Week Two: Cutting Back
This was another fun and exciting week. This week, I did not attend any classes because George Mason University was having its spring break. However, this week was filled with independent work that allowed me to apply my Arduino knowledge to an actual product. My product focused on building an ultrasonic sensor onto a cane, so I could detect the distance from the cane to the floor and determine whether there were upward stairs, downward stairs, or flat ground. I initially tried to make the Arduino portable (instead of attached to a computer) by adding a lot of extra components or using the EEPROM (Arduino’s data storage); however, these approaches made my Arduino too complicated to be used. Therefore, I abandoned portability and tested the experiment on the ground level. I collected 2,000 to 5,000 data points on the distance from a 74.25 cm high ultrasonic sensor (at a 74-degree angle), which caused the distance from the sensor to the ground to be 312.182 cm (±0.585 cm). After trying to move the stick around in the horizontal direction to see if the distance was the same, I noticed that the ultrasonic sensor was unable to detect the ground. This issue arose due to the distance being out of the range of the ultrasonic sensor. Therefore, I have decided to retry my experiment on a more stable device and use a lower height and angle (pointing to the ground). I collected data on different types of levels (flat ground, upwards stairs, and downwards stairs). This activity allowed me to learn about keeping my project simple and readapting to obstacles.
For my independent project, I have read the majority of my sources. One of the articles that I read described a new way of looking at emotions as core affects. Core affects are ways of looking at emotions from the perspective of pleasure and arousal and their impact on the severity of emotions (Wilson-Mendenhall et al., 2013). Through their experiments, these scientists were able to determine that arousal is controlled by the left amygdala and that the medial orbitofrontal cortex controls pleasure (Wilson-Mendenhall et al., 2013). This knowledge allows me to build upon last week’s research on the role of the amygdala in controlling arousal, motion processing, and implicit learning. In addition, I have also learned about the impacts of other stimuli, such as obesity, adrenal secretion, insulin secretion, and thyroid secretion, which can impact physical and physiological health, which in the long term can impact personality and emotion (Chiasson, 1961). I have now better understood the role of the endocrine system in changing emotions; therefore, I plan to focus a lot more on the molecular scale by looking at how hormones, neurotransmitters, and chemicals in the body cause changes in emotions next week.
Chiasson, R. B. (1961). The Physical Basis Of Emotions. Bios, 32(1), 3–8. Http://Www.Jstor.Org/Stable/4606260
Wilson-Mendenhall, C. D., Barrett, L. F., & Barsalou, L. W. (2013). Neural Evidence That Human Emotions Share Core Affective Properties. Psychological Science, 24(6), 947–956. Http://Www.Jstor.Org/Stable/23484454