Tag Archives: psychology blogs

Barbie Commercials Across the Decades and the Implications on Female Identity and Objectification

20 Apr

In the past weeks, the Law and Mind Sciences blogposts have included observations about media influences and gender, including  Misogyny in MusicMindfulness and Identity in the context of yogurt advertisements, and the conformity in appearances at HLS job interviews.   As these posts described, pop culture,  advertisements, and cultural norms all have the power to influence  perceptions of gender. No where does this media influence appear to have a wider or longer lasting impact than Barbie. From the first Barbie television advertisement ever (portrayed in the above video) to the introduction of Ken, to current television advertising, Barbie has maintained a prominent presence as a commercial phenomenon, a fashion icon, and source of gender socialization.

The focus of investigations and attitudes towards Barbie differ, but all seem to recognize that the Barbie is not just a doll, but a cultural phenomenon. Since Barbie first arrived at the World Toy Fair in 1959, wearing a Zebra bikini and stilettos, over a billion Barbies have been produced in 150 countries.  According to Mattel on Barbie’s 50th Anniversary in 2009, 90%  of U.S. girls ages 3-10 own at least one Barbie doll. In a Newsweek article commenting on this anniversary, Eliza Grey described Barbie as “the original bimbo, a relic of postwar paternalism that teaches its young to worship at the altar of blond hair, peach skin and formidable cleavage atop a waistline the size of a pinkie ring.”

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Law & Mind Blogs: Part 9

3 Feb

The mind is a fascinating place. The blogosphere is a fascinating place. Together, magic happens. If you’re interested in getting a closer look, below are reviews of a few mind science blogs that are well worth checking out.

1. Sociological Images, whose tagline is “Inspiring Sociological Imaginations Everywhere”, is a fascinating blog where people can submit images that they find sociologically compelling, which thus far have included graphs from the Bureau of Labor Statistics illustrating the gender wage gap, pictures of consumer products differentiating between “female” and “normal” versions, political cartoons dehumanizing historically marginalized groups, and optical illusions that seem to be perceived differently by people from different cultures. Both the images and the bloggers’ sociological discussions about them are extremely interesting and thought-provoking.

More blogs, including the featured blog, after the jump. Continue reading

Law & Mind Blogs: Part 5

2 Feb

Have you ever wanted to know what blogs out there discuss mind sciences, law, or both? This is your lucky day. In this post I briefly review five blogs that relate to law & mind sciences. I feature one blog, Mind Hacks, and explain it in a bit more detail than the others.

The blogs:

1. The Jury Room.

Run by Keene Trial Consulting, The Jury Room–as the name suggests–is about juries! Specifically, the site focuses on how juries make decisions and react to behavior–and it generally explores questions of jury psychology (e.g., bias). The blog includes posts about current psychological research, events, and legal trends. One recent post, for example, discussed research showing how specific words correlate with individuals’ levels of trust.

2. Laura’s Psychology Blog.

Laura Freberg is a professor of psychology at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where she studies biological psychology. Her eponymous  blog is a mostly a collection of psychological literature that she is reading currently. It is a great aggregator of current information on psychology.

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Mind Science Blogs, Part One

1 Feb

Another great blog on the mind science topic is BPS Research Digest, where the British Psychological Society reports on recent studies in psychological publications.

The featured studies are chosen with an expert eye for interest level, relevance to current events, and accessibility even to readers relatively unversed in psychology, like myself. That editor Christian Jarrett describes each study in vivid, catchy language adds to the appeal.

A good example is a recent post on climate change. Jarrett highlights a study by Matthew Feinberg and Robb Willer in Psychological Science, which suggested that apocalyptic warnings may be more likely to evoke skepticism about the existence of global warming than more upbeat descriptions of potential technological solutions.

The post does a great job of pairing simple explanations of psychological phenomena:

Many people believe implicitly that the world is fair, that bad things by and large don’t happen to good people. When presented with evidence to the contrary, they ignore or downplay it.

With concise summaries of the results:

Those participants with stronger just-world beliefs were actually made more sceptical about global warming by the more shocking newspaper article. By contrast, the more upbeat article reduced participants’ scepticism regardless of the strength of their just-world beliefs.

Jarrett also makes connections to related studies, one concerning fear-based messages in the context of smoking, and another related to the framing of environmentalism as patriotic.

Other posts I recommend are “Other people may experience more misery than you realize” and “Coffee helps women cope with stressful meetings but has the opposite effect on men.” A particularly law-related one is “What makes revenge sweet?

Some other excellent mind sciences blogs are:

Advances in the History of Psychology, where a doctoral student explores developments related to her program in the history and theory of psychology at York University. A memorable recent post discussed “Autism’s First Child,” an October 2010 story in The Atlantic discussing the first individual to be diagnosed with autism, now age 77.

Blind Taste, a great blog linking food, wine, and popular culture with economics and cognition, looks not to have been updated in several months. But interesting posts concerning counterfeit wine, wine value mogul Robert Parker, and California’s Proposition 19 leave us hoping author Robin Goldstein will start up again soon.

Brain Blogger, an “official initiative of the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation (GNIF),” reviews news and research in the fields of neuroscience and neurology, psychology and psychiatry, and health and health science. The blog’s diversity of posts includes “The Beauty of First Impressions” and “Daytime Napping Improves Memory.” Of particular salience to lawyers: “Free Will is NOT an Illusion.”

Channel N, meanwhile, exclusively features online videos related to brain and behavior. A subdivision of PsychCentral, “the Internet’s largest and oldest independent mental health and psychology network,” Channel N is currently highlighting videos on pediatric bipolar disorder, addiction, “why online dating is so unsatisfying,” and retired and rescued show horses being used in mental health therapy.

Do your brain a favor: check out some of these great blogs today!

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