Spotlight Blog #3

--Original published at Pisacane Perspectives

Peer Pressure





The first website that I chose provided ways to resist peer pressure for athletes. This website had effective ways of resisting peer pressure as they worked on building confidence, which I think is the key. Step three, four, and five did this especially as they encouraged the reader to find support for the people around them and building inner confidence which will discourage self-doubt and in turn conformity. Step two had the right idea of stepping back and asking questions, but I think instead of “What will I be most proud of in ten years?” the person should be asking themselves things like “What’s the worst that will happen if I don’t do the same thing as this group of people?” or “Will I regret not trusting my gut?” Overall, this site had some good ideas about how to effectively resist peer pressure.


The second website that I chose’s audience was adults, which had a mix of both effective and ineffective ways of resisting peer pressure. The first two tips work on confidence, which as I mentioned before, is very important. Staying true to yourself and not listening to other people with decrease conformity. The third tip may also be helpful because having a wide range of friends will break up the majority so that you can see a range or opinions and actions. The only way that this might not work is if it’s in the context of the last tip. Finding a group that are similar to you isn’t avoiding peer pressure, but instead is instead seeking a majority that you’re comfortable conforming to. This may also make it hard to go against them on something if you already agree on most things. Another tip that may not be affective is learning from your mistakes. Peer pressure can be seen in a number of different ways both big and small, which can make it hard to learn from past experience if that pressure comes about in a different part of your life or in a different form. This site had mostly good tips, but not all of them would be helpful.


The last website that I chose provided tips for teens. This site had a several ways of resisting, which overall were pretty good. They encouraged the reader to question the majority and the people pressuring them which discourages conformity, understanding the effect the situation or environment can have on decision making, and it also gave tips that required confidence in oneself, which are great ways of not giving in to peer pressure. The eight tip would be especially effective because as we know from the Soloman and Ash experiment having a partner helps with resistance. Some of this advice is better that others, but as a whole, the tips would be effective.



Media Production Project

--Original published at Pisacane Perspectives

A study conducted by doctors in the Pain Research Center at the University of Utah, has expanded the research being done to discover the effects music listening and engagement has on pain perception and pain relief in people. The experiment contained two independent variables: the level of pain being administered, and the difficulty of the task being asked of the subject. The researchers took a baseline of each subject’s pain tolerance, then created three levels of pain to be used in the experiment which were 20%, 50%, and 80% of this measurement. Tasks included finding deviant tones within songs which were familiar to the client.

What the researchers found was that there were two components of the subjects’ personality which determine how well music would help with pain relief. The first was their ability to become absorbed in the music and the task. Because pain messages cannot be fully received while attention is elsewhere, pain relief is dependent on how absorbed the subject is in it. Researchers thought that having high levels of anxiety would prevent participants from being able to focus on the task given, however, they found it to have the opposite effect.

It was concluded that music can, in fact, be stress relieving depending on the subject’s level of engagement in it, which can be increased by how much anxiety is felt at a given time.





I was surprised by how quickly I was able to summarize this study. I think that because I had already familiarized myself with the study by reading through and highlighting the important parts of it, I already knew what details I could leave out such as some of the process and small details such as what specific songs were used during the experiment. Having the original pop culture article to look at made it easier to know how to structure my summary and what kind of concise language I should be using. The biggest help I think was having written the scholarly article critique because I had already gone through and decided what information to leave out and figured out how to best summarize the experiment which gave me a lot of ideas on how to write this article. It still was a bit difficult however, because I knew so much more about the experiment than what I was writing so I felt like I wasn’t giving the reader a big enough picture. Condensing a 20+ page study into just 253 words or less isn’t easy, and without the time I had spend with it prior it would have been very difficult. I understand now how journalism can be different depending on how much space you have to be detailed and share more about the subject. I think that in comparison to my scholarly article critique, this summary doesn’t give nearly as much information or answer as many questions, and I know now that that’s just because the length difference, making the information prioritized differently.


First Impression: Schizophrenia

--Original published at Pisacane Perspectives

For this week I chose option 1 which contained the video simulating what a normal day for someone with schizophrenia is like. Although I’ve seen movies depicting people with schizophrenia, namely Danny Darko and A Beautiful Mind, I still found myself being anxious throughout the video because I didn’t know what to expect. This made me realize that although the media depicts the common symptoms of the disorder, they do so in a way that advances the plot or gives the story an antagonist (in the case of Danny Darko) and not in a way that’s actually accurate.

I found it interesting that the video used light to show “reality” and what was the disorder. In the beginning there’s no voices or hallucination, but as they start to appear it get’s darker and darker in the video. It isn’t until another person comes and grounds the person by talking about their medicine and opening the blinds does it become light again. Throughout the video the harsh words of the voices, the paranoia, and the hallucinations made me realize how difficult it is to just go about your day like a person without the disorder would. It’s very persistent unlike the way it’s portrayed in media where is comes and goes.

Obviously medication can help with these symptoms, and there isn’t any “typical” case of schizophrenia, but this video made it a lot easier to understand what life for someone with schizophrenia is like compared to what it looks like in movies.

Johari Window Bonus Post

--Original published at Pisacane Perspectives

Link to my Johari Window:

I think Johari Windows are a good introduction to a person’s personality. They give you a general idea of who they are, and what they think of themselves versus what others see them as. It’s not too in depth however, and I found that all the adjectives (at least on this particular website) were positive. There are less desirable and even neutral traits that factor into who we are as people. I feel that these are of equal importance, even though it may be harder for the participants to be honest about picking them since this was not anonymous. Sometimes our flaws or shortcomings stick out just as much as our better qualities, though.

With that said, this assignment still taught me a lot about how I come across to others. Some traits that were popular for me were dependable and witty, which didn’t come to mind when picking traits for myself. I was happy to see that people thought of me that way and I was very surprised as well. I was also surprised that the qualities I wanted myself to be and valued in a person made it onto the list such as maturity and intelligence. I wasn’t surprised because I didn’t think that I was those things, I was more surprised that others noticed. Overall, I think this showed a lot about how I come across as a person, but it doesn’t give anyone the full picture of who I am.


First Impression Week 11

--Original published at Pisacane Perspectives

There’s a lot of stress that comes with being Music Therapy major, which can come from a lot of different places such as written exams, playing exams, countless assignments, performances, and a number of other things. Because of this, there’s a few different ways in which I manage and relieve stress.

When it comes to assignments, I become easily stressed out and overwhelmed. To deal with this, I keep a color coded planner so I can keep track of everything I need to do during the week. Being able to break it down and keep all the due dates organized makes me feel a lot better about it and makes me feel like I have a better handle on all the things I need to get done. Also, being able to check a lot of things off my “To-Do” list each day relieves some stress, too.

I handle stress from performances and performing exams in one way– practice. Sitting down an practicing a piece or skill until I’m confident with it makes me feel a lot better about it. If I have an exam on material I’m not familiar with I stress out a lot more about it than I do with exams with material that I’ve gotten right several times in practice.

I also have a few ways that I relieve stress in general. These include origami, yoga, dancing and getting together with friends at the Korean Pop Culture club to learn about something that’s not related to major and it purely for fun.

These methods help me to stay organized and productive so I think they work pretty well. The ones that relieve the most stress for me are dancing and going to club meetings, which I think improve my mental health more than they do my academic, which is still important. Overall, I think I have good ways of managing my stress.

Emotion First Impression

--Original published at Pisacane Perspectives

(Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult is a classic song that’s recognized by almost everyone. It’s played frequently on the radio and has been covered by a number of other bands, but what people don’t realize how dark the song really is. It might be hard to tell on the surface, with it’s flowing chorus and beautiful imagery, but this song is actually about trying to persuade your lover to commit double suicide.

The first two verses of the song are basically the singer listing all the other people and things that  aren’t afraid of death and why that means he and his lover shouldn’t be either. In the second verse, the lyrics are “Are together in eternity, Romeo and Juliet/ 40, 000 men and women everyday, Like Romeo and Juliet/ 40, 000 men and women everyday, Redefine happiness/ Another 40, 000 coming everyday, We can be like they are.” This is what made me realize the message of the song in the first place, as we all know what happened to Romeo and Juliet.

The last verse of the song uses a lot of imagery to describe the lover’s response to all this. Some of the lyrics are “Came the last night of sadness/ And it was clear she couldn’t go on… The candles blew then disappeared/ The curtains flew then he appeared, saying don’t be afraid.” The ‘he’ which is mentioned here can be interpreted as either the singer or the grim reaper. “And she ran to him, then they started to fly/ They looked backward and said goodbye, she had become like they are/ She had taken his hand, she had become like they are”

So as you can see, not only does this song have a dark story, it also has a dark ending as the lover decides to listen to the singer and not “fear the reaper”.

Spring Break First Impression

--Original published at Pisacane Perspectives

I knew a little bit about what synesthesia was before watching this video, as I read a book which talked a little bit about it, but I had no idea how differently people with it experienced things.  Being able to see and experience the world like they do really opens things up so that they’re looking at the bigger picture, for example, the way Daniel solves the math problem in his TED talk. Even the way he sees numbers as colors and shapes helps so that he doesn’t just see a chain of numbers like the digits of pi, instead he sees it as a picture and sees how the numbers interact with each other.

This idea of seeing more than just words or numbers made me think a lot about how musicians see music. To most people, it may just look like lines and dots and squiggles, but to someone who can read music, it all has meaning. They can hear how the melodies go and see how the piece flows from chord to chords or from conveying one emotion to another. This takes years of training and practice to be able to do well, but for someone synesthesia, not only is this how they comprehend the entire world, it’s also something that comes naturally to them.

This also relates to what writers try to do, as Daniel spoke about with the use of hare over rabbit, and in the alliteration in Lolita. Stories are written to paint a picture and to take the reader on a journey. The best books are the ones we don’t remember we’re reading, and instead feel like we’re experiencing. This is the way people with synesthesia see writting; as more than just words.  Instead they see color and patterns and can much easier pick up on the things writers put in that people without synesthesia may just glance over.

For something that maybe be hard for others to understand or maybe even see the value in, synethesia opens up a whole new world that’s richer and even more connected than the one most people experience.




First Impression Week 7

--Original published at Pisacane Perspectives

The leagalization of marijuana in some states has understandably received mixed reactions. Although it’s been widely used, there are still a lot of things to worry about now that it’s becoming more accepted. Will there be more legislation passed to control it or will laws become even more accepting? Will the same limitations apply to smoking cigarettes in public places apply to smoking joints? There’s a lot to consider and worry about since these laws are still relatively new.

When it comes to recreational marijuana, I think leagalizing it is okay, as along as the users can be safe. If we apply the same thinking to marijuana as we do to cigarettes and alcohol, I think it will be easier for people to accept. Making sure the participants get it from a reputable place (such as a business, and not off the street), and giving limitations as to where it can be used (similar to the limitations for smoking cigarettes), will ensure that the users and those around them can be safe and have boundaries.

One might argue that it’s not smart to leagalize a class one drug. I would agree with this, but I would also argue that if regulated, and used correctly, marijuana could get off of the drug schedule. Another thing that would help with this is the medicinal use of marijuana. Unlike other pain killers, it’s not addictive, and patients may be more open to using it now that it’s becoming legal, it’s familiar, and because they may already know the effect it has on them.

It’s understandable that marijuana has been met with resistance, but if more action is taken to regulate and keep people safe, it may become as common as alcohol and cigarettes.

Spotlight Post #1

--Original published at Pisacane Perspectives

“The most important question is not whether children from divorced families are having difficulties, but what particular factors cause these differences,” (Hughes). As the vast majority of studies has proven over the past few decades, divorce has effects on the children within the family. These effects, however, vary from child to child which may give off the impression that divorce doesn’t affect them all.

“Current evidence suggests that the loss of parents, economic difficulties, stress, parental adjustment and competence, and interparental conflict all contribute at least to some degree to the difficulties of children,” (Hughes).  With the numerous changes going on in the child’s life, it’s hard to believe that that anyone could be unaffected. Not every child is going to show all the negative effects that divorce has been known to have, which when looking at case studies, may seem to diminish the impact divorce has on children. Over a million couples get divorced in the United States annually, so it only makes sense to view the largest sample possible as each case will be very different. As Fagan and Churchill explain, “there is no way to predict how any particular child will be affected nor to what extent, but it is possible to predict divorce’s societal effects and how this large cohort of children will be affected as a group.”

After decades of studies, there is no doubt that divorce has negative effects on the children of the family. There are numerous reasons for this, and there are numerous ways in which these effects are shown, but as each child reacts and adapts differently, the results have to be looked at generally. One reason for this powerful impact may be because “as of the latest data from the 2009 American Community Survey (shows), only 47 percent reach age 17 in an intact married family,” (Fagan and Churchill). As we know, childhood and adolescence are where the majority of our development as people occur, and the changes which divorce brings on, such as the ones mentioned by Hughes, can alter that development. This may play bigger or smaller roles for each child, but overall, divorce has been proven to have a negative impact.–1995.pdf?sequence=2


First Impression: Neuroscience

--Original published at Pisacane Perspectives

I chose to watch Thomas Insel’s TED Talk “Towards A New Understanding of Mental Illness” because I’ve been learning about mental illness in my Music Therapy classes and I find the topic very interesting. In this talk , Insel illustrates the serious effects mental illnesses have on the brain, and how they compare to other physical illnesses. He presented a lot of data on the advancements made in lowering mortality rates when it comes to physical diseases such as AIDS, Leukemia, strokes, and heart attacks, and explained that the reason death rates were going down were because of early intervention. He then compared this data to suicide rates due to mental illness, and there has been almost no progress. This is because mental illness is seen now as behavioral illness, which is treated only after behavioral symptoms are shown. Mental illnesses like PTSD, depression, OCD, and anxiety disorders are caused by the way the brain is wired, and it’s behavioral effects only are shown after a large amount of brain tissue is affected. To only give treatment after that has happened is to deny early intervention. Insel utilized a lot or research and brain scans showing the deteriorating brain tissue, and for this reason I think his information is trustworthy. He also works for the federal government trying to make advances in combating mental illness so I think he was optimistically honest.

The thing I found most interesting about this talk was the way he kept explaining treatment for mental illness by comparing it to how it would be treated if it had been a physical illness. This seems to make people understand it better, and it reminded me of something we talked about in my Music Therapy class. My professor once said to us, “you’d never tell someone to just ‘get over’ a heart attack. You’d never tell someone ‘just smile and you’ll feel better.’’ Which is true, but yet it’s still said to people with mental illnesses. Society takes physical illnesses a lot more seriously than mental ones, despite mental illness being just as deadly.

I think a way to research the effect of early intervention would be to track the progression of a disease such as Schizophrenia in groups who begin treatment for the disease at different times. There would be a group who begin treatment at age five, then other groups who begin at age ten, fifteen, twenty (when behavioral symptoms are displayed), and twenty five. This would be a long term experiment which would end with seeing how advanced the sample’s Schizophrenia becomes at age forty by doing brain scans for affected brain tissue.