Conforming to Juuls

Ali Caulkins

Social Psych

Prof Gosnell

November 8, 2018

Everyone wants to fit in, do what everyone else is doing, even when there are risks. Juuling became popular this past year and it seems almost everyone is doing it. They have advertisements for Juuls that make them seem very cool, with very colorful backgrounds and teenagers smoking them, saying things like “Friends don’t let friends buy cigarettes” and making it seem like it’s the cool thing to do. Conforming is when a bunch of people are doing something and one person isn’t, but the one person doesn’t want to feel left out so they change as much as necessary so they can fit in. Many people are guilty to conforming to the group that juuls or vapes. In 2016 there was a flag by US surgeon general with a 900% increase use of vaping in any form.

When people see that ‘everyone is doing it’, they get blindsided to the possible effects to it, thinking ‘it won’t happen to me’, which is called group polarization. When people are in a group and everyone has the same mindset such as ‘juuling is cool’, it gets extreme, to the point where even if you’ve never smoked a cigarette a day in your life, you’ll end up buying a juul because everyone has one. Even though they aren’t cigarettes they’re still very bad for you and Juul company doesn’t make that clear in their ads. When it’s such a large group doing it individuals feel more anonymous, so they feel more inclined to do things out of the ordinary for them, like smoking Juul.

Juul company is starting to get a lot of backlash for selling flavors that mostly appeal to teens like mango and fruit medley. They’re trying to implement an anti-vaping program to schools by offering them thousands of dollars, but quickly took back their offers because of the reactions of the health and education advocates, saything their program completely misses crucial information for a genuine prevention effort.

Nedelman, Michael. “How Juul’s Plan to Teach Students about Vaping Went up in Smoke.” CNN, Cable News Network, 3 Nov. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/11/03/health/juul-vape-school-curriculum/index.html.

The importance of Gender Identity and the ramifications of misrepresenting them forcibly.

David Ipavich (primary author)
Isabelle Murphy
Samantha Delgrosso
Blog Post 2
October 29, 2018

As of mid-October, the trump administration has taken an alarming stance on the transgender community. As reported by the New York Times, by redefining scientifically accepted beliefs about gender fluidity, they intend to make the ability to refer to ones’ gender identity as transgender impossible, and the self-identifying as anything other than the sex you were determined as at birth unlawful. This blatant infringement of American citizens’ rights to free speech, protection from discrimination, and freedom of expression are egregious enough as is, yet this pales in comparison to the psychological harm that will come from Trumps inaccurate misrepresentation of these people’s genders. Gender is the collection of characteristics we associate a person with given their sex, this means that while one’s sex is uniform, and may be defined by genitalia and hormones, gender is a construct, an artificial boundary created through ideology, rather than biology, and that as humans, we define what is stereotypically male and female. Through millennia of growth we have defined what is and isn’t acceptable of people to do and say given their sex, creating gender norms that people fear breaking. These norms are needless restrictions on people, and are oppressive to all people, and their abilities to express themselves and how they feel, which is an important part of life that we as a society are finally exploring after years of scrutiny. The way in which one wishes to express their gender is part of their own unique identity, and scientifically proven to be unrelated to mental illness or psychological trauma, and in many cases, is a disposition the person in question developed or was born with naturally. There are innumerable cases in which a person’s gender identity strongly reflects the norms of the opposite sex, and in these cases, we see many people seeking professional aid in the process of transitioning into the opposite sex. This provides incredible relief and freedom to the individual, and allows true and honest self-expression of a person and of their emotions. Professor D. Swaab’s autopsies on the cadavers of deceased transgendered women showed that their BNST (bed nucleus of the stria terminalis), a crucial structure in the brain which aids in the prompting of sexual behavior, resembled that of ciswomen, rather than that of cisgender men. These findings would later be corroborated by Professor Julie Bakker, of the VU University Medical Center, in a study where the brain activity of specific portions of the brain were studied and recorded separately during a special reasoning test. During these tests different sections of men and women’s brains were primarily active, however when the men who had transitioned, or were in the process of transitioning to the female sex, their brain activity closely resembled that of the cisgender women, not that of the men. This proves that it is not simply a choice one makes, or the upbringing of a given person, but the disposition they are born with, or develop naturally given the structure of their brain at birth.
President Donald Trump’s leadership style is one without compromise. His radically conservative ideas and lack of filter create very polarized and aggressive policies which often ignore the opinions and needs of many individuals in the name of protecting the collective. This greatly entices those who support his views, while further angering those who refute his positions. This is why Trump embodies an incredible transformational leadership; those in favor in his ideals wish to peddle his policies for the sake of longstanding and religious views, while those against him wish to consider the progressive new ideas that science and society have begun accepting as fact. Transformational leadership is the result of our most charismatic leaders, who through their policies, speeches and propaganda, gets a rise to action from their citizens. While many transformational leaders encourage change by inspiring their citizens, Trump inspires change by justifying close minded and selfish viewpoints. This specific issue is no different; for years people have viewed the self-identification as transgendered as a symptom of mental illness, or as some sinful act, and despite the scientific proof refuting this, and the success the process of transitioning has had, he continues to push for the suppressing of the rights of private citizens with no concern for the effects suppressing their identity, gender, and true sex, will surely have.

By Erica L. Green, Katie Benner and Robert Pear. ‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/21/us/politics/transgender-trump-administration-sex-definition.html : The New York Times; 2018

Mike Colagrossi. Transgender brains more closely resemble brains of the sex they align with, rather than what they were born with.
https://bigthink.com/community/mike-colagrossi : Big Think; 2018

 

Ignorance

After a decade at Fox News, Megyn Kelly was lured by a contract estimated to be worth $20 million per year and the show was debuted in September of 2017. Many articles were talking about the Megyn Kelly issue that was on national television at the end of October. I picked the article from Cosmopolitan titled “[UPDATED] Megyn Kelly’s Show ‘Today’ Has Been Canceled After Blackface Comments.” Kelly was the former host of NBC Today show, she recently got fired by defending blackface Halloween costumes. It had caused massive backlash that led to her to apologize for her comments the next day. It all started as a discussion about a proposed ban of offensive Halloween costumes. To that discussion topic she said, “isn’t the whole purpose of Halloween to dress up and pretend your something other than yourself.”These commentaries were made on national television which embarrassed herself and probably others. During the round table discussion with other people Megyn had a lack of self-awareness because she mentions the blackface Halloween and how she doesn’t see anything wrong about she is saying. She should be more aware on what she says while being video tapped because there is supposed to be an increase of self-control, and their actions more clearly reflect their attitudes.It might not have such an effect on her since she has been on television for so long that she censors things less and she is more comfortable around the cameras. What is racist?” she said. “You do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid, that was okay just as long as you were dressing as a character.” She acted like everything that she was talking about was completely normal and it was just like any other regular topic. She also kept defending and making excuses on her end for a discussion that turned into more than it was actually supposed to be.

We humans want to evaluate our opinions and abilities by comparing our views with others and this is social comparison. Megyn has a poor sense of social comparison because she sounded like she wasn’t thinking about her replies to others it just came out without hesitation. “I’ve never been a ‘pc’ kind of person but I understand that we do need to be more sensitive in this day and age,” she said in an email to her colleagues. By how she wrote the email, it sounds a bit sarcastic and still stands by her beliefs. After the fact that everything went down she realized she needed to apologize on television which is always a point from the viewers perspective if you are meant to believe it or not. Although we think that she has a poor sense of social comparison, her inner circle might have the same beliefs or on the same page as her. So, I think she believed that everyone else that she was talking to had her same viewpoint. If she talked to her colleagues beforehand about the topic she would’ve knew that what she was saying was wrong and would not have made the mistake on saying it.

With everything you have to be aware of what you are saying around people because at the end of the day it can disrespect someone. From what Megyn Kelly did, it cost her job and future in which this is a lesson to learn if others are in this situation because you have to make sure everyone is on the same page as you before you say anything. Everyone has diverse viewpoints. 

Citations:

Baty, E. (2018, October 26). [UPDATED] Megyn Kelly’s Show ‘Today’ Has Been Canceled After Blackface Comments. Retrieved from https://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/a24112684/megyn-kelly-blackface/

 

 

Khabib’s Aggression vs McGregor’s Social Comparison

Aggression is a very common behavior to have in the Ultimate Fighting Championship or otherwise known as UFC. Aggression is the physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt someone, not only in the ring but also outside of it, and we as spectators see the aggression build up before the match and sometimes even after. There are also different types of aggression such as Emotional aggression which refers to aggression with small amount of forethought or intent and that is determined primarily by impulsive emotions (Stangor, 2014). Another example would be instrumental or cognitive aggression this is the intentional and planned aggression (Stangor, 2014). Social comparison is also a very common behavior to see in the UFC. Social comparison is when an individual evaluates one’s abilities and opinions by comparing oneself to others (Social Comparison). It is important in this type of sport to look at your opponent and compare oneself to them. By doing this the athletes are able to use their strengths to attempt to beat their competitor’s weaknesses.

This year all eyes were locked in on October 6th when Conor McGregor was getting ready to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov (MMA, 2018). As many know McGregor is perceived as having very high self-confidence and made it very clear he “knew” he was going to win this fight, Khabib on the other hand was seen as the underdog. There was a lot of aggression building up to this fight. Verbally, McGregor made multiple announcements about how he knew he would win (Official, 2018). Khabib was able to use social comparison to understand why he was going to be the true winner. Khabib started wrestling at a very young age and knew that McGregor didn’t have the same advantages or talents in the wrestling aspect of fighting (Official, 2018). Khabib was able to use this advantage in the fight to take control and win. The ability to size up your competition and then view your own abilities is a key aspect when trying to win in the UFC.

Aggression is seen throughout the UFC during fights but after the actual competition is when the aggression became even more prominent, it no longer became about the sport but about the athletes own personal aggression. After Khabib had won against McGregor, Khabib jumped out of the ring and kicked one of McGregor’s trainers in the face to celebrate his win (Official, 2018). This is a very obvious example of physical aggression. There were also many instances in this match where verbally abusive and aggressive behavior was used as well.

In this match there are many prime examples of verbal and physical aggression; from McGregor verbally telling the world he was going to beat Khabib, to Khabib kicking one of McGregor’s trainers in the face after his victory. Social comparison made a large impact on the results of this match as well, in the instance of McGregor, he was unable to accurately compare himself to Khabib which resulted in his loss. Khabib, on the other hand, was able to view his own abilities and McGregor’s and make an accurate comparison. Khabib then used his own strengths to fight McGregor’s weaknesses and win the match.

This type of behavior is unsportsmanlike and should be discouraged, as of October 2018 there was disciplinary action taken and it was announced that both fighters received a suspension for ten days and half of Khabib’s payout be released and appear for a hearing in December (MMA, 2018). It is important that poor and unsportsmanlike behavior be called-out and offenders are held accountable. The sports world in general, needs to be a role model for society and for the youth of society to take part in sports that are ethical and have boundaries.

-Leigha Kosakowski

Sources

MMA Fighting Newswire. (2018, October 07). Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor full fight video highlights. Retrieved from https://www.mmafighting.com/2018/10/7/17946604/khabib-nurmagomedov-vs-conor-mcgregor-full-fight-video-highlights-ufc-229’

Official, W. (2018, October 18). Khabib Vc Conor McGregor Highlights. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmzMPcdmnQI.

Social Comparison Theory. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/social-comparison-theory

Stangor, C. (2014, September 26). Principles of Social Psychology – 1st International Edition. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/socialpsychology/chapter/defining-aggression/

Dangerous Viral Game

In late August a twelve year old girl and sixteen year old boy from Columbia took their lives because of the “Momo suicide challenge” according to a Fox News article. Police searched both of the youth’s phones and found messages connected to the game. Government secretary Janier Landono explained how this game was played through WhatsApp and encouraged kids to hurt themselves through challenges, ending in suicide. The game is being compared to similar ones in the past such as the “Blue Whale Challenge,” in Russia that also resulted in multiple deaths.  

Youth are being involved in this dangerous game through persuasion. Persuasion is when a message urges a change in attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors. There are four key ingredients of persuasion, which includes, the communicator, the message, how the message is being communicated, and the audience. This viral “Momo” challenge has been spreading through WhatsApp and asks users to connect with them. Once accepted, the user is then persuaded and pressured into these challenges which involve self harm and suicide. The message is logical or one that arouses emotion. The game seems to use a peripheral route of persuasion to lure in it’s victims. Meaning, they focus on things that generate automatic acceptance without much thinking involved. For so many kids to be involved in this game the persuasion to play has to be appealing to the user. The process of persuasion is a big factor in the many deaths resulted from the game.

In addition to persuasion, the players were told by this game to participate in these harming acts, if they didn’t they were cursed and would start getting threatening messages. The game was looked at as a higher authority figure, so many of the players agreed. This is called obedience, which is when one follows the demands of a direct order or command. Studies show that there are psychological effects of obedience. One is when small requests turn into larger ones, which applies to this game in that the game gives a series of challenges, which the players complete and the final challenge is to commit suicide. Another effect is limited time to reflect on the decision, which the game does not give a lot of time to do.  Since this game is over the internet it’s easier for the game to enforce harm on their victims because it’s easier to abuse when it’s not personal and face to face.

Christa Vasile

Sources

Chris Ciaccia “Viral ‘Momo suicide game’ blamed for deaths of boy,16, and girl, 12, reports say.” Fox News, 3 Sept, 2018, https://www.foxnews.com/tech/viral-momo-suicide-game-blamed-for-deaths-of-boy-16-and-girl-12-reports-say

Myers, D. G. (2018). Exploring Social Psychology (Eighth Edition). New York: McGraw Hill      

Left, Right, Center: Confirmation Bias in Politics

Since the creation of political parties, the nation has been divided into two. The presidential election of Donald Trump in 2016 cut the nation deep, and the recent Brett Kavanaugh controversy makes the cut even deeper. The left sees Kavanaugh as a sexual predator and alcoholic; the right sees Kavanaugh as a victim of a corrupt political system and an overwhelmingly biased media. Anyone left confused in the middle looking for non-partisan objectivity is left empty-handed. However, both the right and the left both have what they believe is strong evidence for their claims: footage from the hearings of Kavanaugh.

Brett Kavanaugh is on trial for sexual misconduct involving an incident from the summer of 1982, where Dr. Christine Blasey Ford recalls Kavanaugh pinning her to a bed and covering her mouth while trying to take off her clothes, while his friend Mark Judge watched. Ford was 15-years-old this summer, and Kavanaugh was 18-years-old. After Ford’s original accusation, Deborah Ramirez of Colorado told the New Yorker in an article published September 23rd that Kavanaugh exposed himself and thrust his genitals in her face during a party in a dorm room at Yale University. Kavanagh has denied both allegations but since these have come about, the White House has conducted a hearing for Kavanaugh and Ford’s testimonies and an FBI investigation on Judge Kavanaugh.

Both the right and the left watched the same footage of the Kavanaugh hearing. However, the right and the left’s different interpretations of Kavanaugh’s hearing could make one believe that they had watched two different hearings. These different interpretations are due to confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for information and even interpret new evidence to confirm one’s preconceptions. Anything presented to someone that holds a pre-existing belief will look for information that supports this initial belief. In the case of Brett Kavanaugh, leftists and rightists are taking the same footage from his trial to support their preconceptions. They will then look for articles such as Anna North’s article in Vox, in which her title “The Brett Kavanaugh hearing showed how little has changed since Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas,” compares Kavanaugh and Ford to Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas, another case of sexual misconduct accusations for a candidate for the Supreme Court. Or rightist readers will look to Victor Hanson’s article titled “Kavanaugh’s Testimony Was His Joseph W. Welch Moment” (comparing Kavanaugh to American attorney Joseph Welch who defended the Army in the Army-McCarthy trials) in National Review to support their preexisting beliefs. The media also uses confirmation bias to its own advantage. Titles such as these excite the readers; the media knows that readers already hold preexisting beliefs and use titles and articles such as these to enforce those beliefs. The media nowadays isn’t around to spread new information, but rather to enforce what their readers already think.

Why do we form beliefs, and why is it so hard for us to change our beliefs? One reason is the overconfidence phenomenon. The overconfidence phenomenon is described as the tendency to be more confident than correct or to overestimate the accuracy of one’s beliefs. David Myers in his book Exploring Social Psychology, Eighth Edition writes how the overconfidence phenomenon can be especially dangerous in politics and how overconfident decision makers can wreak havoc. An example of this in the United States is George W. Bush who asserted that Iraq had nuclear weapons back in 2003, whereas none were ever found. In Pietro Ortoleva and Erik Snowberg’s paper, “Overconfidence in Political Behavior,” they write about their model of overconfidence and how “overconfidence leads to ideological extremeness, increased voter turnout, and increased strength of partisan identification,” (Ortoleva, Snowberg, 2014). We can see all of these play out in the Kavanaugh controversy: political extremeness of leftists and rightists. Even our president has taken apart in this in posting a video to his Twitter where he states, “It’s a very scary time for young men in America,” and the overwhelming amount of backlash he has received from celebrities and other politicians. In this case with the President, he speaks from the highest position of power and states that he has stated that he knows Judge Kavanaugh is innocent and has mocked Dr. Ford. Rightists will take the President’s statements as validation of Kavanaugh’s innocence; leftists will say that they have never believed the President and Kavanaugh is guilty. In reality, neither, leftists nor rightists can be certain whether Judge Kavanaugh is guilty of sexual misconduct, but the overconfidence effect it has on their judgment is very evident.

I believe that stopping confirmation bias and overconfidence phenomenon is important in today’s political discussions. Our nation is divided and psychologists agree that confirmation bias and overconfidence phenomenon are contributing to the division. So how can we stop these from affecting our judgments? Myers and Twenge recommend to stop and think about the situation, which will make people less likely to commit confirmation bias, which is “a System 1 snap judgment, where our default reaction is to look for information consistent with our presupposition,” (Myers, 59). For combatting overconfidence phenomenon, one technique Myers and Twenge suggest that would be especially useful in politics, and is similar to the approach to stop confirmation bias, is to stop and think about why you might be wrong.

There are ways to avoid confirmation bias and overconfidence phenomenon in our political decisions. One way is to look for ways to challenge what you think you see. Is Judge Kavanaugh crying as a show so that people will believe his false denials or is he really that frustrated with the events taking place? Another way is to seek out information from a range of sources – if you usually go to right-biased media for your news updates, watch and read left-biased media for the other side of the story, or even stick to center-biased media such as C-SPAN. Another is to discuss your thoughts with others; be open to listen to opposing views and remember that the “devil’s advocate” is sometimes there to challenge our beliefs. I believe the most important way to not succumb to confirmation bias is to keep an open mind when being presented new information. Disagreements among political parties will stay polarized until we have consciously exposed ourselves to new information that challenges our beliefs.

 

Citations:

Myers, D. G., Twenge, J.M. (2018). Exploring Social Psychology (Eighth Ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Hanson, V. D. (2018 27 Sept). “Kavanaugh’s Testimony Was His Joseph W. Welch Moment.” Retrieved from http://victorhanson.com/wordpress/kavanaughs-testimony-was-his-joseph-n-welch-moment/

North, A. (2018 27 Sept). The Brett Kavanaugh hearing showed how little has changed since Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/2018/9/27/17906778/brett-kavanaugh-hearing-christine-ford-anita-hill

Abramson, A., Berenson, T., Vesoulis. A. (2018 Sept 27). Brett Kavanaugh Said His Reputation Has Been ‘Permanently Destroyed.’ The Latest on His Senate Testimony. Retrieved from http://time.com/5408177/brett-kavanaugh-christine-blasey-ford-testimony/

 

-Samantha DelGrosso

A Splash In The Water: Accident Or Murder?

Although an old topic, the mysterious case of Natalie Wood has been puzzling authorities for years and continues to do so to this very day. A case that happened about thirty-seven years ago was reopened in the year 2011 and has once again been cycled around. The case involves Natalie’s late husband Robert Wagner, Christopher Walken, and a yacht captain, Dennis Davern. While out on a yacht trip, Natalie Wood had been found floating dead in the water. Suspicions were raised over how Natalie had died, pointing fingers at Wagner, Davern, and Walken. In the most recent update to the case, Natalie’s sister Lana, speaks up about how she feels and how she wants her brother-in-law to admit to what truly happened that night on the boat. Us Weekly Magazine gives us the inside scoop with an article containing a small excerpt of audio between Lana and Wagner.

The case revolves around many assumptions, theories, and thoughts of skepticism. However, when we look at it from the perspective of social psychology we can apply different concepts to help explain or dwindle down certain views or maybe even perhaps make the case even more elusive than it already is. A main concept that plays a role in this case is the concept of the confirmation bias. The confirmation bias is the tendency to look for information that helps confirm our own preconceptions. For instance, Natalie’s sister Lana opens with this statement in the thirty-minute clip found on an exerpt by US Weekly, “We all have to accept what we’ve done in life and accept the wrongs. We have to all face up to it…and if that’s what he’s done, he has to face up to it.” She constantly implies that Robert Wagner was involved in Natalie’s death. She also implies that he was involved with the death of Natalie by confronting him in an interview and saying “…but R.J you’ve changed your story, you’ve never said anything to me, you’ve never for one minute stopped and said, ‘This is what happened”’, after saying that he had spoken about the events to people many times. This relates to confirmation bias by the simple fact that Lana is trying to find information to confirm her own views, and is reluctant to look or accept facts that support other possibilities.

We also see the concept of illusory correlations play a role in this investigation. Illusory correlation happens when we perceive a strong relationship between two things rather than what truly exists. We have a perception that there is a prominent relationship, when there really isn’t any. In the case of Natalie Wood, there may be a high tendency of correlating two events that happened to the buildup of Natalie’s death. This tends to be rather easy for the simple fact that the case does not have a lot of people involved, and the area in which the events took place were confined to that of a boat. A prime example of this illusory correlation would be surrounding the idea of Natalie and Robert fighting earlier on in the night. Many times when we see that a spouse of someone has died rather unexpectedly or abruptly, we like to trace it back to the other half. For example, if a man’s wife had suddenly died due to some freak accident, many people would be inclined to believe that the woman and her husband had had a bad marriage or some sort of conflict that lead the man to do something horrible to his own wife. People would assume that they had gotten in an argument that lead to extreme anger leading the man to lash out regardless of previous judgements of the couple. However, there is no true correlation between this woman dying and her husband being involved with the murder. However strong the correlation between fighting and something bad happening preceding a fight is, we cannot conclude in complete confidence that Natalie and Robert arguing, lead to Robert murdering his own wife.

Perhaps by looking at the mind puzzling case without preconceptions and wants of our own, we could see it in a different light and by chance find new facts. The reason I say this is because our own needs to fulfill our confirmation bias, as well as illusory correlation, blinds us from seeing other possible options.

Citations:

Us Weekly Staff. (2018, October 1st). Natalie Wood’s Sister Lana Confronted Robert Wagner: ‘Why Won’t You Speak to Detectives?’

.Retrieved from https://www.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/natalie-woods-sister-confronted-robert-wagner/

You Know How You Feel About Nike… Have You Ever Thought of Why?

Have you ever been to a Super Bowl party or been in a bar when rival teams are squaring off? Have you ever been to Boston and worn Yankee apparel? I strongly suggest you don’t do the latter if you’re not secure with yourself. Part of America’s charming culture is its indelible connection to athletics and the passion people have when partaking. Journalist Kim Ann Zimmerman wrote, “The United States is a sports-minded country… football has eclipsed the poll in America’s favorite pastime.” Being such an essential part to so many people’s lives, athletics can enact certain social psychological behavior without the mass majority realizing.

Recently there has been uproar, both positive and negative, about the Colin Kaepernick Nike ad. Colin Kaepernick was stripped of his football career after protesting police violence on black Americans by kneeling during the national anthem. Across America millions took offense and started protesting the NFL for “allowing” him to do that. It ended in the NFL enforcing their players stand, Colin Kaepernick getting fired from the 49ers, and no other team extending an offer. Since then, the issue had mostly been quiet until Nike hired Kaepernick to be the face of their new television ad.

Fundamental Attribution Error is common place in society. We attribute characteristics to something based off of our perspective on the subject without factoring in the past or situational circumstance. This situation with Nike has newly awoken both the people who were angered at the kneeling and those who supported him. Enraged people are attributing characteristics to the Nike brand that aren’t necessarily there making them act in ways of dissent. At first, this made Nike’s stock drop a bit until people who supported the movement went out and started buying. As more people dissented the ad, more videos of sneaker burning and Nike cursing were posted. Protesters against Nike were cutting the checks off of their socks, burning their sneakers, and posting things on line degrading the brand of Nike because they attributed ignorance and disloyalty that went against their morals to the brand. They are fundamentally attributing ignorance and unpatriotic behavior to the Nike Brand. It is evident their use of fundamental attribution error when they say how Nike is choosing Colin Kaepernick’s “side” and disrespecting America. The dissenters “stand with their country” unlike the brand of Nike who is “forcing them to choose between their favorite brand and their country”. They are attributing what themselves and other people who agree with them as moral people and true Americans. The people who dissent attribute disloyalty and hatred for our country to the brand of Nike and act according to their rage due to this attribution. It is more comfortable for people to attribute something to a person’s trait rather than their situational influences because that means we could possibly act in such a way. (Dr. Joel Frederickson and Zachariah Berry, 2015, p.47). Their identity as unproblematic patriot may be challenged which can cause severe anxiety they would rather avoid. Jimmy Kimmel even had a skit dedicated to it on his talk show where he reenacted actual angered peoples.

 

Doctoral student Zachariah Berry and Dr. Joel Frederickson from Bethel University wrote an article to explain this fundamental attribution error. The write about and discuss the explanations for its place in society and the implications it can have. One explanation is people comfortability with categorizing and separating from themselves because they would feel anxiety if they think about it situationally. What struck me as particularly interesting was an implication in their report of fundamental attribution error affecting moral development and judgement. Berry explains, “We tend to rely first on our intuitions when making a judgment of a situation… information received regarding an event, however, may be corrupt when committing the FAE. In situations where the behavior observed requires a moral judgment, committing the FAE may cause us to form moral judgments using inaccurate information…” (p.52-53). This is exactly what is going on in most cases with the Kaepernick backlash. Certain citizens feel Nike is against their morals and acting in unfavorable behavior based on inaccurate information therefore leading to the fundamental attribution that Nike hates America and believes you shouldn’t stand when hearing the national anthem.

The ability to fundamentally attribute characteristics incorrectly is available in all human beings. According to Berry, this is the innate way people make judgements. We want to automatically categorize which leads to insufficient reasoning.  Is Nike an America hating, flag burning company? Most likely, not. Their message was “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Nike always serves to inspire through athletics in all of their “Just Do It” ad campaigns. In 2002, Nike won an Emmy for their ad that year showcasing amateur and professional athletes in a moving video with gracious and beautiful motions that would bring tears to any sport participator’s eyes. The brand is about inspiration, not hatred for America.

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4Yn9eWgNmk

Sources

·       Dr. Joel Frederickson and Zachariah Berry. “Explanations and Implications of the Fundamental Attribution Error: A Review and Proposal.” Journal of Integrated Social Sciences, vol. 5, no. 1, 2015, pp. 44–57.

·       Harris, S. J. (2018, September 04). Reactions to Nike’s Colin Kaepernick ad range from applause to burning shoes. Retrieved from http://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/colin-kaepernick-nike-advertisement-reactions-burning-shoes-social-media/fzb4dh8x6bpr1nqv3wph15bb7

 

Little girl on life support

A family in Texas is fighting for their daughter’s life. According to an article published by CNN, 9-year old Payton Summon was recently declared brain dead due to having a heart attack. Unfortunately, Cook Children’s Medical Center in Ford Worth told Payton’s family that the heart attack was caused by a growing tumor in her chest. According to the Texas law, once the patient is declared brain dead, the hospital must wait another 12 hours to do another test to confirm that a patient is brain dead. Unfortunately, 12 hours passed and Payton was officially declared brain dead. Usually, the hospital would take Payton off life support, but not in this case. The family received a 14 day temporarily restraining order against Cook Children’s Medical Center so they can move Payton to another hospital so she can stay on life support.

This behavior is not unusually; this can be explained by the term illusion of control. Illusion of control is the perception that a person is able to have more influence on the outcome(s) of a situation than they actually can. This behavior is seen in the parents of Payton because they believe they can change the fact that their daughter is brain dead by transferring her to another hospital. “’Payton never gave up on anything, and I know in this situation, she wouldn’t give up either…’” (Howard, 2018). This further shows that Payton’s mom, Tiffany Hofstetter, believes that she has control over this situation due to the belief that her daughter is a fighter. Hofstetter believes that her daughter has a fighting chance, despite the doctors telling her that her daughter is brain dead. Payton is on a ventilator, which is the only reason that Payton is technically alive. However, since the parents are seeing that Payton is breathing, despite seeing that she is on life support, so they believe that Payton is not brain dead. Thus, illusion of control is seen because the family of Payton believes that they can change the outcome of this tragic event.

In addition, it might be odd to see a family to request a temporary restraining order against a hospital that has done nothing wrong. However, in the eyes of the family, the hospital is taking away Payton’s only fighting chance to surviving. The parents believe that Payton is not brain dead; which, is the reason why they want to move her to another hospitals care. In social psychology, this behavior is called confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is when people look at other resources to confirm their beliefs, despite what other resources are telling them. For instance, Cooks Children’s Medical Center is telling the parents of Payton that their daughter is brain dead. However, the parents refuse to believe the hospital, which is why they are trying to transfer her to another hospital. The parents are hoping that another hospital will tell them different news about their daughter. They believe that Children’s Medical Center is acting too fast and that there might be a chance that their daughter is alive, despite the test on her brain activity done on their daughter. The parents are hoping to get different answers, which probably will not happen.

 

Howard, Jacqueline, and Tina Burnside. “Family Fights to Keep 9-Year-Old Girl on Life Support.” CNN, Cable News Network, 5 Oct. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/10/03/health/brain-dead-payton-summons-hospital-bn/index.html.

Is the left or the right ever right?

Both democrats and republicans have the propensity to view the other side as unethical and immoral. Humans have the tendency to engage in confirmation bias. They do not interpret events objectively and instead favor information that they believe to be true and ignore information that doesn’t align with their beliefs. A great study that exhibits confirmation bias was conducted by researchers at Yale University (Kahan, Dawson, Peters, Slovic 2016). Researchers presented subjects with a task that would rely on their ability to produce logical conclusions from empirical data. Subjects were presented a data table about how many people’s rash got better and worst from a new skin rash treatment. The researchers then presented them the identical data except this time the data was titled cities that did or didn’t ban gun and did or didn’t experience a raise in crime. Those who scored the greatest in numeracy (the ability to draw valid conclusions from empirical data) were better at drawing valid conclusions from the table about the new skin rash treatment. However, those who scored higher in numeracy were worst at drawing valid conclusions from the information when the table was about gun control. I expected numerate participants to change their beliefs due to existing data. Yet, the scientist’s initial hypothesis was correct those who were numerate were more likely to interpret the data in a way that supported their political beliefs. When the data didn’t support their beliefs they interpreted the chart a way that supported their pre-existing ideals.

The charts only variation is the label not the numbers in them.

Do vaccines cause autism? Will giving children access to a comprehensive sexual education increase the teen pregnancy rate? The information is out there yet there are still disagreements on the answers to these questions. The confirmation bias states that once people develop an initial hunch they look for information that supports it and disbelieve evidence that doesn’t support it.

Preconceptions shape our interpretations of events and are usually wrong.  I believe that in this case the confirmation bias could’ve been caused for many reasons. One reason is the availability heuristic. The availability heuristic states that if something pops up easily in our head we are more likely to accept it as true. Therefore, the people interpreting the information were more likely to interpret the information as false if the idea didn’t easily pop up in their head.

The inability to perceive the data accurately could also have been caused by the overconfidence phenomenon. The overconfidence phenomenon was proven in many social psychology experiments. For instance, a researcher may ask participants how many dollars a year are collected in tolls from the George Washington Bridge. When participants give an answer they are extremely confident in there answer even if they have no reason to believe they are right. So if the participants instantly saw ‘gun-ban’ and had previously came to the conclusion that gun bans make cities more dangerous they were more likely to answer the question over confidently because even if there’s data, they still think they’re right.

People may have had exhibited the over-confidence effect due to belief perseverance. People tend to believe what they initially believed even when they receive information that discredits it because they think to themselves why they’re still right. Even when they receive information that discredits their belief, they use the proof to emphasize they are right. One way to fix this would be to have people think of reasons why the opposite hypothesis may be true. Another way to resolve this would be to force the person to search for information that they don’t agree with. If they have less confidence in how right their beliefs are they may be less likely to display the over-confidence phenomenon. A second way to reduce the over-confidence phenomenon would be promptly give people information that disproves their beliefs. A significant way I could reduce confirmation bias in this situation is by explaining to people that people often are guilty of making illusory correlations and finding correlations in events that aren’t there. They may think that after their town banned guns it became less safe because there was one shootout. Yet there may be no correlation there at all.

I believe that stopping confirmation bias’ is currently of utmost importance. People cannot continue to vote for public officials who don’t believe in climate change. The future of every creature on the planet is in the hands of those who interpret empirical evidence in an unbiased way.

Citation :

Kahan, Dan M., et al. “Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government.” Behavioural Public Policy, vol. 1, no. 01, 2017, pp. 1–45., doi:10.1017/bpp.2016.2.