Trumbull Notes 9-26-16

September 26, 2016

This past weekend

We had another weekend of beautiful weather.  I was especially grateful for this because it meant we had great weather for both our Saturday kayaking trip and for our TrumBall Saturday evening. 

Thanks to all those who were up early and on the van to go kayaking in the morning; the sound and beach were beautiful.  Thanks to Deb Bellmore and Debbie Rueb for their help with this event making all the necessary travel, food and reservation arrangements and for helping me to find out where our shuttle was waiting for us in morning as we waited at 241 Elm.   Thanks also go to our fellows Tamar Wells, Rich Wells and Bob Clark who met us there, gave instructions, tows, and unstuck us when low tide left us stuck at one point.  (We had a wait list for this event.  If people are interested in a repeat adventure in the spring, let me know.)

TrumBall was great. There are so many thanks to express for making it so.  First and foremost, thank you Victoria Hernandez and Deb Bellmore.  Not only does Victoria remember everything from years past, each year she becomes more organized and more efficient (is that even possible?).  Working closely with our Operations Manager, she also makes sure all runs off just as it is supposed to.  She’s going to graduate in the spring but, already, we have an heir apparent ready to take over leadership of this event next year.  (Victoria:  We invite you back next year to enjoy the event without having to do anything!)  Deb Bellmore, I’d note, gave up much of her Saturday to Trumbull from being on the phone early in the morning to getting us launched for kayaking to being here in Trumbull into early Sunday morning making sure all was set and cleaned up after the dance.  Victoria and Deb, had lots of help, of course, and I thank everyone from the TCC (and beyond) who was involved from planning to selling tickets to getting the food out and to cleaning up.  Jihad Womack deserves special recognition for taking photos all night.  Without Jihad, we’d have little proof that this event really took place. 

Tonight.  The Debate.  Trumbull Dining Hall.  Be there at 9 p.m.

The New York Times estimates that over 100 million people will watch the debate tonight between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  Don’t be left out.  We’ll be screening the debate in the Trumbull Dining Hall tonight beginning at 9:00 p.m.

There will be snacks. 

Just today a strong journal in my own field published an article on line with evidence from five studies that the very fact that people know that others are watching such speeches at the same time we are tends to polarize attitudes (in both directions).  We already knew this debate would be an important one.  This work suggests it will be even more important than I had imagined.  Here’s the abstract of a paper that came out today.

                       The Broadcast of Shared Attention and Its Impact on Political Persuasion

Garriy Shteynberg, James M. Bramlett, Elizabeth H. Fles, and Jaclyn Cameron University of Tennessee

In democracies where multitudes yield political influence, so does broadcast media that reaches those multitudes. However, broadcast media may not be powerful simply because it reaches a certain audience, but because each of the recipients is aware of that fact. That is, watching broadcast media can evoke a state of shared attention, or the perception of simultaneous coattention with others. Whereas past research has investigated the effects of shared attention with a few socially close others (i.e., friends, acquaintances, minimal ingroup members), we examine the impact of shared attention with a multitude of unfamiliar others in the context of televised broadcasting. In this paper, we explore whether shared attention increases the psychological impact of televised political speeches, and whether fewer numbers of coattending others diminishes this effect. Five studies investigate whether the perception of simulta-neous coattention, or shared attention, on a mass broadcasted political speech leads to more extreme judgments. The results indicate that the perception of synchronous coattention (as compared with coattending asynchronously and attending alone) renders persuasive speeches more persuasive, and unpersuasive speeches more unpersuasive. We also find that recall memory for the content of the speech mediates the effect of shared attention on political persuasion. The results are consistent with the notion that shared attention on mass broadcasted information results in deeper processing of the content, rendering judgments more extreme. In all, our findings imply that shared attention is a cognitive capacity that supports large-scale social coordination, where multitudes of people can cognitively prioritize simultaneously coattended information.

It will get cold soon….

It will get cold soon.  If you are the fortunate sort of person who has always lived in a warm or moderate climate, year round, know that now is the time to plan ahead and make sure you have a warm winter coat, gloves, a hat, and boots.  (Think warm first; fashionable second – when cold, windy weather hits you won’t regret that balance of priorities.)  If you need support in this regard let me know.

Getting going on papers and such….

Shopping period is over.  Mid-terms will come soon enough.  Think about starting those papers – writing steadily through the semester as opposed to rushing at the end.  As we move forward in the semester I’ll begin to host some study breaks in the house and also some simple, quiet writing sessions with coffee and snacks available in the FARR room.  Pace yourself on your academic work and take advantage of the study breaks while also getting enough sleep, eating well and getting exercise.

HC, Margaret Clark