kirk0271: October 2011 Archives

The Power of Advertisements

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As the Lilienfeld text says in chapter 6, "Few people grasp the principles of classical conditioning...better than advertisers". Since advertisements bombard us everyday on the radio, television, and billboards, I think classical conditioning is a very important concept for everyone to understand. It is a source of learning where an animal or human comes to respond to a previously neutral stimulus when it is paired with another stimulus that elicits an automatic response. In layman's terms, classical conditioning is a type of association. In the commercial above, there is an unconditioned stimulus, the beautiful Amazonian women. Such women tend to elicit a natural or unconditioned response, arousal and other positive emotions. The women are paired with Axe Body Spray, the conditioned stimulus. This association then elicits the conditioned response, the desire to purchase Axe Body Spray. I chose to use the Axe Body Spray commercial as my example because it is one of the most shameless attempts at classical conditioning through advertisements that I could think of, because it elicits the idea that putting on Axe Body Spray will automatically cause thousands of beautiful women in bikinis will run like animals to get close to you.

By pairing products with upbeat music, A-list celebrities, and beautiful people, advertisers are conditioning viewers and listeners to buy their products. When I sat and thought about advertisements, I realized how susceptible I am to classical conditioning. I use Neutrogena face wash because I want flawless skin like Hayden Panettiere, an actress who probably spent hours in front of the mirror with a make-up artist, trying to achieve the "natural look". Furthermore, I am sure her skin was then airbrushed after the commercial was shot to make sure her face was blemish-free and smooth. I apply Lancome mascara because the advertisement makes me believe I will have eyes as sparkling as Julia Roberts. I also use hair products from Pantene because I believe it will make my hair as smooth and voluminous as Eva Mendes'. Since buyers like me are so susceptible to classical conditioning, advertisers are some of the most powerful people in the world.


Crack is Wack

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Drugs of all kinds, including cocaine, are very often glorified in movies, music, and Hollywood. In college, students are swayed to believe that these four years are meant for experimentation with all sorts of drugs. Many students are influenced to believe that doing drugs makes you "cool", "edgy", and "rebellious". The Lilienfeld text in chapter six called cocaine the most powerful natural stimulant. Even classifying cocaine a stimulant, because it increases activity of the central nervous system, gives it a positive connotation. Cocaine gives users a sense of euphoria, an increase in energy, a decrease in appetite, and a more positive self-image, while they are high off the drug. However, whether snorting, shooting, or smoking cocaine, the effects are detrimental to the brain. If frying eggs and Clint Eastwood cannot convince you to stop using cocaine, then maybe the following information can.
Cocaine prompts neurons to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, which we learned about in chapter three of Lilienfeld text. The drug then prevents the dopamine from being absorbed, prolonging the sensation of euphoria. The high concentration of dopamine affects the user's consciousness as well. The euphoric feeling makes the user not as aware of his surroundings and actions. The high from cocaine can last anywhere from 5-30 minutes, depending on the amount of cocaine used and the way it was injected into the body. However, the brain does eventually absorb the dopamine, leading to an abrupt comedown off the drug, which includes moodiness and restlessness. Users can experience the after effect of cocaine for days where they are highly susceptible to headaches, irritability, and depression. Long-term effects of cocaine are very serious. Memory loss, learning problems, attention deficits, lung problems, and strokes may occur. Last, but certainly not least, there is the high chance of addiction, which can lead to an array of health and personal problems. Cocaine use is very serious and can rarely be handled "recreationally". Since cocaine is a stimulant, many users want to take it over and over again to regain that same euphoric feeling. When they do this, the users usually increase the amount of cocaine, which can lead to an overdose and/or death.
So do not pay attention to movies and music that glorify the euphoric feeling as a result of taking cocaine. The high never lasts as long as the regret and long term negative effects. Remember, hugs not drugs.


http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/1998/03.12/ResearchersSeeH.html

http://extras.denverpost.com/news/shot0422gg.htm

Here is an interview with Manson about the Columbine massacre: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYApo2d8o_A

April 20, 1999 will always be a day that lives in infamy. On that morning in Littleton, Colorado, two teenagers went to school in attempt to kill as many classmates and faculty members as they could. This event is known as the Columbine High School massacre. After this tragedy, many people wanted answers as to why two teenagers were so full of hate and anger that they wanted to shoot and bomb their school. While looking for these answers, the police and the community found out that both of the boys listened to the rocker Marilyn Manson, who is known for his gothic and dark music, which has recurring themes of death and anger. After this correlation was discovered, Manson was given the majority of the blame for the Columbine massacre. So, is Manson's music the main reason these teenage boys committed murder? If so, why do other people who listen to his music not have violent outbursts?
This debate on whether or not Manson is responsible for the Columbine massacre is an example of the correlation vs. causation debate, which is one of the six research methods discussed in Psy1001. Correlation vs. causation means that as critical thinkers, we must separate relationships and causations. Did listening to Manson's music force the boys to commit the Columbine massacre? Or are there more variables that need to be taken into account?
Studies conducted by researchers Pirkis and Blood, described in the link below, did show that there is a relation between listening to heavy metal and suicide risk. However, the article states that it is unknown if the two are directly related. That means that listening to heavy metal does not guarantee that the person will commit murder or suicide. The study could mean that teenagers who already have suicidal thoughts prefer to listen to heavy metal, because the messages in the songs relate to how they are feeling. It is most likely that listening to Manson's music was not the only factor in the teenagers' decision to murder their classmates. If it were the only factor, then every listener of Manson would be a murderer also.
I believe that Manson was singled out because he is an easy scapegoat. His music is dark and disturbing, so it was easy to blame his gothic lifestyle for the massacre. The Littleton community wanted answers to why the massacre occurred, and I believe that the relationship between Manson and the boys' decision was an easy thing for the public to pinpoint and choose as the reason for the tragedy.

http://www.queendom.com/articles/articles.htm?a=42

Here is an interview with Manson about the Columbine massacre:

April 20, 1999 will always be a day that lives in infamy. On that morning in Littleton, Colorado, two teenagers went to school in attempt to kill as many classmates and faculty members as they could. This event is known as the Columbine High School massacre. After this tragedy, many people wanted answers as to why two teenagers were so full of hate and anger that they wanted to shoot and bomb their school. While looking for these answers, the police and the community found out that both of the boys listened to the rocker Marilyn Manson, who is known for his gothic and dark music, which has recurring themes of death and anger. After this correlation was discovered, Manson was given the majority of the blame for the Columbine massacre. So, is Manson's music the main reason these teenage boys committed murder? If so, why do other people who listen to his music not have violent outbursts?
This debate on whether or not Manson is responsible for the Columbine massacre is an example of the correlation vs. causation debate, which is one of the six research methods discussed in Psy1001. Correlation vs. causation means that as critical thinkers, we must separate relationships and causations. Did listening to Manson's music force the boys to commit the Columbine massacre? Or are there more variables that need to be taken into account?
Studies conducted by researchers Pirkis and Blood, described in the link below, did show that there is a relation between listening to heavy metal and suicide risk. However, the article states that it is unknown if the two are directly related. That means that listening to heavy metal does not guarantee that the person will commit murder or suicide. The study could mean that teenagers who already have suicidal thoughts prefer to listen to heavy metal, because the messages in the songs relate to how they are feeling. It is most likely that listening to Manson's music was not the only factor in the teenagers' decision to murder their classmates. If it were the only factor, then every listener of Manson would be a murderer also.
I believe that Manson was singled out because he is an easy scapegoat. His music is dark and disturbing, so it was easy to blame his gothic lifestyle for the massacre. The Littleton community wanted answers to why the massacre occurred, and I believe that the relationship between Manson and the boys' decision was an easy thing for the public to pinpoint and choose as the reason for the tragedy.

http://www.queendom.com/articles/articles.htm?a=42

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