Tuesday, June 30, 2015


“The psychological quirks that make it tricky to get an accurate read on someone’s emotions”
By: Emily Esfahani Smith
Level of difficulty: **
·         Watch the following video carefully: “Facial Expression Tutorial by Khappucino”
·         Now listen to the following talk and take notes:

1.       Read as far as “To Halverson”. What conclusion did Tim draw from this incident?
·         I am not getting across to them as well as I thought I was
·         How awful they have been thinking I am a jerk
·         They must think I am terribly bad tempered
·         They must think I am completely unapproachable
·         All of the above
·         None of the above
·         Other: please specify
2.       What conclusion did Tim’s team draw from the same incident?
·         He can pretend all he likes; we know his type
·         Maybe he is not as bad as we thought; this could work
·         Active listening my foot; he is a bad tempered old sod
·         He needs to get out more and learn about facial expressions
·         All of the above
·         None of the above
·         Other: please specify
3.       What conclusion can we draw from the additional examples provided in the text?  Circle the adjective(s) that won’t fit according to the text.  Complete misunderstanding of another person’s intention in saying or doing something is  quite infrequent/quite common / relatively widespread / universal / exceptional
4.       All the examples studied so far prove that………………………………………………………………………………
5.       Read the section on the transparency gap and decide whether the following conclusions are true or false according to the text:
·         We shouldn’t blame others for not seeing us for what we are
·         If people choose not to understand that is their own fault
·         We should express ourselves clearly and not expect people to read our minds
·         If we want people to understand us we should help them to
·         Hiding your feelings and expecting people to read your mind is stupid
6.       The main reason why people misread other people is the fact that …………………………………………
7.       A staff member is confused and flustered on his first few days on a new job.  Mark True or False
·         This impression will be remedied as soon as he performs better
·         This impression may prevent his future promotion
·         This impression may affect the amount of responsibility he gets given
·         People will understand that he didn’t know the job and revise their opinion at once
8.       What would happen if the above staff member consistently received a lot of praise from clients?
9.       Why are people loath to resort to system 2 thinking?
10.   What is the ultimate result of sticking to system 1 thinking?
11.   Read Dan Gilbert’s experiment to the end. When the subjects were allowed to move on from their first impression, they labeled / didn’t label the subject as an anxious person.
12.    In the same experiment preoccupation seemed to prevent the subject from reaching the correct result / encourage the subject to reach the correct result. The conclusion we can draw is that in order to accurately assess a situation it is enough to form an impression / it is necessary to focus. The rule of thumb is that first impressions are always wrong / can be wrong / are never wrong.
13.    A person with high self esteem is likely to judge another person…………………………………….because …………………………………………………………………………………………….
14.   What conclusion can we draw from the 1998 study published in “Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin”?
15.   Sending clear signals comes with an additional bonus:
Use the text and the videos you have watched to discuss the reasons why we  often misunderstand each other. Although you will need to use what you learnt in the text, you must use your own words and your own examples while completing the task.
In your introduction: discuss the transparency illusion
In your development: discuss the reasons:
·         People are cognitive misers or lazy thinkers
·         Perception is influenced by the perceiver’s experiences, emotions and biases
In your conclusion: suggest solutions; use the text and your own experience
This task comes with some interesting videos and a writing task so it is all inclusive. The text should be appealing in terms of content and lead to lively discussions. Hopefully the lesson will be productive and enjoyable.
1.       All of the above
2.       Other: 2 and 4
3.       Quite infrequent, exceptional
4.       There is a gap between how other people see us and how we see ourselves.
5.       Only the second one is false
6.       They are lazy thinkers.
7.       F, T, T, F
8.       The boss can engage in system 2 thinking and update his impression of the member of staff.
9.       It demands a lot of effort and mental energy
10.   Speed is traded off for accuracy in thinking about others.
11.   They didn’t label the subject as an anxious person
12.   Prevent the subject from reaching the correct result; it is necessary to focus; can be wrong
13.   Less harshly or more favorably; his sense of himself or herself isn’t threatened.
14.   If you want to solve the problem of perception, it is much more practical for you to decide to be a good sender of signals than to hope that the perceiver is going to go into phase 2 of perception.
15.   Such people are ultimately happier and more satisfied with their relationships, careers and lives.

Monday, June 29, 2015


Published: BBC Magazine, June 29, 2015; http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33287727
Level of difficulty: **
  • What is Empathy?
  • Now do the following test designed by Simon Baron-Cohen to determine how good you are at reading people. You will learn the significance of this test when you read the text.
  • Now watch the following video:
  1. What word could you substitute for the word “integral” in the subtitle?
  2. What does “this message” refer to in the sentence “Humans are naturally primed to embrace this message”
  • Empathy is written into our genetic code; i.e. it is inherited
  • It is important to put yourself in someone else’s shoes
  • It is not possible to understand someone unless you love them
  • It is possible to understand people if you share their life.
  1. Could Hannibal Lector understand “this message”? Why?
  2. What conclusion can we draw from the example of the mother, the earthquake, the six year-old twins and the writer’s partner?
  3. Does the conclusion Cohen reached at the end of his research tally with the writer’s view expressed earlier in the text?
  4. Interrupting a person halfway through his account of a problem to take words out of his mouth and finish his story for him because you think you know what he is going to say is right / wrong because  ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  5. Read the example of conflict resolution. Repeating what the staff member said gives the message that:
  • The boss knows what the staff member is talking about
  • The boss wants to correct the staff member if necessary
  • The boss has actually listened to the staff member
  • The boss has actually understood the staff member
  • All of the above
  • None of the above
  • Other: please specify
  1. Read the wonderful poem by Bertolt Brecht and state clearly what the message is. Begin as follows: It is important to
A Worker Reads History By Bertolt Brecht
Who built the seven gates of Thebes?
The books are filled with names of kings.
Was it the kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?
And Babylon, so many times destroyed.
Who built the city up each time? In which of Lima's houses,
That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it?
In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished
Where did the masons go? Imperial Rome
Is full of arcs of triumph. Who reared them up? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Byzantium lives in song.
Were all her dwellings palaces? And even in Atlantis of the legend
The night the seas rushed in,
The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.

Young Alexander conquered India.
He alone?
Caesar beat the Gauls.
Was there not even a cook in his army?
Phillip of Spain wept as his fleet
was sunk and destroyed. Were there no other tears?
Frederick the Great triumphed in the Seven Years War.
Who triumphed with him?

Each page a victory
At whose expense the victory ball?
Every ten years a great man,
Who paid the piper?

So many particulars.
So many questions.

  1. What are the advantages of chatting to strangers?
  2. Go to the following link and watch the video: http://empathymuseum.com/video . The message the museum is trying to give is that: …………………………………………………………………………………
Write an essay or paragraph were you discuss the ways in which mutual understanding can be improved.
  1. Radical listening
  2. Look for the human behind everything
  3. Become curious about strangers.
This wonderful little text comes with a couple of self explanatory videos and a test. It should lead to a fruitful discussion and a reading into writing activity. The good thing is that the text addresses a very complex issue but discusses it at a relatively simple level.
  1. Very important or necessary
  2. The second
  3. No, he was a psychopath and incapable of feeling empathy
  4. Most don’t tap into their full empathic potential in everyday life (The empathy gap can appear in personal relationships too will not do as it doesn’t cover the first two examples; the empathy gap on its own is grammatically not possible)
  5. Yes it does.
  6. Wrong; it doesn’t give them the feeling of being understood
  7. Other: 3 and 4
  8. Deepen empathic concern for others by developing an awareness of all those individuals hidden behind the surface of our daily lives (on whom we may depend on some way)
  9. It opens up our empathic minds, we can meet fascinating people , we can challenge the assumptions and prejudices that we have.
  10. Empathy is the cornerstone of healthy human relationships.