The researchers of this study sought to examine the relationship between heavy drinking and the consequences on undergraduate females and their living environment. The four types of environments considered were: residential learning communities RLC) and non-residential learning communities and same sex and coed environments. The negative consequences young women experienced were described as hangovers, embarrassment, blackouts, missing class and sexual harassment (Boyd et al 2008).
This study is part of a long term longitudinal study. A random sample of 2,502 first year students was selected, representing both RLC and non RLC environments and single sex or coed living arrangements. Residents were notified by mail and invited to take on online survey. The participants gave formal consent and the web based program that was used to collect the data were secure and all information was kept confidential. 1,196 participants participated in the study. The mean age was 18.5 years old. The study consisted of 66.5% white participants, 12% Asian, 4.2% Hispanic, 6.3% African American and 11% other. 61 of participants were female (51.1% of the sample). 13% of the women lived in single sex RLCs; 35% lived in coed RLCs; 24% lived in single sex non RLCs and 28% lived in coed non RLCs (Boyd et al 2008).
The Residential Community Engagement Survey (RCES) was the measured used in the study. Some of the topics covered by this survey included alcohol use, maximum number of drinks, heavy episodic drinking, primary consequences and secondary consequences. The survey appears to be very thorough and specific in the information is requests. The dependent variable was the women’s behavior when engaged in drinking both primary and secondary consequences. The independent variable was the maximum number of drinks consumed (Boyd et al 2008).
The results found that women living in RLCs, whether it was single sex or coed, drank less than women who did not live in a RLC. Women who lived in coed non RLCs drank more than any other group. The statistics are presented in a table at the end of the article. Women in single sex RLCs also had a considerable lower number of consequences. Surprisingly, the RLCs appear to be more successful in “protecting” young women from engaging in excessive drinking and negative consequences better than non RLCs; the single sex or coed models was not as significant. In terms of sexual activity, whether regretting a sexual encounter or being taken advantage, the women in RLC environments reported a much lower rate than their peers in non RLCs, 4 respondents compared to 23 respondents. The researchers warn that these numbers are too small to generate an assumption but they warrant further investigation (Boyd et al 2008).
The discussion includes the fact that RLCs encourage active participation of residents in their learning process and constructive extra-curricular activities compared to non RLCs. The relationships and activities developed in RLCs among the residents seems to have a very positive influence their college and experience as well as keeping episodic drinking and its negative consequences low. The researchers surmise that many college students participate in drinking activities as a way to socialize with other students. RLCs provide a positive environment for this socialization. The researchers recognized that some of the data reported was based on recall such as how much students drank in high school and using it as a comparison. They also question the “type” of student who chooses a RLC living arrangement compared to one who does not. They suggest further investigation into these types of details to reach a fuller understanding of excessive drinking on college campuses.
Replicating Milgram: Would People Still Obey Today?
In this study conducted by Burger (2009), Burger replicated the study completed by Stanley Milgram known as Experiment 5. The author states that this study is one of the most famous in sociology and that it is often referred to in popular media and culture. Experiment 5 engaged two participants: one took the role of teacher, the other the role of student. The two were placed in separate rooms. The “teacher” was to ask the learner questions and administer increasingly higher voltage shocks for each wrong answer or for no response. The students would protest the shocks in increasingly alarming screams. The researcher would encourage the “teacher” to continue. The student was not really receiving any shocks but it was surprising to see how for the “teacher” participants would go in order to comply or “obey” the researcher. A shocking number of participants, 65% saw the experiment through to the final 450 volt shock despite evidence that the learner was possibly in physical distress or seriously injured (Burger 2009).
For his replication, Burger (2009) had to address the ethical issues surrounding this experiment. This type of experiment is well outside the boundaries of ethics due to the consequences it may have on the participant although at the time of the original experiment most participants reported positive opinions of the experiment. Burger reviewed Milgram’s tapes and data and decided to stop his experiment at the 150 volt mark. In the original study, most participants stopped at this point, those who went beyond it all followed through to the final 450 volt stage. The safeguards Burger took in his study was to double screen participants; offered them an out at any time the wished; administering a 15 volt shock to the participants and following up on the experiment immediately instead of waiting a period of time (Burger 2009).
The hypothesis tested by Milgram was that people obeyed others who were in a position of authority. It was not the authority figure’s manner that was important but the fact that they were perceived as having legitimate authority that caused the participants to obey (Burger 2009). The fact that the shocks grew in force incrementally was another factor. The participant became accustomed slowly to the administration of the shock allowing tome for acceptance of them. The experiment also took people outside of their norms. The participants had no experience to base their behavior on in this novel situation. Burger used the same hypothesis, would people today still obey authority. Burger also looked at variables such as gender and personality (Burger 2009).
Twenty nine men and 41 women constituted the final sample with a mean age of 42.9. The age range was 20 to 81. The participants were administered several assessments: The Interpersonal Reactivity Index; the Beck Anxiety Inventory; the Desirability of Control Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory. Burger selected the “researcher” and the “learner” to physically resemble those used by Milgram. The experiment was enacted the same way Milgram conducted his, with the exception of the voltage going no higher than 150 volts. One group of participants performed the activity independently. A second group performed the activity with a “co-teacher” who was part of the research team. The “co-teacher” provided an out from the experiment for the participant (Burger 2009).
The results found 70% of the participants in the base condition continued until stopped by the researcher compared to 63.3% in the “co-teacher” situation. Both are within Milgram’s original findings. Burger did not find a significant difference between genders either (women were slightly higher in continuing than men). Burger’s experiment was successful in replicating Milgram’s. The participants in his experiment performed the same way Milgram’s did at the same rates. Burger also had provided easier excusal from the experiment but that did not make a difference in his participants People obeyed the authority figure, the “researcher.” (Burger 2009).
The Effect of Video Game Violence on Physiological Desensitization to Real-life Violence
The purpose of this study was to study the effect of exposure to violence in video games and if it desensitizes humans to real life violence. The researchers cite the constant exposure to violence not only in video games, which are available on all types of devices but in the media as well (Carnagey, Anderson and Bushman 2007). The authors describe desensitization as “a reduction in emotion related physiological activity to real violence” (Carnagey, Anderson and Bushman 2007). A thorough review of the literature by the researchers uncovered several studies that indicate this desensitization among people exposed to violence in films and games. The researchers did not find any evidence, however, that directly links this desensitization to real life violence (Carnagey, Anderson and Bushman 2007).
The researchers used the General Aggression Model (GAM) in their experiment. GAM explains that aggressive behavior is learned and applied aggression is behavior learned from a variety of sources. In video games, aggression and violence are paired with exciting music and increased scores which teachers the player that aggression is good. Desensitization can be both short term, within one hour or occur long term (Carnagey, Anderson and Bushman 2007).
The participants in the study were 257 college students: 124 men and 133 women. The participants gave consent and were measured for baseline heart rate and galvanic skin response. The participants also completed the nine item Physical Aggression subscale of the Aggression Questionnaire. Participants were also asked how many hours a week they played video games and percent of time playing violent games. The researcher did an excellent job of gathering data from several sources (Carnagey, Anderson and Bushman 2007).
Participants were tested one at a time to avoid and interaction which could have skewed the data. Eight video games were used: four violent and four nonviolent. The games were randomly assigned to the participants. Participants would play the game for twenty minutes. After playing a post-measurement of heart rate and galvanic skin response was taken. Real life videos of violent acts were then shown to the participant. The researchers continued to measure heart rate and galvanic skin response. Finally, participants completed a survey about the game they played and their perceptions of it. Participants were debriefed and excused (Carnagey, Anderson and Bushman 2007).
The results demonstrated that heart rate and galvanic skin response were the same for violent and nonviolent video games. The violent games rated higher for violence but the violent and nonviolent games rated equally for excitement and entertainment. Violent games also rated higher for more action packed and more frustrating. Heart rate measurement were approximately the same for violent and nonviolent games, both types of games increased heart rate. The same facts held true for the galvanic skin response. The significant difference occurred in watching the violent videos. Those who played the violent video games had lower heart rates and galvanic skin responses (Carnagey, Anderson and Bushman 2007).
The research showed that physiological response to real life violence after playing a violent video game was lower than those who played nonviolent games. This desensitization was measurable and the hypothesis affirmed. The researchers also showed that the results were consistent across gender and players. The conclusion goes on to make assumptions about the helping behaviors and aggressive behaviors in the players. The researchers assume that due to the desensitization from the violent games, these behaviors would be similarly affected. Although the study was thorough and carefully planned and executed the specific results for physiological desensitization was upheld. Continued research into broader behaviors that may be exhibited would be very beneficial to this study and the effects of violent video games as well.
Boyd, C., McCabe, S., Cranford, J., Morales, M., Lange, J., Reed, M., Ketchie, J. &
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Carnagey, N., Anderson, C. & Bushman, B. (2007). The effect of video game violence on
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