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Tutor profile: Aaren S.

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Aaren S.
Aaren Shariah-Smith, experienced teacher
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Questions

Subject: Psychology

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Question:

There is a lot of research showing a link between depression and relationship distress. Explain 3 reasons why these two phenomena are often associated with each other.

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Aaren S.
Answer:

To begin, there is a lot of guilt associated with relationship partners that have no psychopathological diagnoses dating those that do. These partners oftentimes feel guilty about their partner's depression, which may impact their own self-perceptions (e.g. they feel they are the cause of their partner's depression), or how they behave during interactions with the partner (e.g., tentative to sharing positive news or express discontent). In the same direction, I think that the partners without diagnoses end up having to be in a negative environment constantly, where it is inevitable that they must listen and attend to their partner's cyclical episodes of intense rumination. Ultimately, dating a depressed person could induce depression in their partner. Lastly, I find depression and relationship distress to be associated with each other for a more direct reason: being in a relationship itself affords the opportunity to exhibit and interpret negative affective behavior. With any intimate relationship, there's going to be conflict, and you are intricately linked to your partner; so, your regulation is no longer dependent on just the self, you now have an "extension of self" (reminsicent of parent-child relationships) which has a profound effect on your overall well-being.

Subject: Statistics

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Question:

You are interested in testing internet vs. DVD based instructional videos for reducing the incidence of farm accidents. You assume that the mode of presentation will be a medium sized effect of d = 0.50, and you want to use a t-test to determine if there is a difference between the two modes of presentation. How many farms should you sample (in each group) in order to have a power = 0.80?

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Aaren S.
Answer:

Answer: n = 62.72 (rounded 63) Calculation: 2(2.8/0.5)^2 Explanation: n (sample size) = expected t-value (power; delta) divided by effect size (d). There is a standard relationship between the variables of sample size, effect size, alpha level, and power. If you can identify 3/4 of these variables, you can shift around the equation to get the fourth.

Subject: Communication

TutorMe
Question:

Hovland describes communication in terms of a communicator, a message, a respondent, and a response. Pick one reading from either the cybernetic or the sociopsychological tradition (other than Hovland!) and discuss: a) how you could study and develop that theory/perspective from a Hovland-ish definition of communication, and b) how a full exploration of those theories/perspectives wold involve going beyond the Hovland perspective-- be explicit about what is missing from the Hovland perspective that would need to be added to do justice to the other reading's theory.

Inactive
Aaren S.
Answer:

The paper by Berger and Calabrese directly focuses on the message and the response to a message, as the content of the message itself and the response to said message depends on where in the stage of uncertainty reduction one is in. For an example, a positive response would be elicited in the entry stage if general information questions were asked (followed y a symmetrical reciprocation), while jumping straight into personal questions would likely elicit an uncomfortable response (as there would be uncertainty of whether or not the speaker will reciprocate). On the other hand, if you are at the personal stage, your conversation partner might not find it appropriate to ask surface level questions or asking questions with the goal of obtaining information. So, based on these examples, I think that the uncertainty reduction theory already has some Hovland influence. But, a way I could see developing it further is by considering the communicator and respondent characteristics. Considering how "knowing the same language" can reduce uncertainty (e.g. sharing an ingroup) or how the roles we have in a particular context could completely determine how much uncertainty we have, as well as how much uncertainty we are willing to tolerate, comes to light. Honestly I don't think there is much that the theory can explain beyond the Hovalnd perspective, the take that I got from the Berger and Calabrese paper was that despite all of this interest in developing an academic discipline for communication, few scholars are developing theory that centralizes communication. So for a paper that talks so much about communication, perhaps the 'extension' could be that the second paper applies what the first is aspiring for the future. It doesn't seem like it was the goal for the first reading (by Hovland) to use communication research to explain the legitimacy of communication, hence he referred to its prevalence in other academic communities, I think he even acknowledges that there was little reference to the communication literature, but the second paper essentially took the "second step" of making communication center. Thinking about it even further, one specific way that the Hovland explanation doesn't fully account for the uncertainty reduction theory is through the consideration of time. In uncertainty reduction theory, you go through a series of stages (i.e. entry, personal, exit). In different phases, different aspects of the model (i.e. communicator, comunicatee, message, response) are more important, and other aspects become more salient later. For example, perhaps more heuristic communicator characteristics (e.g. physical attractiveness, clothing, apparent social skills) seem more apparent at the beginning than more substantive speaker information like their adaptive behaviors, -isms, personal beliefs and preferences. I don't think the Hovland explanation has to expand necessarily, but perhaps address the four main categories in more detail, as each are multifaceted and their importance differs in the magnitude depending on where you are in the uncertainty reduction process.

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