Chapter 3: Stated Main Ideas
Lab Activity 15: Topics, Main Ideas, and Central Points
To identify the topic, main ideas, and central point in a textbook passage.
Step 1: Read the following passage from a college psychology textbook. Then answer the questions that follow it.
(1) In January 1964, at age 17, Randy Gardner made history by setting a world's record by staying awake for more than 260 hours—just short of 11 days. He enlisted two friends to help keep him awake, and he took no stimulants, not even coffee. After 2 days, sleep researcher William Dement began supervising Gardner's progress, much to the relief of his parents. Although Gardner did not suffer any serious physical symptoms, there were marked psychological effects. On day 2, he had trouble focusing his eyes. On day 3, he experienced mood changes. On day 4, he was irritable and uncooperative; he also began to hallucinate. By day 6, Gardner had some memory lapses and difficulty speaking. By day 9, his thoughts and speech were sometimes incoherent. On day 10, blurred vision became more of a problem, and he was regularly forgetting things. Mornings were his most difficult time. Despite these behavioral changes, Randy never became violent or behaved in a socially deviant manner.
(2) One of the most interesting aspects of Randy Gardner's adventure is what happened to his sleep after his deprivation. Dement followed up by monitoring and observing Gardner for several days to see how well he recovered, what happened to his sleep patterns, and whether he made up for the sleep he had lost. Dement found that for the 3 nights following his deprivation, Gardner slept an extra 6.5 hours; on the 4th night, he slept an extra 2.5 hours. Therefore, Randy did not make up the sleep that he lost in his 11 days of sleep deprivation.
(3) Randy Gardner's experience was unusual in terms of the length of his sleep deprivation, but going without sleep is a part of many people's lives. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 67% of adults in the United States get less than the recommended amount of sleep; 43% say that sleepiness interferes with activities in their lives, including work performance. People miss sleep in order to work, but they also neglect sleep in order to have fun, such as partying and watching TV. What are the effects of sleep deprivation? How much harm does going without sleep cause, especially at typical levels such as a few hours per night? If Randy Gardner's experience is typical, missing a few hours' sleep doesn't cause many problems, but many hours of deprivation produce major problems in functioning.
—Adapted from Lefton & Brannon, Psychology, 8th ed., pp. 197–198.
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