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I’m working on quite a few new posts on Papersuade. If you have not know what is Papersuade, it’s a blog which focuses on persuasion techinques seen in everyday’s life! Upcoming posts will be on Liking, Commitment, Authority, Scarcity and more! For now, please join in the discussion(s) on my previous blog posts at Papersuade ūüôā

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Our Viewing Templates: Stereotyping

What are the things that come to your mind when you think of Italy? Is it Pasta? Pizza? The stunning and varied countryside? Or cities of art?

Apparently, “What Country” app from the iTunes store describes Italy as the home of pizza, scooters, and the Mafia, the last of which is illustrated¬†with an image of a “Mafia parking only” sign. This Mafia reference has upset Italy‚Äôs Minister of Tourism, Michela¬†Vittoria Brambilla¬†, who says that the references are insulting to the dignity of Italians. Thus, Ms Brambilla has demanded that Apple remove its iPhone and iPad application, ‚ÄúWhat Country‚ÄĚ from its online store because it uses negative stereotypes to describe Italy.

Perhaps some may think that Ms Brambilla¬†is being a little too uptight. After all, “What Country” didn’t mean to smear Italy’s name and hopes users will “explore and discover funny, strange and exciting peculiarities of various countries around the world” through such phrases and photos. But I could understand Ms Brambilla’s action.

Media can be a powerful tool in creating or reinforcing stereotypes; it can affect the way society views them and change society’s expectations of them. Media influence is dependent on the direct experiences the public has with the issue addressed by the media. Media may not be successful in telling us what to think, but they are extremely successful in telling us what to think about it. With enough exposure to a stereotype, society may come to view it as a reality rather than as a chosen representation. Also, the image of a “Mafia parking only” sign accompanying the issue play a huge part in altering people’s standards of perception; whereas there is a saying that “a picture speaks a thousand words” proves the effectiveness of the image to a certain extent. In this case, it¬†may lead to some having prejudices toward the Italians.

Such negative stereotypes not only affect how society view them, it also influence how people¬†perceive themselves. The feeling that the rest of the world doesn’t respect or understand you does little to encourage a positive sense of self-worth. Hence, we should never understate the seriousness of stereotyping.

However, not all stereotyping are negative. By using stereotypes, it allows us to draw conclusion faster; whereby a complex issue could reduce to a simple understandable issue. Stereotypes are our viewing templates by which we make sense of the world around us, regardless of context and accuracy. Thus, we must be mindful about the way we stereotype things.

Read more of the news: http://www.italymag.co.uk/italy/arts-and-culture/tourism-minister-demands-removal-iphone-app

Managing Conflict Between Two

Relationships do not always run smoothly; often in a relationship there would be a conflict from time to time.¬†Many of us have this perception whereby conflict is bad for¬†a relationship; as it usually damages and cause a relationship¬†to end. Indeed, conflict occurs maybe due to differences in perception; when couple do not see eye to eye on a certain matter. However, conflict occurs because¬†both parties still¬†care for the other; no arguments¬†can be continued if one or both doesn’t bother about the other. Thus, conflict acts as a form of communication. If the conflict is managed successfully, it can strengthen the relationship and not lead to termination.

There are many ways to deal with conflict. Different¬†individuals¬†have¬†their own¬†preferred ways of doing so. Whether they will resolve the conflict¬†or whether will worsen it,¬†will depend on their conflict styles and their attitudes toward the conflict. Below is a clip from the movie “Crazy Stupid Love” shows two different ways¬†and attitudes opt by two individuals in¬†a relationship.

Seen in the clip, Emily Weaver approached¬†the conflict using direct confrontation where she directly addresses the problem she and her husband, Cal Weaver¬†had. This direct expression of feelings allows the other party to know what are¬†her needs to be met. However, Cal in response, opt¬†for withdrawing. The minute¬†he sensed¬†the conflict, he tried to stop his wife from addressing it; telling if she keeps talking, he will get out of the car. As Emily ignored and continued on approaching the subject, he tried to avoid and escaped by getting out of the car. The method of withdrawing is only appropriate if the issue is unimportant and there is no need to build a strong relationship with the other party or if engaging in the conflict would worsen the issue. However, in Carl’s case, withdrawing just postpones¬†his problem and make it worse.

From Emily’s and Cal’s case, we can see that when two different styles and¬†attitudes used toward the conflict can actually clashed and make the matter worse.¬†However, that does not means that adopt the same methods and attitudes could solve the problem either. For example, if¬†both¬†opt for withdrawing, the conflict would usually ends up in one party gunnysacking where he/she would explode in anger at a certain point.¬†It is essential for both parties to adopt a certain way of managing interpersonal conflict that complements the other depending on the seriousness of the conflict. For example, one could try to accommodating for unimportant issues to please someone you cares for and thus not making the matter worse. But this is not the best alternative way as over-doing it would result in unstated resentment.

The best way of managing interpersonal conflict is through problem solving. Problem solving means both parties sit down together, being open and direct to¬†thrash out the problem and seeking options that benefit everyone. This process often needs people to see and understand things from other person’s point of view. This is better than reaching a middle ground that satisfies no one. But we do not use this method often.

In my case, I often opt for either accommodating¬†or withdrawing. I am certain to tell you that I always ended up gunnysacking at the other party. At this point, often the other party got offend by my action and does not understand why I had this “sudden” blew up. In turn, the conflict got worse.

Often in many cases, it would be one party trying to accommodating or compromising the other as they are fearful of conflict, whereas aggressive people often see problem solving or compromise as weakness. Thus, it is hard to address the conflict in terms of mutual interests.

Managing a relationship is never easy; conflict happens to everyone from time to time. What are your experience in dealing with conflict? And how do you feel about the fact that people seldom practice problem solving when dealing with a conflict?

Unspoken Words

“Unspoken words – where actions speak louder than words.”

Non-verbal communication plays an important key factor in communicating. It is non-linguistic and contains intentional symbolic behavior. There are various types of non-verbal communications such as kinesics (body language), paralinguistics (pitch of the voice), chronemics (time), objectics or artifacts, oculesics (eyes), haptics (touch), proxemics (space) and lastly physical appearance. 75% of the message is encoded in these non-verbal cues which are an extremely influential source of meaning. Many of us would not have realised this and we tend to under value non-verbal cues.

I stumbled upon this video РOperation Smile on Youtube and felt happy for the girl. Although, mainly in this clip does not have any verbal communication, most of us could understand and interpret from the non-verbal cues shown. Basically, from the clip, we can conclude that this cheerful child is a patient who has a cleft lip and hides her face behind the pink stuff toy due to the insecurities she has of her appearance. In the other half of the video shows that she has done a cleft lip surgery and is crying perhaps, due to the pain from the stitch. She is seen to be rather close with the volunteer. As she sees herself in the camera, she is so happy that her cleft lip is gone and thinking that she looks gorgeous!

What were the non-verbal cues that she excludes out which enable us to interpret the video this way? From the beginning of this video, first of all, we notice her physical appearance and could denote that she has a cleft lip. Next, by the way she dress (objectics), we knows that she is a patient in that hospital. Third, through her body language, we can interpret that she is more comfortable with her pink friend and her bag. Moving on to the second part of the clip, straight away we notice the nicely stitched lip, with this we could conclude that she has done a cleft lip surgery. And judging by her swollen eyes, we knew that she was crying before the filming of the video perhaps due to the painfulness in her lip. Towards the end, looking at the distance she keeps (proxemics) and the interactions with the volunteer, we could tell that they are rather close to each other. Lastly, look at how she sees herself in the camera after the surgery. Her eyes shine and sparkled (oculesics) as she moves on to touch her face and wave happily admiring herself in the camera.

Even though, non-verbal communication can be subjective, I believed that in this clip, it is normative; whereby the cues are socially agreed upon on or culturally defined meanings. Just by interpreting these non-verbal cues allow us to get so much information on what the video is about.

Afterall, unspoken words speak louder than words. Don’t you agree?

PS: Before the operation, the girl was beautiful. After the operation, she become even more¬†beautiful ūüôā

Smurf it!

smurfs

Ever since the release of The Smurfs 3D movie, this group of small blue fictional creatures has raised to fame. For those who do not know what Smurfs are, here is a brief info: Smurfs lived in a part of the world called “le Pays maudit” hidden away from the humans. They are just three apples high with blue skin, dressed in white trousers or dress with white hat (aside from Papa Smurf who wears red). Each Smurf has a unique personality and profession, and thus, contributes it to Smurf society as he or she can.

In the movie, the Smurfs are forced through a portal, out of their world and into ours, landing in the middle of New York’s Central Park. The Smurfs must find a way to get back to their village before Gargamel tracks them down and captures them for their smurf essence.

Lost in the new environment, the Smurfs, experience new things through social constructionist perspective. Processing these never-seen-before things in their own culturally recognizable ways and relating these things to the facts that they know Рsuch as relating Google software with magic, thus calling Google, a magic searching device.

Take a look at the Smurf community where communication surrounds the smurfs and holds their world together. The community takes the form of a sharing, cooperative and kind environment. Smurfs provided by their culture, using tools to create these collective representations of reality such as their own language, cultural traditions and shared roles and rules.

For instance, the language that smurfs use known as the Smurf language. Frequent use of the word “smurf” is the distinctive feature
of their language, and is interpreted in a variety of meanings which make their conversation understandable among them; barely understandable by us and Patrick. The Smurfs replace nouns and verbs in everyday speech with “smurf” like for, example: “I am smurfing to the smurf.”

Below shows a clip from the movie where Smurf language had annoyed Patrick.

The use of language is the primary way in which we, including the Smurfs communicate with one another. By means of language, we¬†communicate ideas, information, and even attitudes to people around us or the next generation. As two different cultures meet, problems tend to arise when we come into contact due to the different ways of communication just as shown in the clip; where Patrick simply blew up at the smurfs whom in turn were offended by what Patrick had said. All it takes is for both sides to understand the other’s culture and find a new way to communicate.¬†Through the use of language, communication both reflects and shapes ones cultural experiences.

Communications play a crucial part in one’s life. Its significance for ours and Smurfs life is hard to overstate.