Category Archives: rBLOT (research)

2.7 Million People Showed Their Support for Marriage Equality via their Profile Photo



Chances are that if you are friends with a generally pro-marriage equality bunch, on Tuesday you probably saw your Facebook friends list turn into a bunch of red and white equal signs. The original equal sign avatar came from the Human Rights Campaign, a group that supports equal rights regardless of sexual orientation, who morphed their normally blue and gold logo into the avatar that’s making it’s way around the internet. So why was there a sudden push in the cause? Well, early last week, the Supreme Court heard two cases on the rights of gays to marry in this country.
So, how many people change their profile photo to the equal sign avatar?

It's bound to be a lot if Tardar is on board.

It’s bound to be a lot if Tardar Sauce is on board.

Facebook took a look over its data to give us some semblance of an answer. They put the total of people who changed their pics over to the Human Rights Campaign’s equality sign (or some variation thereof) around the 2.7 million mark for U.S. Facebook users with roughly 3.5 percent of 30-year-old U.S. Facebook making the switch in photos.

Facebook’s Data Science team also mapped out the likelihood of a profile-pic update across the nation, showing a widespread geographic distribution everywhere outside of the south and parts of the plains region. In general, college towns saw high rates of participation as did major cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, and DC.

To read more, visit The Atlantic’s original article and The Human Rights Campaign


Coming out in support for marriage equality. [VIDEO]

Earlier this week, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton released a video statement in support of marriage equality (see below).  Clinton is the newest addition to the growing political support for marriage equality.



In fact this month’s three big gay-marriage moments where prominent politicians repudiated their past positions have highlighted how the political response to this issue is evolving. For Democrats, it is now riskier to withhold a public stance on gay marriage than to rush in line in support.  Republicans are also joining the cause in support making it less and less of a partisan issue.  For example, Ohio’s Republican Sen. Rob Portman recently came out in support for marriage equality when previously he was against it.  He said his view changed because about two years ago his son told him he was gay.

And while some may criticize the senator for the change in beliefs, he is not alone.  A poll conducted this month by Pew Research Center, surveyed 1,501 adults nationwide and found that 49% of people support same-sex marriage while 44% oppose.  This has changed significantly since the 2003 nationwide poll that found most Americans (58%) opposed to allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, and just a third (33%) in favor.  The largest group of supporters come from the “Millennials”  (those born since 1980 and age 18-32 today).  70% of Millennials support same-sex marriage growing from 51% in 2003. This is significant because today, 27% of adults are in the Millennial generation.



To better understand this change in the direction of support, the new survey investigated whether participants had always held this view or if they have changed their mind on this issue. They found that more than a quarter of same-sex marriage proponents say their views have changed.
The reasons behind the shift varied but there were a few noticeable trends (see graph). 32% attributed the change to knowing someone whether it is a friend, family member or other acquaintance, who is homosexual.  Very similar to Senator Portman’s situation.  25% said that their personal views changed due to extended thought on the issue or simply because they have grown older.

So with a growing number of the electorate showing support for marriage equality, politicians from both parties can no longer hide behind the traditional safe response of “let there be civil unions, not gay marriage, and let each state set its own policy”. For supporters of gay marriage, this statement appears to be a separate-but-equal proposition for the gay community. For opponents of same-sex unions, this stance invites legislative chaos for what they believe to be an unalterable human institution.  This issue is not going away any time soon with more and more states bringing up marriage equality based legislation.  The “safe” answers are no longer enough and politicians will have to decide quickly which side they want to side with.

To read more visit:

The Human Rights Campaign and Politico for more on the Hillary Clinton’s new stance and the political impact.

People Press for more on the study investigating individual’s personal stance on marriage equality.

Guinea Pigs and Autism: A helpful combination

As anyone who has taken their pet into a public location will tell you, the pet makes it easy, unavoidable even, to strike up conversations with strangers.

Given this effect, Maggie O’Haire at the University of Queensland conducted a study to explore if animals could also help children with autism spectrum disorders by helping them connect with other people.



In this study, O’Haire and her colleagues introduced two guinea pigs into 15 different classrooms and looked at how the presence of the animals affected the interactions of autistic children with adults and non-autistic kids.  The results showed that autistic children were significantly more talkative and cheerful in the presence of guinea pigs than in the presence of toys and they were also more likely to make physical contact and interact with others.


O’Haire has several theories as to why animals might have this effect:

  • First of all, animals facilitate social interaction by giving people a common focus of attention.
  • Additionally, animals have a calming effect which may help autistic children that see their classroom as a stressful environment.  Perhaps the animals made them feel comfortable enough to begin interacting with peers.

To read more visit NPR Health Blog, Shots.

Finding physical evidence of PTSD.

With magnetoencephalography (known as MEG), a technique used to study brain activity, researchers are now able to visualize PTSD’s effects on the brain and can be used to diagnose patients with the disorder. This provides physical evidence that PTSD is not purely a psychological phenomenon.

An Empathetic Rat

In a recent experiment conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago, researchers examined whether a rat would release a fellow rat from a cage if it could. The answer was yes.

The free rat was housed in a larger cage with another rat who was trapped in a much smaller container. The free rat was subject to the distress calls from its locked-up cage-mate and chose to act on behalf of the trapped rat. The free rat learned to open the cage and did so with greater efficiency over time. What made this interesting is that the free rat would release the other animal even if there wasn’t an obvious payoff of a reunion with it like the potential for mating. And when the free rat was given access to some chocolate chips, the free rat would usually save at least one treat for the captive — which is amazing considering it’s a rat. (more…)

Research and Psychology Club event tonight at 5pm in Lewis 206!

Help! Research Participants Needed


Dr. Zacchilli and Chantal Hayden are conducting a study on the role social media plays in the job search and they need your help!

The survey is completely anonymous and should take between 10-15 mins.   Plus, it involves looking at photos so it shouldn’t be the typical boring survey.

Just click the link below to help out!

The Power of ‘FREE’

Quick, which would you rather have:

  • $10 gift card for FREE
  • $20 gift card for $7


Research participants needed!

Dr. Farris, Dr. Zacchilli, and several psychology majors are conducting a study on sexual frustration in college students and they need your help.

The survey is completely anonymous and should take between 10-15 mins.   Just click the link below to help out.

Survey Participants Needed ASAP

One of the iNKBLOT’s contributors needs your help with their research into the habits of working adults.  All are welcome to take the survey if you are over the age of 18, regardless if you have a job or not.  The survey takes between 10-15 minutes to complete and respondents have commented that it was less annoying than waiting to be seen at the ER or losing a game of angry birds.

Click to acess the Survey

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