Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts 2

Democracy without Legislatures: Post-Conflict Northern Ireland

Neil Nory Kaplan-Kelly
What happens when a government is shut-down for years? How can democracy survive when there is no legislature in session? Finally, what happens with a peace process is predicated on democratic function? My research looks at how Northern Ireland continues its process towards transitional justice and peace-building in the wake of two years of legislative dysfunction. Twenty years on from the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement’s establishment of peace in the nation and with Brexit placing politics in limbo, the nation is at a crossroads. This talk will build upon anthropological theory and ethnographic methods on these questions and will include reflections from the speaker’s own fieldwork in Belfast.

Disruptive Marketplaces of Consumed Things: Community, Nostalgia, and Secondhand Consumption

Mariella C. Zavala
Marketers construct environments—physical and digital places—that frame consumption activities, affect customer behavior, encourage particular forms of social interaction, and influence the social value transposed onto the objects and subjects within the site. In this way, marketers reproduce and present complex social order. Yet, marketers also recognize the value of disruption to maintain customer engagement. This recognition is evident, for instance, in their advertising of places that are never boring and always surprising, like a recent Marshall’s commercial assures, or in the case of Universal Studios whose recent messaging focused on how much it has changed, promising that everywhere you turn, there is something new and unexpected. This research aims to investigate the disruption of perceived social order that is engendered by place. The context that I utilize for this exploration is a thrift store selling a variety of secondhand products. The thrift store serves as an exemplary case of a marketplace’s containment of difference, as seemingly-unrelated objects compose a dynamic place with several moving parts, including emplacement, spatial, and temporal disruptions. Some research questions include: (1) What specific aspects of secondhand stores are likely to expose and disrupt quotidian order? (2) What subject-object relations and social interactions are encouraged by this place? And (3) and how does the used nature of the products affect consumer experiences? I employ standard ethnographic methods including participant observation (e.g., shopping or browsing at a thrift store and an antique mall), interviews (e.g., short interactions with shoppers as well as extended interactions and scheduled interviews), and projective tasks (e.g., having individuals share thoughts on objects found in the secondhand store). This research aims to contribute to our understanding of individuals’ experiences of place.

Does Choice of Eyewitness Research Materials Influence Findings?

Jillian Kenchel
Psychological Science
The misinformation effect refers to memory distortion following exposure to inaccurate post-event information. The present study sought to take a critical look at the materials used in eyewitness memory research through the lens of this misinformation effect. Especially in the eyewitness context, there is an emphasis on ecological validity of the stimuli used in memory research, and there is some debate around this issue. Research on the misinformation effect usually uses a video or slideshow to expose participants to a crime. While videos seem to provide a more realistic scenario with the moving picture, slideshows are easier to manipulate and therefore many researchers choose to use this stimulus. The present study sought to explore whether these two modes of stimuli, differing in realism, produce similar effects for participants in response to post-event misinformation. Participants were randomly assigned to view the same crime via a video or slideshow, and then to either be exposed to misinformation or consistent information about the crime. Finally, all participants took a memory test which tested for their memory for details of the crime. Results showed that participants who viewed the crime via video or slides showed no difference in susceptibility to post-event misinformation. The relationship between eyewitness confidence and accuracy was also examined. The need for more critical consideration of the stimuli used in research is discussed.

Does Hard Work Pay? Effort in Moral Judgement

Jared Celniker
Psychological Science
Is effort valuable, in and of itself? Americans deeply value hard work, but increasing effort doesn’t always improve results. However, even when one’s efforts aren’t economically productive, working hard may be an important social cue to others. Specifically, evolutionary theorizing suggests that effort may be a signal of one’s moral character. In a series of experiments, we tested this idea that people moralize effort. Participants read short descriptions of two characters, a high-effort worker and a low-effort worker, and evaluated each character on a set of character traits. We found that the high-effort worker was seen to be more moral, trustworthy, and deserving of greater pay than the low-effort worker, even though both workers did the exact same amount of work. The implications of these results for policy debates surrounding technological automation and job displacement are discussed.

The Last Myth: Grotowski and the Body

Sophia Metcalf
Claire Trevor School of the Arts
As a theatre practitioner, I’m interested in legibility of the body. When one performs, how does one make one’s body — its emotions and gestures — interpretable to an audience.

Polish dramatist and director Jerzy Grotowski writes a lot about the body in his treatise, Towards a Poor Theatre. He was trying to define “what is distinctively theatre, what separates this activity from other categories of performance and spectacle” (Grotowski 15). He finds that at the core of theatre, dating back to the Greeks, is the transgression of social norms, also referred to as myth. Plays in which humans faced up to god-level power “liberated the spiritual energy” of the audience (Grotowski 22). He finds that the body is the last bastion of a “common sky of belief” for 20th century audiences (Grotowski 23). Therefore, the body is the last site for transgression, in order to bring about catharsis. It is this corporeality that distinguishes this theatre.

In order to transgress the body, one must be able to read its signs and symbols. In the post-modern age, however, I believe that the body has become less legible. Because so much of daily communication is textual, I believe audiences have a more difficult time interpreting the live, corporeal body, whether it be on stage, or in public life. This paper seeks to explore the negation of the body as it relates to Grotowski’s theories about theatre-making, and interrogate the body’s legibility in public space.

Cardiac Activity, Momentary Moods, and the Menstrual Cycle

Shauna Simon
Psychological Sciences
Background. Menstrual cycle phase has been historically associated with alterations in negative affective states and more recently associated with reductions in cardiac vagal tone, a physiological index of parasympathetic activation. This study examines the association between menstrual cycle phase, momentary mood states (e.g., sadness, stress, worry, anger), and vagal tone in daily life. Methods. Participants (N = 174) were monitored over a 5-day observation period, using an ambulatory 24-hour electrocardiogram (ECG) to monitor heart rate and ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to record current moods every approximately 30 minutes. A longitudinal repeated measures design was used, and all women were monitored in both the early to mid-follicular and -luteal phases of their menstrual cycles. Assignment to the 2- to 3-day sessions was randomized. Results. Multilevel models indicated that for both men and women, momentary reports of negative affect were associated with greater heart rate. Relative to men, women exhibited greater heart rate and reduced parasympathetic activity during reports of anger. During the luteal phase, however, momentary reports of negative affect were found to predict reductions in parasympathetic activity only. Conclusion. These findings suggest that the autonomic scaffolding of negative affectivity is more flexible in women and varies as a function of menstrual cycle phase.


Location: Emerald Bay B Date: April 26, 2019 Time: 1:00 am - 2:30 am