Media Project

--Original published at Emily's Blog

Media Production Project (original: 444 words) (new: 404 words)


What is the obsession with drinking coffee in the morning? Alberto Ascherio of Harvard School of Public Health believes, “Drinking coffee offers a boost of energy and a lift in well-being. This short-term effect is what drives the consumption of caffeine,” The question remains, does drinking coffee affect our mental health? Alberto Ascherio and his team were also curious about this because coffee is the highest consumed caffeinated substance in the world. So, Ascherio and his team studied 50,000 women with a mean age of 63 to see the effects of coffee consumption on their depression rates. After eliminating those who were currently clinically depressed, there was a total of 50,739 women. The team checked in on the women every two years and assessed their coffee consumption with questionnaires. Surveys were also sent to the women to assess their depression rates, social interactions, physical health, mental health, exercise rate, their consumption of decaffeinated coffee, and their consumption of other caffeinated substances. This data was averaged together and included in their research. From this information, the researchers split up the data into categories based on how much coffee they consumed daily. The results of this study show the regular coffee drinkers reported lower issues with obesity and other health-related issues including depressive symptoms. To check for inconsistencies in their calculations, the team created more categories involving the women who became clinically depressed during the study as well as one assessing the consumption of decaffeinated coffee and caffeinated substances other than coffee. The women who had become depressed over a 10-year period of the study showed results of less coffee consumption than others. Comments were added by the team at the end of the report explaining the risks of using coffee as an anti-depressant mainly due to its addictive tendencies. They explained some of the strengths of their study including the large sample size, assessment of outside variables, and repeated measures of consumption. The team is careful to note this study was observational and thus cannot prove caffeine or coffee aids in possible risks of depression. They noted the bias in which the study included women with mild depressive symptoms, possibly those with sleep issues, and the possible inconsistencies in the reports of the women’s caffeine consumption. In conclusion, this study shows results which support the claim that caffeine consumption through coffee may possibly prevent and/or treat depression. So, feel free to keep drinking coffee, ladies!



Although my summary was shorter than the original article, I chose to leave certain aspects out. From the scholarly article, I did not include why they chose to study women over men. This is because about 20% of women are affected by depression in their lifetime. Also, women are more likely to become depressed than men. I did not include the time which the study took place which was from the late 1980s to the early 2000s. The audience understands the team reached out to the women and gathered data every two years which is more important than what period in which the study occurred. Another part of the scholarly article which I chose to leave out was what specific caffeinated substances, other than coffee, the researchers chose to add to their study. These include tea, soft drinks, and chocolate.

In the pop culture article, I chose to leave out some of the quotes and other outside sources which the author put in the article. This includes talking about the study done for men in Finland to test their coffee consumption. While this is evidence supports the argument that coffee lowers depression rates, it is not an important part of the experiment. My summary is not similar to the original pop-culture article because it contains more specifics about the experiment including how the women were chosen and what the process was of conducting the research. The pop-culture article fails to answer many of the five critical questions as they do not share about how they operationalized their variables, how they selected the participants, and what groups they assigned. They did include some information about whether there would be causal claims and the conclusions were generalized to the correct population of women.

I did include the five critical questions in my summary though I did not specifically restate them. The researchers operationalized their variables by measuring how much coffee they consumed every two years and putting the women into groups based on whether they were clinically depressed if they exercised daily, and if they were having frequent social interactions. Ascherio and his team chose their participants by using 50,000 volunteers who were not clinically depressed at the beginning of the experiment. The team assigned the women to groups based on their coffee consumption per day as well as their physical and mental health throughout the study. The method the researchers used did allow for causal claims because it was set up to see whether coffee affected women’s health. The research could not prove this causal claim because there is not enough evidence and there are many other variables possibly influencing the women. The conclusions of this study are generalized to women which were the participants being studied.

Journalists have specific deadlines for their work and a certain word count they must stay under. This causes the articles they write to miss key information which could be crucial to the audience’s understanding of the article. The pop-culture and scholarly articles were vastly different from each other. Other than the pop-culture having similar statistics and referencing Ascherio as the main researcher I would not have known the two articles were about the same study. This causes me to pause and look at media articles more in depth. I will look to see if they have answered the five critical questions of research and whether there is an original study which was done to support pop-culture articles conclusions.

Works Cited

Ascherio, Alberto, et al. “Coffee, Caffeine, and Risk of Depression Among Women.” Archives of Internal Medicine, vol. 171, no. 17, 26 Sept. 2011, pp. 1571–1577.

Steenhuysen, Julie. “Coffee linked with lower depression risk in women.” Reuters, Archives of Internal Medicine, 27 Sept. 2011,









Spotlight Blog 3

--Original published at Emily's Blog

Negative peer pressure is a problem which many people will face in their lifetime. It is a direct influence of someone of the same age group. It is proven the performance of people changes when others observe them. Also, the presence of others tends to increase the most likely outcome (whether it be positive or negative). Peer pressure has an influence on many types of people and it is commonly associated with children. Children through young adults are the most known recipients of peer pressure but their experiences vary.

The first article involving peer pressure is, “Teaching your Child to Resist Negative Peer Pressure.” It is about different strategies parents can use to influence their children when they are faced with peer pressure. Peer pressure is among the most prevalent reasons why children act out in social situations. Some of the strategies for parents include hearing your child’s excuses and trying to see the underlying issues, educating your child about outside influences, giving them talking pointers when they are in a tough situation, and reenacting situations so they can see how to handle peer pressure. These situations all involve the parents or parent sitting down with their child and talking with them about peer pressure. While communication is good and healthy, this is only helpful if the child is willing to have this conversation with their parent.

This article does a good job of explaining a large part of peer pressure is conformity. Conformity is adjusting behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standard. The article does point out the negative aspects of peer pressure but does not address peer pressure having a possible positive influence. For example, if a child is surrounded by children who love to play outside and not play video games constantly, the peer pressure to also play outside is good because it is healthier than playing video games non-stop. The author of the article should have the parents explain both the positive and the negative effects of peer pressure on their child.

The next article is, “Dealing with Peer Pressure” and it is directed at High Schoolers. The article begins by stating all peer influence is not bad. It can be helpful for receiving friendship, encouragement, advice, or learning to experience new things. The author goes on to explain how following peer pressure is natural. Just as animals stay together in groups so do human beings. It is natural to follow peer pressure, but it is not always right. A few pointers the article gives to teenagers are to listen to their gut, plan for situations, stay close to those with similar values, learn to say no, and speak up if you are uncomfortable.

Overall, the article does a good job explaining what peer pressure is and how it can affect those who are influenced by it. The article fails to explain any of the scientific reasons behind social groups and conformity but instead shares general and vague information. The end of the article does a good job talking about the difference one person can make in a situation. Teenagers are more likely to conform when they are made to feel insecure, they are in a group of at least three people, they admire the group’s status or attractiveness, or they know the others in the group are observing their behavior. If one person stands up for what they believe others will be less likely to conform.

The last article is called, “Dealing with Peer Pressure in College.” It provides a little background about peer pressure and assumes the reader understands what it is. The bulk of the article is list tips and tricks for avoiding peer pressure in college. These include being confident in your decisions, finding a new group of friends, knowing your values, removing yourself from uncomfortable situations, and being a good influence on those around you. The article ends by saying peer pressure is a part of life and everyone experiences it.

This article has a weak argument for why and how college students should avoid peer pressure. It does not explain what it is or why it can be harmful to individuals. The article is even confusing when talking about being confident in your own decisions. It states the way to combat peer pressure is to just not do something if it is uncomfortable for you. If that was the only solution to this issue I feel as though people would not struggle with it. The article is totally undermining the effects of being in a social setting and the pressures which come with it. The article does well in addressing the importance of culture in society. Culture is the behaviors, ideas, attitudes, values, and traditions shared by a group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next. This article challenges college students to find a culture or set of values which fits best with their beliefs and stick with it. Cultures can shape us into who we want to be while allowing us to be our true selves.

Peer pressure varies across the world and is different for children, high schoolers, and college students. These articles on peer pressure are not peer-reviewed and are not completely trustworthy sources. While they are not scholarly, these articles did make some true statements about the positive and negative effects of peer pressure. Also, they mentioned peer pressure occurs across the lifespan and it is natural for human beings to conform to groups. The people reading these articles looking for advice need to be careful of where the evidence is coming from because each of these sources fails to share important information about peer pressure.


Spotlight Blog Post 2

--Original published at Emily's Blog

Stress is the process by which we perceive and respond to certain events that we may appraise as threatening or challenging. It is not the events themselves but how we respond to these events. There are about three main types of stressors: catastrophes, significant life changes, and daily hassles. When faced with these stressors our bodies respond. This may be with raised heart rate, feelings of faintness, raised blood pressure and raised temperature. These symptoms and many others put together result in exhaustion. Overall, prolonged stress can be damaging to your body mentally and physically.

In class, we discussed many different types of stress management tips. Some of these included exercises, meditation, religion, self-disclosure, and gaining social support. These types of stress coping are proven to help people overcome stress. But these coping strategies are personal. Types of stress coping may work for some but not others.

What does the media say about coping with stress? Millions of people deal with stress daily and turn to the internet to provide them with the answers. Specifically, what are the pop-culture articles sharing about children’s stress, adult’s stress, and teenager’s stress?

Children may struggle with stress at a very young age. Developmentally, it is very important for children to not have a ton of strain put on their bodies as their brains are beginning to develop. The article, “Reducing Stress in Kids,” talks about making sure they have time to relax, practicing controlled breathing, and using muscle relaxation to aid with sleep. These are all good tips. Children should have time to calm down in their day especially if they are dealing with a significant life-changing event. In class, we practiced controlled breathing and it was able to help many students relax. I believe it could also work the same way for children. I had troubles sleeping as a child and practiced muscle relaxation. I believe this is good advice for children who may be struggling to fall asleep. The only thing I wish the article would have added is that these strategies are highly individualized and may not work every time for your child. Each parent needs to have a bunch of tools to help deal with their child’s possible stress issues.

The second article entitled, “Stress Management: Using Self-Help Techniques for Dealing with Stress,” is about how adults deal with stress. This article is aimed at adults because it specifically mentions some of the stressors in adult’s daily lives. Including, paying the bills, taking care of family responsibilities, and working at a consistent job. This article believes to reduce stress one must identify the sources of stress in your life, manage your time, make time for relaxation, connect with others, and exercise. These tips are all beneficial in aiding stressed out individuals. The article does an especially good job of talking about “fight or flight response.” The article explains it is natures way of defending yourself. The article does fall short in explaining the depth of each type of stress reliever. It merely skims the surface when addressing each coping strategy. Instead of providing why these strategies work, the article mostly just shares a little about each strategy and provides links to show other websites which can assist with each topic.

The third article is about stress management for teenagers. “For Teens: Creating Your Personal Stress-Management Plan,” is an article which gives a ten-point plan on how to live a less than stressful life. The points include identifying the problem, avoiding stress when possible, let things go, exercise, practice relaxation, eat well, sleep well, practice meditation, release emotional tension, and contribute to the world. The article does an especially good job of explaining meditation. It describes the steps of taking a mental vacation in detail. The article also does a good job of mentioning points the other articles have missed such as letting things go. This can be a huge stressor in people’s lives. It is important to note this intrapersonal part of our lives. These are good points, but the article is missing the purpose of stress relief. This article falls short in the same way as the first article about children. There is not a magic formula which prevents stress for people. It is trial and error and seeing what works best for you in each situation. If there was a magic formula, I feel as though psychologists would have figured it out by now. Alas, people are different and there is not simply one solution to this problem.

First Impression Post Intelligence

--Original published at Emily's Blog

For this week’s first impression post, I chose option 1. To the world, intelligence is a very large part of a person’s personality. It sets people apart from each other and helps to explain how they are wired. Many people believe intelligence comes from the environment in which one was raised. This includes social interaction as well as schooling. Children spend about 8 hours a day for 180 days out of the year at school. This is from their early development into their late teens. It is true that this much time spent at school will influence the children’s minds as they grow. The key people who will be influencing the children are teachers and educators.

I had many wonderful teachers growing up as well as others I do not prefer. My favorite teachers include my second-grade teacher, my fifth-grade teacher, my math teacher in high school, and my chemistry teacher in high school. Looking back at my grades in those courses and my overall impressions of the school year, I would have to say they were some of the greatest years for me socially and academically. I also had teachers in school which I did not prefer. These years include sixth grade, seventh grade, and ninth grade. From what I remember about these teachers, I struggled the most with their discouragement and lack of attention.

To improve the school system, I believe school should be pushed back an hour or so in the morning because there are some studies done that prove students are not learning as well because of the early morning hours. I also believe educators need to be aware of the psychological influence they are having on the students they teach. Meaning, I was greatly affected by the negative verses positive attitudes of my educators. Another way the school system could be improved is by testing not only student’s performance on tests but also their creative sides with projects and presentations. The teachers will have to be cautious of how certain student’s brains work and how they may lack creativity in some areas. I also believe less student’s may be afraid of public speaking if they practiced more when they were younger. Teachers have not only the responsibility but the ability to make these changes and affect a student’s life forever.

First Impression Post Week 12

--Original published at Emily's Blog

For this first impression post I have chosen the second option. Motivation is a tricky concept. Some people seem to be born with the drive to do anything. Others lack to the point they cannot even get out of bed in the morning. I see myself as a motivated person. Growing up, I put so much pressure on myself to do well in school, no one had to help me to be motivated.

College was a different story. I was scared to go to college originally and my parents had to push me to finish up my applications for it. I chose to go to Elizabethtown College because of the occupational therapy program and how I felt at home there. I have known I wanted to be an occupational therapist since tenth grade and looked at schools which were best suited to help me get my master’s degree. I applied to about ten different schools because I was unsure of what type of school I wanted to go to. I applied to large schools, small schools, schools with a five-year program, and schools without one. I toured many of the colleges and I felt most at home at Elizabethtown. I have gone to small schools my entire life and realized they are the best fit for me.

Since coming to Elizabethtown, I have not been as motivated as I was at the end of high school. First semester was a very challenging transition for me and I am just now starting to enjoy myself at college. This is very similar to my freshman year of high school which was also rough for me. I have hope I will love it at Elizabethtown because over the course of high school I learned to love where I was and what I was doing.

In my classes now, I struggle to motivate myself because of fear. I am afraid of failure. This does not push me to do better but instead makes me feel unintelligent. I try to encourage myself and surround myself with loving people to push me in the right direction.

Going forward, I plan to motivate myself by drinking tons of coffee, reminding myself why I want to be an occupational therapist, being grateful for where I am, and listening to inspiring music. I also plan to wake up only ten minutes earlier than I normally do and spend some time planning out my day while reminding myself I am able to do my best.

Bonus Blog Prompt

--Original published at Emily's Blog

For an out of class assignment last week, we were asked to complete a Johari Window. I had never heard of a Johari Window before, but the experience was very interesting. A Johari Window is a model which was created by two psychologists named Joseph Luft and Harrison Ingham. They invented this model to show how we view ourselves compared to how others view us. It is a box with four sections. One corner of the box is for the unknown attributes which do not necessarily apply to you. Another is called the façade or hidden characteristics which you notice yourself, but others are not aware of. Another box is called the arena. It is the shared attributes which both you and others notice. The last is the blind spot characteristics which others notice but are not known to self. For my Johari Window, we were given a list of numerous adjectives and were asked to choose six which describe ourselves the best. I chose dependable, energetic, extroverted, kind, mature, and religious. I then sent the link to my entire family and some of my friends. Watching the responses come in was very intriguing as I could see what the people I loved believed were some of my character qualities. I also received numerous text messages which said it was difficult for them only to choose six adjectives. It made me feel so loved. All the qualities which I had chosen were also chosen by someone else, so I had zero adjectives in the Façade box. I had many characteristics which I would not have picked in my blind spot box. Some of these include brave, giving, idealistic, intelligent, powerful, self-assertive, and warm. I learned, I may not always believe I am brave, but others feel I am. My highest ranked quality at 66% was religious. I obviously agree with this as it is a very important aspect of my life. The second highest ranked characteristic was loving at 58%. I really appreciated this as one of my goals in life is to be a loving person. I think this test is valid, but I do wonder what would happen if people had to say some of my negative qualities. It makes me very thankful to the people in my life who choose to see the best in me.

First Impression Post Week 10

--Original published at Emily's Blog

I first took the quiz called the Jung Typology Test. It is based on the Carl Jung’s and Isabel Brigg Myers’ typology personality tests. I have taken the Myer’s Briggs test numerous times and normally get an ENFP which is an extravert, intuitive, feeling, and perceiving. On this test, I got an ENFJ which is most of the same characteristics except I received judging over perceiving by a small margin. I read the description of an ENFJ compared to an ENFP and I see myself more as an ENFP, but I have received the score of an ENFJ before, so I am not surprised.

The second personality test I took was called the Personality Test. I also received an ENFJ. This is making me believe I may be an ENFJ. I felt like the options for this test were easier to answer than the previous test, but the end did not give a description about what an ENFJ is or what it means.

The third test I took was called the IPIP Big Five Factor Markers Test. It was a questionnaire which was filled out to rate people’s extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience. I received a very high score for extravert and agreeableness. I received a lower score for emotional stability which also makes sense to me because I am a very happy yet anxious human being. My scores for conscientiousness and openness to experience were more in the middle to lower ranges. I agree because I am a little disorganized and traditional in certain aspects of life. I believe this test was very accurate at least for how I view myself.

The last test is the most inaccurate. I chose yellow first because it is my favorite color and then preceded to choose other colors in a random order based on my feelings. I then retook the same test with the same colors and was give my results. I thought the test would have interesting results but instead I got very random misspelled results. I was also accused of being a lazy human who can only pleasure myself with sexual activity. I see this as very false.

I do not think these tests can perfectly explain anyone’s personalities but some of the quizzes with more options and questions are able to better identify personality traits.

First Impression Week 9

--Original published at Emily's Blog

For this week’s First Impression Post I chose the second option. The second option involved taking an emotional intelligence test. The test was twenty questions in which we were shown a picture of someone making a certain facial expression. We had four options and were asked to determine which facial expression matched with what emotion. After answering each question, the quiz gave the correct answer and explained why. I received a 15/20 on this test which is apparently better than average, but I felt I should have done better. I believed I should be good at this because I find myself being very good at helping my friends. I find it easy to realize their emotional state. I do not think this test is very accurate as it only tests one area of emotional intelligence. I think the test was misnamed as an emotional intelligence test and it should have been named something like a facial expressions test. I also believe the emotions expressed were very forced and unnatural. I found it easiest to tell when a person was happy, in love, being flirtatious, or proud. I found it most difficult to understand when the facial expression expressed was sad, shameful, contempt, or upset. I could use this in my daily life when one of my friends are feeling ashamed of something they have said or done. Instead of overlooking it or acknowledging it, I could easily say things to make them feel more confident in who they are. I could also use these techniques when empathizing with others.

First Impression Blog Post Week 9

--Original published at Emily's Blog

If you were to ask a college student how they were feeling on a given day a common response would be “I’m tired.” When asked why, the student may respond with the excuses of a huge project, paper, social issue, or the inability to sleep. I have many friends who get about three hours of sleep at night and they admit this is a normal trend in their daily life.

My current sleeping habits are not ideal. I tend to sleep about seven to eight hours a night, but I still wake up feeling tired. It is very frustrating for me because I try to prioritize sleep as I understand it’s importance. I do get a “second wind” at night because I tend to be more of a night person. Also, if I am up past a certain hour, it takes me a long time to fall asleep. I have tried taking hot showers before bed which does seem to help. Also, drinking water when I wake up makes me feel more awake and ready for the day.

I also seem to get nightmares about once or twice a week. The nightmares mostly consist of subjects I have talked about during the day and they are easily interpreted. It is simply annoying to me to not get good rest because I am having these nightmares.

I believed the ideal amount of sleep for a college student was eight hours, but I was told by Dr. MacFarlene about seven and a half hours of sleep is the ideal amount. I look forward to understanding why this is. I assume it has something to do with sleep cycles and the importance of not waking up during one of the cycles which will make you more tired.

I think I can improve my sleep patterns by going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at around the same time every morning. I also believe doing relaxing tasks before I go to bed will be helpful such as reading (not for school), coloring, or taking a shower. Another important point would be not drinking coffee in the late afternoon as this could result in keeping my brain more activated from the caffeine.

Spring Break First Impression Post

--Original published at Emily's Blog

For this week I watched Daniel Tammet’s TED talk on “Different Ways of Knowing.” David Tammet is an autistic man with savant syndrome. When others learn about his condition, he gets asked repeatedly to describe different things like he is some sort of wizard. He then jokes about not wanting to give the audience a show and goes on to talk about perception. He asks the audience to think about their reactions and perceptions of different examples he gives them. Tammet goes on to explain he believes our perceptions are how we gain knowledge and learning. He believes his condition gives him a heightened view of his senses. Tammet has synthesia, “an unusual cross-talk between the senses.” He identifies colors, shapes, numbers, and objects as one. For example, Tammet sees five as yellow. Tammet then tells the audience the answers to the different examples he gave them earlier and explains why they can get the answers correct through their senses.

This is a very intriguing concept. I believe it could help memory in learning, retaining, and encoding information faster because of chunking. It also can help in relating unknown concepts with other memories you may hold. For instance, if there is five of an object which is yellow it would be easier to remember because he already associates the number five with the color yellow. This condition could almost act like a super power as it gives people a different perspective on the world around us. Maybe someone with synthesia could help explain something in a more vivid way than anyone else ever could.

I think it could be helpful, but it could also be difficult. If one is to rely too heavily on their senses, then they may struggle if their feelings are incorrect or they perceived something in a different way than it was intended. It would be very challenging to have this condition when trying to relate to others. This condition was hard for me to understand. It must be difficult for others when Tammet or someone else with the condition is trying to explain something if people cannot understand. Overall, people with this condition have learned how to live with it as it is all they have ever known. It is a very interesting way of looking at life and it in no way inhibits people with this condition.