Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Soundtracks to My Life

“Wannabe” – Spice Girls. This song is a classic for when I was younger and always takes me back to the good old 90’s. When I was in second grade, flared jeans were the new thing and so I begged my mom to buy me a pair until she finally gave in. When we got home I tried them on and decided I wanted to dance around in them because I thought I was just so damn cool to finally have a pair and could not wait to wear them to school the next day. I was listening to this song blasting loud on my speakers when I thought it would be a brilliant idea to maneuver a cartwheel off my bed. I ended up landing in a weird position on my foot and broke the bone in the side of my foot in three places. Turns out it is the bone that takes the longest to heal in the body and I was in a bright pink walking cast for 3 and a half months. All thanks to Spice Girls, flared jeans, and my not so smart childhood decisions. Lesson learned.

“Can’t Buy Me Love” – The Beatles. Basically any Beatles song would work for this next story but I decided to just pick one. Not only do I love the Beatles music in general, but my 4th grade teacher takes credit for thoroughly making sure I appreciated their music. During class (all day, every day, for the whole year) my teacher, Mr. Rosenburg, played the same Beatles CD’s over and over. Thanks to him I have practically every one of their songs memorized and never get sick of listening to them.

“Emergency” – Paramore. This band has been one of my favorites for a long time. They were the first concert I ever went to and one of the first bands I downloaded when I got to the age where I started to appreciate music and expand into music that wasn’t on the radio. This song specifically was the one that got me interested with them in the first place. Sometimes I secretly wish I could dye my hair bright red like Hayley Williams because she can pull it off so well.

“Rumors” – Lindsay Lohan. I don’t actually like this song or Lindsay herself but I thought I’d include this because I’ve been told numerous times by people I know and by strangers that I look like her. Personally I don’t see it. Maybe sometimes with the freckles but other than that I don’t know. I’ve had laryngitis twice, and each time when I lost my voice it became this deeper raspy voice which people would tell me I sounded like her too. Maybe I should dye my hair red like Hayley Williams, then I might really look like Lindsay…

“Dirt Road Anthem” – Jason Aldean. I HAD to throw some country into my soundtrack. Country is definitely one of my favorite genres I listen to and is what I constantly listen to in the summer. This past summer I attended WE Fest in Detroit Lakes, MN which is a three-day music festival that features big names in the Country Music business. I’m extremely excited for WE Fest this next summer because Jason Aldean is going to be playing there and he is one of my top five country artists by far. The song I picked by him is another one of my favorites but it mostly reminds me about hanging out with my best friend Sarah back home. We always referred to this song as our summer/life anthem song. I can’t wait to see/hear it played live in August!

“Cheers (Drink to that)” – Rihanna. I just love this song in so many ways. Perfect song to get ready for going out. Can it please just be the weekend already? Or better yet... Winter break.

“A Drop in the Ocean” – Ron Pope. Since I have almost 4,500 songs on my iTunes it’s hard to pick out just a couple songs for this assignment. Whenever I download new songs I always tend to have a favorite and will listen to it over and over again until I download a new set and find a new favorite. Currently this is my new favorite and I tend to put it on repeat a lot. It also is a good representation for my love for acoustic music, which I find to be some of the best kind. I love hearing artists perform naturally, without any doctored up fancy instruments in the background.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Research Resources Practice

"The number of Facebook friends was also related to low academic adjustment in college when both groups were considered, although this relationship was significant only in the first-year group alone" (Costin, Kalpidou, Morris, 2011, p. 187).

Kalpidou, M., Costin, D., & Morris, J. (2011). The relationship between Facebook and the well-being of undergraduate college students. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, And Social Networking, 14(4), 183-189. doi:10.1089/cyber.2010.0061

This article is mostly about the effects Facebook use has on undergraduate students, with an emphasis on the first year transition for college freshman. It compares Facebook use to social, emotional and academic aspects for college students. I plan on using this source to relate how Facebook can have a negative impact on a student's academic performance, especially during their first year in college. This source has good and bad qualities. It is not a primary source and has multiple references to other studies, which is problematic. On the other hand, the authors conduct their own research and investigation on their topic and is also very recent information.

"First, students who displayed more recent Facebook activity war more likely to display a reference to depression. It is possible that students experiencing depressive symptoms place greater investment in SNSs as a communication outlet, as i could be viewed as a safe and indirect outlet for emotions" (Moreno, et al., 2011, p. 453).

Moreno, M. A., Jelenchick, L. A., Egan, K. G., Cox, E., Young, H., Gannon, K. E., & Becker, T. (2011). Feeling bad on Facebook: depression disclosures by college students on a social networking site.Depression & Anxiety (1091-4269), 28(6), 447-455. doi:10.1002/da.20805

In this article, the authors explore the link between Facebook use and depression in college students that relates to the diagnosis's in the DSM. They find that Facebook is a way college students can post statuses about how they are feeling and in turn get feedback and support from their friends. In this investigation it shows that their research has good internal validity for college students but may not be accepted as true for all users which lowers its external validity. Also, the authors conduct their own research but include several other references which weakens my argument and use of primary sources. I've found it difficult to find relative sources that are primary and not secondary. I could use this in my paper to compare the negative and positive effects Facebook has on college students, specifically from an emotional aspect.   

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ronson Chapter 10 Summary and Book Response

In chapter ten of the Psychopath Test, titled "The Unavoidable Death of Rebecca Riley", Ronson discusses the potential consequences that arise when we begin to classify what is not normal in society and put a label on it. He attends a Scientology banquet where they make fun of the diagnoses the DSM makes but some of the ones they are quoting are legitimate disorders. He examines the fine line between what we consider to be normal and what is a mental disorder. In doing so he tells the story of the Rosenhan experiment which diminished the respect for the American psychiatry's diagnosing of patients and led to the creation of the DSM by Robert Spitzer in order to prevent such misdiagnosis. Ronson then explores the history of the DSM and how it has lead to an increase in diagnosis in the United State's, especially in children. For examples, he showcases stories of children with bipolar disorder, including that of Rebecca Riley where her parents over medicated her on psychiatric drugs that weren't approved for use in children.

I really enjoyed reading the book and it made me think about psychiatry, psychology, and diagnosing mental disorders in a different way than I ever had before. Previously, I had just accepted that the industry was always correct but now I question the effectiveness of such diagnosis. It's interesting to see how many disorders there are and the fine line we consider to be normal and abnormal. I feel as though almost everyone has a little part of them that is crazy. Maybe some just have more dominate traits of crazy or express their craziness without a filter and that's where we begin to classify them as being abnormal from the norm. If we were all the same though life would be boring and crazy people and their stories can be pretty entertaining if you ask me! Ronson never did answer the question of whether the world and it's economies are run by psychopaths but maybe that's because there is no answer.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Summary and Response to Chapter 8 & 9 of The Psychopath Test

In Chapter 8 titled The Madness of David Shayler, Ronson describes the story of Rachel North, a survivor of a terrorist attack on a train in London, and David Shayler, a former MI5, who believes the terrorist attacks were planned by the government. After 7/7/05 when the terrorist attacks happened, Rachel North started blogging about her experience and began to connect with other survivors of the attacks. Conspiracy theorists, including David Shayler, profiled North as a fake person planted by the government because they believe one person couldn't have possibly blogged that much in the amount of time she had. Ronson interviewed North about this after he had found an article about himself written by the same conspiracy theorists mentioning her in the text. He then emailed Shayler for an interview who agreed and met with him several times throughout the years. Ronson found Shayler to be the "wrong sort of mad" because he believed that 9/11 was also set up by the government, he claimed himself to be the Messiah, cross dressed (which is found in the DSM-IV to be a mental disorder) and more. He concludes the chapter with the idea that everyone has a sort of madness about them, but when we see others who we consider to be more mad than us we then feel better about ourselves.

I've never understood why conspiracy theorists believe that terrorist attacks are planted by their government, especially the attacks of 9/11. I find it to be a pathetic paranoia and unfathomable how they can have a lack of empathy for the survivors who experienced it and the people who died because of it. I can't imagine what it would have been like for Rachel North to be told she wasn't real and that what she went through was all a lie. It makes me angry just thinking about it! I'm a very patriotic person and plan on serving in the military so when someone criticizes my country and government saying they intentionally want to hurt people I get all worked up. In chapter 9, I was happy to finally hear Ronson AND Hare both say that the psychopath checklist can be bad in the wrong hands. Also, I found that the way the undercover cop, Lizzie, acted was almost ethically wrong. I felt that her, and the team of investigators, were trying to get Colin Stagg to confess to the murder in a forceful way, as if they knew for a fact it was him who murdered Rachel Nickell when they didn't.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gladwell "Something Borrowed" Summary and Response

In Gladwell's article "Something Borrowed", he addresses the issue of plagiarism and compares the fine line between plagiarism and creativity. He first starts out by describing his personal experience with plagiarism in the play "Frozen" and how a majority of it is based of his writing and the life of a psychiatrist named Dorothy Lewis. He continues to examine what is considered to be plagiarism through examples of composed music and the similarities between songs that have been written throughout the years. A common theme in the article is comparing the ideas of written plagiarism and creative plagiarism and when we decide whether it is intentional or if it is common knowledge. Gladwell also has a visit with the writer, Lavery, who wrote the play and she sincerely didn't think that she was plagiarizing. She found it to be news and ideas rather than concrete, black and white, or intentional plagiarism.

I found this article to bring up several key ideas and made me think critically about what we consider to be plagiarism. My favorite example was how several movies have been adapted from "Silence of the Lambs" and don't get punished for plagiarism, but written examples, such as plays or pieces of writing, are exceptional no no's in the world of academia. Even with music there is a fine line between what is copy write and what is accidental creativity derived from inspiration.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ronson Chapter 6 & 7 Summary/Response

The title for chapter seven, "The Right Sort of Madness", rightly lives up to its name for the description of the chapter. Ronson's friend, Adam Curtis, specifically points out that Ronson's actions suggest he is trying to find the right kind of madness (psychopathic trait) in Al Dunlap. Ronson denies this fact.  The rest of the chapter profiles a woman named Charlotte who booked participants for reality television shows which interviewed families and people with issues, such as Jerry Springer. She tells Ronson that she would look for certain traits in participants and found that if they were slightly "mad" they could be perfect for the show and the audience would be extremely entertained. This brought up several ethical issues where some participants were too "mad" and ended up hurting themselves. 

When you have a list dictating what is considered 'madness', it is easier to pick up and criticize others. It seems to me that Ronson has "seen the light" and whenever he detects a possible psychopath he puts them under a spotlight and scrutinizes their every move. During his interview of Al Dunlap, it felt as though Ronson would justify Dunlap's behavior when it didn't match up with the psychopath list. It was as if he picked and chose what traits he considered more prevalent to Dunlap's case of psychopathy in order to correlate to his hypothesis of whether or not psychopaths run society on a corporate level. When I first started reading about the psychopath checklist, I found myself guilty of evaluating different traits in people for possible matches. After awhile though I felt that it was wrong and found the list to be unethical. I think that Ronson is especially guilty of using the checklist in a way where he manipulates the variables in his favor in order to diagnose people as psychopaths. It may also give him a sense of power and feel superior to psychopaths because he can identify them. He uses this to his advantage as he pursues the idea of psychopaths running society. Ultimately though, I think that everyone has different traits of psychopathy that can be prevalent in our personalities. For example, how medical students will throw cadavers at each other jokingly. It's as if people can train their empathy to be like a light switch. Turning it off and on at their will.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Research Question: Blog Assignment #3

Does Social Networking cause a negative effect on the student population?

Considering this is a more recent topic of debate, I'm afraid it may be hard to find sources and/or studies about social networking. I feel as though social networking sites, particularly Facebook, have great effects on students (specifically in Middle School, High School, and college) compared to student populations in the past who didn't have access to such sites. I may end up finding a combination of good qualities and bad qualities that shape and mold the way students interact and function in their daily lives due to these websites. For example, I know for a fact that in my life Facebook is a considerable distraction to my homework and studying, but on the other hand I would feel completely disconnected if I didn't have one. I want to try to figure out what other negative impacts it may produce on younger populations because essentially they are the ones who have had it a majority of their life and do not know life without social networking websites. Since I only have ten pages to write, I probably will end up narrowing my topic further, but that will depend on what I find while researching. Social networking cites, the internet, and technology are continuously advancing, therefore the affects are always evolving. I'm interested to see what kind of information I find.