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Showing posts from 2015

Overconfidence and the fixed mindset

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Research has shown that many people tend to overestimate their own capabilities. This overconfidence may undermine performance and relationships with other people. This tendency of people to be overconfident is often thought to be universal. New research, however, shows that this is not the case. It shows that people with a fixed mindset are more vulnerable to overconfidence.

5 Dimensions of belief systems

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Gerard Saucier of the university of Oregon has done research into belief systems of people. Belief systems are important because they guide people's behaviors and thereby influence their development and the circumstances in which they will find themselves. Saucier has created insight into what kind of belief systems there are. He did this using factor analysis. Through factor analysis it is possible to reduce a large number of variables to a more limited number of variables (factors; read more ). Saucier found out that the degree to which people vary in their beliefs can be describes using the following 5 dimensions ( Saucier, 2013 ).

Alfie Kohn's misleading critique of Carol Dweck

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Alfie Kohn has written an new article entitled The perils of “Growth Mindset” education: Why we’re trying to fix our kids when we should be fixing the system . The article is critical of the popularity of idea of the growth mindset. Kohn says the growth mindset concept was a promising idea but got over-simplified - something against which Carol Dweck did not object enough according to Kohn - and has now been coopted by conservative ideology. While Kohn's article raises some valid points, I disagree with its general contention.

The plus behind the minus: which questions can you ask?

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Several years ago, I introduced the technique of ' finding the plus behind the minus '. The basic I idea behind it is that when people express themselves negatively (through a complaint, a reproach, or criticism) there is always something positive behind that negative expression. That positive thing is something which they find valuable or important, a value, a principle, a goal, of whatever you want to call it. Briefly, the technique comes down to searching for that plus behind the minus. In our progress-focused training programs we frequently practice this technique with our participants, especially in cases which deal with resistance of conflicts. When you are trying to help people in a conflict situation to express the plus behind their minus this has several benefits. First, they themselves find it helpful and pleasant to be able to explain more clearly what their preferred situation is. Second, it will be more acceptable and clear for the other person or people involved

5 Benefits of asking for help

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Frequently, I have heard people say: "I'd rather not ask for help. I think I have to solve this myself." This way of this thinking surely has something admirable and sympathetic about it. Probably, people saying such things have a strong sense of responsibility. They think they should be able to solve their problem on their own without bothering other people. But I think it is good to be aware of another way of viewing asking for help. Asking for help can have many benefits, especially for yourself, but also for other people. Here are a few benefits of asking for help:

Ending downward spirals by replacing them with upward spirals

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One of the most interesting aspects of the book The upward spiral by Alex Korb is thinking in terms of downward and upward spirals in human functioning. The concept of a spiral is based on what is called a positive feedback loop, a loop of cause and effect which continues and amplifies itself. A simple example of a positive feedback loop is a microphone which is held closely to a speaker. It will pick up the sound of the speaker and amplifies that again and again and again. The result is a shrill high tone. In human functioning these positive feedback loops can also happen in all kinds of ways. When the consequences of such positive feedback loops are negative we may speak of downward spirals; when they are positive of upward spirals. Such spirals can happen in many areas of life. I will give some examples. 

The upward spiral: getting rid of your depression step by step

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Neuroscientist Alex Korb has written an interesting book about depression called The upward spiral . A core idea in his book is that depression is not simply a state in which you feel badly but rather a downward spiral. What he means by this is that while you feel depressed you are inclined to do things which do not relieve your depression but maintain or aggravate it. Things such as physical activity, social contact, and thinking about happy memories, among other things, might help but are precisely the type of things which you are not inclined to do when you feel depressed. Because of this, it is easy to get stuck in a depressed mood.

Races don't exist

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Nowadays we hear a lot about racism and how bad it is. Famous football players, in a UEFA campaign, are sending the message to say 'no' to racism. By using the word racism we refer to the underlying concept of race. Races, subspecies, exist throughout biology. We all understand, perhaps not precisely, but roughly what is meant when we talk about human races and racism. I say that we understand roughly what is meant, because we all associate the term race with concepts like the with race, the black race, the Jewish race, and the Asian race. I say that we do not know precisely what is meant, because we do not know exactly, for example, what makes someone a Jew, and whether Chinese people and Indian people belong to the same race. It also gets confusing when we think about the race of president Obama. Does he belong to the 'black' race? That is what is often said ("the first black president' of the United States) but what about the fact that his mother was '

The harder we push, the worse it gets

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Parents, teachers, and managers play an important role for respectively children, students, and employees. They not only have a facilitating, helping role but also a directing role. They pay attention, show understanding, they help and facilitate, they give a good example and they clarify expectations and set limits. When they fulfill their role effectively, the individuals they work with will be likely to function and develop well en feel good. These individuals are likely to engage in what they find interesting and important and to behave in well-adjusted ways and offer useful contributions.