Tuesday, January 29, 2013

‎"Emotions, by nature, lose their power when we understand them."

My friend posted the following link and the quote from it:
‎"Emotions, by nature, lose their power when we understand them."
Overcoming a Loss of Motivation

I completely disagree.

Emotions, particularly primary emotions have the same power whether we understand them or not. If and when we understand them, however, we can use our rational abilities to either: diminish and compensate for the negative effects their power, or intensify and apply the positive effects how we wish. Well, to some extent, and most of the time.My own mental scenario would revolve around instances when my son is hurt or successful. Regardless of what I understand about my emotions, I will not feel less worried/joyful, just because I know why I feel that way. Indeed in both cases, I will try to channel that emotional energy in a positive way -- by running him to the hospital, or encouraging him to more successes with my positive emotional display. Which I think is what the article is trying to say, but in a way that pretends that we can eliminate negative emotions (and seems to ignore positive ones). The fact is these "primary/primal" emotions are to a large extent automatic, and what we feel is our autonomic nervous system kicking into action--for example, "fight or flight" impulses.

Funny, the specific examples of negative emotions, e.g. depression, that he gives are actually cases of a perfectly predictable "rational" response to not meeting a goal. The problem was that the goals were set unrealistically high: becoming a famous blogger in 6 months, losing 20 pounds in a month. To a large extent the author is getting the cart before the horse. The unrealistic expectations caused the normal emotions, and the solution would be to start with more realistic expectations, which theoretically would have prevented the negative emotions and likely generated positive emotions.

Ultimately, I find myself agreeing with the deep principle of the argument in the article, but quibbling extensively over the details. This seems to be a case where the details do matter.

where to now?

  • should I keep this blog going?
  • do i still have stuff to say about emotion?
  • do I have time to do this blogging thing?
  • how might that help?
 thinking on those questions . . .

completely done

btw.  defense done. PhD awarded. :)

[now to bust it into pieces and publish those bits]


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

revisions done

sent off the revisions to adrienne.  the last step [other than fixing anything else she has left for me to do :) ... ] is to go through the thesis format check process.  started looking at that yesterday, and will work on it more tonight or tomorrow :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

doing revisions

harder than I thought. like pulling teeth, actually.
so much wasted ego investment :)

just write.

Saturday, February 5, 2011 Translation questions.

One fundamental concern in a great deal of cross and intercultural research is the issue of translation, and this problem is exacerbated when dealing with issues of emotion which have a tendency to be more subjective (Pavlenko, 2005; Wierzbicka, 1999). Consequently, that issues of translation arose in determining the accuracy of the cross-cultural interpretations is unsurprising. At the most basic level is that cluster of words and phrases that “just don’t translate” to the target language. In addition, participants used a number of notions that have multiple correlates in the other language, and ultimately, the words do matter. Chulchulmaeda, danghok, heodoongdaeda, danghwang (confusion), noonchi, kangok, hogam (good feeling), brazenfacedness (need Korean word), chung (affection), are examples of emotion concepts appearing in this study from the Koreans participants for which the bi-cultural translator, a Korean native who has lived in the United States for more than 15 years while completing a Masters and PhD in counseling psychology and later as a practicing therapist, had difficulty finding satisfactory direct translations.

My intention here is not to suggest a strong version of linguistic relativism to imply that the Western participants cannot perceive or understand the notion presented by the Koreans and codified in the Korean language, rather something more akin to what Kay and Kempton (1984) call “limited linguistic relativity and determinism” (p. 78). Indeed, that the Koreans have a single word or “catch phrase” to represent an emotional state, while the North Americans did not, does not imply at all that the non-native participants did not describe something close to the emotional state the Koreans did. For example, the Koreans considered their concept of noonchi to be both clearly represented in the first video clip and something uniquely Korean. Participant S explained, “I thought what the principal did was very Korean. He showed Korean work place culture where noonchi happens a lot where there is a manager.” Yet at least one North American participants recognized something comparable to noonchi. Participant H says of Teacher Kim, “he’s kind of trying to minimize the damage” and later, “like he was analyzing the situation.”

However, such analogues were not always seen in this study. Indeed, of the XX instances in which the Koreans used nine terms that “just don’t translate” well, only XX showed clear attempts to express something akin to the Korean term by the non-native participants. Thus, this study provides some support for the weak version of the linguistic relativity that when a culture/language does have a succinct word or phrase for a particular emotion, it does raise the presence of that notion. Simply put, having a word for something makes it easier to talk about that thing, which in turn increases the likelihood that people will talk about the notion, and ultimately to raise the level of that notion in the consciousness of the society. Researchers’ gut reactions.

While the participants’ judgments regarding the presence or absence of basic emotions is certainly revealing, one of the fundamental realities of intercultural communication is that, in very practical ways, a statistical analysis of interpretation accuracy of another culture is probably not sufficient to judge intercultural acuity. Even intra-culturally, a wide range of subjective terms and phrases is used to describe one’s sensitivity to other’s intentions (or lack of sensitivity), In America, we often say someone “is savvy,” someone “gets it.” or, alternatively, someone “is clueless.” Arguably, a more holistic approach may prove more valuable. Indeed, in the vernacular a “gut” reaction is exactly what we would rely on and importantly refers directly to the physical, autonomic, emotional response we have in these situations. Of course, such a holistic analysis is by definition subjective, and the potential for bias is duly noted, yet simultaneously this holistic response is precisely the sort of comparison of expectations to reality that underlies many cross-cultural communication conflicts.

The primary researcher is clearly the individual most embedded within this data. What was my initial gut reaction in analyzing the accuracy of the non-native interpretations? In the moment, I generally thought that the non-natives did a fairly good job in interpreting the Korean emotional cues, based on the Korean focus groups, at one of the comparison phases for example I stated “[your group] didn’t disagree as much about them [the emotions expressed by two of the characters in the first scene].” an in another instance “So, I can pretty much what you all said is in that they had nearly the same emotions.” [MUST CHECK THIS AND MAKE CORRECT QUOTATION]

However, while I felt that the non-natives were clearly “in the ballpark” I raised questions in the moment about the absolute precision of their interpretations “although they didn’t say that they were two peas in a pod the businessman and the middleman, say they saw almost the exact same expressions on both the businessmen and this man in the middle.” In addition, even at the during the focus groups, there was some serious questioning of the intensity of the emotions displayed. In a few instances, the non-natives ratings of intensity differed substantially from the natives as we will see more clearly in other analysis. Alternatively, during the focus groups, I pointed to a few clear examples of the non-natives missing a cue completely. In one case I stated, “Mr. Kim was a little bit contemptuous of the other two people, I don’t know if you guys saw that at all.”

While my responses are the responses of a “first-culture American,” the Korean to English translator also reviewed all of the transcript was asked to offer a “first-culture Korean” interpretation. [Ask YOONHWA to complete this section.]

Clearly, the non-natives were less than perfect in their interpretations--even though the primary researcher’s initial reaction was that they had done fairly well in interpreting the emotions displayed in the same manner as the native culture participants. Again, we are forced to consider the threshold question. How much misunderstanding is enough to cause difficulties in communication? Moreover, is it possible to train and educate individuals involved in cross-cultural situations in the required flexibility to overcome a moderate level of misunderstanding that would seem natural in most intercultural situations.