Spotlight Blog #3

--Original published at Brittany's Thoughts

Every person deals with peer pressure at some point in their life. There will always be those friends that try to get you to participate in activities that you may not want to do. Whether the person is a teenager, child or an adult, they can expect to deal with some form of peer pressure. Conformity is what plays a large role in peer pressure since it is the desire that causes people to give into peer pressure. Some types of peer pressure can be motivating for the person and others can lead to very dangerous activities. There are many different ways to avoid peer pressure, and the methods vary across age groups. Teenagers, children, and college students can all combat this  peer pressure.

Peer Pressure with Teens

In an article by TeenZeen, it describes peer pressure for teens, especially in relation to drugs and alcohol. It discusses peer pressure and the consequences that it can have. For example, giving into peer pressure could lead to drug and alcohol addiction in the future. They explained reasons that teens might give into peer pressure, such as not wanting to hurt a friend, fearing rejection and not wanting to be teased. They gave several ways to avoid the peer pressure. They included saying no assertively and firmly, staying away from those dangerous situations, speak clearly, walk away, stand up for other friends, and finding new friends. I feel that some of these methods will definitely work such as finding new friends and staying away from those situations. Some might have to be used together if those pressuring the others do not listen, such as saying no firmly and then walking away if the friends ignore your assertive answer. It depends on how determined the friends are to pressure you into doing the activity. I feel that these methods would work overall.

Peer Pressure with Kids

In an article by Kids Health, it described ways that kids can deal with peer pressure. For kids, the types of peer pressure can be a bit different. For example, the pressuring could be to skip class, lie to your parents and try cigarettes. The reasons for falling for peer pressure can be the same, such as wanting to fit in, or being curious about the activities that they are pressured to do. The article tells kids to say no, but to also find friends with similar interests to stand up against those are trying to pressure you. It also talks about walking away and finding new friends, like the other article did. The article also inspires to use peer pressure positively to do things such as ending bullying. It points out that peer pressure is not always bad, so they know that they can use it for good rather than only bad. I think these methods will work better with children because they are less resistant to standing their ground about the negative activity.

Peer Pressure with College Students

A college blog by a Stanford professor talks about five ways to deal with peer pressure in college. The first way was to choose your friends wisely, meaning that you should choose friends that will support and raise you up and give you confidence, along with having similar interests in mind. The second way is not depending on one friend group, and that having one could increase your pressure to fit in with those people. The third way is to seek advice from others when you are peer pressured, preferably an older adult, your parent, or a counselor. The fourth way is to engage in activities that will give you more self confidence, such as trying out for a new sport or starting a new hobby. The fifth and final way is to accept that you may be lonely sometimes, and that occasional loneliness is better than getting in trouble or developing bad habits. I think this is good advice for students to follow without giving the usual “just say no” sort of response to peer pressure. It addresses that the conformity does exist and that it is not necessarily a bad thing to have, but that it needs to be controlled, and that you need to stay and independent person still.

Media Production Project

--Original published at Brittany's Thoughts


In the United Kingdom, bromances among young men are becoming much more common. In a study done at the University of Winchester in the United Kingdom, the researchers found that many young men do have bromances. The researchers Stefan Robinson, Adam White and Eric Anderson all work at the university as professors. The young men they used for the study were all second-year students in the sports department. There were 29 participants in total. The men were interviewed about their relationships with their previous and current bromances, as well as any past or current girlfriends.

From the interviews, the researchers discovered that the men all categorized their bromances as like a romantic relationship without any sexual contact. They found that the men valued their bromances very highly and that they trusted their secrets and insecurities with them more than their girlfriends as well. The men stated that their bromances are less judgmental than romantic relationships because their bromance partner would judge them less for their embarrassing qualities. Many of the men also felt that they could be their true selves with their bromance partners, but that they could not with their girlfriends. All but one of the men even admitted that they cuddle with their bromance partner, an act that is platonic in nature for them.

This study does not apply to the general population though due to the lack of diversity in the sample. There still is something to say about the fact that almost thirty men in the same department all have or do engage in a bromantic relationship. Also, the fact that most of them value it over their romantic relationship is also quite a find. The researchers believe that some of these relationships could be maintained after college. They also noted that many of the bromances may be broken after marriage due to the constraints that can come on any friendship after a marriage.


It was not hard for me to summarize the article. I picked out all the main points that the article had made about the findings and how the research was conducted. The article was not a difficult article to summarize. It made quite a few points in its findings, but it did not have so many that I had to sacrifice a large portion of the important information for it. My summary was only a third of the size of the article. This is mainly because the article restated some of the same points multiple times or talked about portions that were not incredibly significant to understanding the results of the study. I did leave information out, but it was information that was not vital to the understanding of the results. I stated the most major findings from the study that I felt were most important. I can understand how it would be hard because of the amounts of information in the journal article itself. It has so much information that it can be very hard to comb through, especially with all the technical parts of the research and results. Journalists do have a difficult job, and I would have trouble as a journalist since I am typically a very wordy writer about many things. Doing the three assignments has opened my eyes to the career of a journalist, and it has changed my mind about them. I have less of a negative idea about journalists now since I understand how hard it can be to write an article accurately.

Pop Culture article:

Scholarly Article:

Stress Management- Spotlight Blog #2

--Original published at Brittany's Thoughts

Stress is something that affects everyone’s lives at one point or another. Whether the stress be from work, school, relationships or other activities such as clubs, it will still affect the person and can lead to undesirable side effects and feelings. Stress has to be managed, and there are many ways to manage that stress. Stress management varies from group to group and person to person, and what works for one person may not work for another.

Stress Management for Teens

Teens have to deal with a lot of different stress between school, a job if they have it, their friendships, and figuring out their futures. Transitioning between childhood dependence and adult independence while still living at home can be extremely difficult, especially with all the work that is put on teens. This can cause problems with illness, anxiety, withdrawal, and the creation of poor coping skills that could get teens into trouble.

An article by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry talked about methods that teenagers could use to cope with stress. They discussed what kinds of things could be stressors for teens, a few ways parents can help, and what teens can do to manage stress. They gave examples such as taking breaks from stressful situations, learning relaxation techniques, avoiding excessive caffeine intake, eating and exercising regularly, and learning to feel good enough about your work even when it is not “perfect.”

Most of these tips are some of the general stress management tips you hear. These tips can be effective depending on who you are and what your preferences are. While exercise might work for one, it may create more stress in another. Even the methods that involve changing the way you think and perceive your work and stress can be beneficial, but can be less successful because it is difficult to change the way you think. Relaxation techniques such as imagery have been shown to be quite beneficial, so that is one technique with a lot of backing to it for many people. Most of the techniques discussed could be considered adaptive strategies unless done too often to avoid a stressor. For example, if you do an activity and avoid a stressor until the last minute, that would be a maladaptive strategy. As long as the management is done without causing more problems, the management could be healthy and beneficial to teenagers.

Stress Management for College Students

Similarly to teenagers, college students have a lot of stress. The transition between living at home to living in a dorm where you are almost completely responsible of yourself is incredibly hard, and it can be very hard to deal with. The academic workload, a job, relationships and other activities such as clubs and ensembles can make college even more stressful than the transition does alone. This leads to very high levels of stress that can be very harmful for the persons experiencing the stress.

An article from the University of Michigan talks about the pros and cons of stress, symptoms of stress, and ways of reducing and managing stress. It said how stress can be a motivator and get you out of danger, but too much stress can bog you down and keep you from achieving what you need to achieve. In order to avoid being bogged down, you need to manage the stress before it gets worse. The article also brought up that increased stress can lead to mental health episodes in those with mental health disorders, which makes stress management even more important. They bring up techniques like not procrastinating over your academic work, taking time to just clear your mind, gaining better time-management skills, realizing your limits, and finding the humor in your life.

Some of the techniques varied from the tools for teenagers, but some remained the same. Again, management tools like working on time management can be harder to achieve but yield great rewards for stress management. The strategies could all be considered adaptive strategies unless you did procrastinate on your work, were stress eating or using coping mechanisms that do not work for the individual.

Stress Management for Working Mothers

Working mothers deal with a lot of stress from their work life and their home life. When one falls out of balance, the other will begin to follow and become more stressful as well. It is important for a working mom to manage her stress as well as her children’s’ stress to keep a happy, healthy balance in the home and the workplace.

An article by VeryWell Mind on working mothers displayed six techniques that a working mother can use to manage hers and her children’s’ stress. The first was plan ahead and staying organized, which could help limit last-minute stress from accidents with kids and streamlining your schedule. The second was setting boundaries, which was about saying no to tasks you cannot handle and focusing on tasks important to you and your success. The third was staying connected which was about spending time with your children in order to keep them feeling happy and loved while also doing some activities with them that could relieve yours and their stress. The fourth was taking care of yourself, which was taking time for yourself and trying to prevent burn-out. The fifth was enlisting help, which was about designating tasks to others, so you don’t have to do as much. The final tip was focusing on stress management, such as breathing exercises and re-framing techniques.

These methods were a little more specialized for the working mother than the methods mentioned in the other articles were. There were some like relaxation and taking time for yourself that were common across all the articles. Others dealt with both managing the mother’s and the child’s stress. This group deals with the child as well, so it’s important to have techniques to use with children as well as the mother. The techniques could be considered adaptive strategies since they do not have consequences, and can benefit both parties greatly.

There are many ways for everyone to cope with stress. Even though the methods are not one-size-fits-all, people can find the methods that work for them and utilize them and prevent stress from consuming their lives.

Emotion Recognition in Facial Expressions

--Original published at Brittany's Thoughts

I chose option 2 for this week’s first impression. I took a test to see how well I could identify facial expressions. Going into the test, I figured I would be able to identify faces well since I always thought I was good at figuring out how people felt based on their facial expressions. When I took the quiz, I got a 19/20 on it, which suggests that I really do know how to identify facial expressions. I thought this test was pretty credible since they included key elements of each facial expression, some which I could easily identify that I knew. The test is on the website for a science magazine called Greater Good Magazine, which I have never heard of before. The magazine is published by Berkeley University of California, which is a highly accredited school.

Some of the expressions were fairly easy to identify. Fear, happiness, pride, anger, surprise, disgust, flirtatiousness, pain, amusement, interest, sadness, desire, shame, politeness, and love were all decently easy for me to identify. Identifying them all took some sort of rationale to get there, whether it is from my own experience of observing other’s facial expressions, or from thinking about my own facial expressions. For example, your eyes crinkle when you are genuinely happy, but not when you are only being polite. In fear and surprise, the eyes widen, but the mouth becomes tense and elongated with fear, but the mouth drops open with surprise. I have found that I can read those subtle differences, even if I never really thought of how I could before.

Some of the expressions were pretty hard to identify and took a lot more thought. Embarrassment, contempt, and compassion were the hardest to figure out. Embarrassment drops the head to the side with a slight smile, giving this feeling of awkwardness off. Contempt has a sassier look with only half of the mouth tightened at the corner with a side glance. I got compassion wrong by mixing it up with sadness because the eyebrows indicate sadness by how they are dropped, but the lip do not curl downward with sadness.

Facial expression recognition is very important for my future career. I am going to be a music therapist, and not all of my clients will or will be able to verbally tell me how they are feeling or how the music is affecting them. By knowing how to read expressions, I will be able to determine how my clients are really feeling and whether or not the music is helping them or exacerbating their feelings and issues. In my daily life alone, it will allow me to understand how my friends and family are feeling as well, even when they are not verbally being honest with me about their feelings.

Sleeping Habits

--Original published at Brittany's Thoughts

Sleep is something that I always seem to have a difficult time getting enough of. In high school, I would go to bed around midnight on school nights and 1 AM on weekends. Then, I would wake up at 6 AM on weekdays to go to school and 9 AM on weekends. Summer always made it harder since I slept in most days during the summer. Once I got a job after I graduated high school, that made my schedule worse since I was not consistently scheduled during the same shifts on occasion and that would mess up my already poor sleeping schedule.

My sleeping habits now are even worse. The first semester this academic year, I was going to bed at about the same time, which was midnight to 1 AM, and I woke up around 9 AM every day. This semester has not been like that though. My sleep schedule has gotten all messed up, and the times I wake up and go to bed vary greatly. Some days I wake up at 7 AM, others at 8:30 AM, and then 10 AM on weekends. The times I would go to sleep vary anywhere from midnight to 3 AM, leaving my sleep schedule pretty spontaneous. The amounts of time I would be asleep would fluctuate from 5 hours to 9 hours depending on when I went to bed and when I woke up. I know for a fact that this is not healthy since it is recommended to wake up and go to sleep at the same times every day, and I would have many nights where I only got 5-6 hours of sleep. I truly discovered that I am most certainly a night owl and that I do the most work anywhere from 8 PM to 2 AM during my days, especially homework.

I think the realistic amount of sleep a college student can get every night is about 7-8 hours of sleep. If the sleep schedule is consistent, a student can go to bed around 11 PM to midnight and wake up around 7-8 AM every day and get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Something I have actually planned on doing is getting to bed earlier every night and having a more consistent sleeping schedule. I would like to get to bed around 11 PM-midnight every night and wake up around 7-8 AM every day to keep a consistent sleep schedule intact, even on weekends and over breaks. Even though I am a night owl, I know the days are structured in ways that are detrimental to that lifestyle, so I need to try and break that. Hopefully, a consistent and healthy amount of sleep will help me function in my academic work, my work life on campus and home, and my social life.

Can Magic Help Autism?

--Original published at Brittany's Thoughts

I chose the prompt on whether magic can help those with autism. According to the long video on magic done by NOVA, most people will focus on moving objects or on the magicians’ faces instead of on their hands during a magic act. This is what causes the magic to occur. The brain’s attention on other places will trick you into believing that the coin is disappearing in a coin trick or the ball is magically appearing under the cups. According to a study done by neuroscientists, people with autism may not see magic tricks that deal with social cues the same way those who don’t have autism would see it. People with autism may focus on places such as the magicians’ hands instead of their face, which would allow them to see the illusion take place and understand how it occurs. The article on a hypothesis about prediction in autism shows that the world overall may be very hard of people with autism to predict already with all the incoming stimuli that their brains cannot predict and process the same way those who do not have autism would process them. This describes the whole world as being stressfully magical to people with autism.

I am amazed at what our brains can do and how its attention works to make us see the trick as magical when it really is only our attention focusing somewhere else. To imagine that someone else can understand how the trick works because they do not focus the same way is also amazing. I’m surprised how one clip says that magic would be beneficial, whereas the other makes it sound like magic would not be beneficial because everything is “magic” to people with autism anyway. It feels inconclusive about the effects of magic for those with autism.

Personally, I feel that using magic with people with autism is worth a try. If they can detect how the trick is done, it may bring more of a feeling of concreteness to the world, especially if others that do not have autism cannot sense how the trick is being done. It can help create skills of perception by using other ones that already exist, but can also help improve understanding of social cues by helping them understand how others would not understand how the trick is done by they ways their attention focuses on the trick.

Marijuana: Pros and Cons

--Original published at Brittany's Thoughts

I have chosen the first prompt about the controversy surrounding the use and legalization of marijuana. The topic is highly controversial in our country today, especially since some states have already legalized the use of recreational marijuana, and other states won’t be legalizing it anytime soon.

For those who are for the use of marijuana, they point out the health benefits of it. Marijuana helps with pain, anxiety, and can aid with disorders such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. They also argue that marijuana is the least addictive drug and that it is less harmful than other types of drugs. Those who are against the use of marijuana claim it to be the “gateway drug” to using much harder drugs to achieve that same high. They also claim that it worsens physical and mental health rather than benefiting it. Research is inconclusive on the real effects of marijuana, so either argument could be correct or incorrect and is mostly based on whether a person has had experience with using marijuana or not.Medical marijuana is also a big controversy right now. Those who think it should be legalized talk about all the benefits it can have for disease treatment, especially in conditions like epilepsy in children, where the drug has been shown to work. Those against it make similar arguments to regular arguments about marijuana and that it will do more harm than good.

In my opinion, I support the use and legalization of medical marijuana. They are starting to develop medical marijuana with less THC, meaning patients will not get much of a high. This means that people will be at less danger of addiction to the drug while using it for medical use. As for recreational marijuana, I don’t really approve of the use of it, but legalizing it could have benefits. There would be less arrests, more locally-sourced jobs would be created to distribute marijuana, and an improvement in the economy of the legalized areas. I think legalization of both could have some real benefits to society.

Spotlight Blog #1

--Original published at Brittany's Thoughts

Divorce used to not occur as frequently as it does now. This could have been impacted by society and religious reasons since divorce was extremely frowned upon in the past. Today, many children live in families with only one parent, in split custody or with biological and stepparents. These effects on the children of divorced parents has been observed for some years now, and the jury is not yet out on whether or not divorce really does affect children in the long run.

An article written by Wendy Paris on Psychology Today shows that divorced parents can successively raise children without long-lasting negative effects of divorce. She herself had gotten divorced from her ex-husband, so she looked into research to see how her son would be affected. She found that if the children were raised by cooperative, loving and understanding parents, then the children would thrive. Research found that the parents did not have to be married or living in the same house for this to work. Parents need to be civil towards one another, present and focused on their children and provide the children with what they need to live. Overall, about 80% of children are not negatively affected by the divorce in the long run. She took this information from a 2012 meta-survey conducted by Michael Lamb. That general finding comes from several studies done over the years. Paris cited a few studies and she did her research

Another article on Scientific American Mind written by Hal Arkowitz and Scott O. Lilienfeld found that most children do not experience long-term problems related to divorce. A study conducted in 2002 found that a majority of children have short-term effects that usually only last into the second year of the divorce. Another 20-year study found that 25% of adult children in divorced families experienced severe social, emotional and psychological issues, and 10% felt the same in intact families. This shows that a majority of adult children in divorced families become well-adjusted adults. Overall, about 80% of children are not negatively affected by the divorce in the long run. In a 1985 study, it found that children exposed to marital arguments more easily adjusted to the divorce than those who were not exposed. This is thought to be true because those exposed just wanted the fighting to end. According to these findings, children can be negatively affected by divorce over the course of their lifetime, but many are not.

Amy Desai wrote an article on the negative effects of divorce on children. She found that most children suffer after a divorce, and that many experience relationship problems in their adult lives. A 25-year study done from the 1970’s to the 1990’s by Judith Wallerstein found that many of the children studied never “bounced back” after the divorce. She also found that they were more likely to have premarital sex, cohabit before marriage, experience drug and alcohol abuse and generally have poor romantic relationships. She said that many of the children still felt abandoned after divorce. Desai also interviewed a counselor who said that children never came back from a divorce and that all significant events in their life reminded them of the divorce. The statistics were not numerical and were slightly vague in nature, but she does present a legitimate study. Overall, the article advocated against divorce and towards rebuilding marriages.

Finally, Jann Gumbiner, Ph.D wrote about how divorce was nothing but detrimental. She herself was the child of a divorced family. She talks about how in the 1970’s, the literature suggested that divorce did not cause problems in children. She talks about her own very negative experience with her parents’ divorce. She notes that the 70’s psychological theory was grounded in Maslow’s self-actualization and that divorce was okay for self-growth. A majority of her argument was a rant on her own personal experience, which is valid and a fact of her life, but not easy to generalize to a whole population of children of divorce. I could not locate any other sources with cited facts about how divorce is completely negative.

Personally, I fall in between the two sides. I believe that divorce is not great for children, but that if it is handled properly, the children can prosper. This kind of argument is what the positive side is giving off. A majority of children are negatively affected by divorce in the short term. A majority can recuperate from the divorce though and live happy, successful lives. Whether this success occurs from the help of both biological parents, stepparents, or only one parent, children typically will come out of a divorce doing well after some healing time.


Study Habits

--Original published at Brittany's Thoughts

In high school, I never studied very much. Topics came easily to me, and I managed to almost be a straight A student just by doing my homework and paying attention in class. I came into college with no recent knowledge on what ways of studying work best for me. When I have studied in college, I had been provided a study guide, which I found beneficial because I could better aim my studying.

For the first exam, the only studying I did came from doing one of the practice question tests four times. I did not realize that the chapters were broken up into two different groups of practice questions. Even with that little amount of studying, I still managed to score above the class average and receive a passing grade on the exam. I found the questions beneficial, so I would do the practice questions for the next exam. I would also make sure that I did both of the sets of practice questions. Along with that, I should look back in the book or in my notes if I do not understand concepts or come along information that I could not remember. I have the hardest time with the information that is only in the book. I would also do the practice questions more times to see as many of the questions as possible and to see at least some of the same questions several times. Repetition is a key in learning, and it should benefit me remembering the information. Hopefully, these new study habits will improve my exam grades in the class.


No Such Thing As Free Will?

--Original published at Brittany's Thoughts

According to B.F Skinner, there is no such thing as free will. From his experience of doing a study with pigeons, he determined that the pigeons did the desirable behaviors for food. The pigeons would peck at a colored disk until food would be revealed to them. The food was revealed in different reinforcement schedules, which Skinner said were like the schedules used on gambling machines. His argument is that we believe free will exists because we do not understand the behaviors behind the things we do.

I believe that Skinner is correct about this assumption. Our natural drives are fueled by our needs. We act based on what needs to be satisfied within our body, whether it be food, comfort, shelter. This needs could very well be why we end up in bad situations and feel as if  we have no control over them. This lack of free will can bring us into unhealthy situations. We do things because we need to. We eat because it is required to survive. We may choose what we eat and when we eat, but we eat because we must.

Skinner compared the scheduling to those on gambling machines. We believe that something like gambling is something we choose to do, but gambling can become an addiction. Does this inadvertently show that things like addiction become just like our natural drives? Do we completely lose our free will to things that are not required for survival? It appears that we, as humans, do not have the free will that we thought we did.