New Technology, Who Dis?

       Mental illness is something that is becoming more and more common – especially depression. It is something that is diagnosed in a majority of people seeking therapy. However, with new forms of technology, it is allowing us to view and experience the new ways in which MRI scanning can recognize many different, distinct brain characteristics to reveal the brain’s symptoms of depression (Paddock, 2019). According to the article, “New MRI Scans Reveal Brain Features of Depression”, written by Catharine Paddock, she states that researchers have found that their observations of the brain with using this new technology will aid in finding deeper knowledge on depression and how it affects one’s brain (Paddock, 2019). In addition, they are also hoping to find out more about the proper treatments that can help to cure someone with depression (Paddock, 2019). Specifically, one of the newest MRI’revealed differences in the blood barrier (BBB) and the other MRI found many other differences in the brain’s strategic network of connections (Paddock, 2019). BBB is a set of distinctive properties in the brain’s blood vessels that permit them to control the movement of molecules and cells between them and the tissues that they serve (Paddock, 2019). Similarly, depression is more than just a feeling of sadness in someone’s day-to-day life  (Paddock, 2019). It can actually turn into a serious issue for someone, leading to self-harm and even suicide (Paddock, 2019). Suicide is the most severe form of depression that can hopefully be reduced by the new MRI techniques (Paddock, 2019). A recent presentation, founded by RSNA 2019, concluded that depression affects more than 264 million people worldwide (World Health Organization, 2019; as cited in Paddock, 2019). The most common type of depression is Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) (Paddock, 2019). Typically, someone with MDD tends to feel hopeless, fatigue, and loss of attentiveness to certain activities that were once easily performed (Paddock, 2019). Kenneth T. Wengler, a researcher who works in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University, examined connections between MDD and changes to BBB (Paddock ,2019). His research resulted in the finding that current treatments for MDD have a high relapse rate (Paddock, 2019). Therefore, this result being the reason why utilizing this new technology is pertinent. We would be able to use this new technology as a tool to find better treatments for depression – ones without a high relapse rate. 

       After reading this article, you may be thinking about the sense of motivation that is being exhibited by the researchers for those with depression. How can someone be so motivated to do something with no favor in return? An explanation for this would be altruism. Altruism refers to the idea of being determined and motivated to grow the well-being of another person without thinking about oneself and how you can benefit from it. In this instance, the researchers are exhibiting altruism. With this new technology, their immediate response to it was to use it to help find more effective treatments for people with depression. No where in the article did they mention how this new technology can help advance their careers as researchers; although it can, the researchers are not aware of it as they are too focused on and motivated as to how it can help those with depression. 


       Another concept that relates to this theory is the idea of having a superordinate goal. A superordinate goal is defined as a goal that is shared across multiple people that requires cooperation and ignores the differences between the multiple people working on this same, shared goal. The idea of having a superordinate goal can relate to the conversations being had and the discoveries in this news article. Between the researchers, doctors, and medical professionals working and researching on this new technology – they all share a superordinate goal. They do because the work they are doing requires cooperation amongst all of the members of the research team. If cooperation is not present, they would be unable to continue to find the benefits of this new technology and the advancements that come with it. In addition, this news article also exhibits evidence of a superordinate goal because no matter the amount/kind of education, gender, or race of each research member – they are all sharing a common goal. That is, finding new treatments that are more effective and helpful to people with depression. Therefore, since they share such motivation towards this common goal already, their levels of status and differences do not individually or collectively matter to them. For example, the author of this article is a female and she included information and advancements for this new technology founded by men. Although they are of different genders, Paddock did not pay attention to this gender difference due to the motivation and cooperation that all three of them have to help find better treatments with the new technology. 



Paddock, C. (2019, December 4). New MRI scans reveal brain features of depression. Retrieved December 5, 2019, from

Carmela Piccolo

Ya Vape? Ya Lose

  Ya Vape? Ya Lose. 

 (Ridao, 2018)

       The dilemma of young adolescents recently investing not only their money, but potentially their life in vaping has swept the nation – leaving healthcare professionals concerned. In an article written by Aimee Cunningham she describes this recent phenomenon, specifically focusing on eight adolescents residing in Wisconsin who were recently hospitalized (Cunningham, 2019).  The hospitalization was in relation to these teens experiencing shortness of breath. Medical professionals were unclear about the direct cause of this shortness of breath. (Cunningham, 2019). However, they did find one common trend amongst each of the eight teenagers – vaping (Cunningham, 2019). 

       “It’s not surprising” said pediatric pulmonologist, Sharon McGrath-Morrow, in relation to this issue (McGrath-Morrow, 2019; as cited in Cunningham, 2019). She disclosed her findings of recent increasing cases of adolescents developing lung ailments (Cunningham, 2019). In addition, chief medical officer, Jonathan Meiman, even mentioned that these eight, hospitalized teens needed to be put on ventilators to help them breathe (Meiman, 2019; as cited in Cunningham, 2019). So, the important question to ask is: why do these adolescents engage in vaping behaviors despite the health risks associated with it? 

       The answer to this question is a term commonly known as “ingroup”. The term “ingroup” refers to a group of people who all have a sense of membership and belonging to the group by sharing similar identities. Therefore, more and more teens are taking up vaping because of the belonging they receive from an ingroup as a result of being a part of the world of vaping. In relation to the article, the hospitalized teens probably took up vaping due to the influence of peers around them who were also smoking – vaping being the identity everyone in the group shared. In order to be associated and accepted by the group, each of the teens conformed to a similar identity the group members shared thus, creating an example of the ingroup (Cunningham, 2019). A term that can also be related to this idea is ingroup favoritism. This is when an ingroup favors the ideas of their own group as opposed to the ideas of an out-group. In this case, the ingroup that shares the similar idea of vaping and using e-cigarettes probably favor this behavior over an out-groups non-vaping behavior. When there is an ingroup with teens using e-cigarettes, there is also an out-group, a group that doesn’t belong or doesn’t think the same. The out-group in this situation would be the people who think that e-cigarettes aren’t good for your health, and how they shouldn’t be used by adolescents. 

       In a peer-reviewed article entitled, “Vaping in Context: Links Among E-Cigarette Use, Social Status, and Peer Influence for College Students” written by Lacey N. Wallace and Michael J. Roche, they discuss a study that involved college students being influenced by the use of e-cigarettes (2018). The study looked at whether or not the amount a student vaped was dependent upon the number of friends they had in their social group and the social roles possessed in the group, such as being either quiet or outspoken (Wallace & Roche, 2018). In the study, the participants included 175 college students who were all asked a variety of questions about their past vaping behavior and interpersonal relationships (Wallace & Roche, 2018). The results of this study ended up showcasing that evidently, the number of friends someone has and the kind of role they have in a group does not have an effect on whether or not a person uses an e-cigarette (Wallace & Roche, 2018). Although, the study did also conclude that people who have more than one friend in a group who vape are more willing to accept and try an e-cigarette in the future (Wallace & Roche, 2018). This is in opposition to when a group only has one group member who vapes, the odds of a new group member vaping are not as strong (Wallace & Roche, 2018). Therefore, the results of this peer-reviewed article does relate to our overall topic and concept (Wallace & Roche, 2018). It does because the article is portraying that when someone has multiple group members in their ingroup who vape, they are more likely to vape themselves (Wallace & Roche, 2018).  This is due to the sense of belonging and group association that comes with being a part of an in-group (Wallace & Roche, 2018).  In this case, the more group members who vape, the better the likelihood new group members are to vape themselves (Wallace & Roche, 2018). Part of this can also be due to ingroup favoritism. This is because since new group members favor the ideas of their own ingroup over the ideas of other outgroups, they are even more likely to engage in the behaviors and interests shared amongst their ingroup. 



Cunningham, A. (2019, August 27). Vaping may have landed eight teens in the hospital. Retrieved November 23, 2019, from

Ridao, R. (2018, June 21). Photo by Rainier Ridao on Unsplash. Retrieved November 23, 2019, from 

Wallace, N.L., & Roche, J.M. (2018). Vaping in Context: Links Among E-cigarette Use, Social 


Carmela Piccolo



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