Author Archives: Robert O. Duncan

About Robert O. Duncan

I'm an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences at City University of New York, with joint appointments in Neuroscience and Cognitive Neuroscience. I also have an appointment as a Visiting Scholar at New York University. My research interests include cognitive neuroscience, functional magnetic resonance imaging, glaucoma, neurodegenerative disorders, attention, learning, memory, educational technology, pedagogy, and developing games for education.

FA16-Project 12 – Final Paper

Liquids and Their Effect On Our Minds

Usman Athar

CUNY York College

The general topic of interest in this experiment is liquid and its effect on the way a person thinks while being tested on cognitive function. People know that the human mind and body can multi-task voluntarily and most importantly involuntarily. The question that seems to have been unanswered seems to be that does it affect the level at which humans function. For example, does ingesting a liquid, in general, have an impact on the mind the way coffee or caffeinated drinks do? Does the mind work better by not having another function to do at the same time or does drinking something for example help stimulate the mind and keep it working better? There’s been many articles written about the effects of caffeinated drinks like coffee and energy drinks stimulating the mind, but there’s still one aspect missing. The aspect left to explore whether the mind works better or worse in general, with or without an additional process to conquer. Adding the consumption of liquid to the mind’s tasks may or may not help increase functionality. The work that has been done in the field suggests that energy drinks do indeed help stimulate cognitive performance. The main constant within these drinks is caffeine and “most researchers concur that caffeine seems to be the main compound that drives the stimulatory effects of these drinks” (Howard, 2010). What’s missing from all these experiments is the lack of control within the subjects overall. The food ingested through the day was not the same. The environment and state in which the subjects were in were not the same. The way to really understand this question would be test and experiment. In one study, the experimenter had “thirty-five healthy volunteers (16 male, 19 female) participate in two experimental sessions in which they remained awake between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. At 3:30 a.m. they consumed CAF or placebo in random order under double-blind conditions. Participants completed subjective effects questionnaires and performed computerized attention tasks before and after consuming capsules” (Childs, 2007). The goal was to see if whether capsulated caffeine had any effect on fatigued individuals. In another study, “twenty-four managers who normally consume between 400 and 1,000 mg of caffeine per day participated in all-day quasi-experimental simulations” (Streufert, 1997). What’s important to observe via this study is the best way to experiment would be to set a control and have an experimental variable. It’s important to keep the subjects health in mind as well, as there are certain side effects of caffeine for example that can really impact someone’s health. A study suggests “borderline hypertensive men maintained response to the stressor in the face of an exaggerated BP response to caffeine, suggesting that use of caffeine during behavioral stress may elevate BP in BH individuals to a clinically meaningful degree” (Lovallo, 2006). It is predicted that the independent variable of consumption of liquid (water) versus the dependent variable of not having consumed a liquid (water) will help the subject score better when tested on cognitive function.

There were ten subjects used for the game. The subjects were recruited in school, in the library and were students of CUNY York College. Students that were simply at the library for leisure were recruited. They volunteered at their will to participate; no incentive was given to motivate participants. Inclusion and exclusion criteria didn’t include factors such as age, sex, race, ethnicity, type and stage of disease, the subject’s previous treatment history, but instead the presence of a healthy medical condition. The conditions included students had to ingest a liquid diet throughout the day, which included all the healthy nutrients needed for optimal health. All subjects were assigned to these conditions. The subject demographics were simple, and found 5 males and 5 females to make the study even. The ages of participants ranged from 18-25 years old. Race, weight, sex, etc. were not important. Materials used to collect data included a notepad, an iPhone for the timer-app and a pen. The stimulus was simple Poland Spring water, which was the clear liquid. The stimuli were presented in a non-labeled bottle. The game was presented in a simple fashion, with an instructions page first. Responses were measured by the points accrued by each subject, after each round. A few conditions were created. One condition included the control group in which did not have anything to ingest at the start of each round. All subjects did have liquid diet before study though. The experimental group had a few conditions in which included the ingestion of water before the first round and a caffeinated drink before the second round. These instructions were explained to the subjects via an instruction sheet provided to them in the start of it all. Data was collected based on how many points they accrued through out their trials/rounds.

The outcome of the experiment were ten tallied scores which ultimately displayed that the independent variable subjects, which ingested the clear liquid (water), did better in the game then the dependent subjects that did not ingest a liquid prior to the game. In the experimental group the mean was 32 points and in the control the mean was 29.4 points, as shown in Figure 1. The standard deviation was 3.56 in the experimental group and the control group was 3.20 (Figure 1). The number of participants was 10 in both the experimental and control group (Figure 1). The variance was 12.67 in the experimental group and the control group was 10.27 (Figure 1). The mean scores of points scored by the experimental group were 32 points (SD = 3.56), and the mean scores of points scored by the control group were 29.4 points (SD = 3.20) (Figure 1). The results indicate that participants that ingested liquid prior to the starting the game were better and more attentive at the game then participants that did not ingest the liquid, e.g., water. T-test indicates 1.72 as a result (Figure 1).

In conclusion, the ingestion of a liquid or water before the start of any cognitive process indeed helps people function better and produces a better result, than someone that didn’t. The results support the notion that the ingestion of a liquid, before any exercising of the mind, helps people function better when prompted. The results indicated that the average of people that ingested liquid were 2.6 points higher than the average of the control group (Figure 1). This experiment solves a major problem in the field of education, where it can be implemented into the aspects of “how to study” and “what might help you to study”. Completing this missing piece of helping people to study further advances the field of education because as people get better at learning, the better it will be for us as human beings to find further parts of the world that are yet to be discovered. This experiment is different in a way that is solely tests the ingestion of a liquid, whereas there have been various studies and experiments on whether caffeine helps or doesn’t help in learning and focus. Potential problems within the study include getting the same type of human beings together, to make the tests more reliable. Another potential problem includes having the subjects on the same well-balanced liquid diet through the day. Implications of the study on the field include opening doors to better education and better learning techniques. Future experiments include using salted liquids rather than clear water.

(Figure 1)

(Figure 2)



Streufert, Siegfried, Usha Satish, Rosanne Pogash, Dennis Gingrich, Richard Landis, John Roache, and Walter Severs. “Excess Coffee Consumption in Simulated Complex Work Settings: Detriment or Facilitation of Performance?” Journal of Applied Psychology 82.5 (1997): 774-82. Web.

Lovallo, William R., Mustafa Al’absi, Gwen Pincomb A., Susan Everson A., and Et Al. “Caffeine and Behavioral Stress Effects on Blood Pressure in Borderline Hypertensive Caucasian Men.” Health Psychology 15.1 (1996): 11-17. Web.

Childs, Emma, and Harriet Wit De. “Enhanced Mood and Psychomotor Performance by a Caffeine-containing Energy Capsule in Fatigued Individuals.” Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology 16.1 (2008): 13-21. Web.

Howard, Meagan A., and Cecile Marczinski A. “Acute Effects of a Glucose Energy Drink on Behavioral Control.” Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology 18.6 (2010): 553-61. Web.

FA16 Project 7: Final Week


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is commonly known as ADHD and is common in most in young children into their early teens. Most students when learning feel self-conscious and it affects their school work by not letting them be the best they can potentially at school. Over time, they learn how to cope with it, but are still fearful to make friends and figure out how to do homework and study for tests on their own. Children who discover that they have this disorder sometimes need a boost in confidence or a coping mechanism to help them stay focused on their main priority; school. Sports like swimming, basketball and soccer help maintain focus because they support the mind by using their behavioral, language and attention cognitive processes.


Hyper activeness is associated with ADHD and many parents don’t like that word because most people connect that word to this disorder thinking it’s terrible when it actually isn’t. Being hyper active is to be impulsive and giddy when it’s inappropriate. A teen will drive slowly on the highway then speed when it isn’t necessary even when no one is on the road. If you don’t have ADHD, think of it like this, you’re impatient about knowing when the train is coming. A person with this disorder will do everything in their power to get to class on time but do it in a disrespectful manner. Some questions that might linger is that which parts of the brain get triggered to become so hyper active to the point of 4 and 5 year olds receiving a mental disorder when they should be playing in a sand box rather than being in a hospital. Being attentive is what every parent and teacher wants from their child, but when that attention span is harder to control, it can be quite difficult for both parties. Though no one has found a true cure or cause for this disorder, every scientist is curious as to why it happens in early childhood and not later in life.



This game teaches older teens to concentrate efficiently on associating colors with the correct word. The learning experience the game creates for the player is to think as quick on your feet as well as paying attention to what is being held in front of you. The dominant form of interaction the player has with the game is typing. This supports the learning objective by engaging in conversation when playing the game allowing the players to focus. The primary objective of this game is to get as many words right as possible in order to win. Yes, the game objective reinforces the learning objective since you need to focus on the words being presented in front of you.


I created the conditions of how each player must be able to type in at least one word correctly so that they’re eligible in order to keep playing the game. The subjects in each condition were asked to answer a series of simple questions as in: what color is the sky and when was the declaration of independence signed in order to be able to participate in the game. I collected data by putting all the scores into a spreadsheet.

psych 200 poster for final project

FA-16 Project 20 Final week

Photo Gallery

Sultan Tahir

CUNY York College

Psych 200 – Final Project


These days’ people play different genre games. I’m Focusing on is the ability of how different individuals perceive information towards the same topics and how that relates towards logical thinking. The primary process I’m studying is how logical thinking could improve through a series of games that would consist of different types of study. However, the difference in this game would be one group would be assigned a series of different kinds of pictures and answer questions based on the pictures that students analyzed. The other game would be manipulated by the game consisting of sounds that students will listen to and would have to answer questions based on it. The group that will be focusing on both visual and auditory material will be manipulated to investigate patterns of behaviors and responses to certain questions by their solutions to problems that would be presented to them.

More research has to be done on different ways that students learn in class or how they remember things in class. The population of interest is 26 students. The large sample is used to get a more important more accurate conclusion of the study. The subjects sampled are students in High school. And the rest are students from different grades in high school All students are recruited based on their grades they’re at such as 9th graders. The conditions that were made were that half the students were experimental group other half would be controlled group.

Subjects were assigned randomly. Subject’s ages from 15-18 were included. The screening criterion that was used was their medical records that displayed whether they don’t have any learning disability. Students that were excluded were the one’s with learning disability such as those that have ADHD or autism, because my game is to see which way to learning is better visual or auditory. The average age of the subject’s was 15-18. There are the same amount of females and males in the group. The control group was also half women and half men. Ethnicity and education wasn’t important in this study. Subjects were motivated to participate by giving them course credit and paying them 10 dollars each, and also the prize gift at the end of the game. Materials that were used were medical history records, and board game materials. The control group listened to the audio in the game. The stimuli game that was used for the experimental students was pictures. Responses are measured through data collecting after each round of the game. It will be shown on the data if they gotten better over each round. There’s no other equipment that were used. Half of the subjects were experimental group with stimuli that looked at pictures. And the other half was the control group, which listened to audio during the game. Comparisons were made after the data was collected. Both groups were asked to play the games 10 times. They were given instructions verbally and visibly on the instructions of the game. Data was collected after each round of the game. If the experimental group had better results, then games do help students with pictures rather than sounds

For the Visual group the mean was 8.9 points and in the Sound group the mean was 5.9 points. The standard deviation for the visual group was 0.95, and for the sound group was 1.55. The amounts of participants were 13 in both the visual and the sound group. For the variance were 0.9025 in the Visual group and the sound group was 2.41. For the mean scores of points acquired by the visual group were 8.9 points in which the standard deviation was 0.95, and the mean scores of points acquired by the sound group were 5.92 points in which the standard deviation was 1.55.The results showed that participants that were looking at the pictures in the game were better than the students which were blindfolded and had a hard time remembering things. The t test showed a score of 27.8.

For the thesis of this experiment proved that students who were blindfolded had harder time remembering what they heard rather than students who looked at the pictures and had to remember them. With the students who had to remember what they saw, students in the 9th grade with easier pictures beat the students in the 11th grade that had to get harder pictures to remember during the game. 6 of the students in each round that were younger remembered the pictures or objects better than the 6 older students during each round. There were 10 rounds during the game. My results support the thesis by the scores that each student got. For example In the Visual group most students scored very high like 9 out of 10 rather than the sounds group where the average was a 6 out of 10. My experiment can solve a problem in education, as the experiment can give an insight on what’s more important such a visual aid or sound such as learning visually or learning by sound. This experiment advances the field, by making teachers understand how to teach students better. It can help people that want to learn something understand what’s more important, what’s a better way to study. Other studies in the field have shown that studying too hard can have a bad effect on the way you perform in class, such as obtaining low grades on the exam. Experiments such as the one I did will help students in the future find a better way to study and it will help them get high grades in classes. Some potential future experiments that are remaining to be solved are why students that have no learning disability are getting low grades. Future experiments will, help students do great in the future.


Works Cited



Nakamura, Kuninori and Yamagishi, Kimihiko “Individual rationality and social rationality: Logical thinking and the ultimatum game.”Web. 02 Janurary 2012



Hattie, J, Biggs, J, & Purdie, Effects of learning skills inventions on student learning: A meta- analysis. Review of educational research. 66(2), 99-136 1996



Toda, Masanao. “Fungus-eater Games: A Dynamic Approach to the Logic and Psychology of Decision Strategies.” XVIIth International Congress Of Psychology August 20-26, 1963, Washington, DC, 29 July 2013. Web.



Zhang, Jun. “Perspective-taking and Depth of Theory-of-mind Reasoning in Sequential-move Games.” Wiley-Blackwell Country of Publication: United States NLM ID: 7708195 Publication Model: Print-Electronic Cited Medium: Internet ISSN: 1551-6709 (Electronic) Linking ISSN: 03640213 NLM ISO Abbreviation, 04 Dec. 2015. Web.






FA16- Final Project: Project 5



Poster Final 200-2 



Social anxiety is a topic that has been commonly looked into and researchers seek to find alternatives that could reduce this anxiety. This study will examine the behavior of kids who are socially anxious and those who aren’t. After they play social games with each other, the results will give an insight of whether these games have an impact on them.

There has been some research that has been done to study how games can affect the social skills of people. One of those researches includes a similar one that was done with the Kinect games and kids with autism (Ge, 2016). This experiment was to test how social development is when kids with autism are exposed to the Kinect games. Their results showed that those games did help the kids and their overall development with skills in communication and relationships with peers. Also, there were more general studies, such as one that studied the relationship between playing strategy video games and self- regulation (Gabbiadini, 2016). This study showed that there was a positive correlation when looking at the people that played these games and their self-regulation, which meant that it did affect positively in self-regulation for everyday tasks. Other studies are much different, but it still researches social anxiety and certain games. A research was conducted to study the relationship between socially anxious students and playing drinking games (Mulligan, 2016). This study took place in universities where they conducted commonly played drinking games. The results of this study shows that those who were socially anxious played these games normally, especially if they were drinking to cope, they participated. These studies all vary with context, having different conditions and stimulants but they all show how different games can affect the behavior of socially anxious individuals.

This study will attempt to do the same thing, to show a correlation between a game and the behavior of socially anxious individuals. Instead of using the context that were already used in previous research this study will attempt to be more in detailed with examining every behavior that’s presented through a game that includes a scavenger hunt and working closely with peers. Current theories can be challenged by using a more qualitative approach and observations, along with recording data and quantitative results on the scores of their surveys.

This study will fill those gaps by having every action be recorded and rewarding the subjects for every time they are social. By just getting scores before and after the game is performed may not be enough to determine how they behave, so every action is rewarded and taken into account. Knowing that one is being rewarded for being social could trigger the subjects to continually perform that action. Also, by watching every action performed conclusions could be made on how their behavior has changed, if it did. It is predicted that socially anxious adolescents can develop more social skills and confidence through playing social games with peers.













The amount of subjects that were used were 8 students. They were recruited by being picked out from a group based on the performance on a survey that was given out. Those with the lower grades meant that they were less social and those with higher grades claimed to be more social. Half of the subjects were those with low grades and the other half were those of the high grades. This was done to compare results and to see how effective the game is on those who need help being more social as oppose to those who are already socially active. The subjects that were more socially active before the game were usually younger and the ones that seemed to have social anxiety were mostly older.

To collect data, observations were made and recorded during the game. All the subjects gathered together before the game so that it was explained and everyone began by introducing themselves and talking to one another. Everything was observed and those who interacted more received more stars. The students were aware of the rules of the game and that if they talked more during the gathering they get more stars. Observations were also made during the times when they were on the scavenger hunt and were at each checkpoint. By the end of the game, the second and last gathering was observed also to see how much more comfortable each subject was with talking.

I compared those who were originally more social and those who weren’t to see how well they improved on speaking and interacting. Things were explained as a group at the beginning of the game and data was collected by observations and also assessments at the beginning and ending of the game.




The outcome of the experiment showed that there were more interactions between all the kids by the end of it. At the beginning the more socially active ones did talk more, some were quiet and the socially anxious ones were also quiet. However, throughout the game when getting to know one another and having to interact with each other everyone seemed to become more comfortable and the conversations began to come more easily for them, instead of being forced. At the end of the game when everyone was gathered again, everyone spoke more and there was more of a group interaction where they spoke about the game and all gave their opinions on it.

The mean score on the survey for the subjects’ satisfaction of socializing more with the game was 83.75 (SD= 26.37). This data is collected from the evaluation given to each student after the game was finished. The evaluation was composed of questions that asked how well they think they improved with communicating and socializing after the game.

The mean for the students who were on the social end of the group was 77.5% of an improvement of socializing more. This means that they felt like they didn’t really improve in socializing, instead for the most part things felt the same. However, the mean for the more antisocial subjects was 90%, which means that they felt as if they improved and it reflected in their actions.



Figure 1: Before the game began, subjects took the survey to determine how social they were.










Figure 2: This pie chart shows the correlation of how the anti social kids

felt like they improved more after the games than the ones who were already social.







Figure 3: The scoreboard was kept inside the room where everyone was gathered before the game and while the subjects were being observed, I prompted a helper to put a star next to the person that I felt deserved one. Each subject’s initials were marked on the left and the right had their stars.






There is a correlation between playing social games and becoming more comfortable with others. The results show that those who were very anti-social and usually don’t like talking to others ended up becoming very comfortable, for the most part. Many of the subjects were basically forced to interact with each other for the game and when they realized they were having fun and no one was rude to each other they all felt comfortable and socialized more than they usually do.

This experiment solves a major issue within young adolescents and teenagers for socializing. At around this age many of them have insecurities and feel like they’ll be judged so they hold back on interaction because of this fear. By creating a non judgmental and friendly environment, everyone realized it was fine.

This experiment is similar to the common exposure therapy that’s practiced. By putting the subjects out there to do what they don’t want to (socializing) and realizing that they aren’t being judged, they felt better. A problem that could’ve occurred with this study is that the subjects could’ve been biased. Results were collected by both observation and questions given to the subjects, but they could have lied on the exam and just acted happy. Future experiments could test to see if they act the same when meeting up again for the game in a longer time period. So the game could take place and a month or two later they could be invited again to play with the same people and see how social they are. This could test to see if they really did feel comfortable or they need to break out of that shell again, and compare how well they adapt that time.




Gabbiadini, A., & Greitemeyer, T. (2016). Personality and Individual Differences. Uncovering the association between strategy video games and self-regulation: A correlational study, 129-136.

Ge, Z., & Fan, L. (2016). Social Development for Children with Autism Using Kinect Gesture Games: A Case Study in Suzhou Industrial Park Renai School. Simulation and Serious Games for Education Gaming Media and Social Effects, 113-123. doi:10.1007/978-981-10-0861-0_8

Mulligan, E. J., George, A. M., & Brown, P. M. (2016). Social anxiety and drinking game participation among university students: the moderating role of drinking to cope. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 42(6), 726-734. doi:10.1080/00952990.2016.1188934


FA16-Project 22 – Final Submission

Attention span is something that troubles young students each and everyday. There have been high levels of distraction amongst school age children that make it difficult for children to concentrate. With that being said, there is a large number of decreasing scores on exams, as well as social interaction with children. This prohibits a problem with children to achieve to the next level of their education.

With assessments and testing, there can be ways created to eliminate such a gap between learning and functioning to learn. A lot of tests focus on memorization of different items to memory. Testing a child at a young age can gradually show where and when they have difficulty grasping such educational tasks. Through memory, location, and time with sound, these distractions can show learning disabilities within children. The experiments that are shown in this exercise show different cognitive tasks measured to demonstrate how memory plays a crucial role in attention span.


This experiment was with children of school age. Samples from this population were children that attended grade school.The groups were assigned as children who appeared to have great communication and motor skills, as opposed to children who exhibited developmental skills in language and communication. All subjects who attended a public school were included. Children who did not speak or comprehend instructions in English were excluded from the study. Average range of students were from 6-15, females only for this study, who have good educational backgrounds. All the females were from different ethnicity backgrounds. Children were given passes to not have to hand in homework as an incentive for participating in the study.

Apparatus and Procedure:

With the 1st experiment, the beginning of the experiment has a bunch of household items that I have placed on a table. The object of the game is to see how many items could the kids remember and the names of the items. I first did this without the tv on.The items were shown to the children for a total of 15 seconds. They were each of them a piece of paper and a pen. They were asked to turn around and asked them to write down the number of items they saw on the table, as well as the names of the items they remembered. They were given only 10 seconds to write as many down as they could. The second time, the children had to leave the room. The same 10 items were put back on the table and moved around, not in the same location that they were first in. The children were brought back in the room, not facing the items at first. Before they were asked them to do the experiment again, the tv was turned on and the volume loud enough so it could become a distraction. They were given only 10 seconds to look at the items again with the tv on. Their answers were written down how many they got correct as well as how many they named. With the second experiment, the facilitator asks the participants to sit at a table. The participants are given a pen and paper which shows 10 lines, which is the 10 trials. Each trial starts with a number sequence. The numbers start with (3) numbers and continue throughout each trial until (10) numbers is reached. The first 2 trials are with (3) numbers, the next 2 trials are with (4) numbers, then 5-10 for the next 6 trials. This is done with complete silence. With the second phase, the same rules apply but there is music being played in the background. The participants are given another sheet of paper to complete the same 10 trials. The responses are recorded for both phases to see how many numbers they received right during both phases. For the third experiment, for the first phase of the experiment, there were only 14 pairs used. Pairs were all Aces, all Two’s, all Three’s, all Fours, all Fives, all Sixes, and all Sevens, totalling 28 cards, 14 pairs. With the first phase, the cards were shuffled. The object of the game is to pick the red pair with the red number, black pair with the black number. For example, if you picked the Ace of spade, you would have to match that with the ace of club. If you matched the ace of spade with the ace of diamonds, you would put both down and have the other participant go as you did not get them the same. When the participant did get the pairs the same, you would pick up the pair and put it on the side and then that participant would go again. The object of the game is to get the most pairs correctly. With the second phase, it is a little bit more tricky. A condition of time was assigned with the experiment. With this experiment, what was measured of the participant can accurately get pairs faster when the participants  were under pressure with time than when they were not. Same conditions apply from the first stage, but the added condition was the time. The time that was added was after they played the first round. It took both participants 8 minutes to play the first round. Therefore, they were told at the beginning of the second phase that they only had 5 minutes to get the most pairs. Data was collected the same as the first phase, with counting how many each participant received correctly with the allowed time.


For the first experiment with the tv off, my 14 year old daughter got 7 items correct and named them all correctly, but said there were only 9 items on the table.. My 11 year old daughter got 8 items correct and named 10 on the table. For the 2nd experiment, my 14 year old only got 5 items on the table correct and stated there were only 8 items there. My 11 year old got 6 items correct from the table and said there were 8 items in total.. It would be safe to say that the tv was a distraction to them, and they did not keep their attention to get all items correct. Second experiment: The first phase results for both participants varied. With participant #1, the 14 year old, the trials up to the sixth trial were correct. After the sixth trial, the numbers were not in sequence. With participant #2, the 11 year old, the trials were correct only up to the fourth trial. After the 4th trial, they were incorrect. Numbers were starting to be misplaced from what was heard. In the second phase with the music playing in the background, with participant #1, only three trials were correct, With participant #2, four trials were correct. With the first stage that took roughly 8 minutes to complete, participant (1) who is 11 years old got 12 pairs correct. Participant (2) who is 14 years old got 16 pairs correct. With the second phase, only at 5 minutes to complete, participant (1) got 7 pairs correct, while participant (2) got 8 pairs correct.


Being distracted can hinder a person’s ability to stay focused, remember things in sequence for exactly what they are, and recall things to retain memory. With the different experiments conducted, a simple noise distraction can hinder memory with a person. When time is a factor and time is running out, it also has a person panic to not remember what is being shown to them. This experiment was used with a teenager and a preteen to show how distractions can cause problems with concentration with school aged children. When children are developing study habits, they tend to get distracted from outside noise and time constraints. Solving the problem with distraction, memory, and concentration is relevant with school aged children to better help students retain information necessary for learning. Music, time, and other outside sources such as electronic devices that encompass these items are an increasingly growing issue with teenagers and preteens. Academics are being affected by this, this scores are dropping because children are having a hard time holding information.



            Many college students partake in recreational drinking but somewhere down the road, many start to abuse it. Drinking has become a concern in the college community. Previous According to Magrys and Olmstead (2015), risky drinking is a significant problem among undergraduate students, many of whom exhibit high rates of alcohol consumption (as cited in Balodis et al., 2009). The drinking epidemic of college students can lead to problems down the road such as alcoholism.  Bacon, Blumenthal, and Cranford (2015) stated the following:

College students report high rates of alcohol use and heavy episodic drinking (i.e,. Five or more drinks on one occasion), compared to same-aged peers not attending college as well as adolescent and adult samples, While this style of alcohol use presents obvious immediate health and safety concerns, the long-term consequences of drinking patterns established in college are an additional pressing issue. Though heavy drinking while in college often is perceived as normal, or at least acceptable, it is possible that some students may establish patterns of drinking during these years that may persist and lead to long-term problems. (as cited in Johnston, O’Malley, Bachman, & Schulenberg, 2008; Borsari & Carey 2001, 2003; Gotham, Sher, & Wood, 1997)

As the problem of drinking in college students is rising, it is pressing that it is understood why it is happening. Studies have suggested that stress may be a leading cause on why college students turn to drinking. Coughlan, Deasy, Jourdan, McNamara and Pironom (2014) states:

Stress, defined as ‘a particular relationship between the person and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his or her well-being’ is acknowledged as a major part of the student experience. (as cited in Lazarus and Folkman, 1984; Wichianson et al., 2009)

It was suggested that excessive consumption of alcohol during college and university may increase the risk for alcohol abuse. Stress is said to be one of the most likely contributing factors in high alcohol use, which also increases the risk of alcohol abuse (Magrys & Olmstead, 2015). Previous studies have found that stress influences alcohol consumption in college students. Magrys and Olmstead found that there is a relationship between acute stress and single-session alcohol intake amongst undergraduate students. Stress, whether it be stress from school, work, or the many other things life can throw at a person, takes its toll on one’s well-being and health. Many students may turn to drinking as a way to cope or escape from whatever is bothering them. Although many studies have suggested that risky alcohol consumption is a growing epidemic in the college community, they have not tested the effect stress has on a college student as well as if it leads to alcohol consumption and or abuse. This study aims to make the connection between stress and risky alcohol consumption in college students. Not only does this study aim to make a connection but also aims to be an alternative stress reliever in hopes of reducing the alcohol consumption in the college community. It is predicted that stress negatively influences alcohol consumption among college students.



The population of interest in this experiment are college students. Two subjects were sampled from that population. The subjects were recruited through volunteering to participate. The subjects included in this experiment had to be college students. Also, the subjects had to be at or above the drinking age. If a participant was under the age of consent to drink and/or not in college they were not allowed to participate in the experiment. The subjects could be any gender and of any ethnic background. The average age of participants ranged from 23-28 years old. The subjects were motivated to participate by receiving a $5 Starbucks gift card after the experiment was over.


The stimuli was presented as a game. The game was a  table-top board game. Along with the board game were two stacks of cards, similar to the card game Uno, a pair of dice, and pieces that represent the subject to move around the board. The subject is unaware of what the cards say. (i.e. Go to the bar and take another drink or go home.) The subject has the choice of going to the bar or going home, based on that choice determines whether or not they win/lose the game. The subject’s objective is to make it through the game “sober”. Four or more drinks in the game constituted for the subject being drunk. The subject had to make it through different levels of the game, where they gained a new achievement. The cards were chosen by the subject so no biased occurred. Each time the subject played the game the cards were randomly picked by the subject.


The participants were told to write down how many times they drank in each trial. The amount of trials conducted were six trials in total, three trials for each subject, conducted at the same time. The data that was collected was whether or not one subject drank, drank more than the other, or did not drink at all. The conditions created for the game were that one subject had a stack of cards that included extremely stressful situations and the other subject had a stack of cards that did not include such stressful situations. The point of this is to see whether or not the stressful situation made the subject drink or not. The conditions were compared by who had which cards and how many times they drank. (i.e. Subject facing extremely stressful situations drank once). The participants were explained the rules of the game before starting the game in each trial.


            The mean number of times for participant in the extremely stressful condition was 1.3 (SD= 0.58), and the mean number of times for participant in the non-stressful condition was 0.67 (SD= 0.58). The results indicate that the participant in the extremely stressful condition drank more times than the participant in the non-stressful condition. [t (4)= -1.4, p >0.05]


In conclusion, stress does not negatively influence alcohol consumption among college students. My results do not support my thesis. This experiment allowed students to use it as an outlet to alleviate their stress rather than turning to drinking to cope with their stress. This can help reduce the risk of alcohol addiction in college students down the road. A potential problem with this study is that there was too little of a sample size and also not enough trials conducted. Another potential problem with this study is that the experiment does not cover all the possible reasons why one may turn to drinking. Also, as stated in early studies, there is a link between stress and alcohol consumption. Magrys and Olmstead (2015), found a relationship between acute stress and alcohol consumption in undergraduate students. A future study could be to use the relationship between acute stress and alcohol consumption in college students to find the connection between alcohol use and all students in the college community as I have attempted. Another future experiment could be to incorporate how positive life events can influence alcohol consumption in college students and whether or not that can lead to alcohol related issues down the road.


Bacon, K. A. , Blumenthal, H. , & Cranford, N. A. (2015). Effects of ostracism and sex on alcohol consumption in a clinical laboratory setting. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 29(3), 664-672.

Coughlan, B. , Deasy, C. , Jourdan, D. , McNamara, M. P. , & Pironom, J. (2014). Psychological distress and lifestyle of students: Implications for health promotion. Health Promotion International, 30(1).

Magrys, A. S. , & Olmstead, C. M. (2015). Acute stress increases voluntary consumption of alcohol in undergraduates. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 50(2), 213-218.