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Can you learn a skill by observing someone else?

Can you learn a skill by observing someone else?



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For instance, does watching an artist draw improve your drawing skill, even if you're not drawing along with them?


Watching others perform a skill serves as both instruction and visualization practice. The instruction can provide the beginner with a wealth of information that they lack, when starting a skill. It provides the experienced practitioner with details of technique that informs their growth.

How productive watching can be sometimes depends upon previous experience. For example, in the medical profession there is a phrase, "Watch one. Do one. Teach one." Which indicates that the practitioner should observe a technique once, do the technique once, and then teach it to someone else, once. This seems frightening, at first glance, since I certainly do not want to be someone's "do one" when I am lying on a surgery table.

However, the actual context of this learning method matters. Generally, what the practitioner is learning is some small variant of a skill they have already mastered. For example, if they already know a wide array of stitches for closing wounds, they may be learning a variant of one of these stitches. In this case, seeing the technique performed slowly once is sufficient. Then they practice the stitch by "doing one", often while being observed. Finally, they teach the technique to someone. This serves to reinforce their new knowledge, because to teach someone else something requires that you think about the subject carefully, which in turn aids in mastery.

Such a system of learning by watching breaks down, if the context of previous knowledge is omitted.


What does it involve?

Depending on the reasons you are interested in job shadowing in the first place, as well as the company you will be working for, your experience will be entirely different from others’ even though it may be in the same industry. This has much to do with the level of involvement the employer allows you to have as part of their training.

A guide to job shadowing from Manchester Metropolitan University, distinguishes three different types of job shadowing to help you understand what each one includes:

1. Observation – Fly on the wall

Just like its name suggests, this type of job shadowing experience involves observing someone else’s work. Essentially this explains the ‘in the shadow’ part of job shadowing as it works around a passive ongoing observation. This usually involves attending meetings, watching how employees work with their customers as well as co-workers. It can be useful when you want to learn what a typical day in the profession looks like.

2. Regular briefings – Burst interactions

Job shadowing through regular briefings means that you get to shadow an employee on specific activities that can help you better understand your role. This requires good timing and planning of your work though as the host will let you know the dates and times of when they will take place.

3. Hands on – Job sharing

This type of job shadowing involves a combination of observation and action that provides a hands-on experience in the role. This means that you will get to carry out tasks that you observe as you go. Not many employers can offer this – as the nature of the job doesn’t allow it, but you can discuss this with the host.


READING WITH A PURPOSE

Remember and Understand

By reading and studying Module 19, you should be able to remember and describe:

  • Factor analysis (19.1)
  • The Big Five personality factors (19.1)
  • Self-report personality inventories (19.1)
  • Temperament (19.1)
  • Learning approach and Cognitive-Social Learning approach to personality: reciprocal determinism, learning through observation (19.2)
  • Conscious, preconscious, and unconscious (19.3)
  • Defense mechanisms: repression, denial, projection, reaction formation, sublimation, displacement (19.3)
  • Criticisms of psychoanalytic approach (19.3)

Apply

By reading and thinking about how the concepts in Module 19 apply to real life, you should be able to:

  • Identify where you likely fall on the Big Five personality factors (19.1)
  • Recognize examples of learning through reinforcement and punishment, and through observation in personality (19.2)
  • Recognize examples of defense mechanisms (19.3)
  • Identify examples of consistency and inconsistency in personality (19.1 and 19.2)

Analyze, Evaluate, and Create

By reading and thinking about Module 19, participating in classroom activities, and completing out-of-class assignments, you should be able to:

  • Describe examples of reciprocal determinism (19.2)
  • Describe interpersonal difficulties that may result from mismatches in personality (19.1 and 19.2)

Learning fears by observing others: the neural systems of social fear transmission

1 Department of Psychology, Columbia University, 2 Epilepsy Center, NYU School of Medicine, New York University, 3 Department of Psychology, and 4 Center for Neural Science, New York University, NY, USA

Katherine I. Nearing

1 Department of Psychology, Columbia University, 2 Epilepsy Center, NYU School of Medicine, New York University, 3 Department of Psychology, and 4 Center for Neural Science, New York University, NY, USA

Elizabeth A. Phelps

1 Department of Psychology, Columbia University, 2 Epilepsy Center, NYU School of Medicine, New York University, 3 Department of Psychology, and 4 Center for Neural Science, New York University, NY, USA


THE SOCIAL-COGNITIVE PERSPECTIVE

Albert Bandura agreed with Skinner that personality develops through learning . He disagreed, however, with Skinner’s strict behaviorist approach to personality development, because he felt that thinking and reasoning are important components of learning. He presented a social-cognitive theory of personality that emphasizes both learning and cognition as sources of individual differences in personality. In social-cognitive theory, the concepts of reciprocal determinism, observational learning, and self-efficacy all play a part in personality development.


New Western neuroscience study shows how we learn from watching others

A new study from Western University shows that the parts of our brain that provide us with our sense of touch are activated when we watch someone else learn a manual skill.

The findings by Heather McGregor and Paul Gribble from Western’s Brain and Mind Institute were published by the prestigious journal Current Biology.

Previous cognitive neuroscience research has proved that observing the actions of others activates many of the same brain areas that are involved in physically producing movement but until this new discovery, investigators like McGregor and Gribble didn’t know how this link between observation and action might facilitate actual learning.

“In our experiments, we showed that learning a new motor skill by watching others complete the task also depends on the neuroplasticity of the somatosensory cortex, which is the part of the brain involved in the sense of touch,” says McGregor, a graduate student in the Paul Gribble Lab and the study’s lead author.

In one experiment, the neuroscientists used electrical stimulation of the nerves in the arm of a study participant to disrupt neural processing in the somatosensory cortex while the participant observed a video of a person learning a new motor skill.

McGregor and Gribble found that when the stimulation was applied to the sensory nerves of the right arm, which was the same arm used by the tutor in the video, the benefits of observation were disrupted. Participants performed more poorly when tested in the new motor skill compared to controls, who received no nerve stimulation. When stimulation was applied to the left arm, no disruption of learning occurred. This suggests that learning by observing depends on activity in that part of somatosensory cortex that deals with the specific limb that was used.

In a second experiment, the team used electroencephalogram (EEG) technology to measure activity in the somatosensory cortex that was produced by stimulation of the sensory nerves in the arm, before and after observing someone else learn a new motor skill. McGregor and Gribble found that activity in the somatosensory cortex was increased after observing someone else learning a new motor skill. In fact, the bigger the change in activity, the better the observer learned the motor skill from observing.

“These experiments add to our understanding of how visual information about the actions of others facilitates motor skill learning and suggests that the somatosensory cortex plays a critical role in mapping visual information about the movements of a tutor’s actions onto the observer’s own motor system for learning,” says Gribble, a professor in Western’s Department of Psychology, who served as senior author of the study.


Exploratory Behavior Study

Worthen discussed is what is known as Dual-Coding. This is a theory that discusses how educational technology promotes the visual learning ability with lighting speed but inhibits the physical interaction and the brains ability to use it’s full body when interacting. In other words, the child is sitting still and the mind and hand are fully engaged but it is usually alone whereas with a hands on approach through traditional learning, the child is fully engaged, body and mind and interacting with other children in a live format. The integration of both technological and physical capabilities is something that would be beneficial so that children can have a healthy balance as they grow. Some of the great difficulties that youth face today as a result of the constant early exposure to electronic toys is the instant gratification they provide and the expectancy people continue to have of companies like Apple to produce more.&hellip


What is social learning?

Psychologist Albert Bandura&rsquos social learning theory is based on his research that shows that learning is a cognitive process. It takes place in a social context and happens only through observation or direct instruction. In short, it means that when people see someone else (a model) performing a specific behavior, they use that information to guide them in their own behavior based on what they&rsquove seen.

Social learning forms a bridge between knowledge the learner acquires and a change in behavior. For example, with social learning, employee learning continues beyond the information presented at a formal training session, into practical use. This is an essential element of creating a social learning culture at your organization.


WALTER MISCHEL AND THE PERSON-SITUATION DEBATE

Walter Mischel was a student of Julian Rotter and taught for years at Stanford, where he was a colleague of Albert Bandura. Mischel surveyed several decades of empirical psychological literature regarding trait prediction of behavior, and his conclusion shook the foundations of personality psychology. Mischel found that the data did not support the central principle of the field—that a person’s personality traits are consistent across situations. His report triggered a decades-long period of self-examination, known as the person-situation debate, among personality psychologists.

Mischel suggested that perhaps we were looking for consistency in the wrong places. He found that although behavior was inconsistent across different situations, it was much more consistent within situations—so that a person’s behavior in one situation would likely be repeated in a similar one. And as you will see next regarding his famous “marshmallow test,” Mischel also found that behavior is consistent in equivalent situations across time.

One of Mischel’s most notable contributions to personality psychology was his ideas on self-regulation. According to Lecci & Magnavita (2013), “Self-regulation is the process of identifying a goal or set of goals and, in pursuing these goals, using both internal (e.g., thoughts and affect) and external (e.g., responses of anything or anyone in the environment) feedback to maximize goal attainment” (p. 6.3). Self-regulation is also known as will power. When we talk about will power, we tend to think of it as the ability to delay gratification. For example, Bettina’s teenage daughter made strawberry cupcakes, and they looked delicious. However, Bettina forfeited the pleasure of eating one, because she is training for a 5K race and wants to be fit and do well in the race. Would you be able to resist getting a small reward now in order to get a larger reward later? This is the question Mischel investigated in his now-classic marshmallow test.

Mischel designed a study to assess self-regulation in young children. In the marshmallow study, Mischel and his colleagues placed a preschool child in a room with one marshmallow on the table. The child was told that he could either eat the marshmallow now, or wait until the researcher returned to the room and then he could have two marshmallows (Mischel, Ebbesen & Raskoff, 1972). This was repeated with hundreds of preschoolers. What Mischel and his team found was that young children differ in their degree of self-control. Mischel and his colleagues continued to follow this group of preschoolers through high school, and what do you think they discovered? The children who had more self-control in preschool (the ones who waited for the bigger reward) were more successful in high school. They had higher SAT scores, had positive peer relationships, and were less likely to have substance abuse issues as adults, they also had more stable marriages (Mischel, Shoda, & Rodriguez, 1989 Mischel et al., 2010). On the other hand, those children who had poor self-control in preschool (the ones who grabbed the one marshmallow) were not as successful in high school, and they were found to have academic and behavioral problems.

Link to Learning

To learn more about the marshmallow test and view the test given to children in Columbia, follow the link below to Joachim de Posada’s TEDTalk video.

Today, the debate is mostly resolved, and most psychologists consider both the situation and personal factors in understanding behavior. For Mischel (1993), people are situation processors. The children in the marshmallow test each processed, or interpreted, the rewards structure of that situation in their own way. Mischel’s approach to personality stresses the importance of both the situation and the way the person perceives the situation. Instead of behavior being determined by the situation, people use cognitive processes to interpret the situation and then behave in accordance with that interpretation.


Effective Listening: Making Someone Feel Heard

Humans want to be heard. We want to feel like someone else cares about us enough to listen. Effective listening is a vital skill for difficult conversations. Not only does it help us understand the other person better, but it helps them understand us better as well.

Listening can transform a difficult conversation into a learning conversation. It requires us to be curious about the other person, to reframe our purpose from persuading the other person to learning about them. Effective listening involves asking questions to better understand the other person and acknowledge the other person’s feelings.

One of the most common complaints the authors hear about difficult conversations is that the other person isn’t listening. This really means we need to be better at listening first.When we feel others aren’t listening to us, we tell ourselves they’re stubborn, don’t care what we have to say, or don’t understand it. So we often double-down, repeat ourselves, and talk over the other person.

The reality is that people stop listening when they don’t feel heard. If we feel like someone isn’t listening to us, they probably feel the same way about us. The way to get someone to listen to you is to put a genuine, concerted effort into making sure they feel heard first.

Making Someone Feel Heard

The goal in a difficult conversation is to shift our mentality from assuming we already understand someone to wanting to understand them better.

One major thing that prevents us from doing that is our inner voice — what we’re thinking but not saying. When we focus on our inner voice, we’re at best only half-listening to the other person.

Typically, your inner voice is thinking about the 3 conversations we covered – What Happened, Feelings, and Identity. Listening to your inner voice will start to give you answers and questions to explore in those 3 areas.

There are two things that can help you start managing your inner voice:

1. Negotiate your brain back to curiosity. You can start to change your inner voice by reinforcing the right thing. Remind yourself that it’s a delusional assumption to think you already understand someone else. Remind yourself of a time you thought you were right, but discovered you’d been wrong. Remind yourself that other people are just as complex as you: if you wouldn’t want someone else assuming they understood you without listening, don’t do it to someone else.

2. If your inner voice is too strong, talk instead of listen. Sometimes our feelings are too overwhelming to listen. When this happens, first let the other person know that you want to listen to them, but you’re having a hard time focusing. You can try giving a sound bite of what’s preoccupying your mind, to let the other person know where you’re at right now: “I want to hear about your perspective, but I’m feeling defensive right now.” Hopefully saying this might quiet down your defensiveness for a moment, and you can let the other person finish what they have to say and then come back to your feelings.

Or you might decide that you can’t listen or talk right now because you’re too overwhelmed. Express that this conversation is important to you, and you want to come back to it when you feel better prepared to have it.

Tips for Effective Listening

Effective listening requires 3 skills that can be learned by anyone. These 3 skills are interconnected skills centered on whether you’re really listening or whether you’re trying to prove a point.

Skill #1: Ask Questions with the Goal of Learning

If you’re not sure about your goal, ask yourself why you want to ask the question. If your answer is anything other than “to learn about the other person,” it’s probably not a good question to ask.

Don’t ask questions that are really statements. Often, we want to express a statement in a difficult conversation, and we mistakenly think it’s more polite to ask it as a question instead. This usually comes off snide or passive-aggressive. Instead of hearing your feelings or opinions, the other person will most likely focus on the attack and get defensive.

  • (Shortform example: “Are you going to wear that shirt to the interview?” is a question that should be a statement, since it obviously conceals an opinion about the shirt. “I don’t think that shirt looks very professional” is the statement that should be expressed.)

Don’t ask questions to prove the other person wrong. Questions you ask with the intention of proving someone wrong aren’t focused on learning, they’re focused on persuading or humiliating someone else. They usually serve as traps for the other person — and trapping them into an answer isn’t aligned with the goal of learning. Again, the outcome will be defensiveness.

  • “If you’re a good salesman, then why did Kate close the deal when you couldn’t?” This isn’t a question interested in learning, it’s a question interested in proving a point — that you aren’t as good a salesman as you think you are, since Kate outsold you.

Ask open-ended questions. You’ll get more information with these than with yes or no questions, or multiple-choice questions. Again, the goal should be to learn about the other person — you can only do that by getting them to talk. Use phrases like “tell me more about…” or “help me better understand…” to get the other person talking.

Ask for more specific information, especially on anything you’re confused about. Questions like, “What leads you to say that?” or “Can you give me an example?” or “How would that work?” can be helpful.

Ask them about the 3 Conversations: What Happened, Feelings, and Identity conversations.

  • What Happened: “Can you tell me more about why you see it that way?” and “What impact have my actions had on you?”
  • Feelings: “How are you feeling about this?”
  • Identity: “Can you tell me why that’s important to you?”

Give them the option to not answer. Questions should be invitations, not demands. The other person should be able to refuse to answer your questions without any punishment. It builds trust if someone declines to answer a question and you show that it’s okay. People often feel freer to answer questions if they feel they have the option not to.

Skill #2: Paraphrase Their Responses

Paraphrasing someone’s response means expressing, in your own words, your understanding of what they’re saying.

Paraphrasing helps you double-check whether your understanding is correct, and gives the other person an opportunity to clarify if you’re misunderstanding something. This also confirms for the other person that you’ve heard them, and are trying to understand them.

We usually repeat ourselves because we’re not sure if someone’s understood us — once we know they have, we can focus on listening to them in return. If you notice the other person repeating themselves, it probably means they don’t feel understood yet.

Skill #3: Acknowledge Their Feelings

Feelings desperately want to be acknowledged, and acknowledging someone else’s feelings requires empathy. Empathy is “a journey with a direction but no destination.” Empathy requires us to move beyond observing someone from the outside, and imagine what it would be like to be them on the inside.

It won’t be perfect — we’re all too complex to ever be totally understood by someone who isn’t us. But psychologists discovered that it’s more important to feel like someone is trying to empathize with us than believing they’ve done it successfully.

Acknowledgement is about showing the other person that you’re working to understand their feelings. Usually, this step requires us to paraphrase the things the other person isn’t saying.

  • (Shortform example: If your partner expresses annoyance that you forgot about the dinner plans you made, some of the unspoken feelings in this expression might be that they’re hurt you don’t prioritize them, or that they’re worried it means you don’t want to see them.)

Another way to think of this is: feelings usually come with a number of unasked questions. Even an expression of anger that seems focused on an event probably has a silent question at its heart. 3 examples of unasked questions are:

  1. Is it okay that I’m feeling this?
  2. Do you care about my feelings?
  3. Do you care about me?

Acknowledging people’s feelings gives a resounding yes to each of those questions. This helps them feel safer and ready to move forward in the conversation.

  • For example: If your friend is unhappy with a mistake you’ve made, “It won’t happen again” might respond to the situation, but not to your friend’s feelings. “It sounds like this was really important to you,” is an acknowledgement of their feelings about the situation.

Verbal responses aren’t always necessary — a nod or a look might be enough. But it’s incredibly important to acknowledge feelings before you try to solve the problem. Order matters. Most of us skip straight to offering solutions because we think the issue is that there’s a problem that needs to be fixed. Usually, people want their feelings heard first and foremost.

Remember: acknowledgment is not agreement. You might not agree with what the other person is feeling, but you should be able to acknowledge that their feelings are still important. You’ll never get through a difficult conversation if you don’t believe the other person’s feelings are important — it will most likely turn into an argument.

———End of Preview———

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Effective Listening: Making Someone Feel Heard

Humans want to be heard. We want to feel like someone else cares about us enough to listen. Effective listening is a vital skill for difficult conversations. Not only does it help us understand the other person better, but it helps them understand us better as well.

Listening can transform a difficult conversation into a learning conversation. It requires us to be curious about the other person, to reframe our purpose from persuading the other person to learning about them. Effective listening involves asking questions to better understand the other person and acknowledge the other person’s feelings.

One of the most common complaints the authors hear about difficult conversations is that the other person isn’t listening. This really means we need to be better at listening first.When we feel others aren’t listening to us, we tell ourselves they’re stubborn, don’t care what we have to say, or don’t understand it. So we often double-down, repeat ourselves, and talk over the other person.

The reality is that people stop listening when they don’t feel heard. If we feel like someone isn’t listening to us, they probably feel the same way about us. The way to get someone to listen to you is to put a genuine, concerted effort into making sure they feel heard first.

Making Someone Feel Heard

The goal in a difficult conversation is to shift our mentality from assuming we already understand someone to wanting to understand them better.

One major thing that prevents us from doing that is our inner voice — what we’re thinking but not saying. When we focus on our inner voice, we’re at best only half-listening to the other person.

Typically, your inner voice is thinking about the 3 conversations we covered – What Happened, Feelings, and Identity. Listening to your inner voice will start to give you answers and questions to explore in those 3 areas.

There are two things that can help you start managing your inner voice:

1. Negotiate your brain back to curiosity. You can start to change your inner voice by reinforcing the right thing. Remind yourself that it’s a delusional assumption to think you already understand someone else. Remind yourself of a time you thought you were right, but discovered you’d been wrong. Remind yourself that other people are just as complex as you: if you wouldn’t want someone else assuming they understood you without listening, don’t do it to someone else.

2. If your inner voice is too strong, talk instead of listen. Sometimes our feelings are too overwhelming to listen. When this happens, first let the other person know that you want to listen to them, but you’re having a hard time focusing. You can try giving a sound bite of what’s preoccupying your mind, to let the other person know where you’re at right now: “I want to hear about your perspective, but I’m feeling defensive right now.” Hopefully saying this might quiet down your defensiveness for a moment, and you can let the other person finish what they have to say and then come back to your feelings.

Or you might decide that you can’t listen or talk right now because you’re too overwhelmed. Express that this conversation is important to you, and you want to come back to it when you feel better prepared to have it.

Tips for Effective Listening

Effective listening requires 3 skills that can be learned by anyone. These 3 skills are interconnected skills centered on whether you’re really listening or whether you’re trying to prove a point.

Skill #1: Ask Questions with the Goal of Learning

If you’re not sure about your goal, ask yourself why you want to ask the question. If your answer is anything other than “to learn about the other person,” it’s probably not a good question to ask.

Don’t ask questions that are really statements. Often, we want to express a statement in a difficult conversation, and we mistakenly think it’s more polite to ask it as a question instead. This usually comes off snide or passive-aggressive. Instead of hearing your feelings or opinions, the other person will most likely focus on the attack and get defensive.

  • (Shortform example: “Are you going to wear that shirt to the interview?” is a question that should be a statement, since it obviously conceals an opinion about the shirt. “I don’t think that shirt looks very professional” is the statement that should be expressed.)

Don’t ask questions to prove the other person wrong. Questions you ask with the intention of proving someone wrong aren’t focused on learning, they’re focused on persuading or humiliating someone else. They usually serve as traps for the other person — and trapping them into an answer isn’t aligned with the goal of learning. Again, the outcome will be defensiveness.

  • “If you’re a good salesman, then why did Kate close the deal when you couldn’t?” This isn’t a question interested in learning, it’s a question interested in proving a point — that you aren’t as good a salesman as you think you are, since Kate outsold you.

Ask open-ended questions. You’ll get more information with these than with yes or no questions, or multiple-choice questions. Again, the goal should be to learn about the other person — you can only do that by getting them to talk. Use phrases like “tell me more about…” or “help me better understand…” to get the other person talking.

Ask for more specific information, especially on anything you’re confused about. Questions like, “What leads you to say that?” or “Can you give me an example?” or “How would that work?” can be helpful.

Ask them about the 3 Conversations: What Happened, Feelings, and Identity conversations.

  • What Happened: “Can you tell me more about why you see it that way?” and “What impact have my actions had on you?”
  • Feelings: “How are you feeling about this?”
  • Identity: “Can you tell me why that’s important to you?”

Give them the option to not answer. Questions should be invitations, not demands. The other person should be able to refuse to answer your questions without any punishment. It builds trust if someone declines to answer a question and you show that it’s okay. People often feel freer to answer questions if they feel they have the option not to.

Skill #2: Paraphrase Their Responses

Paraphrasing someone’s response means expressing, in your own words, your understanding of what they’re saying.

Paraphrasing helps you double-check whether your understanding is correct, and gives the other person an opportunity to clarify if you’re misunderstanding something. This also confirms for the other person that you’ve heard them, and are trying to understand them.

We usually repeat ourselves because we’re not sure if someone’s understood us — once we know they have, we can focus on listening to them in return. If you notice the other person repeating themselves, it probably means they don’t feel understood yet.

Skill #3: Acknowledge Their Feelings

Feelings desperately want to be acknowledged, and acknowledging someone else’s feelings requires empathy. Empathy is “a journey with a direction but no destination.” Empathy requires us to move beyond observing someone from the outside, and imagine what it would be like to be them on the inside.

It won’t be perfect — we’re all too complex to ever be totally understood by someone who isn’t us. But psychologists discovered that it’s more important to feel like someone is trying to empathize with us than believing they’ve done it successfully.

Acknowledgement is about showing the other person that you’re working to understand their feelings. Usually, this step requires us to paraphrase the things the other person isn’t saying.

  • (Shortform example: If your partner expresses annoyance that you forgot about the dinner plans you made, some of the unspoken feelings in this expression might be that they’re hurt you don’t prioritize them, or that they’re worried it means you don’t want to see them.)

Another way to think of this is: feelings usually come with a number of unasked questions. Even an expression of anger that seems focused on an event probably has a silent question at its heart. 3 examples of unasked questions are:

  1. Is it okay that I’m feeling this?
  2. Do you care about my feelings?
  3. Do you care about me?

Acknowledging people’s feelings gives a resounding yes to each of those questions. This helps them feel safer and ready to move forward in the conversation.

  • For example: If your friend is unhappy with a mistake you’ve made, “It won’t happen again” might respond to the situation, but not to your friend’s feelings. “It sounds like this was really important to you,” is an acknowledgement of their feelings about the situation.

Verbal responses aren’t always necessary — a nod or a look might be enough. But it’s incredibly important to acknowledge feelings before you try to solve the problem. Order matters. Most of us skip straight to offering solutions because we think the issue is that there’s a problem that needs to be fixed. Usually, people want their feelings heard first and foremost.

Remember: acknowledgment is not agreement. You might not agree with what the other person is feeling, but you should be able to acknowledge that their feelings are still important. You’ll never get through a difficult conversation if you don’t believe the other person’s feelings are important — it will most likely turn into an argument.

———End of Preview———

Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen's "Difficult Conversations" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Difficult Conversations summary:


Exploratory Behavior Study

Worthen discussed is what is known as Dual-Coding. This is a theory that discusses how educational technology promotes the visual learning ability with lighting speed but inhibits the physical interaction and the brains ability to use it’s full body when interacting. In other words, the child is sitting still and the mind and hand are fully engaged but it is usually alone whereas with a hands on approach through traditional learning, the child is fully engaged, body and mind and interacting with other children in a live format. The integration of both technological and physical capabilities is something that would be beneficial so that children can have a healthy balance as they grow. Some of the great difficulties that youth face today as a result of the constant early exposure to electronic toys is the instant gratification they provide and the expectancy people continue to have of companies like Apple to produce more.&hellip


Learning fears by observing others: the neural systems of social fear transmission

1 Department of Psychology, Columbia University, 2 Epilepsy Center, NYU School of Medicine, New York University, 3 Department of Psychology, and 4 Center for Neural Science, New York University, NY, USA

Katherine I. Nearing

1 Department of Psychology, Columbia University, 2 Epilepsy Center, NYU School of Medicine, New York University, 3 Department of Psychology, and 4 Center for Neural Science, New York University, NY, USA

Elizabeth A. Phelps

1 Department of Psychology, Columbia University, 2 Epilepsy Center, NYU School of Medicine, New York University, 3 Department of Psychology, and 4 Center for Neural Science, New York University, NY, USA


What is social learning?

Psychologist Albert Bandura&rsquos social learning theory is based on his research that shows that learning is a cognitive process. It takes place in a social context and happens only through observation or direct instruction. In short, it means that when people see someone else (a model) performing a specific behavior, they use that information to guide them in their own behavior based on what they&rsquove seen.

Social learning forms a bridge between knowledge the learner acquires and a change in behavior. For example, with social learning, employee learning continues beyond the information presented at a formal training session, into practical use. This is an essential element of creating a social learning culture at your organization.


WALTER MISCHEL AND THE PERSON-SITUATION DEBATE

Walter Mischel was a student of Julian Rotter and taught for years at Stanford, where he was a colleague of Albert Bandura. Mischel surveyed several decades of empirical psychological literature regarding trait prediction of behavior, and his conclusion shook the foundations of personality psychology. Mischel found that the data did not support the central principle of the field—that a person’s personality traits are consistent across situations. His report triggered a decades-long period of self-examination, known as the person-situation debate, among personality psychologists.

Mischel suggested that perhaps we were looking for consistency in the wrong places. He found that although behavior was inconsistent across different situations, it was much more consistent within situations—so that a person’s behavior in one situation would likely be repeated in a similar one. And as you will see next regarding his famous “marshmallow test,” Mischel also found that behavior is consistent in equivalent situations across time.

One of Mischel’s most notable contributions to personality psychology was his ideas on self-regulation. According to Lecci & Magnavita (2013), “Self-regulation is the process of identifying a goal or set of goals and, in pursuing these goals, using both internal (e.g., thoughts and affect) and external (e.g., responses of anything or anyone in the environment) feedback to maximize goal attainment” (p. 6.3). Self-regulation is also known as will power. When we talk about will power, we tend to think of it as the ability to delay gratification. For example, Bettina’s teenage daughter made strawberry cupcakes, and they looked delicious. However, Bettina forfeited the pleasure of eating one, because she is training for a 5K race and wants to be fit and do well in the race. Would you be able to resist getting a small reward now in order to get a larger reward later? This is the question Mischel investigated in his now-classic marshmallow test.

Mischel designed a study to assess self-regulation in young children. In the marshmallow study, Mischel and his colleagues placed a preschool child in a room with one marshmallow on the table. The child was told that he could either eat the marshmallow now, or wait until the researcher returned to the room and then he could have two marshmallows (Mischel, Ebbesen & Raskoff, 1972). This was repeated with hundreds of preschoolers. What Mischel and his team found was that young children differ in their degree of self-control. Mischel and his colleagues continued to follow this group of preschoolers through high school, and what do you think they discovered? The children who had more self-control in preschool (the ones who waited for the bigger reward) were more successful in high school. They had higher SAT scores, had positive peer relationships, and were less likely to have substance abuse issues as adults, they also had more stable marriages (Mischel, Shoda, & Rodriguez, 1989 Mischel et al., 2010). On the other hand, those children who had poor self-control in preschool (the ones who grabbed the one marshmallow) were not as successful in high school, and they were found to have academic and behavioral problems.

Link to Learning

To learn more about the marshmallow test and view the test given to children in Columbia, follow the link below to Joachim de Posada’s TEDTalk video.

Today, the debate is mostly resolved, and most psychologists consider both the situation and personal factors in understanding behavior. For Mischel (1993), people are situation processors. The children in the marshmallow test each processed, or interpreted, the rewards structure of that situation in their own way. Mischel’s approach to personality stresses the importance of both the situation and the way the person perceives the situation. Instead of behavior being determined by the situation, people use cognitive processes to interpret the situation and then behave in accordance with that interpretation.


READING WITH A PURPOSE

Remember and Understand

By reading and studying Module 19, you should be able to remember and describe:

  • Factor analysis (19.1)
  • The Big Five personality factors (19.1)
  • Self-report personality inventories (19.1)
  • Temperament (19.1)
  • Learning approach and Cognitive-Social Learning approach to personality: reciprocal determinism, learning through observation (19.2)
  • Conscious, preconscious, and unconscious (19.3)
  • Defense mechanisms: repression, denial, projection, reaction formation, sublimation, displacement (19.3)
  • Criticisms of psychoanalytic approach (19.3)

Apply

By reading and thinking about how the concepts in Module 19 apply to real life, you should be able to:

  • Identify where you likely fall on the Big Five personality factors (19.1)
  • Recognize examples of learning through reinforcement and punishment, and through observation in personality (19.2)
  • Recognize examples of defense mechanisms (19.3)
  • Identify examples of consistency and inconsistency in personality (19.1 and 19.2)

Analyze, Evaluate, and Create

By reading and thinking about Module 19, participating in classroom activities, and completing out-of-class assignments, you should be able to:

  • Describe examples of reciprocal determinism (19.2)
  • Describe interpersonal difficulties that may result from mismatches in personality (19.1 and 19.2)

THE SOCIAL-COGNITIVE PERSPECTIVE

Albert Bandura agreed with Skinner that personality develops through learning . He disagreed, however, with Skinner’s strict behaviorist approach to personality development, because he felt that thinking and reasoning are important components of learning. He presented a social-cognitive theory of personality that emphasizes both learning and cognition as sources of individual differences in personality. In social-cognitive theory, the concepts of reciprocal determinism, observational learning, and self-efficacy all play a part in personality development.


New Western neuroscience study shows how we learn from watching others

A new study from Western University shows that the parts of our brain that provide us with our sense of touch are activated when we watch someone else learn a manual skill.

The findings by Heather McGregor and Paul Gribble from Western’s Brain and Mind Institute were published by the prestigious journal Current Biology.

Previous cognitive neuroscience research has proved that observing the actions of others activates many of the same brain areas that are involved in physically producing movement but until this new discovery, investigators like McGregor and Gribble didn’t know how this link between observation and action might facilitate actual learning.

“In our experiments, we showed that learning a new motor skill by watching others complete the task also depends on the neuroplasticity of the somatosensory cortex, which is the part of the brain involved in the sense of touch,” says McGregor, a graduate student in the Paul Gribble Lab and the study’s lead author.

In one experiment, the neuroscientists used electrical stimulation of the nerves in the arm of a study participant to disrupt neural processing in the somatosensory cortex while the participant observed a video of a person learning a new motor skill.

McGregor and Gribble found that when the stimulation was applied to the sensory nerves of the right arm, which was the same arm used by the tutor in the video, the benefits of observation were disrupted. Participants performed more poorly when tested in the new motor skill compared to controls, who received no nerve stimulation. When stimulation was applied to the left arm, no disruption of learning occurred. This suggests that learning by observing depends on activity in that part of somatosensory cortex that deals with the specific limb that was used.

In a second experiment, the team used electroencephalogram (EEG) technology to measure activity in the somatosensory cortex that was produced by stimulation of the sensory nerves in the arm, before and after observing someone else learn a new motor skill. McGregor and Gribble found that activity in the somatosensory cortex was increased after observing someone else learning a new motor skill. In fact, the bigger the change in activity, the better the observer learned the motor skill from observing.

“These experiments add to our understanding of how visual information about the actions of others facilitates motor skill learning and suggests that the somatosensory cortex plays a critical role in mapping visual information about the movements of a tutor’s actions onto the observer’s own motor system for learning,” says Gribble, a professor in Western’s Department of Psychology, who served as senior author of the study.


What does it involve?

Depending on the reasons you are interested in job shadowing in the first place, as well as the company you will be working for, your experience will be entirely different from others’ even though it may be in the same industry. This has much to do with the level of involvement the employer allows you to have as part of their training.

A guide to job shadowing from Manchester Metropolitan University, distinguishes three different types of job shadowing to help you understand what each one includes:

1. Observation – Fly on the wall

Just like its name suggests, this type of job shadowing experience involves observing someone else’s work. Essentially this explains the ‘in the shadow’ part of job shadowing as it works around a passive ongoing observation. This usually involves attending meetings, watching how employees work with their customers as well as co-workers. It can be useful when you want to learn what a typical day in the profession looks like.

2. Regular briefings – Burst interactions

Job shadowing through regular briefings means that you get to shadow an employee on specific activities that can help you better understand your role. This requires good timing and planning of your work though as the host will let you know the dates and times of when they will take place.

3. Hands on – Job sharing

This type of job shadowing involves a combination of observation and action that provides a hands-on experience in the role. This means that you will get to carry out tasks that you observe as you go. Not many employers can offer this – as the nature of the job doesn’t allow it, but you can discuss this with the host.