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RESEARCH PROPOSAL

Selam Wolday
Independent Research
2015-2016
Title: From the outside in: How lifestyle variables are changing the brain
Overview of Research:
In preview of the problem, the proposal will introduces concepts of neuroplasticity and
the three variables, types of food, amount of exercise and amount of screen time, that modify the
mind negatively. In order to understand the solution of exercising more, eating healthier and
having less screen time, the paper will explain what the variable are changing. In addition, a
detailed explanation of the end product, a three dimensional brain, to be distributed electronically
and physically on a local basis will be mentioned.
Background and Rationale:
Since the start of psychology, in the late 19th century, and the thirst for answers after the
World War II, the brain has been at the center of it all. Towards the beginning of studying, they
were more concerned about the regular versus the irregular, what is normal for someone to think
or do and what not, so there was not much research done on the why. As a result of that thinking,
when cars and other modes of transportation were introduced, the focus was shifted on the
effects of less movement on the body, not the brain; similarly with the unhealthy food epidemic
and the invention of the internet. Only recently have there been lots of interest in the functional
changes that could occur in the brain, as a result to environmental variables.
The concept of neuroplasticity states, the brain is every-changing. it is always making
new synaptic connections, always adapting to its environment. (SciShow, 2012) This everchanging structure makes it susceptible to be impacted to variables of the environment. From this
base, one can jump to see which variables affect which parts of the brain. The three lifestyles are
heavily dependent on this concept to have an effect of the brain.
The brain is irreplaceable, thus humans need to take care of it while they have it. Unlike
other organs, the brain is the central head of command. All the information goes to it, and it
sends instructions accordingly. There is a constant flow of data from the body to the brain via
neurons. If the three lifestyle variables mentioned in the last paragraph, were affecting brain
function negatively, the changes will be seen in the body or in the personality of the person. Not
only will the most important part be afflicted, but other parts of the body too. To add to that,
legion cannot be fixed nor restored in the brain; therefore, protection is necessary for all to do, in
order to have a healthy brain and body.
Research Methodology
Research Question:
Do outside variables Exercise, screen time (the internet), and food affect the brain
structure and function? In what way do the variable change the brain?
Hypothesis:
Outside variable, also called lifestyle choices, have been proven to change brain function.
This can be seen by the changes in the body or by the changes in personality. The most
prominent of changes are those in memory for all three of the lifestyles.
Starting with exercise, having 30 minutes of exercise, 3 times a week or more prevents

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from memory loss in elders by slowing down the creation of white matter in the brain (Reynolds,
2015) and quicker reaction time in adolescence. Less exercise than the recommended amount
created the opposite effect. Eating unhealthy food, such as that served in fast food restaurants,
will high trans and saturated fats and will increase chances of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Drinking alcoholic beverages also has the same effect. The internet, instead of increasing or
decreasing the white or gray matter in the brain, completely rewires the memory of the brain.
The internet undoes centuries of training the brain to focus on one thing, with books, into its
natural state of being alert all the time. That was part of the fight or flight reflex, but it is no
longer useful to un in the modern world, but the rapid speeds of information coming to a handheld device always accessible, is conjuring up those reflexes. (Tucker, 2010)
Research Design model:
For the research, quantitative data collecting is the most appropriate with the time and
resources available. The experiment will have many numerical data to calculate the amount of
memory lost from different variables. The independent variables are the amounts of exercise,
screen time or types of food. What depends on that is the ability to store and recall memory.
Lifestyle choices are also named variable, and negatively speaks of not being able to recall a
memory accurately or not working to its fullest ability (when not referring to memory)
Data Collection:
To test the hypothesis, there will be an experiment with teenages that tests their ability to
remember in different circumstances. The experiment will run for one month. First, the subjects
will have a pattern of colors to remember. After a few minutes, the subjects will be have to recite
the pattern to the experimenter. thought the month, the subjects will keep a journal on the amount
of exercise, types of food and amount of screen time had depending on the assignment of the
group. The subjects will also go to the experimenter periodically to recite the pattern learned on
the first day. By the end of the month, the experimenter will have what the subject was doing and
what impact that has on the memory.
Product Objective:
By the end of the year, a 3D Brain will be made using paper mache. The brain will have
specific information from the research all around it as a way of explaining the findings. This type
of product was chosen because it is more interesting for the audience, teenages and pre-teens, to
investigate than for them to read a pamphlet. They are the targeted group because most children
get their first phones in that age period. The information conveyed in brought down to the level
of middle/high school student and it is most applicable to their lives so this audience will benefit
from the information the most.
The product will come in two different forms, physical and online. The online version
will be in the first page when key words are searched on google. To further promote the website,
Posters of links will be posted in local teenage relaxation areas such as schools and movie
theaters.
Logistical observation:
There are some materials needed to build the model, mostly being paper mache and paint
to create an appealing exterior. There will also be artists who will create the appearance of a
brain on the project. Because the project is geared towards giving teenagers more information,
the online version will be easily accessible with a link. A link to the online version will be sent

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to an expert before the premier, to be critically analysed, to create a more accurate depiction of
the information.
In third quarter, a timeline will be added that outlines the data collection, product
development, and audience distribution
Approval:
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References:
Reynolds G. (2015, 21 Oct). Lifting weights, twice a week, may aid the brain. New York Times.
Retrieved from: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/10/21/lifting-weights-twice-a-weekmay-aid-the-brain/
SciShow. (2012, March 24). Your brain is plastic [Video file]. Retrieved from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KLPxDtMqe8
Tucker, P. (2010). What the internet is doing to our brains. The Furutist. Retrieved from Science
in Context database. (Accession No. GALE|A229531545)