Spotlight blog 3: Option 1

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Peer pressure is pervasive, especially with ages that are still in school such as elementary to high school. I don’ t think college students are effected that much by peer pressure because by that age they’re not as easy to persuade. The first website I looked at was for parents. The website gave parents tip to give to their children about how to deal with peer pressure. The first tip was to take a deep breath; when a peer asks you to do something you don’t feel comfortable with doing, just take a deep breath. I thought that was a weird tip to give someone. Not only will your child be peer pressured, there might be a possibility to their getting bullied as well. The second tip was to tell the peers that they are doing bad things and could result in consequences. Most children that do risky things and peer pressure others already know that they are doing something that they shouldn’t be. That being said, I don’t think that this tip is very helpful either. The only helpful tip that came from this website was thinking about the consequences that come with having risky behaviors.

The second website I researched was for college students. The website said to be confident about yourself. Peer pressure comes from conformity, which is people having the tendency to submit to a group. I thought this was a good tip because the more confident you are in yourself, the less likely you are to change your views or morals. Another tip was to become friends with people who share similar values and morals. There will be no need for peer pressure if your friends do the same things as you do. The media makes it seem like college is all about partying and getting drunk, but they are just as many people that don’t go out than the ones that do. You just have to find a group of people that do what you want to do.

The last website I looked at was for teenagers. I think peer pressure effects teenagers in high school the most because they’re still trying to figure themselves out. It is easier for them to actually give into peer pressure. The first tip was to ask a lot of questions. When someone asks you if you want to smoke, ask them why they smoke. I don’t think that this is a good tip because you don’t want to make the person uncomfortable, especially if it is your friend. You don’t want to come off as being judgmental. The best tip that this website gave was to say no with confidence. Confidence is key in any group dynamic, if a person senses insecurity they might keep asking you do something that you don’t want to do. Another good tip is to try not to put yourself in a stressful situation. If you don’t like drinking or smoking, and feel uncomfortable with saying no, then find friends that do alternative activities.


Media Production: New Findings Pave the Way for Resilience to Stress

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In this day and age where stress affects everyone, it is important that more research is done about stress biomarkers. Constant exposure to chronic stress can lead to serious mental illness such as anxiety and depression. Stress can affect individuals differently depending on their biological makeup. Some individuals might respond negatively to stress while other might respond positively and form resilience. According to Thomas Larrieu’s research, stress plays a significant role in a range of mental illnesses. Yet, stress does not disturb everyone equally; while some individuals become depressed when dealing with continual hardships, others acclimate and endure. Larrieu and his team set out to show the risk influencers and biomarkers for susceptibility to social status depression.

The findings from an experiment lead by Thomas Larrieu helps us understand why individuals have different responses to stress. The experiment primarily tested if social status effects susceptibility to stress in adolescent mice. In particular, the researchers exposed mice to chronic social defeat stress (CSDS). Before finding out the effects of social status on stress, the researchers had to distinguish the subordinate mice from the dominant mice. Within the mice population, to initiate social status, the young mice were placed into cages of four for seven weeks before exposure to any stress. After seven weeks they measured social ranking by performing several tests on the mice. One test, categorized as a social confrontation tube test; consisted of putting two mice from the same social environment in the middle of a tube. The mice were previously trained to get out of the tube by walking forward. For the test, the mouse that walked forward and essentially made the other mouse back out of the tube was considered the dominant mouse, the mouse that was forced to walk backward was the subordinate mouse. With this social test and several others, the researchers were able to determine the social ranking of the mice. They ranked the mice from 1 to 4, 1 and 2 being dominant and 3 and 4 being subordinate.

After the researchers established the social hierarchy of the mice, they started to expose the subjects to different scenarios that would induce stress. When dominant and subordinate mice were exposed to a very aggressive mouse from another species for ten days, the dominant mice showed social avoidance whereas subordinate mice were not significantly affected. Researchers then analyzed the effects on the brain when mice felt defeated and showed signs of depression. The researchers measured the concentration of metabolites in nucleus accumbens. The nucleus accumben plays a role in motivation and reward that would affect whether an individual is resilient or not (Schlaepfer et al.). The more activity there is in the nucleus accumbens, the less likely the individual is susceptible to depression. The experiment showed that subordinate mice have more activity in their nucleus accumbens when exposed to stress than dominate mice do. From their findings, the researchers discovered the biomarkers for resilience to stress in mice. The resilience to stressful situations comes from the amount of activity in a nucleus accumbens.

After discovering the correlation between social status and susceptibility to stress, the researchers did recognize the fact that some mice could have been more susceptible to stress just from having trait anxiety, which could have affected the results. Nevertheless, they hope that their findings can help with the progress of researching vulnerability to stress. Now that stress biomarkers have been detected in mice, there is a greater possibility that scientists will find ways for humans to become more resilient to stressful situations.



I did not find it hard to summarize the research article. I found it harder to summarize the pop culture article. I thought the research article made more sense to me, so I was able to summarize it with no problems. The research article went into to detail about how the researchers came to their conclusions, whereas I was a little skeptical about the pop culture article because I don’t think there was enough information. I had to leave out other tests the researchers conducted to determine their social ranking. I also left out other procedures they did to induce stress on the mice. I left those components of the research out because I did not feel that was the crucial points that needed to go into the summary. I wanted the reader to have one example of how the researchers assigned social status and how they exposed the mice to chronic social defeat stress. While reading the pop culture article, I questioned what procedures the scientists conducted to figure out the mice social hierarchy. I also wondered how they were exposing the subjects to stress. It was important that I elaborated on some of the researcher’s procedures that lead them to their conclusions to reduce skepticism from the reader.

I did not think much about journalism before this assignment. I am more skeptical about reading pop culture articles. But now, if the author does leave out some vital information I will be a little sympathetic, knowing that they have a word count and not all the information can go into the article.


First Impression-Motivation

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I am a transfer from another small liberal arts college in Maryland. I did not like the school that I was at before, athletically or academically. I knew if I wanted to have a positive college experience, I would have to transfer. Elizabethtown was the first institution to recruit me for basketball. I remember having a tour at Etown when I was a senior and I thought it was a very nice school. It was in my top three colleges but I decided to go to the college in Maryland because it was closer to my house. When I made my mind up that I was going to transfer, I immediately pictured myself at Etown. I am glad I made the switch because Etown sets me up for success academically and athletically.

I am the most motivated when it is close to the due date. I know that doesn’t sound great, but it is the truth. I have more motivation to study when the exam is close. I have more motivation to do an assignment when the due date is close. This isn’t the best way to handle work in college. It can make you very stressed out. I try to motivate myself to do things earlier so that I won’t be rushing trying to finish the assignment on time. The bigger the assignment is, the more motivation I have to complete it. What motivates me to be successful in school is my G.P.A. I always strive to get good grades so that I can get scholarships for graduate school. The better my grades are the more likely I am to get scholarships. Focusing on the big picture is what helps me stay motivated. As a part of my motivational plan, I will print out a picture of my dream car (a Mercedes G-wagon) and put it up on my wall. So every time I look at my dream car I will be motivated to work hard so that I can be successful enough to afford a G-wagon. I will also write motivational quotes on post its and stick them on my walls. The quotes will motivate me to work hard.

Johari Window-Bonus Post

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Doing the Johari Window was a great way to see what others thought of you. Frankly, I was shocked by the characteristics people picked for me. The most shocking trait that multiple people picked was extroversion. To me, I am a total introvert. I would definitely rather be by myself than surrounded by people looking at me. I feel most calm when I am by myself. I guess some people didn’t know that about me. The highest trait that was picked for me was intelligence. I wouldn’t say that I am not intelligent, but that was not one of the traits I picked for myself. The second highest trait people picked for me was caring. I would say that I am caring as well but there were only so many traits you could pick for this exercise. It was interesting to see what traits individuals picked based on their relationship with me. My sister and my mom said that I was an introvert because those are the people that know me best. They know I’d rather be by myself than have all eyes on me. But from a person who doesn’t know me very well, they might assume I feed off of other people’s energy. I think the Johari Window is a pretty good measurement of personality. It’s good to see what others think of you because you might posses traits that you never thought about having before someone brought it to your attention. I think it gets you thinking about who you are and how people perceive you. Its a great way to find out what others think of you, I would recommend it to everyone.

First Impression: Social Psychology

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Leon Festinger developed theories on Cognitive dissonance. This is when there are conflicting attitudes or beliefs, which causes discomfort, there is alteration of an attitude or belief to reduce the discomfort. Festinger discovered this theory from doing a research that involves students doing a boring task. Then students were then asked to tell the next person that the tasks/study was not boring at all. For lying, the students were given either one dollar or twenty dollars. The student who was paid twenty dollars to lie didn’t make the study seem as fun as the person who was only paid a dollar. Why is that you ask? The person who was paid twenty dollars knows the task was dull but also knows that he had sufficient justification for lying, hence there is no cognitive dissonance. The person who was paid a dollar, on the other hand, knows that he did not have sufficient justification to lie. This makes the person who was only paid a dollar uncomfortable. To reduce discomfort, the person alters his or her opinion of the task so that they are not lying to anyone. Festinger believes anytime there is an insufficient reward, there will be dissonance.

I don’t think cognitive dissonance is a bad thing that we should avoid, but I think everyone should know about. In elementary school, my parents used to reward me for every five points I made in a basketball, I would receive money for it. It actually put more pressure on me to make more points and it didn’t work in my favor. I would become really nervous and it would affect my shot selection and my performance. When they didn’t give me a reward for how many points I made, I enjoyed playing more, I had fun and I wasn’t stressing. I think it is good to know about cognitive dissonance just to see if you can try and catch yourself altering your opinion of something when you are put in an uncomfortable situation.



Spotlight Blog 2

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Stress is inevitable in life, so it is important that people find the right stress management mechanisms for them to prevent any health problems caused by stress.  The first stress management website I looked at was targeted for college students. The website’s first tip was to get enough sleep. I agree with this tip; sleep is a very big part of staying healthy. Lack of sleep can cause a weaker immune system. The website states that lack of sleep can put someone at risk of serious illnesses like diabetes, obesity or depression. Lack of sleep on top of being exposed to stress could make people more susceptible to depression. Another tip the website had was to eat well. It states that unhealthy eating habits can lead to a higher susceptibility to stress. They also suggest exercising when you’re stressed. They say that physical activity can reduce stress levels. Exercise was discussed in lecture when we were learning about stress. I think the most important tip that this website gave their readers was to have emotional support. Having someone to vent to about your problems and stressors can be really helpful, at least from my perspective. Eating healthy and getting sleep is great but having someone to talk to was the best tip from this website. In class, we also talked about how support groups could help with stress which lead to religion being a great stress reliever.

The next stress management website I found was for athletes. It says that a certain amount of stress is good for an athlete. Which is true but the stress that you have can affect you positively or negatively depending on the person. It says not to train too hard at the sport that you are playing, the website suggests to have another hobby that isn’t your sport. Sometimes the sport that one plays becomes a stressor because they’re so serious about it, which is my problem. So having another hobby that is fun can help relieve stress. Athletic competitions such as a swim meet or a basketball game could be very stressful. A really good tip they had for athletes was to set reachable goals for yourself. Once you start to succeed and reach those goals, you will feel more confident and become less stressed. A not very helpful tip they suggested was to cut out other stressors in other parts of your life. Most of the time people aren’t searching around for stressors. Stress is inevitable and most stressors can’t just be cut out of your life, even though that would be great if all stressors could just disappear.

The last website I found was directed towards young adults. This was the most helpful stress management website out of the three websites I found. It says to identify all the stressors you have in your life and where it is coming from. It’s impossible to try to fix a problem if one doesn’t know where it is coming from. Once the stressors are identified, try to adapt or make changes. It suggests to keep a journal to write the date, time, location and activity you were doing when you became stressed. It then proceeds to say to try to avoid the stressor, if that isn’t possible, try to alter it. For example, maybe a particular class in your stressor, try to plan better and have better time management so you can take your time doing the assignment. Stress comes when you’re trying to finish a paper last minute, so try to manage your time wisely. My favorite tip from this website was to just accept what your stressor is. Life happens, stress is inevitable, just try to stay positive and do the best you can do with whatever you are doing. This tip reminded me of mindfulness based stress reduction where you just focus on being in the moment, not in the past or future. I will definitely be using tips that were directed toward young adults, I thought it was the most helpful and realistic coping mechanisms for stress.


First Impression: Intelligence

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According to Wikipedia, intelligence is the ability to acquire knowledge and skills. We live in a world where knowledge is power. That being said, we start education at a young age. Some start even sooner than average based on who their parents are and if the caregiver has the correct resources to give their child an educational head start. If some children are getting a head start in education, then we they get to school they have already been exposed to the information that everyone else is learning for the first time. The teacher might think that this child with a head start is more intelligent than the other students in the class. But really that child has just been exposed to the material before. I believe intelligence can also be effected by the resources you have. If all the students were exposed to the same amount of educational resources, I believe there would be a decrease in the intelligence gap between students. Of course there will always some students that are more privileged than others, but teachers should keep that in mind when teaching younger ages such as elementary school students.

In elementary school, I noticed that students were being segregated into either “very smart” or normal students. They based the categorization on test scores. They had this program for “very smart” students called spectrum. Once a week they would leave the school and go on a “field trip”, at least that’s what all the other normal students thought they were going. We never really knew where they went but it definitely effected the way we thought about ourselves. Were we not smart because we were not picked for this special program? I don’t think intelligence should be based on student’s test scores. Not everyone is good at test taking and there are students with different learning disabilities that might affect their average test scores. I like the way Professor MacFarlane doesn’t base our grade solely on tests and quizzes. It gives students a chance to get a good grade even if they didn’t do how they wanted on the exams. It also gives the students a chance to apply what they learned in class to assignments other than exams, which ultimately helps the students learn more efficiently.

Week 10 First Impression: Learning

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Operant conditioning is a type of learning where behavior is controlled by consequences or rewards. Skinner believes that free will is not a thing because of operant conditioning. I disagree with Skinner, no matter if you are effected by the power of operant conditioning, you still have free will. Free will is the ability to make your own decisions. As I read more and more about operant conditioning, it sounds very similar to the way I was raised by my parents. I am rewarded for doing good things and punished for doing bad. But if I didn’t have free will why did I sometimes make bad choices that resulted in me getting punished? If we did not have free will, why do people make bad choices all the time? Frequently, people get into trouble with the law knowing there is a possibility of them suffering the consequences. If Skinner was right, then there would never be any crime in the world. Everyone would always make the right decision. Life is full of operant conditioning, if we do something right such as work hard at our job we might get a promotion. If we are slacking off at work, we might get fired. If we study hard we’ll ace the exam, if we don’t we might fail. We receive consequences and rewards for our actions on a daily basis. Whether or not it was a good choice, we still have the ability to make our own decisions no matter what the outcome may be.

First Impression: Emotion

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Many people have told me that they can read my facial expressions like a book. You do not have to be an expert to read my facial expressions. Once it was brought to my attention, I have been trying harder not to wear my feelings on my face but it is hard to do. Although people can easily tell my emotional expressions, I on the other hand, struggle on that topic. According to the test that I took I am in the average range of being able to tell people’s emotional expression. My score was 12/20, going into the test I honestly thought I knew a lot about reading emotional expressions but I realized that is something that I need to work on. A question that crossed while taking the test was: Do people express their emotions in different ways? If so, how can we really tell what emotion is what? I could not tell the difference between being polite and being happy. If someone walks past you and smiles couldn’t they be showing happiness and politeness? I was good at telling when someone was being flirtatious because of the way she tilted her head when she smiled and the way she made eye contact. Another easy emotional expression I could detect was interest, because the person’s eyebrows were raised and their eyes were big. I decided to take the test again and got 16/20, which is above average. With practice, anyone can improve on their ability to read emotional expressions.

Week 7 First Impression: Sleep

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Sleep is a very important, getting enough of it is a key part of living a healthy life. Most college students definitely struggle with getting a healthy amount of sleep. Some might sleep too much, but most sleep too little. Not getting enough sleep and sleeping too much are both unhealthy for the human body. The amount of sleep that is considered healthy depends on your age. Teenagers and young adults should be getting about seven to eight hours of sleep every night. I always feel my best when I get exactly eight hours of sleep. When I get too much sleep I wake up tired and feel out of it all day. Sometimes it is hard to get eight hours of sleep when you have three papers due in one week and test at the end of the week and quiz the next day. There is a lot you have to keep up with in college and sometimes that might result in sleep deprivation. Being a collegiate student athlete makes it even harder to get sleep. Keeping up with school work and being fully committed to the sport you play might also effect the amount of sleep one is getting. I always try to get eight hours of sleep or close to it. This semester, I was lucky enough to not have an eight AM class. I have a 9:30 class two days out of the week. I could go to sleep at 1:00 and still get eight hours of sleep. I believe eight hours of sleep is a realistic goal for college students. Most of the time, the reason why college students are not getting the correct amount of sleep is procrastination. Procrastination is the main cause of sleep deprivation in college. Some of us might not have this problem but most of us do. We let all of our work pile up until we have to do it all that night. So we’re frantically studying and doing homework at two o’clock in the morning instead of getting a proper amount of sleep. I try not to procrastinate, but when I do it usually results in sleep deprivation. College students can improve their sleeping habits by staying on top of their school work to prevent procrastination. Your body tells you when it is tired. Don’t fight that fact that you’re tired, go to sleep at a reasonable time so you can be ready for whatever comes your way the next day.