Discussion of the COVID-19 pandemic and body image/anxiety
Statistics of body image
As we experience the reality of quarantine day by day, our collective thoughts and ideas are shifting and changing. There seems to exist a dichotomy between dealing with spatial limitations by the confinements of our homes and the infinite opportunities of communication through our devices. Although most of our experiences have been converted to a remote setting, we need to be able to maintain connections with people.
Entering this quarter, I expected this class to be much more linear than what we have done. Maybe a blog here or there about Biology, technology, and art, with a bit of overlap here and there. Yet the topics we have discussed not only surprised but impressed me. I find myself drawing connections between ideologies that I never knew had any connection between each other.
My first blog post was titled, “Racial Spillover of COVID-19 – Art as Political Activism.” Since this was posted at the beginning of April, the true extent of the racial injustice and disproportionate impact of COVID-19 was just starting to come to light and splashed on the news media (Cruz). The virus itself as well as its secondary effects, such as economic and social injustices, have perpetuated deep harm to the Black community (Ebrahim 2020).
Figure 1: Duck and rabbit illusion which is over 100 years old (Source: Fliegende Blätter)
Following the guest lecture from Siddarth Ramakrishnan, the idea of perception particularly stuck with me. More specifically though, in his lecture was the topic of relative perception, where external factors such as culture, language, and geography influence our perception, as well as internal factors such as variation in individual neurology and biology. It was fascinating to hear about how when Japanese students count, the motor areas of their brain light up on an EEG because they learn to count on an abacus.
This past week, I had the honor of listening to Dr. Siddharth Ramakrishnan’s talk on perception, visualization, and the different ways that we make associations between things. Over the course of this quarter, we all have had the opportunity to blog about similar, if not identical topics.
I was very excited to have our guest lecturer, Dr. Siddarth Ramakrishnan, speak to us this past week as I’m majoring in neuroscience, so the neural networks underlying how we perceive are of great interest to me. I have always been fascinated with how we, as individuals, perceive ourselves versus how we perceive others, which has had a large influence in the route I have taken in my education by adding a society and genetics minor.
Upon reflecting on my blogs for the past 7 weeks, I have found that my entries often focused on similar ideas. I found that I often create associations relating COVID-19, a scientific problem, and an artistic simplification or interpretation of this topic. The two main themes I found in my entries included:
As we are currently living through a pandemic, which has caused radical changes to our lifestyle, my blogs have revolved around the data, the science, and the impact of this disease. Since we are living in a world where we have such rapid transmission of information a lot of information that gets shared can be inaccurate.
I enjoyed looking over my previous blogs as I began brainstorming on my final. At first glance there didn’t seem to be an underlying theme between each blog; however, I realized that each week I had reflected on how individuals react and deal with COVID-19 in relation to that specific weekly topic. I believe that this common theme ties well with my final, as I am focusing on the social psychology of individuals during COVID-19.
This week, I had the opportunity to listen to a TEDx talk by Cathal Garvey on “Bringing biotechnology into the home” (Garvey “Bringing biotechnology into the home”). Cathal Garvey wants to bring biotechnology to the homes of individuals, outside of the traditional laboratory setting. He is the first licensed individual for genetic engineering in Ireland, and the creator of the blog Indie Biotech (Garvey "Indie Biotech").
Synthesizing Past Blog Posts
Looking over past blog posts there are a few notable patterns. As a Cognitive Science major, one of my academic interests is how humans process information and interact with the environment around them. One common trend that I have noticed within my blog posts has been a focus on how humans process and interact with other biological things.