This is for my Social Psychology class - for assessment and communication. I hope you find my thoughts interesting and please feel free to comment!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Hi Everyone,
On a lighter note (and probably because the idea of reinforcements are on my mind - thanks to learning) I have found that the sudden new addition of that second light bulb has really encouraged me to strive harder with my blog. (I am referring to the list of all blogs - with the lightbulbs indicating an active blog). As silly as that may sound, for me achieving that second light bulb seems as though it will be the consequence for my behaviour and efforts on this blog. Any tips on how to reach that goal? :)

I find this an interesting concept within the idea of social psychology as from such a thing as a light bulb picture, motivation has been elicited in me. This makes me ponder how other factors in life motivate people into action... such a small idea but such a large effect.

I'd like to know if anyone else has similar thoughts or if studying has just driven me mad - any comments welcome!


Communication breakdown

Hi Everyone,

This post is in response to Beck's blog which made me think of all the times I have seen this type of situation occur, and shamefully enough somewhere along the line I have probably fallen prey to the same problem. I replied to Beck's post with my own story.... I work for the ACT Government in Payroll and on this occasion I had to discuss someone’s leave/pay with them. However, in this instance I don't think cultural differences were present, probably just arrogance. After I stated why I was deducting money from him he started to challenge me and so I repeated myself again, and again. Eventually both our tempers were getting frayed and he said quite rudely "I know that because you have said it seven times now" (each time I was trying to adapt my words into a new sentence to see if it would assist his understanding of leave entitlements). However he kept asking the same question! Eventually I said "I will get someone else for you because obviously I can't explain it clearly enough for you." As rude as this sounded I meant it as nicely as possible as obviously we were having a communication problem and the conversation was straining us both. This really illustrates to me that communication problems are everywhere within our daily lives... and often ignorance (especially in believing that raising one's voice will help) dominants within society.

Thinking about this made many other situations come to mind. My question is do things like this often occur and yet we have become so blind that we just don't see it anymore, or are we trying not to see it?


Social Experiments Dr Phil Style

Hi Everyone,
While attempting to do my study I stumbled upon the last bit of today's Dr Phil (fancy that ha ha) anyway from what I saw I noticed the episode was surrounding a social experiment. I found the details on the website and have added the details to catch you up to speed. (I have decided to leave the full story so it gives you the whole picture). The show may have included other examples of social experiments but I only managed to see this one.

"The Dr. Phil cameras go to Grand Central Terminal during rush hour. Heidi is turned into a fashion nightmare, with toilet paper hanging off of her shoe and her thong underwear clearly exposed. As she walks around, many people look at her, some even whispering to others. One woman calls her friend over and points out Heidi’s revealing underwear. A guy snaps a photo of Heidi’s backside with the camera on his cell phone. A few people actually stop her and let her know that she has toilet paper stuck to her shoe, but no one mentions her underwear. One woman says, “It looked not very nice. We could have gone to her and asked her if she knows about this or not, but we just didn’t.” Her friend adds, “We are not locals, so maybe it’s normal here, you know.”

Another woman, Therese, holds nothing back. “You know, I’ve got to tell you something,” she says to Heidi. “You’re a disaster. You have toilet paper, and you have your thong exposed.”

After the encounter, Therese tells why she stopped Heidi. “Women have to help women today, so there I was out taking care of her,” she says.

Dr. Phil introduces Therese. “Why did you decide to go up to her?” he asks. “She looked very vulnerable out there,” she says. “When I walked by, the first thing I noticed was the toilet paper, and then when I noticed the underwear, and she was in Grand Central, I thought, wow, this is really terrible.”

"How did you think she would respond?” Dr. Phil asks. “Because it is a risk when you step up to somebody and say something like, ‘You’re a disaster.’” “I wasn’t sure how she was going to react,” Therese says. “But I thought I was helping her that way.” “Because you’re such a fashion maven and have such courage, we just thought it would be appropriate to give you a $1,000 American Express gift card, so you can go do some shopping,” Dr. Phil tells Therese. “Thank you!” Therese replies.

I got this transcript off the Dr Phil website, then click on 'Will anyone tell a woman about her wardrobe malfunctions'?

From what I saw I found this extremely interesting as often I have seen people with something wrong and thought to myself "oh no what do I do" and this illustrated that point is also true for many people. This in a way relates to 'bystander effect' yet the problem gets worse when no one is willing to step up. Eventually in this case 'Heidi' was told regarding her problems but in everyday life things don't always turn out that way. I know how embarrassing it is when after several hours you notice something is wrong with you and yet no one told you.

If anyone saw the show and has any more information or thoughts I would really like to hear them. Also I just want to say how fun it is to relate Dr Phil to Social Psychology - practical and entertaining!

But I just have one question for you: what would you do? (if you didn't know it was a social experiment). Would you say something? or look the other way?

Dr Phil. (2007). What would you do? Retrieved August 29, 2007 from


Mental Health Foundation

This post is in reference to a post made by Bec.

This blog reminded me of a mental health group that I visited a few months back (while researching for another assignment). I sat in on the Mental Health Foundation meeting one night and the members consisted mainly of family members who were caring for a child or sibling with a mental illness. It was amazing to hear their first hand accounts of how people and also organisations treat both them and their family members simply because of the stigma attached to mental illness. Furthermore, I receive emails from the Mental Health Foundation surrounding meeting minutes and upcoming meeting agendas. Unfortunately I haven't had time time to make it back to another meeting but it is interesting keeping upto date with the latest information. There are a few different organisations out there however I have added a link to the Mental Health Foundation website in case anyone is interested.

It would be really interesting to hear about anyone else's experiences or knowledge surrounding the stigma of mental illness as this is something that really interests me.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

test blog 1

Hi everyone,
Just testing how technological I can be - just making sure I won't get it wrong when it counts :)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Amazing Grace Part Two

Now that Amazing Grace has been showing at the cinemas for a few weeks now, it is probably now okay to say a bit more. Although I do not have any new information surrounding Amazing Grace or William Wilberforce I wanted to briefly add that while researching for my blog 1 topic (prejudice, stereotyping and aggression) I managed to come across a reference to prejudice and the work of William Wilberforce (as well as others) in their efforts against the slave trade. This really indicated to me the extent of prejudice that is still evident within today's society, regardless of the amazing efforts of many people. Also that Wilberforce and his group had to work for their beliefs for so many years before anything was done. This shows that change is not an overnight fix and that dedication and determination are both key aspects. However, on a lighter note is it extremely empowering to think that one person really can make a difference with the right resources and support.

I really appreciated the comments regarding my first post on Amazing Grace, and I have taken into account James comment surrounding my original link to the film and consequently I have added the youtube version of the film's trailer.

Additionally I have found a youtube video for 'Ghosts of Rwanda' which shows a brief glimpse of the film.

I also found a website which shows the different parts of Jane Elliot's work. These videos are linked to her original work with young children. From this link you can skip through the different chapters and get a greater understanding of her work. In total the running time is quite long but very interesting to watch.

I hope you find this connection between Amazing Grace and prejudice and aggression as strong and as relevant as I did and still do. Having a visual display really helps to concrete the thoughts and beliefs surrounding these topics, and although they are sad to watch I feel they help me to understand the underlying themes on a different level.

I also found the confrontational aspects of both 'Ghosts of Rwanda' and 'Australian Eye' to elicit the same responses. I really appreciated watching all three of these films as for me reading only portrays things to a certain extent, and I think I need the visual aspect to really integrate everything.

If anyone has seen Amazing Grace and has anything extra to add that would be greatly appreciated. Alternatively any thoughts surrounding the concepts of prejudice would also be appreciated as my topic for blog 1 is prejudice, stereotyping and aggression. Your thoughts on the interconnectedness of these concepts would be very beneficial as every individual has their own opinions, thoughts and beliefs, and I would really like to take this into account when writing and submitting my blog.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Berlin Wall

In theme with my last blog surrounding discrimination, I have decided to write about The Berlin wall. I visited Berlin last year and my German friend was my personal tour guide. We visited a small remainder of the Berlin Wall (see pictures), with ignorance on my behalf, yet obvious pain and hurt on his, to see and discuss the wall.

A representation of the Cold War, the 155km long Berlin wall on completion, divided East and West Berlin for 28 years (Wikipedia, 2007). The wall was constructed on August 13, 1961 to prevent East Germans from escaping into the West. After 1948 life in the West was better than the East, due in part to financial help through the Marshallplan from the USA (Burkhardt, 2002-06); and many people were searching for economic prosperity and political freedom from the West (Wikipedia, 2007). Whereas, many people in the East suffered oppression under the Communist party which had been established (Burkhardt, 2002-06); with a Soviet-style planned economy and an authoritarian government (Wikipedia, 2007). In 1952 the East German Government closed the open border between East and West Germany (Burkhardt, 2002-06). Even though this made escaping harder and more dangerous, sectional borders between East and West Berlin were not closed, and often East German citizens would flee to West Germany through West Berlin (Burkhardt, 2002-06). Eventually the East German Government closed the border between East and West Berlin to prevent people escaping via Berlin to the West (Burkhardt, 2002-06).

Although dissatisfaction toward the wall existed, the economy in the East grew due to the elimination of the black market and dual currency damage (Wikipedia, 2007). Eventually, in 1962, a second parallel fence was constructed further into East German territory to create a ‘no man’s land,’ which became known as the ‘death strip’. The wall went through four phases, with the ‘fourth generation wall,’ started in 1975 and completed in 1980, the wall commonly seen in photographs and surviving fragments (Wikipedia, 2007). During the time of the wall, eight border crossings existed between East and West Berlin, with the most famous ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ (FriedrichstraƟe), which allowed allied personnel, western foreigners and West Germans into East Berlin, and provided necessary permits were held East German citizens could visit West Berlin (Wikipedia, 2007).

It is stated that there were around 5,000 successful escapes into West Berlin during the walls existence; however although there is varying statistics surrounding the number of deaths from attempted crossings, it is believed that 192 people were also killed (Wikipedia, 2007). Guards were told “Do not hesitate to use your firearm, not even when the border is breached in the company of women and children, which is a tactic the traitors have often used” (Wikipedia, 2007, p. 7).

In June 1987, United States President Ronald Reagan delivered his famous “tear down this wall” speech. (I have added a link to a few minutes of this speech).

Although it is commonly accepted that the wall was torn down on November 9, 1989, according to Wikipedia (2007) this date was when borders were stormed due to a message read at a press conference by the East German Minister of Propaganda. New border crossings were opened throughout summer 1990, with the most famous on December 22, 1989 at Brandenburg Gate (Wikipedia, 2007). On June 13, 1990 the East German military began the official dismantling of the wall which continued through to November 1991; and consequently the fall of the wall was the first step toward German reunification which was officially completed on October 3, 1990 (Wikipedia, 2007).

As well as many other performers, David Hasselhoff performed live at the Berlin Wall with his song “looking for freedom” which appealed to many German people during the arduous times surrounding the wall (Wikipedia, 2007). I have added a link to a youtube version of this song being performed live at Berlin; however the quality is not great.

Three sections of the wall in its original site still exist, even though most of the wall was destroyed; the remainders of the wall are in bad condition partly due to damage by souvenir seekers (Wikipedia, 2007). I also managed to buy a souvenir of the wall while I was in Germany. Even so, a private museum rebuilt a 200-metre section near Checkpoint Charlie, fifteen years after the fall (Wikipedia, 2007). Although the wall is gone, cultural differences are still rumoured and some Germans wish the wall was once again restored in Berlin, described as “Mauer im Kopf” (“The wall in the head”) (Wikipedia, 2007, p. 11).

While researching the history of the Berlin Wall I found lots of different sites and information however I feel these words really encapsulate the imaginary wall which still exists in many parts of the world today.

“In a way, the Berlin Wall is a reminder to us that there are still plenty of walls waiting to be torn down. These walls are not made of concrete or barbed wire. They are not made of sticks or bricks or mud or wire. These new kind of walls cannot be touched or seen but we know that they are there. These kinds of walls are built of words, words that are full of hate and anger and superiority. These walls are built on ignorance or prejudice. They are constructed on the fear of difference. These walls are built on words and actions that are in any way racist or discriminatory” (Caritas Australia, 2002, p. 1).

The Berlin Wall was a huge reminder of the discrimination that existed within Germany and according to the paragraph above, discrimination most certainly remains within today’s society. Understanding the flaws still evident within society is an important and necessary aspect for all people. Hopefully one day the “walls” built by members of society will also be torn down, and the first piece starts with us all.

I would really appreciate any thoughts or comments of personal experiences or knowledge surrounding the Berlin Wall and discrimination, particularly in relation to today's society.



Burkhardt, H. (2002-2006). Berlin Wall Online. History of the Berlin
Wall: Why the Wall was built up. Retrieved August 17, 2007

Caritas Australia. (2002). Backgrounder – tear down these Walls.
Retrieved August 17, 2007

Wikipedia. (2007). Berlin Wall. Retrieved August 17, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"Amazing Grace"

After watching the movie ‘Amazing Grace’ today as a requirement for another class I realised it could be related to one of the blog topics, in particular prejudice and discrimination. Although my discussion of this film does not refer directly to the criteria for our blog I wanted to discuss it anyway. I haven’t discussed everything from the movie as I do not want to give the story away just in case anyone plans to see it. The movie is currently showing in cinemas and was released to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in Great Britain.

Firstly I wanted to define both prejudice and discrimination. Definitions provided by

a. An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts.
b. A preconceived preference or idea.
2. The act or state of holding unreasonable preconceived judgments or convictions. See Synonyms at predilection.
3. Irrational suspicion or hatred of a particular group, race, or religion.
4. Detriment or injury caused to a person by the preconceived, unfavorable conviction of another or others.

1. The act of discriminating.
2. The ability or power to see or make fine distinctions; discernment.
3. Treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit; partiality or prejudice: racial discrimination; discrimination against foreigners.

The movie ‘Amazing Grace’ portrays the history of William Wilberforce in 18th century England. “Wilberforce was a deeply religious English member of parliament and social reformer who was very influential in the abolition of the slave trade and eventually slavery itself in the British empire” (, n.d, p. 1). The movie follows the efforts of William Wilberforce and his small group in their efforts to abolish the slave trade. The slave trade involved “British ships carrying black slaves from Africa, in terrible conditions, to the West Indies as goods to be bought and sold” (, n.d, p.1).
William Wilberforce ©

I do not want to go into exact details as I do not want to ruin the movie for anyone. However, I feel this movie can be linked to prejudice and discrimination as according to the fourth definition of prejudice “Detriment or injury caused to a person by the preconceived, unfavorable conviction of another or others,” this movie showed the efforts of William Wilberforce and his group to fight the prejudice displayed against the African slaves. Furthermore, the third definition of discrimination “Treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit; partiality or prejudice: racial discrimination; discrimination against foreigners,” is also evident within the efforts of the group as they strived to abolish slave trade. William Wilberforce presented his bill to parliament for 18 years and eventually reached success. I feel this film was a useful example of the prejudice and discrimination which was embedded into society during the 18th century. Although within today’s society prejudice and discrimination is still evident in parts, the efforts of William Wilberforce and his group was a big accomplishment. Furthermore, William Wilberforce is eternally remembered, with a suburb within New South Wales, near Sydney named ‘Wilberforce’ in remembrance.

I would really appreciate any other comments or views on this topic/movie in relation to prejudice and discrimination. I would like to cover more on this topic but at this stage I will withhold until the movie has been running a little bit longer.

I have added a link to the trailer to the movie to encourage everyone to see it. It is a great bit of history and an enjoyable film.
Additionally, I have also added the link to a study guide for 'Amazing Grace' which includes interesting information surrounding the story.



Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Test blog

This is my test blog!