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The Yellow Wallpaper: Looking Beyond the Boundaries

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In 1892, author Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote a short story that changed American society. Gilman wrote a literary critique of the social structures of America during the Gilded Age, especially with regard to women. Many authors have approached the same subject; however, what made Gilman's short story so impactful was the plot in which she introduced (and addressed) the societal issue.
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Gilman wrote her story, titled "The Yellow Wallpaper", about a woman who feels so trapped in her role as the "perfect American wife" that she goes insane. The plot begins with the housewife stuck in the bedroom of a summer home. She has lately been feeling some mental unrest due to her inability to express herself creatively. As a result, the woman's husband prescribes to her the "resting treatment": during a specified period of time, the woman is not to express her creativity in any form at all, and is encouraged not to use her imagination for any reason. The woman becomes so restless in her room that she allows her imagination to take over her conscious mind, and she begins to hallucinate that there is a woman trapped behind the walls of her bedroom, waiting to get out. The woman actually tears the wallpaper off the walls of her room in an attempt to free this woman, and as a result, she becomes so enraptured with her story that she ends up trapping herself in her own insanity. 58WPyellow.jpeg
This story has a couple interesting psychological levels. One of these is the plot itself, which says a lot about the effect of repression on individuals, and the strength of our own imaginative and creative powers. Furthermore, it is widely known that the author was prescribed this "resting treatment" by her own psychologist as a way to combat her creative frustration (This treatment was abandoned shortly after Gilman's short story was published). Perhaps, this short story is a comment on her own psychological experience in addition to women's position in society.

After reading this short story myself, I found it really interesting to consider that there have been many stages to psychological treatment throughout history - many treatments that have been strengthened, and many others that have been abandoned over time. Furthermore, Gilman's comment on women and their role in society during the 1890s has a psychological component to it as well. Her story appealed to the emotions of countless individuals at the time, and continues to do so today, helping to change the way we treat each other and how we value each other.

This certainly was no ordinary short story. Through psychology and psychological analysis, Gilman changed American society (arguably, for the better) during the Gilded Age, and helped to bring about a new era of equality and higher moral standards.

Here's a link to a website you may find useful in analyzing the short story, especially if you have read it:


OCD - what's that stand for?

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, according to the textbook, is similar to having a song stuck in our heads. People suffering from OCD's brains contain "persistent ideas, thoughts, or impulses that are unwanted and inappropriate and cause marked distress." These extreme obsessions lead to the compulsive behavior of repeatedly doing something. Possible rituals people with OCD struggle with include repeating touching of objects, performing tasks in specific ways every time, repeated arranging/rearranging objects.

This video displays just on case of OCD. Other people suffering from OCD act differently. Rather than obsession of washing hands and staying away from germs, some might repeatedly touch objects before grabbing/moving them. "One patient", regarded in the textbook, "spent 15-18 hours per day washing his hands, showering, getting dressed, and cleaning money."

However many people suffering from OCD still find they can be successful. Famous celebrities like Cameron Diaz, Billy Bob Thornton, and David Beckham all suffer from this disorder and have found high levels of success.

Creativity or Intelligence

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http://youtu.be/rPH7JwhsfEo Thinking About Intelligence Chapter 9
Please watch the above video. I found this competition between what is deemed intelligence and what is deemed creativity to be fascinating. Several people in the experiment thought they would do quite well because they were so intelligent, but after a bit they found creativity is something different. Where does creativity come from? Is it a part of the genetic material in which intelligence originates? Is creativity more of a personality trait? Right up there with extraversion and openness to experience? Are you not as open if you are super intelligent? I cannot prove or disprove correlation for either of these. I cannot because that is intelligence I do not have. This area is extremely interesting to explore. What do you think?

The Journey of Mental Illnesses

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While reading Chapter 15 on Psychological Disorders, I thought it was interesting to learn the history of mental illnesses and how they were cured, and how mental illnesses are present in many different societies all around the world.

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In high school, we were required to read books like The Crucible, books that center around the witch hunts of the Middle Ages. From reading these books, I have gained general knowledge on the topic about witch hunts. Those who exhibited strange and odd qualities were very suspicious in society then. In The Crucible, though, the characters would claim others who they disliked to be witches so they would be executed. One can only imagine the disorder that was caused back then due to the witch hunts. The textbook notes the demonic model where mental disorders were attributed to evil spirits in the body. Because of this model, it led to a series of executions, exorcisms and other tests, like the "dunking test."

I also found it interesting to learn about the different kinds of "mental disorders" that are supposedly present in different cultures and societies. There was a table present in the textbook with the names of different syndromes in different societies and their descriptions. For example, there is a syndrome called "Windigo" present in Native Americans in Central and Northeastern Canada in which one feels a "morbid state of anxiety with fears of becoming a cannibal." This raises a question I have about mental disorders. How do they come about and how are they formed? I agree with the textbook that there is a strong factor of social contagion, where if one begins to experience symptoms of a condition, others will begin to follow suit. But that can't be said for those who are diagnosed with serious and harmful conditions.

Super Senses

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In high school, there is no doubt that many kids text during class even when they are repeatedly threatened with the fact that their phones will be confiscated. Even so, many kids continue to use their phones without their teachers knowing. How is this possible? Sometimes when a phone vibrates it is audible enough that the teacher would know, and obviously the ringer can't be on... Or can it?

With TeenBuzz, kids know when they have received a text. The teacher is left completely clueless. I remember in high school constantly hearing a high-pitched ringing noise and looking around to see the smug faces of all my peers. Obviously someone was using their phone, but it was hard to pinpoint who. Most importantly, the teacher remained completely oblivious because their ears' hearing ability was significantly lower than ours. Thank goodness for that, so many kids would have wound in up detention.

As we age, our senses decrease. It's almost as though kids have super-hearing senses. There are many cases where humans, indeed, have super senses. For example, this man named Daniel Kish uses his super-hearing skills to make up for his inability to see.

Riding the Judgmental Bus

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I ride the bus to the university everyday. I have really been able to plug into my cognitive miser lately. I think I am just more aware of my thoughts now that I have taken this introductory course of psychology. I am a compassionate person, generally and really have a hard time with judgmental people, but here in the middle of the 3A bus on Como Avenue, I am lurking as a cognitive miser. Look at that persons hair. I don't like that dress. Bet he's a brat. He must be late for everything. You get the picture. All of these lazy thoughts. There is no scientific information to back any of these thoughts that are most assuredly not accurate.Perhaps I'm just making myself feel better by noticing flaws, my thought, about others. Anyway, I don't believe there is any way to monitor these seemingly automatic thoughts. I am trying not to do it. I am trying not to be biased in my thoughts. I bet if I knew what others were thinking about me I might be more careful. To error is human, to forgive, divine. I apologize for my thoughtshttp://icanhascheezburger.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/funny-pictures-only-one-cat-had-a-cheeseburger.jpg What kind of unmonitored thoughts is the kitten on the right having?

Children's surprising ability

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Children have many early abilities that we didn't know exactly. When we studied cognitive development, we realized that children get many abilities earlier than we anticipated. Among these abilities such as object concept, number concept, and person concept, I think I would remember children's preference for reliable and accurate source informants. I was surprised by children's ability that they can distinguish who is reliable informant and even prefer the informant when I studied cognitive development. This ability seems high-developed ability than any others to me.

This resulted from one experiment. First, an experimenter presented children with two speakers who differ in their reliability for 3 or 4 times for familization. One person was consistently naming object accurately, the other was consistently miss-naming the object. Then the experimenter asked explicit judgment question, asking children to indicate the speaker who was not very good at naming things. Finally, the experimenter asked children to request and endorse information from one of the speakers. The result was that even a 2-year-old child preferred more reliable and accurate source informants. According to this kind of experiments, psychologists realized that cognitive development emerges more continuous and earlier than my thought and previous thought of Piaget.

Why Do People Do Stuff?

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One thing I am going to remember from Psychology 1001 is the concept of determinism. I think a large part of that has to do with the fact that I think it's really strange. Determinism is basically the idea that free will doesn't actually exist (p. 595). Determinism holds that our actions are pre-determined by our genetic make-up and life experiences. The work that psychologists do is essentially done off the assumption that determinism is correct. Psychology rests on the idea that someone's actions can be explained either by genetics or their environment. I can't really find anything wrong with that. What else could factor into why someone would do something?

Because before Psychology 1001 I felt pretty strongly that free will did exist, this process of changing my mind is something that I won't forget. Which I guess means that I won't forget about belief perseverance either. The fact that I changed my mind in light of new evidence means that I didn't succumb to belief perseverance. Hopefully, I won't in the future either now that I'm aware of it.

This is funny sign about determinism I found:
choose_determinism_med.jpg

And this is some of what our book has to say about free will and determinism (p. 595):
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social comparison theory and me

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Social comparison theory was derived because humans are highly social species. The theory is that we seek to evaluate our abilities by comparing them with those of others. This behavior helps us to understand ourselves better. Social comparison happens in two different ways. First, upward social comparison is that we compare ourselves with people who do something better than us. Second, downward social comparison is that we compare ourselves with people who do something worse than us. Both can boost our self-concepts.

This really happens in our lives. In my experience, I was always curious to know my rank in my class after every exam when I was in high school. I don't really care my exam score itself and how I feel about it without any comparison, because the only important thing to me at that time was how much I did well compared to others. Also, in fact, I want to know whether my friends and others perform well or not, and how much they perform well. I think this is caused by social comparison theory which is fairly pervasive throughout many people. If I could know how others perform, then I could feel better because I find that I do better than others, and sometimes I could realize that I have to do better and cheer up. Also, by knowing someone who performs similar to me, I could be relieved and feel comfortable because I know there are people who do similar to me.

Korean beauty standard in 19th century

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There are many different beauty standards all over the world. However, nowadays, women's beauty standard is fairly similar in many developed countries across cultures. Thin and tall woman with glamorous body is preferred. Also, women have to have oval face, big eyes with a double eyelid, and big nose. I think the reason that this kind of standard becomes pervasive is an influx of western culture to Asian countries. In Asia, there are not many people who have this western preferred faces naturally, some women tend to do plastic surgery to fulfill the western beauty standard that I mentioned above even though people emphasize individual facial characteristics more than past.

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The title of the picture above is 'me-in-doe' which means a drawing of a beauty. This is a drawn by a famous Korean painter in early of 19th century. This shows traditional Korean's beauty standard long time ago. Woman in the picture has slightly round face (not an oval face) with chubby cheeks. Also she has small eyes without a double eyelid. And it shows a gentle impression on her face. This is really different from current beauty standard of women and western standard which is easily seen from Hollywood stars.

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The factors of Influence formation and development personality can be summed up by two main aspects: genetic and environmental. Two interactions determine the formation and development of the personality. The genetic basis formation and development of personality, such as the formation of temperament, including excitability, strong or weak, active or passive, the reaction speed of the activity level of intensity of reaction. Environmental factors determine the development of personality acquired, such as self-concept, attitudes and values, morality, interpersonal characteristics, habits, etc.. Social and environmental factors involved in children's growth and living environment, such as ethnic, cultural, family and parents, parenting, school, peer, social change and life events and other factors.

We develop our personality and usually formation most of it during childhood. With the children's growth, the social interaction is expanding. In addition to the parents and family members, most exchanges of children may be companions, including kindergarten friends, schoolmates, neighbors' children, the group members. The companion has a multifaceted impact on the formation and development of the personality of the child. So it's important to choose friends since we were a child, because our friends will influence us and shape our personality.

Maybe it's keys...

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One section I thought really interesting was the small section on autism in Chapter 15. One of the main concerns that they brought up is that the rates of autism have increased 657%. How can this be most wonder? Is it really because of the MMR vaccine or is it because we have gotten really good at detecting it? I believe it to be more along the lines of us getting better at recognizing the disorder and also with the inclusion of Asperger's. One interesting point with autism that I have heard in another course is that most children show different brain activity and preference for familiar voices like those of their family. This is not the case with autistic individuals. They show no preference for the voices of their family. I also recently read a novel written through the perspective of an autistic individual which was totally engrossing and fascinating to take a peek into an autistic individual's mind and how their lives work and all the challenges they face with relationships and everyday activities. The name of the book was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.

just smile and nod

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Another topic that I found really fascinating and applicable was the facial feedback hypothesis. We've all probably had that situation where we just because the person we are talking to starts to brush at their face we immediately think we obviously have something disgusting on our face and they are politely trying to tell us. Sure this is occasionally the case but it is a perfect illustration of how much people's reactions and facial expressions influence how we direct a conversation. Some one is smiling and nodding along in our story we are much more likely to continue with enthusiasm than if they appear bored out of their mind and maintain poor eye contact we are more likely to finish the story quickly and leave. This is likely to help me to improve my conversations as I know even more than before just how much of an impact my facial expressions can impact a conversation.


When the topic of Eugenics came up in lecture and Chapter 9, it was new to me. I never knew that this social movement, termed by Sir Francis Galton, took place in the early twentieth century. One particularly trivial evidence of this movement was the popularity of the boy's name Eugene spiking in the 1920s. My mind immediately went to one of my favorite movies (it just is okay) Gattaca, where the lead character's genetically superior brother is named Eugene, in a world where genetics has become the new form of 'classicsm'. Check out this video for a great visual analysis of the movie (red appears in the doctors office because red, like blood, is trusted. The staircase in the apartment resembles a DNA double helix).


Our text states that Eugenics or genetics were brought back into question in the 1960s, and it seems it's making a reappearance in the present. This 2010 Wall Street Journal Article describes an abortion subsidy policy of Obamacare that was being debated as a cost cutting measure for the burden of babies who don't grow into productive adults.

Here's an excerpt that brings the point home:
Getting government into the eugenics business would have disturbing implications for reproductive liberty. What would happen to a woman who received, say, a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome? She would be free (as she is today) to exercise her right to have an abortion. But would she be free to exercise her right not to have an abortion?

Presumably the government could not directly force her to abort, as this would provoke political outrage and run afoul of Roe v. Wade and subsequent rulings. But one can easily imagine softer forms of coercion coming into play. A government-run insurance plan, for instance, could deny or limit coverage for the treatment of certain conditions if diagnosed before fetal viability, on the ground that the taxpayer should not be forced to pay the costs of the woman's choice to carry her child to term. Perhaps the courts would find this an "undue burden" on a woman's right to choose, but that does not strike us as an open-and-shut case.

Lastly, entrepreneur Tim Ferriss recently promoted a start-up he's been an investor in, called Wellness FX, which in the last month opened for public business in San Francisco. They are a private company that sends a medical professional to your home or office to collect blood samples, providing comprehensive diagnostics. One of their offerings is a genetic profile.

"Assessing cardiac genetic markers provides a window into an individual's risks for a variety of healthrelated risks. These tests measure markers such as Prothrombin Mutation, Factor V Leiden, Warfarin Sensitivity, and the type of genes you have for folic acid metabolism. It is important to learn your genetic profile." (wellnessfx.com)

In his book, The Four Hour Body, Ferriss mentions identifying his muscle fiber content and other genetic factors and used this information to improve his fast-muscle twitch training.

I don't find it hard to imagine that in the future this set of data will be another on the list that can be shared between companies. It' somewhat alarming how fast this would have the possibility of progressing, and while it's not new that upper class receive information first, the advantage of leveraging your genetic make-up sets the stage for further distancing of the 20% of our population that grosses 80% of all wealth.

I know it's the end of the semester, but if anyone is still reading I'd love to hear comments of what people think about this issue. What do you think?

The Long Journey to Recovery

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Alcoholics Anonymous, AA, is a group therapy program which has been a dominating force in the area of alcoholic recovery programs since 1935, with one point seven million members world wide. Their twelve-step program to achieve sobriety has given many people the support system they need to overcome their addiction through weekly meetings with other recovering alcoholics. This idea works with the social psychological principal of Group polarization helping people strengthen their resolve to become a sober member of society. With many people of a group talking towards the same goal there is a greater chance that each single group member will become more passionate about it as well.

Though AA is the largest organization world wide to treat alcoholism, no one therapy option is completely perfect. In fact sixty eight percent of people drop out of AA within the first three months. One of the more controversial pieces of the AA's program is the complete banning of alcohol from a person's life. A lesser known but equally effective treatment option is known as the Cognitive Behavioral Coping-Skills Therapy, CBST. This treatment does not ban alcohol from a person's life but changes their drinking behavior. Their core belief is that any type of psychopathology, like alcohol abuse, is a maladaptive learning process, a pattern of thinking that cause emotional problems, and designs techniques through which these behaviors can be unlearned. This therapy is flexible in the way that it is structured so that it focuses more on the individual's life, teaching them to cope with stress and tolerate negativity. Perhaps the more individualized format of the CBST program will help to reduce the percentage of people dropping out of out patient treatment and help them achieve their goal of sobriety.

http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh23-2/078-85.pdf

The first thing about prejudice and stereotype

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I think the first thing about them is that we always create a group to fit in.

Groups tend to do things very similarly even when the individuals in the group are acting alone. It's because they share culture and philosophy and things like that.

When different groups meet together, there are always "representatives" of the group. Even though the person from a group is not quite the definition of the group identity, he or she involuntarily becomes a representative of his or her group. It's because the group simply doesn't know about the other group.

I know my language right now is quite confusing. So I want to share my story.

When I first came to US, there weren't many Asians in my town.
So whatever I did back in the days built a sense of "that's what Koreans normally do" to some of my American friends. They were always asking me "is that normal for koreans?" or something like "that must be a Korean thing," if they were confused or didn't know certain things.

Oppositely, to me, everything my American friends did was quite an "American thing," because I knew nothing about them when I first came. I remember one day, I thought Americans only eat fast food without cooking at home. I mean it's true that fast food is very popular in US, but they obviously cook at home and fast food is not the only thing to eat in US. I was just young and didn't know at that time.

However, as time passed, we started to associate each other in the same group. Slowly, we did not really see ourselves differently for the most of the times because we became similar in many ways. They now understand me as an individual, not as a representative of Korea.

Overall, I think the first reason why prejudice and stereotype are being created is that groups have a group thing, which is quite different from others.

This is just a youtube video, which is talking about the group identity.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ga4Zr7P25o0&feature=related

Correlation vs Causation

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correlation vs causation.jpg

Correlation vs Causation is my weakest part when thinking critically.
I tend to think something happened because of something else.
I know it's really stupid, but I can't help it.
If I did a bad job on a test, I go like "maybe it's because I had a stomachache in the morning. I always do badly when I'm sick" or something like that.

Our textbook defines correlation-causation fallacy as the error of assuming that because one thing is associated with another, it must cause the other. Correlation vs causation is one of the six scientific thinking principles, which are explained well in the textbook.

To really know, I looked up online to find several examples of this fallacy. I found several ones which were very common.

1. Children raised by single parents do less well at school (and later in life).

2. People who own red cars are twice as likely to have an accident as people who own blue cars.

3. People who are poor have worse educations and people who are single are generally poorer.

(I found those examples from the website,cambridge2000.com)

To some extent, maybe it can be true for some of us because we may face the problem personally. But they are certainly not correlated each other for sure.

I think this fallacy is one thing I really need to realize at many times.

ps. This youtube video has an example of correlation vs causation too.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3SfXtbnh74

Don't get fooled, it's called "cold reading"

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Cold reading.
Cold reading is a trick method, which many psychics and fortune tellers normally do. It's just the power of reading your mind off of how you behave, how you feel, and things like that.

Our textbook says cold reading works because we seek meaning in our worlds and often find it even when it's not there. So in many respects we're reading into the cold reading at least as much as the cold reader is reading into us. (pg.134)

I think fortune cookies can be the example of this. It usually works because we seek meaning from the line and often find it even when it's not really there. For instance, one time, I got a fortune cookie saying something like " You're going to meet a special person who will bring you a smile." I remember I kept thinking about it whenever I felt like he or she was the person who will bring me a smile after I got the line for awhile. It's stupid, but once I get it, it's stuck on my mind somehow, especially when I put a meaning to it

So I noticed that if we put a meaning to anything, we kind of fall into trap easily. Cold reading works perfectly for a fortune teller or someone like that when we came for an answer. I think it's because we tend to put a meaning into the word that the fortune teller( or fortune cookie) says and keep trying to figure it out. Then a small thing becomes bigger and eventually we may think it's the one that the fortune teller was talking about.

So don't get fooled by those intuitive people. They are just cold reading off of your behavior or your state of mind or something that they can feel and see.

Orson Welles talked about cold reading on a show.
here is a youtube video for that.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjPsnfysrp8

Il n'y a que deux endroits au monde où l'on puisse vivre heureux: chez soi et à Paris.

'There are only two places in the world where we can live happy: at home, and in Paris." - Earnest Hemingway.

This quotation, by Earnest Hemingway, illustrates the power of idealism over individuals, specifically with regard to the famous "City of Love" - Paris, France. For as long as we can remember, Paris has been a near-perfect city of romance and happiness. And indeed, many people find romance and happiness upon visiting this beautiful city. However, there are also people who arrive in Paris, only to find that the city doesn't actually live up to their lofty dreams.

Unfortunately, for many of us, finding the negative aspects of the City of Love does much more harm than simply tarnishing our 'perfect vacation'. In fact, a recent article from the BBC details a very specific mental disorder called 'Paris Syndrome'. This syndrome usually only affects Japanese visitors to Paris, and occurs when these visitors experience a severe culture shock upon arriving in the city. In these cases, the victims do not find the city as incredible as it is often portrayed in the media; therefore, when they encounter rude tour guides or unkind waiters, they undergo severe culture shock and often must leave the city.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6197921.stm

This mental illness is quite intriguing. I know that we have been discussing mental illness diagnosis in class lately, especially with regard to the "Four Ds" of diagnosis. Someone diagnosed with Paris Syndrome is certainly dysfunctional, and this type of intense cultural shock undoubtedly deviates from normal social activity. I'm sure the effects of this psychological illness are dangerous to the individual as well.

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One thing about Paris Syndrome that I find especially interesting is its connection to the media. The media greatly affects the way people view Paris; more specifically, the fact that this syndrome is found only in Japanese tourists makes me think that the media's portrayal of this city is drastically different from the media portrayals of Paris found in other parts of the world.

How do you guys think the media plays into mental illness diagnosis? Studies have shown that the media dictates 'normal behavior' in society; I feel as though this is quite evident with regard to Paris Syndrome. What do you guys think??

Thanks!

The Message Behind The "Quit Plan" Ad

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smoking ad300.bmp
This is an ad for "Quit Plan" which is a company that serves as a support group to help those quit smoking. This advertiser manipulates emotions by using a graphic image of someone who has developed throat cancer at a young age and is now forced to speak through a speaking device because there is now a hole in his throat. This image makes people feel sad and scared, because no one wants to end up with a disease such as cancer that can lead to death and no one wants to end up with a hole in their throat using a device to help them speak. The advertiser uses this extreme case of the effect of tobacco to help market and make profit off of selling nicotine patches, gum, and other services that help wing those off of smoking.

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