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,

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. : 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. : Big Think; 2018



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. 


Baty, E. (2018, October 26). [UPDATED] Megyn Kelly’s Show ‘Today’ Has Been Canceled After Blackface Comments. Retrieved from



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


MMA Fighting Newswire. (2018, October 07). Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor full fight video highlights. Retrieved from’

Official, W. (2018, October 18). Khabib Vc Conor McGregor Highlights. Retrieved from

Social Comparison Theory. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Stangor, C. (2014, September 26). Principles of Social Psychology – 1st International Edition. Retrieved from

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


Chris Ciaccia “Viral ‘Momo suicide game’ blamed for deaths of boy,16, and girl, 12, reports say.” Fox News, 3 Sept, 2018,

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

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