Research Blog Assignment # 5.

 Gupta-Carlson, Himanee. “Planet B-Girl: Community Building and Feminism in Hip-Hop.” New Political Science 32.4 (2010): 515-29.EBSCO Host. Web. 17 Oct. 2014.

Himanee Gupta-Carlson, in this descriptive journal of “Planet B-Girl: Community Building and Feminism in Hip-Hop” shares how ‘Planet-B Girl’ created by women, allows sustainability as independent artists and uses hip-hop to enact people who are not recognized in political processes to agitate for change.  She also expresses how the women who become more aware of their marginalization within the genre, utilize the environment by generating audience responses to call attention to the gendering of hip-hop spaces.

Ranging from the Bronx, NY in the 1970’s to a garage in Seattle, WA in 2013, a core of people believe in the practice and perpetuation of hip-hop will continue to generate political change. To strive for this means- the usage of dialogue to convey messages and initiate change. “Because women hear this history, they become aware that despite the race and class disparities that hip-hop addresses, the story is sexist. But since they support the mission of social justice, they are drawn to hip-hop even as they see their role as limited. This awareness opens up spaces within locally defined hip-hop communities for feminists (male and female) to connect with each other and create dialogues that form shared experiences. ” (Gupta-Carlson).

Specifically, the women that Gupta-Carlson came into contact with, the key to using their personal stories is to project their experiences as a b-girl…to connect with the experiences of other b-girls, women, people who have experienced the same frustration/oppression in their lives, with the intention to channel those emotions into work for a positive-growth/change. Thus means- come about in spoken-word poetry, dance, music and visual art. “Women, not only claim space within “planet hip-hop” but also call attention to the gendering practices that have masked their contributions to the creation and perpetuation of that universe. Women in hip-hop, identify as b-girls, as a way of defining themselves as women who are strong and not easily intimidated.” (Gupta-Carlson) The over-all ‘Planet B-Girl’, in order to stand on one’s two-feet, summons dedication, affiliation and sacrifice.


Research Blog Assignment # 4.

Stallen Mirre, Carsten K.W. De Dreu, Shaul Shalv, Ale Smidts, Alan G. Sanfey. “The Herding Hormone: Oxytocin Stimulates In-Group Conformity.Psychological Science 23.11 (2012): 1288-1292. Sage Journals. Web. 17 Oct. 2014.

The compilation of evidence in “The Herding Hormone:Oxytocin Stimulates In-Group Conformity” between the five authors: Mirre, De Dreu, Shalv, Smidts and Sanfey reflect that”…the administration of oxytocin (a nueropeptide implicated in social behavior) can influence subjective preferences, and they support the view that oxytocin’s effects on social behavior are context dependent.”  (Mirre, De Dreu ,Shalv, Smidts, Sanfey) The results showed in-group and out-group ratings were incongruent; participants given oxytocin conformed to in-group but not of out-group ratings. The importance to keep in mind is individual and situation factors critically moderate the effects of oxytocin on prosocial behavior.

The tests’ conducted, measures the possibility…by assessing whether “oxytocin stimulates conformity and induces in-group conformity in particular.”(Mirre, De Dreu ,Shalv, Smidts, Sanfey) This design was approved by the University of Amsterdam’s ethics committee and the guidelines of the American Psychological Association. “74 males were recruited for a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled between-subjects design. There was administration of oxytocin to 37 participants and a placebo to the other 37 participants. To avoid pharmacological effects other than those caused by oxytocin, we used a placebo that contained all active ingredients except for the neuropeptide. Participants were told that they would be asked to rate a series of symbols, using a scale ranging from 1 (not attractive at all) to 11 (very attractive).” (Mirre, De Dreu ,Shalv, Smidts, Sanfey) While viewing the symbols, participants also saw the ratings for each symbol from the members of their own team as well as from the members of the other team.  “On some trials, no ratings were provided; on other trials, either one or two ratings were given so we could examine whether the number of ratings affected the strength of the conformity bias.” (Mirre, De Dreu ,Shalv, Smidts, Sanfey)

The results found that participants gave induced ratings when in-group and out-group members liked the symbol and lower ratings when in-group and out-group members disliked the symbol. This confirms the tendency to conform to other’s judgements. So, oxytocin’s effects on the in-group shows related preference while those given the placebo, did not.  Conclusively, oxytocin stimulates conformity by enhancing in-group identification processes and also, results in blatant effects on human/social judgment.

Key Quotes:

-“In-group conformity is stronger when individuals engage in face-to-face interactions and when responses are made public and not in minimal group settings with anonymous private reporting.”

-“People given a placebo are more cooperative toward in-group members than toward out-group members and are less willing to sacrifice in-group than out-group members when presented with hypothetical moral-choice dilemmas.”


Research Blog Assignment # 3.

Scheff, Thomas J. “Shame and Conformity: The Deference-Emotion System”. American Sociological Review, Vol. 53, No. 3 (Jun., 1988), pp. 395-406. JSTOR. Web. 7 Oct. 2014

In the published work, “Shame and Conformity: The Deference-Emotion System” compiled by Thomas J. Scheff, the main idea revolves around the force of social influence- it’s experienced by individuals as exterior and constraining. Also, that conformity is encouraged by a system of  sanctions-so that when we conform, we expect reward and when we do not conform, we are punished. The remainder of the journal is broken down into sections: Shame and Conformity, The Sources of Shame and The Cooley-Scheff Conjecture.

Shame and Conformity: With the exposure to Goffman’s treatment of interaction ritual, he exclaims that “the emotions of embarrassment or anticipation of embarrassment plays a prominent role in every social encounter.” (Scheff, 396) Also, the type of deference/ emotions of pride and shame create a subtle and pervasive system of social sanctions.  Though, Goffman continues to explain that the deference-emotion system is invisible and instantaneous to each human being. The deference-emotion system occurs between and within human beings interacting.  When rejection is present on one or both sides, this spurs a chain-reaction of shame and anger between those persons interacting.  Goffman then summarizes the section ” One becomes ashamed that the other  is ashamed, who in turn becomes ashamed,  which increases the first person’s shame, and  so on-an interpersonal feeling trap. In H.B. Lewis’s analysis, one becomes ashamed that one is ashamed, an inner loop which feeds on itself-an intrapersonal trap. ” (Scheff, 396)

The Sources of Shame: This section provides oversight and a hybrid of threads of ideas, regarding shame. Darwin’s idea of blushing and it’s relation to shame from his 1872 (The Expressions of Emotions in Men and Animals) discusses that “blushing  may be caused by perceptions of other people’s evaluation of the self, whether positive or negative.” (Scheff, 398) William MacDougall’s insight about the crucial emotion of shame points to the emotion itself as possibly the most important of emotions though in adults is considerably more elaborate and complex.

The Cooley-Scheff Conjecture: This section provides follow-up of MacDougall’s insight, specifically pertaining to Cooley’s consideration that society rests on a foundation of pride and shame. The social nature of the self and his outlook on it is summarized into two propositions: that social monitoring of self is virtually continuous, even in solitude and social monitoring always has an evaluative component, and gives rise, therefore, to either pride or shame.

Key Quotes: 

“…when there is a real and/or imagined rejection on one or both sides (withdrawal, criticism, insult, defeat, etc.) the deference-emotion system may show a malign form, a chain reaction of shame and anger between and within the interactants.”

“…in the sequence of honor, insult and revenge-may decide fate not only of individuals but of nations, civilizations, of all life on earth.”

“As is the case with other feelings, we do not
think much of it (that is, of social self-feeling)
so long as it is moderately and regularly
gratified. Many people of balanced mind and
congenial activity scarcely know that they care
what others think of them, and will deny,
perhaps with indignation, that such care is an
important factor in what they are and do. But
this is illusion. If failure or disgrace arrives, if
one suddenly finds that the faces of men show
coldness or contempt instead of the kindliness
and deference that he is used to, he will perceive
from the shock, the fear, the sense of being
outcast and helpless, that he was living in the
minds of others without knowing it, just as we
daily walk the solid ground without thinking
how it bears us up. (p. 208) COOLEY”

Research Blog Assignment #2.

Bond, Rod, and Peter B. Smith. “Culture and Conformity: A Meta-Analysis of Studies Using Asch’s (1952b, 1956) Line Judgment Task,.” Ed. Robert J. Steinberg. Psychological Bulletin 119.1 (1996): 111-37.ProQuest. Web. 7 Oct. 2014.

McLeod, Saul A. “Asch Experiment.” Simply Psychology. N.p., 2008. Web. 07 Oct. 2014. <>.

In the psychological journal, copyright by the American Psychological Association- Culture and Conformity: A Meta-Analysis of Studies Using Asch’s (1952b, 1956) Line Judgment Task, by Rod Bond and Peter B. Smith determines that countries labeled as collectivist, show higher levels of conformity than individualistic countries and conformity research must focus more on the cultural variables that are involved in social influence. The concentrated focus of the sections read deal with Comparisons Across Cultures, Comparisons Within a Culture at Different Periods in Its History and Individual-Collectivism.

First and foremost, to understand the underpinnings of this journal, the explanation of Asch’s Line Judgement Task is as follows (factors increasing conformity). Size of Group, Difficulty of Task and Status of Majority Group are all increasing factors of conformity-according to Asch (1952,1956). “Conformity tends to increase as the size of the group increases”, when uncertainty is present-we look to others for confirmation…with the more severity of the task leads to greater the conformity and the higher status of the group (boss or managerial positions-more influence) people will conform their opinions more. (McLeod, Asch Experiment, 2008)

With the evidence provided, the attention now turns to Bond and Smith’s compilation. Comparisons Across Culture’s section projects that high food-accumulating societies (pastoral/agricultural societies example: Temne of Sierra Leone) rendered around obedience and responsibility where as low food-accumulating societies ( hunting and fishing peoples example: Eskimo of Baffin Island/Canada) rendered around independence and individual achievement. When comparing these societies to one’s of greater exposure to Western Society, “exposure to Western values leads to a weakening of traditional norms and to less cross-cultural variation in conformity.” (Bond & Smith, 112)

Comparisons Within a Culture at Different Periods in Its History explains that advocating for individuality and questioning of status quo in universities in American society show greater results in the 1980s versus the 1950s. In 1988, conformity had declined again, reflecting the increase in protest activities. Though, vast importance weighs on the relation of conformity levels to measures of cultural values, which in turn will mediate responses to group pressure. (Bond & Smith, 112)

Individual-Collectivism gives the over-view that in individualist cultures, majority of social behavior is largely determined by personal goals/the self is conceived as separate from society and in collectivist cultures, social behavior is determined by goals shared with a collective of persons and emotional dependence on organizations and institutions. (Bond & Smith, 114)


-“He felt that conformity can “pollute” the social process and that it is important for a society to foster values of independence in its citizens.”

-“Iscoe, Williams, and Harvey (1964) found less conformity among Black women compared with White women.”

– “exposure to Western values leads to a weakening of traditional norms and to less cross-cultural variation in conformity.”

Source List.

–> Out Da Box TV-Erykah Badu Interview (7:39-11:07) August 25, 2011–Did you ever consider, that people might overlook the message you intended, due to the nudity in Window Seat?

—>”Collaboration is the hottest buzzword in buiz. today…too bad it doesn’t work.David H. Freedman. September 1st, 2006. INC Magazine. Volume 28. Issue 9. Page 61-62.

—>“Listening to Popular Music” David Reisman. American Quarterly. Volume 2. Number 4. 1950. Published: John Hopkins University Press.

—> “Classification as Culture: Types and Trajectories of Music Genres” Jennifer C. Lena. Richard A. Peterson. Vanderbilt University. American Sociological Review 2008 73: 697.

—>“The impact of guilt and type of compliance-gaining message on compliance.” Boster FJ, Mitchell MM, Lapinski MK, Cooper H, Orrego VO, Rienke R. 1999. Commun. Monogr. 66:168–77.

—> “Studies of independence and conformity: a minority of one against a unanimous majority.” Asch SE. 1956. Psychol. Monogr.70:(9) Whole No. 416.




Summary Rubric: revamped.

__/3 First sentence(s) contains title, author, and the main claim of the piece.

-Contains author(s) and the introduction to the multiple studies which were conducted. Though this “where the researchers obtained behavioral measures of preferences and neurobiological responses to the songs.”…is not the claim of the piece, but more so a blatant introduction of what is discussed.

__/1 The main claim listed seems to be supported by the rest of the summary

-“The authors, scientists and contributors found that individuals were found to adjust their ratings to make them consistent with the population”…the main claim is supported by the deliverance of the scientific measurements following the main claim (anterior insula). But I believe could have been summarized more efficiently. It was just hard to elaborate without adding other summarizations of other tests found within the study.

__/2 Important reasons or subclaims are listed clearly, without vague language

-Besides the paragraph…”The article then leaves readers with two implications of the nuerobiological study of conformity. The first implication, addresses the act of mimicking others where as the second implication, addresses the anxiety mentioned but, in correlation to an external study-involving economists and measuring welfare calculations. Along with these implications, comes the future anticipation of other avenues this research topic could come into contact with-specifically with economics.”… I believe the language is quite spot on. With this paragraph, I was trying to paraphrase the idea of studies of conformity through two implications. My summary did not really make sense and it implies that I need to read over that section again, in order to make a more sensible summary.

__/1 No fluff or needless words that do not add meaning

__/1 No personal reaction—stay objective

-The last paragraph, was definitely a personal reaction but a means to help me filter the density of the study I was summarizing. I believe, the personal reaction is relevant and reflecting that, this path, of reading more science-based sources, could reveal different angles to this topic that would benefit my argument.

__/1 Limit any quotes to essential language or ideas. Use your own words wherever possible

-I used quotes, when explaining the specific details about the study, the logistics and terminology, which obviously-I am using from the source. I believe it assisted with the essential language-to help the reader understand and to allow for my summary to be precise with its findings.

__/1 Correctly cited, in and out of text

-Though, I cited the correct page number, I should have double-checked if those cited sentences/words needed to be given an approximate citation but the sources used within this study. I should have added the author’s last name in the citing.

Research Blog Assignment #1.

Berns, Gregory S., C. Monica Capra, Sara Moore, and Charles Noussair. “Neural Mechanisms of the Influence of Popularity on Adolescent Ratings of Music.” NeuroImage 49.3 (2010): 2687-696. Science Direct. Web. 29 Sept. 2014. <>.

The source above, an academic article written by four Emory University colleagues, from the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Economics Department, focuses on the study population of 12-17.9 year olds in regards to listening to 15-s clips of songs from, where the researchers obtained behavioral measures of preferences and neurobiological responses to the songs. This data was gathered side-by-side with the over-all popularity of the song revealed; song popularity portrayed significant effects on the participants ratings of the songs. This group was focused on, due to the high-responsiveness to social influence…14 of the participants were female, 13 male: 15 caucasian, 1 hispanic, 8 african-american, 3 other.  “Following the clip, the participant rated the song for both familiarity and likability on a 5-star scale. The participant then heard the clip a second time, after which he/she rated the song again. There were a total of 60 trials. On 2/3 of the trials the popularity of the song was displayed during the second listen. On 1/3 of the trials, the popularity was not shown (blocked).” (p. 2)

The authors, scientists and contributors found that individuals were found to adjust their ratings to make them consistent with the population. Activation in the L & R anterior insula (“insula activation tends to be associated with a state of physiological arousal”) (p.2)  is found when the individual is informed about the popular opinion and thus is significantly connected with his/her tendency to change ones ratings in response to the popular information. This, conclusively speaking, sparks anxiety generated by the mismatch of one’s preferences versus the preferences of others. And this mismatch is found behind the conformity in music taste amongst teenagers. “It motivates the individual to switch their choices in the direction of the consensus” (p.2). The younger the age of the participants, the likelihood of complacency with answers was found.

The claim is rendered with depth from the results from the functional magnetic resonance imaging. The fMRI results, included the  monitoring of “bilateral superior and middletemporal gyri (auditory cortex), occipital cortex (visual cortex), superior parietal cortex (multimodal sensory integration regions), thalamus, and basal ganglia (caudate nucleus and putamen).” (p.5) The results from focusing on these specific regions suggests that feelings of anxiety accompanied the act of conforming.

The article then leaves readers with two implications of the nuerobiological study of conformity. The first implication, addresses the act of mimicking others where as the second implication, addresses the anxiety mentioned but, in correlation to an external study-involving economists and measuring welfare calculations. Along with these implications, comes the future anticipation of other avenues this research topic could come into contact with-specifically with economics.

The vast importance and choice of utilizing this source, is due to the scientific-data filled presentation this source presents. It is a segway and opening for the remainder of my research on this topic. It will allow me to determine to what extent will I base my evidence off of scientific findings. This source has challenged my idea of where I believe this topic is heading-honing in more on conformity with cohorts due to physiological effects.


Why I teach: Do you see this face?

bonnieboazTeaching brings me moments of great joy.

Maybe all work that is satisfying offers this gift.  I wouldn’t know, because teaching is the only work I’ve ever done that feels right.

It’s not that I haven’t done other work: a short stint as a copy editor, a short stint as grant researcher,  but admittedly, I’ve never done other professional work.  I’ve never had to manage people (if you don’t include classroom management); I’ve never worn scrubs in a hospital or been a part of a marketing team — all of which I may have liked very much.  But the way life works, at least for many of us, is that we choose a profession at a pretty young age, and we follow the path of that profession straight to where it leads us.

Of course there are detours, even disasters sometimes, along the way.  In my case, the detours were three babies I chose to have, but then somehow unwittingly lost my heart to.  Teaching, good teaching, requires a lot of heart.   And I found there just wasn’t enough space in my heart for passionate teaching and passionate child-rearing all at the same time.  So I detoured for a decade.  I blame it on my susceptibility to devotion.

Before this detour I had the privilege of teaching in the Writing Program as a Collateral Instructor at Syracuse University.  I had a full time job with benefits, a secure, renewable five year contract, and an opportunity to earn raises based on merit.  I loved my work there, my students and my colleagues.  For years,  dead in the middle of my decade-long detour, I believed that I’d never find a home like the Syracuse University Writing Program.

But a man named Joe Morolla envisioned University College at Virginia Commonwealth University, and he hired me and about 40 other instructors who were passionate about teaching, and invited us to design and teach a two-sequence first year course that has been enormously successful.   And years later, Gardner Campbell became the Vice Provost for Learning Innovation and Student Success at VCU, and he invited me to teach in his visionary cMooc pilot course this past summer,   And here I am, immersed and wildly devoted to a profession I have always loved.

Why do I teach?  This profession supports and even celebrates my curiosity;  it encourages me to constantly research and learn; it allows me to creatively collaborate with people I genuinely like; it nags at me to try new things in the classroom; it demands that I be my best self every day.

Maybe these are the offerings of other professions, too. Or maybe my bounty is about the best anyone can ask for.






Jumping onboard

I’m hoping to join the conversation as much as possible, given that I’m teaching 4 courses this semester.

This summer I had the opportunity to teach a cMOOC at Virginia Commonwealth University spearheaded by Gardner Campbell, and I look forward to his session in the Connected Courses line-up!

I am excited to continue a conversation about connected learning that I began last spring, and this time with a cast of learners from all over the country, who I suspect will teach me more than I can imagine!

I love school.



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