Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Research Question Sources

“We find that moving from an environment in which a person was never allowed to drink legally to one in which a person could always drink legally was associated with a 20 to 30 percent increase in alcohol consumption and a ten percent increase in fatal accidents for adult males. There were no statistically significant or practically important associations between the legal drinking environment when young and adult female alcohol consumption and driving fatalities” (Kaestner & Yarnoff, 2009, p. 2)

Kaestner, R., & Yarnoff, B. (2009). Long term effects of minimum legal drinking age laws on adult alcohol use and driving fatalities. National Bureau of Economic Research.

I think that this is a very reliable source because it was published recently by an institution that does economic research. The information seems pretty reliable. I might use this new information as evidence that lowering the legal drinking age would have negative effects on society because, according to the article, it would result in men drinking more often and an increase in fatal accidents.

“The passage of Minimum Legal Drinking Age 21 (MLDA 21) laws has been one of the most successful traffic safety countermeasures implemented over the past 30 years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 900 lives are saved every year due to these laws, with a total of more than 25,000 lives since 1975” (Fell, 1980, p. 5).
Fell, J. C. (2008). An examination of the criticisms of the minimum legal drinking age 21 laws in the united states from a traffic safety perspective. National highway traffic safety administration

This is a very reliable source however I think I would have to find the original sources to use a lot of the facts that this article compiled because it wasn’t their own research. The information from this article would be useful because it would provide more evidence that raising the legal drinking age saved lives. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chapter 10

In chapter 10, Ronson goes to a Scientology banquet and sparks an interest in discovering how mental disorders came to be and what the implications are for the future. At the scientology banquet, the speaker, Lady Margaret, was mocking the list of ridiculous "mental disorders" that people think belong in the DSM. Ronson wanted to find out who created the DSM so he met up with Robert Spitzer, the author of the DSM-III. Spitzer conducted an experiment where he sent people to five different mental hospitals across the country and told them to pretend like they were hearing voices and see what happened. They were all locked up for about 20 days in a mental hospital and Spitzer ultimately ended up exploiting psychiatry. He wanted to remove human judgement from psychiatry by making a list of characteristics of mental disorders in the DSM. He admits to Ronson the unruly way the mental disorders were established for the book and said that there are probably a lot of mistakes. Ronson starts to wonder what would happen if people over-diagnose mental disorders and meets with a woman who had her children diagnosed with bipolar disorder and put on medication when they were under the age of 7. Ronson believes that this is ridiculous because it is not uncommon for children to act in irrational ways because they are children. Finally, at the end, Ronson mentions the case of Rebecca Riley, a four year old girl who was given cold medicine and bipolar medication by her parents and died of an overdose. Her parents were convicted of murder.

I was really confused in the end when Ronson brought up the "being and nothingness" book again. I still have absolutely no idea how it is relevant or why it was created. I also thought it was really interesting when Ronson explored the problems that could arise from people over diagnosing people with mental disorders and I wonder what kinds of things people are doing now to prevent the over diagnosing of drugs. It is unbelievable that any psychiatrist would think it's okay to diagnose a 4 year old with bipolar. I agree that most of psychology/psychiatry is guesswork because the characteristics that are given in the DSM for mental disorders are so vague that anyone could find an example from their lives that suits one of the characteristics. There is no scale established for, for example, to what extent "inflated self-esteem and grandiosity" actually accounts for a symptom of a manic episode. How does a psychiatrist know if their patient has an inflated self-esteem or grandiosity? Couldn't an inflated self-esteem be due to something else happening in their lives? I could say that Kim Kardashian shows one of the symptoms of having a manic episode just because she's super rich and famous and thinks she's the shit-- aka she has an "inflated self-esteem and grandiosity", in MY opinion. But then again she probably acts the way she does because she's super rich and famous and has every guy in america drooling over her, not because she's suffering from a manic episode. What i'm trying to say is that the items on checklists for mental disorders are completely subject to people's opinions and can be easily twisted.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chapter 9

In chapter 8, Ronson investigates the story of Rachel North and the 7/7 subway bomb, and speaks with the conspiracy theorists, specifically David Shaylor, that have actively been campaigning their belief that it didn't happen. Rachel North narrowly escaped death when she was in a subway carriage with a suicide bomber in 7/7/7 in London. She started to blog about her experience to help deal with her grief, however, she had to deal with the masses of conspiracy theorists harassing her and commenting on her blog trying to contradict her story. Ronson was intrigued by the conspiracy theorists and wanted to talk to them about their beliefs and hear what type of evidence they have to back up their position. He meets up with David Shaylor, a conspiracy theorist that has many different interesting perspectives, including that it wasn't planes that hit the world trade center on 9/11, but missiles that looked like planes because they had holograms. David Shaylor seems to be a very crazy man. He even goes to the extent to claim that he is the Messiah.

I am really intrigued by conspiracy theorists now they sound absolutely insane and very stubborn. How do people come to believe those types of things? I find it hard to imagine that people like that exist in real life. I was kind of confused by the point of this chapter because Ronson didn't really tie it in with the whole psychopath testing stuff he has been doing in previous chapters. Obviously David Shaylor is insane but Ronson didn't really talk about the psychopath test much in this chapter. I liked at the end of the chapter how Ronson speculates that people like watching reality TV shows because the people on them are "the right kind of mad" because I think that's totally true and that people enjoy watching crazy people on TV because it makes them feel better about their lives.