Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Samuel Gosling

Thin-Slicing analysis and visiting your dorm room: The best of Big Brain power…

You are given a questionnaire to rate the characteristics and behavior of an individual’s “personality” that you never met, seen, or heard of.

The only feedback to rely on is a peek to the person’s bedroom, dorm room, or kitchen…

You are let in without prior notice to the person…Your are an investigator assigned to thin-slice the knowledge of whatever pieces of intelligence the room is offering and exposing the impressions and evidences of the person’s habit, inclinations, behavior…

Obviously, all pictures of the person, his name or anything material that might send information as to the gender or color or age of the person will be removed so that you don’t start of with any instant and natural discriminatory impressions

Don’t you think that your first impression of a person if you saw him or heard him or smelt him…could distort your judgment, giving lenient rates or harsher rates?

Do you think that you will be able to confidently rate the person that you invaded the privacy of his dwelling on the following Big Five Inventory characteristics:

1. Extroversion tendencies such as sociability and fun-loving

2. Agreeableness such as trusting and cooperative

3. Conscientiousness such as organized and self-disciplined

4. Emotional stability such as secure and calm person

5. Open-mindedness such imaginative, or down-to-earth and conformist…

If you enter a room and the CDs are ordered alphabetically, the dirty cloths are stacked in a specific laundry basket, the bed is neatly made…how would you judge the anonymous person?

If the room is dirty, the pizza pieces thrown any which way on the floor and on the bed…

If the room is filled with books and ordered according to material and field of studies on shelves…but the floor is heaped with dailies and magazines, waiting to be removed at the end of the semester for the Big Clean up

If the room is spec clean of dirt and sprayed with nice odor, and incense burning in a corner, but no reading materials around…

Do you think that you can rate the person better than his closest friend, a friend who knew your anonymous individual since grade one, witnessed all the mood swing of the friend, experienced many powerful moments, and many more boring events and…?

Do you think that you can rate the person better than he rated himself?

Psychologist Samuel Gosling thinks that he proved that you can do a better job of judging the anonymous person than the person himself and even better than his friend.

Samuel Gosling has been conducting experiments that show people are greatly effective in the thin-slicing method of generating comprehensive knowledge from bits and pieces of data (short recording of conversation, short videos, glimpses of interactions…)

The trouble with Gosling analysis, and psychological experiments in general, is: “What is the reference“?

1. Is my judgment of the anonymous individual’s personality better than the friend’s, the person concerned, the expert opinion of the psychologist, the consensus judgment in the psychology profession, textbook definitions of behavior…?

Mankind emotions and feeling are not something objectives that can be measured and compared with a standard object. All we can compare with are data from what we call “Normal people” behavior, or how the vast majority of people behave in particular communities and social setting…

The comparison is a well-defined “within community” and any generalization to other cultural environment is fraught with dangerous pitfalls…

2. Am I not judging a personality by matching the anonymous individual to my own world view, characteristics, and criteria?

Is this  not the same as the individual rating himself in another setting or perspective?

In order to have a better lever on the judgment rating, it is advisable that more than one person rate the anonymous person, and the raters must be classified between groups of judges such as by males, females, Asians, blacks, whites, wealth classes, professional classes… an undertaking that is very extensive in order to extract any generalization of the dorm room experiment.

A process that is called modeling extensive data analysis

I believe that our brain does an excellent job thin-slicing pieces of intelligence, but when it comes to judging another person we are stepping in a mine field, no matter how we control the experiment…

Note: Article inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell




June 2023

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