Friday, 10 December 2010

Assignment 4

Assignment 4
By Sarah Pitcairn

The main purpose of the first chapter in the book Identities, Groups and Social Issues was to research into how conformity arises, why we conform, how groups can change people, looking at conformity in different social context and glimpsing at why we label ourselves. The findings that are presented in this book are all supported by psychology experiments. This shows that what is being discussed is purely evidence based.
One of the key aspects is the extent of conformity which depends on several varying factors such as task and ambiguity, group structure, individual differences and cultural expectations. An experiment which helps to show that these individual difference can make a difference and this was carried out by a psychologist named Asch. He got a group of male students and asked them to judge three unequal lines on a card which matched up to the initial line. Each member of the group was asked in turn and to declare his opinion openly with the others. A series of this experiment was carried out changing some of the variables such as having only one naïve person in the group and having the rest confederates that were deliberately giving the wrong answer to see if it would influence and pressure the naïve participant. The findings were that in over twelve trials two thirds of the responses were correct despite the pressure of the group. It was also found that some of the subjects may have unconsciously changed their perception of the line to fit in with the other members of the group.
The consequences of conforming in relation to authority and obedience can be quite severe, it is scary how many people would obey orders to give someone what was thought to be an an electric shock (but in actual fact, it was all pretence and it was an actor that they could hear through a wall screaming in pain) if they got a question wrong (Milgram), you would like to think that you would not be one of these people that would hurt someone else like that, to the point of potentially killing them. So in circumstances like these conforming and following orders can be a rather dangerous scenario, in some cases.
Another key aspect is when the subject matter of labelling ourselves is reviewed. It appears that we tend to stereotype ourselves when associated with particular groups and then hereby give ourselves the characteristics therefore related to the group in question. When a person starts to place themselves in these groups, psychologically, their self-esteem becomes wrapped up in the fate of the group. Turner (1982) has also claimed that when people identify with their group they begin a process which he calls “depersonalization” and “self-stereotyping”. It is probably more common to think of stereotyping others given what you would associate with them given their group and what characteristics are linked with that group, ignoring that people can be individual and not have the conceptualized qualities that it is thought that they are meant to have.
To conclude this chapter of this book, it presents several questions about group dynamics. The first focus was mainly on influence/conformity that took place within small groups and the reasoning behind the behaviour that had been examined. It can also be that different conditions can have different influences on people. Changing the variables in some of the experiments can have quite an impact upon the results. It is also apparent that conformity is mainly reliant upon individual differences which is then in turn interlinked slightly with our own preconceptions of ourselves, also known as our identity.
Chapter One of the book Identity and Difference highlights mainly some of these aspects: why does identity matter?, Is there a crisis of identity, histories and social changes that affect identity and how politics affiliate with identity. The main concept discussed throughout is how is difference gauged when in relation to identity. Difference is normally has negative conations along side it being associated with exclusion and being classed as some sort of “outsider”, however, this is not always the case. However it appears whether consciously or unconsciously we need these said identities.
Observing what is said about subjectivity shows us why we are attached to particular identities, as defining subjectivity involves “ the conscious and unconscious thoughts and emotions which constitute out sense of ‘who we are’ and the feelings which are brought to different positions in culture.”. Our identity is our own way and others of labelling who we are, what we are associated with and this is usually based on a few or a couple of our said characteristics.
Identity can play a very important role in our lives as it is how others perceive us. For example in a poem “The Adoption Papers” by Jackie Kay 1991 which is about a couple wanting to adopt but finding it very hard to get accepted at many agencies for various reasons apart from one agency that changed its mind after the poet mentioned the race of the baby “oh you know we don’t mind the colour. Just like that, the waiting was over.” The reason the race made a difference as to whether or not they got the baby was given that there was cultural assumptions made about the white couple. The agencies mostly, just presumed that a white couple would only want to adopt a a white baby. The rest of the poem continues to describe the white-mother-to-be preparing to be seen in a positive maternal light as to impress the adoption agency. It shows that we acknowledge what is known as good parental traits and if they had failed to comply with this, the consequences would of probably been that they would not have got given a baby, regardless of their and the baby’s race. Identity, if it is not the desired one, can have unfortunate implications such as this, so this suggests that we need to change our identity accordingly to the given situation.
Both chapters of each book are interlinked. However, one is concentrated more towards exploring the aspect of conformity and the other investigates identity and differences. Both however are similar still as they are both evidence based when writing about the subject matter. It appears that both of these sources seem to support each other in some sense, however varying on their particular focus. The evidence in both books does not contradict each other but instead helps to support each others theories, this is because, the evidence given is based solely on experimental results, so the points being made are factual rather than someone just giving their opinion.
It seems that conformity of participants in an experiment can vary depending on the variables, but the most important variable to take into consideration when examining conformity is individual difference, as the role that it plays can determine the outcome.
The main point made about identity is that it is us, that give us our own identity as we stereotype ourselves depending on what groups we are in and what characteristics are associated with the said groups. Meaning that our identity is determined by where we belong, whether it be in culture, politics or social groups. Identity is marked by difference and difference in the book is explored by looking at binary oppositions. This shows us that difference can marked by what you are not. An example given in the book of binary oppositions is high/low. It gives us complete opposites and that is sometimes how difference is mark in relation to identity.
Furthermore in the poem “The Adoption Papers“, helps to give us an insight on just how important the role of identity can play in reality and how being associate with the right things can affect you. After all this poem demonstrates, that if the mother had not been associate with aspects of a maternal identity, the adoption agency was not going to let them adopt, but since they discovered that the poet had these traits, it seems that she was going to be allowed to adopt a baby.
To take this research further, I want to try and discover if there is anything that can be done to prevent conformity and if so is it linked with identity. So to summarise would this mean that we have to change who we are in order not to conform? And are we able to do so? Are we able to change the groups that we associate ourselves with?
Kay. J, The Adoption Papers, 1991.
Wetherall. M, Identities Groups and Social Issues, 1996, Open University.
Woodward.K, Identity and Difference, 1997, Open University.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Being a Dickhead's Cool

 I find it quite disturbing the fact that so many people find this video to be  true and aspire to be like it! What a joke....

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.... my arse....

The snow, yet beautiful to look at is such an inconvience to our everyday life. It disrupts pretty much everything and with most our lives have to grind to hault as noone can travel to and from work, some people can't even get simple everyday things like bread or milk as with some villages people are struggling to get in and out of it.. However the snowflakes that I prefer are the paper ones that me and my flatmate made and have stuck to our flat window. There is no inconvience with this kind of snowflake.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Youtube comments...

Reading over some youtube comments about some singers I cant believe some of the things that some people say, to people that they havent even met. Saying that they hate them, just because they disagree with what people have said?
Everyone has differently shaped opinions, we can't all be the same. If we were, the world would be a pretty monotonous place.
There is already enough hate in the world, why add to it? Especially over something so trivial...

Monday, 22 November 2010

Assignment 3 a)

Wetherell. M, ed. 1996 Identities groups and social issues, Open University :
Chapter one of this book is what I focused in on. I uncovered some interesting truths about how “belonging” and “identifying” to a group can form our behaviour. Also it looks into how big an influence can group pressure be, does this then lead on to a higher degree of conformity? Can a simple thing, such as individual difference help combat conformity? Yes…
Woodward. K, ed. 1997, Identity and difference, Open University:
I concentrated on the first chapter as it had to most relevance to what I am attempting to investigate. It discussed the ideologies of identity and difference. A fascinating point brought up which I looked into was “If identity is marked by difference, how are difference between people manifested and represented? Which sort of differences count? How is difference marked in relation to identity? What are the social and symbolic systems which classify people and mark difference?”
Guide to psychology,
I found out some intriguing things from this website such as how sometimes identity is strongly linked to lonliness and a sense of emptiness that perhaps may never be filled if they keep trying to search for it through identity.
Psychology Today, http://www.psychology :
I discovered this to be a very insightful site, I like that it is updated with new examples explaining different aspects of conformity. An example that I exposed that drew my attention and revealed some things that I did not know about conformity was “How a Notre Dame Student could die so senselessly.” :
Excellent site… It contained lots of different and valid links to different areas of predjudice etc. It contains links to essays, news articles, cartoons and more, all looking at this delicate subject matter.
Clayton. S, Devine-Wright. P, Journal of Enviromental Psychology, Vol 30, Issue 3, September 2010:
It discusses relating identity to place and behaviour. Also how identity is determined and characterized. I like how identity to most is meant to be about individuality and uniqueness, but are we really are own persons?

Friday, 19 November 2010

I have come to realise that even though comemorating the soilders that died in combat during WW1 on the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th hour is an incrediable thing to do.
Yet it made me quesetion... Why dont we do it for other wars and all the soilders that have lost lives? It almost seems to me as if the soilders that fought bravely in the civil war, for example, deserve the same kind of recognition.
Even soilders today should be applauded for their hard work that they do for us to keep our freedom safe.
Shouldn't all of these soilders lives be equally as important, no matter what the cause they were fighting for?
In my opinion, they all deserve to be remembered given that all life is precious, and they gave theirs to save ours....

Monday, 15 November 2010

After finding out about this knitted wedding, I decided to do my own research into more unusual knitted objects here are my findings:




Friday, 12 November 2010

Today's lecture made me look at "craft" in a whole new perspective. Especially when I was viewing the video clip that included the knitted wedding. I thought it was brilliantly done.

knitted wedding   
knitted wedding

Maybe one day I will be knitting my own wedding dress....

Monday, 8 November 2010

Assessment 2

I decided with this assignment to research more into types of people as that is what the chapter of the law of the few in "The Tipping Point" is concerned with. It made me first think, why do we associate certain things with certain people, which then was followed on by why do we feel like we have to label people. Then I decided to try and look into if there was anything that could be done to challenge our own pre-conceptions. Some of the research that I did was rather interesting as apparently our pre-conceptions are to do with what we have been initially taught about a certain subject matter so the only way it seems to change this is to try and address the intital understanding of a subject matter.
The most interesting points that I discovered however, were to do with why we label people, looking in to this gave me a wider scope into the matter. It seems that we label to mark differences/distinctions and it can also mean to name something as things have to named in order for it to be known. However other reasons that I found about why we labeled people include, to be protected in some sense, to be accepted, some choose to be labelled, or maybe it is to better understand ourselves and then eventually all of this can make you question... does individuality even exist?
My answer at the moment, is no. We are all like one another in one sense, whether we would like to accept this fact or not. We may have certain quirks or characteristics that in our opinion make us "different" I will not dispute that but at the end of the day we are all human so we are not that much "different" from each other, most of us share similar personality traits to the ones our friends have, sometimes we are guilty of even conforming too much in order for our so-called friends to accept us, but if they are you real friends.... Should they not just accept  you for who you are rather than because
 you share the same "label"? Its a nice thought that isn't being accepted for who you are, but unfortunately alot of the time this isnt the case. As most of us tend to change our personalities depending on who we are with, for example most people act differently around there friends than they would do around their parents. Which can make you question... Which one is actually the REAL you?

I was thinking more and more about this so called "memory box" and thought, it would be useful for it to accomodate both old and new pictures, as to stimulate maybe some old memories that you had with this particular friend/relative but then at the same time still interesting to see in the new pictures how they have changed. So instead of just having up-to-date pictures I think it would be a good idea to consider a mixture and if this was the case I think the box would have alot more sentimental value added to it.
The reason I say this, is as I look back at all the photographs I have taken over the years, it makes me feel as shakespear once said "such sweet sorrow". To me, this signify's a good feeling and I think others will agree as looking at your previous years can sometimes bring a warm feeling to your heart. Yet your heart may be weighted down to some degree thinking of what has been that might not ever be again. So I think it would be a good thing for owners of these "memory boxes" to be able to reflect upon such things.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Friday Lecture's Reflection Time....

After a rather inspiring talk given by jewellery designer Hazel White, an aspect which I picked up on that I found to be a particularly clever idea was when she was talking about an object called "Hamefarer's kist". To try an explain this object, I would say it works as sort of memory box. It has little knitted pieces held within and when you move the pieces to a certain bit of the box, on the top lid of the box, photographs appear of  a loved one, that is associated with that particular piece. It was said to be really good for long distance relationships, for example a grandmother living in the Shetlands getting up-to-date pictures of her grandchildren who were perhaps living in the United States.
Here is an image I found on the net of this device:

A nine year old boy explaining how the Hamefarers Kist works to the older woman.

For me personally I would like to use this device to see what was happening with my dad's relatives in australia whom we have only met a couple of times. As unless we by some stroke of luck win the lottery, it will be very unlikely that we will ever be able to go over and visit them, so for me this would be a very good tool of visual communication almost, to see some of the exciting things that are happening in their lives.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

In need of inspirational compostion?? Look no further....

Looking through some of my sketchbook, I felt that one of the things the majority of my ideas lacked was good composition. So to try to solve this problem, I have been looking at several artists and designers to aide my compositional worries.
John Cage was an artist, that in particular stood out to me given his incredible use of compostion. Here are a couple of examples of his work so you can see what I am on about:



The piece at the top, I find particularly striking as I love the subtle use of the washy, almost coffee stained-like brown with the opposite combination of strong orange/red, blue and yellow circle-esque shapes that are huddled together at the bottom of the piece.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Natural Pattern Development...

BRAINSTORMING!!!! (actual the right term these days is meant to be brain shower as brain storm is thought to be sounding to violent)

In our textiles studio we brainstormed the chapter the law of the few. And then we focused more on the specific aspect of connectors...


Monday, 1 November 2010

Inspired by friday's lecture, it made me want to do a bit more research into so-called "lucky" people and here is what I found:

However a quote by Larry King, which is mentioned in this particular article :

"Those who have suceeded at anything and don't mention luck are kidding themselves."

I find myself  disagreeing with this statement as I don't believe that if you suceed at something that it is because or to do with luck, necessarily. Suceeding, in my opinion usually has alot to do with talent, hard work, and dedication. But who knows, maybe the both of us are wrong??

Friday, 29 October 2010

Reflecting upon today's lecture,  Jonathon made some interesting points. I particularly like the point he was trying to make when he was distinguishing more into what may in fact help to make a person "lucky" or "unlucky".
I felt particularly drawn to this part of today's lecture as I find myself to sometimes be, in general, an "unlucky" person.
He pointed out that these so called "lucky" people are  more aware of what is going around them where as the "unlucky" people tend to be really focused.
The particular example that stuck in my head was an experiment where they took both of these sorts of people and said to them to leaf through a newspaper counting all the pictures with people in them, the twist however, was that in the newspaper there was an advertisement that said something along the lines of if you read this add, stop the experiment and claim your £200. As soon as I heard this, I thought to myself, "God, I bet I would be one of the unlucky few that wouldnt get the £200."
So if I have learned anything today, it would be that I need to be more aware of what is going around me, as from that experiment, it shows that it can most definitely lead on to better things.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Once upon a time...

I feel obliged to share with you, a short story that my dad told me, that means a lot to me and has helped me when necessary.
It is a story about a king, whom is given a gift. The gift in question is a ring. Enscrypted inside the ring were the words "It will pass". The king was instructed to look at this ring when things in his kingdom were going really well or when matters were in a state of devestating sorrow.
This was to remind him that no matter how bad things may seem or how good things may seem, it will pass and you will eventually move on to new pastures.
I think this story can really help with everyones lifes, especially to try enable us to try and keep level headed about a situation.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Assignment 1c/d

The Tipping Point By Malcolm Gladwell
Chapter: The Law of the Few
Fischer Hackett .D , 1994, Paul Revere’s Ride, New York: Oxford University Press (Page 30) : An example of how one man, raised the alarm about the british invading america and how on his midnight ride the news spread like wild fire. Given the time of night, it is supported later on in the chapter that people assume because they are being awakened in the middle of the night that it is important news and I think this helped Revere on his mission.

Milgram.S, 1967, Psychology Today Vol.1, pp.60-67 (Page 34): A chain letter, which was used to see how we were all connected. In the experiment, the letters that managed to reach the stockbroker, it was apparent that it only took 5 or 6 steps/people. This is where we get the idea of six degrees of separation. It showed that the majority of the letters were sent lastly to the stockbroker by a few of the same people, these are whom are thought to be connectors.

Werner. C, Parmelee. P, 1979, Social Psychology Quarterly,m Vol 42, no.I, pp62-66 (Page 35): This study showed that people were usually closest to someone that lived near their proximity. However it is usually generally thought that most people tend to be friends with people nearer their own age and race, but this study showed these aspects are a lot less important than has previously been assumed.
Granovetter Mark, 1995, University of Chicago Press (Page 53): Showing how it depends more on who you know rather than what you know, in enabling you to get yourself a job. It also proves a good point that having many aquintances (I.e being a connector) can have many useful advantages.

Inman Jeffery. J, McAlister Leigh, Hoyer. D. Wayne, 1990, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol 17, pp-74-81. (Page 60): In a supermarket, they could just keep rising their prices but the reason they don’t is because of the “Market Mavens” who keep a close eye on the prices and details of things and notice if something isn’t quite right and would do something about it, I.e. like complain to the manger and/or tell all their friends and acquaintances to not go to that particular supermarket.

Feick. F. L, Price. L. L, 1987, Journal of Marketing, Vol.51, pp.83-97(Page 61): This shows the obsession of a Maven to get the best deal on whatever the item maybe, in this instance it is cans of coffee, but it could be anything.

Mullen. B, Et Al, 1986, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 51, pp. 219 -230. (Page 74): This showed how when a news caster reported on an election, how their facial expresion could be biased and could probably change the voting behaviour of the public.

Wells. L. G, Petty. E. R, 1980, Basic and applied Social psychology, Vol. I, No3, pp. 53-76. (Page 77): This experiment was to do with head shaking movements whilst wearing headphones and listening to radio editorial affecting your opinion on a subject matter. In this particular experiment it involved how much undergraduate tuition per year. There were 3 groups involved, the control group, a group that had to shake their heads up and down and another group that had to move their head side to side. The group that moved their heads from side to side strongly disagreed with what was being said. And the group that had to move their heads up and down strongly agreed with what was being said.
Condon. S. W, 1982, Interaction Rhythms: Periodicity in Communicative Behaviour, New York: Human Sciences Press, pp. 53-76. (Page 81): This was a study of a film which last 4.5 seconds. After a year and half it he discovered that whilst having the conversation the people moved simultaneously as people were talking and listening. This is known as “interactional synchrony”
Hatfield. E, Cacioppo. T. J, Rapson. L. R, 1994, Emotional Contagion, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Page 84): This shows that we tend to emulate each others responses to situations to show a sense of empathy.

Friedman. H, Riggio, 1981, Journal of Nonverbal Behaviour, Vol.6, pp.96-104. (Page 86) :This shows us that emotion from a charismatic person can be contagious and can transfer their good mood onto someone who is inexpressive/depressed just by being in the room with them for 2 minutes not saying a word. But this test did not work the other way around. E.g inexpressive person can not transfer their mood upon a charismatic person.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

A Thought Process.... Assignments 1a/b

A Mind Map on the book "The Tipping Point" By Malcolm Gladwell.

Here is another Mind Map but with this one I chose to look more in-depth into a particular chapter of the book- 3 Rules of Epidemics.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Recent Project Developments...

I feel that in this sketchbook page for my brief of natural pattern, I have managed to develop more into what I have been trying to do. I have had a  break through with my work of sorts, but have'nt quite managed it ( I feel as though I have had a bit of an "An Artist's block" if you will). However, I do not feel as though it is anywhere near finished and still needs considerably development. But, hey design is a process is it not??

Life is just one "BIG" curve

On Friday morning, I felt that Mike Press, made a very valid, yet interesting point about the Sigmoid Curve. He refered to it as " the meaning of life". And on some level, the more I began to interpret and question the points he was making, the more I began to agree with what he was saying.
Before Friday I had never heard of the Sigmoid Curve as maths has never been my forte. He showed in various examples,  how at some point we will reach our peak at whatever the given subject matter, then decline.
It also relates  to the book "The tipping Point" By Malcolm Gladwell about the emphasis how things reach an epedemic peak, then they decline. At the same time it reminds me of the the cliche saying "what comes up, must come down".
I never thought something as simple as a mathematical curve would be a reasonable explaination to one of lifes most philosophical questions...

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Political Correctness, taking the biscuit...

At the weekend, I heard on the bbc news that there had been an investigation in Ireland into the grooming of a child by a school dinner lady. The incident in question, is a good example of how today, political correctness has gone almost completely barmey. As all the poor dinner lady did was give the school child a biscuit at lunch. This then lead to a series of enquires and meetings lasting up to one hour. Luckily the woman in question, her name has been cleared.
I just can't believe that because an adult gives a child a biscuit, it automatically makes them a sexual preditor in today's society??
So I think we have all learned the moral of this story, never share your biscuits...

Sunday, 3 October 2010

A little taster of some sketch book work...

Word of mouth epedemic...

Recently I have read an interesting book called "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell. Which, in short discussed epedemics and how they came to light. I as I was watching the news on friday night a current example of word of mouth epedemic arose, "les miserables" apparently people in New York, were simply flocking to see it as they were celebrating there 25th anniversary of being in production. Here are some more interesting facts, that I stumbled across, that I found out about les miserables as I researched it,  trying to discover as to why it had become such an "epedemic" recently...

Tuesday, 28 September 2010


Today, I engrossed myself within Duncan of Jordanstone Library searching for research on my chosen topic of reflection for my semester 1 project.I found  amazing photography books with some awe-inspiring photo's. I felt myself spiralling off into tangents as the subject matter is so varied and there is so many paths in which I could follow. So I just kept gathering and gathering information. Hopefully I will eventually find which direction, I should head off in with my project....

Monday, 27 September 2010

The beginning of a new era...

Well, it seems this year, us designers at Duncan of Jordanstone are required to make blogs, so... Let the blogging commence!!