Much has been written about violent video games and a number of studies claim to find a link between people who play them and subsequent incidents of acting out (e.g. the current coverage of the Florida school shootings). While it is quite true that laboratory studies demonstrate an increase in aggressive thought and behavior among violent video game players, those studies fail to find a causal link to subsequent real-world behaviors. Inferences are speculative.
But now a new German study by the Max Planck Institute finds that “two months of daily GTA [Grand Theft Auto] causes ‘no significant changes’ in behavior.”
The study was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. An article from the March 15th online issue of Ars Technica reviews the study and the research.
Here’s the link
I just became aware of an excellent Wall Street Journal article, published on October 6, 2017, about the negative effects of smart phones on our ability to think. The article cites a number of peer-reviewed research studies that seem to leave little doubt about how smart phones invade our non conscious selves to such a degree that they actively inhibit our ability to remember, to reason, to create social ties. Author Nicholas Carr is to be commended for this contribution to the literature.
Here’s the link:
There is a truly outstanding article about why children (pre-teens and teens) should not be allowed to engage with social media. It’s written by a mom whose child wanted to be allowed to sign up for a supposedly innocent social site that would let her create and upload lip-sync videos to popular songs. Mom went to the site and checked it out for herself, then wrote the article (after deleting her account).
After reading this article, my own position, if I had any children under the age of 18, would be to never allow them to use social media at all, period. Read this piece and see if you don’t agree by the time you’re done.
View story at Medium.com
Harvard Business Review is making an article from their January-February 2018 issue available without fee: “Ads that Don’t Overstep.” The article describes recent research by the authors about how consumers react to digital ads on websites when considering issues like relevance, intimacy, and privacy. As they point out “When it comes to personalization, there’s a fine line between creepy and delightful…” (John, Kim & Barasz, 2018).
The article does a fine job of looking at consumer psychology and concludes with five very cogent guidelines that marketers should consider when using personal information about people to target advertising online.
Here’s the link:
Today I read a very interesting Mashable piece written by a woman who recently decided to stop using Instagram. Here’s the link:
As I read her piece I reflected on my own use of Instagram, which has been very light, and thought I might offer a comment or two of my own. And first, let me say I don’t intend to delete my Instagram account. And second, that I’m not likely to increase my use of the app beyond my current low level of activity.
The reasons I continue to have the app on my phone are two:
- Some of my family and friends (real world friends whose relationships predate social media) use it to send out photos of what they’re up to. I like that. I enjoy seeing what they’re doing or looking at. It’s an easy way to stay in touch, while not really staying in touch.
- I can update my family and friends on places I’m visiting with minimal effort. It’s a time-saving way for me to let people I love know what I’m up to. Twitter would serve the same purpose, but then I’d have to write it out and consider how to keep it down to the character limit…too much trouble.
After reading Ms. Flynn’s Mashable piece, I have come to the conclusion that social media usage is heavily tied into self-perceptions. I think social media are dangerous to the degree that users have problems with self-image and personal restraint. Social media addiction (yes, I think there is such a thing) has roots in personal insecurity.
The reason I write this blog is to share articles and posts I come across with others who have similar interests. I don’t try and adhere to a regular schedule and so I avoid the problem of what to post on a day when there seems nothing much worth commenting on. And, too, why should people care what I find interesting? Well, I have enough ego to think that things I notice might not have been noticed by those who follow my posts and that they are interesting enough that more people than myself need to take note of them and stop for a moment to think about them.
So, that’s my post for today, and thank you for reading!
“Journal of Marketing Education” (from Sage Publishing) has published a study by David Ackerman of California State University Northridge and Christina Chung of Ramapo College of New Jersey about the presence of bias in online student evaluations of their professors. Their research compared actual on-campus ratings versus online ratings for the same professor and class and found that the latter tend to reflect whatever tone early ratings give. Thus, if a professor gets a couple early very bad ratings, later ratings are typically not so good. The opposite also holds true. They theorize that a kind of peer pressure, once removed, may be at work. But I would just call it “framing” in the Kahenman-Tversky sense.
What I like best of all about their work is their characterization of “Rate My Professor” and similar forums as the online equivalent of bathroom stall walls–a place to vent one’s frustrations.
Now what we need is more research into on-campus ratings in terms of their accuracy.
Here’s the link: https://managementink.wordpress.com/2017/12/15/is-ratemyprofessors-com-unbiased/