Posted in Psychology, Writing

If it Quacks Like a Duck, and Looks Like a Duck, its a Placebo.

Our society tries to seek out natural treatments and alternative medicines because we think of them as safer and just as effective (if not more effective) than the manufactured versions, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Many of them don’t work at all. And even worse, some of them can cause illness, serious side effects, or even death. This is the myth, and the associated problems, Bill Nye takes on in his show “Bill Nye Saves the World.” The first episode entitled “Tune your Quack-o-meter”, examines natural cures, alternative medicine, and the placebo effect.

Purveyors of natural treatments often twist science in puzzling ways to make their ideas sound effective and magical. One magical medicine man featured in the episode claimed sound can heal cancer and other diseases. He claimed that, if you could match the specific vibration of the affected cells, sound could be more effective than modern medicines. Another healer claimed crystals, chakras, and chants could do the same. Unfortunately, these things do nothing except make hundreds of dollars disappear — money that could, and likely should, be used for medicine that has been tested and scientifically proven.

Alternative medicines are untested and unregulated. There is no empirical proof, but people still use them despite being dangerous and ineffective. Alternative medicine is “any of a range of medical therapies that are not regarded as orthodox by the medical profession, such as herbalism, homeopathy, and acupuncture.”

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Bill Nye Saves the world Season 1, episode 2. checklist for false alternative medicine in determining its authenticity

I believe that these “natural healing” methods lead to bigger issues. People are scammed out of hundreds of dollars. They lose valuable time that be used on scientifically-proven medications. They can interfere with medications they are taking, come with confounding side effects, and even lead to death. Even then, people claim they still work. This is due to the illusory placebo effect.

The placebo effect is the belief that a medicine or treatment works despite having no active ingredients. Natural and therapeutic tools  like dollar store crystals and sound are what I would label as an illusory placebo effect. This is where someone believes there has been an improvement due to the treatment when, in fact,  there hasn’t been any improvement whatsoever. This is enhanced when marketing agencies use terms like “a new study claims… ” or “scientists say…”. Here, the claims are subjective, biased, or completely false.

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Bill Nye Saves the world Season 1, episode 2. Explaining the Placebo Effect. 

With that being said, I believe there is a difference between a treatment and a tool. A tool in medicine or well-being is something that can assist alongside proper treatment. For example, crystals, sound vibrations, or different forms of therapy can help by making someone feel better and given them peace of mind, but they should never be labeled as a treatment. It is irresponsible and harmful to those needing treatment, their families, and the general public. This is no different than Peter Pan saying fairies only exist when people believe in them. Am I comparing these natural remedies to mythical creatures? Yes, yes I am.

“Although some might think this show is a waste of Netflix space, Bill Nye Saves the World” adds science and reasoning to controversial topics and brings them into the public eye. Alternative or natural treatments should not be seen as cures or even as a substitute for pharmaceutical medication or treatment. I do believe that, just like any other form of therapy, they can be used along side doctor recommended medicine.

Bill Nye saves the world series, although some might question the target audience or that say that this show is a waste of Netflix space, this show brings science and reason of controversial topics like homeopathic medicines into the public eye. Alternative or natural treatments should not be seen as cures or even as a substitute for pharmaceutical medication or treatment. I do believe that just like any other form of therapy like crystals, yoga, and sound therapy are tools in treatment along side doctor recommended medicine, but not as a solo remedy for such aliments as cancer. So, once again Bill Nye has saved the world.

Posted in Photography, Psychology, Writing

Could Brain Damage Cause Brilliance?

The New York Times features an article about using cognitive brain manipulation to explore mental disabilities such as autism. This article leads to future possibilities that could have a huge impact on how mental disorders are studied. This article begins by the author discovering new skills, such as impressive drawing, through the application of electrodes of certain brain regions. The electrode experiment led to further investigation into the ability to manipulate human cognition past their mental capacity and provide insight into how the human brain functions. One example of this type of manipulation of brain areas is the research into autism.

Allen Snyder developed a theory while studying autism called the Savant theory. Snyder theorizes that a small number of people with autism can perform super specialized mental acts. These acts can include learning new languages without any formal training or impressive drawing skill.

The unlimited mental capacity within people with autism leads to the larger question of the neurological impairment that causes autism. Could neurological impairment be the cause of such genius-like abilities? With this line of questioning, I wonder if higher brain capacity is caused by lack of brainpower.

An analogy that I think relays this thinking is having all your eggs in one basket. By having more brain area impairment, more time and neurons are applied to fewer brain areas as compared to multiple brain regions. The experiment to investigate this savant theory was tested by the manipulation of electrodes to shut down parts of the brain. This type of testing can also give people with normal functioning brains gives a glimpse into the reality that people with mental disabilities deal with daily.

By manipulating certain brain areas, changing the way people perform and think can provide more intense and scientific research into what causes mental disabilities.  It could also change the way we think in unexpected ways

Not only can we determine the underlying cause of mental disorders, it but can also assist in the treatment of mental disorders. This treatment and cause for mental disorders can be achieved by stimulating other areas of the brain to dispel syndromes and side effects of mental disorders by using a normal functioning brain to create autistic syndromes.

In summary, not only can brain manipulation help with treatment and prevention, it can also assist with therapy. This technique could be used as a therapy where people can learn what is it like to have a mental disability. By gaining a new perspective and appreciation for people who deal with daily mental difficulties.

This week’s featured photo is of graduation shoes, which is symbolic of this blog post, by allowing people to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. whether this is through shoes or brain manipulation.

Posted in Psychology, Writing

Philosophical Take on Creativity:

So this is my first blog post for my writing bootcamp. Enjoy!

Creativity is difficult to define. I believe that creativity is a mindset, but there are different perspectives on the influences of creativity. This blog post focuses on Julie Burstein’s view of creativity and how to enhance it.

In Julie Burstein’s Ted talk, she discusses how creativity is enhanced from experiences, challenges, limits and loss. She begins with a creative process metaphor.

Creativity comes from failures and stresses that occur from letting go of control illustrated by Raku. Raku is a Japanese style of pottery used in tea ceremonies, which involves playing with clay, temperature, and fire resulting in cherished cracks. The example of Raku is thought-provoking by providing a decent metaphorical example of creativity and control. Creativity involves letting go of control and letting stress and imperfections occur resulting in something beautiful.

Burstein’s first lesson is that creativity comes from everyday experiences. It states that creativity involves being open to new experiences and having the ability to see the unique from the everyday. By being open to new experiences often bring a different perspective and offers new inspirations for further creativity. Being open to seeing uniqueness, leads to the second and third lessons that are in creativity, which is challenges and limits.

With creativity and life, challenges arise by pushing the limits. You must be able to prevail to succeed. Often, limits are created by mental and physical disabilities which are viewed as a setback, but these challenges can help push the limits leading to something unique. The idea of challenges and limits to provoke creativity has merit but lacks luster. Burstein never mentioned or explicitly implies the idea of motivation. With motivation, it offers the intrinsic drive that allows people to push their limits.  Motivation does connect with challenges and limits, but I believe that Burstein’s idea of challenges and limits are based more on the person, and less about the creativity task. The idea of pushing limits and exceeding challenges does carry a hopeful thought that can be a great adversary by embracing your differences. The idea of embracing differences is shown by the example of a Pulitzer prize winner who has dyslexia.

The fourth lesson is that creativity can come from loss. An example of creativity from a loss would be the photography of Joel Meyerowitz. Meyerowitz tried to capture the beauty of the rubble, destruction, and sadness of 9/11 in New York City. Creativity from loss can be because of inspiration, or as a form of therapy to deal with the loss.

Burstein ends her lecture with another metaphor of Japanese pottery called Kintsugi. Kintsugi is a type of pottery where any damage is repaired with gold lacquer making a more beautiful and unique piece. Kintsugi is symbolic of experiences, challenges, limits and loss. It helps tell a story of creation and destruction that assist in creating something new. This notion of loss leads to the same notion of motivation and brings to light the idea of inspiration, which is a subjective aspect of creativity. Through loss, people reframe the situation, creating a different viewpoint that can lead a creative idea. This idea of loss to enhance creativity is just one example of how motivation plays into creativity.

Burstein’s view on creativity is philosophical, subjective and hopeful at times, it appears to only be skimming the surface of creativity.

 

References:

Burstein, J. (2017). 4 lessons in creativityTed.com. Retrieved 26 April 2017, from https://www.ted.com/talks/julie_burstein_4_lessons_in_creativity#t-1020910

Posted in Photography, Psychology

Warning: People Under Creative Influence.

This is a followup blog to my first blog on creativity.

What role does creative instruction have in creativity? Everyone says that creativity is increased by constraints, but nobody has questioned how creative instruction affects creativity.  Finding out how creative instruction affects creativity, could affect educators, businesses and other professionals investigating creativity and provide a different perspective when applying such constraints as self-imposed, situational and material constraints.

How is creativity defined? Depending on what context creativity is being discussed, determined how it is defined. When talking about creativity from an artistic perspective, creativity is defined as a trait or talent, that only the elite portray. from a psychological perspective, creativity is a skill that one must develop, but still portraying the idea that only some can develop such a skill. From a scientific perspective, creativity is a type of thinking or intelligence, which is referred to as divergent thinking. With this divergent thinking, it is still emphasizing that to think divergently, but people portray different type of thinking, where some are more divergent thinkers and others are more convergent thinkers. Excluding the idea that everyone can think creativity, leads again to the notion that creativity, whether it is defined as a trait, skill or intelligence, it still leads to the idea that creativity is only for those with such an elite ability as creativity. I think creativity is defined as a type of mindset. By labeling a task creative, it allows the participant to believe that they must think outside the box, or in a unique way, resulting in a more creative outcome.

Constraints are defined as a barrier that restricts, or blocks something or someone towards a goal. Constraints affect one’s behaviour, or thinking when trying to strike towards a goal or complete a task, which is seen negatively. But when talking about constraints in the context of creativity, constraints are discussed in more of a positive light. By applying constraints to creativity, it can limit ones thinking, allowing that individual to restructure the task at hand, or re-evaluate their thinking or ability to the task or goal, through limitations. There are different types of constraints that are often applied to creativity. The first is self-imposed constraints, this is where one applies their own constraints, as a w ay of self-control. Examples of self-imposed constraints are to apply a time limit or deadline. Limiting the use of materials that one can use, which can be in the form of limiting art materials when drawing or painting, and limiting the subject matter.  The second type of constraints is situational constraints, constraints applied are outside of the person’s control which forces that individual to restructure the task or redirect the goal accommodate the constraints. Examples of situational constraints are limited materials, limited time, or additional tasks to complete a goal. Both the self-imposed and situational constraints serve as the two main types of constraints, but there is another type of constraints that is arbitrary, but can still impose different behaviours or thinking when applied to task or goal. These constraints are known as arbitrary constraints. Examples of arbitrary constraints are personality type, or type of intelligence. where although these personality and intelligence are not visible or physical constraints, they still impose boundaries and limitations.

Creative instruction is a type of instruction that informs an individual to think a different or unique manner. By using keywords such as: creativity, make, build, or imagination. By applying creative instruction to a task, it is like applying an arbitrary constraint or label to the task at hand.

So with a different definition of creativity, being defined as a mindset, that means that creativity is no longer for the elite, but for everyone.

For this week’s featured photo, is of my cousin Sarah. She is not the most creative person, but by implying to do something wacky, or crazy, she gave me this face.

 

 

Posted in Photography, Psychology

Reflection Blog: What have I learned?

So with this being my last blog that I will be doing for my social cognition class. We are forced by Dr.Jesse martin to write a reflection blog instructing us to tell the world how great his class is. Just Kidding. But what have I learned in in class? Well a better question would be what haven’t I learned, but we’ll go with the first question anyways.

One of the first things that I have learned is that there is a huge difference between teaching and learning, to which it is not seen within the education system. What I mean by this is that teaching doesn’t have to be done by an experience man in a suit or tie, or even by Bill Nye the science Guy: Bill-Nye-4hTeaching can be done by the students.  Learning doesn’t have to be done in a conformed lecture hall where all the students sit facing forward and keep their head down while the teacher/instructor lectures. Learning can occur through discussion and blog posts that spark pure passion and interest because students can freely choose what interests them the most. Leaning doesn’t have to occur in a classroom.and it doesn’t have to occur under the structure of taking a course through a university at $500 per course.

This leads to the second thing that I have learned. which is that our education system has failed us, turning us all into robots where we crave structure and order. This is because we have spent 12 plus years being told to conform, which can stripped us of creative thinking. where we can’t think creativity without constraints.

The third thing that I have learned is that I unfortunately have low confidence and seek constant approval from others. Sad but true.

I think that with the help of this class, as well as the rest of my other classes this semester, I am finally experiencing my “Elle Woods Moment”. In the epic movie, legally blonde,  Elle woods, a blonde sorority queen is dumped by her boyfriend. She decides to follow him to Harvard law school to get him back.  Once there, learns she has more legal savvy  and skill than she ever imagined. where she goes from the school joke to graduating top in her class. That just like Elle woods, I thought that my ideas and thoughts were half-baked, and they and I had no value, that i was trying to be something that i not which is studying psychology. But this is not the case!  I have ideas, and skills that can get me places.

Things that I have learned that are class related are such things as: How social cognition can be applied to less relevant topics that can be unrelated to psychology. and example of this studying the psychology behind pop culture, color psychology, body language, the psychology of evil, and of course creativity. So if anybody wants to donate $300, to take the Psychology of evil by Dr. Jesse Martin, I can continue learning  and growing. With the help of this class, I have discovered that a blog is a wonderful way to get my ideas and thought about the world, out into the world, to which I can hopefully open a few people’s eyes to what is around us and how we are impacted by things such as pop culture.

With all of these life lessons  that have provoked warm and fuzzy feelings,  I have learned that I’m not just a student, but a scholar!

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So, with it being the end of an era (for this class). I would like to thank Jesse Martin for an amazing class. For those who read my blog outside of class assignments I hope you continue to read this blog, as I have a lot more to say and will continuing blogging.

For this week’s feature photo I decided that with summer just around the corner and with the few days that I have had I wanted to put up a photo that was happy. Enjoy!giphy

Posted in Psychology

Psychology of Pop Culture: Synthesis

For the last 3 weeks, I have talked about the psychology of pop culture. For this week’s blog, I will create a synthesis by looking at how escapism, conformity, and sense of belonging that occur in pop culture are elements of  a bigger picture of pop culture. The underlying theory behind pop culture from a psychological view brings to light the theory that pop culture provides people, not only with a way to escape, and a sense of belonging, or even forces people to conform, whether we like it or not, but that pop culture part of our social identity.

To take a step back, what is pop culture? Pop culture is everywhere and is a part of everything. This is due to the simple fact that pop culture today is no longer an underground wave of comic nerds, and movie buffs trying to uses pop culture just to pass the time or escape from everyday life, like it was in the past, pop culture has become mainstream and is eveuywhere..

Before pop culture became so mainstream, it was an activity that the uneducated lower classes did to pass the time, and escape from the life after the WWI. So even back in the 1910’s, pop culture was a form of escapism from the aftermath of WWI. During these times, pop culture was viewed as mindless activity. It wasn’t until after WWII, did pop culture start to become more mainstream, appealing to the masses. This was seen through comic books, advertisements, music and other forms of mass consumption that occur during those times, as pop culture became a type of propaganda in the form of comic books, posters, and advertisements.

With the example of these images, pop culture became a way to connect with people and strive towards a common goal, and represented a line of conformity where you should fight the good fight, just like the poster and Captain America says. with falls in line with the thinking of pop culture today in terms of a way to connect. But within this line of  history it leads back to the idea of conformity, and using pop culture to get people to conform even though it wasn’t a mainstream idea at that time. It still had impact on people’s behaviors and thoughts whether they agreed with it or not.

Today with pop culture as it has become so mainstream and appeals to the masses, it has a much larger effect on us. Pop culture is not just some games, comic books, movies, and TV, that was experienced only by some uneducated people like it was in the past. Pop culture is defined as “cultural activities or commercial products reflecting, suited to, or aimed at the tastes of the general masses of people” (“the definition of pop culture”, 2017). Pop culture includes areas like food, sports, TV, film, internet, virtual communities, technology, art, tattoos, folk art, and even language. Leading to the synthesized theory that part culture is who we are, it’s our social identity.

Here are a few good examples of how pop culture revolves around our lives, and becomes part of our identity.  I am part of a psychology lab here at the University of Lethbridge. In the lab, there is a guy named AJ. One day after talking about cognitive psychology and members of the lab it reminded him of characters from the popular TV show “the office”. So, he decided that he wanted to try to assign each lab member with a character that they portrayed from this TV show. So, you had the Dwight, the Michael Scott, the Meredith, etc…, so what does the Office and their cast of crazy characters have to do with cognitive psychology…? Nothing, which is the point. We try to use characters from random TV shows, movies, and games to try to explain things in our live. Another good example of this would be the Buzzfeed, and other personality quizzes that we all are guilty of taking. We take a personality quiz to determine what Disney princess we are, “which Leo DiCaprio character is our Soulmate?”, “Which Beyoncé hit are you based on your Zodiac sign?” Or even “Order Starbucks and McDonald’s, Then We’ll Guess Your Boob Size quiz”.  Leading again to the conclusion that pop culture weaves it’s way into our social identity.  Because pop culture is no longer for the uneducated lower classes, it’s for the young, old, rich, poor, everyone, it’s how we relate and connect with the world.

So, to get back to the synthesis of pop culture. What was the point of writing the past three blogs? Pop culture has become our identity and how we relate socially. Pop culture is our social Identity. In the first blog on pop culture I talked about escapism that occurs by using pop culture. we use pop culture as a shield to protect us from the stresses of everyday life. The reason that we can escape using pop culture is because we can relate to the characters that we watch, we identity with them. In my second blog, I discussed conformity that occurs with pop culture consumerism and mass media, it can be difficult, if not nearly impossible not to conform because of the reason that pop culture is everything. pop culture is part of the non-conformers, rebel against popular culture that is consumed by all. but with even the anti-pop culture groups still create their identity around pop culture, and their distaste to it, but it still provides them with an identity which is that they don’t fall victim to popular culture. (it’s kind of a double negative). In my third blog of pop culture, I discussed how pop culture gives us a sense of belonging. how just like we define ourselves by our family and friends, we also define ourselves by what type of pop culture we like and indulge in. A classic example of how pop culture defines us is with the movie the breakfast club, leading to the idea of stereotypes.

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We fall victim stereotypes and labels, whether we give the stereotype or live the stereotype. In the Breakfast club, you have the criminal, the athlete, the basket case, the princess, and the brain. These stereotypes or labels are defined by what activities, or pop culture we participate in such as what type of music we listen to. with pop culture and a sense of belonging, we also use pop culture to relate to other people, so with the help of pop culture it gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling of being accepted, and helps define, by how we relate to others socially.

These three blogs post lead to metaphor that Pop culture is like a crazy friend that we just happen to meet and never leaves us alone.  It’s there when we need it, and it’s there even we don’t want it to be there. With pop culture being part of our social identity. we use Pop culture to help define who we are, to try to make sense of this crazy world, we use it to shape and create a social identity with other like-minded people, and we use pop culture to find others. Through pop culture, we use it to identify who other people are, try to understand and gain a sense of their personality by means the pop culture. through social media, we look at a person’s Facebook about me page to gauge a sense of who they are by what music they listen to, what activities they do, which unfortunately can often lead to a false sense of social identity, but an identity none the less.

So, there it is, wrapped up and topped off with a nice plaid bow. Pop culture is part of our social identity, and helps define who we are.

For this weeks, featured photo, I have chosen to feature a mixed media piece that I had done in art school a few years ago, called Identity. it features wooden Venetian mask that I imprinted and coloured using prism colours. the gentian mask, I think is a good representation of pop culture. that when you put a mask or even a cosplay costume, it becomes you. Our behaviours and sometimes even thought soon match the mask or costume that you put on, which is similar to what happens with pop culture, that it becomes a part of you.

References:

Black, R. (2006). Language, Culture, and Identity in Online Fanfiction. E-Learning And Digital Media3(2), 170-184. http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/elea.2006.3.2.170

Quizzes on BuzzFeed. (2017). Quizzes on BuzzFeed. Retrieved 30 March 2017, from https://www.buzzfeed.com/quizzes

the definition of pop culture. (2017). Dictionary.com. Retrieved 30 March 2017, from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/pop–culture

Vanden Berghe, P. (2017). How popular culture defines identity. The Newsletter, (73), 23.

Williams, B. (2008). “What South Park Character Are You?”: Popular Culture, Literacy, and Online Performances of Identity. Computers And Composition25(1), 24-39. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compcom.2007.09.005

 

 

Posted in Photography, Psychology

Psychology of Pop Culture: Sense of Belonging

My third post analyzing the psychology behind pop culture will focus on the notion that pop culture provides a sense of belonging. This effect is known by a few names such as need for affiliation, sense of belonging or belongingness. The need for affliction is defined as a person’s need to feel a sense of involvement and belonging within a social group. This was coined by David McClelland. To have a sense of belonging means to have a human connection or emotional need to be accepted by someone or a group. As social beings, we have a need for human contact and belonging.

One famous study or theory on the topic belongingness is A.H. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. After basic needs, there are the psychological needs. This features belongingness and love which comes from relationships and friendships. Psychological needs can be defined as mental or emotional needs that help us to achieve self-actualization. This can even stem to Harry Harlow’s idea of belonging and attachment. With the work of Harry Harlow and his adorable baby rhesus monkeys. he discovered that we need social contact to thrive, whether that connection comes from a wire mother, cloth mother, family or more accurately social contact that provides us with happiness, satisfaction, and security. This I believe can apply within pop culture as well.

Normally when we think about having a sense to belong, it’s about family, friends, or high school social cliques, but having a sense of belonging can also appear in pop culture. When you belong to a group, you get feeling of acceptance, where you feel all warm and fuzzy inside because you are no longer socially isolated. For example, here at the University of Lethbridge there is a club for just about everyone. You have a Religious club, Native American club, Amine club, Object Manipulation club, Fraternities, Sororities, and the ever-popular Gamers club. So, with so many exclusive clubs, it is more than probable to find a group that suits one’s interests to obtain a sense of belonging with a group of friends that share the same interest. Which is part of the reason why you get that warm and fuzzy feeling. Because of being around other people who understand you and share similar interests.

Within the realm of pop culture, although it is mainstream, some people who have more obscure interests like gaming, cosplay, or even drag don’t normally have a sense of belonging within their standard circle of family, and maybe not even with their circle of friends, causing a social isolation. This leads to the in individual seeking out other social relationships and social bonds where they can express their interests with like-minded people. This is where we have the comic cons and hobbyist conventions. After some intense research, I have discovered that there is a club, group, and convention for everyone. Here are some examples:

The Fetish Convention in St. Petersburg, Florida, is an annual convention and trade show focusing on the adult entertainment industry. This includes bondage, latex and their mascot Bernie the Bondage Bunny.

Another unique convention is Bronycon in Baltimore, Maryland. “BronyCon is the world’s largest convention for and by fans of the animated TV series “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.” It’s a convention where people from all over the globe come to take part in all activities of My little pony. Including costumes, Bronypalooza which is market for all things of My Little Pony, and just connect with other “Bronies”.

Anthrocon is a convention for people who love to dress up in furry animal/ mascot costumes, known as Furry fans. These like-minded people participate in workshops, seminars and collectively celebrate Furry Fandom. They even have a Fursuit Parade.

Burning man is an annual gathering for people to explore various forms of artistic self-expression. This festival includes a temporary self-made community where one can freely express themselves without judgement. Their list of ten principals include: “radical inclusion, self-reliance and self-expression, community cooperation, civic responsibility, gifting, decommodification, participation, immediacy and leaving no trace”. (“Burning Man – Welcome Home”, 1989)

These crazy conventions although unique and ridiculous to some all have one thing in common: a sense of belonging for people who have abnormal but similar interest which in this case would be pop culture, giving the people a sense of belonging within pop culture.

One reason why we want to have a sense of belonging is that is can be a form of therapy. Having the opportunity to talk and relate to other like-minded individuals who understand some of the issues that one faces and how to deal with them can be very therapeutic. In the sense that you are not alone. This is like the concept of venting to a friend about family or relationship issues.

Per the relational-cultural theory, we develop a sense of belonging and a connection to others when we feel like we are in a healthy relationship and have a sense of growth as an individual that occur when with that group (Shaw, & Hammer, 2016). This type of belonging occurs in a community like setting, where you are surrounded by other people with similar hobbies or views that you can connect with and develop relationships through acceptance, promoting a sense of belonging. But what about the connection and sense of belonging to a fictitious group of characters that you see in in TV, movies, and pop culture? This occurs in a similar fashion to community based belonging. With the idea that you can relate and share similar experiences with that character. An example of this is with the movie “Perks of Being a Wallflower” starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller. Whenever I watch this movie I become so sweep up in the story and events, because I experience similar situations and feelings as the character Charlie. The relatable character of Charlie just wants to live a normal life without his mental illness of schizophrenia getting in the way, so through fate he becomes friends with a group extroverted high school seniors who introduce him to a world that he has always observed from a distance or through other people, or by being a wallflower. As I watch the movie I relate to Charlie and start to feel that I am part of the misfit group. Going through the moments that occur and feel the same emotions that the group experiences. Giving me a sense of belonging, and a connection with Charlie, Sam, and Patrick while on the island of misfit toys.

 

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Now what happens when you are unable to obtain a sense e of belong to a social group or pop culture icon?  This is when the notion of social isolation and alienation comes into play. by not having a sense of belonging you can lack satisfaction in life. This can go back to Harlow’s rhesus monkeys. when his rhesus monkeys were socially isolated they became very depression, social damage, and behavioral ailment, and leading to physical ailment, where they even refused to eat. Now this is obviously an extreme case of social isolation, and goes way beyond pop culture and feeling accepted, but the principals are similar. When you are socially isolated from your friends or your pop culture fandom or anything that gives you a sense of belonging, it can be very lonely. An example for this would be it someone where to take your phone away leaving you without any form of social media. It would be very alienating, depressing, etc. But this is where the idea of pop culture comes into play. Thanks to the internet and technology and being more globalized and less localized. Pop culture and social groups are more accessible. through social media, I can feel like I am always connected and have a sense of belonging through virtual means. With Netflix, movies, TV shows, video games, and virtual communities, it provides people with more access and opportunities to relate to other and to always have a sense of belonging through virtual means.

With the crossover of virtual and communal sense of belonging. Is having a fictitious connection in the attempt to gain a sense of belonging as satisfactory as having real-life interactions with physical touch? For example, when we FaceTime or virtually connect with someone, we would probably prefer to be interacting with them in real life, so why do we choose virtual or fictitious over physical?  And is pop culture encouraging a false sense of belonging?

For this week’s Photo, I decided to do a collage of three photos that I took while at Globalfest in Calgary, Alberta. It features three Muslim women that have a sense of belonging through their religion and relationships. That although some people isolate themselves from people who have a connection to the Middle East, they still are happy and have a sense of belonging, despite all the hate. These three gorgeous women are what we should strive for, which is to be happy, secure and feel connected through a sense of belonging whether it be from religion, family, friends, fetish conventions, or pop culture.

Here is the link for The Harlow Monkey study: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O60TYAIgC4&t=44s

 

References:

Anthrocon 2017: Take Me Out To The Ballgame | “Fur, Fun, And So Much More!”. (1996). Anthrocon.org. Retrieved 23 March 2017, from http://www.anthrocon.org

BronyCon 2017. (2017). Bronycon.org. Retrieved 23 March 2017, from https://bronycon.org

Burning Man – Welcome Home. (1989). Burningman.org. Retrieved 23 March 2017, from http://burningman.org

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