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For fun paper #1, we want you to write a paper that evaluates the adequacy of the correlational method to study the effects of cannabis on teenagers.

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The goal of Fun Paper #1 is to use the correlational method to think more deeply about the substance use in the developing brain. In particular, we want you to use correlations to study the psychological experience of teenagers who smoke cannabis. A recent article in the New York Times (June 23, 2022; Psychosis, Addiction, Chronic Vomiting: As Weed Becomes More Potent, Teens Are Getting Sick; https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/23/well/mind/teens-thc-cannabis.html) suggests that many teenagers are smoking high-potency cannabis – with THC levels over 90% – which may have long-term effects on brain and psychological functioning. We learned in class that these teenagers have not completed brain development. Myelination of the cortex, for example, may not be complete until years later. The New York Times article suggests that many teenagers are getting sick from weed, including chronic vomiting and perhaps permanent symptoms of psychosis. A recent report from the U.S. Surgeon General claims that cannabis can be detrimental to cognitive functions, such as short-term memory, and heighten anxiety and symptoms of psychosis, including paranoia: U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory: Marijuana Use and the Developing Brain https://www.hhs.gov/surgeongeneral/reports-and-publications/addiction-and-substance-misuse/advisory-on-marijuana-use-and-developing-brain/index.html From this evidence, we might hypothesize that there would be a strong relationship between levels of THC that teenagers are smoking and their performance on memory tests, symptoms of paranoia, and symptoms of anxiety. In particular, high-potency cannabis might be associated with poorer memory, more paranoia, and greater anxiety. The correlational method might be an appropriate technique for testing this hypothesis. For Fun Paper #1, we want you to write a paper that evaluates the adequacy of the correlational method to study the effects of cannabis on teenagers. First, title your paper “Using the Correlational Method to Study Cannabis Use in the Adolescent Brain”. Next: FOLLOW EACH OF THE FOLLOWING FIVE INSTRUCTIONS EXACTLY (The following is a detailed outline on how you should write this paper): Your paper should consist of five paragraphs corresponding to the 5 questions below. DO NOT write an outlined paper: it needs to be in essay format. Within each paragraph, please be clear on which letter you are answering by placing a bold letter in front of the sentences. If you are answering “1a” place a letter “a” before the sentence/s. (Here’s an example: The purpose of this paper is to use the correlational method to examine the relationship between functions of the left and right hemispheres. I will compare the performance of people with intact brains with the performance of so-called split-brain patients. In many ways, the brains of these two groups are very similar. 1 a. The location of the brainstem in the normal brain is…) 1. Begin the first paragraph of the paper with these sentences: “The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the correlational method as a means for examining the relationship between levels of THC in cannabis and various psychological functions in teenagers. I will compare the functioning of 20 students at a local high school who smoke cannabis daily. In many ways, the brains of adolescents are the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of smoking cannabis.” a. Describe the trends in smoking cannabis among teenagers during the last few years, as reported in the New York Times article (4 pts). b. What are some of the effects of cannabis use on the developing brain (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2781289)? (4 pts). c. What is cannabis hyperemesis? Why is this syndrome associated with compulsive bathing (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1054139X20305772)? (4 pts) d. End the paragraph by completing this sentence: “In summary, recent scientific evidence suggests that adolescents are the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of smoking cannabis because ___” (4 pts). 2. Begin the next paragraph with this sentence: “Teenage use of high-potency cannabis may even lead to permanent psychiatric symptoms, including the development of psychotic symptoms.” a. What is psychosis? What are some of the symptoms of psychosis? (4 pts) b. Is there any evidence that high-potency cannabis is associated with psychotic symptoms (https://www.thelancet.com/article/S2215-0366(19)30048-3/fulltext)? Explain. (5 pts) c. Is there any evidence that those who started using high-potency cannabis by age 15 years have a higher risk of a psychotic disorder? Explain. (3 pts) 3. Begin the next paragraph with these sentences: “Evidence also suggests that cannabis use can have effects on everyday cognitive functioning, such as short-term memory, and on symptoms of anxiety.” 3. Begin the next paragraph with these sentences: “Evidence also suggests that cannabis use can have effects on everyday cognitive functioning, such as short-term memory, and on symptoms of anxiety.” a. What is the effect of cannabis on people’s short-term memory? What is the effect of cannabis on people’s symptoms of anxiety? In your view, is cannabis good or bad for treating anxiety? (6 pts) b. State the hypothesis to be evaluated in your paper. (4 pts) c. Describe how you will use the correlational method to evaluate the hypothesis. (5 pts) 4. At the bottom of this assignment are data from a group of 20 adolescents (ages 14-18) who use cannabis daily in various forms, including dabs and oils. For each participant, the THC levels in their cannabis was measured in a laboratory. They were then tested on three standardized psychological measures: (1) a test of short-term memory performance, (2) a survey measuring their state of anxiety, and (3) a measure of their paranoia symptoms. The table contains the participants’ scores on these measures, higher scores indicating better memory performance, greater state anxiety, and greater paranoia. In Lab #1 we used the following formula to calculate the correlation coefficient ; The Formula: r = III/ (radical) I(II) We broke this formula into three terms: I= N (Sum X2) – (Sum X)2 II= N (Sum Y2) – (Sum Y)2 III= N (Sum of XY) – Sum X (Sum Y) Begin the fourth paragraph with these sentences: “Data were collected from a group of 20 adolescents (ages 14-18) who use cannabis daily to test the hypothesis using the correlational method. Each group completed three standardized psychological measures: (1) a short-term memory performance test, (2) a survey measuring their state of anxiety, and (3) a measure of their paranoia symptoms.” a. State your predictions about the pattern of correlations among THC potency and the three measures if the hypothesis under investigation is correct. (7 pts) b. Figure 1 below presents a scatterplot of the variables THC and anxiety. What is a scatterplot? What does Figure 1 depict as the relationship between THC and anxiety in this study? (4 pts) c. Use the formula to compute the correlation coefficient between THC and each of the three psychological measures. Also, compute the correlation coefficient between memory and anxiety (N.B. That’s 4 correlation coefficients in total). For each coefficient, state the computed value of each of the four terms of the formula (i.e., r, I, II, and III). (6 pts) 5. Begin the final paragraph with these sentences: “The results of the correlational method were valuable in addressing the hypothesis under study. However, several of the findings require future consideration.” a. Restate the hypothesis under study. Are the results of the correlational analysis consistent with the hypothesis? Why or why not? (4 pts) b. Give an explanation for the relationship found in Figure 1. Give an explanation for the relationship found between memory and anxiety. (6 pts) c. Describe a feature of the study that could be improved if you were to repeat it. (3 pts) d. Can correlational studies be used to evaluate hypotheses or should we only use experiments instead? Defend your answer. (4 pts) e. Make a general conclusion from the results about the effects of substance use on the developing brain. (3 pts) A fifth of your grade will be based on the following: a. Clarity of thesis development (4 pts) b. Clarity of paper’s structure and organization (4 pts) c. Thoroughness in development of evidence (4 pts) d. Good mechanics (grammar, punctuation, usage) and style of writing (4 pts) e. Competence in quantitative reasoning and analysis of research findings (4 pts) ****Quoted, paraphrased, or borrowed sentences or phrases are not allowed. These will be regarded as plagiarism, which will be penalized by a zero on the assignment and a report filed with the Office of the Academic Integrity Official. The paper should not exceed 4 pages. ***

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