Thinking with our hands can help find new ways of solving problems

first_imgShare The idea that thinking is done only in the head is a convenient illusion that doesn’t reflect how problems are solved in reality, Professor Gaëlle Vallée-Tourangeau explained. “When you write or draw, the action itself makes you think differently,” she said. “In cognitive psychology you are trained to see the mind as a computer, but we’ve found that people don’t think that way in the real world. If you give them something to interact with they think in a different way.”In a recently-published study in the Acta Psychologica journal, the two academics from the British institution invited 50 participants to try and solve the problem of how to put 17 animals into four pens in such a way that there were an odd number of animals in each one.The participants were split into two groups, with the first group able to build physical models with their hands and the second group tasked with using an electronic tablet and stylus to sketch out an answer. They found that the model-building participants were much more likely to find the solution – which requires designing an overlapping pen configuration – than those with the tablet.“We showed with this study that for some types of problem – regardless of an individual’s cognitive ability – being able to physical interact with tools gave people a fighting chance of solving it,” said Professor Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau. “By contrast, a pen and paper-type method almost guaranteed they wouldn’t be able to. It demonstrates how interacting with the world can really benefit people’s performance.”The cognitive psychology experts have also been working on a new piece of research exploring how maths anxiety – a debilitating emotional reaction to mental arithmetic that can lead sufferers to avoid even simple tasks like splitting a restaurant bill – could potentially be managed through interactivity.The study, now published in the Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications journal, involved asking people to speak a word repeatedly while doing long sums at the same time. It found that the mathematical ability of those asked to do the sums in their heads was more affected than those given number tokens that they could move with their hands.However, the really interesting finding was how a person’s maths anxiety affected the results, Professor Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau said. “We found that for those adding the sums in their head, their maths anxiety score predicted the magnitude of errors made while speaking a word repeatedly. If they’re really maths anxious, the impact will be huge,” he explained. “But in a high interactivity context – when they were moving number tokens – they behaved as if they were not anxious about numbers.“The horrible thing about maths anxiety is that some people cope by completely avoiding maths, which only worsens the problem. That’s what makes these findings really interesting. Trying to understand why the fear factor is eliminated or controlled to a manageable level when using your hands rather than just your head is the question we’re trying to get to the bottom of now.”As well as potentially being of benefit when it comes to teaching, re-examining old ideas of how we think could have numerous practical applications, Professor Gaëlle Vallée-Tourangeau added.”If you look at recruitment, for example, a lot of assessment centres use classical intelligence tests when interviewing candidates. But depending on the type of work they are recruiting for, they may be missing out on the best people for the job.“In business and management, all the models are using the old metaphor of decision making as information processing, which is something I think we need to overcome. We need to redefine how thinking occurs.” Pinterest Share on Facebook Share on Twittercenter_img New research by two cognitive psychology experts from Kingston University London is demonstrating how our decision making is heavily influenced by the world around us. Gaëlle Vallée-Tourangeau, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, and Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau, Professor of Psychology, are challenging the traditional idea that thinking takes place strictly in the head.Have you ever tried to solve a complicated maths problem by using your hands, or shaped a piece of clay without planning it out in your head first? Understanding how we think and make decisions by interacting with the world around us could help businesses find new ways of improving productivity – and even improve people’s chances of getting a job, according to experts from Kingston University London.New research by Gaëlle Vallée-Tourangeau, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, and Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau, Professor of Psychology, is challenging the traditional idea that thinking takes place strictly in the head. Instead, they are seeking to demonstrate how our decision making is heavily influenced by the world around us – and that using tools or objects when problem solving can spark new ways of finding solutions. LinkedIn Emaillast_img read more

Read More »

New research reveals how the brain decides to make an effort

first_imgShare LinkedIn Share on Twitter Email Pinterestcenter_img Share on Facebook Treadway’s lab focuses on understanding the molecular and circuit-level mechanisms of psychiatric symptoms related to mood, anxiety and decision-making.“Understanding how the brain works normally when deciding to expend effort provides a way to pinpoint what’s going on in disorders where motivation is reduced, such as depression and schizophrenia,” he says.Previous research had observed three brain regions in decision-making; the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC), the anterior insula (aI) and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). Studies had pointed to the vmPFC as central to the computation of subjective value during probability decision-making. But prior evidence also suggested that when it comes to decisions about effort expenditure, those subjective value estimates were not computed by the vmPFC but by the other two brain regions.A limitation to previous studies on effort-based choices is that they simultaneously presented the costs and benefits of a choice to experimental subjects.“In the real world, however, we usually have to make decisions based on incomplete information,” says Amanda Arulpragasam, first author of the PNAS paper and a psychology PhD candidate in Treadway’s lab.Arulpragasam designed a study that allowed the researchers to model distinct neural computations for effort and reward. Subjects underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while performing an effort-based decision-making task where the effort costs and rewards of a choice were presented separately over time.The subjects could choose to make no effort and receive $1, or make some level of physical effort in exchange for monetary rewards of varying magnitude, up to $5.73. The physical effort involved rapid button pressing at varying percentages of each participant’s maximum button pressing rate. Participants were required to press the button using their non-dominant pinkie finger, making the task challenging enough to be unpleasant, although not painful.In the effort-first trials, participants were shown a vertical bar representing the percentage of their maximum button pressing rate that would be required to do the task. They were then shown the size of the reward for performing the task. The reward-first trials presented the information in the opposite order.After receiving both sets of information, participants were prompted to choose the no-effort option or the effort option.The experimental design allowed the researchers to tease apart the effects of recent choices on the formation of value expectations of future decisions.The results revealed a clear role for the vmPFC in encoding an expected reward before all information had been revealed. The data also suggested that the dACC and aI are involved in encoding the difference between what participants were expecting and what they actually got, rather than effort-cost encoding.“Some have argued that decisions about effort have a different neural circuitry than decisions about probability and risk,” Treadway says. “We’ve showed that all three brain regions come into play, just in a different way than was previously known.” From deciding to quit hitting the snooze button and get out of bed in the morning to opting to switch off the TV and prepare for sleep at night, the mind weighs the costs versus benefits of each choice we make. A new study reveals the mechanics of how the brain makes such effortful decisions, calculating whether it is worth expending effort in exchange for potential rewards.The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published the findings by psychologists at Emory University.“We showed that the brain’s ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which was not previously thought to play a key role in effort-based choices, actually appears to be strongly involved in the formation of expectations underlying those choices,” says Emory psychologist Michael Treadway, senior author of the paper.last_img read more

Read More »

Study: Racial resentment influences appraisals of President Obama’s economic performance

first_imgLinkedIn New research published in the journal Electoral Studies indicates that racial beliefs can lead some Americans to minimize President Barack Obama’s economic accomplishments.“What interested us most was the idea that people construct their own racial reality and they will align their beliefs to fit within this reality. People tend to minimize or ignore information that is inconsistent with their existing racial beliefs,” said study author Darren W. Davis, a professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame.“Many people were not fair in their evaluations of President Obama. If they were highly racial resentful, they were not willing to evaluate President Obama objectively. Instead, individuals would align their beliefs about President Obama to be consistent with their resentment toward African Americans.” Email Share on Facebook Sharecenter_img The researchers examined data from 1,100 white respondents who participated in the 2012 Cooperative Congressional Election Study. The respondents were asked how much credit or blame the president should receive if the economy improved or worsened.The participants attributed more blame to Obama for a worsening national economy than credit for an improving economy. State governors, on the other hand, were given more credit and less blame than Obama.Partisanship was also found to play a role. Independents and Republicans blamed Obama more than Democrats for a worsening economy and gave him less credit than Democrats for an improving economy.But the researchers also found evidence that racial resentment could override partisan beliefs. Among Democrats and Independents, participants who agreed with statements like “African Americans bring up race only when they need to make an excuse for their failure” tended to give Obama less credit and more blame for the economy.“The average person should take away from our study that people can be held captive by their own political and racial beliefs. We used to think that only one’s party identification was capable of biasing how people process information, but racial prejudice can be just as strong,” Davis told PsyPost.“Instead viewing of politics objectively, people are motivated to maintain consistent beliefs,” Davis explained. “Our findings show that people were more willing to attribute greater responsibility for poor economic conditions to President Obama and attribute less responsibility for improving economic conditions only because doing so was consistent with their resentment toward African Americans. Their racial beliefs did not allow them to see the positive accomplishments of Obama.”“As we see in politics today, there are many questions about the importance of facts and the willingness to put up with certain types intolerant or undemocratic behavior. Our research provides an answer. People will screen-out or minimize information that does not mesh with their racial and partisan belief systems.”“Because of this drive toward racial cognitive consistency, people construct different racial realities. We consider this to be extremely dangerous because race becomes an intractable problem; there are no agreed upon facts and dialogue becomes impossible,” Davis added.The study, “Appraisals of President Obama’s economic performance: Racial resentment and attributional responsibility“, was authored by David C. Wilson and Darren W. Davis. Pinterest Share on Twitterlast_img read more

Read More »

M&S property director to leave

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Read More »

Mike Peace Joins National Pronto Association As Vice President Of Business Development

first_imgMike Peace has joined National Pronto Association as vice president of business development. His primary responsibilities at Pronto will include developing and building relationships with members and key customers, assisting in recruiting efforts and helping to develop and implement sales strategies.AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisementPeace has more than 30 years of experience in the automotive industry. Most recently, he held the position of national sales manager at the Timken Co. During his 11 years at Timken, Peace was responsible for driving double-digit sales growth for its light vehicle automotive division, launching a Canadian aftermarket program and setting strategic policy to ensure the company’s success. Prior to working for Timken, Peace was a partner in Strategic Marketing Inc., a manufacturer’s rep agency, as well as a territory sales manager for TRW and Federal-Mogul.Pronto President and CEO Bill Maggs commented, “I am tremendously excited to add Mike to our team at Pronto. It has been a pleasure to work with Mike in developing our Timken relationship over the past years and I look forward to working with him in his new capacity here at Pronto. Our organization is on the move and adding Mike will greatly improve our ability to serve our members and vendors more effectively and efficiently.”AdvertisementPeace commented, “I look forward to assisting Bill, the Pronto membership and the Pronto team continue their tremendous growth. I am anxious to begin helping our members and suppliers with approved programs, supporting members with national accounts and reinforcing the long-term strategy.”last_img read more

Read More »

BOEM Cancels NY Offshore Wind Meetings

first_imgThe Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has cancelled four open houses for wind energy development zones offshore New York coast.Boem said: “In response to concerns raised by the State of New York, and because of the importance of this issue, we want to allow for additional coordination between the state and the federal government.”At the open house meetings, the state officials planned to share the results of a recently completed visualization study and to provide an input on renewable energy planning efforts in Federal waters on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore New York.OffshoreWIND staff; Image: boemlast_img read more

Read More »

The level of client inquiries is amazing, now we just need them to commit

first_imgSubscribe now for unlimited access Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

Read More »

Texas sheriff’s office to host first church security summit

first_img Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. Published: November 19, 2017 2:22 PM EST WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (CBS AUSTIN) The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office is hosting its first church security summit on Sunday, taking place at Celebration Church in Georgetown from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.More than 175 churches will be participating, learning everything from how to handle an active shooter situation to being first-aid ready.The Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody says the idea came to him after the Sutherland Springs mass shooting in early November.MORE: Texas church involved in deadly shooting will be demolished“We’re gonna be providing a presentation by one of my deputies who is certified in the civilian active shooter response program,” Chody said. “The ultimate goal is to educate our community and better equip them so they are not sitting ducks in an active situation like a shooter or killer or any type of event.”He says the training isn’t just about active shooter situations, but having a plan for natural disasters, too.“We also want to concentrate on the whole overall picture, which is fires, floods, tornadoes, things that could hit them while they’re having their services,” Chody said.White Stone Church Pastor Cameron Corbin knows violence can happen anywhere.“99 percent of the time, I think you could de-escalate a situation,” Corbin said.Several years ago, those skills were put to the test when a man demanded Corbin officiate his marriage and didn’t want to wait.“We had a gentleman in our church, who was standing close by, that saw the entire event, and he handled the situation by forcefully and kindly removing him from the service,” Corbin said.Corbin and members attended a security training with Austin Police several years ago. He said the biggest lesson he learned there was the importance of securing church premises. They now have designated entrance points when the service starts and greeters outside so they always know who’s coming in.“I think most churches are trying to be wise, not fearful, and not respond out of panic but just be wise in how we conduct services,” Corbin said. SHARE Texas sheriff’s office to host first church security summit last_img read more

Read More »

Expert Group sets out Indian Railways investment priorities

first_imgINDIA: Reform of Indian Railways along business lines and investment of Rs8·2tr in expansion and modernisation should be key priorities for India’s 12th five-year plan in 2012-17, according to a report presented to the government and IR on February 28.The report was drawn up by an Expert Group established by the Ministry of Railways to determine priorities for the plan. Its findings are also expected to influence the IR annual budget, which is due to be presented to Parliament on March 14. As well as a list of investment priorities (below), the group recommends reforming IR to ensure ‘business discipline’, with the Chairman becoming a CEO charged with running the railway along commercial lines. Accounting would be reformed with the creation of profit and cost centres, and zonal railways given accountability for return on capital, output, safety and profitability. At a corporate level, the report envisages the establishment of ‘Missions’ covering 15 priority areas: track & bridges, signalling, rolling stock, stations & terminals, PPPs, land & property, dedicated freight corridors, high speed trains, IT, indigenous development, safety, funding, human resources, project review and organisation. Another priority is establishing ‘substantial indigenous capabilities’ to make India ‘a global leader’ in the supply of railway equipment. The report recommends establishing an Indian Institute of Railway Research, developing Indian standards, and empowering critical vendors. Universities should offer railway technology and management graduate programmes. Total funding of Rs8·2tr will be needed over five years, with Rs2·3tr to come from private sources through PPPs covering stations and freight terminals, high speed lines, rolling stock manufacturing and leasing and energy projects. Recommended priorities for Indian railway investment in 2012-17 Modernising 19 000 km of existing track. Strengthening of 11 250 bridges. Eliminating all level crossings. Automatic block signalling on main lines, and on-board train protection with cab signalling for all other routes GSM communications. New-generation 9 000 and 12 000 hp electric locomotives. 5 500 hp diesel locomotives. Coaches suitable for 160 or 200 km/h. High speed trainsets for inter-city routes. Advanced ‘heavy haul’ freight bogies. ‘Green’ toilets on all passenger trains. 34 multimodal logistics terminals. Real time information. Modernisation of 100 major stations. Internet access at 342 stations Completion of Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors. Start of work on North-South, East-West, East Coast and Southern DFCs, with 6 200 km to be built in next decade. 300 km/h Ahmedabad – Mumbai high speed line. Full coverage of the expert report and the Indian Railways budget will appear in the April 2012 issue of Railway Gazette International. Subscribe today.last_img read more

Read More »

Kenyans remember deadly Al-Shabaab attack at Garissa University

first_imgIt’s been one year since masked Al-Shabaab gunmen stormed the Garissa University College campus in Kenya, some 200 km from the Somali border, in a pre-dawn bloodbath that killed 148 people.We have lined up special coverage on the anniversary of this horrific event and our reporter Jane Kiyo starts us off with this report from Garissa.last_img

Read More »