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sophie b.'s picture


 Hi I'm Sophie Balis-Harris and I am a sophomore Political Science major at Bryn Mawr. I don't really know exactly how much experience with related fields I can bring to this class, but I am excited about the material. I suppose that in Political Science we learn a lot about what motivates groups of people to act in certain ways, which relates to this course. 

1.  I was recently reading an article in the NY times that discussed how without the use of calendars or natural indicators of time our "internal clock" is very skewed, and how the brain can skew time based on emotions- meaningful or painful experiences can often seem more recent than they actually are simply because they are important parts of our recent memory. I thought the article was an interesting addition to our class discussion of how time is a social construction, and it made me wonder exactly how much of the world around us is a construction of the brain?

2. One of my concentrations within poli sci is peace and conflict studies, and we often discuss the ways that average people can be driven to commit horrific acts of violence in times of conflict. I often wonder if this capacity for violence is hidden within us all, and simply switched on during conditions of extreme duress or if there is something more to it. In short, I suppose I would like to learn a little bit more about the role of the brain in violent behavior. 

3. I also find pyschosomatic illnesses very interesting- how is it that our emotions can dictate our physical well being, and why is our mental health linked so heavily to our physical health? 


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