Tag Archives: Raisa Butalid

Nostalgia.

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I am a proud 90’s baby.

I was born during the reign of baggy jeans and overalls.

I was born during the hype of the Power Rangers and F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

I was born during the era of Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, 98o, and my all time favorite, *NSYNC. I am a proud *NSYNC fan (I have all their albums- including their Greatest Hits album. I’m just saying.).

For some reason, the music of the 90’s is what stuck to me the most. Whenever I would hear songs from this decade, I think not of the repetitive melodies and the ridiculously cheesy lines (including “I don’t know what he does to make you cry, but I’ll be there to make you smile” and “When I look into your eyes I know that it’s true. God must’ve spent a little more time on you,”). Instead, I recall that Christmas when we had to dance to Backstreet Boys in front of my whole family (getting P20 in exchange), that time when my cousins and I would sing along whenever Britney Spears’ new single would play on MTV, and that time when I would talk to my parents out loud whenever Eminem’s songs would play in the car, just to mask out all the cuss words in his songs.

I remember my childhood and the good (well, sometimes the bad) experiences linked to these songs. And honestly, nothing gives me the same kind of feeling. Listening to these kinds of music brings back nothing but good vibes.

Interestingly, it looks like several researchers feel the same way about their own generation’s music. Eschrich, S., Munte,T., Altenmuller,E. investigated on the effects of felt emotion and arousal induced by music on memory performance. Emotion was measured by the participants’ ratings of the music’s valence, while arousal was measured based on the participants’ excitation levels upon listening to the music. The researchers were able to carry out their study using two conditions: an “emotion group” was asked to rate the music’s valence, intensity and arousal as it is being played (systematic processing), and a “time-estimation group” was asked to measure the length of the music being played (superficial processing). Upon being segregated randomly between the two conditions and actually undergoing their designated treatments, they were asked to rate the stimuli’s arousal, valence and emotional intensity. Two days after undergoing their corresponding treatments, the participants were tested on their ability to recognize the songs previously presented to them (Eschrich, S., Munte,T., Altenmuller,E., 2008).

Their results show that their hypothesis regarding the effect of felt emotions does hold true. Music rated to be more positive was found to be positively related to their recognition ability (Eschrich, S., Munte,T., Altenmuller,E., 2008). Although they were able to relate the effect of emotions, they were not able to find significant results as to the effect of arousal on memory performance. Thus, their hypothesis that stimuli rated to have high arousal effects on the participants would be remembered better does not hold true (Eschrich, S., Munte,T., Altenmuller,E., 2008).

The researchers predicted that the participants part of the “emotion group” would perform better at memory performance, being that they were subjected to deep and systematic processing, yet their results show that there is no significant different between the performance of the two groups. Such results are surprising, according to the researchers, yet they attribute such findings to their experimental conditions (Eschrich, S., Munte,T., Altenmuller,E., 2008).

The researchers didn’t explicitly mention a particular cause to their findings. Based on the past topics discussed in class, I would say that melody schema would have played a role in the recognition of the tunes. Although it doesn’t directly explain the relationship between emotions and recognition, it would be possible that this would be partly responsible for recognition. The participants could have compared the music to their already stored schema and identified correctly based on this.

I could always rely on music to take me back to happier times. If you ask for my own explanation to their findings, I would simply say: People want and tend to remember things that remind them of instances that make them feel good.

I await for the day that researchers would find a concrete neurological basis to this fact (since according to these researchers, such studies are still taking place). Til then, I will enjoy my 90’s pop songs, with a big smile on my face. 🙂

Eschrich, S., Munte,T., Altenmuller,E. (2008). Unforgettable film music: The role of emotion in episodic long-term memory for music.BMC Neuroscience, 9. Retrieved from http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2202/9/48.

Cleanliness= Next to Godliness?

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http://www.guzer.com/pictures/disturbing-pregnant-gun.jpgI would seriously judge you right now if you don’t think there is something disturbing about this picture at all.

Isn’t it interesting how quickly we can judge people based on just their external appearance and their actions. I am more than certain that there are millions of stories running in your head right now about how this picture came about or what its trying to say. If not, I am pretty sure you’ve already settled on this man being a disgrace and that he may be out of his mind (sticking out a gun that way while having a pregnant woman in his arms).

Being Filipino, with a thriving interdependent and morally grounded culture, it would be normal for us to think that this image would be quite discomforting.

But, would you believe me when I say that this right here would twist your judgment altogether?

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That’s right, soap.

This is no figure of speech! Recent studies have in fact shown that there does exist a relationship between physical cleanliness and moral and spiritual purity in a number of cultures. A study conducted by Schnall,S., Benton, J., and Harvey, S. investigated on the effects of physical cleanliness on moral judgment. They worked around the findings of past studies that disgust would increase the severity of moral judgments and determined whether the reverse effect would take place: if cleanliness (signifying purity) would decrease the severity of moral judgments.

“Disgust” was said to be originally used to pertain to an emotion to protect the body from germs or other filthy objects. Eventually, its definition spread to moral and social domains. People from different cultures would now use this word to pertain to morally and socially disturbing situations. Hence, it is not grammatically incorrect if we say that Hayden Kho’s little video stint was disgusting.

The researchers carried out two experiments to see whether their hypothesis holds true. The first was done to test whether cleanliness induced any specific mood, and if there did exist a relationship between intuitive concepts and moral judgments; the second was done to investigate whether the physical act of cleansing would decrease the severity of moral judgments as compared to not being subjected to the behavior of cleansing.

Results show that emotion did not have an effect in their judgment. Instead, the act of being primed to words that are associated with cleanliness showed a direct effect on lessening the severity of their judgment. Actual washing of the hands (cleansing behavior) did show a significant effect on lessening the severity of moral judgment, compared to not washing your hands.

The researchers attribute this effect to the notion that purity acts as a “basic intuition when judging the moral quality of an action” (Schnall, Benton & Harvey, 2008). This notion of purity may stem from mere priming and acts of cleanliness. People tend to infer moral judgments based on intuitions, even though these intuitions have no relationship whatsoever to the moral topic at hand. Our ability to quickly judge or infer may actually take place outside the scheme of consciousness (Schnall, Benton & Harvey, 2008).

In other words: what you don’t know you know actually affects what you are likely to know (as right or wrong), you know?

How useful are their findings to our everyday life?! Who would’ve thought that the mere act of thinking about things related to cleanliness may already affect what you think is right and wrong? The effects of unconscious thoughts to our perception never seem to fail me.

Having said all that, here’s a little reminder of how you can lessen the severity of your moral judgment (aka what you do when you find out that your crush is actually evil):

 

Schnall,S., Benton, J., and Harvey, S (2008). With a Clean Conscience: Cleanliness Reduces the Severity of Moral Judgments. Psychological Science 19 (12) 1219-1222. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02227.x

 

 

 

 

Hustle for Muscle

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SRSLY. WHAT IS IT WITH GUYS AND THEIR NEED TO BE REALLY BUFF?

I personally have this issue against guys who spend more time in the gym than they do elsewhere not because they want to stay fit and healthy, but because they want to bulk up.

BULK UP. Really? I mean there’s honestly nothing wrong with spending hours and hours in the gym if you want to prevent potential heart diseases or remove those extra lb’s…but to gain muscle over muscle? Dude. Cmon.

Do you really want your torso to be bigger than twice both your legs combined? Do you really want to look like you can literally pop with just a prick of a needle- and not because of the fat but because of all that muscle? Do you really find it appealing to carry all that bulk of muscle mass? DO YOU?

Apparently, men sort of do. And these partially contribute to that mentality:

     

Yes, these magazines are what researchers Giles and Close pertain to as “lad magazines” and apparently, they’re all the rage nowadays. These magazines would include Arena, FHM, Esquire, GQ, etc.

Their study doesn’t exactly answer all my questions as to why they need to bulk up so much, but their findings are quite interesting. Their research revolved around the effect of these magazines on men’s drive for masculinity, taking into consideration their relationship status (single, exclusively dating or casually dating). They hypothesized that such forms of media would increase their drive for masculinity mediated by the “internalization of sociocultural attitude towards appearance” (Close and Giles, 2008).

The researchers based their hypothesis on related literature that I personally find interesting. Giles and Close mentioned in their article (based on related literature) how boys and girls are actually very similar when it comes to body image and its vulnerability to media. Other researchers have actually found that even just a single exposure to muscular and athletic bodies can already lead to body dissatisfaction in men (Close and Giles, 2008)!

Flash this to a guy, and it would already make him feel insecure!

Their methods consisted of measuring the construct through scales. Through these scaling methods, they were able to find out that exposure to “lad magazines” could actually predict their attitude towards drive for muscularity and is fully mediated by internalization, and that exposure to such magazines could also predict their behavioral response to this increase in drive for muscularity and is partially mediated by internalization. Their results also show that this relationship was stronger for non-daters than for those who are casually and non-casually dating, although it was not statistically significant.

This dissatisfaction experienced by men produced whenever exposed to such content is what increases their drive for masculinity- which, in a way, explains why bulking up is so important nowadays. Since these “lad magazines” are so prevalent nowadays, there is a certain “masculine image standard” that it sets for all the males out there- just how skinny is the standard for beauty for girls, as made prevalent by media.

More exposure to this form of media would increase one’s chances of internalizing the fact that these image standards in fact hold true for society, thereby increasing one’s dissatisfaction, causing the long hours running and bench pressing.

But if you guys are already buff enough, QUIT THE HABIT ALREADY. Seriously, looking like this isn’t attractive anymore:

Some girls actually enjoy guys who aren’t as bulky as these kids. I can’t speak for most girls but personally (and after reading this article), I perceive bulkier males to be more insecure. I mean, that’s if their buffed up because of their gym habits, and not because of the fact that they play sports or are health junkies or whatever. I don’t know, maybe its just me but I appreciate guys who are “just fine” aka it doesn’t hurt when I hug them because their still a bit squishy and I can actually put my arms around them.

Just how guys don’t like it when girls become to conscious about what they eat or become too obsessed of becoming as thin as the models on the runway, we girls aren’t big fans of the bulkiness. There’s a fine line between hot and holy crap that’s disgusting.

Mark it in your memory, fellas. Don’t spend your whole life in the gym. Looks fade. You can’t look like Vin Diesel forever.

And there’s more to life than just image.

D.C. Giles & J. Close (2008). Exposure to ‘lad magazines’ and drive for muscularity in dating and non-dating young men. Personality and Individual Differences, 44. Retrieved from http://www.brown.uk.com/eatingdisorders/giles1.pdf

Blame it on the Alcohol?

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If you’re above 18 and reading this blog entry, I’m sure you’ve already had at least one alcoholic drink in your 18+ years of existence.

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No?

Not even one sip?

Boy you need to get a life.

Just kidding.

But seriously though.

Alcohol- in one way or another, has been a significant part of each college student’s life. Admit it, it’s true. Whether you drank too much, too little or not at all during your college days, I’m pretty sure alcohol was around. I would say that the some of the most interesting stories come from those drinking sessions with your friends- when you got too wasted to drive yourself home, when your friend told your other friend that you like him/her, when YOU told your friend that you liked him/her, when your friend started crying over a recent break-up. You know, the usual.

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After years of being in the college scene, I’ve always wondered what factors made kids pick up more bottles and finish them more quickly. Well besides using these factors as tactics to get your friends drunk and dishing out dirt from them once they already are, factors that increase the consumption of alcohol have always fascinated industries such as liquor companies and also college students in general.

I just recently discovered that MUSIC is a major participant in each drinking session. This fact is somehow obvious considering that all beer joints have their stereos on full blast as soon as costumers walk in. A study by Drews et.al. mentions that male beer drinkers consume significantly more alcohol in the presence of background music than without it. In fact, several researchers have dissected different elements of music and studied their effects on alcohol consumptions. These elements would include: tempo, volume and the genre of music.

One element’s effect in the rate of alcohol consumption was particularly studied by Gueguen et. al. back in the year 2008. They investigated on the effect of the volume level of music played in a bar on alcohol consumption. Gueguen and his colleagues carried out this experiment in a naturalistic setting- in two separate bars, each of which were regarded to be well-known, with 40 male participants.

They allotted three Saturday nights for their experiments. To maintain the naturalistic nature of the study, they only considered those costumers who sat in the same table and ordered a glass of draft beer. The participants occupying the table must be two or more. Otherwise, they were not analyzed. Before observation, the experimenters adjusted the volume levels of the music playing at both bars- one bar had their speakers on 72dB and the other at 88dB. Both bars were playing top 40 songs. The observers where then situated at two different bars, recording data.

This research shows that increased volume levels of background music exhibit a significance increase in the speed of alcohol consumption and an increase in alcohol intake. Generally, it was observed that in the bar with louder background music, groups of people ordered more alcoholic drinks and finished them more quickly.

In other words: the louder the background music is while you drink, the higher your chances of getting your friend drunk, thereby increasing your chances of getting stuff out of your friend.

Or you can also put it this way: Run as soon as you pick up the dirt, because the bill will most probably be pretty high. But I’m sure you wouldn’t do this because you a decent person with a good heart who takes care of their drunk friends.

            The researchers note two possible explanations to this phenomenon- the first of which would be what they call the “arousal hypothesis” and the second would be inclined to social psychology. The “arousal hypothesis” states that higher sound levels would lead to higher arousal, which would correspond to faster and drinking and more alcohol consumption. Through the second hypothesis, the researchers were able to focus on the negative effect of the presence of loud music on social interaction, and its effects on alcohol consumption. They mentioned that higher levels of music would decrease social interaction, hence increasing drinking behavior.

Having mentioned the probable explanations, it looks like increasing volume levels of background music in bars or drinking joints has its pros and cons.

            PROS: you friend will most likely get drunk quickly= higher chances of dishing out chismis

            CONS: social interaction will be limited= less chances of your friend actually sharing chismis with you because you both will probably be too busy drinking.

Okay. I guess my intentions for consuming alcohol are quite obvious already. But it’s surprising how powerful and influential environmental factors are to human behavior. Cliché, I know. But even the slightest signals can tickle your senses, and actually compel you to perform behaviors that might even probably be unconscious.

I have had my fair share of visits to several drinking joints but I never actually thought about the relationship of music levels to alcohol consumption. Now it got me thinking… what else can music make people do??

Gueguen, N., et.al. (2008). Sound Level of Environmental Music and Drinking Behavior: A Field Experiment With Beer Drinkers. Research Society on Alcoholism, 32 (10), 1-4. Retrieved from  http://www.icd.go.cr/sitio/downloads/uploads/web_icd_pdf/pub_2/pub_2_65.pdf

Fight the Temptation!

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I’ve considered a number of tips to limit my junk intake, but never have I actually succeeded in doing so. To add to that, these ads and pictures I encounter on a daily basis don’t make it easier.

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To eat or not to eat?

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Must resist...

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...the temptation!

It’s quite obvious that the more accessible a stimulus is, the higher the probability one will attend to it. I guess the same goes for food: The more bags of chips and cookies you see around the house, the more hours you’ll spend at the kitchen gobbling them up, or at the couch, nibbling on them while watching TV. And every time a commercial about the new KFC TOWER BURGER comes on, you want nothing but to grab the phone and dial for a delivery. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

Apparently, Geyskens, Dewitte, Pandelaere and Warlop suggest that this isn’t necessarily true. These food temptations we encounter everyday don’t necessarily increase our food consumption. Yes, exposing ourselves to temptations such as these may actually decrease our food intake!

But then again, not all kinds of food temptations can do so. According to their study, there are two kinds of food temptations: nonactionable and actionable. Nonactionable food temptations would include the ads we see on TV or on the newspapers, while actionable food temptations would include actual food presented right before us (Geyskens, et al, 2008). Their research shows that prior presentation of actionable food temptation DECREASES the activation of an eating goal by INCREASING self-control, eventually leading to reduced consumption.

In layman’s terms: being exposed to actual food before eating can lead to lower food intake…less calories.

On the other hand, prior presentation of nonactionable food temptation INCREASES the activation of an eating goal by DECREASING self-control, leading to increased consumption.

In layman’s terms: Blame KFC’s advertisements for the extra lbs.

In order to come up with these conclusions, the researchers conducted a total of 3 studies to prove 3 supporting hypotheses. The first study revolved around the ability of food temptations (actionable and nonactionable) to activate a food restriction goal. Geyskens and his colleagues hypothesized that as long as one is exposed to food temptations prior to eating, food consumption will increase. The second involved the presence of an “eating opportunity” after being presented with an actionable food temptation. They hypothesized that this temptation will suppress the eating goal by being given the opportunity to control the conflict imposed by it. These two studies supported their third study which focused on the ability of actionable food temptations to suppress the effect of food cues (that lead to increased consumption because of the power of salience), and the effect of nonactionable food temptations to do the opposite (Geyskens, et al, 2008.).

After performing the studies, they found out that all these hold true.

The researchers attribute their findings to the presence of an internal conflict whenever presented with a stimulus concerning food. This conflict would involve the satisfaction of an immediate desire (ex. pleasure of eating the food) vs. damaging a long-term goal (ex. reducing food consumption because of desire to stay healthy) increasing your self-control. The conflict between the two was what the researchers called “temptation” (Geyskens, et al, 2008). Whenever these temptations are presented to us, we call to mind several problem-solving strategies.

Now, we don’t approach the same problems the same way. A concept called “critical level” model indicates that these problem-solving strategies arise only when problems are in need of immediate attention, and crossing this “critical level” would trigger that response (Geyskens, et al, 2008). In our case, being presented with actionable food temptations exceeds the critical level, and therefore stimulates our self-control as a means of “solving the problem”- the conflict imposed, or what they would call the “temptation”.

Although, this is not applicable to nonactionable food temptations essentially because no conflict is imposed by the presentation of these. Meaning, since you can’t eat it readily, your mind easily settles on “There’s nothing to eat,”. If actual food is right in front of you, you’d think, “Yeah, I can eat that. But what about the extra calories? The love handles? The flabby arms? The chubby cheeks? Guess not.” You are presented with a conflict, making you think twice about subsequently eating food.

Bottom line is: those posters and TV ads are at fault. Don’t blame KFC for their fattening, high-calorie and oily food that you just can’t get enough of- I mean it’s not their fault their stuff are so ridiculously addictive. Blame their marketing giants, coz they know how to get you started on the grub. The same goes for the junk-once you pop, you just might not stop.


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Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sneak those in there.

ENJOY YOUR MEAL 🙂

Geyskens, K., et al. (2008). Tempt Me Just A Little Bit More: The Effect of Prior Food Temptation Actionability on Goal Activation and Consumption. Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 35 (no issue number), p.600-610.