Spotlight Blog #3

--Original published at Sarah's Blog

Peer pressure is a big part of today’s society. Everyone goes through peer pressure at one time or another, even if they do not realize it. It is very easy to fall into the pattern of “everyone else is doing it”. It is challenging to be able to resist peer pressure, but there are ways to be able to conquer it.

For parents, hearing that their children have fallen to peer pressure is very challenging. An article on Love and talks about some ways for parents to help their children resist peer pressure. The tips the author gives to parents are to teach children what the consequences are when bad decisions are made and to let the child use the parent as an excuse when confronted with something they do not want to do. I know from personal experience that these tips are helpful with children. As they get older and enter teenage years the child does not want to listen to the parents so it may not be as effective then. In the article, they also say that the parent should be more positive when discussing the child’s friends. Being positive is better because being negative can make the child feel separated from the family and can drive them away.

For college students, peer pressure is a big part of your four years at college or university. An article written by the University of California Santa Cruz Counseling and Psychological Services discusses tips for college students to handle peer pressure. Some of the tips that they give are to spend time with people who do not force you to do anything you do not want to, using an excuse or try to delay giving yourself time to think about your decision. As a college student myself, I feel that these tips are useful. The tip about spending time with people who respect your decisions is very important because the student will then not feel pressured to share their opinion. It also will not cause pressure in the friend group, allowing you to focus on your studies and spending time with your friends doing healthy activities.

Humans deal with peer pressure all the time, even as adults. Peer pressure in adulthood is more indirect, but it is still present. An article from talks about peer pressure in adulthood and ways to persevere through it. In this article, it talks less about direct ways of saying no but rather talks about being true to yourself and being more thoughtful about how you want to live your life. This is important as an adult because having good self-esteem and morals will help you have a successful life with fewer failures and mistakes. This article also states that a person should find friends that support them and do not force them to do anything they are against. They also suggest having a diverse friend group, which may or may not be successful depending on the personality of the people. If all the friends in the friend group are okay with everyone believing something different then it would be okay. There can be tension in a diverse friend group that has some members that believe they are superior.

Peer pressure is in all of our daily lives. Dealing with peer pressure appropriately as a child, a college student, and even as an adult can increase your happiness in life and your health as a whole.



Media Production Project

--Original published at Sarah's Blog

Could you be showing information about yourself on your social media without even realizing it? As technology has advanced, social media has become more prevalent in our society. It has integrated itself into our daily lives, becoming a main source for information and self-expression. Recent studies have shown that your social media profiles and posts could be sharing more about you than you would like.

A study done in 2017 discussed Twitter users and how their posts could be used to detect potential depression or posttraumatic stress disorder. The researchers split the study into two trials: one focusing on depression and the other on posttraumatic stress disorder. They used a survey to obtain participants for both trials. For the depression trial, they had a total of 204 participants. Of those, 105 people were diagnosed with clinical depression, and 99 people did not. For the posttraumatic stress disorder trial, they had 164 participants, 64 of those being diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder. The participants had to use Twitter and be open to sharing their social media information for the study.

The research team used two algorithms to analyze the posts made by each user. One used the tweets to distinguish “healthy” users from users with depression (or alternatively, users with posttraumatic stress disorder). The other research method was able to distinguish some of the indicators of mental health issues by analyzing the user’s posts for language changes. Assigning words a score, the researchers used these scores as a way of determining when the participants’ symptoms were more apparent. They found that depressed users used more “negative” language, like using the words “death” and “never”. Healthy users used more “positive” language, like “beach” and “happy”. They also found that there was a correlation between the number of words and the onset of depressive symptoms. This research was accurate about 9 out of 10 times.

Even though this specific study can only be generalized to Twitter users, researchers hope to be able to use this study and other studies conducted to hopefully advance knowledge on this topic and looking into possibly using this as a way to help diagnose mental illnesses earlier.





Before doing the first two parts of the project, I had judgements of the pop culture article. I thought that the information that the journalist wrote would be incorrect or not fully correct. Sometimes this is true, but after reading both the pop culture article and the journal article and then trying to write an article of my own, I have realized just how difficult it is. Journalists have to take very long and complicated research articles and condense them, so the everyday person is able to read and understand. Some journalists also have to work under word limits, like we had to for this assignment. With this study, I believe I was able to summarize it pretty well without getting near the word limit, but it is possible that with other studies with more information that it would be more challenging. It was also challenging to distinguish what pieces of information were the most important. There were so many different sections of the journal article that were hard to understand with my knowledge level of psychology and research. Journalists have to make sense of the scientific research and then decide which details are important and which ones are not. I believe that some of the facts can get lost in the “translation” and sometimes journalists specifically word things so they are more interesting to the reader. This can change the meaning of the article and can be misinterpreted as a result. Overall, this project was a challenge and I understand how journalists may have challenges as they write articles such as this one, but I will always read the journal article along with the pop culture article to make sure I get a full picture of the research.







Evans, Cameron. “Identifying Depression Based on Social Media Posts.” Psychology Today. 20 January 2018.



Reece, A. G., Reagan, A. J., Lix, K. L., Dodds, P. S., Danforth, C. M., & Langer, E. J. (2017).Forecasting the onset and course of mental illness with Twitter data. Scientific Reports, 7(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-017-12961-9

Spotlight Blog #2

--Original published at Sarah's Blog

In class we learned about stress and how to manage it in different situations. Stress can really take a toll on a person’s mental and physical state, and it is helpful to have some tips on how to manage it. Looking online for resources can also be helpful in finding stress management tips, as long as they are reliable and useful.

In the first article I found, there are tips directed towards college students. The author of this article from EverydayHealth, Jennifer Acosta Scott, says that “stress occurs when your tension level exceeds your energy level, resulting in an overloaded feeling” (3). Some of the tips that she gives to help control stress in college are getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising. Some other tips are possibly going to counseling/talking to a close friend and trying not to overload yourself with too many things. Exercise and self-disclosure are two specific coping resources that we talked about in class, so those are good ways to manage stress. I believe that getting enough sleep and eating well are also important because a person has to take care of him or herself physically to be able to manage his or her stress.

In the second article, the tips are directed towards musicians. I thought this would be an interesting topic because I am going into the music field and it would be helpful to know some tips on managing stress as a current and future musician. The author of this article talks about how small stress can be useful for a musician in a performance or recording, but chronic stress can be very bad for a musician’s health. Stress can also lead to decreased ability to play an instrument due to overuse/overworking the muscles and higher blood pressure. Some tips that this website has to manage stress were exercise, taking breaks between practicing, and having a strong support group of friends. I know practicing challenging music can be very stressful, so I believe that is a good tip to reiterate to any musician. Another tip that the website states is practicing self-appreciation, which I believe is an adaptive strategy to managing performance anxiety and stress. This is one tip that I would like to continue to work on because from personal experience performing is a big stress inducer.

The last article I found was for parents helping their child manage stress. It is important that children learn how to manage stress early on so it does not affect them as much as the children get older and obtain more responsibilities. Some tips that this article shared were to not overschedule the child and make sure that they have time to play. Doing something that the child is interested in just for fun is a good way for the child to have time to de-stress and not worry about a competition or a goal. Another important tip is that the parent should manage their own stress along with helping the child manage theirs. This is important because children will notice when the parent is stressed and it will make them stressed as a result.

All of these articles discussed the main ways that a person can manage their stress levels. Each article used the general ways and made them more specific to each population. Reading these articles have helped me have a better understanding of specific ways to manage stress, especially being a college student and a musician.



First Impression Post- Week 9

--Original published at Sarah's Blog

As a college student studying music, I am always doing something. Whether it be homework, practicing my instrument, or going to class, I am always keeping myself busy. Even with a bunch of classes and practice time, I still try my best to go to bed before or at midnight each night, and I wake up between 6 and 8 in the morning for class. For a college student, I believe my sleep schedule is relatively realistic. I toss and turn a lot at night, and some nights anxiety keeps me up longer than I would like, but in general I believe I get enough sleep to be able to function. On weekends I frequently ignore my sleep schedule and sleep in until 10am, and then I lay in bed and am not functional for most of the day. I would like to work on my sleeping habits though, as I still wake up tired some nights and other times I totally ignore my sleep schedule as a whole and stay up a lot longer than I should. I also would like to work on making it a habit to keep my sleep schedule on the weekends as well, so I can be more productive and start my day earlier. For college students, around 8 hours of sleep should be sufficient, but I believe that the more you do during the day can tire you out a lot more. As long as you have a set sleeping schedule that works with your classes and schedule, that should be enough to be able to function and go about your day.

First Impression Post- Spring Break

--Original published at Sarah's Blog


For this week’s first impression post, I watched a TED talk by Daniel Tammet. He explained Synesthesia and how it affects his life and his perception of numbers and words. Synesthesia is when a person’s perceptions of one sense activates another. An example of this is when a person “hears” colors or associates a certain color/figure to a number or a word. Tammet associates different shapes and figures to numbers and colors to words, and he also notices different ways of solving a problem or answering a question. He explains this to the listener by showing different ways he sees numbers and phrases. For the numbers, he paints the shapes and colors he associates with each number.

This condition is very interesting and I believe it gives a person a totally different viewpoint on different things in life. I feel as if having this condition in everyday life can be both a blessing and a curse. As a music major, I have heard of some musicians with the condition using it as a way to put emotion into a piece they are working on. Some musicians hear a certain passage as a certain color, letting them connect more than one sense to the music. As overwhelming as it could get, I believe someone with this condition could connect different things and make sense out of what they associate. Other people may not completely understand what someone with Synesthesia may connect, but it is interesting to see an issue or problem from a different and possibly more creative perspective.

First Impression Post #7

--Original published at Sarah's Blog

Two approaches for treating addiction are the abstinence model and the harm reduction model. The abstinence model is a person who is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol go through a sobriety process to fully treat the addiction. The harm reduction model is when methods like needle-exchanging and substituting harmful drugs to lessen the harmful consequences.  Out of the two approaches, I believe that the abstinence model is more effective in treating addiction. If I had to recommend a method to a loved one, I would definitely go with the abstinence model. The harm-reduction model is a good method, but it does not eliminate the intake of the drug and the person who is addicted is still taking a version of the drug. Abstinence is a very efficient model, but only over time and with dedication. Slowly taking someone off of a drug is more efficient than completely coming off of it at once. Completely abstaining from something as powerful as alcohol or any type of drug is really dangerous and can cause major withdrawal and other symptoms.

Using both of the models in conjunction with each other may be the best way to help someone who is struggling with addiction. Abstinence is the end goal, but to decrease sudden withdrawal symptoms the caretaker might use a form of harm-reduction. Some people are not able to abstain immediately because of the severity of the addiction, but abstinence is the process that a person suffering from alcohol or drug addiction can use to become totally sober.

Spotlight Blog #1

--Original published at Sarah's Blog

Spotlight Blog #1


Divorce is becoming more and more common in more recent times. Although being looked down upon in the past, the rate of divorces has risen dramatically. This in turn can affect children in these relationships. The controversy with parents getting a divorce is that many people believe that getting a divorce can negatively affect a child’s emotional well-being and can cause behavioral issues, but others believe a divorce can be positive for a child to relieve tension and arguments from the household.


An article from Huffington post describes how a divorce can positively benefit a child contrary to popular belief. The author, Dr. Shoshana Bennett, explains the different ways that children can prosper from a divorce. She states that when the parents are happy, the child in turn will be happy, no matter if the parents live in the same house. The tension that will disappear with a divorce will also help the child to be more relaxed. Getting a divorce lets the parents be their own person and be the best parent that they can be for their child.


Another article from PsychologyToday also talks about the benefits of a divorce and how children can still be happy even after their parents separate. The author states that “80 percent of children of divorce adapt well and see no lasting negative,” and that the child will be better off when the parents are getting along and the child can have a good relationship with both caregivers. They also discuss that the necessary resources that a child needs can be provided even if the parents do not live in the same home.


The opposite belief is that divorce can hurt the health and well-being of children. Jane Anderson wrote a journal titled “The Impact of Family Structure on the Health of Children: Effects of Divorce” in which she talks about the negative effects of divorce in children. The child would lose time with each parent in the midst of joint custody. Also, the child can develop trust issues which would cause the child to not have a close relationship with one or both parents. Children can be traumatized easily and they are at higher risk of emotional stress.


Another article that talks about the negative effects of divorce is “The Psychology of Divorce: A Lawyer’s Primer, Part 2: The Effects of Divorce on Children” written by Dr. Sandford M. Portnoy. Some facts he stated in the article were “The divorce rate in the United States hovers around 50 percent. One-half to two-thirds of those who divorce remarry.” Children of divorce are more prone to depression and anxiety after going through that loss. It was also found that children of divorce are more likely to engage in more delinquent behavior than those whose parents are still together.


In my opinion, I do believe that marriage is always a great thing to have in a family, but sometimes it is in the best interest of the child to get a divorce to remove the stress and tension in the household. If the two parents are civil and are able to determine a plan that works for both of them to be able to be kind and be the best parents that they can be for their children, that would be the best way that the children can flourish and work past the stressful times. This will also help the relationships between the children and both parents stay intact.




Anderson, Jane. “The Impact of Family Structure on the Health of Children: Effects of Divorce.” The Linacre Quarterly 81.4 (2014): 378–387. PMC. Web. 23 Feb. 2018.



Portnoy, Sandford M. “The Psychology of Divorce: A Lawyer’s Primer, Part 2: The Effects of Divorce on Children.” American Journal of Family Law, vol. 21, no. 4, Winter2008, pp. 126-134. EBSCOhost,

First Impression Post #6

--Original published at Sarah's Blog

For this week’s First Impression Post, I am going to discuss my study habits and how I studied for our first exam. I am not the best with study habits, but I have made progress between my high school years and this first semester working on study habits that are beneficial to me. I take notes on the readings from our textbook along with the notes from the lectures in class. For the first exam I tried reading through my notes from both the lectures and the readings, and I took the practice quizzes from the chapters a few times. I did not do as well as I would have liked to on the first exam, but I now know for the next exam that I want to try and make flash cards and start studying a little earlier than I did for the last exam. Another thing I would like to do for the next exam is to fill out the study guide in its entirety.  I followed along with it while I read through my notes for the last exam, but I would like to try and fill it out so all my information is in one location. The practice quizzes and the example exam were very beneficial in seeing how the questions would be worded, so I would definitely use those again in preparation for the next exam. I am anticipating that using the resources and new study tricks that I have learned will help me improve my grade on the next exam.

First Impression Post Week 4

--Original published at Sarah's Blog

For this week’s first impression post, I chose to watch Thomas Insel’s TEDTalk titled “Toward a New Understanding of Mental Illness”. I am very interested in learning about mental illnesses and how they have an effect on people differently. In this video Insel talked about how the rates of mortality in physical diseases have lowered drastically within a span of about 30 years, but suicide is still a major leading cause of death. He labels suicide as a condition or situation that leads to mortality, but most people do not realize how common it is. Some statistics that Insel talked about was how “there are 38,000 suicides a year in the United States”, which equates to about one every 15 minutes. That fact alone stunned me, as I never realized how big of a number it was. He also stated that “90% of suicides are related to a mental illness”, which was also an interesting fact to hear. Thomas Insel talks about how mental disorders are being considered “behavior” disorders, but he believes that we should rethink them as brain disorders. He is working towards making progress on scanning the brain to be able to detect brain disorders early on. Insel explains how patterns in our brain can be a factor in mental illnesses.

Insel explained this topic in a simple sense, which helped greatly to understand the topic. He has put in a lot of work into this study and seems to be very trustworthy in his information. I favor that he is working on this and I believe that this will be helpful in the future to try and see where mental illnesses begin. I would like to continue to follow this research and see how it progresses as time goes on.

First Impression Post #1

--Original published at Sarah's Blog

I watched a clip from the TV show Mythbusters titled “Does Weaving Through Traffic Actually Get You to Your Destination Faster?” They tested to see if staying in one lane was the fastest way to get to your destination, as opposed to weaving through all the lanes of traffic. When I first read the title, I believed that staying in one lane is a safer and overall faster option. In the video, Grant believed weaving through traffic was the faster option, but Tory believed that staying in one lane is quicker. To test their opposing hypotheses, the group of them split up into two cars: one weaved through traffic and the other car stayed in one lane. They evaluated this by driving along a highway to the San Jose Tech Museum, which was 46 miles from where their shop is located. The test was conducted during the morning rush hour at around 7:30am. At the end of the clip, they were only through half of the test and the car that stayed in one lane was in the lead. The clip only showed half of the test, which was disappointing as I wanted to see which car won.

This experiment was very simple, and overall it gave an idea as to which one was faster. They used a long enough route to examine which way getting through traffic was faster. They also had both cars drive in the same rush hour, which made sure they had basically the same drive besides the weaving/not weaving factor. Also, the team made sure to document the thoughts and feelings that both Keri and Tory were having while driving in this test. Some weaknesses this experiment had was that they only tested it once. Tory, Keri and Grant should have tested it during both the morning and the night rush hours, as they could have different characteristics. Another weakness was that I believe they should have tested more than one driver. Doing this could have shown different results than just the one test.

Overall, this clip showed the experiment and it did show which way was faster to get through rush hour traffic. I wish they showed the last part of the experiment, so we could see which one was faster at the end.