In a recent psychology research project conducted at the University of Iowa, scientists experimented on marijuana and its effect on the brain’s ability to memorize and retrieve.
With the use of 31 participants, 18 of the subjects smoked marijuana at least seven times a week; most of them smoked marijuana more than seven times a week. The scientists wanted to test the experimental subjects on their ability to remember a group of words and whether or not they could recall or retrieve the information.The hypothesis tested was that frequent marijuana use has an effect on a person’s blood flow to memory regions of the brain. The participants used in the experiment were 18 frequent marijuana users and 13 nonusers of the illegal drug.
None of these participants had other related problems with alcohol, visual impairments, obesity, mental illnesses, and none were currently on a drug that would affect the positron emission tomography (PET) reading of the brain. The participants were asked to not use any type of drug seven hours prior to their hospitalization to begin tests.Each participant was asked to remember a list of 15 common words, such as drum, bell, etc. , until that patient was able to repeat the list of words in order twice consecutively.
The patients were then put into the PET scanner where they were asked to repeat the lists so that the scientists could get a blood flow reading. During the PET session, the patients were also asked to repeat a new list of words that were read off to them. The results of the experiment showed a slight difference between the users of marijuana and the nonusers.The hypothesis was not quite supported because there was not a large enough difference between the two experimental groups of people.
When asked to memorize the first list of words, there was a slight difference between the two groups because the marijuana users needed to have the list read off to them more times to learn the words perfectly. When asked to repeat the list during the PET session, each group was able to repeat the words perfectly without any differences. When it came time to repeat the new list of words, the users memorized more words from the end of the list than the beginning or middle.This showed that there was more blood flow in the area of the brain that controls short-term memory.
In the overall number of words recited back to the scientists from the new list, there was no real difference between the two groups. The results showed that users relied more on their short-term memory rather than episodic memory. There was more blood flow in short-term memory regions of the brain. The nonusers used their working memory a lot more, which allowed them to memorize the list of words at a faster pace.
The decrease of blood flow to longer-term memory regions can cause less efficient information processing. I found it interesting that there wasn”t much of a difference between the users and nonusers. I expected the marijuana users to have a much greater difference in their ability to memorize and recall. I thought that the marijuana users would have to use more of their short-term region of the brain, but I didn”t expect the results to show very little difference between all of the subjects.
This was a very interesting article to read over and summarize.I selected the article because it dealt with marijuana and its effect on the memory regions of the brain. Marijuana is a very popular drug these days, even though it still remains illegal. It is one of the most widespread used illegal drugs throughout the United States; two examples of other popular drugs are cocaine and heroin.
This research project deals with the memory portion of class. It deals with a person’s ability to use short-term memory, long-term memory, and working memory. A person’s short-term memory allows him/her to hold information for 15 to 25 seconds.Long-term memory allows a person to store information on a more permanent basis.
A person’s working memory is an active area where information is retrieved and manipulated, and where information is held through rehearsal. The marijuana users also showed signs of recency effect, where they memorized more of the words that were read to them more recently, or the words at the end of the list; users didn”t show much of a primary effect, where they would remember more words from the beginning of the list.I agree with the findings because I believe that most people that smoke marijuana frequently would behave in the same manner as the marijuana users in this experiment. I think that the marijuana would give most people a problem memorizing things when the drug is used often.
It would affect their ability to interpret ideas and concepts. Without mentioning any names, I do know people that use the drug quite often, and it shows in their grades. They have a harder time remembering what they learn in class, which affects them greatly on exams and quizzes.I personally would like to see them conduct a study on how marijuana affects the blood flow and ability to memorize while the subjects are under the influence.
I would like to see how much greater of a difference there was between the nonuser group and the user group while they are under the influence of the drug. Since the users hadn”t taken any marijuana for a period of 26 hours, they could have been affected by the abstinence of the drug. They could have slight withdrawal symptoms, which could affect their memory processes due to them not having marijuana on a constant basis as they had before.After reading through the conducted experiment, I learned more on how drugs can influence a person’s ability to think and conceptualize.
Marijuana, along with many other drugs, restricts blood flow to many memory-processing regions of the brain, which in turn may cause the user to have problems storing information as long-term memory. The experiment showed how the users used more short-term memory, which caused them to take a longer amount of time to learn the word list. Drugs are popular among a lot of people, and they need to know how much of an effect it has on their ability to process information.