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Movies and the Beat!

May 8, 2012

Abstract: Movies make us cry, laugh, pee our pants, and feel totally badass. For our experiment we wondered one question: would different genres cause us to have different changes in heart rate? To find this out we decided to select small, two-minute clips of movies that covered four genres: horror, comedy, action, and drama. After we selected our clips, we went out and picked two female subjects and two male subjects to test our hypothesis that different genres would affect genders differently. Once we had both our clips and subjects, we performed our experiment. We monitored the heart rate of each subject before showing the movie clip and during the two minutes they watched each clip. Our results proved that seventy-five percent of our hypothesis was correct. Females heart rates were more affected by scary movies and dramas, while males heart rates were more affected by comedy. However, males were not as affected by action as we had predicted. We decided that this was due to the fact that each subject was not exposed to long enough sections of the movie to become fully emerged into the emotions of the movie.

I. Title: Movies and the Beat

II. Problem: Is heart rate affected by the genre of movies you watch?

III. Hypothesis: If a person watches a scene representative of a genre with intensity, then their heart rate will increase because of emotional stimulation. A male will react differently than a female. A male’s subject’s heart rate will be more affected by the action and comedy genres because they are easily excited by fast-paced entertainment. A female’s heart rate will be more affected by the drama and horror genres because they are emotionally driven.

IV. Materials: 

  • Test subjects (total 4- two females & two males)
  • Computer (MacBook)
  • LoggerPro Software
  • Vernier LabQuest Mini
  • Hand-Grip Heart Rate Monitor
  • Empty, dark, quiet room
  • 4 two minute movie clips of different movie genres

V. Procedure: 

  1. Select two boys and two girls around the same age for test subjects.
  2. Using the Hand-Grip Heart Rate Monitor, LoggerPro Software, and Vernier LabQuest Mini on the Macbook gather the heart rate for each test subject.
  3. After recording the resting heart rate of each subject, take one subject into the room to watch the four separate movie clips.
  4. Using the Hand-Grip Heart Rate Monitor, LoggerPro Software, and Vernier LabQuest Mini on the Macbook gather the heart rate of the subject while they watch each clip.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each of the remaining subjects.
  6. After gathering the data for each subject use the data to compare the changes in heart rates among the subjects. While comparing data try to focus on how each person reacted to the different movie genres.

VI. Data:


VII. Conclusion: 

For the most part, our hypothesis was accurate. Looking at the data we collected, it can be seen that different genres do, in fact, affect heart rate differently. In addition, the data also reveals that males and females do respond differently to each genre. In our hypothesis, we stated that males would be more affected by action and comedy genres, while females would be more affected by horror and drama genres. Out of these four predictions, three were correct. The male test subjects experienced much greater changes in heart rate during the comedy than the female subjects. On the other hand, the female subjects experienced moderately greater changes in heart rate during the horror and drama than the males. However, our prediction about the action genre was not proven to be correct, since neither sex was affected more than the other during that clip.After collecting our data, we noticed that the test subjects were generally not as affected by the clips as we were expecting. While this is typical in experiments, we also believe that the small changes in heart rates are due, in part, to the fact that our four movie clips were only two-minute sections of the movies. We think that, in order to become emotionally involved enough to experience drastic changes in heart rate, test subjects need to experience an entire movie, not just a section of it.

Heart Dissection Lab

March 5, 2012

I. Title:  Comparative Heart Dissection Lab

II. Purpose: To dissect and compare the anatomy of a sheep, pig, and cow heart.

III. Hypothesis: Among all three species the heart serves the same purpose so therefore its anatomy should be the same. However, since each species is a different size the size of the heart and its parts should vary in size and correspond to the species size.

IV. Materials: 

  • Sheep Heart
  • Pig Heart
  • Cow Heart
  • Three Scalpels
  • Three Forceps
  • Three Scissors
  • Three Probes
  •  Three Dissection Trays
V. Procedure: 
  1. Place each of the hearts on a separate Dissection Tray, along with the tools necessary for the dissection.
  2. Make a frontal plane slice completely down the heart.
  3. Measure and record the diameter of the right and left atriums, right and left ventricles, aorta, pulmonary trunk, and outer walls on each side of the heart.
  4. Wash tray, tools, and throw away the hearts.
VI. Data:
Cow Heart Pictures

VII. Conclusion:

After performing the dissection my conclusion proved correct. Each heart has the same function so therefore the basic anatomy of each heart was the same. Also, as you can see in the graphs the size of the heart corresponded to the size of the animal. The sheep’s heart was the smallest because it is the smallest animal among the three species. The pig was in the middle of the size range and so was its heart. Finally, the cow’s heart was the biggest and once again the data showed that the cow had the biggest heart. To back up this conclusion, I can comfortably say that the reasons for the size difference is the simple fact that each animal needs to pump a certain amount of blood to its body. Bigger animals such as cows would need a bigger heart to pump blood to its bigger body, while smaller animals like the sheep wouldn’t need to pump blood as far so therefore it could have a smaller heart.


The Heart

March 4, 2012

Here is a short video that explains how blood flows through the heart.

Quick overview of major parts of the heart:

  • Vena cava- Superior & Inferior– Where deoxygenated blood enters the heart.
  • Right Atrium- Deoxygenated first enters right atrium, one of the four major chambers in the heart. Also pushes blood into right ventricle.
  • Tricuspid Valve- Valve between right atrium and right ventricle, opens and closes to regulate flow of blood from right atrium to right ventricle.
  • Right Ventricle- Receives deoxygenated blood from the right atrium. Also one of the four major chambers in the heart, and pushes blood into the pulmonary artery.
  • Pulmonary Valve- Valve between right ventricle and pulmonary artery, opens and closes to regulate flow of blood from right ventricle to pulmonary artery.
  • Pulmonary Artery- Receives and carries the deoxygenated blood from the right venticle to the lungs.
  • Pulmonary Arteriole- Smaller blood vessels of the pulmonary artery that carry the deoxygenated blood.
  • Pulmonary Capillaries- Even smaller blood vessels that connect the arterioles with the venules and allow for the exchange of nutrients. This exchange in nutrients allows the blood to become oxygenated.
  • Pulmonary Venule- Small blood vessels that take the oxygenated blood from the capillaries and connect to the main pulmonary vein.
  • Pulmonary Vein- Carries the oxygenated blood from the lungs into the left atrium.
  • Left Atrium- Another of the four chambers of the heart. The left atrium holds the oxygenated blood it receives from the pulmonary vein and pushes it into the left ventricle.
  • Mitral Valve- Valve between the left atrium and ventricle. Opens and closes in sync with tricuspid valve to allow blood flow from left atrium to left ventricle.
  • Left Ventricle- Also one of the four major chambers of the heart, receives oxygenated blood from left atrium and pushes it into aorta.
  • Aortic Valve- Valve between left ventricle and aorta. Opens and closes in sync with pulmonary valve and allows blood to flow from left ventricle to the aorta.
  • Aorta- Largest artery in body, carries oxygenated blood to all parts of the body.
  • Coronary Artery- Carries oxygen rich blood to the heat muscle, connects to the aorta.
  • Coronary Vein- Takes the blood from muscular tissue of the the heart and puts it into the coronary sinus
* Not included in video or picture.
  • S.A. Node- Located in the right atrium, the S.A. node is a cluster of neurons that controls the contractions of both the right and left atrium.
  • A.V. Node- Is also a cluster of neurons. It is located in the right ventricle and is set off by the S.A. node. The A.V. node controls the contractions of both ventricles.

Click to enlarge

The Optic Nerve

February 1, 2012

This is a video I did with my fellow classmates, Steven and Katrina. It overviews the anatomy of the eye and the function of the optic nerve. We spent about a week capturing and editing this video and I am impressed how it turned out, so please sit back and enjoy!

Wind-tunnel finally coming together!

January 24, 2012

This quarter Steven and I decided that we better get our butts in gear and finally finish our wind-tunnel. These past two weeks we have been putting it together piece by piece, and I must say it is coming together nicely. Currently we have about ten more steps to do until it is finished. We still need to repaint the surfaces black, mount up the smoke tube and attach the plexiglass. And hopefully after all that is complete, it will all work perfectly well. In the next post I will attach some pictures and videos of the finished product.

Leech Neurophysiology Lab Write Up

January 18, 2012

Conduct this experiment yourself by clicking HERE


I. Title: Leech Neurophysiology Lab Write Up

II. Purpose/Objective: Record electrical activities of individual neurons while you deliver mechanical stimulus to the attached skin. Inject flurescent dyes into the neurons to visualize their morphology. Identify the neurons based on the morphology and the response to stimuli, comparing them to previously published results.

III. Hypothesis: If a leech’s skin is stimulated by touch, then if it is touched by a mechanical stimulus the neurons will fire action potentials.

IV. Materials:

Feather: Used to give the leech skin a very gentle touch stimulation. It really doesn’t need to be a feather, it could be q-tips or something. Cost: free.
Probe: A blunt metal rod attached to a wooden handle useful for lifting, pushing, pressing, moving of specimen. Here you use it to lift tissue, and to push the skin as a stimulus. Typical price: $1.00 ~ 10.00
Forceps: Fine forceps for very fine manipulations. The very fine ones are known as Dumont #5 forceps, with tip size of about 0.1 mm X 0.06 mm or smaller. Typical price: $15.00 ~ 45.00
Scissors: Good dissecting angled scissors used here to cut open the body wall. Teaching scissors are cheaper, but some ultra-fine dissecting scissors could cost upward of $400, and you better not drop that, because once you drop it, chances are, it’s ruined. Typical price: $15.00 ~ 60.00
Pins: Stainless steel dissecting pins for pinning tissue to a dissecting dish or board. You can drop these and not worry about it. $1.00
Scalpel: For microsurgery, disposable scalpel blades are better and much more economical than the fixed blade scalpel which needs to be sharpened periodically. Blade: $0.50 Handle: $10.00 Used here to cut all kinds of things.
Dissection Tray: A tray half-filled with hard wax so that you can stick pins into it to stabilize specimen for dissection.
Leech Tank: Leeches are kept in pond-water (you can actually buy an instant pond-water mix to add to tap water.) If kept in a refrigerator, they can stay happy in it for weeks at a time without feeding.
20% Ethanol: Used to anesthetize the leech. Besides being more humane, it has the added benefit that it stops them from moving, making it easier to pin down the leech.
Leech Tongs: These are basically gross anatomy forceps with blunt tips so that you will not harm the leech as you pick it up. Maybe about $ 10.00
Dissection Microscope: These are binocular microscopes specifically designed for dissection and other micromanipulations. Essentially, it’s a high quality high power magnifying glass. The price varies on quality and if you’ve looked through binoculars of different quality, you can appreciate what a difference good optic makes. On a good one, you can clearly see individual cells in a leech’s nervous system. Cost about $1,000.00 ~ $7,000.00
Micromanipulator: A device used to position items with sub-micrometer precision in three dimensions. Here we mount our electrode on it to guide it accurately to a neuron. For work on a leech, a mechanical manipulator would suffice which is about $700.00. More accurate hydraulic or electronic ones may cost up to $10,000.00
Oscilloscope: Basically a sophisticated voltmeter. What you see on the screen is a real time display of voltage (vertical) plotted against time (horizontal). Useful because voltmeters can’t track rapidly changing voltages, and even if they could, you couldn’t read anything. Cost $2,000.00 and up.
Leech: Medicinal leeches are about $15.00 each. When fully extended, they can reach 15 to 20 cm long. When fully contracted, diameter is roughly 1 ~ 2 cm.

V. Procedure:

  1. Pick up the leech with the tongs and anethetize the leech in the 20% ethanol solution.
  2. Next pin the leech dorsal side up through the anterior and posterior suckers onto the dissection tray, stretching the leech in the process.
  3. Using the scissors, make a cut along the mid-line of the dorsal side of the leech. Be careful not to damage any deep structures. Using the forceps spread the leech apart and pin back the leech.
  4. With the probe remove all internal structures to expose the ventrally located nerve cord. The leech’s nervous system is encased within the ventral sinus, which is a dark green color.
  5. Using the dissecting microscope notice that there are many swellings up and down the sinus. These swellings contain segmental ganglia. Using and the scalpel cut a window in the body wall underneath the ganglion, making sure not to damage the nerve cord or any other nerves in the process. Once the window is cut remove the body wall with the forceps.
  6. Isolate the section with the window by making two parallel cuts across the animal. With forceps, flip the piece of skin over and pin the skin down.
  7. Next, using the dissecting microscope cut the sinus with a scalpel and using forceps, tease apart the sinus to expose the ganglion. Individual cells should now be able to be viewed under the microscope.
  8. Use the micromanipulator tip from the micromanipulator to probe a cell. Once you find a cell use each tool (feather, probe, and the forceps) to test the cell response. Also make sure to dye each cell using the dye injection and click the UV switch to view the dyed cell. Then use the atlas to compare your data to identify which cell you have located.
  9. Continue step 8 until you have identified all five cells.

VI. Data:

  • The data  collected from using the micromanipulator should look exactly the same as your atlas if you find all five cells. 

VII. Conclusion: 

After conducting this experiment my hypothesis did prove to be correct. When you touched a neuron with a mechanical stimuli such as the feather, probe, or forceps they did in fact fire action potentials.

From this experiment I learned that  there are different types of cells that react differently to each stimulus. For example, if you look at the data you can see that a feather causes for no change in an N, P, or X cell, but when it is used on a T or R cell there is activity. I also learned that some cells such as the R cell are firing action potentials without any stimulus and others such as the X cell very rarely send action potentials.

Neuromuscular Junction

December 19, 2011

Here is the video Steven and I created over the neuromuscular junction. If you don’t enjoy the video, at least enjoy the German rap!