April 6, 2013
After a week away for MUN, I came back and we wrapped up the course. It is difficulty to believe that our mutual exploration of human behaviour is already over and that now we move onto the less than exhilarating period of revision for the exams.
Just a few reminders of some of the key ideas that came out of our Socratic seminars on bullying. Here are some of the big ideas and questions that we came up with.
- Learned helplessness theory helps to explain the effects of bullying. We reminded ourselves of Brady’s research as well.
- Michael Meany’s research on stress and glucocorticoids – and the link that this may have to students who are bullied.
- The problem with using surveys to measure bullying in schools.
- The problems with self-reported data in trying to determine whether teachers see bullying.
- Do women suffer more from bullying because of rumination (Nolen Hoeksema)
- The importance of empathy training – but also the ethical concern about having people role play roles in bullying circles when some of them may actually be playing those roles in real life.
- The role of deindividuation in cyberbullying
- The need for an eclectic approach to anti-bullying campaigns – that is, empathy training and community based programs combined with a strong disciplinary approach – but maybe a complete “zero tolerance” program. This is the argument that we have to avoid dichotomous arguments.
- Finally, we discussed Sherif’s study on the role of superordinate goals in helping to break down the “us vs. them” within a group. Could this be used to help lessen bullying in a school.
A highly satisfactory end to the course.
I leave you with this interesting film to end the unit. Ronan’s Escape won 10 international film awards in 2011. There is not story line, but just a set of arbitrary scenes. Thought you mind find it worth watching – especially those of you film specialists among us.
Ok, let’s crack the books.
March 24, 2013
This week we continued our look at bullying by looking at cross-cultural examples. At the end of this week, you should be able to talk about wan-ta and ijime – and why cultural differences are important to consider when looking at bullying research.
In addition, we started to address the issues of looking at bullying programs. You should be able to apply the following concerns to evaluations of bullying programs:
- Demand characteristics
- Researcher bias
- Disclosure issues/self-reporting
- Measurement – how do we measure a decrease in bullying?
- Cohort effects
- Not a closed system; too many variables to measure effectiveness
- Construct validity
- Credibility of findings is often not established
March 16, 2013
This week we looked at the origins of bullying behaviour.
This week we looked at biological, cognitive and socio-cultural roots of violence. You should be able to explain each of the following concepts:
- The role of testosterone and serotonin on aggressive behaviour.
- Baumeister’s Theory of Threatened Egotism.
- Gerbner’s Cultivation Theory. This is supported by a study by Eron (1987) who found that parents of bullies are often authoritarian and use physical force.
- Zimbardo’s research on deindividuation.
- Research on the role of social norms in determining acceptable levels of violence.
We are now beginning the very end of the coursework. Our last task is a Socratic Seminar next week in which you are going to respond to a bullying case study. You should be able to discuss strategies for resolving violence issues within schools as well as the effects on the community if these issues are not resolved. This is your last assessment that is not a revision assessment. Please make sure that you do good research to impress one last time as we get ready for exams.
March 9, 2013
This week we explored the origins of violence. A great way to wrap up the course!
At the end of this week you should be able to discuss:
- What is the difference between aggression and violence?
- To what extent do we see violent behaviours in the animal kingdom?
- What are the different forms of violence that psychologists study?
- What are some of the biological factors that may be involved in the origins of violent behaviour?
So, we didn’t get really far in our study, but we definitely have the vocabulary now to do the unit. You may want to watch this short clip on dolphins – one of the examples of violent behaviour that we looked at in class.
March 2, 2013
This week we returned to biology for a little while in order to finish our discussions on human relationships by looking at sexuality. Remember, the following studies are useful for Paper I.
- LeVay’s study of the role of the INAH3 nucleus in the hypothalamus. This demonstrates localization of function.
- Gorsky’s research on the role of testosterone on sexual behaviour. This demonstrates the role of hormones on behaviour.
- Bailey & Pillard’s research on the role of genetics on sexuality.
- We also discussed the theory that the more sons, the more likely that the younger one will be gay may have biological roots – as the mother’s own immune system fights against the y chromosome in her womb.
We also looked at the following theories. For each theory, you should be able to discuss why they are problematic.
- Freud’s Oedipal Complex
- Foucalt on social constructs of identity.
- Bem’s application of Social Identity Theory and the eroticization of same sex
We also examined evaluative strategies.
- The reductionist nature of the arguments.
- The difficulty of measuring the “gay” construct. Sexuality is defined differently cross-culturally as well as within cultures. We looked at the fafafine of Samoa as an example.
- The question of researcher bias (LeVay) and the use of ad hominem arguments in order to discredit research.
- It is questionable whether animal research (Gorsky) explains human sexuality.
- Much of the research is correlational in nature.
- The ethics of doing true experiments with pre-natal development.
- Recruitment of samples – especially cross-cultural samples – has historically proven very difficult.