Sunday, January 31, 2010
For many people, first impressions mean everything. In retail, it seems to control most perspectives of salesmen and women. For them, to sell is their main concern. The more they sale, the more recognition and commission they may receive after they sale a product. If a woman with a fur coat and diamonds in her ear walked into an expensive jewelry place, and I followed, most likely all sales representatives would run to her and help her first and maybe, glance in my direction and realize I probably won't buy anything. This is a prime example of bias thoughts that come into play when a sales representative looks at his/her customers. Without realizing it, the sales representative used his/her unconscious attitude to take over their beliefs and behavior. Because of the way I look and present myself, the sales representative assumed or used “thin slicing” to make a pre-judgment about me.
This is exactly the same thing that happened when Warren Harding ran for office. He looked like a “great president,” but he ended up becoming the worst president in American history. On page 88, Gladwell says, "Most of us, in ways that we are not entirely aware of, automatically associate leadership ability with imposing physical stature. We have a sense of what a leader is supposed to look like, and that stereotype is so powerful that when someone fits it, we simply become blind to other considerations." We’re oblivious to our own sincere judgment and listen to what media and society has told us to believe.
For me, I try to not have a bias opinion about anyone, just like Bob Golomb. In order to understand people, you must treat everyone equally. He understood how snap judgments can become dangerous to race, sex, and appearance matters and can cause a lot of harmful decisions. Thus, he treated everyone with a fair judgment. Similarly, I try to understand all situations from all points of view, that is when you learn the most about people and understand them better. By doing this, one will be more respected for his/her amiability.
The idea is to use thin-slicing in a smart way to help yourself and others, not use it against people. A balanced judgment is what Gladwell is trying to teach us to follow, which would help all of us have a healthier unconscious attitude as well as a more manageable and controlled snap judgment.
Here's an article very relative to the same topic..
This article dove into the strange gray area of decision making that advertising and branding creates in people’s lives. Cognitive psychology is involved in advertising through its connections with attention, perception, association, and memory. A large part of someone’s decision to buy a brand over and over again is brand loyalty. Somehow, brand loyalty can exist even when the brand product is inferior to another brand’s product. The article illustrated this with their example of Pepsi commercials that we all remember- The Pepsi Challenge. Pepsi “proved” that more people prefer Pepsi over Coke in taste tests, and yet they still continue to buy Coke instead. It isn’t so much the soda that they’re buying, it’s the brand. A great quote from the article is: “People do not buy objects. They buy ideas about products.”
What I thought is really interesting about cognitive psychology’s impact on advertising is the reaction of people to the brand identity, and what a huge impact it can have on them emotionally and mentally. Everyone knows that you have an attachment to the identity of your favorite brands; like the article stated earlier, it can be so strong that it causes you to forsake a superior product. The emotional impact branding has on people, however, goes even further, surpassing consumerism alone. The article mentions that in studies, exposure to the Apple logo made people more creative than an IBM logo, and exposure to the Disney logo made people more honest than exposure to the E! Entertainment logo. Attachment to brand identity goes so far as to begin to seem to alter mood and consumer identity itself. I think the decision making and cognitive psychology that causes fervent brand loyalty, even when one can acknowledge that it defies logic, is fascinating. I remember when Tropicana changed their packaging and identity last Spring, from the orange-with-a-straw carton that we all recognized as kids to a sleeker, more modern, albeit more generic carton. People went absolutely insane, e-mailing and calling Tropicana and demanding that they bring back their old packaging. There is some crazy psychology that makes people so angry about a change in the brand that doesn’t involve a change in the actual product itself at all.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
After reading Hunt's Story of Psychology, I started to have a better understanding of what Cognitive Psychology actually was, and how the idea came about. The line, "the memory of an event can be slanted by a skillful attorney's loaded questions, that we graft new information on to the memory of an event as time goes by and have no way of retrieving the original version," really stood out to me. I had never thought of lawyer's responsibility in this light. People dish one tons of money and faith in lawyers to help guide them responsibly, but I have never really looked closer and seen that they were manipulating the clients, jury and judge to get a desired outcome for their client. Wanting to learn more on this topic I found an article called "The Role of Lawyers and Legal Assistants, As Front Line Crisis Responders" written T.W. Arnold (link at bottom). I found it interesting the three-step process outlined to help attorneys facilitate disclosure of relevant information in order to formulate a strategy for providing desired outcome. Here are the steps:
• Encouraging the client to express concerns and emotional reactions (this assists the client in describing the situation).
• Thorough empathetic listening enables attorneys to help clients acknowledge emotions.
• After this, the attorney may begin to develop and verify problem-solving theories based upon what has been learned.
This example of Cognitive Psychology I found interesting and would like to explore further in the future- the idea of tactics of manipulating cognition.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I really enjoyed coming across this article for many different reasons. One reason being I've read articles based on similar subject matter in the past, and I've found that most articles discussing heavy metal music and the effect it has on the brain and emotions are usually extremely bias and often accuse metal music/bands for the abusive behaviors in their listeners. However, this article doesn't hold metal music responsible - but it suggests in an almost mocking and witty way that maybe researching are conduction tests on the wrong types of people - people who simply don't enjoy metal music as their music of choice. Since I personally listen to mostly only metal music, I found it very interesting hearing the results of the various testing that was done to both the mice and plants. Ultimately, I believe there are so many aspects in each person's life that effects such things as their moods and behaviors, therefore i find it near impossible to simple accuse (any kind of) music to be held responsible for an individual's behavior.
After reading the article a few times, I was able to form my own non-bias opinions, separate from the fact that I myself listen to heavy metal music. With this, i found it very unfair that "heavy metal music" is seen and discussed as one genre. This being said, i don't think many non-listeners realize that there are many different sub-genres, or types of metal music such as grindcore, thrash, doom metal, metalcore, death metal, thrash, etc. On the same note, we must look at the different types of metal bands there are out there. For example, there are "Christian metalcore" bands such as MyChildren MyBride and As I Lay Dying. The lyrics of Christian metal bands are inspirational and all about moving forward and thinking positively. On the other hand, there are bands such as Awaiting the Autopsy and Elysia - considered death metal, with lyrics based on murder, evil, death, suicide, etc. I believe if one were to try and make true assumptions as to the effects metal music has on one's brain, it is important to consider the actual type of metal an individual is listening to just as much as you have to consider the individuals personal background. However, even with knowing that, I still don't think it's fair to make judgment calls on a person simply from the sub-genre, being I myself listen to almost all types of metal music for various reasons - sometimes for the lyrics and sometimes just for the instrumental appreciation - so it's unfair to judge without knowing what is it the individual is truly getting out of listening.
Overall, after reading many articles on the subject, I still do not believe heavy metal music leads to or causes negative effects on a person such as aggression, suicide or lack of intelligence. One main reason I strongly disagree on the link between the two is because I for one am not a suicidal, depressed person nor am I anything less than an honor student. Like many of the commenters to this article, i firmly agree that heavy metal music enables me to release any stress or anger I may have at that moment. Besides growing up around it therefore being partial to the genre, listening to metal music helps me clear my mind and actually enables me to become a more creative person. Everyone is different and everyone has certain hobbies and interests that brings them joy or productivity. With this, I will also say that mostly no one would subject themselves to listen to a type of music that causes them pain or agony. I don't see how any one person would engage in something that is causing them to act out negatively and become a depressed or angry individual. So, as Jennifer Copley states, I also believe it may just all come down to a person's preferred musical genre. In response to David Merrill's experiment, I believe that if mice were subjected to listen to anything 24-hours a day (especially to such an emotionally loud, intense genre of music) may cause themselves to act out in a negative way simply because of the constant loudness they are not partial to. But just as the mice, the plant may also not "prefer metal music" just as certain individuals do not. I also believe it often takes a more emotionally-intuned person to enjoy and relate to such an intense genre of music, and this does not have to be a negative thing. Same way people throw accusations at hip-hop music may effect someone - there are those who listen to both hip-hop and metal that are individuals that engage in negative behaviors as well as those who live positive lifestyles. With this, how can it possibly be fair to throw out negative generalized accusations, and make assumptions to the effects any type of music may have on a human being's brain if every individual's brain (and musical preference) varies just as much as their personalities and personal interests do ?
Monday, January 25, 2010
It reminded me of young children who fall off a swing and are pretty much OK until they look down at their hands to find a small bloody cut, and then they freak out, had they never noticed they would have been fine.
This does leave me wondering if studying people who cannot feel pain, due to a nerve disorder, perceive the same sence of fear of being hurt. How does their mental process compare to those who feel pain normally?
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Younger people preformed better than older people in humor comprehension tests, a skill that is determined by cognitive flexibility, abstract reasoning, and short-term memory. The Science Daily article reports, “...humor comprehension is a result of resolving incongruities—resolving the conflict between the expected and the actual, which requires a combination of cognitive skills.”
People can have different styles of humor (dark vs. cheesy), but its always required that they have strong problem-solving abilities and sharp wit. But while the studies suggest that older people have a harder time comprehending humor; they do not necessarily have a harder time appreciating it. Whether or not my professor is cognitively challenged, I’m going to guess that he wouldn’t think it was very funny were I to give him a copy of this article the next time he doesn’t like my work.
Read the article here.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Everyone is very familiar with the famous "Rubin's Vase" optical illusion; Is it a vase? Or 2 people looking at each other? I find it very interesting how images can mislead the mind into believing something else. Pictures can alter a way a person perceives something and may make one think twice about what they are actually viewing. "Cognitive" illusions are the type of illusions that make the brain and the eye make "unconscious inferences." In other words, what a person sees may seem true, but the brain knows that it is impossible but tries to comprehend it to make it true.
While researching more about this topic, I came across this website (http://scienceblogs.com/mixingmemory/2008/06/cool_visual_illusions_rotating.php). For a better view of the mask, you can go here (http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/fcs_hollow-face/index.html). This is one illusion I haven't seen yet that I thought was pretty interesting. The rotating mask distorts your eyes into believing that the concave part of the mask is convex when turning and then switches back. There is a quick diagram on the website the shows what is happening when viewing this illusion.
The author of this article refers to it as "depth inversion." Distortions in size, length, and curvature can alter an interpretation of an image. The curvature of the hollow face seems to switch back and forth as it rotates, but it actually isn't. As the face rotates, you see the concave surface of the back of the mask, but it seems to switch back to the convex side of the face (which isn't really convex). But the brain knows faces can't be hollow, so it changes it for you into believing its convex again.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Later in the day I stumbled upon "Bruxism", slightly straying away from my interest above, Bruxism is the habit of grinding your teeth at night. All of the negative effects are health side effects, but what I found interesting was the Behavioral Therapy was listed as a treatment. Quoted below is what I had read....
"4. Behavioral Therapy:
Teeth grinding has been long regarded as a habit. And it is quite a bad habit at that. Elimination of bad habits is usually carried out through a series of behavior therapy sessions. A lot of centers are now specializing in teeth grinding. Strategies like proper mouth and jaw positioning, concentration, and constant tongue practice are used to address the condition. Behavioral therapies may also use some alternative medicines to further help make a person forget his teeth clenching habits. (www.teethgrindingcure.com)."
This proposed the question, how can you treat an unconscious behavior?