Author Archives: Courtney Ignarri

Kids Tomorrow!

The implications of the fast-paced technological advances in the last decade reach further than what they allow us to do, changing the very nature of social interaction. New York Times columnist Brad Stone addresses this issue citing that children today are growing up in a completely distinct technological world relative to those just ten years older. Such rapid advances could create generation gaps in skills and aptitude as small as 2 to 3 years apart. Stone cites entertainment and communication as two major areas where technology has impacted behavior (e.g., teenagers send more texts and play more online games than people in their twenties). Some worry that this environment could create a generation of children who will come to expect instant access to everyone and everything potentially harming their ability to perform in school.

Research by Campbell and Park (2008) focuses on the increased mobility of technology in recent decades. They propose that a shift to a  ‘personal communication society’ is occurring that has symbolically changed the meaning of technology, created new forms of social networking, personalized public domain, and made the youth culture more mobile. Given the vast technological advances we have seen in the first decade of this new century it is almost impossible to imagine what changes are ahead and how fast they might come. Take heart though, if you can’t figure it out just ask the nearest eight-year old. She’ll know exactly what to do.

The Children of Cyberspace: Old Fogies by Their 20s

Campbel & Park (2008)

add to del.icio.us add to blinkslist add to furl digg this add to ma.gnolia stumble it! add to simpy seed the vine add to reddit add to fark tailrank this post to facebook

New Year’s Resolutions and Memory: Self-protection and the Use of Negative Information

During the holiday season when surrounded by friends and family it is difficult not to reflect on the year gone by. As 2009 draws to a close many are contemplating what resolutions they’ll attempt to keep in the upcoming year. We spend a lot of time envisioning the hopes, dreams, and goals we’d like to achieve in 2010. Doing so requires us to reflect on the things about us or our lives that we aren’t very happy with. Memory with regard to the self is complex and often self-enhancing making it difficult to be realistic about negative feedback that will allow us to identify what needs to change. Recent work has demonstrated some flexibility in dealing with negative feedback (Sedikides & Green, 2009). The results include the already well-established self-protective effects that include simply avoiding negative information. In addition, Sedikides and Green (2009) have demonstrated the tendency to deal with negative feedback by channeling it into one’s goals (e.g., improving a skill) but only under specific circumstances like when feedback is provided by close others. Hopefully, we can all turn any negative aspects of our selves or our lives into positive goals and the motivation to achieve them and make the most of the fresh start this January 1st.

Memory as a Self-Protective Mechanism

add to del.icio.us add to blinkslist add to furl digg this add to ma.gnolia stumble it! add to simpy seed the vine add to reddit add to fark tailrank this post to facebook

Persuasion, Ambiguity, and the Health Care Debate

We have a long way to go before the healthcare debate is over. In a tight vote last week the Democrats in the Senate managed to avoid a Republican filibuster. Both Democrats and Republicans seem to be waging two wars: one on the floor of the Senate and the other over the airwaves. The battle to win the health care debate will all be for naught if public opinion isn’t also won in the process. Whether it be via television, radio, or the internet politicians are going all out to reach as many voters as possible. Are these attempts to persuade the public successful? Recent work by Ziegler & Diehl (2003) has shown that people are more persuaded by unambiguous strong positions relative to unambiguous weak messages. More interestingly, when messages were ambiguous participants relied on their source preferences to determine their endorsement of the message. Ultimately it appears that those who already like and support you don’t need to hear much of substance to be persuaded by you. Those against you or your position aren’t likely to be persuaded at all, but the only chance you’ve got is to state your message in unequivocal terms and hope that it gets through. In the current political climate this seems to indicate only a greater and more extreme level of polarization without much real or significant debate.

Ziegler & Diehl (2003)

After the Health Vote, Republicans Plot Attack Strategy

add to del.icio.us add to blinkslist add to furl digg this add to ma.gnolia stumble it! add to simpy seed the vine add to reddit add to fark tailrank this post to facebook

Just-World Beliefs and the Impact of Random Violence

Sniper

The D.C. sniper was executed yesterday for the murder of Dean Harold Meyers. In all ten people were killed by sniper fire in the D.C. area in the Fall of 2002. The region’s residents spent twenty three days in fear until the shooters were finally captured. What was so terrifying in this case was the sheer randomness of the shootings. Walking the dog, buying groceries, or simply getting gas could get you killed. Such crimes violate just world beliefs – the sense that the world is a fair. Victims of random crime can sometimes be derogated by observers who want to distance themselves from thoughts of being victims themselves. New research by Van Zomeren and Lodewijkz (2008) shows that such random senseless violence does generate greater self-concern but should not influence observer’s concern for victims. The execution yesterday may represent justice, but it seems like small comfort to the grieving families of the victims and those who are still affected by the fear and anxiety induced by the sniper’s killing spree.

square-eye

Van Zomeren & Lodewijkz (2008)

square-eye

DC area relives terror as sniper’s execution nears

 

The D.C. sniper was executed yesterday for the murder of Dean Harold Meyers. In all ten people were killed by sniper fire in the D.C. area in the Fall of 2002. The region’s residents spent twenty three days in fear until the shooters were finally captured. While everyone is afraid of death what was so terrifying in this case was the sheer randomness of the shootings. Walking the dog, buying groceries, or simply getting gas could get you killed. Such crimes violate just world beliefs – the sense that the world is a fair or just place. Victims of random crime can sometimes be derogated by observers who want to distance themselves from thoughts of being victims themselves. New research by Van Zomeren and Lodewijkz (2008) shows that such random senseless violence does generate greater self-concern but should not influence observer’s concern for victims. The execution yesterday may represent justice, but it seems like small comfort to the grieving families of the victims and those who are still affected by the fear and anxiety induced by the sniper’s killing spree.

The D.C. sniper was executed yesterday for the murder of Dean Harold Meyers. In all ten people were killed by sniper fire in the D.C. area in the Fall of 2002. The region’s residents spent twenty three days in fear until the shooters were finally captured. While everyone is afraid of death what was so terrifying in this case was the sheer randomness of the shootings. Walking the dog, buying groceries, or simply getting gas could get you killed. Such crimes violate just world beliefs – the sense that the world is a fair or just place. Victims of random crime can sometimes be derogated by observers who want to distance themselves from thoughts of being victims themselves. New research by Van Zomeren and Lodewijkz (2008) shows that such random senseless violence does generate greater self-concern but should not influence observer’s concern for victims. The execution yesterday may represent justice, but it seems like small comfort to the grieving families of the victims and those who are still affected by the fear and anxiety induced by the sniper’s killing spree.

add to del.icio.us add to blinkslist add to furl digg this add to ma.gnolia stumble it! add to simpy seed the vine add to reddit add to fark tailrank this post to facebook

The Horror! The Horror!

haunted house

The horror flick. Meant to terrify, torture, disgust, and delight. Love them or hate them they are difficult to escape this time of year. In the coming weekend there are at least four horror/thrill movies to be released including the latest in the Saw series (Saw VI, if you’re keeping track), Antichrist, The Stepfather, and The House of the Devil. While some people are always up for a good scare, others are adamant about avoiding anything even remotely gory. But why? Johnston (2006) has highlighted four possible motivations for viewing graphic horror (gore watching, thrill watching, independent watching, and problem watching). Her study found these distinct motivations to be associated with fearfulness, empathy, and sensation seeking as well as the viewer’s level of identification with the killers vs. the victims of the films.

square-eye

Adolescents’ Motivations for Viewing Graphic Horror (Johnston, 2006)

add to del.icio.us    add to blinkslist    add to furl    digg this    add to ma.gnolia    stumble it!    add to simpy    seed the vine    add to reddit    add to fark    tailrank this    post to facebook

The Consequences of Our Responses to Acute Stress

600px-Screaming_person

Understanding the most effective ways to respond to and cope with stress has important implications for our longevity and well-being.  Acute stressors are immediate and temporary while chronic stressors are more prolonged and involve ongoing threat and arousal. With regard to acute psychological stress, past research has indicated that those who exhibit large physiological reactions (i.e., cardiovascular responses) are more susceptible to negative health outcomes such as hypertension. New evidence, however, casts doubt on the assertion that large physiological reactions to stress are always bad for health.  Carroll, Lovallo, & Phillips (2009) have shown that low reactivity to acute psychological stress is associated with a diverse set of negative outcomes including depression, weight gain, and compromised immunity. These findings make it much more difficult to label stress responses and coping strategies as “good” versus “bad” given that each seems to have both positive and negative consequences for one’s physiological and psychological well-being.

 

square-eye

Stress 101

 

square-eye

Carroll, Lovallo, & Phillips (2009)

add to del.icio.us    add to blinkslist    add to furl    digg this    add to ma.gnolia    stumble it!    add to simpy    seed the vine    add to reddit    add to fark    tailrank this    post to facebook

Gender Stereotypes and Success in the Military

Womenincombat

Yesterday Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa L. King was made commandant of the drill sergeant school at Fort Jackson in South Carolina and is the first woman to fill such a position in any of the Army’s schools across the country. According to a recent article by James Dao of the NY Times women constitute a very small percentage of Army personnel in general (13%) and an even smaller percentage of the Army’s highest-ranking enlisted soldiers in active-duty (8%). The lack of female personnel and those in high-ranking positions has been attributed to “pregnancy, long hours and the prohibition against women serving in frontline combat positions” by the Army. Experimental research, particularly in the areas of gender and stereotyping, indicates that women are evaluated differently than men in military training which may also explain the lack of women in higher-ranking positions.

Boldry, Wood, and Kashy (2001) found that although there were no actual performance differences between male and female cadets men were perceived as having the motivation and leadership to succeed in the military while women were thought to have more feminine attributes that would impair performance. Other research has shown that the proportion of women in a given unit is related to performance evaluation such that when women represent a smaller/token portion of the unit their performance is rated lower than men, but when there was a higher proportion of women performance was rated higher than men (Pazy & Oron, 2001). It seems that perception, not performance, contributes to the maintenance of gender barriers in the military among other domains for both men and women. Hopefully, one day more of us can see the world and ourselves as Sergeant Major King does: “When I look in the mirror, I don’t see a female, I see a soldier.”

square-eye

First Woman Ascends to Top Drill Sergeant Spot

square-eye

Gender Stereotypes and the Evaluation of Men and Women in Military Training

square-eye

Sex proportion and performance evaluation among high-ranking military officers

add to del.icio.us add to blinkslist add to furl digg this add to ma.gnolia stumble it! add to simpy seed the vine add to reddit add to fark tailrank this post to facebook