The “Parasocial Contact” article focuses how positive portrayals of gay men or people who are non-gender conforming might foster more positive attitudes towards people in these groups. The article was published 15 years ago and patterns of media content have been shifting. (As have the meanings and implications of specific terms. For example, the article uses “transvestite” to describe comedian Eddie Izzard. This was a term he used to describe himself at the time. However, this is currently considered derogatory due to misuse. According to the LGBTQA Resource Center at UC Davis (Links to an external site.), cross-dresser is now considered more appropriate.) Please consider your classmates’ responses to discussion question 7 in the original post, as well as the mainstream media you’ve seen yourself. Based on your classmates’ responses and your own experience, how have the portrayals of people who are not heterosexual or are gender non-conforming changed in the 15 years? Do you think the changes would make it more likely for audiences develop more positive and inclusive attitudes or not?
Are there other minority or dis-empowered groups that are portrayed in the media in such a way – at least some of the time – that might lead Parasocial Contact effects to occur? Please explain and provide specific examples to explain why you think this would or would or would not happen.
While the noises produced by dolphins are not technically considered song, they provide a fascinating contrast to the form of vocal communication used by birds. Rather than creating sounds via a syrinx, the sound organ of birds, dolphins vocalize by pushing air through their nasal sacs. Within the nasal region, dolphins have two sets of phonic lips, structures that cause the surrounding tissue to vibrate as the air passes through. However, because studying the anatomy of dolphins as they make noises is difficult, science is not certain about the exact nature of these structures (Dolphin Research Center). Dolphins use their sounds not for mating, as birds do, but in order to communicate. They have been observed to chatter extensively with each other and seem to have their own names- a unique series of clicks and squeaks created by themselves as young dolphins- which they use to signal each other. Their communication capabilities are complex, and many dolphins have been trained to perform tricks that can provide insight into the extent of their capabilities. For example, show dolphins can repeat a series of commands at the signal of a trainer, including a signal to “innovate,” which prompts the water mammals to perform a trick that they have not already performed during that show. This demonstrates a level of understanding beyond mere memorization. More impressive still, a pair of dolphins, when signaled to innovate a trick in unison, will appear to consult each other before performing a new trick, such as blowing bubbles, in perfect synchronicity (Foer 2015). Although projects to determine the extent of dolphin communication and the possibility of a dolphin language are underway, their full capabilities currently remain mysterious. Perhaps because language is such an innate part of human existence, many become invested in legends like that of a dolphin language. Furthermore, fascinated as we are by ourselves, we yearn to know more about just exactly how special we are; for some, this means studying birds in the hopes to gain insight into the evolution of human speech. Clearly, birds have no difficulties understanding each other, but recent research is working to determine how perceptive birds are to human noises. The verification of this ability would suggest that there is some innate capability within the animal kingdom that allows for the possibility of speech rather than having evolved separately in humans. One study tested this by having birds listen to a variety of people of various sexes pronouncing common English vowels such as /a/ as in hot, /æ/, as in hat, and /ɛ/ as in bet. Additionally, the birds were tested to determine if they could distinguish common consonants /b/ and /p/, or /g/ and /c/. The results showed that birds did indeed possess the ability to differentiate between these human phonemes and remained consistent even when the voices projected were from different speakers. T>