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.

 

 

“The Difficult Journey of Women in Medicine”

The medical field is full of highly-skilled and demanding occupations that require strong mental health and acuity. Using social psychological concepts we can understand that this requirement for women, in a profession that’s predominantly made up of and tailored for men, needs extra strength and resilience. All newly-minted doctors have a significant amount of depression and anxiety due to the demanding and exhaustive work they do, but according to JAMA Internal Medicine it is far more difficult and present in women (Khullar).

One of the reasons behind this is that a woman, even though a medical professional, still shoulders the majority of household duties. Still fulfilling gender and societal norms women endure a work-home conflict that their male colleagues don’t experience. The medical field today promotes equal opportunity by law, but the institution, even though not driven by prejudices, exhibits sexism within the institutionalized practices that subordinate women (Myers, 254). Arguments for this is in the article by Dhruv Khullar. She states that little has changed in medical training procedures. Its reminiscent of days passed when almost all residents were men with few household duties. “Support for those trying to balance home and work life hasn’t kept pace with changing demographics, nor has the division of domestic labor shifted to reflect the rise of women in the medical work force. “(Khullar). The trend of accepting of women in the medical field has drastically changed, but unfortunately gender attitudes towards women have done little to support their personal lives which in turn affect their professional lives.

Our next reason and concept is implicit prejudices that usually occur automatically from preconceived notions about women. On many occasions in the article women are subjected as in-subordinates, not only by their male colleagues, but by patients alike. Women doctors who acknowledge their male counterparts formally don’t receive the same acknowledgement or aren’t called by their titles. Even women doctors who lead panels and studies with male counterparts are often referred to by their first name. Furthermore, women doctors in full medical assemble (white lab coat, professional attire, etc.) are called nurses or assumed to be medical assistants by patients. Another strong example of the implicit biases towards women was detailed by Heather Sarsons, Ph.D. who did a study to find out if surgeons’ gender affects their referrals after a good or bad patient outcome:

Ms. Sarsons finds that physicians are much less likely to refer patients to a female surgeon after a patient death, but barely change their referrals to a male surgeon. A bad experience with one female surgeon also makes physicians less likely to establish referral relationships with other female surgeons. There was no similar effect for men. (Khullar)

Not only does this show a prime example of implicit prejudices towards women but gives light to the fact that prejudices tend to over-generalize groups of people with stereotypes.

More than a third of medical physicians are women compared to just 7% of women back in the 1960s (Khullar). The opportunity in our time and day are abundant and encouraged for women, but the medical field was designed for men and remains implicitly and even possibly explicitly sexist towards women. We have to evaluate every action and policy to balance the odds, generate awareness, and create a supportive and enriching journey for women doctors everywhere. -FRANK JAMES CASILLAS III

Khullar, Dhruv. (2017, Dec 7). Being a Doctor Is Hard. It’s Harder for Women. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/07/upshot/being-a-doctor-is-hard-its-harder-for-women.html

Myers, D. G. (2012). Exploring Social Psychology (Seventh Ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Violent Relationships Can Result From Childhood Corporal Punishment

A recent article published by CNN brought up the issue of how spanking and other types of violent punishments effects a child’s future relationships. The article was focused around a study published in the past couple of weeks in the Journal of Pediatrics. The basis of the study was to ask seven hundred and fifty-eight kids between the ages of nineteen and twenty how often they had been spanked or slapped as form of punishment when they were younger. The study’s lead author, Jeff Temple, a psychiatry professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch, stated that, “Kids who said they had experienced corporal punishment were more likely to have recently committed dating violence.”

Dr. Bob Sege, a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatricians who specializes in the prevention of childhood violence, commented to CNN about the published study stating that the results, “were not surprising.” The study was factual proof that children who experience any type of violence at home will be more likely to use violence later on in their lives. Social learning theory, for example, suggests that children who are spanked may become more likely to adopt aggressive behaviors because their parents have modeled aggression to them as an acceptable form of behavior. This theory is defined by Exploring Social Psychology by David G. Myers as a theory that we learn social behavior by observing and imitating and by being rewarded and punished. By observing and experiencing corporal punishment at such a young age, a child will be more likely to imitate the act continuing into their adult life.

Parents are extremely important and looked up to in a child’s eyes. They learn from their parents social norms and how people should behave toward each other. The article continued to state the obvious negative effects of spanking. Thirty-six studies of spanking were analyzed and it was found that parents who said they had spanked their children were three times more likely to say their children had aggressive behavior in the following years.

Parental spanking can be seen as a form of instrumental aggression. This type of aggression is a type that aims to injure, but only as a means to some other end. It is motivated by goals other than harming the target. This relates very well to the idea of spanking because the underlying goal of spanking would not necessarily be to harm the child to a large extent, but to prompt reaction from the child showing that they learned some sort of lesson. The key word of this concept is “aggression.” The ultimate goal of this article was to give evidence as to why any type of aggression, such as spanking, should not be shown or taken out on a child of all people.

Spanking is a form of corporal punishment. The article states that the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has taken action against all types of corporal punishment. The committee’s Global Initiative has persuaded fifty-three countries since 2001 to pass laws banning corporal punishment, even in the privacy of a home.

 

References:

LaMotte, Sandee, and Carina Storrs. “Can Spanking Lead to Relationship Violence?” CNN, Cable News

Network, 6 Dec. 2017, www.cnn.com/2017/12/05/health/spanking-dating-violence-study/index.html.

Myers, David G. Exploring Social Psychology. 7th ed., McGraw-Hill, 2012. Berlin, Lisa J., et al. “Correlates and Consequences of Spanking and Verbal Punishment for Low-IncomeWhite, African American, and Mexican American Toddlers.” Child Development, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2987237/.

Trump Vs Ball

In today’s news or sports reports it is common to see the faces of either President Donald Trump making news in sports for all the wrong reasons or the father of NBA rookie Lonzo Ball Lavar Ball. These two names have been the headlines of news for their respective reasons whether on twitter or through media influence and branding of his children in each case. All of that came to a head when these two brash and cocky individuals collided on the case of Lavar’s son Li Angelo Ball who was arrested in China for shoplifting a pair of expensive glasses along with two other teammates.

Trump claims to be the reason for the UCLA basketball players release taking to twitter to look for credit in his role of getting the kids out of the prison. Trump displayed mediation and arbitration as a neutral third party to find a basis to have the kids released from the prison. Lavar on the other hand wanted nothing to do with Trump claiming his role was over-hyped in the freedom of the children. He also believed Trump’s warrant for thank you wasn’t necessary in his interview with ESPN saying “who?”, “What was he over there for?” When asked further comments on the situation Lavar declined to answer but also continued to deny Trump’s role on how the kids were able to come back to the states. Trump’s attempt to help the family with a deal with Lavar and the Chinese government. It did warrant a thank you if Trump did play a role in the release of the kids but the ego of Lavar seems to refuse to let anyone get the upper hand on him. This later resulted in a response from Trump saying that he should have let the kids sit in jail. Trump later did receive a thank you from the three basketball players at a press conference held by Ucla.

Donald Trump’s actions showed a sense of integrative agreement in which he could put himself in the spotlight as a public hero to the world and by saving Li Angelo and the other two kids from a hefty jail sentence would do the Ball family a huge favor. In this case it ultimately did not turn out the way Trump wanted do to the character of the man he was dealing with in Lavar Ball who is never afraid to stand up in front of a camera and say what he wants to say.

In my opinion I believe that these two men let their pride take over when it comes to what they do. Everything move they make today is viewed in the public and they seem to love the attention and making sure people know what they are up to. They are both going to be attracting this type of noise whether as the president or the NBA in terms of media. The two of them made sure they made headlines together when it came to this recent collision course.

-Paget Bramble

Citations

Hoffman, Benjamin. “Trump blasts Lavar Ball: I should have left them in jail” (2017, November 19) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/19/sports/lavar-ball-trump.html

Haynes, Chris. “Donald Trump responds to LaVar Ball by tweeting he should have left UCLA players in jail”(2017, November 19) http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/21471202/us-president-donald-trump-tweets-response-lavar-ball

 

Prejudice and Discrimination at Hartford University

The University of Hartford, or UHart, is known for its diversity and wide varieties of study. However, UHart has recently been the home to a very controversial issue. Chennel Rowe, a freshman at UHart from New York City, was living with “The Roommate from Hell”. Chennel Rowe and Brianna Brochu were paired to be roommates through their freshman year of college. Rowe was becoming increasingly sick about a month and a half in living with Brochu, and she claimed to have felt unwelcome in her own room. Rowe’s sickness got so severe that she was unable to speak or sleep due to extreme pain in her throat. Her school’s medical services recommended she see an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor because her illness had gotten too serious. Rowe was unaware of what was causing her sickness but she would soon find out. The day that Rowe began to move her belongings out of her current room into her new one, Brochu asked for confirmation of her room change and it was granted. Immediately after Brochu was seen texting on her phone and by the time Chennel got downstairs, her neighbor informed her of a post made by Brochu. On Brochu’s Instagram read “Finally did it ya girl got rid of her roommate! After 1½ months of spitting in her coconut oil, putting moldy clam dip in her lotions, rubbing used tampons [on] her backpack, putting her toothbrush where the sun doesn’t shine and so much more I can finally say goodbye to Jamaican Barbie”. It seems that Brochu had prejudice feelings towards Rowe and this caused to her to discriminate against her.

Brochu had no logical reasons to dislike her former roommate, she even began to mistreat her before getting to know her. In this case we see that Brochu made racial slurs towards Rowe such as Jamaican Barbie”, and contaminated her personal belongings. Prejudice is a fixed opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.-It is quite evident that Brochu had prior negative judgements associated with black people and individualized those on Rowe. Those judgments are called prejudices. Evidence of this evidence is shown in a live video posted by Chennel Rowe. Brochu’s prejudice in regards to Rowe also caused her to display unwarranted negative behaviors towards her, otherwise known as discrimination. Although these are broad terms, Brochu’s behavior can be explained …When breaking down the idea of Prejudice, it is easy to get a better understanding of our dual attitude system. Our dual attitude system can come in the form of implicitness and explicitness. Implicit prejudice refers to automatic attitudes towards the same target. This basically means that you know something or feel a certain way about something without actually knowing that you know or feel that way. If she had shown implicit behaviors, she would have maybe expressed those feelings in a more subtle manor being that she was unaware of the subconsciously. In this case maybe the outcome would have varied. Nonetheless, explicit prejudice refers to conscious attitudes towards the same target. In this case Brochu expresses explicit prejudice. This is seen through her direct negative feelings of wanting to find a way to get her out of the room. She was aware of her attitude when considering Rowe, and these attitudes were neither pleasant nor friendly.

This case went viral after Chennel Rowe posted a live video on her Facebook account describing how the situation unfolded. She gives much more detail as to what was done to her and how she was being treated generally by her roommate. Rowe also touched on the fact that she had no control on how the issue played out. She decided to use her social media outlet as a way to bring more attention to the issue. This actually sped up the investigation process and Brochu was charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief and breach of peace. The NAACP as well as Rowe and her lawyers want to push for hate crime charges, so trial is continued to December 18th, 2017. Click here to watch Chennel Rowe’s live video!

Miller, J. R. (2017, November 01). Roommate from hell’s sick sabotage involved bloody tampons, licked utensils. Retrieved December 13, 2017, from https://nypost.com/2017/11/01/roommate-from-hells-sick-sabotage-involved-bloody-tampons-licked-utensils/

Press, A. (2017, November 21). Roommate from hell not expected to face hate crime charge. Retrieved December 13, 2017, from https://nypost.com/2017/11/21/roommate-from-hell-not-expected-to-face-hate-crime-charge/

Kiana Charles

 

 

Scientists Start To Tease Out The Subtler Ways Racism Hurts Health

In a recent article released on November 11, 2017 by National Public Radio: Health News, there was an overview of some instances in which a man named Dr. Roberto Montenegro had been subject to hurtful displays of discrimination against him.

He speaks of the night that he had gone out with friends to celebrate the great achievement of receiving his PhD, which brought him one step closer to his dream of becoming a physician-scientist. At the end of dinner, Dr. Montenegro and his girlfriend left to pick up their car from the valet. While waiting in line, a Jaguar pulled up to the curb. A woman got out of the Jaguar and passed two other couples before stumbling upon Dr. Montenegro and his girlfriend. She dropped her keys in Dr. Montenegro’s hands, assuming that he was a valet because of his race. The other valet’s were Latino, like Dr. Montenegro and so the woman made an incorrect assumption. This happened twice that night.

Discrimination is unjustified negative behavior toward a group or its members. There is a clear show of discrimination and stereotyping. In this situation, Dr. Montenegro experienced an instance in which the woman in the Jaguar made an overgeneralization. She presumed that all Latino people hold low paying jobs and in this case, that Dr. Montenegro could not have been a highly educated and professional Doctor. Her behavior was clearly discriminatory because she directly singled out Dr. Montenegro as a valet.

Another concept that could be at play in this situation is a process of stereotyping called subtyping. Subtyping occurs when a person responds to a member of a target group who disassociates from their stereotype by seeing them as “exceptions.” They put this member of the target group in a separate subcategory apart from members who confirm the stereotype. For instance, the woman driving the Jaguar, after realizing that Dr. Montenegro was not a valet, could’ve simply believed that he was an “exception,” to her personally confirmed belief in the stereotype that all Latino people.

Dr. Montenegro explains how he has endured many other instances of discrimination and felt just as confused and shocked each time. He now has an M.D. in addition to his Ph.D. and is a postdoctoral fellow in child psychiatry at Seattle Children’s Hospital. He seeks to find out if repeated experience of discrimination has effect on the human body and what those effects would be.

“Assessing mediators between discrimination, health behaviours and physical health outcomes: a representative cross-sectional study,” is one of the first studies to demonstrate that discrimination is associated with physical health outcomes and behaviors through distinct pathways. The results of the study helped to demonstrate that stress, lack of control and feeling powerless as a reaction to racism emerged as significant mediators of the relationship between racism and self-rated general mental health.

Dr. Montenegro, similarly to the results of the cross-sectional study, hypothesizes that chronic stress might be a key way racism contributes to health disparities. The idea is that the stress of experiencing discrimination over and over might wear you down physically over time. The study stated previously has found proof to this idea. Dr. Montenegro, after experiencing continuing experiences with discrimination, may suffer similar symptoms later on in life just as the participants in this study. It was shown that discrimination was negatively related to many health behaviors in the participants. For example stress levels were elevated and people were less likely to engage in leisure time, physical activity, and fruit and vegetable consumption due to prolonged depressive moods. Hopefully, with more knowledge on this subject Dr. Montegro and others will be aware of the health issues and seek ways to fight it.

 

CITATIONS

Bichell, Rae Ellen. “Scientists Start To Tease Out The Subtler Ways Racism Hurts Health.” NPR, NPR, 11Nov. 2017, www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/11/11/562623815/scientists-start-to-tease-out-the-subtler-ways-racism-hurts-health.

Myers, David G. Exploring Social Psychology. 7th ed., McGraw-Hill, 2012.

Bastos, J. L., Celeste, R. K., Silva, D. S., Priest, N., & Paradies, Y. C. (2015). Assessing mediators between discrimination, health behaviours and physical health outcomes: A representative cross-sectional study. Social Psychiatry And Psychiatric Epidemiology, 50(11), 1731-1742. doi:10.1007/s00127-015-1108-0