Media Production Project

Most refugees and asylum-seekers are unable or unwilling to participate in research studies, especially lengthy demanding ones. This makes their population difficult to study, and makes the data found by researchers at the University of Birmingham significant. This limitation will, however, require further research to develop any type of immediate medical strategies. They studied how post-traumatic stress disorder affects the ability to suppress and recall memories, and if that control could prevent the development of ptsd all together. PTSD is a disorder characterized by intrusive, recurrent, and traumatic memories.

They studied a group of 24 refugees. They were not randomly selected but were chosen based on their demographics and background of trauma. All participants showed symptoms of clinical depression as well. The participants came from European, African, and Asian countries. The researchers assigned the participants into 2 groups, the control and ptsd. They were not randomly assigned, and the number of participants is unequal due to applied double-blind. The ptsd group consisted of 9 males and 2 females. They fulfilled the criteria in the DSM IV for post-traumatic stress disorder. The control group consisted of 10 males and 3 females. These participants were interviewed and had extremely similar “trauma loads.” This is the term used to describe the number of traumatic events and the diversity of an individual’s lifetime experience.

The participants were given a think/no think test after their initial evaluations. It was a three-phase procedure consisting of a training period, the think/no think portion, and was followed by a recognition test. Between both groups, the ptsd patients had difficulty retrieving an episodic memory whether it was intentional or not. The researchers found the more severe an individual’s symptoms were, the more difficulty the individual experienced during memory retrieval.

All while the procedure had taken place, the participants were being monitored by magnetoencephalography, also called MEG. MEGs are used to map neural networks and changes in magnetic fields,  for this study it focused on gamma power. The MEG in this study found that when the participants with ptsd were trying to suppress a memory, their levels of gamma activity increased causing them to fail. This contrasts with the control group, who had lowered their gamma levels and suppressed the memory successfully.

Not only did the participants with ptsd fail to suppress memories, they also showed difficulties trying to retrieve a desired memory. This data presents using memory suppression as a therapy technique is unwise because it does not show reduction of an intrusive thought or memory and could potentially make symptoms worse.

University of Birmingham. “Severely traumatized refugees may not necessarily develop PTSD.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 September 2018.

Link: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180904114747.htm

Waldhauser, G., Martin, D., Ruf-Lueschner, M., Muller-Bamouh, V., Schauer M.,      Axmacher, N., . . . Hanslmayr, S. (2018). The neural dynamics of deficient memory control in heavily traumatized refugees. Scientific Reports, 8, 1-12.

Link: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-31400-x

Reflection:

By playing the role of the reporter and not the reader, it was easier to understand the pressure that reporters experience. I chose to summarize the main points of the study, because going too into detail would most-likely confuse readers or lose their interest. The first thing I chose to leave out were the images and graphs, there were too many, and I honestly did not understand them myself. The content was much easier to understand. I also left out the in-depth descriptions of the participants, procedure and data analysis because it was more concise to accurately summarize it. This was due to word limitations. I can more clearly understand now how some articles can appear misleading due to what the editor chooses to include or leave out. I answered the first three critical questions but left out four and five. This was because I found it harder to “report” them as part of the study without making it sound like an accusation. Trying to include it not allowing for causal claims and saying that it cannot be generalized seemed out of place with the rest of my content.
I think my article compares equally with the original news article. I included the same facts and information as the original but feel as though I elaborated more. I also included a more in-depth description of the actual procedure, along with a more descriptive paragraph surrounding the role the MEG played in the study. The original news article only answered the first three critical questions as well.
Throughout the series of projects on psychology in the media, I was able to look through the eyes of the reporter and understand how they choose their content and meet word limitations. I felt like I learned the most doing this, media production part, because it most resembles the job of the reporter

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