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  #1  
Old November 9th, 2014, 06:00 PM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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A photomontage on the kind of issue I try to educate my students about. The title is police jargon that in this example goes beyond the specifics of an immediate situation.

Regards
Mike
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  #2  
Old November 9th, 2014, 06:37 PM
Maggie Terlecki Maggie Terlecki is offline
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Originally Posted by Michael_Stones View Post

A photomontage on the kind of issue I try to educate my students about. The title is police jargon that in this example goes beyond the specifics of an immediate situation.

Regards
Mike
Michael,

Although I applaud your efforts to open the eyes of your students, I find that the photo-montage here really has a lot of technical problems that make the visual not work very well. I have nothing against photo-montage, I've done a few myself but I think it is not enough to simply put images together and think if they are the right size they automatically work; they don't.

Here you have a very cloudy sky, but when you look at the officers, it is quite apparent that it is quite a sunny day. There is a lack of shadows on the ground which would be quite dark as you can see how heavy the shadows are on the officers and how bright the sun. Also, your man in the wheelchair has the light coming from a completely different direction. There is also an issue about some of the masking but first and foremost, the shot needs to start with the light working correctly.

The light doesn't have to be perfect, you can help it along by flipping the man in the wheelchair so that the light is basically coming in the right direction and then work with either dodge and burning or multiply and screen to make the intensity of brightness and light work better. Once all that is done, perhaps change out the sky for a brighter one. If you intent was to have drama in the sky, use a bright sky with heavy dark storm clouds closing in. That would be a situation where you would have the drama, but that bright light would still be believable. Once that is done, you will need to add deep shadows behind your officers (their shapes will be available to you in your original photos of the officers (simply use the selection of the shapes with a bit of feathering and multiply once or twice (whatever it needs to get the right intensity) and they will look right. Of course, careful masking is extremely important.

I know it sounds like a lot, but I think it would well be worth the effort to get your message across without our eyes being distracted by what doesn't work. Funny thing, our brains. We don't always know what is wrong, but we are so used to what an outdoor scene would look like under different light conditions that we just know it is wrong which is much different from a studio shot where we simply accept that there are probably several lights and gobos etc., which are modifying the light.

without malice,
Maggie
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  #3  
Old November 9th, 2014, 06:37 PM
Maggie Terlecki Maggie Terlecki is offline
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Originally Posted by Michael_Stones View Post

A photomontage on the kind of issue I try to educate my students about. The title is police jargon that in this example goes beyond the specifics of an immediate situation.

Regards
Mike
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggie Terlecki
Michael,

Although I applaud your efforts to open the eyes of your students, I find that the photo-montage here really has a lot of technical problems that make the visual not work very well..............

I know it sounds like a lot, but I think it would well be worth the effort to get your message across without our eyes being distracted by what doesn't work. Funny thing, our brains. We don't always know what is wrong, but we are so used to what an outdoor scene would look like under different light conditions that we just know it is wrong which is much different from a studio shot where we simply accept that there are probably several lights and gobos etc., which are modifying the light.

without malice,
Maggie

Maggie,

I wanted to get my reply immediately after your post, so your very commendable observations are addressed adjacent to your post. So I've duplicated your post and then here's my comment to your important comments! I wish you were in a station next to my computer and I could have your careful eyes go over my collages for errors too!

Of course, the technical points all appear correct. However, the photomontage, as imperfect as it is, totally got past me. Our brains tend to add what's missing. That's why we see Mary in effervescence on a building . Folk get convinced this is a holy visit and sign!

A bride's mother shows off her daughter's wedding book - I see that the photographer has blown out the exposure of the veil - there's no evidence of the pattern of flowers in most of the veil. However, no one notices it. But for me, it's an obvious fault. Still no one notices.

So while we can recognize serious flaws, most imperfections get past most observers.

Asher
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  #4  
Old November 9th, 2014, 08:54 PM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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How old are the kids, Michael? If they get the point does it really matter if its visually accurate.
Its good to see teachers still have a sense of humor.
How I remember those days. In between lunch duty, year 9 animals and a stack of reporting and marking teachers somehow need to keep the class fresh and interesting. a quick cut and paste like this might get someone's attention even if its to laugh at the old blokes socks. They are more likely to be distracted from what you are trying to achieve by the developing cleavage of Zoe Smith in the front row or a txt on their iphone
The application of photographs as a teaching tool in classrooms is long standing and effective, in spite of our 'amateurish' attempts.

Well done
Tom
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Old November 9th, 2014, 11:45 PM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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Originally Posted by Maggie Terlecki View Post
Michael,

Although I applaud your efforts to open the eyes of your students, I find that the photo-montage here really has a lot of technical problems that make the visual not work very well. I have nothing against photo-montage, I've done a few myself but I think it is not enough to simply put images together and think if they are the right size they automatically work; they don't.

Here you have a very cloudy sky, but when you look at the officers, it is quite apparent that it is quite a sunny day. There is a lack of shadows on the ground which would be quite dark as you can see how heavy the shadows are on the officers and how bright the sun. Also, your man in the wheelchair has the light coming from a completely different direction. There is also an issue about some of the masking but first and foremost, the shot needs to start with the light working correctly.

The light doesn't have to be perfect, you can help it along by flipping the man in the wheelchair so that the light is basically coming in the right direction and then work with either dodge and burning or multiply and screen to make the intensity of brightness and light work better. Once all that is done, perhaps change out the sky for a brighter one. If you intent was to have drama in the sky, use a bright sky with heavy dark storm clouds closing in. That would be a situation where you would have the drama, but that bright light would still be believable. Once that is done, you will need to add deep shadows behind your officers (their shapes will be available to you in your original photos of the officers (simply use the selection of the shapes with a bit of feathering and multiply once or twice (whatever it needs to get the right intensity) and they will look right. Of course, careful masking is extremely important.

I know it sounds like a lot, but I think it would well be worth the effort to get your message across without our eyes being distracted by what doesn't work. Funny thing, our brains. We don't always know what is wrong, but we are so used to what an outdoor scene would look like under different light conditions that we just know it is wrong which is much different from a studio shot where we simply accept that there are probably several lights and gobos etc., which are modifying the light.

without malice,
Maggie
Thanks Maggie, your advice is much appreciated. My thoughts were more on the message the picture intended to convey than the consistency of lighting, etc. within the image. My neglect, I knew some things were wrong and hoped for suggestions that you thoughtfully provided. I'll work on the image before using it again.
Thanks again, Mike
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  #6  
Old November 10th, 2014, 12:42 AM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
How old are the kids, Michael? If they get the point does it really matter if its visually accurate.
Its good to see teachers still have a sense of humor.
How I remember those days. In between lunch duty, year 9 animals and a stack of reporting and marking teachers somehow need to keep the class fresh and interesting. a quick cut and paste like this might get someone's attention even if its to laugh at the old blokes socks. They are more likely to be distracted from what you are trying to achieve by the developing cleavage of Zoe Smith in the front row or a txt on their iphone
The application of photographs as a teaching tool in classrooms is long standing and effective, in spite of our 'amateurish' attempts.

Well done
Tom
Quite old kids, Tom, 3rd and 4th year undergraduates in Psychology of Aging and Gerontology classes, and maybe a graduate class next year. The title refers to "missing person" in the jargon of our local police, with frequent cases of demented persons who get lost and can't find their way home. The broader meaning I want to get across concerns the loss of former personality that often accompanies such cognitive decline. That leads into a discussion of positives and negatives of strategies used in dementia care. Not a fun topic but one that generates animated exchange of ideas. Thankfully, the students aren't much bothered by artistic limitations in the picture
Cheers, Mike
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  #7  
Old November 10th, 2014, 01:05 AM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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Originally Posted by Maggie Terlecki View Post
Maggie,

I wanted to get my reply immediately after your post, so your very commendable observations are addressed adjacent to your post. So I've duplicated your post and then here's my comment to your important comments! I wish you were in a station next to my computer and I could have your careful eyes go over my collages for errors too!

Of course, the technical points all appear correct. However, the photomontage, as imperfect as it is, totally got past me. Our brains tend to add what's missing. That's why we see Mary in effervescence on a building . Folk get convinced this is a holy visit and sign!

A bride's mother shows off her daughter's wedding book - I see that the photographer has blown out the exposure of the veil - there's no evidence of the pattern of flowers in most of the veil. However, no one notices it. But for me, it's an obvious fault. Still no one notices.

So while we can recognize serious flaws, most imperfections get past most observers.

Asher
As Maggie astutely pointed out and you expressed well, Asher: our brains do tend to add what's missing. Lucky for us that they do that
Cheers, Mike
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  #8  
Old November 10th, 2014, 01:59 AM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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Originally Posted by Michael_Stones View Post
Quite old kids, Tom, 3rd and 4th year undergraduates in Psychology of Aging and Gerontology classes, and maybe a graduate class next year. The title refers to "missing person" in the jargon of our local police, with frequent cases of demented persons who get lost and can't find their way home. The broader meaning I want to get across concerns the loss of former personality that often accompanies such cognitive decline. That leads into a discussion of positives and negatives of strategies used in dementia care. Not a fun topic but one that generates animated exchange of ideas. Thankfully, the students aren't much bothered by artistic limitations in the picture
Cheers, Mike
My experience with undergrads tells me they don't have much more savvy that the 15 year olds. The differences are mainly as a result of more body hair and body mass and little else. An interesting topic no less. Mind you, I have a few tasteless jokes on the subject that might get a laugh.

How many old people does it take to change a light globe?
"Are the lights out?"

Cheers
Tom
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  #9  
Old November 10th, 2014, 06:45 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Michael,

A very nice concept.

I think the comments by our colleagues are all very apt, and they reveal the paradoxes of human perception. Maggie quite aptly points out that the viewer, without realizing why, may recognize that there is something "not right" about a composite image.

Working in the other direction, Asher points out that our minds can work around shortcomings in a piece. (Perhaps the most extreme example is the work of caricaturists.)

Many years ago, a contemporary and I were involved in buying surplus World-War 2 vintage radio equipment for our own use.

The gear generally had an overall dingy look. But rarely was it worth the effort to really give it a through external cleaning (like "detailing" a car).

Most of this equipment had on its front panel several etched-and-filled brass nameplates with the model number, manufacturer, frequency band, and so forth.

We discovered that the almost imperceptible "shadows" around the nameplates, little "fillets" of grease and dust that had collected there, contributed disproportionately to the overall impression of dinginess. We found that if we took the nameplates off (with their four little brass screws each), used solvent to clean off the little "fillets" from the panel and from the nameplate edges, and replaced the nameplates, the whole unit looked much "sharper". (It was perhaps a little like applying "unsharp mask" to a photo!)

Later we found that in many cases we could just clear the little "fillets" with the nameplates in place, using small swabs dipped in solvent and pointed toothpicks.

I've told that story to Carla, and in fact we use "clean around the nameplates" as a metaphor for clearing some flaw that disproportionately seems to spoil the "piece". Maybe it's just putting into the garage the one bar stool with a stain on the seat a when we learn that we are unexpectedly going have a guest.

So my friend and I had Maggie's outlook, while many others would had Asher's outlook. After all, these pieces of gear, as we got them, were really not bad looking. But not as nice as after we "cleaned around the nameplates".

Best regards,

Doug
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Old November 10th, 2014, 10:13 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Doug,

I really enjoy Michael's picture and the comments on the mechanics appreciating work with imperfect signals. I'd prefer to have Maggie as a retoucher to make things perfect and do it right the first time.

Even Annie Leibowitz relies on retouchers. Saves time but is expensive!

But as you point out, if the overall design is there, we're pretty good at repairing the picture in our brains without realizing it!

Asher
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  #11  
Old November 10th, 2014, 11:10 AM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
My experience with undergrads tells me they don't have much more savvy that the 15 year olds. The differences are mainly as a result of more body hair and body mass and little else. An interesting topic no less. Mind you, I have a few tasteless jokes on the subject that might get a laugh.

How many old people does it take to change a light globe?
"Are the lights out?"

Cheers
Tom
Jokes are great, Tom, too bad that so many now fall in the "politically incorrect" category and are untellable without risk of complaint. As well as being a memory aide, jokes can be a great stress reliever. None in Canada knows this better than Newfoundlanders, where the cultural norm is to use humour as a way of dealing with tragedy. Not surprisingly, Canada's best comedians are Newfoundlanders.

When previously teaching at a university where the Psychology of Aging course was part of a stream that groomed students for medical school, my jokes often fell flat because the highly competitive and all-too-serious students missed the humour in the haste of note-taking. So I got the humour across visually rather than verbally. Two examples:

1. When discussing loss of memory for previous events in amnesia, I'll tell the students that the name for this was "retrograde amnesia" and write RETROGRADE AMNESIA on the blackboard. About five minutes later, I'd repeat the process, writing RETROGRADE AMNESIA again right below the earlier version, then walk away and introduce another topic. Within 30 seconds or so, a few giggles began, usually from students near the back of the classroom - which I'd ignore. As the gigglers grew in number, I'd ham it up, pretending to be quite indignant and have no idea about the reason for them. I suspect that few students forgot the meaning of retrograde amnesia even after the passage of many years.

2. A more fun example concerned the Hayflick Effect that was once prominent in theories about cellular aging. After explaining the effect, I'd write the term in capitals on the blackboard but deliberately put the L and I too close together so instead of Hayflick it looked like HAY**** (note that the asterisks are not mine but inserted by OPFI software). The ensuing giggles and my hammed-up innocence and indignance about the reason for them definitely added to mutual enjoyment. About 10 or so years later, a by-chance meeting with a former student from one of those classes showed that the joke had lasting effects. The young man had made it into medical school, decided to specialize in geriatrics, became involved in research and got himself a PhD, with his thesis topic being - what else but - the Hayflick Effect.

Cheers, Mike
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Old November 10th, 2014, 12:25 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Asher,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Doug,

I really enjoy Michael's picture and the comments on the mechanics appreciating work with imperfect signals. I'd prefer to have Maggie as a retoucher to make things perfect and do it right the first time.

Even Annie Leibowitz relies on retouchers. Saves time but is expensive!

But as you point out, if the overall design is there, we're pretty good at repairing the picture in our brains without realizing it!
But in my story, we had to do some work on the bench before the minds would finish the job!

Best regards,

Doug
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Old November 10th, 2014, 01:52 PM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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Im reminded of a student I had many years back. His name was, and probably still is as far as I know, CLINT FLICK. True! His parents obviously had a sense of humour and a desire to have their son develop good writing skills.

One thing is for sure. Your original photo has stirred some thought here. With me it's the nature of aging. I'll leave the photography stuff to those who might have missed the point.
Cheers
Tom
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Old November 26th, 2015, 05:27 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Deleted my post, as this thread was not started by Tom.

My apologies to Michael.
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  #15  
Old November 26th, 2015, 08:16 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Originally Posted by Michael_Stones View Post

A photomontage on the kind of issue I try to educate my students about. The title is police jargon that in this example goes beyond the specifics of an immediate situation.

I return to this image to make a point about imperfection. The fact that the wheelchair has no shadows sets up an unease and so a dystopia. Maybe that's a good thing for the construction of this picture!

Asher
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Old December 6th, 2015, 02:45 PM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
I return to this image to make a point about imperfection. The fact that the wheelchair has no shadows sets up an unease and so a dystopia. Maybe that's a good thing for the construction of this picture!
Asher
The image had plenty of use since posting over a year ago. Sections of the gerontology classes I teach deal with aspects dementia. In addition to dealing with biological, cognitive & functional declines, I want to convey how people with early stage dementia experience their world. Such experiences include a sense of something not quite right but uncertainty about what that might be. To that extent, an imperfect image makes the point. No student has complained yet about artistic demerit. Maybe someone will next semester.

Cheers, Mike
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Old December 8th, 2015, 02:06 AM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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The image above that was published <here> is from a study published <here> and has relevance to earlier discussion of the MISSPER picture. The question asked about the image concerns how closely you think the shape resembles a circle. For the sake of simplicity, just answer 'Yes it does' or 'No it doesn't'. Go on then, answer the question before reading on.

The findings from the article indicated that people of liberal political persuasion were more likely to answer YES, whereas those of conservative persuasion were likely to answer NO. They add to a substantial body of knowledge that liberals are less conscientious but more open-minded than conservatives. These trait patterns are enduring features of personality (i.e., cognitive/behavioural propensities) influenced by genetic factors. Early findings that conservatives when children were uneasy about deviations from expected structures are consistent with those of the recent study that they distinguish deviance more acutely.

What has this to do with reactions to MISSPER? Simply that liberal viewers are more blind to imperfections that disturb conservative viewers. Vive la difference!

Cheers, Mike
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Old August 15th, 2016, 12:54 PM
Michael Ritter Michael Ritter is offline
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I like despite any technical flaws!
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Old August 16th, 2016, 08:43 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Stones View Post

The image above that was published <here> is from a study published <here> and has relevance to earlier discussion of the MISSPER picture. The question asked about the image concerns how closely you think the shape resembles a circle. For the sake of simplicity, just answer 'Yes it does' or 'No it doesn't'. Go on then, answer the question before reading on.

The findings from the article indicated that people of liberal political persuasion were more likely to answer YES, whereas those of conservative persuasion were likely to answer NO. They add to a substantial body of knowledge that liberals are less conscientious but more open-minded than conservatives. These trait patterns are enduring features of personality (i.e., cognitive/behavioural propensities) influenced by genetic factors. Early findings that conservatives when children were uneasy about deviations from expected structures are consistent with those of the recent study that they distinguish deviance more acutely.

What has this to do with reactions to MISSPER? Simply that liberal viewers are more blind to imperfections that disturb conservative viewers. Vive la difference!

Cheers, Mike

Had I answered after reading the text, it would have been a circle, LOL! But in truth I'm a conservative, I guess. That's why perhaps, I cannot reconcile to my kids ignoring my expectations of parental authority being unquestioned!

Asher
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Old August 16th, 2016, 09:17 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Well, as an engineer and sort-of scientist, and hopefully a prudent manager of my personal life with Carla, I am naturally "conservative" in the non-political sense. (Although Carla says that sometimes I put too much cinnamon on my oatmeal.)

I try and stay away from "liberal" and "conservative" as simplistic markers of two broad "directions" of political, and politico-social, leanings. Those terms, in that context, have become woefully corrupted, and meaningless, except as epithets. (Like "Yankee" in Texas.)

I much prefer to think of the broad socio-political direction often called "liberal" as progressive.

And thus the opposite would be . . .

Well, you know.

Best regards,

Doug
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Old August 16th, 2016, 12:55 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Kerr View Post
Well, as an engineer and sort-of scientist, and hopefully a prudent manager of my personal life with Carla, I am naturally "conservative" in the non-political sense. (Although Carla says that sometimes I put too much cinnamon on my oatmeal.)

I try and stay away from "liberal" and "conservative" as simplistic markers of two broad "directions" of political, and politico-social, leanings. Those terms, in that context, have become woefully corrupted, and meaningless, except as epithets. (Like "Yankee" in Texas.)

I much prefer to think of the broad socio-political direction often called "liberal" as progressive.

And thus the opposite would be . . .

Well, you know.
Doug,

We are not talking about your politics, but rather openness to new experience. That is that, I think the psychologists were measuring.

Asher
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  #22  
Old August 16th, 2016, 01:43 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Doug,

We are not talking about your politics, but rather openness to new experience. That is that, I think the psychologists were measuring.
Oh, sorry. I misunderstood.

I was probably misled by this in one of the earlier posts:

Quote:
The findings from the article indicated that people of liberal political persuasion were more likely to answer YES, whereas those of conservative persuasion were likely to answer NO.
It is such a confusing language, English.

Best regards,

Doug
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  #23  
Old August 16th, 2016, 03:57 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Quote:
The findings from the article indicated that people of liberal political persuasion were more likely to answer YES, whereas those of conservative persuasion were likely to answer NO.
Doug,

Apparently the trait that gets measured is also genetic trait too. The psychological test showed evidence of the trait but cannot be used as a reliable and definitive test to identify conservativeness.

So it might or might not be correlated with your own politics!

🤔

Asher
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  #24  
Old August 16th, 2016, 06:00 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi,, Asher,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Doug,

Apparently the trait that gets measured is also genetic trait too. The psychological test showed evidence of the trait but cannot be used as a reliable and definitive test to identify conservativeness.

So it might or might not be correlated with your own politics!
Well it absolutely does not correspond to my politics!

Best regards,

Doug
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  #25  
Old August 17th, 2016, 06:37 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Doug,

To give some idea of the state of knowledge on the "big" factors describing our personalities, here's a great introduction to the field.

I speculate that in Mike's rope shape test, that "openness" of the "big five" factors is what is really being measured.

However, there is overlap with neuroticism and anyway, this is merely the beginning of discovery of genetic basis for personality.

Asher
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  #26  
Old August 17th, 2016, 07:37 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Asher,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Doug,

To give some idea of the state of knowledge on the "big" factors describing our personalities, here's a great introduction to the field.
Thanks so much for the link to that valuable article. I'm working my way through it.

Best regards,

Doug
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  #27  
Old August 17th, 2016, 08:23 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Doug,

To give some idea of the state of knowledge on the "big" factors describing our personalities, here's a great introduction to the field.
Although this is not the "purpose" of the article, it indeed gives a nice introduction to the concept of characterizing personality in terms of the "Big Five" attributes: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness for experience, which are relatively independent.

I take the liberty here, for the benefit of spectators, of quoting from the article regarding those attributes (italics added):
Although openness captures imagination and intellectual curiosity, conscientiousness refers to carefulness and organizational ability. Extraversion is defined by positive emotions, such as gregariousness and the tendency to seek out stimulation. Neuroticism includes negative emotions, such as anxiety and depression, and is commonly defined as emotional instability, and agreeableness describes an individualís level of cooperativeness and compassion.
I had not been aware of this overall concept until, quite recently, I saw it referred to in some context (I'm not sure but I think it was an assessment of Donald Trump's personality by some psychologist.)

The article also gives a nice introduction to the way that the values of these for an individual can be assessed by analysis of the responses to questions drawn from International Personality Item Pool (IPIP).

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I speculate that in Mike's rope shape test, that "openness [to experiences]" of the "big five" factors is what is really being measured.
Perhaps so.

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However, there is overlap with neuroticism and anyway, this is merely the beginning of discovery of genetic basis for personality.
Yes, but the article nevertheless is quite valuable as an introduction to the concept of the "Big Five" personality traits.

Best regards,

Doug
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  #28  
Old August 17th, 2016, 09:24 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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There must be a lot more to how the folk make choices as to round or square. It cannot be that red states are genetically so different from blue states.

But then in the genetic analysis, the genes grouped so far only account for a part of "openness".

Asher
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Old August 17th, 2016, 11:52 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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In Michael's message showing the infamous "rope shape" figure, he commented on some observations in a paper by Tyler G. Okimoto and Dena M. Gromet, "Differences in sensitivity to deviance partly explain ideological divides in social policy support."

The authors conjecture that one personality factor that may be consistent with a person having a "conservative" political leaning may be a greater sensitivity to things that "deviate from the recognized norm" (my paraphrase).

We can certainly see evidence of that in the current political context, where "conservative" politicians rail out against things that, in an earlier time, they did not have to think about (like transgender persons, the very existence of which seems to be the real problem for some conservative politicians).

But in my experience, we often also find quite the opposite. For example, many of my friends are politically "progressive", quite willing to accept the fact that there are transgender persons, and that there can exist a half African-American president of the United States, and that a woman wearing a hijab can be part of an Australian surf rescue squad, and that VCR's are no longer manufactured.

Yet, many of these people are scientists, or engineers, or teachers, and are quite willing to show their recognition of, and distaste for, bad English syntax, or incorrect descriptions of what the city commission actually decided about some issue, or flawed assertions that global warming is a "liberal hoax".

So while many people with "conservative" socio-political leanings may in fact seem to be especially sensitive to "deviation" (you should pardon the word), I don't believe it works the other way - I don't believe that those with "progressive" (sometimes, but not accurately, called "liberal") socio-political leanings are typically "less sensitive" to flaws and errors, or that a predisposition to miss or overlook error is a predicate for an "empathetic" outlook. Maybe it's just that they more accurately realize what a "flaw" or an "error" really is.

Best regards,

Doug
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Old August 18th, 2016, 02:47 PM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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Thanks for the kind comment about the image, Michael, and sorry for this delayed reply to your discussion about political ideology, Asher and Doug. Because of regulations at our university, students have to defend theses by September to be able to access funding for the coming academic year. So August is a busy time for supervisors and examiners and I had to put this OPFI response on hold.

Here are some comments firstly about the ideology discussion based on personality and secondly the shape-deviance test depicted in the earlier post. First, the personality dimensions included in the Big Five framework have solidly stood the test of time over the past 70 years. However, I'll argue that a broadening of context indicates that the basic underlying dimensions relate to more generalized cognitive structures.

Consider neuroticism/stability and extraversion, for example. What are their basic features? Well, the former refers to features of personality that one would rather not have (e.g., frequent anxiety, panic, feeling blue) or would happily have (e.g., an optimistic, non-anxious and not easily ruffled disposition). With regard to the latter, extraverts are socially gregarious people whereas introverts prefer to avoid too much social interaction. Next, consider the words which we use to appraise photographs or any target other than personality. The two major dimensions found in innumerable studies from multiple cultures are a good-bad (or pleasant-unpleasant) continuum called valence and a continuum activity from active to quiescent. Do you see the correspondence between the main dimensions that underlie appraisal of personality and other targets, respectively: a stable personality is positively valenced and a neurotic personality negatively valenced; extraversion and introversion relate to high and low levels of preferred social activity. The point I'm making here is that the 'Biggest Two' of the Big Five personality traits are best considered examples of more fundamental cognitive structures than specific to personality. The same applies to openness to experience. My co-worker Mirella Stroink and her students reported a series of studies showing correspondences between high openness and cognitive appraisal that takes account of the possible workings of a whole system of variables versus low openness that tries to reduce or simplify systems to a basic set of variables. In other words, the openness to experience structure is a specific example (i.e., to personality) of a more generalized form of thinking.

If you're still with me, I'll complicate this story further by referring to interactions among cognitive structures that underlie personality traits. Although the structures are statistically independent of each other, their interactions can be hugely meaningful. For example, the interaction between valance (i.e., good-bad) and activity gives rise to a model of emotion that contrasts independent dimensions of positive affect (positive valence and high activity) with negative affect (negative affect and high activity) that guided research on emotion since the 1960s and accords with the main symptomatology for depressive illness used in psychiatry (i.e., anhedonia = low positive affect; dysphoria = high negative affect). Other interactions have relevance to social behaviour, one of which was Tim Leary, a name from the past for those of you not too drugged out from psychedelics in the 1960s to remember that era. Before Leary embarked on a journey that made President Nixon describe him as "the most dangerous man in America", he did good work on the interactive effects of personality traits.

I'm sure I'm probably boring you to death by now, but let me make one more comment relevant to this personality trait discussion. If you're a creature capable of movement, basic appraisal of any object in the environment reduces to three questions: is that object nice or nasty?; is it quick or slow?; is it more of less powerful than you?. If it's nice, you might make it your prey. If it's nasty and a possible predator, you could be its prey. That's the valence dimension. Whether you're predator or prey, you need to evaluate its activity compared to your own (e.g., can you chase it down or run away fast enough for safety?). Finally, you need to evaluate its relative power (i.e., to decide whether to fight, to, flee or do nothing is the best option). So you see, these cognitive structures have relevance not just to humans but all creatures that can move.

Ok, done with that. So what's the relationship between personality and political ideology. The various Big Five studies provide conflicting answers. Pity! What about the Big Five, political ideology and the shape-deviance test that started this discussion. First, the authors of the article didn't measure the Big Five. Second, they measured political ideology by a question: "Politically, I consider myself ... 1 = extremely liberal ... 4 = moderate ... 7 = extremely conservative. Third, the proportion of variance in deviance of shapes from an ideal prototype (e.g., imperfect circles from a prefect circle) explained by political ideology was statistically significant but not that high. Pity about that, too!

Cheers, Mike
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