Do you have a good memory?

Remember when the twin towers fell? Remember when the Fort Hood shootings broke out? Are you confident about what you were doing at the time? What if someone told you that your memories change? Professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University Charles A. Weaver III spoke about flashbulb memory at the College of Science lecture Nov. 4 at Shelton Theater. “What is it that makes flashbulb memories special? Not their accuracy, but your belief in their accuracy,” Weaver said. “You will tell with confidence, ‘On 9/11 I was doing XYZ.’ You may or may not be right, but you will be confident. That’s probably what defines flashbulb memory,” Weaver said. A traumatic and/or personally affecting situation usually occurs in order for this kind of memory to be formed. “What leads to good memory? Emotion, significance, rehearsal, distinctiveness, imagery, all of those things (are usually) true of flashbulb memories,” Weaver said. So, these memories depend on events that affect the individual. In the past, psychologists assumed that flashbulb memories lined up 100 percent with what events really happened. “In order to know if your memory is correct, I have to know what you were really doing,” Weaver said. To test the accuracy of these memories, Weaver has to get responses from people right after terrible events. On Sept. 11, 2001, he found it difficult, emotionally, to research. “We did a 9/11 study right after this happened. I’ve got to tell you, it’s the most conflicted I ever was.” Sophomore Christian studies and psychology major Brittany Beltran thought the talk was interesting. “I personally have a really bad memory, so I never depend on my memory,” Beltran said. After a flashbulb memory moment, a person becomes confident in the memory. “With the memories themselves, like all other memories, (they) change before you get your story straight. Once you get your story straight, then you’re going to stick with it,” Weaver said. Assistant psychology professor Trent Terrell earned his education in Baylor, learning under Weaver. Terrell was a subject in Weaver’s study on 9/11. “He was my mentor in grad school,” Terrell said. After a recent tragedy, he said he “conducted a study of UMHB students following the Fort Hood shootings.” Terrell said that memory is not set in stone. “Every time you retrieve a memory, it’s a chance for that memory to...

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Writers’ Festival unites artistic minds
Nov24

Writers’ Festival unites artistic minds

Creative souls will find a place to share their voice in the upcoming Writers’ Festival Jan. 6-9. English Professor Dr. Audell Shelburne has directed the festival every year since 2003. Attendees this year may take part in a coffee house Open Mic in Shelton Theater, lectures and workshops in art, song writing, prose and poetry. Alan Berecka started attending the festival after being accepted in 2000 to Windhover, a Christian literary journal. “My poems first appeared in Vol. 5 of the Windhover. I was invited to read in that year …. I haven’t missed a festival since,” he said. The Writers’ Festival is a place where he fine-tunes his craft. “The chance to meet other writers and workshop with major poets (has) been central to my creative life and the development of my craft,” Berecka said. In January, Berecka might read some poems from his collection The Comic Flaw. “There’s a core group of us who have grown into a little family, along with the UMHB English and art faculty …. Every January I’m hauling up 77 North to Cameron and then on to Belton,” Berecka said. He is looking forward to attending the readings and “to hearing all the familiar voices, hearing what everyone has been working on, and learning about other writers.” Anne McCrady first attended the festival as a member of a panel of poets from the Poetry Society of Texas. “Over the years, I have made so many wonderful friends. Now, I feel like I have become part of the UMHB Writers Festival family,” she said. Attendees may sign up for a small-group master class taught by acclaimed writers. This year Myra McLarey will be teaching a prose workshop, and Kelly Cherry will teach a workshop on poetry. McCrady said she looks forward most to the master classes. “It is an opportunity to have a skilled leader moderate a group of dedicated writers who share ideas about each other’s work, she said.” McCrady is thankful for the annual festival. “Every year I am amazed at the support and hospitality given to this event in terms of great speakers and wonderful sessions. Writing can be a lonely endeavor; it is affirming to be with other writers and to enjoy creative discussion,” she said. Shelburne said students, faculty and staff may attend the festival for free. If they want to attend the dinners during the weekend, they need to talk to him to make reservations. He said,“This festival offers a good opportunity for students and writers to meet others who want to improve their writing. It also gives people a chance to hear some great prose and...

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One act performers showcase their emotional stage presence
Nov12

One act performers showcase their emotional stage presence

Lush, classy costumes and big band sounds invoke the spirit of the roaring ’20s for a night of two one-act plays: a drama and a comedy. Director Michael Fox chose two pieces written by Texas playwright Horton Foote. He won academy awards for best screenplay 1983 for Tender Mercies and in 1962 for To Kill a Mockingbird. He wrote more than 50 one-act plays in his lifetime. “He is an award-winning, Texas playwright born in 1916,” Fox said. “And he died this year in March.” Performances were held in the Azalee Marshall Cultural Activities Center in Oct. 30 and 31. “The space is great. The technical support is outstanding, and it’s one of those places that is available,” Fox said. One-acts are plays that take place in one scene. “In a one-act everything happens from setting it up to the conflict to the resolution, if there’s a resolution to be had. There may not be,” Fox said. Spring Dance has no resolution. “It’s just a snapshot in time; it’s like you’re eavesdropping on these four troubled souls,” Fox said. The play is set in a sanitarium in Austin in the 1920s. “The theme that goes through the whole play is going home. They all want to go home,” Fox said. Freshman psychology major Joshua Kirwin played the part of Greene Hamilton. “He is an emotionally unstable gentleman in an insane asylum who is pretty high-strung, and he loves his shoes,” Kirwin said. Kirwin gave Greene a nervous tick and constantly wrung his hands on stage. “You have to find a happy medium between overacting and being a believable character in this play,” he said. Freshman Christian ministry major Levi Seymour played Dave Dushon, who remains silent during the one-act. “They needed a guy who didn’t talk at all, and so I was more than willing,” he said. During the performance, Seymore barely moves a muscle. “It’s hard not to laugh or smile for forty minutes in a row,” he said. Jennifer Loyd came in at the last minute to play the part of Annie, a forgetful woman who lives in the sanitarium. “She wasn’t the person that I originally cast,” Fox said. “She came in almost six weeks after we started rehearsals and she has done a wonderful job.” Freshman computer graphics design major Stephen Webster played the role of Cecil Henry. He seems sane until the last few minutes when he introduces himself to Annie, whom he has already met. “When you think of crazy people, you think they’re like jumping off the walls and in straitjackets… but that’s normally not the case,” Webster said. In Blind Date,...

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Relient K lyrics weave metaphors
Nov12

Relient K lyrics weave metaphors

Relient K is in a constant state of metamorphosis. The band’s newest release Forget and Not Slow Down is a drastic difference from their Blink 182-inspired full length release in 2000. Matt Thiessen, the brains of the operation, tries on different musical styles like pairs of shoes. Part of me wishes he would just keep that old pair of black Converse from his punk days. Experimental as ever, their songs have a little Jason Mraz, Ace Troubleshooter, jazz and Latin touches, or, with songs like “I Don’t Need a Soul” a full assault of Mae-influenced rhythms and patterns. New drummer Ethan Luck is a prolific musician whose credentials include guitarist for the OC Supertones and lead guitarist for Demon Hunter. Luck proves that guitarists do make great drummers. The song about getting over a relationship, “Over It,” gently showcases Luck’s prowess with smooth, relaxed fills. Thiessen is still verbally exuberant in his lyrics, weaving ironic word pictures and metaphors. In“Part of It” he sings, “When a nightmare finally does unfold, perspective is a lovely hand to hold.” It’s a catchy, radio-destined song with addictive vocals. In the poignant song “Therapy,” about how God is the only one listening to him, since his girl isn’t taking his calls, he makes a distinction: “Loneliness and solitude are two things not to get confused, cause I spend my solitude with you.” “Savannah” is the standout track of the album with Latin beats, strings and acoustic guitars. That song makes listeners want to dance. Unlike the old K with guitar solo-driven songs like “Charles in Charge,” these new tunes are delay and snare roll driven. Another highlight, “This is the End” begins with Thiessen’s classical piano stylings, and his voice, with hardly any of the nasally punk bite from previous albums, sings, “I can’t keep a straight face and say this is not the end. Not if you want it. It’s upon us and I want to say it’s sinking in.” A punk metal beat kicks in and the song pushes quickly to the end, which doesn’t sound like an ending as it transitions seamlessly into the post-song “If you want It,” picking up where his piano solo leaves off. The lyrics allude to both The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the tale of the Prodigal Son. “Blisters on my feet I crawled back home. Frozen from the sleet burned sand and stones, nourished back to life by life alone, with one shake of the mane regain the...

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Faith plays evident role on big screen

The crowd erupted with laughter, spending their Wednesday chapel watching a clip from Talladega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby. “Dear Lord, baby Jesus …. We thank you so much for this bountiful harvest of Domino’s, KFC, and the always delicious Taco Bell,” he prayed. Dr. Robert Johnston, author of the book Reel Spirituality, spoke in chapel Oct. 14. about faith and the movies. He followed up the clip of Ricky Bobby by saying, “One can actually take that little sequence and think pretty strongly, fully, deeply, about the nature of prayer, about your relationship with God, about the nature of God.” The movie industry is a 50 billion dollar a year business worldwide. Johnston thinks that movies can be good for students’ spiritual health. “Movies are also a primary source of spiritual insight,” Johnston said. “Some movies have the ability to reach in and grab our spirit. Some movies have the possibility of even transforming our life.” Ashli Lawson, junior math and chemistry double major, was impressed by how movies affect the viewer. “Movies can bring you to tears. So, since our emotions are being affected, I think it’s important to realize that (movies) lend themselves to affect us spiritually,” Lawson said. Junior computer graphics design major Heather Myers noticed through reading the book Reel Spirituality, “how much movies affect us and how much they become a part of everyday life,” she said. Johnston also gave the example of spirituality in the 2004 movie Crash, a film about a carjacking in Los Angeles. “The movie invites you and me to not look at the subject at arm’s length,” Johnston said. “The movie actually forces you and me to say ‘is that me?’ ‘Is that who I should be?’ ‘Is that who God is calling me to be?’” Senior finance and economics major Nathan Berryman said one thing that stood out to him in Johnston’s book was his ability to find theological truths in film. “Different aspects of film or scenes in film that we don’t necessarily think have any theological or spiritual significance actually do depending on how we look at it,” Berryman said. Another example Johnston used was Shawshank Redemption, a fi lm that bombed in theatres. He said this movie is powerful, not because of ticket sales, but because of its emotional appeal. “Shawshank Redemption crawls underneath your skin …. It’s not a movie about hope; it’s a movie that gives you hope,” Johnston said. He believes films are prompting a conversation of spirituality and religion. Johnston’s question is, “will the church join in the discussion?” He closed his lecture by telling the student body, “I...

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