Social Science

From the Roots: Where Should Crime Prevention Start?

Alana Gordon

American University

This study aims to explore causal relations between mental health resource accessibility and crime rates in the United States by observing mental illnesses amongst those who have been incarcerated as well as analyzing the United States’ current crime reduction practices and their effectiveness. Additionally, examining the correlation between offending individuals and the relationships between the treatments they receive and their subsequent tendencies to continue engaging in criminal activity will help reveal if mental health has a causal relationship with patterns of crime and violence. The overall purpose of this study is to help determine whether the creation of additional rehabilitation and counseling programs as well as policy reformation to make mental health resources more accessible to the public could help lower crime rates in the United States and reduce recidivism. This study finds that due to the lack of accessibility to mental health resources in the United States, individuals are more likely to engage in illegal activities when they are unable to access counseling or to be properly treated for mental illnesses. Moreover, individuals who do not receive adequate mental health treatments during or after incarceration are more likely to continue to commit crimes than those who have been properly treated, especially amongst those with more severe and dangerous untreated mental disorders. If mental health resources can become more accessible to at-risk individuals, charged criminals, and previous offenders, crime rates in the United States could begin to shrink.

A Disorder in Disguise: How TikTok Exploits Dependence on Social Groupings in Teen Female Weightlifters through Glamorizing Eating Disorders

Allyson Najera

Irvine Valley College

There is a growing issue of Tiktok utilizing human social grouping dependency to gain profit by promoting eating disorder media to teen female weightlifters. There is a clear emphasis of dependence on social groups through past, current and future human generations. This paper demonstrates TikTok’s usage of adaptive mechanisms by establishing social groupings and group pressure through filter bubbles, creating harmful mental consequences, and furthering stigmatization on seeking help for eating disorders. To combat this issue, governments should enact legislation that allows for stronger control of private social media corporations to uncover the logistics behind algorithmic methods and educate weightlifting users about mental health and resources when keywords related to eating disorders are searched on social media platforms.

Wellness Behaviors in College Students

Kaustubha Reddy

Clemson University Honors College

Late adolescence (ages 18-21 years) is often a period of neurodevelopmental and environmental risk as developmental imbalances foster a foundation for poorly controlled risk-taking behavior, an increasing degree of stress, and a poorer quality of life. Furthermore, a lack of positive coping mechanisms in response to these demands has prolonged the disintegrating pandemic of suicide and suicidal behaviors among the college demographic. Hence, wellness behaviors, specifically yoga and meditation, are widely accepted as nonpharmacologic modalities for improving overall health and evincing arousal, awareness, and self-esteem. This paper harnesses an empirical approach to analyze health theories, applicable interventions, and the numerous factors affecting wellness – including intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational. Mindfulness practices are truly profound in decreasing the impact of stress, anxiety, and menial physical and mental health among college students, and this paper strives to consider the incidence and adoption of such health-promoting behaviors.

Hey, Siri, Am I Sexist?: An Examination of AI Voice Assistant Gender on Perceptions of Helpfulness and Usefulness

Katrina Henley, Katelyn Garza, Cameron Long, & Amy R. Hayes

University of Texas at Tyler

Sexual harassment, gender discrimination, gender pay gap, and more are all examples of sexist attitudes prevalent in society. With the world becoming more dependent on technology and new technological creations arising each day, societal sexism would also surely encompass the technological realm. Thus, we aimed to investigate whether listening to a female artificial intelligence (AI) voice assistant would increase benevolent sexism, compared to listening to a male AI voice assistant and if listening to a female AI voice assistant would increase traditional attitudes towards women compared to listening to a male AI voice assistant. We created an online instrument that allowed interaction with AI helpers while completing a quiz, then rating the experience. The data collected found that participants did treat Siri differently during the quiz, but their sexism levels did not change, indicating there may be a lack of sexism projected onto AIs by younger generations.

Putting the Humanity Back in Humanitarianism: Neoliberalism in Non-Governmental Organizations Working with Syrian Refugees in Turkey

Alina Antropova

Holyoke Community College

As a worldwide hegemonic ideology, neoliberalism institutionalizes its economic/social principles of extreme austerity for social services, unlimited commodification of people, the co-opted emphasis on individualism, and the guise of apoliticalization. Humanitarian organizations do not exist outside of this process but are instead directly shaped by it. This paper seeks to answer how national and international neoliberal agendas drive the creation of NGOs that work with Syrian refugees in Turkey. How do those NGOs then incorporate neoliberal ideas into their policies? Literature review is used within a critical theory framework to make the argument that the neoliberal tenets (austerity, commodification, individualism, and apoliticalization) are the primary causes of non-governmental organizations’ role as primary managers of the Syrian refugee crisis in Turkey. The above neoliberal principles then also influence the procedures that these NGOs enact which in turn reduce the NGOs’ efficacy and introduce various ethical concerns. Keywords: neoliberalism, non-governmental organizations, austerity, commodification, individualism, apoliticalization, Syrian refugees, Turkey

Highlights from previous editions

Educating the Outsiders: The Importance of Social Support in the Success of Latino Undocumented Students

Emily Adkins

Eastern Kentucky University

It takes a village to raise a child. This traditional proverb points to the importance of community and cooperation in ensuring children’s needs are met and exposing them to a wide variety of resources that could provide assistance if necessary. This concept of community support is widely heralded, and for many students in the United States, this saying is vital. Their villages are complete with parents, teachers, and administrators that support them and believe in their potential for success. But who forms the support system for children who are on America’s social fringes? For students who seem to be outsiders, such as those who lack a nine digit Social Security number due to lack of authorization to live in the United States, support systems play an especially vital role in academic success. These students face situations filled with fear and stress every day, including fear stemming from potential deportation of themselves or family members, stress due to poverty or being overworked, and heightened sense of being on the fringes of mainstream society. In the context of such circumstances, undocumented students are more equipped to overcome these obstacles when they are placed in the context of effective social support systems such as having high parental involvement in education and gaining mentorships and professional relationships with adults in their communities.

Bridging Aesthetic Theory: Comparing Scottish Enlightenment Theories to Modern Neuroscience Evidence

Calen Smith

Westminster College

Artistic disciplines burgeoned in Scotland during the eighteenth century. As fields such as sculpture, painting, literature, and music thrived, so did philosophy. Responding to the advancements of the fine arts, philosophers such as Hume, Reid, and Hutcheson began to write about the philosophy of art—aesthetics. Though they addressed a variety of themes in their writings, aesthetic theory can generally be characterized by three main questions: does beauty originate internally (person) or externally (object), are there universal traits that create beauty, and lastly, what is the role of the critique (expert) in recognizing and interpreting beauty? Three hundred years later, academic fields have progressed to apply empirical methods (keeping with the hopes of Scottish empiricists) to the questions of enlightenment philosophers. The rising field of neuroaesthetics applies the methodologies of neuroscience and psychology to the philosophical questions raised by Scottish thinkers and their contemporaries.

Health is Wealth: Behavioral Economic "Nudges" Applied to Health Care

Cameron Watts

Georgia College & State University

“Health is wealth,” is a common catchphrase adopted by non-profits and clinics to describe the inherent value of investing in one’s physical and mental wellbeing. However, most people do not recognize the truth behind the phrase – the financial return on health investments. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2010, that over 2.3 trillion dollars were spent to treat chronic and mental health diseases, many of which were preventable (Gerteis et al., 2016); Furthermore, the Congressional Budget Office expects 966 billion dollars to be spent on Medicare and Medicaid alone in 2018 (Projections for Major Health Care Programs for FY 2018 2018). That is money straight from the taxpayer’s pocket and health care costs continue to rise.

Non-Suicidal Self-Injury on YouTube: A Content and Comment Analysis

Nathan Lowry, Carol Ewert

Iona College

Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a prevalent public health issue that affects millions of teenagers and young adults each year. With the ever-increasing use of social media among youth, it is important to understand how NSSI is represented online. The goal of the current study was to update the research of Lewis and colleagues (2010) to examine how NSSI is represented on YouTube via a content analysis. We also examined whether certain types of NSSI related videos may encourage or trigger viewers to engage in NSSI themselves by coding comments posted in response to videos. For this study, we searched “self-harm” and used the view count filter to select the top 25 most viewed videos within the past three years. We coded the content using categories from a previous study conducted by Dr. Colleen Jacobson’s research team (Tigershtrohm et al., 2016). Our results showed that 28% of all videos fell under the “bashing” category, 20% fell under the “providing support category” and 20% fell under the “current acts” category. Our results also showed that 36.8% of all comments were self-disclosure, 36.4% were feedback towards the poster and only 1% of all comments indicated the viewer was triggered. Our results lead us to the conclusion that, though the majority of videos fell under the category “bashing,” the majority of comments discouraged NSSI and did not trigger viewers.