Saturday, December 17, 2016

Blog 10: Final Paper: The Vampire Effect


The “Vampire Effect” was first mentioned in Paying for the Party by Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton.  According to the authors, it was a social phenomenon in which socially-integrated students would ignore and shun the shy students.  The root issue was that students who were not that wealthy would seem invisible compared to the upper-class students, who would always have the spotlight.  Armstrong and Hamilton imply that this phenomenon is caused by the more affluent students purposely neglecting and rejecting the “social isolates.”  However, the “Vampire Effect” is not caused by the affluent students, but rather by the subconscious of the anti-social students who feel that they are being targeted.  The main theory that supports this argument is the Social Comparison Theory, which states that people evaluate their own worth based on the people they are surrounded by.  The main difference that the two groups of students had was their financial status: the confident, affluent students being more financially stable, and the insecure, shy students coming from a poorer background.  Once the shy students start to compare themselves to their peers, they eventually become envious and self-blaming. These feelings ultimately result in anxiety and self-isolation. However, this is all done unknowingly and neither party is to blame.  The movie The Red shows how the “Vampire Effect” comes into play with two friends of different backgrounds.  My own experience also portrays how this effect really works and what causes it.   

Work Cited
Armstrong, Elizabeth and Laura Hamilton.  Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2013. Print.
Bridges, Sarah, and Richard Disney. "Debt and Depression." Journal of Health Economics 29.3 (2010): 388-403. Web.
Cooke, Richard, Michael Barkham, Kerry Audin, Margaret Bradley, and John Davy. "Student Debt and Its Relation to Student Mental Health." Journal of Further and Higher Education 28.1 (2004): 53-66. Web.
Dyrbye, Liselotte N., Matthew R. Thomas, and Tait D. Shanafelt. "Medical Student Distress: Causes, Consequences, and Proposed Solutions." Mayo Clinic Proceedings 80.12 (2005): 1613-622. Web.
 Festinger, L. "A Theory of Social Comparison Processes." Human Relations 7.2 (1954): 117-40. Web. 
Hansson, Robert O., and Warren H. Jones. "Loneliness, Cooperation, and Conformity Among American Undergraduates." The Journal of Social Psychology 115.1 (1981): 103-08. Web.
 "Journal of Further and Higher Education." Student Debt and Its Relation to Student Mental Health: : Vol 28, No 1. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2016. 

Juliana Breines, Richard Smith Ph.D., Leon F Seltzer Ph.D., and Art Markman Ph.D. "Psychology Today." Social Comparison Theory | Psychology Today. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2016.

Leonard, Garry. "Monsters and Mortgages The Horror Movie as Prime Economic Indicator." Film International 8.1 (2010): 11-17. Web.
Liu, Jiangmeng, Cong Li, Nick Carcioppolo, and Michael North. "Do Our Facebook Friends Make Us Feel Worse? A Study of Social Comparison and Emotion." Human Communication Research 42.4 (2016): 619-40. Web. 

 Novotney, Amy. "Facing up to Debt." American Psychological Association (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 
Smith, Richard H., and Sung Hee Kim. "Comprehending envy." Psychological Bulletin 133.1 (2007): 46-64. Web.

Taibbi, Matt. "Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal." Rolling Stone. N.p., 2013. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.
 "The Mental and Physical Toll of Student Loans." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.

Williams, Jeffrey. "The Pedagogy of Debt." College Literature 33.4 (2006): 155-69. Web.


  1. Glad you were able to post this abstract and bib, which might be helpful to others. You did have some good sources, and the "social comparison theory" offers good insight into the mechanism of the vampire effect. It does tend to "privatize" the social class tension identified by Armstrong and Hamilton, shifting blame from the more affluent to the less affluent agent in this 'toxic friendship' drama. But it definitely adds an important dimension to A+H's analysis.

    I would have loved to see more examples of how this plays out in real life, and I'm sure more could be turned up online with some searching. Today I found these:
    and here