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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Welcome to the UC Merced Undergraduate Research Journal, an open access publication of research conducted by undergraduates at the University of California, Merced. 

In October and March, SUBMIT HERE.

Issue cover
Cover Caption: URJ Fall 2023: Boldly Moving Forward

Humanities and Arts

The Hypersexuality Of Women and Videogames: The Effects It Has on Society and The Business Industry

The misrepresentation of females in video games has created a harmful environment due to the hypersexual nature and stereotypes. This study is a data collection based on the harmful behaviors and patterns of both developers and members of the gaming community. The gaming community carries behaviors that can be deemed harmful and are close to office harassment towards women who are more hostile while playing video games and engaging with women outside of it. Harmful community behaviors also affect women in the gaming communities especially when most female main characters are seen with unrealistic body proportions which creates body image issues (in women) and leads to higher rates of depression. These behaviors contrast with the effect the gaming community has on each other and with the developers. Developers have created a data set pattern that monitors the community and the choices fans will make within video games so that said games would sell more. The data set monitors data sets forappealing characters, game functions, as well as fan service. These findings as a whole suggest that both the developers and the community itself need to change the way that they are treating women within the gaming community. The over-sexualization and stereotypes that are made of women in video games are desensitizing younger generations to this behavior, letting those new into the gaming community think that this problem is okay.

Social Sciences

The Effects of Insecurity on Lifetime Happiness: A Review of the Literature and a Study

In the contemporary landscape of social media, insecurities intertwine with all aspects of society, shaping individual perceptions and influencing lifetime happiness. This paper dives into how insecurities develop, the disorders that they are a gateway for, and their psychological effects on lifetime happiness. By interviewing four participants and reviewing published literature, this research attempts to understand self-perception, external validation, and virtual interactions in the context of happiness.

Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Nervios and Other Psychological Disparities in Latinx Migrant Farm Workers in Central California

Through the following literature review of data spanning over more than a decade, readers will be introduced to the concept of nervios and other mental health disparities and what implications they have on Latinx migrant farm worker’s health in Central California after acculturating into the United States. Latinx adults make up 92% of California’s migrant farm worker population and that number continues to grow rapidly each year. However, the Latinx population is suffering from physical and mental health disparities and are doing so in silence due to limited resources and documentation status. Reviewed data shows that there is an epidemiological health crisis within this growing population of Latinx people in California and the effects are generational. Several studies show that migrant men and women are at high risk for substance and alcohol abuse due to these psychological stressors within their daily lives, especially when exposed to harsh and dangerous work conditions, adverse childhood experiences, migrating for work and high acculturation into the United States.

A Literature Review on the Lack of Research of Emotional Abuse and the Repercussions

This paper addresses different types of abuse and ways of defining them, and it then focuses on emotional abuse. The paper acknowledges the more commonly known types of abuse such as physical, domestic, or sexual abuse. This paper also presents types of abuse that are less heard of such as spiritual, financial, and emotional abuse. Just because these forms of abuse often go unsaid, they occur frequently and are important to consider. This paper takes a stand that these forms of abuse are arguably as or more important because they don't get the mass coverage that other types of abuse do. Furthermore, this paper examines how emotional abuse is overlooked but common. When emotional abuse gets downplayed or swept under the rug by people in power, friends, or family, then there can be significant damage to the victim. This paper provides a review of the literature and notes that there are many limitations both when looking for research on this topic and conducting research on this topic. There needs to be more education on what emotional abuse is, yet definitions vary greatly from source to source.

Natural Sciences

The Evolution and Spread of Antibiotic Resistance in Microorganisms

Antibiotics were produced to treat and prevent infections caused by pathogens such as bacteria. They are known to be one of the most significant medical breakthroughs in the history of medicine. Antibiotic resistance occurs when pathogens can survive against antibiotics. One key issue that leads to increased resistance is the overuse and improper use of antimicrobial drugs. As a society, it is important to look towards antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs anduse them with advice from public health officials that can allow us to use the strength of antibiotics if an infection ever does arise. Another reason antibiotic resistance is a prominent issue is due to the various mechanisms pathogens have to spread genetic information in a process known as horizontal gene transfer. Horizontal gene transfer is the transfer of genetic information between organisms and allows for resistant pathogens to spread their resistant traits leading to an increase in resistant organisms. Currently, the best thing to do is spread awareness, learn about the mechanisms that spread it such as horizontal gene transfer, and learn how to continue to battle this issue.

Associations Between Red and Processed Meat Consumption and Risk of Developing Colorectal Cancer: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review

Colorectal cancer, a globally prevalent concern, necessitates the investigation of lifestyle factors contributing to its development. Evidence suggested a potential link between colorectal cancer and red/processed meat consumption, prompting a rigorous analysis of relevant studies and utilization of permutation tests for statistical evaluation. This database study explored the impact of red and processed meat consumption patterns on colorectal cancer risk. Leveraging publicly available nutrition reports and relevant studies, the research question posed is: “How does the frequency of consuming red and processed meat influence colorectal cancer risk over a person's lifespan?” It is hypothesized there will be a statistically significant difference in colorectal cancer incidence between those with regular red and processed meat consumption versus minimal consumption. The findings support a significant association between red and processed meat consumption and colorectal cancer risk. The findings emphasize the substantial impact of red and processed meat consumption on colorectal cancer risk, inviting further research to elucidate underlying mechanisms and establish preventative strategies.

Micro Black Holes: What Do We Know From Recent Research?

This synthesis highlights the research efforts in micro black holes in recent years and points to future prospects. Synthesizing recently published articles shows that micro black holes can have a variety of properties. This paper explores articles discussing the instantaneous evaporation of micro black holes due to Hawking Radiation, the inability of a micro black hole to accrete matter, the intense recoil effects that occur if a micro black hole absorbs matter, the stability of micro black holes, as well as the spin and electric charge they may possess. Modern methods of detecting black holes have been described as looking for specific particle signatures that match a predicted profile of Hawking Radiation from a micro black hole and looking for possible signs of a micro black hole remnant. Expectations suggest that planned future projects will aid in the search for micro black holes by taking advantage of high-energy cosmic particle collisions.