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Freshman in Seminar Physically Unable to Not Raise Hand


Photo by Ajaxean / CC BY-SA 3.0

Sarah Moretti, a College freshman in URBS 254—Gender and Power in Cities of Western Europe, was found to be physically unable to not raise her hand in seminar. 

Moretti’s disorder was uncovered in a yearlong study through the Perelman School of Medicine. The team of a combined five doctors and residents looked into developmental diversity on Penn’s campus. After a semester of following Moretti through her Monday evening URBS 254 seminar, they learned that Moretti was physically incapable of not raising her hand if a question was asked of the class.

“It was like something out of science fiction,” Dr. Levine reported to UTB. “The first day we sat with her in the classroom, we immediately saw a pattern. You’d look away for one second, and there was her hand again, fully erect, often straining to be seen despite no other hands being raised. It didn’t matter how vague the question was, whether it was rhetorical… honestly, it didn’t matter whether or not a question was even asked.”

Not only did Moretti’s arm respond almost instinctually to verbal and nonverbal stimuli far before she could have reasonably processed any question asked of her, researchers noted, but her arm also seemed to defy gravity. “She just never got tired," added Levine. "I’ve said it before, but her arm was just, BOOM, always up there.”

“Although the extent of her tendency was extreme, she’s not the first case we’ve seen—not by a long shot,” said team coordinator Dr. Vitriello at his research exhibition in Irvine last Friday. He explained that doctors found Moretti’s distinctive physical tick surprisingly common amongst high school students admitted to Penn, and often carried over into the first months of college. 

Despite initial stagnation, numbers of students affected by the disorder sharply decreased between three and four months into freshman year at Penn, when students appeared to “chill the fuck out.”