Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Arts as Means of Socialization in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home

Daniel Dyonisius, University of Toronto

Full paper: www.kon.org/urc/v15/dyonisius.html

Abstract: Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home suggests that socialization through the arts, such as writing and drawing, involves a constantly changing interpretation of reality that can contribute to a process of self-identification. The arts provide a foundation for Alison to make a connection to her family, yet also to detach from her parents’ influences at the same time. Emphasizing a social aspect of this process, her self-identification not only involves a reflection of her own life but also integrates her ability to navigate environments filled with the arts and others’ influences in shaping her personality. As an artist, Bechdel incorporates words and pictures to repair her relationship with her father and conveys a story of how she persistently constructs her identity. Nonetheless, her work as a whole reflects a broader significance for society: the creation of self-identity is not a linear process, but rather involves points of continuity and discontinuity that are shaped by the context in which one grows up. At the same time, such context is influenced by interactions between one’s self and agents of socialization mediated through important and specific means, such as the arts.

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Physiological Effects of Binaural Beats and Meditative Musical Stimulation

Elizabeth M. Hill and Christina M. Frederick, Sierra Nevada College

Full paper: www.kon.org/urc/v15/hill.html

Abstract: The current study examined physiological effects of meditation music and binaural beats on humans, solo and in combination. A binaural beat is the presence of two separate auditory tones with equal amplitude and slightly differing frequencies (Goodin et al., 2012). Meditation music is often used with binaural beats to calm individuals (Chan et al., 2008). There is reason to believe binaural beats and meditative music impact human vital signs (Wahbeh et al., 2012). Heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation were recorded from 60 participants, tested individually, and randomly assigned to one of three listening groups: Beat + Music, Music Only, or Beat Only. Participants experienced their assigned auditory stimulation through headphones for 6 min. Physiological responses were recorded before and during auditory stimulation. A one- way ANOVA showed a significant difference in mean heart rate between listening groups (p = .046). Due to sample size limitations, a subsequent Tukey test (Abdi & Williams, 2010) could not identify the location of the significant difference. The largest difference in averages (at 9.05 bpm) existed between Beat Only and Music Only groups, therefore, indicating this as the location of the significant difference. No significant difference was found between listening groups in blood pressure (systolic: p = .937; diastolic: p = .954) or oxygen saturation (p = .752). It is recommended future studies in this domain incorporate larger sample sizes to ensure statistical sensitivity.

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Small Scale Living and the Meaning of Home

Shelby Kiser, Kansas State University

Full paper: www.kon.org/urc/v15/kiser.html

Abstract: In current United States housing trends, prices and square footage are rising as personal satisfaction and fulfillment decline. This is a result of people assuming that upgrading their living standards will provide instant gratification, but it may only lead to unhappiness. As our houses grow larger, so do our debts. During the most recent economic down turn a renewed interest in small scale living arose. People began seeing the value in downsizing, reducing debt, and living more sustainably. Evaluating the functional, environmental, economic, and psychological aspects of living small will help determine what challenges one will face by reconsidering how and where they live. With a deeper understanding of the connections and value of home, designers are able create dwellings that can positively influence the users. The potential impact starts with designers, therefore it is crucial to be educated and actively implementing this knowledge into designs.

Read the full paper: Small Scale Living and the Meaning of Home