Achieving self-service

As a technologist, we aim for self-service solutions. The tool should allow people accomplish their work without the direct intervention of support staff.

As a parent, we aim for our children to do the same. The time sink is doing everything for them, so the more they take care of themselves the more time we get back. With the toddler, I see the gross understanding of processes and some mastery.

She can feed herself with her hands and is getting better at using a spoon. In putting on clothes, arms are placed in a position to make it easier to pull on or off a shirt or coat. Or switching a toy to another hand. Or climbing into the high chair for dinner.

Baby steps to getting dressed herself. Though, this morning she did pick the outfit: her Star Trek Lieutenant Commander (TNG) onesie. So, you know I am proud.

Study: Rethinking Stress: The Role of Mindsets in Determining the Stress Response

board game business challenge chess

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This caught my eye because I’ve read about the growth mindset often over the past several years. And, I feel that how I responded to stress in my professional life is responsible for my achievements.

Study 1: I found the use of the invention of a Work Performance Scale adapted from a Role-Based Performance Scale interesting. I’d like to compare the two. But, offhand, it is self-reporting, which I dislike for the tendency of the taker to say what they think is wanted not what they think. (And even if they put they think, our view of ourselves is skewed from inner dialogue biases and justifications.) They decided the data shows that stress mindset is a distinct variable among others already determined for stress. They probably overly generalize to health and well-being when their measure was just on work performance.

This additional variable thing seems to trigger warning bells about confirmation bias in my head. It strongly confirms my existing worldview in that I’ve seen people who take on challenges head-on and others who squander the opportunity.

I just skimmed the rest from here. Study 2 appears to try to determine if it works similar to growth-fixed mindsets. Study 3 appears to look at positive and negative feedback with stress mindsets.

Crum, AJ and Salovey, P and Achor, S. “Rethinking Stress: The Role of Mindsets in Determining the Stress Response.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2013, Vol. 104, No. 4, 716 –733. DOI: 10.1037/a0031201

Baby hypothesizing

Saw a testing of a hypothesis. Fleur had a puff in her hand. She offered it to the cat who just looked at it. She paused and then tossed the puff on the floor exactly the same way I earlier tossed some treats for the cat.

This choice made me realize I don’t have the cat eat out of my hand. The puff looks enough like a treat that I agreed with her choice to try the method to see if the cat would go for it.

The test subject still just looked at it. Fleur picked up the puff and tossed it again getting the bounce that I normally get when I do it. Still no reaction from the cat.

Fleur tosses new foods from the high chair to see if the cat will eat it. She also will give the cat a share of foods, though sometimes she doesn’t give the cat any at all. And the cat expects food now. While dog sitting, it only took a day to realize the bounty of a high chair for both baby and elderly dog.

 

Smile timing

Fleur makes us work at times to get great smiles for photos. As she has gotten older, it seemed like she has gotten more crafty about getting more. Then I ran across this nugget of confirmation bias:

The research team found that by timing their smile precisely, babies can elicit maximum smiles with little effort on their part.

My wife fills up her phone trying to get the perfect smile because the toddler is manipulating the adults to get entertained enough to bestow upon us a photo worthy one.

Proud of her.

Being a Musician Is Good for the Brain

Highlights from an Inc article on the benefits of music on the brain caught my attention:

  1. Musical training reorganizes neuron structures in the brain, specifically the corpus callosum which integrates the two sides plus areas involving verbal memory, spatial reasoning, and literacy.
  2. It improves long-term memory, in part because it teaches the hippocampus how to store memories and recall them on demand.
  3. It improves executive function, things like processing and retaining information, controlling behavior, making decisions, and problem solving
  4. Musicians tend to be more mentally alert with faster reaction times.
  5. They tend to have better statistical use of multisensory information, so they are better able to integrate inputs from the various senses.
  6. The earlier a musician starts, the more drastic the changes.
  7. Music reduces stress and improves happiness.*
  8. Increases blood flow in the brain.

* Wonder if all this singing we do with Fleur plus Galahad’s piano practice is part of why she is a happy child? After all, we’ve been leveraging singing as a way to distract Miss Wriggly.

 

Provoking cognitive dissonance

Galahad takes music lessons which happen to be on the other side of town. I usually have the radio on and when something provocative is said, I turn it off to talk with him about it. I ask him questions to suss out what he thinks about it.

Somehow the topic for this drive home was pi. I explained that some mathematicians prefer tau instead and described what it is. He mentioned that the pi(e) meme-mification meant that it had staying power. However, I realized he was stuck on the concept of a pie as dessert.

So, to mess with his concept of pie, I asked what he thought was in shepherd’s pie. That frustrated him a little bit but not enough in my estimation, so I brought up a pizza pie. This deprived child. Had. No. Knowledge. Of. Dessert. Pizzas. He was stuck on the disgustingness of apples and marinara.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

12181634454_3fddcbb3c9_zFinally, he defended his concept of a pie as only pastries. So, I got him to look up just what is a pastry. He doesn’t look past the first one, which he read as:

a dough of flour and water, used as a base and covering in baked dishes [1]

He seizes on the lack of mentioning sweets in this to decide that many things are pastries that he never before considered:

  • calzones and strombolis
  • ravioli

He immediately texted his friends and was obsessed with this for the rest of the evening.

I am glad to help him work through trying to hold these conflicting thoughts at the same time and poke at him to think more deeply about them.

[1] The one I saw is:

a dough of flour, shortening, and water, used as a base and covering in baked dishes such as pies

I don’t remember him mentioning the shortening item. Or fats or anything similar that would indicate he knew what that is. I don’t think he knows enough about cooking to make the distinction. If he did, then he would know calzones and raviolis do not have a shortening ingredient in the dough. So, they are not actually pastries.

P.S. Next, I need to work on his research skills. He will love the Pop-Tarts are ravioli debate.