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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Welcome to the Berkeley Undergraduate Journal, a biannual publication dedicated to publishing exemplary undergraduate research in the humanities and social sciences.


Five-Year-Old Children Integrate Jointly Across Probabilistic and Social Domains When Inferring Preferences in Others

Human learners regularly face the challenging task of inferring unobservable psychological states in others. Sensitivity to relevant cues when inferring a psychological state –such as another’s preference—is an invaluable skill: accurate inference of underlying states allows one to understand and predict another's behavior. Research has shown that 18-month-old children can use affective cues when asked to infer an agent’s preference (Repacholi & Gopnik, 1997). Recent studies have also demonstrated that children from 16 months to 4 years can also use probabilistic cues to infer another's preference (Kushnir, Xu & Wellman, 2010; Ma & Xu, 2011). However, single cues are limited in the kinds of inference they allow and the inferential certainty they provide. While there is reasonable evidence that children can use a variety of single cues to infer preference, less attention has been paid to children’s ability to integrate across multiple cues. The current study investigated whether children could rationally integrate both probabilistic and social cues to predict an agent's preference. 64 three- to five-year-old children were presented with probabilistic and social cues through a puppet agent who picked toys out of a jar. After watching the agent sample objects out of a jar and express either joy or disgust, the child was asked to offer the agent one toy he liked to play with. We found that children's toy choices were sensitive to both types of cues, suggesting that by five years of age children can integrate across multiple cues to support their social reasoning.

Needy Narrator and Sympathetic Reader: The Critique of Gender Convention and Narrator-Reader Tradition in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette

This thesis addresses how Charlotte Brontë’s Villette creates a sympathetic economy that challenges nineteenth-century English gender convention and first-person novelistic narrator-reader tradition. It posits that Brontë’s social critique of gender convention in nineteenth-century England is related to her novelistic critique of narrator-reader tradition in first-person novels. In the same way that gender convention dictates the context in which social sympathy should be felt thereby perpetuating gendered power relationships, novelistic tradition also dictates the context in which readerly sympathy should be felt and also endorses a power relationship between narrator and reader. However, this thesis concludes that Brontë’s creation of a contentious and oppositional narrator in Villette ultimately reverses this latter power relationship between narrator and reader.

The American University and the Establishment of Neoliberal Hegemony: The Persistence of Institutional Habits

An intervention on neoliberal-centric narratives of university privatization, this study explores the historical forces that instilled a propensity for market hegemony in universities by the start of the 1970s. This paper identifies institutional habits as the conservative agent that determines change in the university, specifically its habit—and responsibility—of promoting civic duty and the later-developed habit of performing applied scientific research. By tracing redefinitions of civic duty from the Progressive Era through the Cold War, the process of academic privatization is revealed to be dependent on the emerging association of democratic behavior with the promotion of national defense—an effort that became highly market oriented through competition with the Soviet Union. Moreover, defense research grants during the wars fashioned the model for applied research that private industries would adopt following a decrease in federal funding to universities in 1968. Finally, this paper will redefine the 1970s, as a period not of “neoliberal revolution” on campuses, but rather one of convergence—where the social, academic, and business interests consented to the market hegemony that currently prevails on American campuses.

Narrative, Speech, and Action: Gandhi’s Satyagraha and the Constant Becoming of Truth

In this paper, I explore Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolence, specifically his articulation and understanding of the conception of truth. For Gandhi, truth in the political sphere is not merely a correspondence between a representation and external phenomena, but is constantly in the process of becoming as the political actor "experiments" with different notions of truth and the actions which are derived from them. I use the notion of a narrative as opposed to scientific mode of thought in order to highlight the open-ended, constant becoming nature of Gandhi's understanding of truth in political action. I conclude by arguing that Gandhi's notion of truth widens the sphere of political action to a plurality of individual contributions and voices towards a truly nonviolent and engaged society.

A Case Study of the Effects of Participation in an Organization in the Lives of Women: Post-Conflict Ayacucho, Peru

This paper examines the effects of participation and the importance of organizational ties in the lives of Andean women in Ayacucho, Peru. For over two decades (1980-2000) the country of Peru went through an internal conflict that entailed serious crimes mostly committed by the Shining Path and the Peruvian Army. Ayacucho was the most affected region during the conflict, leaving poverty and dramatic consequences throughout the region. Today, the economic development of Ayacucho is slow yet a number of grass roots of organizations have allowed different segments of the population to improve their quality of life. This paper focuses on the women members of the National Association of the Relatives and Disappeared of Peru (ANFASEP), paying special attention to the importance of the organizational ties that have emerged within the organization and the reproduction of social capital. Using the data collected through forty-eight in-depth interviews, I claim that the more women participate in the organization, the better their quality of life and economic well-being is. My findings suggest that organizations have allowed them to access resources that affect their quality of life in a positive manner as long as the members of an organization remain active. In this way, organizations have become access routes for active members to resources that are otherwise hard to access. This paper makes an important contribution to the literature on women’s movements in Latin America, using Peru as a case study, offering key insights about the evolution of women’s movements into institutionalized organizations.