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Category Archives: 7th Season: 2019-2020

The Impact of Music on Completing Tasks: A Psychology Case Study

By Grace Gibbons and Alie Hyland, VI Form

The Impact of Music on Completing Tasks: A Psychology Case Study

As high school students, we spend a lot of time completing homework assignments and studying each day. We noticed that some of our peers choose to listen to music during study hours, while others prefer silence in order to remain focused. Both of us have different preferences, so we conducted this study to determine the impact of music on concentration while completing a task. 

Research previously conducted on this topic indicates that listening to music impacts cognitive ability in various ways. Music will either enhance or negatively impact studying depending on the type of work the student is completing. If a student is working on a complex task that requires complete focus or processing multiple pieces of information, then background music may hinder their concentration. (Kuepper-Tetzel 2016). Music can enhance student performance by blocking out outside noises and distractions, helping the student fully focus on their assignment. We chose the task of a word scramble for our study since it requires full concentration from the student and the lyrics may interfere with processing.

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American Sign Language ASL/PSE Song Interpretations

By Olivia Lin and Katie Mao, IV Form, and Lilly Shay-Duran, V Form

American Sign Language ASL/PSE Song Interpretations

The final task in the American Sign Language St. Mark’s Saturday course is to sign a song in American Sign Language (ASL) or, more commonly, Pidgin Signed English (PSE), a combination of ASL signs with spoken English grammar and sentence structure.

Click to view Olivia’s PSE cover of “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran.
Click to view Katie’s PSE cover of “Sunflower” by Post Malone and Swae Lee.
Click to view Lilly’s PSE cover of “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s.
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A Statistical Analysis of Jury Sizes and Guilty Verdicts

By Kartik Donepudi, V Form

A Statistical Analysis of Jury Sizes and Guilty Verdicts

Given that a certain percentage, p, of jurors in a trial are inclined to vote guilty, which of the following is more likely?

  • 6 jurors ruling guilty in a 6-person jury
  • 10 or more jurors ruling guilty in a 12-person jury
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Faith and Doubt: Emotion’s Place in Epistemology

By Daniela Ortiz, V Form

Faith and Doubt: Emotion’s Place in Epistemology

 In this paper, I will argue that faith is comprised of knowing God without certainty. I will argue that this kind of faith does more good in the world than absolute certainty in God. People of faith must face doubt to strengthen belief. Although this seems paradoxical, the outcome of continuously facing doubt is a stronger commitment to looking beyond one’s self and following through on a commitment to treat all other people with respect. 

Can we know God? Let us first define knowing. 

Knowing is split into two categories- the logical knowing and emotional knowing. Logical knowing is what is certain and can be derived from the senses. In this, I agree with Hume. Knowledge of this kind is about the physical world around us and is known through data of the empirical kind such as our sensory information. There are limitations to what our senses can have us knowing. If a person’s senses deceived them, for example, by seeing a fake oasis in a desert, then this knowing may be faulty. But a singular type of incident should not be taken to alter the whole principle that logical knowing is defined by what we can perceive and what we can think. Also, logical knowing is similar to the way mathematics is used to model occurrences in the world. The use of logic conduces one answer. When there is only one answer, we shall call this certainty. When there are multiple answers, uncertainty begins. The category of emotional knowing often resides with uncertainty because our emotions are hard to maintain a grasp on long enough for one answer and train of thought to be maintained from the impression of the emotion. In section 2, paragraph 12, Hume makes a clear distinction between our thoughts and our impressions. Ideas are limited only to what we can expand upon from our sensory information, or from our desires and feelings. The argument here is sound. In paragraph 14, Hume explains that every thought we have is copied from a similar, earlier impression. Emotions may be short-lived, but they are more vivid, and all of our ideas about the world are formed from them (Hume 2). To bring it to a point: although emotions are fleeting, the emotional knowing should not be discounted as our impressions are stronger and more vivid than the ideas they will eventually inform. 

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The Evolution of Lactose Tolerance

By Thomas Yuang Li, IV Form

The Evolution of Lactose Tolerance

Some people are lactose tolerant because they are lactase persistent (LP). Lactase is an enzyme responsible for the hydrolysis reaction or breakdown of lactose, the sugar in milk, and it helps human digest milk. LP is the continued activity of lactase in human adulthood. LP occurs because of the inheritance of genetic mutations that result in LP. It became prevalent in some societies due to evolution through natural selection.  As of 2018, around 65% of the world population experienced lactose intolerance (NIH). The distribution gradient is uneven, for about 90% of the population in East Asia are lactose intolerant while about only 10% of the population in North Western Europe are lactose intolerant.

Lactose is a disaccharide that contains a galactose and a glucose unit. Lactose makes up 6-8% of milk. Humans can only digest lactose with the help of lactase, making lactase critical in the digestion of milk. Lactase is produced by small intestine cells. It accelerates the hydrolysis reaction or breakdown of lactose. Through hydrolysis, lactose is broken down into glucose and galactose, which are monosaccharides, or simple sugar molecules, that can be absorbed into the human bloodstream. Lactase catalyzes this hydrolysis reaction by lowering the activation energy, the minimum energy required to initiate a chemical reaction. Without sufficient lactase, humans cannot fully digest lactose. As shown in Figure 1, the undigested lactose then passes on to the large intestine, where it interacts with bacteria and ferments. The fermentation causes symptoms of lactose intolerance, which range from bloating to diarrhea.

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The One-Minute Photo Challenge: A St. Mark’s Saturdays Final Product

By Holden LeBlanc, Mateo Macri, and Hudson Ramirez, V Form

The One-Minute Photo Challenge: A St. Mark’s Saturdays Final Product

In the off-camera flash photography course, students learned the technical knowledge needed to use flash “off the camera,” where the camera triggers the flash remotely with the use of wireless triggers. OCF gives photography depth and texture; it enhances the creative process and allows one to create moods and incredible effects.

Instructor Note from Mr. Bauer: On the last day of class, students were tasked with demonstrating their best work to showcase the tools and skills they had learned throughout the fall. Holden LeBlanc, Mateo Macri, and Hudson Ramirez decided to embark on “The One-Minute Challenge.” They walked around the school on Saturday morning asking subjects to give them a minute to take their picture. They filmed the process and edited the video.

Click to view Holden, Mateo, and Hudson’s video.
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