Apr 17

Promoting Positivity

In today’s society our communities have become so superficial. We have been blinded by things that only give instant gratification, yet can be very harmful to us. Marketing advertisers make merchandise, ideas, lifestyles adjustments look so desirable, yet we fail to acknowledge the actual harm that can potentially be done.

When you watch television you see many commercials and advertisements of company’s promoting services or products that they wish to sell. Sometimes I often see commercials marketing a service or product that is not good for consumers. It is important to create a community of healthy people that will thrive and practice good habits.

Smoking is one habit that can be very detrimental to one’s health. However, I feel that the media has been doing a good job at showing how harmful smoking can be. I have come across several commercials that have shown reenactments of what smoking can potentially do to your body and how much people are willing to sacrifice in order to continue their smoking habit. I have never had the desire to smoke, however, after watching those commercials I can honestly say I really would not want to risk engaging in that type of activity.

Overall, when I think about other advertisements and commercials it makes me feel good to see that advertisers are stressing the severity of cigarettes in a way that is very convincing. They use factual statistics that show how it has affected people over a period of time and they also place a gruesome reference in people’s minds that will make you not want to try smoking cigarettes.

Apr 17

The Climate Change: Responsibility that We All Should Assume

We have a such a high quality of life in the United States thanks to the marvelous inventions that are directly related to our energy usage. Computers, washers and dryers, microwave ovens, refrigerators, healing and cooling system, cell phones, televisions, automobiles, and devices that are easily found in our homes indeed enrich our lives. However, do you know that every second we enjoy the comfort of our lives, we contribute to the climate change? Yes, we are culprits of the climate change and we do not seem to care much about it. We often diffuse our responsibilities by thinking “Corporate America is the biggest culprit. The amount of energy I consume for personal use is a tip of iceberg.” It also is a true statement on an individual level, but when we combine amount of consumption of all individuals, we are not so innocent unfortunately.

According to United States Environmental Protection Agency, electricity generation and transportation account for 67% of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States (Greenhouse Gas, n.d.). Carbon dioxide, one of greenhouse gases that cause the climate change, is emitted from combusting fossil fuels to generate electricity, biomass, and gasoline or diesel. It appears that it is inevitable not to use the energy to function our daily routines such as from taking a shower in the morning to take this course online. While policy makers, researchers who are associated with coal or oil industries, and environmental activists are diligently working to reduce the greenhouse gases and pollutions (Lesson 13: Social Change/Participatory, n.d.), we, as members of communities, have responsibilities to retard the process of the climate change.

First and foremost, raising awareness of the impacts and causes of the climate change should be implemented. According to Segerberg and Bennett, social media sites such as Twitter are found to be effective channels of communication to a large number of diverse people (Segerberg & Bennet, 2011). The impacts and causes of the climate change can be delivered through social media sites to educate diverse groups of people which raise awareness that the issue is directly related to us. Second, solutions of the issue which we can implement within our power should be disseminated in ways to emphasize benefits of the implementation and rewards that conduce toward positive feelings to enhance people’s intrinsic motivation such as how to reduce energy bill since less energy used produces both reduced greenhouse gases and reduced energy bill (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Environment Protection Agency (EPA) provides a number of tips to reduce the energy use as well as the energy bill on their website that can be easily done at home such as types of lightbulb to use and recycle (What You Can Do, n.d.) Lastly, marketing strategy to promote such behaviors via all channels of media can reinforce the behaviors and further initiate the change in norms.

We do not have a magic wand to fix the brewing issue to reduce the threats of the climate change, but should not be bystanders that wait until the Corporate America and government to fix the issues. Our collective efforts can make changes in the situation and societal norms that can be sustained for generations to come.





Lesson 13: Social Change/Participatory Research (n.d.) Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1834710/modules/items/21736701

Overview of Greenhouse Gases. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/overview-greenhouse-gases

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist,55(1), 68-78. doi:10.1037/0003-066x.55.1.68

Segerberg, A., & Bennett, W. L. (2011). Social Media and the Organization of Collective Action: Using Twitter to Explore the Ecologies of Two Climate Change Protests. The Communication Review,14(3), 197-215. doi:10.1080/10714421.2011.597250

What You Can Do at Home (n.d.). Retreived from https://www.epa.gov/climatechange/what-you-can-do-home


Apr 17

Saving the world we have, creating the world we want- Social Activist Research

There are so many areas in need of attention and action in our world. This can be made possible through active participation and social altering programs that change our environment both physically and psychologically through awareness and the like.  “Social change research comes in several different forms, but the general idea is that the researcher(s) are actively changing something in a social situation that they are a part of” (PSU World Campus, 2017). In a time when the world is meeting innovation and coming to the actualization and realization of catastrophic proportions of environmental damages and challenges we must intervene while conducting research. For this reason, there have been numerous organizations with wonderful outlooks actively participating in our world and societies to create change. Change maybe in the form of saving one species of an animal or its environment, lobbying for political support and protection, and research to discover new sustainable ways to create energy, food, and all substantial needs that our growing population commands.

This positive outlook is greatly shared by Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International. He is refreshing in that he believes while our environmental needs are at an all time importance and high so is our capabilities through science. As he says, “science has never been so clear” (World Wildlife Fund, 2017).

This organization should be considered an Activist Research group. This type of social change research goes beyond participatory and is vested in the outcome in which it is researching and trying to make changes in (PSU World Campus, 2017). WWF’s website boasts, “WWF’s unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature” (World Wildlife Fund, 2017). Through the use of social media and utilization of experts great strides are being made to conserve, save, and create new strategies that help the environment and its creatures it contains. These experts range from biologists, scientists, and policy makers. They go on to invite everyone to join in with spreading awareness and taking an active “vested” role from an entry level.

They reach their goals through utilization of marketing partners, humanitarian partners, and corporate partnerships. Part of their core mission is best described in their mission statement and information area on their site. It says, “our new strategy puts people at the center and organizes our work around six key areas: forests, marine, freshwater, wildlife, food and climate. By linking these six areas in an integrated approach, we can better leverage our unique assets and direct all our resources to protecting vulnerable places, species and communities worldwide” (World Wildlife Fund, 2017). So how do they do this? Well one way is through research and evaluation leading to intervention. The research and evaluation could be assessing the needs of a small rural town getting fresh water in a low income nation with substandard water supply. They come up with creative solutions through funding of donations and grants from governments and corporations (like Coca Cola). In this example they impact the area by creating not just a fresh water supply but a way to water and grow crops which helps with food, erosion, and plants that help with the climate. This is just one example from this foundation. They look to utilize great minds with great hearts, to achieve great things. No matter your location geographically or capabilities personally you can always make an impact through this organization. It can be by donating money, your time, or even just the simple act of spreading awareness. I invite you to visit their website at https://www.worldwildlife.org/. You will recognize their lovable panda mascot and can become a part of the solution for our growing needs.


Pennsylvania State University, 2017. PSYCH 424 Lesson 13: Social Change/Participatory Research. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1834710/modules/items/21736701.

World Wildlife Fund. (2017). World Wildlife Fund About Us. Retrieved April 16, 2017, from https://www.worldwildlife.org/about

Apr 17

The Case for Participatory Action Research By: Kristen Jezek

The Case for Participatory Action Research
By: Kristen Jezek

If you are familiar with research studies or interventions, you understand that there is no such thing as a “perfect” study. While you can try your best to account for the diversity of individuals, it is nearly impossible to include an entire population. Even if an entire population is included, you will most likely acquire the baseline or average of most of those samples, not the individual characteristics or results from individual groups, which may display patterns of their own. Occasionally, interventions and community programs, especially at the Federal level, are implemented with an entire population in mind. However, lasting change depends more on what makes an individual community tick. In America’s “Melting Pot”, it is more likely that individual groups and cultures will have their own systems of operations. When individual cultures thrive better on specific interventions catered to them personally, participatory/action research is a much better fit.
Participatory research (sometimes referred to as “action research”), is a type of research with which individuals involved in the community are attempting to study, learn, or observe specific aspects of the community (Nelson). Most of the time, in participatory research, the researcher is attempting to gain information for the intended purpose of making a positive social change in that community. Social Change Research is the research (participatory research included) that is aimed at “actively changing something” in the community or culture they are a part of (Nelson).
When it comes to specific groups of individuals, blanket policy from a federal government may not be addressing specific issues in the community (such as gun violence, suicide, etc.) and the community is invested in seeing a change. When possible, the implementation of participatory research between the researchers, community members, and concerned individuals is the best bet for seeing real lasting change in the community. While a government program may address drug use in a community by putting up banners or posters depicting young kids saying no to drugs, this type of strategy may have nothing to do with why children are involved in drugs in other communities. If a specific community struggles with homelessness and hunger, they may be using drugs as a method to get food or shelter for themselves. “Just Say No” is not an effective strategy when a person is facing starvation or cold.
A better strategy to implement when attempting to combat drug use in a neighborhood where drugs are currency, may be to engage the individuals first to understand why they are using and promoting drug use. With understanding of what specifically is leading the charge for drugs by including social change research, participants are more likely to come up with a more effective strategy against the drug use. Because participants in the community understand their market better and are involved when the need to follow up arises, the interventions and programs can be altered quickly and effectively. In a government “blanket” program addressing all cultures, some cultures may respond well and others not so well, which is something a government may not know for years, if ever.
Because individuals are actively involved and invested in participatory research for social change, policies implemented can be more specific and personal to the needs of the community. Furthermore, the policies, once enacted, are much more readily followed-up on and altered for effectiveness when the individuals who are part of the community are also part of the research and implementation processes. Overall, community involvement for desired social change is the most effective strategy for personal, specific, and long-lasting positive change in any community.


Nelson, A. (2017). Lesson 13. Social Change/Participatory Research. Presented on the PSYCH 424 Course Content Site Lecture at The Pennsylvania State University.

Apr 17

Do Insecure Children Become Anxious Adults?

Researcher John Bowlby (1969/1982, as cited in Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012) and Mary Ainsworth (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978, as cited in Schneider et al., 2012) conducted extensive research and formulated three different attachment styles that are typically observed in infants:

Secure: Infants who cried in their mother’s absence were soothed upon her return.

Insecure, anxious/ambivalent: Infants who were upset by their mother’s absence would cling to her upon her return.

Insecure, avoidant: Infants who were upset by their mother’s absence ignored her upon her return.

As students of psychology, we are aware that an abundance of psychological research supports the notion that childhood experiences shape adult behavior.  It stands to reason that these attachment styles would continue in some form into adulthood.  Bartholomew (1990, as cited in Schneider et al., 2012) identified four attachment styles that are often observed in adults:

Secure: Individual is trusting and willing to become close with another person (closely related to Bowlby’s secure attachment).

Preoccupied: For this individual, closeness is a necessity and abandonment is a major concern (closely related to insecure, anxious/ambivalent).

Fearful: Individuals fears rejection and is often mistrustful (closely related to insecure, anxious/ambivalent).

Dismissing: Individual is independent and not necessarily interested in intimacy (closely related to insecure, avoidant).


Clearly there are some similarities between Bowlby (1969/1982, as cited in Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012) and Ainsworth’s (Ainsworth et al., 1978, as cited in Schneider et al., 2012) infant attachment styles and Bartholomew’s (1990, as cited in Schneider et al., 2012 ) adult attachment styles.  However, could a person’s attachment style reveal even more about the individual?

Weems, Berman, Silverman, and Rodriguez (2002) observed a connection between attachment style and anxiety sensitivity in adolescents and young adults.  The study involved high school and college students who completed several self-report measures with high validity that examined their feelings about close relationships and anxiety symptoms.  Previous research by Silverman and Weems (1999, as cited in Weems et al., 2002) suggested that insecurely attached people “could be predisposed to misinterpret benign symptoms of anxiety as catastrophic.”  Weems and colleagues’ (2002) findings suggest that individuals who are classified as fearful or preoccupied did indeed experience higher levels of anxiety.  They also found that high school students and ethnic minorities were less likely to be securely attached, which suggests that perhaps age and cultural influence have an effect on attachment style.

Watt, McWilliams, and Campbell (2005) replicated the study by Weems and colleagues (2002) with a broader definition of relationships that included close relationships as opposed to just romantic involvement.  Although Watt and colleagues (2005) had less culturally diverse participants and the were considerably older on average, their findings support many of those by Weems et al. (2002).  Watt et al.’s (2005) inclusion of romantic relationships and close relationships yielded results that suggest that the manifestation of anxiety could differ depending on the type of relationship.  Negative views of romantic relationships caused more fear of psychological symptoms of anxiety (diminished cognitive ability) while negative views of close relationships in general were associated with fears of physical symptoms of anxiety (sweating, racing heart, etc.).

Clearly attachment style during childhood is closely associated with adult attachment style, and insecurely attached individuals are more likely to experience anxiety during adolescence and young adulthood.  However, there is good news!  Although childhood experiences often shape adult behavior, unhealthy thoughts can be unlearned, and secure attachment style may be achieved through actively confronting negative perceptions of one’s self and others (Schneider et al., 2002).


Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied social psychology: understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Los Angeles: Sage.

Watt, M. C., McWilliams, L. A., & Campbell, A. G. (2005). Relations between anxiety sensitivity and attachment style dimensions. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 27(3), 191-200.

Weems, C. F., Berman, S. L., Silverman, W. K., & Rodriguez, E. T. (2002). The relation between anxiety sensitivity and attachment style in adolescence and early adulthood. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 24(3), 159-168.


Apr 17


Unintended Pregnancy

About 50% of pregnancies among all age groups in the United States are unintended. This does not just include teenage girls or unmarried women. This statistic includes women with children, women who are married, college educated women. Every demographic. People like you and I (Yes, even men. Men report unintended pregnancy in their partner at the same rate as women). An unintended pregnancy can have many negative effects on the physical and mental health of both mother and child. The rates of unintended pregnancy are higher in the United States than any other developed country. States with the highest rates of unintended pregnancies are located in the southern portion of the United States (Unintended Pregnancy, 2016). These states also happen to be the ones with greatly reduced funding for women’s healthcare and reproductive choice.

Although unintended pregnancies happen across every demographic, women in low income households, women who are between the ages of 18 and 24, minority women and women who cohabitate with their partner are among the highest risk groups. When looking at only females under the age of 19 who are sexually active, risks are especially high (Unintended Pregnancy, 2016).

When speaking about unintended pregnancies, there are two categories that these pregnancies fall under: mistimed and unwanted. About 27% of unintended pregnancies are mistimed and about 18% are unwanted. About 42% of unintended pregnancies end in abortion and 58% end with birth. Higher income women are more likely to terminate their unwanted pregnancy where lower income women are more likely to give birth. This results in lower income women having a significantly higher unintended birth rate (Unintended Pregnancy, 2016). This is significant because lower income women are less likely to have the resources to care for the children that result from an unintended birth. This can lead to higher use of government assistance among that demographic.

Over two thirds of unplanned births in 2010 were funded by government medical programs such as Medicaid with some states reporting as high as 85% of unplanned births being funded by Medicaid. Government expenditures on unplanned pregnancies were estimated at 21 billion dollars in 2010 (Unintended Pregnancy, 2016).

The government, historically has continued to defund programs like Planned Parenthood and other community services that provide birth control to women. During the 2008-2009 fiscal year Planned Parenthood received 363.2 million dollars in government grants and contracts (Planned Parenthood, 2011). To drive this point home: The government is reducing the 363.2 million dollars they spend on Planned Parenthood and turning around and paying 21 BILLION dollars to provide healthcare for unintended pregnancies (Unintended Pregnancy, 2016), (Planned Parenthood, 2011). That does not include assistance such as WIC, TANF, and SNAP (“food stamps” and “welfare”) received by women who experienced unintended pregnancies.

Politics aside, unintended pregnancy can cause women to lose income and job opportunities. Women who experience unintended pregnancy may have to halt their education or job training. Unintended pregnancy also puts an immense financial and emotional strain on the family unit as a whole. These factors can be true regardless of age, race or financial situation. There are countless possible interventions that can be used to prevent unwanted pregnancy however access to birth control and treatment compliance is consistently a barrier. Some women do not have access to birth control either because there is a lack of resources in the area they live or because they do not have the financial means to obtain birth control. Monthly prescriptions can create compliance issues where either the individual does not have the means to pay for the birth control on a monthly basis or pills are skipped or forgotten.

The Choice Project

One Missouri organization called The Contraceptive Choice Project has dedicated their time to finding the most effective way to reduce unintended pregnancies. In a research study which contained over 9,000 participants (women) which spanned from 2007 to 2011, researchers found that long acting reversible contraceptive methods (LARC) reduced the number of unintended pregnancies significantly. Women were counseled about birth control choices with a focus on the benefits of LARC products. LARC products include two types of IUDs and implantable devices. About 75% of participants chose LARC as opposed to non-long acting methods (pills, patch, ring etc.). Interestingly about 86% of women who chose a LARC option were still using birth control after one year of treatment as opposed to 55% of those who chose non long acting methods. As a result, the study also found that women using LARC were more satisfied with their method of birth control. Women who did not use LARC were at a 20 times higher risk of unintended pregnancy than those who chose LARC (Choiceproject, 2017).

This study also focused on an important aspect of birth control for the adolescent demographic. Focus groups were conducted for participants under the age of 19. Researchers found that convenience, effectiveness and duration of use were among the most cited reasons for choice of and continuation of use for LARC methods (Choiceproject, 2017). This information can be used to council young women on the risks and benefits of these methods to help them better understand their contraceptive choices.

A Family Planning Miracle in Colorado

Although many southern states are resistant to providing women’s healthcare services, Colorado has taken note of the success of The Choice Project. The Colorado Family Planning Initiative was implemented in 2009, teen births and abortions have been nearly halved. Even more significantly, the number of teens who gave birth to a second unintended pregnancy fell by almost 60%. This provides significant evidence that contraceptive education and access to contraceptive choices works to reduce unintended teen pregnancies. In the past, may teen pregnancy prevention programs consisted of abstinence only education, or experiential interventions (taking a fake baby home, taking care of an egg etc.). This type of social intervention also benefits the government, the state of Colorado saved about $70 million dollars in public assistance. The state of Colorado’s Family Planning Initiative had four main strategies (Tarico, 2017):

  1. Increase access to quality services.
  2. Increase availability of IUD’s and implants
  3. Promote healthy decisions and planning
  4. Improve public policy and practices

Washington and Oregon

Other states such as Oregon are beginning to follow in the footsteps of Colorado. One of the main focuses of the planned interventions in Oregon includes the “One Key Question” which asks women if they are intending to become pregnant in the next year. If they do not intend to become pregnant, all contraceptive options are presented. Oregon is also focusing on identifying how many women are in need of services and assessing what types of services are most beneficial. Currently women can obtain contraceptives after only speaking with a pharmacist and insurance companies are required cover a 12 month supply of contraceptives in a single prescription fill (Tarico, 2017). This strategy will hopefully increase compliance among those who do not chose LARC methods. Oregon is expected to publish new guidelines for Family planning by the summer of 2017.

Washington is also making significant strides in this arena. Schools clinics now provide the full range of birth control options and contraceptive education. Physicians are being trained to properly explain and offer even the newest contraception methods. In 2008 King County home of Seattle received a grant to offer school clinic based contraceptive services including IUDs, this has resulted in a 55% drop in teen pregnancy (Tarico, 2017).


This type of research overall provides valuable information for those who intend to implement interventions related to preventing unplanned pregnancies. The creators of The Choice Project provided a valuable and needed resource for their community (they also provide STI screening, pregnancy testing, well woman exams and emergency contraception) and have provided valuable information for others who wish to do the same thing. It is unfortunate that funding for these types of programs is consistently being cut, it would do so much for so many people to have these services available. Participatory action research such as that conducted by The Choice Project serves to make society a better place for everyone.

The social change research and interventions mentioned above have made great progress in ensuring that women do not experience unintended pregnancies. Women in areas with these services are able to be in control of their own future and the future of their family. One can only hope that other states, including the south where teen and unintended pregnancy is highest, will take note of the success and benefits of these programs.


Planned Parenthood. (2011, April 18). Retrieved April 15, 2017, from http://www.factcheck.org/2011/04/planned-parenthood/

The Contraception Choice Project. (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2017, from http://www.choiceproject.wustl.edu/#STUDIES

Unintended Pregnancy in the United States. (2016, October 05). Retrieved April 15, 2017, from https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/unintended-pregnancy-united-states

Valerie Tarico / AlterNet. (2017, April 07). A Family Planning Miracle in Colorado: Program Has Teen Births and Abortions Drop by Half, and It’s Heading to Other States. Retrieved April 16, 2017, from http://www.alternet.org/personal-health/family-planning-miracle-colorado-program-has-teen-births-and-abortions-drop-half-and


Apr 17

Social Change and Urban Rebellion

Social change and urban rebellion

What is social change research and what are the different forms of social change research? How can we use social change research in our and others daily lives to make improvements? One of the topics that I found very interesting is the effect of social change research in the “Ghetto”. What does the word ghetto means? How can we use social change research to help individuals, mainly youths who reside in the ghetto to have better lives and a possible better future?

Social change research comes in several different forms, but the general idea is that the researchers are actively changing something in a social situation that they are a part of. There is Participatory research which is when the researchers are a part of the community and they get involved to learn things about the community that they live in. A good example of such research would be an individual who lives in the ghetto and is constantly tries to bring changes in the ghetto to better the lives of its residents. The second kind of social change research would be Activist research which goes beyond participatory research. The researcher is not only vested in the outcome of the research, but may be pushing a certain value set through their research (Nelson A., 2017).

Social research is a critical foundation for programs that seek to engage communities in change and in the development of more sustainable societies. Without appropriate research, programs aimed at change are likely to be based on implicit or assumed problem identification and or inferred community needs and wishes. I Personally don’t like to use the word ghetto. The term “ghetto” dates to describing the neighborhoods to which Jewish Europeans were confined. More recently, it’s been used in the U.S. to describe urban neighborhoods where minority groups live out of economic pressures (Izadi E., 2011).

To bring change in the less fortunate areas of the city, the residents of that community need to act and figure out what can they do to better their lives and the lives of the people in their community. This would be a perfect example of participatory research. For example, the leaders of the said communities can with the help of parents, educate the youth and provide them with options to do volunteer work after school. Living in a ghetto gives its inhabitants a certain community feeling, a certain sense of comfort and familiarity that they would find hard to get anywhere. Personal sense of comfort, community and normalcy matter much more to an individual when they do not possess economic comfort (Bandyopadhyay K., 2015).

I believe the best social change research method that would be effective in the said areas, would be the participatory research which is research conducted by the residence of that community. The researcher would understand the issues within that community better than anyone else and would be able to design and implement a plan to bring change within that community. Moving from a ghetto is not as easy as just packing up and moving out. People often get caught in the cycle of poverty. Therefore, getting the education and other life skills to move them out of that cycle can be very difficult, however it is possible with the help of the leaders of the community and by providing opportunities to those in need.


Bandyopadhyay K., Quora, (2015, May 9). Why do People Stay in the Ghetto When They Can Move Elsewhere? Retrieved April 15, 2017, from www.quora.com

Izadi E., DCentric, (2011, May 11). Ghetto: Five Reasons to Rethink the Word. Retrieved April 15, 2017, from www.dcentric.wamu.org

Nelson, A. (2017). Lesson 13. Applied social psychology: Social Change / Participatory Research. Presented on the PSYCH 424 course content site lecture at the Pennsylvania State University.

Apr 17

Is it fate or psychology?

Opposites attract. The oft-heard phrase may be true for magnets, but not for people (PSU, 2017). It is human nature to want to spend time with people who are similar to us, so although we might enjoy engaging with a friend or co-worker who is radically different from ourselves, we typically would not enjoy having this person as a friend or romantic partner—at least not for long. Relationships last because the two (or more) people within them are similar to each other. Let’s say we hit it off with a friend that has similar political views, likes the same movies, and laughs at the same jokes. After a few dates things become “official” and, much later, the couple decides to marry. It’s fate! Or is it?

I hate the term “soul mate.” There is no such thing. The reality is that there are a lot of people who could be right for us—I mean, there are over 7 billion people on Earth. Frankly, it’s nonsensical to think that your significant other is the only one for you, and you just happened to meet and fall in love.  The truth is, proximity has a lot to do with relationships, whether romantic or otherwise (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012). Although the internet has made our world much smaller, most relationships (even formed online) are still between people who are close to each other physically. The proximity effect, or the propensity to become more intimate with people who are closer to us physically, shapes our relationships just as much as our personal preferences. When you think about it that way, there are not actually so many “fish in the sea.” I think a better phrase would be “there are a handful of fish in the pond.”

This doesn’t mean your spouse isn’t the one thoughI believe my husband is the one for me, but that’s because we’re already together. Had I met another man, I would think the same thing about him. Actually, the main reason my husband and I are together is due to proximity because we would have never met each other through mutual friends (we had none) or activities (we like different things). We worked together and began a friendship while at work, which eventually blossomed into a romance and a marriage. I wish I could say it was like a movie where one of us didn’t like the other at first and warmed up to each other slowly but, you guessed it, that’s not typically of real life either. If there is someone you can’t stand—an annoying office mate or frustrating friend-of-a-friend—spending more time with them will not make you like them. Environmental spoiling is when you dislike someone even more after spending more time with them (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012). Although it’s theoretically possible to end up liking someone after you get to know them better, in most cases that annoying person in class will always be the annoying person in class.

I believe that recognizing how relationships are formed takes the stress out of finding a friend or a partner. You don’t have to wait on fate. Instead, put yourself physically closer to someone you’re attracted to, or join a group of people who are interested in something you like to meet those with similar interests. Eventually, you will find one (or more) fish in that small pond that you’re surrounded by.




Pennsylvania State University. (2017). Relationships/Everyday Life. [Online

Lecture].  Retrieved from http://cms.psu.edu.

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., and Coutts, L. M. (Eds.) (2012). Applied Social      Psychology:Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (2nd    ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

Apr 17

Pseudo-Participatory Researchers and the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

Written 4/15/2017 by Lia Stoffle

This week we learned about social change research and its two subsets: participatory research and activist research. The origins of participatory research are credited to Paulo Freire (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2012). He believed that “authentic education” involved “working with…oppressed groups rather than providing information for or about the group” (Schneider et al., 2012, p. 290). Based on his theories, he worked with Brazilian peasants to incite social change and life improvements. His takeaway: unsuccessful social and political change was due to designs not based on the people who would be affected by the change, but rather based on the ideas of “educators and politicians” (Schneider et al., 2012, p. 291). In 1977 Hall, Marino, and Jackson cofounded the Participatory Research Project in Toronto Canada (Hall, 1992). Their work, and the general focus of participatory research, involves a bias for people of “dominated, exploited, poor, or otherwise ignored” origins, with focus on the interaction or power and democracy, and attention to various social factors (Hall, 1992, p. 16). Having these roots established, my mind immediately went to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. I thought between the thousands of articles and studies at my disposal there must be some literature on social change research involving the Black Lives Matter movement. What I found was far less than I imagined. As I searched through “most recent” and “most relevant” filters I was still getting articles that either had to do with the Black Lives Matter movement OR participatory research. I thought “how in the world could this movement be so prevalent in American society that I see it all over the news and social media, yet the scholarly research be so scarce?” That’s what cued me in to discover that, in a sense, people from different walks of life ARE engaging in participatory research, but they probably aren’t in a position to write a scholarly article about the movement and the connections to the participatory research itself. Social media has made it possible for ordinary people to involve themselves in participatory research without necessarily realizing it. Continue reading →

Apr 17

The Kinder & Braver World Project

The Kinder & Braver World Project portray participatory action research as, “a process through which people investigate meaningful social topics, participate in research to understand the root causes of problems that directly impact them, and then take action to influence policies through dissemination of their findings to policymakers and stakeholders (Powers & Allaman, 2012).”  The goal of the research is to expand their social movement into youth communities and encourage leadership.  Schneider describes social action as, “by organizing you can stimulate collective action in the community that generates power to create change (Schneider, 2012).”  Various programs have been designed to add value and promote positive change within communities.

Everyone has their own perspective on how they feel about a particular problem.  Relatively, it is necessary to customize programs that define unique qualities among young people and adults.  After engaging with individualized concerns, a plan for social change may be created.  The plan should clearly define a purpose and identify goals for addressing change.  By involving youthful communities in the developing a plan for social change, young individuals will learn how to address diverse communal issues.  They will learn how to relate to others from various backgrounds, cultures, and opinions.  Youth engagement models are effective for improving issues surrounding a common goal, as well as promoting relations that will motivate involvement.

Youth United for Change (YUC) is a veteran-based organization established in Philadelphia.  The group aims to meet the wishes and needs of young individuals within the community.  Generally, group activities and meetings take place in schools in order to reach out to the youth population.  Organizers promote relationships and address any ideas or worries that the young community may have regarding the world around them.  YUC wants to make sure that juveniles feel like their heard, and their needs are important.  Additionally, the process positively impacts leadership skills and relationships.  Conclusively, the program is an effective way for children to voice their opinion and propose any questions about social reform.


Powers, C.B., Allaman, E. (2012, December 17). How Participatory Action Research Can Promote Social Change and Help Youth Development – The Kinder & Braver World Project: Research Series. Retrieved April 14, 2017 from http://cyber.harvard.edu/sites/cyber.harvard.edu/files/KBWParticipatoryActionResearch2012.pdf

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., and Coutts, L. M. (Eds.) (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISBN 978-1412976381


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