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Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Positive or negative sentiment override

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The title tells me a lot about relationship and gives me insight about partner’s point of view on relationship. I’ve never been married, but I have been living together several times with first own family, then female friends like I am doing now. Interesting point about viewing one’s relationship is that it is unlikely to change one’s own point of view once it’s started to decline to the negative emotion. It is hard to change one’s own emotion from negative to positive once it reaches the bottom line. Even after several attempts of repair. This idea is explained clearly in the book of Malcolm Gladwell, Blink, 2005. He’s particularly pointing to the marriage life. The relationship between spouses. An observation by Gottman says that a relationship between two people has a fist: a distinctive signature that arises naturally and automatically. ” …because some key part of human activity … has an identifiable and stable pattern.”

 Positive (not negative) sentiment override is like a buffer. It reduces the shock or harmful effect caused by the negative emotion in order to lessen the adverse effect. “…where positive emotion overrides irritability.” By contrast, the negative sentiment override would “even a relatively neutral thing that a partner say gets perceived as negative. ” I think many of us are likely to go through these situations countless time not only in marriage life and working life, but also in friendship and in society. This is supposed to be different from positive thinking attitude which is dealing with one’s perception of an outcome or expectation to raise hope and support the action. The positive sentiment override is practically a cure to the negative emotion at a thin-sliced moment toward peer.

Below is some important part of summary in wikipedia about the book that is useful for more applicable situations.

Gladwell explains how an expert’s ability to “thin slice” or make a snap judgment can be corrupted by their likes and dislikes, prejudices and stereotypes (even unconscious ones), and how they can be overloaded by too much information. “Thin-slicing” is using limited information to come to our conclusion. In what Gladwell contends is an age of information overload, he finds that experts often make better decisions with snap judgments than they do with volumes of analysis. He also mentions that sometimes having too much information can interfere with the accuracy of a judgment, or a doctor’s diagnosis. This is commonly called “analysis paralysis.” the challenge is to sift through and focus on only the most critical information to make a decision. The other information may be irrelevant and confusing to the decision maker. Collecting more and more information, in most cases, just reinforces our judgment but does not help to make it more accurate, the collection of information is commonly interpreted as confirming a person’s initial belief or bias. He explains that better judgments can be executed from simplicity and frugality of information.

Another advantage

In his book, Gladwell says that the observation by John Gottman about marriage through thin-slicing reveals the facts of how they view their relationship and helps to evaluate the relationship between spouses.

Well, I kinda feeling of discernment from reading the book and the summary or review. What the book is trying to reveal is what ordinary people would just experience daily and it is not so surprising or interesting unless one put more or careful attention on the effect it may cause. For example, I’m beginning to understand why my mom is always knowing when I dislike someone, particularly the opposite sex. At a glance she just observes that I dislike a particular person even though I never said a word about it. At first I wonder how she knows that, or perhaps because she’s my mother, she must have been knowing me ever since I become her daughter. But now I change my analysis, I think she’s been thin-slicing me. I often do that as well to many people. I do that as often as I have chance to meet someone at the first time, but it gives me unnecessary judgment that keeps me from interacting with people instead of giving me benefit.

Yet, one criticism about this book came from Richard Posner, a professor at the University of Chicago and a judge on the  United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, who argues that Gladwell in ‘Blink’ fails to follow his own recommendations regarding thin-slicing, and makes a variety of unsupported assumptions and mistakes in his characterizations of the evidence for his thesis.

The Language We’ve Learnt

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One interesting book, Watching The English, The Hidden Rules of English Behavior, tells me about the differences in responses and picking situation of (ha, I feel now I got confused with what shall I write down as book review)(I don’t really have a long hours in reviewing and summarizing books or anything I read). Anyway, this book tells me of many rules in conversation in english which has differences between english and british. When the first time an englishman meets a person, he’ll start conversation by pointing to the weather’s condition. And the response doesn’t necessarily ask for meteorological data rather shall show either agreement or a gesture of receiving the invitation to talk more. This is called weather-speak rules. Another rule is about mentioning own name at the first meeting. One party never mention his own until a certain degree of intimacy, while for the other party, mentioning name and origin is common to open conversation at the first encounter. (I forgot which one is which between english and british). How then do this rules imply to my english? As many people in the world speak english with their own accent, they do not necessarily imitate all these rules in mastering english as if english is their mother tongue. Indians speak english with their own accent. Singaporeans speak english with their own accent. Malaysians speak english with their own accent, and so on. This is particularly interesting since I have learned english since middle school but I (and I believe the majority) found it difficult to mimic and imitate the pace and intonation and conversation in real english, unless we study about their culture as well which is not included in the curriculum in our school. This is not a matter of smart and dumb, but this is a matter of utilizing it. Language is not a knowledge by itself, it is a tool, a means of communicating ourselves to the world of society. Unless we use it, language has no point in learning. No matter how hard we study, we would never understand why first time we learn about conversation in english is about weather. Indonesians never or seldom talk about weather in every area of our lives, for Indonesia has only two seasons, dry and rainy. So talking about weather would probably means complaining. Its position in equator gives it a daily fixed hour of days and nights throughout the year with about half year of rainy days. Sometimes the rain comes during half other of the year, and sometimes no single rain. It keeps changing much of the time between dry and rainy back and forth. Even sometimes there is not big different all of the year in particular area in indonesia. Therefore, it is quite strange and uncomfortable to talk about weather, since it is unpredictable or too predictable. Even the weather forecast on television is becoming less and less interesting. Just looking at the sky and you’ll know the weather forecast today. So, how do indonesian people talk on their first encounter? Well, obviously this should not be based on my selfish answer, yet I believe I have lived long enough and observed deep enough to tell. Indonesian people typically will talk about names and their original birth area. This is important to address them with appropriate language, level, and title. Sometimes occupations and address will help people to distinguish and set proper attitude. This sounds too deep, but this is quite the fact. Indonesian people don’t want to bother themselves with formal and polite attitude to someone of lower class in occupation or level of education or considered rural area. Even sometimes in a second when they heard about particular name or area of origin, they will change their language from Indonesian language into the mentioned original language. This is interesting because sometimes this would result in offense rather than respect. Indeed, I have experienced this and my mother also reported to me about this several times. I was born in the outskirt of a small town previously a rural area, and one of my friends in high school often scolded me about me being a villain. I wasn’t responding to her, and let her boast herself of being born in a town. It implies to her to be in a level higher than me by origin. When my mother moved to another outskirt area in different province, she experienced similar stigma of being considered as a lower status. However, when people who know us ask about our school or education level or occupation, they would probably increase their respect. This is quite different in Korea. When I had a chance to visit Korea, I found that the first time I met people whom of similar age, they would ask my age without hesitation. This is surprised me, but that is the way Korean people position themselves toward new person, because they have levels of politeness in their language. As soon as they figured out I am much older than them despite of my appearance, they would address me as older sister, ‘Unni’ in their language. Even if it is only one day older. In Japan, this respectful attitude is based on the seniority in either occupation or education level, rather than age, and perhaps the distinction between outsiders and insiders above age, occupation, birth origin, and else. They humble themselves in what belongs to me (insider) and respect what belongs to other (outsider). This also shows the degree of closeness rather than social status.

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