spizz003: October 2011 Archives

Narcolepsy

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Narcolepsy is a sleeping disorder characterized by the rapid and often unexpected onset of sleep. This disorder causes people to experience sleep lasting a few seconds to several minutes, and in rare cases a few hours. While it takes normal sleepers hours to enter REM sleep, narcoleptic sufferers enter REM immediately. This has caused many researchers to believe that narcolepsy is from a sleep-wake cycle that is severely thrown off.
People with this disorder are at risk of falling asleep at any given moment. They are also at risk for cataplexy which is a complete loss of muscle tone. This can lead to people falling and injuring themselves. People are most likely to endure a narcoleptic episode after they experience strong emotions or sexual intercourse.
It has been found that genetic abnormalities and traumatic brain damage lead to the development of narcolepsy.
Sufferers can take medication known as modafinil which promotes wakefulness and is effective in treating narcolepsy.
While I have never met anyone with this disorder, I have seen several examples in movies and TV shows, showing the bizarre effects of this disorder.
The clip below was taken from the movie Rat Race. One of the characters in the movie suffers from narcolepsy. This is a humorous example of the disorder.



Danielle Spizzirri

Signal Detection Theory

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For our second blog entry, I decided to talk about the signal detection theory. This theory was developed by David Green and John Swets around 1966 to explain how people react to stimuli under uncertain circumstances. The image below shows the possible outcomes to a stimuli, a true positive, a false negative, a false positive or a true negative.


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When a true positive is observed a subject is exposed to a stimulus and expresses that they were aware of it. A true positive is often referred to as a "hit".
When a false negative is observed a subject denies a stimulus, although it was present. Scientists often record this as a "miss".
When a false positive is observed, a subject reports stimuli that was not present; this is often called a false alarm.
When a true negative is observed a subject denies stimulus that was not present; this is known as a correct rejection.

Many people can utilize the signal detection theory in the real world. For example, the use of cell phones. When there is a poor connection people often find they are uncertain of what is being communicated to them. This is where the theory comes into play.
If you are on the phone and can correctly identify what is being said to you are exhibiting a true positive.
If you don't hear or respond to something that is said, and the person on the other line has indeed said something, you are exhibiting a false negative.
If you report hearing a sound although there was none, you are exhibiting a false positive.
If you don't hear anything over the phone and there is in fact no speaking, you are exhibiting a true negative.

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Danielle Spizzirri

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries written by spizz003 in October 2011.

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