Writing 3; Section 4: March 2012 Archives

Business Practices

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We've learned about how culture can influence language and understanding, but there is also a distinct difference in how different countries conduct business. One major difference is how companies in different parts of the world make decisions. The Psychology Department at the University of Texas at Austin has conducted a study to determine how distinct these differences are. They found that Western cultures are highly individualistic, meaning there is more focus on the individual and personal achievement; in contrast, decision making in Eastern cultures is collectivist - they tend to make decisions based upon what is best for the group. Also, Western cultures, like the United States, seek one solution to a problem whereas Eastern cultures, like many Asian countries, tend to seek understanding of the problem and thus create more than one solution. Lastly, companies in Western cultures tend to be more risk averse, meaning they do not like uncertainty; however, Eastern cultures will tend to take more risks, and thus frequently receive a larger return on their investments.

Knowing all of this information will be helpful to anyone in business because it will allow people to determine which kind of company they want to work for. While people choose companies based on their business practices, culture, and ethics, companies also choose candidates based on how well their beliefs and morals fit into the company.


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Target is a company with headquarters in the United States of America (Western culture) and the Bank of China is headquartered in China (Eastern culture).

Last week, when I was preparing my psychology midterm, my roommate asked me a mathematic problem which was from GMT. To be honest, at the first sight of it, I did not think that it is difficult because it seemed familiar to me. However, when I started tackling with it, I realized that it is way difficult than I thought it would be. Because the methods I used to use for these kinds of problems did not work this time. I felt not only upset, but also afflictive as I nearly reached the correct answer. At first, I thought that maybe I make some miscalculation, so I cannot work out the correct answer, but after recalculating it for several times using the same method, I realized that the method I use maybe wrong. I think what I met with that day was mental sets. It is apparently that I was stuck in a specific problem-solving strategy and could not come up with a new one. As a matter of fact, I was stuck in the same phenomenon for many times when I was at middle school and high school. And I believe that everyone had met with it in their lifetime, too. Sometimes, it is a little difficult for our brain to get rid of the pattern that we assumed already. But once we try to think in another angle, it would be easier for us to solve the problems in our daily life.
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True life: Daddy Day Care

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Growing up I always preferred spending time with my father over my mother. My father always insisted this was because he was the "fun parent." Turns out he may have been right all along. When reading the psychology chapter on the role of the father figure I found it interesting that even though fathers are less affectionate and spend less time father daughter.jpgwith their children than mothers their kids usually prefer to play with the father. This struck me because I realized just how true it is. My father spent less time with me than my mother yet I always preferred playing with him. This made me think that maybe why some children prefer their father to their mother is because they associate their father with fun and play. If children prefer their father as a playmate then they might grow up to associate fun and happiness with time spent with their father. In the psychology chapter it also mentions that fathers interact with more physical play. This could also be a reason that children might prefer their father. According to Harlow and his comfort contact theory, simple touch can be extremely reassuring. While his theory gave us insight into why children prefer their own parents it could also be why children sometimes favor their father.

Lawrence Kholberg devised a theory of how moral development changes over a person's lifespan. His theory divided morality into three levels that contain sublevels. People are placed into certain levels based on their reasons for certain actions and not on the actions themselves. People in the first level tend to focus on the immediate consequences and how the individual is affected. People in the second level tend to focus on social rules and how society is affected. People in the third stage view people as separate from society and feel that exceptions can be made to societies rules.
One major criticism of Kholberg's stages is from Carol Gilligan, who argued that it was biased against women due to the differences in approaches to moral problems by each gender. Kholberg's model found males to be more morally advanced then females, which Gilligan argued was because women viewed morality using different terms then men. A problem with Gilligan's argument is that, when corrected for education, women scored the same as men on Kholberg's scale. Even with this problem, Gilligan's criticism may be accurate, because moral development may be different based on gender.
Another criticism is that Kholberg's stags is that it is culturally biased. While each culture appears to progress through the stages in the same order, different cultures progressed though at different rates and reached different levels. This criticism may have merit because Kholberg's stages are based on Western cultures and may not match the morality of non-Western cultures. Other cultures may split from Kholberg's stages at the point that they appear to stop at.
I feel that Kholberg's theory is a theory that may have some flaws but can be applicable in many situations. I agree with it's progression from a self based reasoning, to a societal based reasoning, to a reasoning that transcends social rules. Even with it's flaws it is useful as long as you remain aware of it's possible shortcomings.

Although English is the most widely used language in the world, in America, England, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, where people speak English as a first language, learn second language or third language is also important. In addition to old standbys 1615-110GG63S59.jpglike Spanish, German and French, more and more students are opting for Eastern European and Asian languages, such as Chinese. Did you notice that Chinese students think it is very hard to learn English and American students think Chinese is the most difficult to learn. The learner of a second language has many obstacles to overcome. But why, if a child's parents come from different countries say different languages, the child is east to speak two kinds of languages? A child born their brain's weight is 350 g. One year old, 950 g; six years old, 1200 g, close to 1400 g adult's quality. One-year-old to six years, this period is the period of the fastest growing children's brain development, but also to accept the best period of the language. Specifically, you want the children are real but one language, you should start early, from the age of two, this period can allow children to accept the dual mother tongue language education. How to help parents to motivate their children to learn a second language? First, to see what to say. Second, use scenes of life to learn. Third, to learn language in the games. In a bilingual Environment, cross-language references makes the students' thinking more sophisticated.11111.jpg

Are you an outlier?

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Do you consider yourself to be an "expert" in a certain area? If so, could you easily say that you've practiced this skill for more than 10,000 hours? Our textbook has only touched on this subject, but once I saw the magic number (10,000) when reading about IQ, I knew that the mind behind the quote was Malcolm Gladwell.

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In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Gladwell writes about how one simply becomes just that: an outlier. For most, simply being average doesn't cut it. Most people like to feel indispensible and unique, so in effect, they strive to be an outlier.

This book, which is a must read, explains that being a "genius" isn't solely inherited. What we believe are geniuses today in their respective fields, such as Bill Gates and The Beatles, really started out in the same position as everyone else, just average. Sure, they have natural talent, but what set them above everyone else is their dedication and diligence. I don't want to spoil the book for anyone who wants to read this amazing story of success, but what did Bill Gates and The Beatles do to become masters of their domain? They worked and worked at it for more than 10,000 hours.

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As Professor Melissa Koenig discussed the language development of infants and children is astonishing, due to the abilities that they possess without any preexisting knowledge or experience of how language works at a very young age. If when we were young had those same abilities to recognize and detect all speech sounds, would we have chosen to learn a second language or third language than? My response to that would be of course, I would have wanted to learn another language than my native language than, because I already had the tools to detect speech sounds from every language. If I have the tools that adults didn't with language when I was an infant, I would have wanted to capitalize on that, since I now know how hard it is to detect language sounds from a language different than my own as an adult. Although this is very unlikely for infants to learn a second or third language for besides there native language due to their environment they are exposed to. I believe that it mainly depends on what their parents or caretakers expose them to while they are infants. Infants could easily learn the basics to multiple languages if they are exposed to learning situations that keep on repeating the words and meanings from a different language or two. Than the words would need to be maintained by continuous use by both parent and infant, in an infant directed social interaction. I only think that this is possible if the parents begin the process of teaching their infant languages at 4 to 6 months of age, even if they cannot talk yet because eventually they will imitate or mimic and we know by 12 months of age they start to lose touch with language sounds that they do not hear from their parents or the outside environment. If you were to have kids would you start to incorporate another language than yours, into your infants language capabilities before they were gone?

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Although there are multiple ways to measure intelligence, what type of intelligence is being tested? If you were like me I thought there was just one "intelligence". Well let me shed some light on the subject and maybe you'll find which type you are!

Linguistic Intelligence:
Speak and write well
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Logicomathmatical Intelligence:
use logic and mathematical skills to solve problems, such as scientific qustions
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Spatial Intelligence:
Think and reason about objects in three-dimensional space
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Musical intelligence:
Perform, understand, and enjoy music
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Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence:
manipulate the body in sports, dance, or other physical endeavors
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Interpersonal intelligence:
Understand and interact effectively with others
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AND FINALLY Naturalistic Intelligence:
Recognize, identify, and understand animals, plants, and other living things
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I never knew that there were this many types of intelligence let alone that you can view an individuals intelligence by how these different types act as a whole. Personally i think that my strongest intelligence types are Logicomathematical, Bodily-kinesthetic, and Interpersonal intelligence because of my activity in sports, math skills, and (at least i hope) my ability to effectively communicate with others. So now my question is which are you?

A Problem Solving Society

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Creative problem solving is considered to be one of the most important skills in the job market and in life in general. When it comes to the brain, humans have developed ways to help ensure that problem solving can be done with complex problems by a variety of methods such as generalizing a problem with salience of surface similarities, creating a mindset which provides a reinforced method of solving problems, and embedding information about each object's functions so that you can figure out the correct object to fill whichever need is required.

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However, these concepts can also work to our disadvantage with the fact that we can sometimes miss out on important details in such surface similarities, or get so caught in a mindset or function that we lose the ability to take a step back and see alternative solutions, which is where creative problem solving becomes a skill to develop.

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I find this very important because I'm a physics major and creative problem solving is one of the most fundamental aspects of the field of research. It allows society to develop in directions that nobody could foresee with technological innovations that wouldn't have been invented if not for the ability to break out of the natural tendency to generalize solutions and functions. Knowing how to take advantage of your basic problem solving functions and when to break free from them is essential to making the most out of life from the social to technological applications in society.

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Children of Soldiers

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Many of us have experienced a friend, brother, sister, mom, dad, or close relative get sent overseas to fight a war. For our generation it is the War on Terror in the Middle East and for past generations it has been World War One, World War Two, and many other battles that have taken the lives of many and caused many psychological problems such as post- traumatic stress for others. Many times this damages families in ways that cannot be reversed. One may ask how children are affected by family members not being present in highly critical stages of development for children. Many of us have different relationships with our parents but for me I know that my dad could not teach me some things that my mom did and vice versa. There are critical times that parents should be present in a child's life not saying they shouldn't always be present. A child is most impressionable from the sensorimotor stage till the formal operation's stage. This is a time in which parents need to be there and active with their kids. It is very hard for young children to not have a mom or dad for a year. Many times soldiers do not see their family for a year or more which is way too long. It is inevitable to be deployed if you are enlisted in the armed forces but there should be a change on how long deployments are or the addition of time where a soldier can fly home not just for the child's mental health but also the soldier's.

The Addiction Solution

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Drugs and its role in brain chemistry have helped science better understand why they produce certain behaviors, and recently, the treatment for addiction. "The Addiction Solution" by David Kipper and Steven Whitney explain the true origin of addition and how to successfully diminish it. In recent years doctors and neuroscientists have been putting together the pieces of the addiction puzzle. What was previously mistaken for a behavior problem, addiction has been proven to be a chronic disease. Like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, doctors can now better manage treatments that can put an end to this problem. Imaging techniques, as we've learned about in Lilienfeld, allow us to go beyond external behaviors and glimpse the areas of the brain responsible for certain behaviors. Functional MRIs can help patients see their brain heal through the progressive stages of recovery helping them maintain their commitment to therapy. The new paradigm of "The Addiction Solution" breaks down addiction as such:
1. An inherited genetic flaw causes...
2. Specific imbalances in brain chemistry that, when...
3. Impacted by stress, create...
4. Biochemical "wants," or needs, that show themselves as...
5. Bad feelings, uncharacteristic behaviors known as addiction
6. This can be medically treated by pharmaceutical medications that first regain and stabilize the biochemical balance.

In a nutshell...
ADDICTION:
Originates in brain chemistry,
Is determined by genetics
And is triggered by stress.

Due to imbalance of certain neurotransmitters (particularly dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine) specific neurotransmitter imbalance signals a wanting for a specific substance to regain balance (homeostasis). While some people acquire addiction through self-medicating or experimentation it is no more their choice for a specific drug as it is for a diabetic to need insulin.
From what we've learned in lecture the two-factor model can also explain addiction in by thinking of a drug the same way we do unconditioned stimuli.

CS Environment, Paraphernalia --> ( UCS Drug --> UCR Decreased Temperature ) --> CR Compensatory Response

Everyone is born with certain chemical imbalances. It is the severity of the imbalance and the impact of the triggers that cause some people to be prone to addiction.

Triggers (Stress) --> ( Imbalance of brain chemistry --> Biochemical need to regain Homeostasis ) --> Drug

Neglect of treating the chemical imbalance is why most treatment fails. So, is this breakthrough treatment the solution for all addiction? In a perfect world, maybe. With a success rate of 90%, failures occur in nearly 1 to 10 patients and discovering the reason for each failure leads to better practices for success. We must not fall prey to fallacies; everyone has the opportunity to overcome addiction.

Kipper, David and Whitney, Steven. The Addiction Solution. New York: Rodale, 2010. Print.

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This page is an archive of entries in the Writing 3; Section 4 category from March 2012.

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