Can there be a Relationship between Ecstasy and Memory in the Human Body?
Target Article: Parrott, A.C & Lasky, J. (1998) Ecstasy (MDMA) effects upon mood and cognition: before, during and after a Saturday night dance. Psychopharmacology, 139, 261-268.
Additional Article: Parrot, A.C., Lees, A., Garnham, N.J., Jones, M., & Wesnes, K. (1998). Cognitive performance in recreational users of MDMA of ‘ecstasy’: evidence for memory deficits. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 12, 79-83.
Rationale and Variables: The Experiment that was conducted in class determined the affects of ‘ecstasy’ or MDMA on the participants’ memory. In addition to testing for their ability to recall information it also looked at the number of false memory that were related to the actual word “slow” in the class study. In the experiment Dr. Earleywine used a list of words that were to be memorized, and recall in a given time. This study is related to another experiment conducted by A.C Parrott and J. Lasky. In their study they looked at the effects of “ecstasy” or MDMA on mood and cognition. They tested three groups: non- MDMA, novice-MDMA users, and regular MDMA users. They used different methods to test the three groups, included in the methods was word recall, which was also used in the class study by Dr. Earleywine. The result from that experiment showed that “ecstasy” or MDMA users did have memory problems. Another study was also conducted by A.C. Parrott, A. Leess, N.J Garnham M. Jones, and K. Wesnes, which was relate also to the other experiments. This experiment was conducted using three groups: non-MDMA, novice-MDMA and regular MDMA users. They used series of methods to conduct their study, and found their results similar to the earlier study. Analyzing the finding of the two studies, Dr. Earleywine decided to do a study with the mind set of making a connection between the rates of intrusions that participants who have used MDMA, compared with the rate of intrusions with participants, who did not use MDMA. The independent variables were the two groups MDMA users and non-MDMA users, and the dependent variables are the intrusions, and words recalled.
Methods: The data for the experiment was collected form students that were taking psychology at University of Southern California. The participants included 145 women and 92 men. The ethnicity background included Caucasian, African/Caribbean, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latino, Native American, and others, which were not specified. The age of the participants averaged 19.578 years. The procedure of experiment started when Dr. Earleywine distributed the surveys to the participants. In the survey, questions regarding ecstasy and other drugs were asked. The participants were asked to put a check next to statements that were true to them. In the statement the participants were asked if they used MDMA in there life time or if they have never used it. They were also asked their race, age, sex and year in school. When the participants completed the questioner, Dr. Earleywine read a list of 16 words, pausing a few seconds between each word. When he was done reading the list, there was a 30-seconds period of silence in the lecture room. After the 30-secondes, the participants were asked to recall words that they believed were read and to write them on the back of one of the surveys.
Results: The study that was conducted produced results that were not very significant to our predicament. We predicted that the data we would receive would back up the two studies that were conducted, and would also be strong enough to make a statement of it’s own. But our prediction was far form backing up the two articles that we read. It was stated that 63.7% never used MDMA and 36.3% used MDMA in their lifetime. When the data was analyzed between the two groups, for intrusions and target intrusions they were identical for the most part. The MDMA users in our study were not more likely to make target intrusions. In the recall area of the study, the non-MDMA users recalled an average of 8.8600 words out of 16, and MDMA users averaged 8.1125 words. For the intrusion part of the study the non-MDMA users made 1.0200 intrusions on average and the MDMA users averaged 1.0000 intrusions. This result for the intrusion was so similar it would not be considered significant to make any conclusion in the study.
Discussion: the result in the study showed that there was less than 1 word difference between two groups regarding the number of words recalled out of 16. The result that was collected in the study for the most part makes little connection between MDMA and memory. The data that was received could not be analyzed, because the differences between the two are very small to make any conclusion. The result that we received compared to the two articles is very different. This could be due to the way the experiment was conducted in the psychology class. The study was conducted similarly to that of Parrott and Lasky, the results could have been different. In their study, the subject groups: non-MDMA, novice MDMA, and regular MDMA users, were determined after a screening process. There was a set standard to define the three different groups. Also, the study could have been different if they followed the procedure of the Parrott, Lees, Garnham, Jones and Wesnes study. In their study, the participants for the three groups were defined and tested to line up with the participant’s answers of classification. In the study that was conducted in class the subject were not classified clearly, and our result turned out differently than the two experiments. There was also another limitation that affected our result, 7 of the 237 people did not participant in the recall part of the study. It should be noted that six out of seven participants had used MDMA in their lifetime. This fact compared to the number of students that participated, can limit the accuracy of the results collected.
Critique and Suggestion: This study was not very effective in determining the connection that MDMA has on memory. One problem with the study includes how there were only two groups being studied. One group was participants that have used at least once, and those who have never used MDMA before. The classification for the study that was conducted needed to be more detailed so there was a distinction between participants that are non MDMA users, and those that used it once in a while, and those that are regular users. This would significantly change the result that was received because it would give it a better balance and would support the prediction that were made before the study was conducted. In the future when the participants are given questioners that would classified them as users or not, another question should be asked if they are user to state number of times used. The result could be grouped in the number of usage of MDMA and analyzed to give the study a favorable result that would back up the other studies that were conducted. The second problem with the study was that there was only a single trial of word recall task. The study should have not based their result in one memory based trial. If there were at least two or three-targeted word then the results would have been large and could have been compared between the different recalls that the participants wrote down. The result would have been different, because the more information that the study receives the better and more reliable that result becomes. Which in turn would have supported the two articles that related to the study. The third problem with the study was it failed to determine if other drugs that also impair memory were used with ecstasy. To make the study only exclusive to MDMA it should be taken to consideration if other drugs that impaired memory were also used.