Unit 07

Unit 7:
Emotion and the Internet
Unit 7: Assignment #1 (due before 11:59 pm Central on MON JUL 6):

  1. First, learn about emotional contagion by doing the following:
    1. Read Dictionary.com’s definition of Emotional Contagion.
    2. Watch Nicholas Christakis’s (2010) TED talk, “The Hidden Influence of Social Networks.”
      • A transcript, available in 31 languages, is available here.
      • Keep in mind that Christakis is talking about the influence of in-person, NOT Internet-based, social networks.
  2. Next, learn how Facebook took advantage of emotional contagion by doing the following:
    1. Read Kramer et al.’s (2014) article, “Experimental Evidence of Massive-Scale Emotional Contagion through Social Networks” (aka: the Facebook-manipulated-our-emotions study).
    2. Read Hughes’s (2014) criticism (but legal justification) of Kramer et al.’s (2014) Facebook-manipulated-our-emotions study.
    3. Read Ted Goff’s (2014) cartoon about Facebook manipulating our emotions.
  3. Then, go to the Unit 7: Assignment #1 Discussion Board and make a post of at least 200 words in which you
    1. define briefly emotional contagion;
    2. describe briefly an example of emotional contagion from non-Internet social networks;
    3. describe briefly what the Kramer et al. (2014) researchers manipulated in their study and what effect that manipulation had;
    4. comment whether you think the Kramer et al. (2014) study was ethical (if you think it was ethical, also explain why you think that; if you think it wasn’t ethical, also explain why you think that); and
    5. speculate about whether you’ve ever consciously felt emotional contagion on the Internet (if yes, describe a specific situation; if no, explain why not).

Unit 7: Assignment #2 (due before 11:59 pm Central on MON JUL 6):

  1. To learn about the effects of emotional support via the Internet do the following:
  2. First, read Curds-and-Wheyface’s (2017) Tumblr post about the perceived benefits of online versus in-person emotional support.
  3. Next, choose and read one of the following research articles, each of which describes an empirical investigation of online emotional support.
    1. Cserni and Talmud’s (2015) article, “To Know That You Are Not Alone: The Effect of Internet Usage on LGBT Youth’s Social Capital
    2. Dam et al.’s (2017) article, “Development and Feasibility of Inlife: A Pilot Study of an Online Social Support Intervention for Informal Caregivers of People with Dementia
    3. Flickinger et al.’s (2017) article, “Social Support in a Virtual Community: Analysis of a Clinic-Affiliated Online Support Group for Persons Living with HIV/AIDS
    4. Goodwin et al.’s (2018) article, “First, Do No Harm: Referring Primary Care Patients with Depression to an Internet Support Group
    5. Kim and Gillham’s (2014) article, “Gender Differences among Young Adult Cancer Patients: A Study of Blogs
    6. Kim et al.’s (2017) article, “Harnessing Facebook for Smoking Reduction and Cessation Interventions: Facebook User Engagement and Social Support Predict Smoking Reduction
    7. Liu et al.’s (2017) article, “When Support Is Needed: Social Support Solicitation and Provision in an Online Alcohol Use Disorder Forum
    8. Masedu et al.’s (2014) article, “Facebook, Quality of Life, and Mental Health Outcomes in Post-Disaster Urban Environments: the L’Aquila Earthquake Experience
    9. Moon et al.’s (2017) article, “Breast Cancer Survivors’ Contribution to Psychosocial Adjustment of Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer Patients in a Computer-Mediated Social Support Group
    10. Moore and Ayer’s (2018) article, “Virtual Voices: Social Support and Stigma in Postnatal Mental Illness Internet Forums
    11. Naslund et al.’s (2014) article, “Naturally Occurring Peer Support through Social Media: The Experiences of Individuals with Severe Mental Illness Using YouTube
    12. Pagoto et al.’s (2014) article, “Tweeting It Off: Characteristics of Adults Who Tweet about a Weight Loss Attempt
    13. Rains and Tsetsi’s (2016) article, “Social Support and Digital Inequality: Does Internet Use Magnify or Mitigate Traditional Inequities in Support Availability?
    14. Rice and Barman-Adhikari’s (2014) article, “Internet and Social Media Use as a Resource Among Homeless Youth
    15. Quan-Haase et al.’s (2017) article, “Connected Seniors: How Older Adults in East York Exchange Social Support Online and Offline
    16. Zhang’s (2017) article, “The Stress-Buffering Effect of Self-Disclosure on Facebook: An Examination of Stressful Life Events, Social Support, and Mental Health Among College Students
  4. Then, go to the Unit 7: Assignment #2 and #4 Discussion Board and make a new post of at least 200 words in which you first identify the article you read (by stating the author/s’ name/s and the article’s title) and then answering the following questions:
    1. What did the researchers study?
    2. Why did they study this?
    3. What did they find?
    4. What do their findings mean?

Unit 7: Assignment #3 (due before 11:59 pm Central on TUE JUL 7):

  1. As promised, we now come to the point in our course where we talk about cats and the Internet.
  2. First, learn about the pre-Internet history of the public’s use of cats for emotional engagement by doing the following:
    1. Read through Public Domain Review’s summary of the 1911 (!) book Kittens and Cats: A First Reader to see the public’s love for “Cats and Captions before the Internet Age.”
    2. Read Know Your Meme’s (no date) brief background on the 1970s cat sensation, “Hang In There, Baby” (and take a look at one of the iconic 1970s “Hang In There, Baby” posters).
  3. Next, learn about some of the more famous Internet-cat personalities by doing the following:
    1. Watch the original “Keyboard Cat” YouTube video.
    2. Meet Grumpy Cat, who appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS Evening News, Anderson Live, American Idol, a season finale of The Bachelorette, and WWE Monday Night Raw and who unexpectedly passed away in May, 2019.
    3. Cruise through the LOL Cats website.
    4. View the original “I Can Has Cheezburger” photo.
  4. Then, to better understand why there are so many photos, gifs, and videos of cats on the Internet – and why Internet-users get so much emotional pleasure from watching and sharing photos, gifs, and videos of cats, read each of the following articles. [Spoiler Alert: No one knows for certain why, but numerous hypotheses have been proposed.]
    1. Tian Jin’s (no date) article, “3 Hypothetical Reasons Why Cats Are Popular on the Internet.”
    2. Elizabeth Fish’s (2012) article, “Why Does The Internet Love Cats?” (4 hypotheses)
    3. Amy-Mae Elliott’s (2010) article, “The Million Dollar Question: Why Does the Web Love Cats?” (7 hypotheses)
    4. Jack Shepherd’s (2014) article, “Why the Internet Loves Cats – Not Dogs.” (2 hypotheses)
    5. Perry Stein’s (2012) article, “Why Do Cats Run the Internet? A Scientific Explanation.” (4 hypotheses)
    6. A press release about Radha OʼMeara’s research on why cat videos are a ‘crowd pleaser.’ (1 hypothesis)
    7. And, for an alternative perspective, Keith Spencer’s (2017) article, “Goodbye Kittehz, Hello Doggos?”, in which the author argues that dogs are overtaking cats on the Internet (2 hypotheses for why Internet users are starting to prefer watching dog videos over cat videos)
  5. Go the Unit 7: Assignment #3 Discussion Board and make a new post, of at least 200 words, in which you do the following:
    1. Identify (using the author/s’ name/s) and describe one of the hypotheses that no one else in your section has yet identified and described.
    2. State whether you agree with this hypothesis. If you agree, why do you agree; if you don’t agree, why don’t you agree?
    3. State whether the hypothesis is scientifically testable. If you don’t think it is, why don’t you think it is? If you think it is, how would you scientifically test the hypothesis?

Unit 7: Assignment #4 (due before 11:59 pm Central on TUE JUL 7):

  1. Read ALL the posts written by all the other students in your section in the Unit 7: Assignment #2 and #4 Discussion Board about the empirical investigations of online emotional support.
  2. Review from the Course Syllabus “the best way to respond to another student’s Discussion Board post.” Remember that your responses to other students should always include at least two of the four recommended components.
  3. On the Unit 7: Assignment #2 and #4 Discussion Board, make a response (a reply) to two students: One response should be to a student who read the same article as you did, and the other response should be to a student who read a different article than you did.
    1. Each of your two response/reply posts should be at least 200 words.
    2. If two other students in your section have not yet posted to the Unit 7: Assignment #2 Discussion Board, you will need to wait until they do OR until the due date for Unit 7: Assignment #2 has passed (you will not be held responsible for responding to two other students’ posts if the Unit 7: Assignment #2 due date has passed, and two other students have not yet posted on the Unit 7: Assignment #2 Discussion Board).
    3. If no other student in your section read the same article as you did, then you may respond to two students who read two different articles than you did.

Unit 7: Assignment #5 (due before 11:59 pm Central on WED JUL 8):

  1. Meet online with your small Chat Group for a one-hour text-based Group Chat at a time/date that your Chat Group previously arranged.
  2. Prior to your one-hour Group Chat, all members of your Chat Group must do the following:
    1. Watch Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert’s (2004) TED talk, “The Surprising Science of Happiness.” (A transcript, in 44 different languages, is available here.)
    2. Watch Shawn Achor’s (2011) TED talk, “The Happy Secret to Better Work.” (A transcript, in 48 different languages, is available here.)
  3. Because during your Chat, you’re going to practice some of the empirically-documented mechanisms for positive emotional contagion, you MUST prepare in advance and bring to the Chat all of the following:
    1. two YouTube videos or websites that have brought you happiness or joy;
    2. two reasons you’re grateful to be in this class;
    3. two reasons you’re grateful to be in this Chat Group; and
    4. two positive things that have happened to you in the past 24 hours.
  4. During your one-hour Group Chat,
    1. Begin your Chat by discussing, as a Chat Group, the Gilbert TED talk and then discussing the Shawn Achor TED talk; for example, what principles did you glean from each TED talk?
    2. Then, rotate through your Chat Group with each member sharing with the other members their
      • YouTube videos (by providing each video’s URL and allowing other members to watch at least part of each video);
      • websites (by providing each website’s URL and allowing other members to click onto the site and briefly look around),
      • reasons for gratitude, and
      • positive things that have happened in the past 24 hours. By completing all these steps, you will create positive emotional contagion via the Internet!
  5. At the end of your one-hour Group Chat:
    1. Nominate one member of your Chat Group (who participated in the Chat) to make a post on the Unit 7: Assignment #5 Discussion Board that summarizes your Group Chat in at least 200 words.
    2. Nominate a second member of your Chat Group (who also participated in the Chat) to save the Chat transcript as a webpage, as described in the Course How To (under the topic, “How To Save and Attach a Chat Transcript”), and attach the Chat transcript, in PDF, to a post on the Unit 7: Assignment #5 Discussion Board.
    3. Nominate a third member of your Chat Group (who also participated in the Chat) to make another post on the Unit 7: Assignment #5 Discussion Board that states the name of your Chat Group, the names of the Chat Group members who participated in the Chat, the date of your Chat, and the start and stop time of your Group Chat.
    4. If only two persons participated in the Chat, then one of those two persons needs to do two of the above three tasks.
    5. End your one-hour Group Chat by saying goodbye to your current Chat Group because this is your last Chat with your current Chat Group; in the next Unit you will be forming new Chat Groups!

Unit 7: Assignment #6 (due before 11:59 pm Central on WED JUL 8):

  1. Complete the Unit 7 Review Sheet (which is a fillable PDF; refer to previous Units’ instructions for how to download, save, rename, and fill in a fillable PDF).
    1. Rename the unfilled PDF to be YourLastName_PSY-532_Unit07_CourseReview.pdf; then fill it in.
    2. Remember that each Review Sheet in this course will be cumulative, so be sure to fill in ALL pages.
  2. Continue to work on your Term Project.
    1. Finish mastering your presentation medium (i.e., know how to use it).
    2. Take a screenshot that demonstrates in some way that you know how to use your presentation medium.
    3. If you’ve chosen the Whole Course option, overview/journal the current Unit.
    4. If you’ve chosen the Deep Dive option, begin wrapping up your research.
    5. Compose at least 200 words describing the work you’ve done so far on your Term Project. Remember that you should be allocating about two hours per Unit to your Term Project.
    6. Save your 200 words as a PDF that includes your screenshot and that is named YourLastName_PSY-532_Unit07_TermProject.pdf.
  3. Go to Unit 7: Assignment #6 (which is an Assignment link, not a Discussion Board) and
    1. use the “File Upload” tool to attach/upload your completed Unit 7 Review Sheet (click “Choose File” to attach/upload your filled-in PDF);
    2. click on “+ Add Another File” to attach/upload your 200-word composition about your Term Project (saved in PDF; remember to include your screenshot in your PDF); and
    3. immediately after submitting your assignment, check to make sure that your filled-in PDF is really filled-in (isn’t empty) and that your PDF about your Term Project is also attached and complete.

Congratulations, you have finished Unit 7! Onward to Unit 8!