculation and the following or the next

words you are planning to write. Also,

working memory is a crucial step in the

process of storing long-term memory.

However, working memory is limited. Try

this. Remember the following shapes and

colors: a red square, a green triangle, a

purple square, and a cyan circle. We’ll

come back to those later.

In December 2021, a study by Lukas

Alexander Hahn and his colleagues

researched how bad our working

memories are. Using a puzzle that was

usually used to test primates, the

participant would look at a screen, upon

which some colored squares would

appear. After a moment, the squares

disappeared. Then after one second of a

black screen, the same squares

reappeared, but with one alteration: one

square had a different color. The

participant had to determine which

changed. This test is based purely on

working memory. The stronger the

participant's short-term memory, the more

likely they remembered the shapes and

determined which one changed.

What makes this study special is that

they didn’t use the test on humans or

monkeys, but rather birds. They found that

birds have roughly an equivalent capacity

of working memory as humans! “Bird brain”

isn’t seeming like a silly little insult now, is

it? Specifically, they found that the mean

maximum capacity of a bird’s short-term

memory occurs when storing 4 items:

strikingly similar to the human average of

about 5 items.

Going back to those shapes, can you

name the second shape and its color? If so,

good job, but it was probably rather

difficult. Many other brain processes are

significantly elevated above those of birds,

but we know that working memory isn’t

one of them. This study doesn’t prove that

birds think exactly equivalent to us.

However, these findings can give important

insights into the evolutionary process that

formed all species as well as our brains,

and next time someone calls you a “bird

brain,” just keep in mind that they are too!

15


HOW PERSONALITY TESTS WORK

Written By: Andre Couto

Designed By: Sophia Garcia

Personality is often described as the attributes

one possesses and their unique reaction to stimuli

that defines a person. While this may sound simple,

the reality is far more complex. How personality

develops is disputed among psychologists, and

scientists aren’t yet sure what causes personality

to change. Despite the complexities of personality,

scientists have been trying to understand and

classify personality for over 2,000 years. That

desire has led to the modern personality test.

The Origin of Personality Tests

The beginning of modern personality tests can

be tied to World War I to attempt to predict the

likelihood that a soldier would develop “shell

shock”. Robert Woodworth created the

“Psychoneurotic Inventory” to predict recruits’

susceptibility to shell shock, a psychological illness

with various symptoms caused by exposure to

warfare, which was believed to afflict people who

were “weak-minded”.

The test was a series of yes-no questions meant

to assess the mental fortitude of the subjects. The

Psychoneurotic Inventory began by asking the

recruit if they felt “well and strong,” and around 100

questions followed, attempting to discern the

mental state of the recruit. Many of the following

tests focused on negative emotionality, the way

individuals experience negative emotions.

Personality Tests Today

Today, personality testing is a multi-billion dollar

industry; used by individuals, schools, and even

companies. If you have taken a personality test,

you likely took the Myers-Briggs test, developed in

1942 by Katherine Cook Briggs. The Myers-Briggs

Type Indicator, or MBTI, is the most common

personality test. It is a questionnaire that

categorizes people’s personalities into

16 personality types based on four spectra,

including extroversion versus introversion. There

are roughly 90 questions on the Myers-Briggs test

that focus on positive emotions rather than

negative ones. Another test commonly used in the

workplace is the Big Five Model. The Big Five

Model, also known as the Five-Factor Model, is a

theory that suggests personality boils down to five

key traits: openness to experience,

conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness,

neuroticism. Similar to the Myers-Briggs test, the

Big Five personality test is a questionnaire that

aims to rank individuals on a scale for each of the

five personality traits.

Do Personality Tests Matter?

As more and more studies are published,

showing that personality tests are relatively

ineffective in predicting people’s potential to

succeed in a job, it becomes increasingly worrying

that companies trust these fickle tests to decide

whom to hire, or that schools are using them to tell

students potential careers that fit their personality.

One study showed that 50% of participants who

took the Myers-Briggs test 5 weeks later got a

different outcome. This discrepancy can even be

observed in the tests. Furthermore, it can be

incredibly difficult to objectively judge oneself. As

test makers have observed, when a participant is

given the same question they had earlier in the test,

it is not uncommon for the participant to change

their answer.

Does this mean you shouldn’t take one? If you’re

just taking a personality test for fun, there is no

harm in filling one out, and can even help you better

understand yourself. Just remember to view your

results with a grain of salt.


17


The Real Reason You

Procrastinate

Written By: Halle Jakubowicz

Designed By: Claire Chou

Procrastination is a heavily discussed topic;

especially at SHS, it is rare to go through a week

without hearing this word. A kid in your math class

has probably exclaimed, “I didn’t start the homework

until 11:00 last night!” But have you ever heard

someone explaining what procrastination is, why it

happens, or what to do about preventing it? The real

definition of procrastination is delaying doing

something until a later time, often past the deadline.

We are fully aware of the self-harm inflicted by

procrastination, but we do it anyway. It seems

illogical, but procrastination is used as a protection

method. Procrastination typically results from failing

to manage one’s emotions. When attempting to

complete tasks related to school or other activities

that bring about self-doubt, low self-esteem, anxiety,

or insecurity, procrastination can be used as a

protective mechanism to shift your focus onto a less

stressful task. However, in the long run,

procrastination enhances these negative feelings.

By doing this, we are only associating these tasks

with those emotions and causing more

procrastination in the future. Procrastination is an

endless cycle because it causes more stress and

worsens the situation. By procrastinating, you are

creating more anxiety around such tasks and further

postponing completing the tasks. The false sense of

immediate relief provided by procrastination ends up

causing this action to become a habit.

Another reason why we procrastinate is that we

view ourselves as someone else in the future.

Looking at procrastination in this way creates the

sense that we are leaving the task for someone else

to deal with our problems. Even though we know that

the person who will have to deal with them will be us,

it is more important to control the negative emotions

at the time and curb those feelings rather than

removing additional stress for our future selves.

After reading all of this, you are probably wondering

how you can stop this vicious cycle of procrastination

and remove stress from your life? Well, just

understanding the roots of procrastination allows you

to dig deep and think about where your own

procrastination comes from. Understanding the

sources of your procrastination will help you overcome

the emotions that are causing you to procrastinate.

However, just understanding where your

procrastination comes from is only the beginning. A

good way to curb procrastination is to break the task

into a smaller set of clear, more attainable, less

stressful goals. These goals should be achievable

because trying to do something that is impossible or

too hard will further the cycle of procrastination. For

example, you can try to study 15 to 20 minutes every

night for a week or more before a test, so that you

have a head start of better understanding of the

material, instead of leaving it all until the last minute.

Once you have created goals, you have to make a

concrete plan on how to accomplish such goals, like

going over past homework assignments one night,

reviewing class notes another night, taking practice

tests, or writing short drafts, which you then

successively review and edit. And then, from there, it is

only a matter of implementing your plan. When

carrying out the course of action, it is essential to

modify your goals and take note of what works and

what doesn’t.

Once you have started procrastinating, it is hard to

stop. But hopefully, after understanding more about

where your procrastination comes from, and what you

can do to help address the issues causing your

procrastination, you should be able to set realistic

attainable goals and break free from this cycle of

procrastination. You may need to push yourself to

keep a regimen and follow your plan, but once

accomplished, it will be easier the next time because

you succeeded once, and you will recognize it will be

better for you in the long run.


DERstroying

YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

Written By: Rick Yang and Spencer Goh

Designed By: Alison Jiang

Competing in sports is a healthy and fun activity for people of all ages. After all, the benefits of exercise that come along with

participating in sports promote a positive attitude and a healthy mind and body. You might not normally think that athletes are

prone to mental health issues, but in reality, the stress and performance anxiety of playing a sport can sometimes be

overwhelming.

Mental health problems in sports are not rare. In fact, even famous athletes such as Naomi Osaka, a star tennis player, and

Simone Biles, a decorated Olympic gymnast, have sat out of major competitions due to mental health concerns. According to

the nonprofit "Athletes for Hope," 35% of professional athletes have a mental health crisis during their career. Moreover, a

survey found that around one-third of college athletes are struggling with symptoms of anxiety, such as difficulties with sleep,

one-quarter are feeling a perpetual sense of loss, and one-tenth have reported feeling so miserable that it makes their daily

functioning strenuous.

Athletes are constantly under intense pressure from fans

to do well in competitions, which could result in

performance anxiety: the fear that one’s ability to perform

during a game is inadequate. They may worry about failing

before the game begins, resulting in humiliation, rejection,

and possibly panic attacks. Typical athletes’ careers are

relatively short compared to other professions, so there is

added pressure to accomplish as much as they can during

their sports career.

This lack of mental health in sports is extremely

problematic; our current society is immensely focused on

physical wellbeing, but consistently fails to recognize that

mental wellbeing is just as—if not more—important than

physical health.

How can these devastating problems be addressed?

Fortunately, for athletes suffering from more serious

causes of mental health-related difficulties, there are many

licensed mental health counselors that offer services to aid

athletes in building healthier mindsets and overcoming

stress. But solutions like this cost money, and there are

many simpler methods that are equally effective.

These issues regarding mental health must be a

priority among all athletes. There must exist an open

conversation where people can share their experiences

with others to understand that they are not alone. For

younger athletes, parents should teach their children to

embrace vulnerability, prioritize mental recovery, and

ask for support when needed. Every athlete should have

their voice heard by someone, whether it be their

teammate, coach, friend, sibling, or parent. Every athlete

needs to train themselves not to disregard their issues,

as the risk of not addressing these issues increases

exponentially in the long run.

Unfortunately, mental health struggles are very real

and dangerous to professional athletes. Although these

problems can be traumatic, there are many ways to

treat them. Most importantly, everyone, not just

athletes, needs to pay close attention to their mental

wellbeing to prevent a mental health crisis.

19


Fictional Characters

With Mental Illness

Written By: Rose Kinoshita | Designed By: Alison Jiang and Olivia Liu

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Azula, a firebending prodigy and the daughter of the ruling

Fire Lord, fights relentlessly to eliminate her older brother

Zuko in competition for obtaining the throne. In the final

episodes of the series, we see Azula exhibiting schizophrenic

tendencies. Her paranoia increases, causing her to have

auditory and visual hallucinations of her mother. However, the

visions of her mother are highly contradictory to the way

Azula remembered her. The emotional turmoil resulting from

the conflicting visions causes Azula’s downfall, eventually

landing her in a psychiatric ward.

Princess

Azula

DC Comics

Harley

Quinn

Originally, Dr. Harleen Quinzel was a psychiatrist for

the maximum-security prison Arkham Asylum.

However, she transforms herself into the volatile Harley

Quinn, a partner to the psychotic Joker. Although there

are many iterations of her character, the one

commonality is that Harley Quinn’s descent into villainy

begins with a psychotic disorder, in which the Joker is

the primary, or the aggressor & inducer, while Quinn is

the induced, being heavily influenced by his delusions

or criminal grandeur.

Sherlock Holmes

Although Sherlock Holmes, a proficient detective,

claims to be a high-functioning sociopath, it is significantly

more likely that he has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is on

the autism spectrum. Those who have Asperger’s are

more likely to be highly observant and often hyper focus

on an interest, both traits contributing to the success of

Holmes’ career, evident in his picturesque memory. Of the

personality traits he is most known for, Asperger’s often

causes difficulty communicating and empathizing,

causing others to view Sherlock as cold or uncaring.

Sherlock

Holmes


The Hunger Games

After being forced to kill other teenagers and

losing various friends, Katniss Everdeen, a two-time

victor of the Hunger Games, suffers from PTSD. She

is plagued by vivid flashbacks, recurring nightmares,

and hypervigilance. She has strong negative

reactions to otherwise regular objects, including the

smell of roses, that persist even past the end of the

competitions. Additionally, Katniss suffers from

survivor’s guilt, with her visions containing her lost

friends, especially present during her eulogies

immediately following the games.

Katniss

Everdeen

Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Dr. Jekyll/

Mr. Hyde

Dr. Jekyll, a renowned scientist, descends

into the darker aspects of science when he

decides to invent a serum that transforms

himself into an evil alter-ego, Mr. Hyde.

Unfortunately, Jekyll soon began

transforming without the aid of the serum,

thereby developing split personality disorder,

clinically known as dissociative identity

disorder. Key symptoms of DID seen in the

character of Dr. Jekyll include distinct shifts

in personality along with the inability of one

persona to control the other.

Grey’s Anatomy

Dr. Andrew DeLuca, an attending general

surgeon, appeared regularly on Grey’s Anatomy

from seasons 11 to 17 and is officially diagnosed

with bipolar disorder during the 16th season. The

show introduces him as he experiences a

depressive episode and low levels of motivation,

however, he soon becomes manic, working

quickly, sleeping little, and struggling to control his

thoughts. As time passes, he goes longer without

an official diagnosis. Eventually, DeLuca has a

breakdown, and he finally realizes that he needs

psychological treatment. With treatment, he is able

to work regularly once again.

Andrew

DeLuca

21


Our Dreams Under

the Microscope

Written By: Neha Nayakkar

Designed By: Sophia Garcia and Olivia Liu

When I was a child, I remember being chased through

New York City by a guy in a gray suit. While running down

the street with a briefcase stuffed with cash, I abruptly

woke up. It was just a dream. If we lived in ancient times,

my dream would be interpreted as illustrating my worry of

losing independence. Occasionally, people believed that

dreams were a reference to future omens. It wasn’t until

Sigmund Freud created his Interpretation of Dreams in the

late 19th century that we began to question the existence

of dreams.

Dreams are essentially motion pictures that the mind

creates while people are asleep. Those dreams occur

during a stage in our sleep cycle called REM, or Rapid Eye

Movement. There are two cycles of sleep: non-REM sleep

and REM sleep. Though they sound the same, non-REM

sleep is essential for the growth of the body and brain.

During this type of sleep, many things occur. First, your

muscles start to relax, and your brain activity starts to

decrease. Then your body temperature decreases as your

body prepares to enter deeper sleep. Typically, during this

stage of sleep tissues are repaired, and the immune

system is strengthened. REM sleep works differently.

REM sleep happens around an hour after people go to

sleep, commonly accompanied by vivid images, or

dreams. During REM, you have increased brain activity,

which explains why people get such vivid dreams.

The amount of REM sleep that you have often is

related to the amount of sleep you get on a given night.

Typically, 7-8 hours of sleep equates to 90-minute

long REM cycles. REM may not seem as important as

non-REM, but its effects on the brain are significant. The

brain needs REM sleep to help stimulate memory

function and cognitive skills. These discoveries about

how dreams occur are recent, however, Sigmund Freud

proposed a different idea as to how dreams work.

Whether it is a good dream or a nightmare, dreams

carry significance in neurological function that scientists

still ponder today. Freud, an Austrian neurologist and the

first psychoanalyst, tried to understand the reasoning

behind dreams using psychoanalysis.

Through psychoanalysis, he was able to decipher three

main components of the mind that influence dreams: the

id, ego, and superego. Freud categorized the id as the

most primitive part of the mind that only thinks about

satisfying one’s needs. For example, consider a person

that wants to get candy from a candy shop, but they have

no money. If they act solely in accordance with the id, the

person would still take the candy and not consider it

stealing. Contrarily, the superego is a component that is

concerned with morals and self-values, similar to a

conscience. With the superego, if the person wanted

candy that they couldn't afford, they would not take it

because they understand that it is morally incorrect.

The id and the superego are connected; the id

overpowers your superego, however, when acting on the

id's desires, the person would feel shame and regret for

their actions. The ego acts as a mediator between the two

-- it acts as the rational part of our mind. If the person

wanted candy and the superego was at odds with the id,

the ego would propose a compromise of acquiring money

and buying the candy. This allows for desires to be

resolved without illegal behaviors.

When patients met with him about their dreams, Freud

would have them elaborate. With the information

collected, he would try to relieve patients of their

symptoms, which he called ‘free association’. Freud’s

work would later help psychology fields discover what

dreams were and how they were associated with one's

brain.


Drops Blots:

Ink

Written

and

By: Emily Attar

Designed By: Claire Chou

Tests Rorschach

Have you ever seen a splotch of ink on a piece of

paper and thought it looked something like a tiger or a

duck? Rorschach tests, or inkblots, began as a

children’s game called Klecksography, where kids used

ink as a way of playing charades. Eventually, they

became a way to test people’s brains and determine

their mental states.

Hermann Rorschach, the creator of these diagnostic

inkblots and an avid player of klecksography as a child,

experimented on many people with these tests. He

noticed that different people saw different shapes from

the same inkblots, and hypothesized that a person's

sanity could be measured by analyzing what they see in

a given image. He researched this hypothesis for a few

years and published his research to the public in 1921.

Then, he used the new tests to diagnose psychiatric

patients at Herisau Hospital.

Patients were asked to state what

they had seen in a series of inkblot

pictures. Many schizophrenic patients saw very

different things in the tests compared to regular

patients, an example of how this test effectively

displays differences in mental states.

The questions that initially came out of these tests

were captivating. However, Rorschach did not live

much longer after sharing his discoveries, and would

not be able to continue experimenting. Although a few

others tried to push the test’s abilities farther, inkblot

diagnoses were later discarded and seen as biased.

They were shunned by the scientific community,

despite being said to have potential in 1993. These

tests didn’t turn out to be the best diagnostic test for

psychology, but they are still fun to take! Try your

hand at some below:

W H A T D O Y O U S E E ?

23


To Stand By Or To Stand Up:

The Bystander Effect

Written By: Jean Sung

Designed By: Olivia Liu

If you’ve ever read Wonder by R.J. Palacio, you’ll know about the

difference between upstanders and bystanders. Jack Will

befriends and stands up for Auggie, who is bullied for his

abnormal facial features, making him an upstander: an upstander

speaks up against bullying and takes action when witnessing an

emergency. On the other hand, a bystander observes an incident

that appears to be a crisis in which a victim requires help but

does not take part. In middle school, we could justify our inaction:

after all, what was the worst that could have happened if we

didn’t stop an insensitive bully? Well, the same justification

cannot hold for an adult who witnesses a gruesome murder, as

shown by the case of Catherine “Kitty” Genovese.

Kitty Genovese was killed in 1963 by Winston Mosely in her

apartment located in Kew Gardens, Queens. What distinguished

this murder from the hundreds of others that took place that

same year was not its gruesome nature, but the 38 eye-witnesses

who supposedly watched the half-hour stabbing of Genovese

without ever helping or calling the police. As the public began

attributing this inaction to the apathy of the apartment residents,

psychologists Bibb Latané and John Darley began searching for

an alternative explanation behind the negligence of the

bystanders and formulated the bystander effect.

The bystander effect is the phenomenon that occurs when the

presence of other bystanders impedes an individual from

intervening in an emergency, suggesting that one is more likely to

help when they feel that there are very few other witnesses. So

what causes this phenomenon? According to Latané and Darley,

the bystander effect originates mainly from pluralistic ignorance

and the diffusion of responsibility.

Pluralistic Ignorance

I’m sure you’ve had this experience at least once in your life:

you’re in class, listening to your teacher go on and on about

whatever, debating whether to raise your hand to ask what

anything they are talking about means. You look around to see no

other hands raised and look down, embarrassed that only you are

confused. The class ends with your question unasked and

unanswered, and you leave the room just as puzzled as you were

before. What you don’t know is that many other students are

thinking the same thing! Everyone is confused and wants to ask

the same question, but does not in order to avoid judgment from

their peers, who they think all perfectly understand the material.

In this situation, you and your classmates are victims of

pluralistic ignorance: the majority of the group internally

believes one thing, but no one takes action after mistakenly

concluding that everyone else believes the opposite.

It is human nature to look to others to decide what to do in an

ambiguous situation, as shown by Darley and Latané in their

“smoke room experiment.” Aiming to study the reactions of

their subjects to a supposed emergency, researchers placed the

participants into a room and instructed them to answer a

questionnaire as smoke slowly filled the room. Participants in

the first room, who were alone, were much quicker in reporting

the smoke than those in room 2. Whereas 75% of participants

took action in room 1, only 10% of the second room subjects,

who were each placed into a room with two actors who acted

indifferent the whole experiment, reported the smoke. As Darley

and Latané hypothesized, a subject was more likely to interpret

the smoke as an indicator of an emergency and get help when

alone. Because we don’t trust our own judgment, we often

adopt the behavior of those around us: when other witnesses

treat the situation as an emergency, we also help the victim

immediately, but when others seem indifferent, we assume that

we are misinterpreting the situation and don’t intervene.

Diffusion of Responsibility

According to witness reports of Genovese’s murder, the

bystanders were unable to see each other clearly and could not

have relied on each other to decide how to react to the

situation. The bystander effect observed in this case thus did

not stem as much from pluralistic ignorance as from the

diffusion of responsibility, which proposes that an individual

feels less responsible to help as the number of witnesses

increases. When witnessing an emergency, an individual’s first

step is typically to divide the responsibility to intervene by the

number of bystanders. Therefore, mathematically, one’s feeling

of personal responsibility will inevitably decrease in larger

groups. After concluding that the moral duty to help is not solely

on themselves, the individual assumes that one of the many

other bystanders in the group will help instead and disregards

the victim, failing to realize that everyone else is going through

the same process. Because everyone pushes off the

responsibility to step in, no one helps the victim, and the victim,

such as Kitty Genovese, faces horrible consequences that may

lead to death.


Latané and Darley’s famous “seizure experiment” helped support

the speculated role of diffusion of responsibility on the inaction of

witnesses. In this experiment, researchers told 72 university

students that they were participating in a discussion about

college life, although they were discreetly organizing a fake

emergency. Each participant, placed in a separate room, talked to

the other “participants” using microphones and speakers,

unaware that the voices they were “talking” to had been prerecorded.

To create the simulation of an emergency, one of the

voices mimicked that of a person experiencing a seizure. Results

showed that different numbers of supposed “participants” in the

group discussion created vast differences in the time it took for a

study subject to ask for help. Out of the subjects who believed

that they were in a one-to-one conversation with the person

experiencing the seizure, 85% reacted quickly and left to ask for

help. On the other hand, only 31% of the participants in the second

condition, who believed that there were four other bystanders,

attempted to help the victim. Because even those that did not

respond were concerned for the victim, Darley and Latané

concluded that indifference or apathy did not cause inaction,

contrary to popular belief. Individuals simply push away the duty

to help a victim when there are many other bystanders around,

causing the bystander inaction that inevitably leads to the victim’s

demise.

Criticisms

Over the years, the bystander effect has become one of the most

studied social-psychological phenomenons and is a staple in

nearly all American psychology textbooks. However, ever since

authors and journalists such as Jim Rasenberger and Rachel

Manning revealed various errors in the original tale of the

Genovese murder, the famous phenomenon has been challenged

by many. Contrary to the large number of 38 witnesses assumed

to have witnessed Mosely stabbing Genovese, in reality, there

were very few people who actually saw the crime. Genovese was

attacked two times by Mosely. She was first attacked outside her

apartment building with a hunting knife until Rober Mozer shouted

from his window to stop Mosely; while she was heavily wounded,

Genovese at this point had been alive. However, because the fatal

second attack took place in a secluded hallway inside her

apartment, even those who had witnessed the first attack

could not have definitively realized that there was a horrific murder

taking place right under their noses.

As the newly made corrections to the murder of Kitty Genovese

weakened Latané and Darley’s argument about the effect of the

number of bystanders on the odds of an individual helping a

witness, many began to find flaws in the assessment of the

bystander effect. Some argue that bystander inaction could result

not from the increased number of other witnesses, but from one’s

fear of offering unwanted help or one’s concern over being

misunderstood as the perpetrator and facing the unjustified

consequences. Many witnesses also misinterpreted the situation

as a mere “lover’s quarrel” rather than a vicious assault, which

again brings to question the main reason for their inaction in

Genovese’s murder.

We will never find out whether the bystander effect described by

Darley and Latané was truly the driving force of the neglect seen in

Kitty Genovese’s murder. However, it is undeniable that the

phenomenon can apply to various situations that we see in

everyday life. Truthfully, I cannot say that I have never fallen prey to

the bystander effect: when I’m in the bustling streets of Manhattan,

I do not give a dollar to every homeless man I see on the streets, as

there are just too many of them. Looking back, I realize that I justify

my inaction as I walk past by thinking that there are plenty of

others with more money than me who can help these

underprivileged people. It’s just our nature to push off the

responsibility of intervening in an emergency to others. So sure,

perhaps the inaction seen in the Genovese murder was not only

caused by a large number of witnesses. Maybe the idea of “safety

in numbers” is not a myth after all. Regardless, the bystander

effect and its two factors, pluralistic ignorance and diffusion of

responsibility, can teach us how to act in an emergency. Ignore the

urge to look to others and take responsibility when you have any

inkling that you are witnessing an emergency: the worst

consequence if you misunderstood the situation may be a feeling

of embarrassment for a couple of minutes. If you are not, however,

and you help the victim immediately, you can save a life and avoid

being eaten away by the harrowing guilt you would have felt if you

had allowed the victim to die.

25


Frequency Illusion:

The Brain and its Bias

Written By: Vivian Zweig | Designed By: Alison Jiang

A pair of trendy shoes on display in a department store

catches your attention. It’s love at first sight; you snatch

them up and stroll to the front of the store to make your

purchase. Smiling, you walk outside and glance at the

shoes other people are wearing. Your eyes are drawn to a

woman lounging on a chair. She’s wearing the same pair

that you just bought! Surprised, you look around and see a

boy strutting past — he’s wearing them too! Even the baby

being pushed around in a stroller has a miniature pair laced

on their feet. Why does it seem like everyone has swapped

their shoes for the pair sitting in your bag? This is the

Baader-Meinhof Illusion, also known as frequency bias,

hard at work.

When you become aware of something new and

intriguing, your brain begins to look for it in the surrounding

environment. This process is called selective attention.

Moreover, when subconsciously searching your

surroundings, you are more likely to find what you are

unintentionally looking for. Noticing the object of interest

more often leads you to believe that it is more present than

it is. Hence, the reason why everyone seemed to change

their shoes after you bought the same pair.

This selective attention and confirmation bias can be

demonstrated through a simple experiment: think of a piano

and envision one in your mind. Now that you’re thinking of a

piano, I’d like you to take a look at the picture and find the

cat.

The chances are that you saw the piano first, even though

it makes you slower to find what you’re looking for. Although

the memory item (the piano) is irrelevant to your search task,

it captured your attention. Your recognition of it first is an

illustration of unconscious influence on your attention. This

phenomenon is similar to what’s happening in the Baader

Meinhof Illusion; something in your mind draws your

attention to an object that you wouldn’t normally notice.

Hopefully, the illusion of the stolen shoe has been made

more clear. Nobody changed their shoes to try and gaslight

you; it’s just the brain’s way of absorbing new information!

So the next time you make a new purchase and are

immediately bombarded with appearances of the same item,

there will be no need to be confused.


IQ TESTS:

Written By: Peter He | Designed By: Claire Chou

INTELLIGENCE QUOTIENT OR INANE QUACKERY?

We all know what an IQ test is. It's not surprising that

most of us have taken these infamous “Intelligence

Quotient” tests. But do these tests actually express the

intelligence of an individual? Well, much like the

uncertainty associated with college-entrance exams like

the SAT or ACT, the scientific basis of IQ tests is quite

complicated.

From a logical standpoint, it seems to make sense

that someone with higher intelligence would be better at

performing tasks that require thinking. Thus, a test

designed to assess performance on a series of logicbased

tasks should provide an accurate gauge of

someone’s intelligence, right? Well, as it turns out, that is

not the case. A 2012 study by the University of Western

Ontario concluded that no single test can accurately

measure a person’s general intelligence. With a pool of

over 100,000 participants, the team conducting the

study found there are at least three distinct components

of someone’s “intelligence”: short-term memory,

reasoning, and verbal comprehension.

Essentially, there’s no method to summarize someone’s

intelligence with a single number. Multiple different

tests are required to accurately assess general

knowledge.

Another problem with IQ tests lies in their execution.

Due to the nature of the tasks presented in a test,

someone’s IQ score can change based on factors such

as whether they’re motivated, know certain “strategies,”

or fully understand the task. For example, if an IQ test is

given in English to someone that has a non-native

understanding of English, misinterpretation is a

possibility. Different cultural and social ideologies often

result in different methods of completing similar tasks.

So when an IQ test (or any test as a matter of fact) is

administered favoring one method, no one can truly say

that it was an accurate measure of someone’s ability.

In the end, despite the questionable authenticity of IQ

tests, they can still serve as fun brain teasers to learn

from. Why not try some of the ones listed below?

1. A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

2. If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?

3. In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire

lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake?

4. Where is the pool at Scarsdale High School?

a. The ceiling of the fourth floor

b. The teacher’s lounge.

c. The bathroom that was vandalized earlier this year was secretly renovated

d. Principal Bonamo’s office.

5. Which four-letter word can be attached to the beginning of the following words to form five longer words?

- AGE

- WIDTH

- IT

- STAND

- WAGON

6. What letter should appear next in this sequence?

L K J H

7. What number should replace the question mark?

Answers are on the last page.

9 2 1 8

6 4 2 4

5 7 3 5

8 8 6 ?

27


The Raisin-Brain

of a Cereal Killer

Written By: Bryan Shi and Sebastian Verelli

Designed by: Claire Chou

As a child, Robert Ressler rushed to the cinema

every weekend to watch the latest episode of his

favorite films. These “serial adventures” never left

the audience satisfied, often ending in cliffhangers

so that viewers would return the following week. A

few decades later, Robert Ressler — now an FBI

agent — was lecturing at a British police academy

when he was suddenly reminded of the short films

of his childhood. Ressler had overheard a

description of a chain of crimes, one followed by

another, including burglaries, robberies, and

murders. Drawing inspiration from the “serial

adventures” of his childhood, Ressler gave birth to

the term “serial killer.” Much like episodic films,

serial killers’ crimes unfolded piece by piece,

leaving an inconclusive ending after each killing.

What is a serial killer?

You probably have heard of famous serial killers.

Dahmer, Bundy, Gacy, and Geines terrorized

American society for decades. But what actually

earns a person the title of a serial killer? A serial

killer commits several murders in a series, typically

over an extended period of time. Many experts

consider a serial killer when they have committed

three or more murders, with considerable time

between each murder. Serial killers differ from

mass murderers in that they commit murders over

time, whereas mass murderers commit all their

murders in a one-time event.

Reid Melloy, a forensic expert from the University

of California, developed a system of categorizing

the different types of killers: affective killers and

predatory killers. Predatory killers are regulated,

controlled, and generally lack basic emotional

capacity. They have tendencies to plan their attacks

and generally attack strangers. These “predatory”

killers are more likely to fall into the further subset

of serial murderers. Killers who were categorized as

“affective” were more likely to be driven by emotion,

and their crimes were more likely to be directed

towards a person they knew.

Psychological breakdown

What motivates a serial killer to act? This

question has always puzzled criminal psychologists

and the general public, but we still do not seem to

have an answer due to the many factors that need to

be considered. Contrary to popular belief, most

serial killers are not insane. A more common trait of

serial killers is psychopathy or sociopathy,

describing a lack of empathy or emotion. However,

psychopathy is incredibly difficult to recognize,

especially since many individuals fall on a scale of

psychopathic tendencies rather than being

concretely diagnosed.

Even so, not all serial killers are associated with

psychopathy or sociopathy. Some have been

diagnosed with psychological disorders such as

schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Many also

suffered from childhood abuse or family issues.

Psychopathy alone does not answer the question of

why serial killers commit murder or how they

became that way. As psychology develops new

hypotheses to what makes a serial killer, the vast

spectrum of traits observed makes it increasingly

difficult to determine exactly why or how a serial

killer acts. Peter Vronsky, an expert on the

psychopathology of serial killers, stated that “we

seem to know less about serial killers now than we

thought we did 20 years ago.” As of now, our most

accurate theory is that psychopathy leads serial

killers to act due to a lack of empathy and antisocial

tendencies.

Serial killers are somewhat average when you

separate them from their crimes. Contrary to

popular media, serial killers have average IQs. A

spectrum exists where some have extremely low

IQs, while others could score into MENSA. Scientific

understanding of genetics has also played a role in

the factors that may create a serial killer. Antisocial

personality disorder, a mental health disorder that

may be hereditary, is a trait present amongst many

serial killers.


Neuroscience’s role in

understanding serial killers

To delve deeper into serial killer psychology, we

can turn to the field of neuroscience for some

insight. A 1999 study compared the brain activity of

41 murderers to a control group. While presented

with a visual task designed to engage various

regions of the brain, PET scans of the two groups

revealed a surprising difference in brain activity.

The murderers engaged little to none of their

prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain

responsible for complex decision-making. Both of

the groups showed similar activity in their visual

cortex. The lack of engagement in the prefrontal

cortex is believed to factor into a predisposition to

violence since it gives control to evolutionarily older

areas. Damage to the prefrontal cortex has been

associated with emotional outbursts, increased

risk-taking, and argumentative behavior -- all of

which have been associated with violent crime. At

a social and personality level, damage to the

prefrontal cortex may hinder self-control and the

ability to formulate non-confrontational solutions.

A brain scan of a control brain (right) and

murderer (left). The prefrontal cortex, located

at the top of both images, is activated in the

control brain but not the murderer’s.

Why are we fascinated with serial killers?

Serial killers are a mainstay of American culture. Despite committing their crimes decades ago, killers like David

Berkowitz and Richard Ramirez influence music, films, and TV... Fascination with serial killers is especially peculiar because

of the gruesome nature of their crimes. It seems that the reason we are so engrossed in the lives of these deeply distrubed

individuals is because of their incomprehensible nature. In a recent poll, 11 out of 13 Scarsdale High School students

indicated that they had an interest in learning about or watching content related to serial killers. To the vast majority of the

population, the mind of a serial killer is impossible to understand, which makes their crimes ever more intriguing. Serial killer

crimes are often exotic, differing from our common understanding of a criminal, and thus attracting public attention. The

average populace experiences a wide range of emotions, joy, sadness, excitement, remorse; meanwhile, serial killers are

emotionally stunted or incapable. The “guilty” pleasure comes in trying to understand and rationalize the heinous actions of

the most macabre to walk amongst us.

Note: Questions were taken from a mixture of the Mensa website and the CRT (Cognitive reflection test).

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

$0.05, as $0.05 + $1.05 = $1.10

5 minutes. Each machine takes 5 minutes to make a widget, therefore 100 machines would still take 5 minutes to make 100 widgets.

47 Days. Since the patch doubles every day, the lake must be halfway covered the day before it is fully covered, meaning it would take 47

days.

We don’t really know the answer to this one…

BAND (BANDAGE, BANDWIDTH, BANDIT, BANDSTAND, BANDWAGON)

G, it’s the sequence letters on the third line of a QWERTY keyboard (from bottom-up) from right to left.

4: Multiply the first two numbers to get the next two numbers in a row. 8 x 8 = 64

29


Letter From the Editors

Hello readers!

Thanks for picking up an issue of Scientific

Scarsdalian's first magazine! We aim to make

scientific topics, research, and discoveries accessible

and engaging via our print and web articles.

Special thanks to our amazing writers, editors, and

layout staff for their hard work. We can't wait to

publish more magazines to spread our love for STEM

subjects.

We hope you enjoy this look into the mind of SHS.

Have fun reading!

-Editorial Staff

Scientific

Scarsdalian

scientificscarsdalian.org

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