Social Compliance and Business Technique

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One year ago when I accompanied a friend to buy his first car, a salesman recommended him a 2007 Volvo S80. It was a nice car with small mileage. The sales person introduced us a decent price for a car like that and it was lower than the price of similar vehicles at other retailers. So my friend decided to pay for it, but then the sales person announced that the price is only available if he purchases also a five-year warranty bundle. Although the vehicle itself is at a reasonable price, my friend ended up with a huge bill for the warranty and seen from today, it did not seem like a bargain.
From chapter thirteen of the textbook, I learned that the sales person has used the low-ball technique, which is a strategy to gain compliance by making a very attractive initial offer to get a person to agree to an action and then making the terms less favourable.

Two other techniques are also described in text. First one is the door-in-the-face (DITF) technique. As shown in the video above, compliance with the request of concern is enhanced by first making an extremely large request that the respondent will obviously turn down. The respondent is then more likely to accede to a second, more reasonable request than if this second request were made without the first, extreme request. There is also a feeling of guilt associated with the DITF technique of sequential requests. A person is also more likely to agree with the second request because they feel guilty for having rejected the first request. And the foot-in-the-door technique is a moving-forward technique that start with a small request and make a larger one in the same nature.

Nonverbal Leakage and Lie Detecting

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People who have watched the TV series "Lie to me" may it fictional when Dr. Cal Lightman recognizes lies through just one simple facial expression. However, though exaggerated, nonverbal cues, for example facial expressions and gestures, do play important roles in reflexing people's emotions and thoughts with scientific supports.

Nonverbal leakage, as described on page 146 of the textbook, is an unconscious spillover of emotions into nonverbal behaviors, and is also a powerful cue that we are trying to hide an emotion. The old term of "eyes have it" means exactly the same except that there are other components of the nonverbal expressions.

However, the detecting of lies by substantial expertise is still frictional in our real life as it remains incredibly inaccurate. Statistics show that the lie detecting accuracy is only around 50%.

Can Intelligence Tests Be Fair? (Make up for recitation)

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As shown in recent studies, cognitive ability tests, or simply known as IQ tests represent the best single predictor of job performance, but also represent the predictor most likely to have substantial adverse impact on employment opportunities for members of several racial and ethnic minority groups. Debates over the use of these tests in selection often involve trade-offs between two criteria that are valued by decision makers--that is, efficiency and equity. Findings and methods from decision research can help us frame these trade-offs, but in most cases they cannot be avoided.

Protesters of IQ tests use evidences such as difference in performance of black and other groups on those tests. Statistics shows that black score 10-15% lower than the average of other races. However, supporters of IQ tests pointed out that the reason is not among race, but come mainly from education level and social segregation. In the past few years, standards were set for non-discriminative intelligence test as "tests need to be culturally fair and items do not favor a particular cultural group".


To make an intelligence test fair, let's first compare the following two video clips. The first one shows a test given orally to three different people with different backgrounds. The first person is a regular highs school student, second one is a lower social class citizen and the third is an immigrant from Iran with a university degree. The test demands background information to specific English words, and thus is biased as foreign students whose native language is not English will have less chances to know the meanings. However, in the second, the test was given in forms of figures and numbers. If a written instruction is also given in the language of the test taker, it will eliminate bias of culture.

Attractive Composite Faces of Different Races

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It was mentioned in class that it is usually the average composite face that seems the most attractive, which was suggested by Perret and Yoshikawa in 1994. Recently Rhee Seung-chul, plastic surgeon at Ilsan Paik Hospital created composite photos of famous female entertainers from different ethnic groups and published the results in a study titled "Attractive Composite Faces" in the latest issue of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. The result of Rhee's study confirms the "average face theory", but he also questioned the concept of "universal beauty" by showing great differences among what could be considered the most attractive faces among the different races, even among races that female appearances are close.

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Rhee's studies show that the face generated from black stars has a narrower nose, smaller eyes, a smaller upper lip and a more slender chin than most black people's faces. The Caucasian face that was generated has a somewhat masculine appearance, with an angulated and square jaw, protruding cheeks, and fuller lips than the average Caucasian face.

Surprising difference was noticed on the composite faces of Chinese, Japanese and Korean females. According to the report, the composite Japanese face has a relatively long face with slightly slanted eyes, sharp chin, and chubby cheeks. The Chinese one, on the other hand, has narrow cheekbones, a slim and thin face with a protruding chin. As a Chinese, I also find out that people in China regard females with double-fold eyelids, up-lifting eye canthus, and lighter skin colors, which is not obvious in other cultures.

Thus, although usually the averaged faces are more attractive as they are more balanced and harmoniously looking. The differences of the definition of beauty are still seen among cultures.

In a recent public lecture, Brian Brushwood, an American magician shows how people's memory can be falsely implanted with misapplication of related information.

The first test he gave was what a penny looks like? The audience was given fifteen images and was asked to identify the one on a penny. Almost all the audience gave wrong answers on their first several tries. Most of them picked the ones with a "one" or "one cent" based on their knowledge of the value of penny. The information that a penny worth one cent is correct, and since it's also the fundamental knowledge people carry about the coin, it leads to the false memory of the look.

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The second test was a word-memory test. Brian Brushwood gave two sets of words with fifteen each and the audience was asked to memorize those words and rewrite them out after one minute. The first set of words was "sour nice candy sugar honey soda bitter chocolate good heart taste cake tooth tart pie" and the second set was "mad wrath fear happy hate fight rage hatred temper mean fury calm ire emotion enrage". When he's testing the results, at least 80 percent of all the audience has written down "sweet" for the first set and "anger" or "angry" for the second, and were confident that they got them right, which actually never appeared in the slides! I myself had those two words written down while doing the test. The reason for the false memory is that we were given such a clear piece of information that the first set was words about food and taste, and the second was about emotions. Also, "sweet" and "angry" are such common adjectives for the description of taste and emotion that we would memorize those immediately after giving the hint.

Those results also explained the inaccuracy of witness testimony. Results from textbook show that testimony of "simultaneous lineups" usually lacks accuracy. The real problem is that when real criminal isn't in the lineup, witnesses are likely to mistakenly identify the person who most closely resembles the real perpetrator. Or in other word, they were given a false piece of information that the criminal is already in the lineup. A contradiction is that the accuracy is greatly improved if they were told by the police beforehand that the criminal might not be in the lineup.

Is babbling non-sense?

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Babbling is defined as the sound of infants that do not for specific words or carry specific meanings. Just like the father in the following video, many adults would think baby babbling as adorable but few actually understand the true function and important role of it.

An infant can start to recognize the sound of the mother and her native language even before he or she is born. During the first year or so after birth, infants learn much more about the sounds of their native languages. They begin to figure out the phonemes of their languages and how to use their vocal apparatus to make specific sounds, and that is what babbling does.

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Through babbling, infants try to imitate the language that they are most exposed to. They pronounce certain syllables they obtained from the outside world, from their mom or from a ringing bell. What's more, they also tuning their vocal tracts and their ears to fit the language they are about to speak. The pharynx is known as an import part of the throat situated immediately posterior behind the mouth and nasal cavity, and superior to the esophagus and larynx, shown above. It is an important piece of the vocalization device that is shaped during daily speaking and oral cavity vibration to accommodate certain language system. Infants also prepare for their first word by shaping their pharynx through accumulation of babbling. This process takes approximately one year after their birth.

C.R.A.F.T & Addiction Cure

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Positive and negative reinforcement is the INCREASE of repeated behaviors by positive and negative experience, or commonly known by rewarding motivations and individual competence. The cause of addiction is closely related to reinforcement behaviors as the abuse of drugs or alcohol usually brings the user temporary comfort (positive) and release from depression or pain (negative). But can Skinner's reinforcement behavior theories also be used in the cure of addictions? The Community Reinforcement and Family Training Program (C.R.A.F.T) serves as a positive example.

The C.R.A.F.T was first proposed by Dr. Robert J. Meyers in 1970s. The program focuses on alcohol and drug users and is designed to help them remove addiction by engaging their families and loved ones.

On one hand, the program encourages family members to reward the user for any time spent together that does not involve substance use. For example, a spouse might reward a husband for staying sober after work by taking him to a baseball game or by giving him a massage. Those forms of enjoyable attention serve to replace the positive reinforcement from drug taking or alcohol use. This way, the user gains pleasure not from addiction but from spending time with their family members.

On the other hand, the program also works by removing negative reinforcers. Under CRAFT, family members do not yell, nag or threaten. Instead, families keep their loved ones away from depression or anxiety buy constructing intimacy and make them feel respected and valued. Without suffering from negative emotions, users do not need things like alcohol to cut them away from experiences of life.

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sober and fun

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CRAFT family
The system has been studied and the efficacy rates for continuing participation, client satisfaction and the initiation of treatment by using family members has proven higher than for comparative confrontational interventions systems, and higher than for 12 steps based programs of change. A systematic study of the system showed that 64% families using the program were able to convince an addict to enter into treatment. 64% in the world of addiction is very very high.