Amusements: Mail from the ’80s, stained-glass scholars and self-control
Vinny Vincent, Bates campus mail supervisor, shows off the May 1987 issue of Canoe magazine that arrived at the college on April 13, 2012, a quarter-century after publication. It’s addressed to Andy Gooding ‘89, a sophomore in 1987.
Of course, the first thing Vincent did when the aged magazine arrived at the Chase Hall mailroom was to email Gooding to let him know.
In fact, Gooding remains a subscriber to the mag, renamed Canoe & Kayak.
In the ‘80s, Gooding used to canoe the Androscoggin “when it was still yellow and foamy.” He now works at Marshall University, is married to Grace Tallman Gooding ‘89 and canoes various West Virginia lakes and rivers in one of his three canoes or his kayak. “For the serious canoeist, they’re like our golf clubs.”
The College Store’s annual Non-required Reading List is an eclectic compilation befitting its source: Bates people near and far. As we await this year’s list, here are some faculty-suggested titles from last year.
Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success by Matthew Syed
Suggested by Helen Boucher, associate professor of psychology: “A book about the success of elite athletes. How do they perform at what seem to be otherworldly levels? How do they squelch self-doubt and why do they sometimes choke under pressure?”
Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation by S. Bear Bergman and Kate Bornstein
Suggested by Erica Rand, Whitehouse Professor of Art and Visual Culture and Women and Gender Studies: “There are more people to learn from than Chaz Bono.”
The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleson
Suggested by Michael Murray, Charles Franklin Phillips Professor of Economics: “Languorous, compelling story of a Missouri farm family in its early 20th-century beginnings and late 20th-century adulthood.”
Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life by Karen Maezen Miller
Suggested by Bonnie Shulman, professor of mathematics: “What it means to be aware within our daily routines. Here is an ordinary woman, finding happiness and wisdom at the bottom of a laundry basket, and love in the kitchen sink.”
Your Lyin’ Pies
Julia Ofman ’15 evoked the familiar Bates theme of being torn between two Commons loves for the Dining Services Valentine’s Day poem contest:
It’s Wednesday night, about 5:30 p.m.
Commons is buzzing.
After a very filling meal of noodles, beer tips, and “California Blend,”
I’m on my way to dessert.
I’ve earned it.
But then, just as I pass the softserve machine
I see you. My Commons crush.
My heart stops, dead.
You’re going to the same place I am, that island of delight —
the dessert bar — but you’re coming from the Euro Station side.
Your eyes are fixed on something, but it isn’t me.
I follow your gaze to try and locate the object of your affection, your lust.
It’s Tollhouse Pie.
My pace quickens as I try to reach the table at the same time you do,
to stage a “coincidental” wordless exchange between us,
until I realize something far more serious is going on here.
There’s only one slice left.
I speed walk the last foot to get to the pie tray,
and without even glancing at you I scoop it up.
After it is securely in my possession, I look at you.
My eyes, gleaming with victory,
meet your crestfallen and pieless ones.
I have no regret.
The Case of the Repentant Burglar
At 6:08 a.m. on Dec. 20, 2010, a custodian noticed that the Crosley flat-screen TV in Frye Street Union was gone.
After a few calls around campus, to see if it had been borrowed or was being replaced, Campus Safety and Security logged the incident as a theft.
By summer, the case was still open but getting cold.
Then the college got a call from a man in Minnesota. Apparently he was working through his addiction program. “He wanted to make amends — clean out the closet, come clean,” recalls Mike Voisine, an officer with Campus Security and Safety.
The man admitted stealing the 42-inch TV for drug money during a cross-country drug and alcohol binge that ended in Maine. He said he had no connection to the college but wanted to pay back his crime. Voisine says the thief probably found a propped-open door to get inside.
After checking with the Lewiston police to make sure they weren’t involved in the situation, Voisine and his security boss, Tom Carey ‘73, agreed to accept restitution. “And we received the full value, $1,249, from him and his parents,” Voisine says. “Highly, highly unusual,” Voisine adds.
The college will not pursue criminal charges. “He came to us with a problem and a solution,” Voisine explains. “Bates is still a place where if you ask for some help, you’re going to get it.”
(Getting a) Life After Thesis
From thesis veterans, a few pieces of advice (above) posted on the “Thesis Board of Lore” in the Peer Writing Center in Ladd. Also seen in the center was a whiteboard featuring the following suggested PTSDs, or “Post-Thesis-Submission Doings”:
1. Burn the final draft
2. Eat lunch for an extended period of time (i.e., taco bar)
3. Pop champagne!
4. Spend at least 24 hours out of Ladd
5. Have a spa day
6. Go to the Goose — with adviser!
Mind your money, says Monthe Kofos ’11
A trending topic in psychology is self-control: how and when it works, and why it sometimes doesn’t.
A recently published psychology study, based on a Bates senior thesis, suggests that thinking about money can boost self-control.
The study appears online in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. It’s co-authored by Associate Professor of Psychology Helen Boucher and psychology major Monthe Kofos ’11, based on his thesis research with Boucher last year.
Who are the big names in self-control research?
Roy Baumeister and Kathleen Vohs are two. He lectured at Bates in 2009 — I’ll never forget his talk about self-control and the concept of free will. Vohs is an expert in the psychology of money.
How does a Bates psych major go about developing thesis ideas?
In our research methods class, Michael Sargent encouraged us to design projects that bridge and connect already established ideas. The idea is to form new platforms that future research can expand upon. When Helen Boucher explained that there was this out-of-the-box idea that she wanted to try with me, I jumped at the chance.
Where did you get the specific idea to test money and self-control?
Helen and I arrived at the final thesis idea by looking at Baumeister’s and Vohs’ work as well as some other papers.
Vohs, in fact, actually told me that she was a bit disappointed that she didn’t come up with the research idea herself!
We divided about five dozen students into a control group and test group. The test subjects first completed an editing task to deplete their self-control. This is called “ego depletion.”
They had to read a dense art history paper and cross out every “e” that was not adjacent to, or two letters away from, another vowel. Then they were exposed to money- related words. That “primed” their minds with money.
From prior research, we knew that the idea of money evokes feelings of strength or efficacy. What we learned is that money also counteracts the ego-depletion effect. It does this by reducing the difficulty of and the effort exerted on maintaining self-control.
Your paper notes that self-control helps us “achieve [our] goals and live harmoniously with others.” How?
In our lives, success or failure is governed by our ability or inability to set and maintain goals in a demanding world — be it a daily schedule, positively interacting with a friend or aspiring to a better future self (with that killer body!).
Losing our self-control threatens all this. In its most severe form, it significantly limits what we are able to accomplish as a person.
So it’s essential we understand ego depletion and how we can better counteract this threat. Some proven ways to do this are with humor and glucose intake. We suggest using the idea of money.
How did you maintain self-control during thesis?
Working on thesis is horribly stressful, as any Batesie will tell you: all-nighters, traditionally low self-control and lots of 3 a.m. Facebook chats. So I changed my computer background to a stack of money. I had no clue if my experiment was even working, but if something was really going on here, I might as well benefit from it.
Other already-proven ways to maintain self-control are, as I said, humor and glucose intake. I’d go on candy hunts in my dorm for a bit more self-control.
Do you find yourself using these findings now?
Definitely! I am known among my friends as being a busy person, and I constantly push my self-control to the limit each day.
I’m currently working in an inpatient psych ward at the local hospital as a counselor, trying to get into grad school, attempting to maintain all my extracurriculars from college, and striving to keep a healthy body and active social life. Without lots and lots of self-control, I’d fall apart at the seams!
So after realizing that ego depletion does exist, I know I need all the help I can get to fight it.
I keep my paycheck in my pocket at work rather than leaving it in the staff room (so I can touch it when a patient tries my self-control).
I also have a money screen-saver. And, above all, I try to laugh and smile as much as possible.
Life is not a carefree fairytale all the time, and while we might not always be able to change a situation, we can certainly try to make the best of it — using, of course, proven psychological principles!
Quiz Time: Match the Minds
Chosen in the 1930s by a faculty committee headed by President Clifton Daggett Gray, a series of stained glass portraits of great Western minds adorn the Chapel. In the lineup below, who’s who?
Hint: Principia keeps the bod in motion.
Hint: The original Renaissance man.
Hint: Wrote a “river of gold,” says admirer Cicero.
Hint: ’Cause this scientist is radioactive (sadly).
Hint: When in doubt, choose Heaven.
Answers: From top, Isaac Newton; Leonardo da Vinci; Aristotle; Marie Curie; Dante Alighieri.
Bates From Head to Paw
A. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
D. Bichon Frise
Answer: C. Vizsla
Bring your own pooch up to code with Bates gear online at bates.edu/bookstore
March on Lewiston
How strong is your knowledge of Bates’ quirky, cool and colorful past?
The year is 1956. Bates students get city approval for a parade. Led by a police escort, 150 students and 15 vehicles head down College Street, hang a left on Sabattus Street and return to campus on Central Avenue.
They carry banners, burn a flag and conclude with a water fight between Milliken and Whittier houses. And it takes place between 6:15 and 8 p.m.
So, why the parade? Was it to:
A. Applaud Elvis Presley’s first No. 1 single, “Heartbreak Hotel”?
B. Join the Soviet Union’s May Day celebration?
C. Hail Don Larsen’s World Series perfect game
D. Cheer the first episode of As the World Turns on CBS?
E. Celebrate Tunisian independence from France?
Answer: B. With banners reading “Poor Joe Is Dead” and “Down with the USSR,” the students’ May 2 parade was a sign of the times, mocking the former Soviet Union’s famous annual May Day extravaganza.