Spotlight Blog Post #3

Shows like True Life, My Strange Addiction, and Hoarding: Buried Alive are shows that the viewer can watch casually and comfortably in their homes at the touch of a button – but do we ever think about the story behind the person? In some of these shows, the person that is being followed can seem “crazy,” but have you ever stopped to think that maybe their being exploited by the ones holding the camera? In my opinion, these are people who need professional help, not the magnification of society watching their every move – their every mistake. Some might question the ethics of the situation as a whole. Is it okay to document a person who is mentally ill’s life (regardless of consent) and broadcast it on national television? This is something that I think should be reconsidered when creating shows like My 600-lbs Life and 16 and Pregnant. There seems to be some sort of societal disconnect between what is okay to put on tv based on the consent by someone who is labeled as “mentally ill.” I think it should be rethought that a person who is labeled as “mentally ill” is eligible to give consent for themselves. In my opinion, shows like this are quite harmful to the people that are in them and should be taken off air. People who are mentally ill must not be used for our entertainment, rather treated with compassion and acknowledged as the part of society that needs help in their every day life.

Through research findings and articles that I found online, I quickly learned that there were many more people who agreed with me in saying that these shows are harmful to the people in them. According to the British Psychological Society, people should “desist from using mental health problems to entertain and shock the public.” Clinical Psychologist Sophie Holmes says, “we have a responsibility to consider the mental health needs of the people on the shows.” Many people who watch the shows, see this sort of exploitation as an act of bullying and how it is much different than tv shows that promote human transformation. Although there are normally great changes in people’s lives by the ends of the show, it is clear to see that much trauma had to happen in order for these changes to happen.

Some people argue that shows like this help people finally realize that they have a problem. The BPS report cites one anonymous source who wrote, “Before the programs, I didn’t realize there was help out there. It would have helped me to have this information years ago.” Another anonymous source added, “It was only when the programs were on television that I thought it’s actually a mental health problem. Before that I just thought I’m creating clutter.”  When we open our minds to the different perspective of people on both sides of the equation, we realize that these shows can be more than harmful to society.

This information was just some that I derived from the links listed below combined with my personal thoughts and feelings. Overall, I think there is some good information out there to help and argue against the broadcasting of these potentially harmful reality shows. I think it’s important to look at the facts and combine those with people’s opinions and try your best to see things through the eyes of others. The sources I used to get facts were mostly The Huffington Post and Psychology Today. Both of these sources had references and quotations from people giving their opinions on the subject at hand. These sources provided perspectives that I never thought of and many that I also agreed with. All in all, I learned a lot of things from reading through all of these sources.

From the outside looking in, these shows might seem harmless and helpful but when you realize that these people are mentally ill and are possibly being exploited for it, you might rethink turning on some of your favorite shows.

Harmful:

  1. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/17/hoarding-reality-shows_n_7605804.html
  2. http://tvcriticism2014.blogspot.com/2014/04/hoarding-buried-alive-unwrapped.html

Helpful:

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/insight-is-2020/201504/mental-illness-reality-tv-helpful-or-harmful
  2. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-green/reality-tv-rewarding-bad-_b_3606641.html

 

Media Production Post

News Article:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111109093729.htm

Scholarly Article:

http://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/article/S0006-3223(11)00912-7/fulltext

 

Word count article: 297

Word count reflection: 250

 

Article Rewrite:

A study was done to test and prove that telomere in depression and the general population are associated with a hypocortisolemic state. The study proved the correlation between people with depression and having telomeres with shorter length. Telomeres are the outermost part of linear chromosomes, that have lines of short nucleotide strings. This study showed that there was also a significant relation between the hypocortisolemic state of stress, which leads to depression which leads to having a short telomere length. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis plays a big part in the neuroendocrine response to stress. This HPA axis is commonly found to be dysregulated in people with depression. While there are outside factors that contribute to stress and the HPA response to stress, the depressive state itself acts as a stress generator and does not help the person with depression. A group of patients in a psychiatric care center in northern Sweden who all meet the criteria of major depressive disorder were evaluated in this study. Eighty-one participants and 253 control subjects were all involved in this experiment and all of them were questioned and had their telomeres evaluated. The first article mentions the correlation between short telomeres and depression, but does not mention which causes which, but whether or not they are systematic, but it is confirmed that they are very much correlated. Results showed that telomeres were indeed shorter in evaluated patients than those in the control group. It is also important to note that telomeres shorten with age and stress/depression can accelerate this shortening process. Telomere length was also associated with stress measured with the Perceived Stress Questionnaire. This research has been done multiple researchers and has been evaluated by many professionals, and the results are generally the same despite few aspects that may vary.

 

 

Reflection:

Considering the fact that I only had 297 words to work with, I found it extremely difficult to get all the information I wanted in my article rewrite. One might think it’s easier writing less words, but I found myself going back and rewriting sentences over and over again in order to condense my word count. In order to meet the word count, I was forced to leave out some very important information that was put in place to support the research. Although I was able to get everything in that helps to summarize the findings of this study, there were a lot of details that I had to leave out that would have made my research sound more valid and believable because it helps support much of the research. When I was looking for a news article to read about, I wasn’t necessarily looking for a short one, but if I found one brief enough to get the point across, then that would be a plus (or so I thought.) In the end, having more words to work with would have been beneficial to me and throughout this semester I have learned much about research articles and their validity. I have learned that some are more reliable than others and most of the time, extra words and that little bit of extra information is exactly what an article needs to be more reliable. The original article shows just how much I’ve grown since the start of the semester.

 

Spotlight Post #2

There are many different ways to destress, but not all methods of de-stressing work for everyone. In fact, if done incorrectly or by the wrong person – methods of de-stressing can actually lead to a much more stressful lifestyle. Stress can make is difficult to concentrate, increase worrying, cause tension and headaches, and even cause changes in your sleeping in eating habits. This is why it’s important to take a step back and evaluate the things you are doing to help de-stress to make sure they are not doing more harm than good.

Managing Stress During College:

Being a college student, you are forced into a whole new world of living alone and taking care of nearly everything yourself. For some, this could make for a much less stressful life, but for others it can be a troublesome and very difficult transition. Having the sort of freedom you have in college means that you have the opportunity to create both a life of ease, and a life of stress all for yourself. Throughout college, many students find that they start to develop new skills to help them balance the academic demands of college with the healthy living choices that must be made when living by yourself/with a roommate.

An article by the University of Michigan says that it’s important for college students to de-stress as stress can physically and mentally drag you down. While the article states that stress is a normal, natural part of life and being in college, there are many healthy ways that people cope with this sort of stress. One thing this article mentions as being helpful for college students when de-stressing, is exercise. While this can be a very useful and healthy way of dealing with stress and “blowing off steam,” per-say, some people see working out as something that is stressful in, and of itself. Personally, I really love going to the gym and physically putting in work, not only to maintain a healthy body, but a healthy mind. I find that the balance is important and exercising and running a couple times a weeks really helps keeping everything in check. While this might not be a problem-focused coping mechanism, it can be very helpful for people to have an outlet to blow off steam without having the cathartic reaction of lashing out. Overall, exercising could be potentially proactive, or retroactive for combatting stress, depending on how you look at it.

http://www.campusmindworks.org/students/self_care/managing_stress.asp

Managing Stress for Athletes

Although it is proven that a certain amount of stress can be very healthy for an athlete, there is a fine line between the stressors that help us focus and give us energy, and the stressors that can cause hormonal imbalances and the potential breakdown of the immune system. Oklahoma Sports and Fitness says, “Stress is like a spice. In the right portions, it enhances the flavor of the dish. Too little produces a bland, dull dish; and too much may choke you.” Some sports related factors that could play a vital role in increasing the stress of athletes is the physical and psychological demands, the life choices, and having pressure to always have a high standard of performance.

One of the main things that this website mentions is of upmost importance for athletes, is getting enough sleep. This is something that I think is very important for all people, especially physically active people. Getting enough sleep can play a vital role in how you perform on tests, in recitals, or (in this case) in games. While sleep is very important in the right amounts, playing Devil’s Advocate – too much sleep could be considered a maladaptive strategy of managing stress. While sleeping can help you decrease stress, sleeping in excess (more than 6, 7.5, or 9 hours a night) can cause excess problems that might actually decrease your ability to perform your sport to your fullest potential. This is a strategy that I think is necessary but must be carefully monitored each night as you are going into your athletic season.

http://www.oksportsandfitness.com/StressedAthlete.php

Managing Stress for Parents

Whether you are a stay-at-home parent of a working parent, parenting can be a very stressful and daunting task. Being constantly worried about who needs to be where, when, and with what science project and what lunchbox and how their getting there, I imaging, can be a scary thing to have to deal with every day. Constantly being worried or anxious can become an everyday, normal thing for a parent – but does it have to be? Researchers at the Child Development Institute don’t think so.

One of the points it makes on this website is that it can help reduce stress and make the whole day run much smoother if you got up 15 minutes earlier. By allowing this time to prepare yourself for what the day has to offer, you are actively assessing the stressor. This is called problem-focused coping. By actively combating things before they happen and allowing extra time, you are creating for yourself, somewhat of a leeway time for unexpected things that might happen throughout your day. Overall, this is a very productive way at looking at things and a great way to get things done while staying on top of stressful situations.

https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/family-living/stress/

Overall, there are very many things that one can do to help them combat the challenges of stress and the only way to find out what works best for you is to test the waters.

 

First Impression Post #8

Coming from a tiny high school of the boarder of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, I really expecting to attend a big school to break out of the “small town” feel that was brought on by my high school. I’ve always dreamed of being in a big city and being amongst the hustle and bustle of an ever-moving life. All off that stopped when I first visited Elizabethtown College. When I came to campus for the first time, everyone was so nice. There were people playing frisbee on the Dell, people conversing with their friends while walking to class, and people laughing and smiling at me (being a complete stranger to them.) Elizabethtown College is also one of the top schools in the country for music therapy and I found that the music department here was unlike any other. It’s rare that you find a music school that isn’t competitive in every sense of the word, but Elizabethtown didn’t seem to be the competitive sort at all. I also know that this school (more specifically) ha incredible classical piano professors and I was recommended to them by my piano teacher in high school. When I cam to the audition, the piano staff recognized her name and through my nervous composure, we had a whole conversation about how small the world was. Now that I’m a student in the music department, I know that my judgement was correct.

Naturally, I feel like thinking about my future helps to keep me motivated and keep my head clear and positive thinking. Knowing that staying focused and working hard now will al pay off in the future when I apply for jobs and start working is one of the main ways that I keep myself motivated. Having a great group of friends who are all going through the same/similar academic struggles as I am is also really motivating. Having a good support system is always something that I strive for as I am at a very transitional point in my life and have no idea what tomorrow will bring. I think these are all great ways to keep myself motivated and pushing on until graduation.

Something we discussed in class while talking about personality theory, was Eysenck’s Superfactors and how these make each person different in how they react to external stimuli and other things that are out of their control. These have a lot to do with how we make decisions and how we interact with others and are very much the essential building blocks of our personality. I think having a low level of neuroticism is important when considering keeping a positive mindset about college and work. Having a high level of extraversion might be helpful as well as is could help me to make more friends and be more open to experiences and opportunities that might be offered in college. These are the two levels that I think are really important and the most impactful part of having a successful start and end to my college career.

Overall, I think everything I’m doing to get where I want to be in the future is paying off and I am on the right track to a successful college career.

 

First Impression Post #7

It’s no surprise that college students are ordinarily stressed in one way or another most of the time. According to the 2015 National College Health Assessment, 30% of students reported that stress has negatively affected their academic performance within the past year, and 85% had felt overwhelmed by everything they had to do at some point within the past year. So how does one cope with this? Personally, I find that college stress can be much different than life stress in that, no matter how stressed you are, you still have to submit that assignment by midnight, or that paper by 7 a.m. There are many things a college student (such as myself) can incorporate into their lives that (1) don’t take up too much time, and (2) can help reduce the stresses of their hectic lives.

I find that when I am stressed about a paper or a project that is due, I still try to force myself to work for hours on end without breaks just so I can “get it over with,” and “move on” from it. This leads to actually wasting time sitting in one place and getting nowhere with the assignment. Instead of relentlessly hitting this roadblock, I could use this time to go for a walk or go get a coffee and think about something else for awhile. Giving my brain a break from the assignment that I’m not making a dent in could be greatly beneficial to my (and my assignment’s) overall well being in the end.

Something else that I find adds to my stress, is trying to make time for assignments when I’m suppose to be doing something else (i.e., sleeping). I think I forget the importance of sleep and use it as a cushion for extra time if I need it in order to work on an assignment. In class, we learned that without sleep, it is almost impossible to preform well on an assignment or a test the day after. REM sleep and getting enough of it every night is something that must be made of upmost importance to every college student and should not be compromised for the sake of an assignment. This is another thing that I should be more mindful of for the rest of the semester.

Overall, I think a combination of my time management strategies and my prioritization have a lot to do with how I stay on top of everything I have to get done for school. Everything I’m doing now to decompress and manage my assignments seems to be working, and I think I’m in a good position at this point in the semester.

 

Stress in college: Experts provide tips to cope

First Impression Post #6

According to the online test, I am “naturally well-attunes to others’ emotions,” because I was able to get 17 out of 20 questions correct. Although I scored well above average, there is still room for growth and with practice, I feel confident that I can attain that eventually. I feel like my performance on this test reflects myself really well as I have always been very naturally attuned to other people’s emotions and I am confident in my abilities to “read people.” Although I did do well on this test, I honestly thought I would do much better than I did.

I thought this test was a good baseline for quickly assuming what people could be feeling. One hing I would change about this test is that I think there should be more options for emotion words that one could be feeling rather than just 4 basic but similar ones. I think having more word options available for the participant to choose from would really test the abilities of the participant to closely analyze what the picture was representing. Some of the emotions were more difficult to name while others were easier. Some of the more difficult emotions to tell apart were love and compassion, anger and pain, and embarrassment and sadness. Many of the characteristics that one person might show with these emotions are similar to each other so it made the finite differences a little more important to notice between each picture. In comparison to each other, many of these emotions contrast and were more easy to differentiate. For example, it was very easy to tell anger and happiness apart from each other because they look very different from each other.

I would be able to use this kind of information in my daily life by practicing reading people and talking about emotions that I assume someone is feeling. This could also be helpful in my daily life one day because I am on track to becoming a music therapist. Being a current student music therapist, it is going to become really important to learn how to read people as I’m going to be running session starting this time next year. Having the skill to read people’s emotions will be greatly helpful in strengthening any type of therapeutic relationship I have with any client. Having the instinct to act on these preconceived notions could be a helpful way to create a sound basis for future sharing in therapy sessions as well.

Spring Break First Impression Post #5

Daniel Tammet sees the world  in a different way – a more numerical, colorful, and linguistic way. This is called Synesthesia and it involves a more intricate interwoven interpretation of the world. He is constantly reminded of why he became an Author by the way people treat him differently when they find out that he lives with this. He believes, “our personal perceptions are at the heart at how we acquire knowledge.” Daniel mentions how our aesthetic judgements, rather than abstract reasoning, guide and shape the process by which we all come to know what we know. Admitting that he is an extreme example of this, Daniel shows many examples of how he connects colors and shapes and numbers. Daniel shows how he paints pictures of how numbers look in his head and how equations show up on paper for him.

While I was watching this video, I thought it was absolutely incredible what Daniel can do with his mind and how he chooses to use his “superpower.” I became somewhat baffled by how he saw the world and his attempted explanation of how he can connect many things in his mind. Many of the things he mentioned and the connections he made, made absolutely no sense to me and how he is capable of keeping all this information organized in his mind is absolutely astonishing. Daniel is incredibly well spoken and is very bold for speaking out about Synesthesia and the things that go on in his mind. Realizing that there are such amazing people in the world who are able to do such cool things with their minds (whether they mean to or not) it so incredible. Overall, I thought it was incredible to step inside Daniel Tammet’s mind and try and see things from his perspective while he was talking. .

One could argue that having this condition would be an advantage in every-day life and in the world today. Being able to see things from different perspectives and take on simple things from a multitude of different angles might, in fact, be more of a curse than you think. I would argue that although these skills might help someone pass their math or history exams, it would be absolutely overwhelming all the time to be thinking about details so much. Having to explain such a complex condition to people you meet who might not understand could become exhausting too. Synesthesia is not something that I imagine is easy to live with and, in my opinion, would be a curse rather than a blessing.

Spotlight Post #1

Much research has been done in regards to the debate about divorce and whether or not it negatively impacts any children who came from the split marriage. Some sources say that raising children in a tense household does not significantly impact the children that witness it first-hand.  Others argue that bringing up a child in an unhealthy environment where parents are always fighting could potentially mentally burden the child. Divorce is no doubt very painful for kids and to stay in an abusive and unhealthy marriage is also not a very good environment to bring up kids. So brings about the question of ethicalness – would it be better to stay in an unhealthy relationship out of concern for your children who now must fend for themselves in an unstable family system? Research says that there are pros and cons to both sides of the argument.

Some negative impacts that might come of a divorce could be weakened parent-child relationships, weakened grandparent-grandchild relationships, a decreased ability to handle conflict, a child’s diminished social skills, and a slew of behavioral problems. According to Patrick F. Fagan an Aaron Churchill of the Marriage & Religion Research Institute, children also have a greater likelihood to leave home early, increased trouble in romantic relationships, a diminished attitude towards religious practices, increased crime rate, abusive and neglect, and use of drugs, and financial struggles later in life. Along with all of these potential problems, there could be a number of negative behaviors at school. One study found that in pre-disrupted families (whose parents’ relationship would later dissolve), children exhibit more academic, psychological, behavioral, and drug-related problems than those whose families remained intact. Daniel Potter, who was referenced in the same article listed above, found that the deleterious effect of divorce on children’s psychosocial well-being is an important factor in poor math and reading scores. Another study found that children whose parents divorced skipped nearly 60% more class periods than children from families that were still very much intact. As far as gender goes for this study, girls seemed to be more effected than boys. Finally, children who experienced their parents’ divorce or separation are less likely to complete high school. A study that was conducted in Australia found that children of divorced families are 26% more likely to drop out of secondary school than children who come from families that are still intact. This same study also found that remarriage did not alleviate the effects of divorce on the children’s educational attainment and likely wouldn’t have affected the outcomes of this study.

While there are many negatives to divorce, knowing some of the positives might shock you and make you change your view on divorce all together. For some families, the problem is simple – being under one roof simply doesn’t work. For children, divorce can feel like a relief especially is the parents have been open and vocal about how they feel about their problems and each other in front of their children. Divorce can actually be a positive thing when the marriage is a high conflict one and the children are all caught in the middle, constantly exposed to emotional abuse and/or violence within the home. Few divorces are friendly but once the household situation is diffused by a family breakup, the children can greatly benefit from no longer having to live within the terrible situation that has become their new normal within the home. Although children will no longer have the same relationship with both of their parents simultaneously again, children who have gone through a divorce can reap the benefits of being able to spend one on one time with each parent. Despite the difficulties that came of the divorce, one on one time is a great bonding opportunity for both parents and children. Even though the quantity of time might not be the same, the quality of time together may be significantly increased. Another benefit of living in two locations, children splitting their time at mom and dad’s house, it that they might be introduced to new faces and have the opportunity to meet new kids their age. According to SurvivingDivorce UK (from pain to possibility) divorce is known to strengthen children by forcing them to take on more mature roles and develop a wider point of view at a younger age.

Being brought up in what some people might call a “broken home,” is not something that one might be thankful for, but I can certainly say that it helped me grow as a person. In my opinion, parents have a responsibility to their children to be civil with each other even after they’ve broken up. Children need good parenting and it may be that they haven’t had any since the marriage started falling apart. Being a middle child of 3 girls, I was sometimes reminded that the divorce brought out the best in us especially when we got older. I noticed my older sister being more mindfully compassionate towards me, and I looking out more for my younger sister. Despite the divorce, all of our strengths were brought out and our maturity was forced to sky rocket. Divorce can be a very positive thing but I do believe it all comes down to the parents to make it that way.

 

Sources:

https://www.extension.purdue.edu/providerparent/family-child%20relationships/effectdivorce.htm

http://survivingdivorce.co.uk/8-ways-your-cht-from-divorce/

https://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF12A22.pdf

http://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/divorce-pros-and-cons.htm

First Impression Post #4

This week, I chose to discuss and critique my own study habits and some things I might want to consider doing differently. Overall, I think my study habits for most classes are pretty good as I follow the ‘rule of thumb’ and make sure not to wait until the last minute to study for quizzes and exams. While this is very important, I think it’s also important to spend the extended study time that you’ve allowed yourself to be as productive as possible. Before class today, I thought I was studying effectively enough and the right ways at the right times for myself but now I’m thinking otherwise.

One of my main issues I faced while taking this exam that I was blatantly unprepared for the amount of detail required to answer some of the questions that were asked. I was able to get together with a study group from Gen. Psych. prior to the exam and to be quite honest, I felt confident afterwards. Together, we watched online lectures, reviewed some practice questions on Canvas, and answered any questions we had while studying independently during that week. I’ve never been much of a procrastinator (thankfully) so I already had some insight on the test material long before our study session. Normally, I find myself making flashcards and reviewing them over and over again until they’re engrained in my mind, but for some reason, I didn’t do that for this test.

I found myself referring to the Review Guide #1 for almost the entirety of my studying process, and to be honest, I don’t know how much it helped. It was definitely nice seeing all the general information that was going to be on the exam all in one place and using it as a starting point might have been a good idea. I think I spent too much time studying specific terms and not enough time studying people and concepts. Had I spent more time studying the specifics, I probably would have gotten a much higher score on the exam. For the next exam, I think I am going to continue taking and retaking the online quizzes that are offered on Canvas and reviewing all of the terms, people, and concepts that have been brought up throughout these chapters. I also think I might try studying using my method of flashcards as that has been known to work in the past for me. Perhaps had I used methods of the ‘Working Memory’ process and tried my best to not multi-task while studying, I may have preformed better of the first exam.

 

First Impression Post #3

This week, I chose to speak out on the topic of violence in the media. This is something that I have been openly against for years and passionately feel that there is absolutely no reason for the amount of violence there is in some video games. With the amount of blood, gore, and the graphics these video games have, there is no reason that these should be so easily accessible to the youth of today. Criticisms of such games say that the results could be catastrophic and potentially make children more violent than those who aren’t exposed to such games.  These are the video games that your kids will play if we don’t put some sort of age restraint on them.

When I furthered my research and reached out to other sources for statistics to support my argument, I realized how many people feel similarly about violent video games. The New York Times reminds us that scientists have been studying the violent effects of the media since the early 1950’s and video games in particular since that 1980’s. It is important to mention that both boys and girls play violent video games. In the end, the scientist can soundly say that playing violent video ages can and will “stir up some hostile urges” and produce some “mildly aggressive behavior in the short term.” It is also important to mention that youngsters who play video games regularly and asa habit so become more aggressive (as measured in clashes with peers.) It is not yet clear whether or not there is a direct correlation between children playing violent video games and them committing violent acts of crime (rape, murder, assault, massacre, etc.) later in life.

In my opinion, there really is no reason to have games with the level of violence. Some may argue that a raised age limit would suffice, but rules are only rules because someone once broke them. Who’s to say people would abide by this law? I think if ages were raised for violent games, people would still play them regardless of the age limit. If video games were permanently banned for being too violent, that could be a bad thing too. People would get mad about the lack of violent video games, and these same people might commit violent acts because they originally played these games. Overall, it’s hard to decide which is the better of two evils to I will sit on the fence.