Cultural bias, emotion ... and television
Subject: follow your head....follow your heart
Date: 2002-10-28 18:06:47
Message Id: 3387
How many times have we used the phrase "follow your head/follow your heart" or heard others use it?
Science says that the thinking center of the human body is the brain or the head but our environment/society shows that there are other thoughts we can follow, those of our hearts and our instincts.Most people have at least once in their lives followed their gut feelings.
How do we make decisions? How do we justify our decisions and our actions? It is not necessarily our heads which are used to make all decisions; those split second decisions not justified by conscious thought are made using the heart or instincts.
Who is to say what is better? Who is to say that the outcome would have been better if one had used one's head/heart?
Who is to say what's more important and what we should follow when it comes to making those crucial life-changing decisions.....the head or the heart?
Subject: Science is always biased
Date: 2002-10-28 21:12:42
Message Id: 3397
Today in class (10/28) we were talking about whether or not science (and scientists) are biased by their culture. Well, I say that even if scientists were not ethnocentric towards themselves, their work may appear to be so because they must cater to the whims and political views of their patrons. Without their funds, they would be out of a job...so it's easier, in some cases, for the scientists to use their patrons' view-points rather than their own (it ensures that they'll be funded in the future!) So, I propose that it is not always the fault of the scientists if their theories appear to be biased towards one culture or another.
Subject: Control over emotions
Date: 2002-10-29 08:13:47
Message Id: 3406
A friend and I were talking, and she asserted that people have more control over their emotions than they admit. She thinks that if you're in a bad mood, you have the ability to stop being in a bad mood. She claims that it is a relatively easy thing to do and everyone should do it because then no one would be in a bad mood for very long. I agree that sometimes you get upset over little things and then you can tell yourself "okay, this is silly, I'm not going to be upset about this," and it works. However, sometimes you just get kind of grumpy for no specific reason that you can pinpoint. How can you stop being upset if you don't know why you're upset? I also think that sometimes you have to be in a bad mood, even if you aren't sure why you are upset. I'm not sure if it's healthy to ALWAYS be cheerful. I'm also not sure if I agree that we can all exert complete control over our emotions if we have the will to do so. Any thoughts?
Subject: Is it all in the mind?
Date: 2002-10-29 13:00:28
Message Id: 3412
Emotions, Control, hmm. Many people are controlled by their moods while others have managed to master the art of controlling their emotional variances. Why do we have mood swings? PMS can be a factor and so can fluctuations in blood sugar level. Exercise releases endomorphins in the blood system which gives us that distinct energized *good* feeling. Hence many different factors stimulate different mood swings which in turn can make us irritable, sad, happy or spaced out. It is true if one is in pain and keeps repeating "I am fine, I am not in pain" or focuses her mind elsewhere she can possibly alleviate her feelings of pain but then this is completely dependent on the individual and her level of will-power. So I would say that having control over one's emotions and moods mostly depends on the individual concerned.
Name: Amanda Maclay
Subject: UCltural Influence on Scientific thought
Date: 2002-10-29 15:19:21
Message Id: 3417
Going back to the question of whether or not culture affects scientists and the way think, I think that it is impossible to escape your own background and therefore your own culture when dealing with any topic of research. I was reading in my philosophy class the other an essay by Roland Barthes, an incredibly intelligent guy, about the interpretation of texts. He basically said that there is no single right interpretation because not only do texts change over time, but we read a text the way we have learned to read a text. That is to say that we see an interpretation in a text that we have already experienced. It is impossible to escape our own knowledge because there must be some basis for comparison or question. thus, when applying this to scientists, it woudl be valid to say that scientists read science or data wih the knowledge that they already know or have learned from their own culture. So, it is impossible to escape culture when discussing science due to the inablity to detach both topics.
Name: Rosie, Anastasia, Annie
Date: 2002-10-30 15:04:43
Message Id: 3427
For the first experiment, we tested Audio, Visual, and Tactile reaction times. Our results were:
Anastasia: Audio - .1488
Visual - .1549
Tactile - .1495
Muscle contraction - .058
Rosie: Audio - .2211
Visual - .2293
Tactile - .1919
Muscle contraction - .07
Annie: Audio - .142
Visual - .2416
Tactile - .1637
Muscle contraction - .044
For the second experiment we first tested Audio when one person was having a conversation with the person who was being tested.
The average reaction time for this was .2186.
We then tested the reaction time for Touch when the person's eyes were closed and they were hit randomly anywhere on their body. The average reaction time for this was .1638.
Finally we tested the reaction time Visually. The person watched the screen with only one eye open. The reaction time for only the right eye was .3008 and the reaction time for the left eye was .2374. The person was using their right hand to click.
From this experiment we concluded that for Audio it was much faster when the person was not being distracted. Annie originally had .1416 as her reaction time, but when she was being distracted her reaction time was .2186. It almost doubled. For Visual reaction time, we concluded that when the eye on the same side as the hand that clicks the button is open, the reaction time is slower. For the right hand and right eye, the reaction time was .3008. For the right hand left eye, the reaction time was .2186.
Date: 2002-10-30 22:31:56
Message Id: 3437
The other day when we were talking about whether or not scientists were biased, I got a little confused. I don't understand how a scientist can be biased. If someone was doing AIDS researche, how could they be biased? I don't get how science can be biased toward a culture or someone's background. It doesn't make sense.
Also, in today's lab, it was surprising that the fastest reaction time was with the tactile motion. You would think that it would take a long time to react to someone hitting you, but it was the opposite. It does kind of make sense that the visual took the longest reaction time because it is necessary for you eyes to first register that you saw the object, then send the message, then for your brain to send the message to your hand to click and then for you to actually click. It is a little surprising but makes a lot of sense.
Date: 2002-11-01 01:32:20
Message Id: 3452
In response to Anastasia's question about how scientists can be biased, I think that the degree to which it exists depends on the type of science we are talking about. In my opinion, psychology and other sciences that are more flexible to interpretations are much more likely to have biased scientists than the more detail-oriented sciences such as chemistry. But all scientists are biased to an extent because as humans, we have distinct upbringings, beliefs, and morals that affect the way in which we interpret and understand results.
Name: Laura Bang!
Date: 2002-11-01 21:33:48
Message Id: 3480
I agree with Maggie that it is not always possible to control your emotions. Sometimes I just feel "blue" and I have no idea why, so telling myself to stop doesn't help. But I also think that our emotions are influenced by other people. For instance, when I'm alone for a long period of time, I start to feel depressed (like over fall break, when I stayed on campus and all of my friends and most of the people on my hall went home). One of the "natural instincts" of humans is to group together, humans are not solitary animals. So when we are alone, we feel "out of sorts" because we are used to being around other people. And when I am feeling depressed for no reason that I can determine, it helps me to be around my friends, particularly the ones who are best at making me laugh. And when I am around other people, whether or not they are my friends, I tend to feel less depressed than when I am alone. Even if I don't know people, just being around other people makes me feel less lonely. I don't know if this is true for all humans, but I think that one of our biggest natural fears is being alone, perhaps because if we were alone we would most likely lose the art of civilization that we have created over the centuries of human life on earth. The way I look at my emotions and how they correlate to the presence of other humans around me, it seems to me that my emotions are dependent on other humans and not just myself, and so perhaps all humans are somewhat connected to each other through their emotions and the emotional influence they hold over one another...
Subject: Bias is not only in science
Date: 2002-11-02 10:19:09
Message Id: 3481
Amanda's post really caught my eye because she mentioned literary scholar Roland Barthes. I agree completely and I would like to add to the discussion on scientific bias. Bias does not exist only in the field of science, it exists in all aspects of academia. In fact, it probably permeates all aspects of our lives. In fields such as English literature, literary critics are biased in what they choose to study. Often, this means that they only study literature that is in vogue, such as memoir or African-American literature. Since they are the authorities that create the canon, it means that their bias makes them over look good pieces of literature.
Name: kathryn bailey
Date: 2002-11-02 12:39:38
Message Id: 3482
Adding to the discussion about the ability to control emotions, I do not believe that humans are capable of controlling their emotions. Humans experience emotions for a variety of reasons....biological (e.g. depression), social, cognitive, etc. Is it really possible for one to decide to be happy, sad, cheerful? I tend to think not because the many external factors that dictate how we feel are not easily controllable. One cannot decide to cease being depressed if a chemical imbalance is the cause of depression. If a person wakes up in a grouchy mood for no apparent reason, how can she overcome the cause of her mood when it is not obvious? The notion that one can make an effort to be happy may be possible, but the transformation from depression to a better mood is gradual. A depression off/ happy on light switch does not exist. Rather, one must attempt to discover what is causing her glum mood before re-evaluating the state of her emotions.
Date: 2002-11-03 04:57:14
Message Id: 3486
Okay, my computer froze THREE TIMES already so let's hope this fourth post actually makes it up...
To add on to previous comments about emotions, I believe that they are controllable. But they are not meant to be commanded; that is, one with a strong will can decide not to feel what he wants to feel, but if he blocks emotions or attempts to sway them, this can be detrimental to his health: physically, psychologically, and thus cumulatively. For instance, when someone loses a loved one and does not allow the natural grieving process to take its due course, this takes a lot of strength. The person may become apathetic to other occurrences.
Blocking painful memories can be a cause of multiple personality disorder. Many people develop other persons in their minds because they want to block negative experiences.
On a slight tangent, I was wondering whether anyone else does this: When I am angry or frustrated, I have a habit of turning on my television and watching some comedy or show to forget why I am upset and to feel better. Television makes me feel lighter. It is unsettling how much I rely on television to feel better sometimes; it has a big influence on my emotions. Does anybody else feel this way?
Name: Katie Campbell
Subject: Emotions and Another Note
Date: 2002-11-03 09:44:34
Message Id: 3489
First, I just wanted to say, it's really amazing how the chemistry of the macromolecules we're learning about and the biological rules we discuss in class fit together so well, it was really interesting to understand exactly how the phospholipids are the reason for boundedness in our systems.
Finally, a note about emotions. This discussion really intrigues me because I've been trying to shake a bad mood off and on this week...One day I woke up and I did make one of those "commands" on myself, realizing that if I just took a moment to have a new perspective on everything then maybe I could feel better about my situation, react in a different way with people, etc. But it seems to keep coming back. That's when I gravitate towards believing that emotions are a biological response to stimulus in our lives. Like the presence or lack of sunlight, illness, etc. So I'm not just trying to search for an excuse for bad moods or saddness, but I think it makes sense that emotions of the sort are normal responses and not totally controllable. You can control your actions and certain reactions to things, but not the feeling behind them...And other thoughts?
Subject: It is ok to talk
Date: 2002-11-03 10:11:12
Message Id: 3490
The worst sentence that one person can say to another is. "I think we have to talk." But at the same time it is the best. While talking about feelings or sentiments can be embarrassing, it is also a way of working with your feelings so that they do not become bottled up. It is also a great way to communicate and telling people how you actually feel can be a life-altering act.
You cannot completely control your mood. Many times small things can be overcome and you can master your emotions. But sometimes life gives you situations that are beyond your control and saying, "this is silly" is not enough. It is sad that is this society is frowned upon for a man to cry or more importantly, for both men and women to try to talk to each other about feelings. I think that our society would be much happier overall if it was accepted that talking about these and other aspects of the life that prove to be a challenge is part of a healthy life.
Subject: more emotions
Date: 2002-11-03 11:09:34
Message Id: 3491
Are emotions really the only factor in determining our actions? I think that when one chooses to "follow their heart" rationality is included in that decision. So how much do cultural influences affect our gut reactions? It seems that if society defines right v. wrong, our emotions reflect (sub-consciously or otherwise) cultural biases to some degree.
Date: 2002-11-03 12:24:07
Message Id: 3492
I personally think that the whole notion of "following the heart" is just another lovely throwback to our roots in film, tv, and classic literature. We usually only use it when we're acting "irrationally," but really if we were actually "following the heart" so to speak, it wouldn't always be irrational. The context in which we actaully use it is often a very selfish one, but most people are selfish all the time. Besides, some people can't control their emotions at all, but should they be the only one's painted as the romantic hero who "fights against all odds to follow their heart"? Ick, no. How much control a person has over their emotions depends on the person, and is usually part of the enviroment in which they grew up. I think we've taken to the notion of "following the heart" simply because we've romanticized it so much. But now that it's only used as a canned excuse for (usually) acting stupidly and selfishly, it's not doing anyone anygood. Well, except for those that want to get away with it...
Name: Diana La Femina
Date: 2002-11-03 12:59:48
Message Id: 3493
First off, I would like to make a comment on the topic of controling one's emotions. I don't believe that we have much control over what emotions we actually feel per say, but we do have control over which one's we allow ourselves to feel. I know that I personally block out a lot of emotions that I don't want to feel at a certain time, which comes back to get me later. If you're angry at someone, you can push that emotion down and concentrate on the beautiful day. However, that anger won't go away. It will stay there, nagging you until you either let yourself experience the emotion or let it build up to be so strong that it takes over you. So, you can make people believe you're in a good mood, you can even make yourself believe it if you're lucky, but if there are underlying emotions there's no way you can lie to yourself forever.
On another note, while doing research for the next paper I came across a quote that I wanted to share:
Knowing is objective in the sense of establishing contact with a hidden reality.
After thinking for a few minutes to try to figure out what it was saying, it really hit home. What does everyone else think?
Date: 2002-11-03 13:25:18
Message Id: 3494
On the subject of controlling one's emotions, I think that you can do things that influence your emotional state (including actions to try to get yourself to ignore it, cheer up, etc. and actions to influence the situation that's upsetting you when possible to do so) to some extent, but only to some extent. I also agree with the notion that it's not always a good idea to try to just arbitrarily change/stifle emotions that you naturally feel. They are telling you something -- perhaps kind of like if you accidently put your hand down on something hot and get burnt ... If you were to be numb and not feel the pain you would still be getting burnt you just might not move your hand for a while. I tend to feel more comfortable with the idea of analyzing my emotions (what I'm feeling and why, etc.) and then trying to figure out how best to address things from there (ie: is there a way I can change the conditions which are upsetting me, etc.). This also, at least for me personally, feels like it keeps me more in touch with what I actually want, what actually makes me happy, satisfied, etc. (wow this is sounding cliched ...). Admittedly, there are some temporary scenarios in which it's useful to be able to briefly put off analyzing your feelings until an immediate situation has passed (ie: if I have an exam to take and I'm upset about something unrelated, it's useful to be able to pull myself together for it and analyze emotions later).
Subject: Emotions and how they inhibit me from living
Date: 2002-11-03 13:38:53
Message Id: 3496
I totally understand how emotions have such a large impact on how we live our daily lives. There are so many things that effect our emotions - something as simple as tripping over something on the way out of bed in the morning can tell me that today is going to be simply, for lack of a better word, shitty - and it's sometimes hard to know how to put your emotions back in place so that you can feel better and move on with your life. Sometimes it's as simple as eating the right food, like fruits or fish, and sometimes you have to take a DAY OFF and just turn in stuff a little late. I remember last year I was going though a hard time, not only being away from home, but with the different weather patterns (as you can guess, one sees the sun a lot more often in California than in Pennsylvania), missing my old friends and adjusting to all the work. One thing that helped was to just take a little bit of time to myself every day. Since I was in a double, that meant taking an old book that wasn't for class to the campus cafe, starbucks or cosi's, splurging (who has $4 to spend on one cup of coffee, I ask you?) and just reading and enjoying my own company for a couple hours. This year I'm in a single and I have the opposite problem - that is, I constantly want to be with people. My door is always open, and luckily my hall is very social and they're all very nice. But it goes beyond that, as well - I always want to eat with someone at the dining hall, and I hate walking into town by myself, an experience I cheriched last year.
Someone was talking about how watching television helped her to get over feelings of depression. That's interesting, because I do the same thing. I think that when you're depressed, you tend to think too much about how awful things are, and then your sensible side says that it's really not so bad but you still feel crappy and you can't explain why and you don't really know why you feel so bad and therefore you don't know how to go about feeling better ... you see what I mean. And when you're watching television, your actually think less - seriously, your brain waves actually slow down - in fact, your brain works harder when you're asleep than when you're watching television. This gives your brain a rest and, by the time you're done with SNL or 'Sex and the City' or, my own personal favorite, 'Gilmore Girls', things don't seem so bad as they did before.
Just a thought ...
Name: Stephanie Lane
Subject: More emotions...
Date: 2002-11-03 14:49:56
Message Id: 3497
It seems that the topic of emotion is on everyone's mind. But it also seems like people tend to discriminate and regard certain emotions in a bad light. I think many people confuse emotion, by itself, with the emotion and the way it is expressed.
I mean, people are talking about how you should block out "bad" emotions like sadness or anger and store them away or whatever, but I think that emotions should be felt to their proper extent, at the time for which they apply. This may sound strange at first but, who's to say that being happy is better than being sad? People shouldn't be one emotion all the time. I know this seems like twisted justification from an often labeled "overreactive," "oversensitive" person like myself, but I think that you wouldn't have the emotions you have unless you were supposed to feel them (save cases of depression or other diseases). It's good to be angry, happy, sad whatever because it is what you are feeling and it is who you are at the moment. People should just be careful in their expression of them. Anger can lead to violence or crime, and I'm in no way justifying those effects. I am saying that that person has a right to their emotions and you can't look down on a person for experiencing them. Lots of great things can be accomplished when a person expresses their sadness or happiness; just look at some of the world's greatest works of art.
I think society should be more accepting of emotions and their importance on a personal level. WHat triggers one person's anger may not in another person because its relative to each individual. We should remember that when we do experience saddness or anger or joy that we have every right to feel it, we just have to be careful about the way in which it is expressed.
Date: 2002-11-03 16:35:27
Message Id: 3501
no more green!
Date: 2002-11-03 16:36:18
Message Id: 3502
Name: Diana Fernandez
Date: 2002-11-03 21:57:30
Message Id: 3508
Following your head or your heart, this topic is interesting to because it corrolates with my webpaper on human attraction. Following an instinctual drive in regards to fufilling certain passions is a highly emotional act (passion), yet people in relationships are highly offended when their partner has these passionate sentiments for people other than themselves. Hence following your heart as opposed to your head, can be a load of crap if you ask me, because if my boyfriend said he had follwoed his heart to another lady and couldnt help his emotions, i would tell him to follow his heart out the damn door.
Name: Sarah Tan
Date: 2002-11-04 01:34:31
Message Id: 3512
I agree that talking about emotions can have unbelievable benefits to your life. It's always good to have catharsis and just get things out of your system, because even if nothing is solved, having someone who knows what's going on with you is important for maintaining sanity. In fact, the sharing of emotions can change society as whole, and the cultural taboo may eventually get lifted. Right now, even going to therapy is looked down upon, when it is possibly one of the best things that a person can do for himself. As Mer said, part of being healthy is talking through the difficult times in our lives. It is only by making these small advancements that human society will rise to greater heights as together we surmount ever greater challeneges.
Subject: Television and Emotions
Date: 2002-11-04 02:20:14
Message Id: 3513
One thing I neglected to mention in my earlier post is that tests have shown that when a person watches television, his brain wave data is a flat line; in other words, there is no THOUGHT process occurring. People tend not to think when they watch television; they don't reason things out, because the story-lines are simple enough for the ideal target age audience, 12 year olds, to understand the plots. Thus the only facet of us that is affected is emotions.
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