Word and phrase valence as keys to understanding human psychology

Since virtually everything we do, think, and feel has some linguistic component it follows that our perceived valences of words and phrases will be reliable indicators of our psychological makeup.

This is especially true if our perceptions of these valences is “captured” in fraught contexts in real-world, real-time situations.

To be even clearer and more precise, it is fair to say that it is only possible to capture actual real valences in real-world, real-time situations.

When we do not work with real-world, real-time situations, we are capable only of working with the idea of them, a theory of them, a memory of them. And none of that can possibly capture the actual valence as it actually functions in real-life.

The theory, memory, or idea of a psychological valence associated with words and phrases occurs at a different level of abstraction or cognition from the valence itself.

Theories, memories, and ideas of psychological valences can be very interesting and are worth pursuing, but they are not the thing itself and as such have only a weak capacity or power to grasp the actual psychology exposed by actually observing valences in action in the real-world.

In a post yesterday—Words and word groups mapped in the brain—I discussed the following video, which is well-worth viewing again if you missed it the first time.

Yesterday, I said:

From these maps we can see that word groups have idiosyncratic arrangements, associations, and emphases.

And from this we can understand how analysis of interpersonal communication details can lead to beneficial changes in word group arrangements and thus also human psychology.

The video is very helpful for visualizing how words and word groups are organized in the brain. And this illustrates how and why FIML works as well as it does.

By “capturing” actual verbal psychological valences in real-time, real-world situations, partners gain immense insight into how their psychologies actually function in the real-world, how they actually deal with real life.

Focusing on very brief real-life valences has another very large benefit: though the valences are as real as they come, they are also very small, comprising nothing more than part of the working memory load at the time.

This is a bigger deal than it might seem. Virtually all of us have been trained by years of theorizing about our psychologies to see even very small incidents of real psychological valence as aspects of some theory or story about them.

No, no, no. Don’t do that. Just see each one for what it is—a brief valences that appeared briefly in working memory; and that has been “frozen” by the FIML technique as a small snapshot to be identified and understood as it is.

First get the evidence, get the data. Those valence snapshots are the data. Get plenty of them and you may find that you do not even need any theory about what they are or what caused them.

They just are. Indeed, theorizing about them makes them different, bigger, or worse while simultaneously hiding their real nature.

Most of us do not know how to think about real-world, real-time valences because we tend to always fit them into into an a priori format, a format we already believe in. That could be a theory of psychology or a take on what our personality is or what the other person’s personality is.

In the maps shown in the video, that would constitute a whole brain response to a small valence that appeared only briefly.

By using the FIML technique, you will find it is much easier and much more beneficial to reorganize small parts of the verbal map one piece at a time than to reorganize the entire map all at once based on some idea.

In practice, FIML deals with more than just words and phrases, but the whole practice can be largely understood by seeing how it works with language. FIML treats gestures, tone of voice, expressions, and so on in the same way as language—by isolating brief incidents and analyzing them for what they really are.

Words and word groups mapped in the brain

This is interesting.

From these maps we can see that word groups have idiosyncratic arrangements, associations, and emphases.

And from this we can understand how analysis of interpersonal communication details can lead to beneficial changes in word group arrangements and thus also human psychology.

It is very likely that other aspects of communication—gesture, tone of voice, accent, and so forth—will also present idiosyncratic arrangements and emphases; and can be beneficially changed through detailed analyses of their components.

More here: A map of the brain can tell what you’re reading about

Military thought experiment Part 1

The game: Gain control of a large society by using a small number of military operatives.

Let’s use clandestine military operatives numbering .0001 percent of the targeted society.

100 million times .0001 = 10,000.

So 10,000 clandestine military operatives will play this game to win against a society with a population of 100 million.

The clandestine force can achieve its goal by:

  • infiltrating and blending into the large society
  • distributing 10,000 clandestine operatives widely across the society
  • this may take several generations
  • once in place, operatives identify natural leaders inside the host society
  • then they attack those natural leaders in such a way that they become poor leaders
  • this is better than killing them because they are rendered ineffective while their weaknesses demoralize others in the community
  • this method of attack is unlikely to be detected by law enforcement
  • they must be attacked in ways that are not easily discoverable, including socially, financially, reputationally, through bad grades, misdirection, poison, and so on
  • it is best to begin attacking natural leaders while they are young and continue as long as effective, even for many decades
  • this tactic is greatly facilitated by hostile operatives being born and raised in the large society
  • at the same time operatives work to help those who favor their cause(s) or position(s)
  • this might include harming the competitors of those people being favored
  • within 20-30 years, social disorganization will be noticeable due to the large number of disabled natural leaders
  • within 50 years social disorganization will be obvious
  • during the same time-frame, people favored by the hostile operatives will gain positions of power
  • soon, the larger society will succumb to the hostile takeover and a small number of military operatives will have won against a much larger society

The cost is minimal and the methods are almost undetectable. Once achieved, the goal can be proclaimed a victory by those who gained it.

While the goal is being pursued, operatives will discover ways to extract resources from the host society, thus paying their own way without funding from abroad.

Part 2

Part 3

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first posted April 6, 2017

Wise words on Intelligent Compassion from Gelek Rimpoche

Before I talk about love and compassion I would like to say one thing. Under the excuse of love and compassion, do not put yourself as the subject of abuse by anyone. To take abuse in the name of compassion is not right, but you cannot give up on the abuser either. You cannot say, “I cannot help that person. I don’t care.” You have to care and help, but with establishing your own needs first. If you make yourself the subject of abuse and then think you are helping, that is not right. Not only are you not helping that person, but you are damaging them. You are also hurting yourself. That is not compassion. That is stupidity. Compassion is not stupid. It is intelligent. It knows what is good and what is bad for that person and for you. Buddha’s compassion tells us, “Lead everyone to total enlightenment. Lead everyone to the state of Buddhahood.” That is compassion. (Intelligent Compassion Means Don’t Take Abuse)

Psychophysics gains a new law of sensory perception that also sheds light on subjective perception

First we have to understand Weber’s Law:

Weber’s Law… says that the size of [a] just noticeable difference is a constant proportion of the original stimulus value. (Weber’s Law of Just Noticeable Differences)

Hang in with this, it’s interesting.

About 200 years ago, the German physician Ernst Heinrich Weber made a seemingly innocuous observation which led to the birth of the discipline of Psychophysics – the science relating physical stimuli in the world and the sensations they evoke in the mind of a subject. Weber asked subjects to say which of two slightly different weights was heavier. From these experiments , he discovered that the probability that a subject will make the right choice only depends on the ratio between the weights.

For instance, if a subject is correct 75% of the time when comparing a weight of 1 Kg and a weight of 1.1 Kg, then she will also be correct 75% of the time when comparing two weights of 2 and 2.2 Kg – or, in general, any pair of weights where one is 10% heavier than the other. This simple but precise rule opened the door to the quantification of behavior in terms of mathematical ‘laws’. (NEUROSCIENTISTS MAKE MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH IN 200-YEAR-OLD PUZZLE)

What’s new today is Time–Intensity Equivalence in Discrimination (TIED):

We investigated Weber’s law by training rats to discriminate the relative intensity of sounds at the two ears at various absolute levels. These experiments revealed the existence of a psychophysical regularity, which we term time–intensity equivalence in discrimination (TIED), describing how reaction times change as a function of absolute level. (The mechanistic foundation of Weber’s law)

Simply stated TIED says that the intensity of the stimulus determines the time it takes to “just notice” a change in it and that that scales linearaly as intensity changes up or down. For example, changes in louder sounds are noticed quicker than proportionally equal changes in quieter sounds and this can be scaled mathematically.

TIED is a new theory and needs more research, but whether it works out perfectly or not, I think it shows something very important about our individual and shared subjective perceptions of words, gestures, meanings, intentions, implications, and so on including all semiotics.

At present, we do not have machines that can measure our subjective perceptions, but we can surely feel them. And with training, we can also decently calibrate them.

Most of us can already vaguely talk about our subjective perceptions of each other, but few of us know how to do that with the precision of Weber’s Law or TIED. This is because we are all unique and we all react uniquely to each other. On top of that, few are able to employ language efficiently enough to capture significant detail when describing subjective responses or impressions.

FIML provides a very useful method for isolating and calibrating individual, idiosyncratic subjective perceptions.

Consistent, repeated use of FIML gradually recalibrates and reorganizes the entire psychologies of both partners.

FIML has virtually no content.. FIML is a method, and as such it allows partners to gradually identify, isolate, measure, and reorganize their entire body of psychological data, however they construe it.