Tag Archive for argumentation

A Letter from the Future

2535397-poApril 2, 2034

Dear Po,

I am SO glad mommy chose this nickname for you! When your mommy was a little girl, I used to call her Monkey. I still call her monkey, actually. But sometimes she looks at me and goes, “Really.” It makes me laugh, so I keep doing it. You’re mommy is silly but I know she’s gonna be a super great mommy. She had a pretty good example. 😉 Anyway, I am writing this letter on the day you’re born so when you’re older you’ll know what things are like now, and how they’ve changed! BUT. Before I can do that, I want to tell you how much things have changed over the last two generations of our family. I’ll start with when I was little,  talk about what your mommy was like growing up, and then I’ll tell you what it’s like while YOU’RE a baby!

When I was a little girl, I remember we used to have analog phones. That meant, we had to have them wired into the wall so we couldn’t take them with us. And the only thing they did was call people. We pushed buttons (or put our finger in a hole and dragged the hole around in a circle and then let it go! HA!) and the phone rang at someone else’s house. Then we could hear their voice and they could hear ours. That was it. If they weren’t home, we just tried again another time. Then we got tape recorders for when people were out, and we could leave a message. We used to have to rewind the tape, though. Otherwise, we didn’t have room for the messages! I remember my first gaming console was an Atari 2600. It had one joystick and one button. I had a computer too. But the computer required commands, so we had to know what we were doing to start programs (and those usually came on “floppy disks”. I got to play the Nintendo, I had a tape deck/recorder and a VCR, I used to change the channels on the TV (there were only 3 or 4) with a knob that was ON the TV, and I had a pager. I kid you not… a pager.

Major_League_GamingSo I grew up, had a monkey, and my little monkey grew up. She got things like Web 2.0, social media (that’s stuff like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vine… you can look those up). She loved to play games, too. We used to watch Twitch together. That’s where people play video games in front of their friends and people who want to watch them. They use a camera, a green screen, and some fancy software to project themselves onto their own channel. Then other people can come type into a chat room and the streamer can talk back at them. In fact, Twitch is probably one of the main reasons we ever got Major League Gaming. That started around the time I was in graduate school. We played games called MOBAs. People got really good at the games and started competing for lots of money against teams in other countries. The events got so big they made it into a major sporting event. It seemed pretty strange to be saying that games were a kind of sport, but the mental and physical exertion was pretty taxing and they figured that gaming and sports were two sides of the same coin.

world-of-warcraft-cumple-ocho-años-720x430Anyway, your mommy loved to play games called MMORPGs. Her very favorite was World of Warcraft. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, it IS the predecessor of World of Hexcraft. In fact, she loved playing WoW so much that she decided to go into game acting as a career. She was SO excited when she got the job as the main hexenbeast antagonist! She works hard, but she loves interacting with the players and she gets paid really well to do it. Guess all that improv as a kiddo paid off for her. It’s funny when I go into the game and she sees me cause she comes up to me and hugs me, then says something evil to me and throws me out. It’s pretty cool to see her being a really great NPC. In fact, that’s how she met your daddy!

Brielle and Elrond met while working on WoH. Brie has been doing work as an actress on several popular video games. Your daddy, who was a developer for several of the games mommy worked on had a little bit of a crush on her, and he invited Brielle to play the main NPC. Video games, specifically augmented reality video games, thrive on immersive environments. During their time both creating and beta testing Hexcraft, Brielle and El had time to get to know each other. Of course, the first thing that Brielle noticed about El was his New Zealand accent (mommy used to do lots of silly accents when she was little… especially Monster High voices back when MH was a web series). Anyway, your daddy and your mommy used to Usher all the time, and sometimes mommy would go on dates with daddy in a closed beta game. Even though she was still in Saint Louis working at Blizzard, and El was in Portland volunteering at a chromo-change clinic, they still spent a lot of time Ushering back and forth and going on dates.

The end of menI remember when El first told Brie he was born XY. He was afraid mommy was gonna be upset, but we had a lot of friends who were transgendered when she was little, so she grew up around it and it totally didn’t faze her. In fact, your Great Guncle Micah and I used to go to support rallies when they were first considering legalizing chromo-changes. Nearly all of my friends were gay or trans, so when they discovered the chromo-change technique, we were all very excited. I’m sure by the time you read this, the chromo-change is old hat. I bet they’re even choosing the gender of their babies by now. But people are still getting used to it right now. It has changed the lives of so many people. Before the chromo-change, XY to XX couldn’t have babies after their change cause they were taking hormones to slowly make a shift, but their DNA wasn’t being changed to make the process complete. So they still had to live with some distinctly XY features depending on how early/late in life they made the change. Your daddy was born Arwen. New Zealand always had a pretty advanced set of medical and social norms, so they were among the first to begin using the chromo-change technique. Your daddy was very excited to go XX to XY. He went through the chromo-change when he was 10, the youngest person to be changed at that point. He was very lovely (I’m sure you’ve seen pictures), but puberty was much easier for him already having changed to XY. And he let your Grandma and Grandpa choose his name. Of course, since he was named after the elven princess from Lord of the Rings, they chose Arwen’s daddy, Elrond, to name him after.

Tap Tap BraceletAnyway, When your mommy was young, we used to have a program named Skype. That’s what I would use to being in voice chat groups with my friends when we played games. Well.. I used Skype and Team Speak, but TS was too structured, so we usually just used Skype. Skype also let us use cameras to talk to each other. We used to sit around smiling at each other like idiots. I remember one of my boyfriends, Ryan,  and I would have our video chats open while we played games so that every time we died in game, we could just watch the other person play. Then, when people got sick of just looking at each other, they made these cool bracelets that you could buy that when you tapped one, the person with the other one could feel it. It was cool to feel two taps for I love you, or whatever your secret code was. Then we got these machines that connected to computers. Each person could have one, and they could kiss it, and the machine on the other end would move the same way! So two people could kiss these machines, but it felt like you were kissing the other person! It wasn’t quite the same, but hey! With all the long-distance relationships going on, it was at least better than just staring at each other. 😀

holodeckAnyway, after a lot of these types of machines, and people making augmented reality applications, 4D movies, they finally realized that they could make what everyone has come to call Holodecks (they named it after this OOOOOLD show, Star Trek). Basically, we have these rooms that we can walk into and we tell the rooms where we want to go. The rooms are pretty big, so you can travel in the space, but you can only go so far (it’s not the same as games, where you don’t move physically, so you can go where ever you want in the game world). So you just tell Usher exactly where you want to go, and you can go. But the cool thing is it’s just like you’re actually there. The temperature in the room, the sounds, the interactions… the room transforms into the space and you can see everyone else in that spot. So even though you can’t walk past a certain point, you can see people who are further away from that spot (and you can readjust your spot if you need to). They have all kinds of suits and machines that you can get as mods for Usher so you can hug people, or do all kinds of other things (sadly, some people are still cyber bullying, but it seems like we’ll never quite get rid of that disinhibition).

I remember when Papa and I got married (I was just about your mom’s age), we all went to Girdwood (a town about a 45 minute drive from Anchorage, where your mommy and I grew up). We all had to drive, and a few people even had to drive all the way out two or three times cause they were bring stuff to us. Who would have ever thought that by the time your mommy and daddy were getting married, we would be able to use Usher to just attend the wedding in virtual-person? I remember the last time I had Ushered to France before that was for your Great Uncle Frankie’s performance of Tartuffe. But mommy was always excited about Paris, so that’s where we went. It was a private event, though, so we were able to do it right in front of the Eiffel Tower. In private event rooms, Usher uses the place but doesn’t show you the people. Since we were all Ushering in, we didn’t need to see anyone that was actually there. I just love virtual layering. I am so glad I was able to go to your mommy and daddy’s wedding, get to see all of our friends from over the years (mommy’s kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Krumland was even there!) and see how they’re all doing.

mlp__friendship_is_robots_by_uc77-d4d9jgfMommy’s best friend, Paige, works for a toy manufacturer as a designer. When she and mommy were little they used to watch a lot of My Little Pony (generation 4… right now we’re on gen 7), so she designed a virtual toy of their original characters from when they were little. Mommy projected it onto her wall at home in her office so she can always smile when she sees it. I’m SO glad for virtual wallpaper. I was TERRIBLE at painting (even though your papa keeps trying to get me to paint walls… he just won’t let go of the old ways of doing some things). But Paige did a really great job on mommy’s virtual toy. I used to have a stuffed animal collection of over 200 stuffed animals. Some of them got passed on to your mommy (but she didn’t want them so they ended up in my room when I was her age). When Paige started her design career, she took my animals and made them virtual so I could always have them, but they didn’t take up space. It’s like they’re there, but I only have to pick up the toy chip when we clean or move. SO much easier, and I still get to look at my happy memories. It’s also how your mommy still has her collection of all of the original Monster High and Ever After High dolls. She did save a few just for you, though. In fact, you’re gumming Ghoulia’s head as I sit next to you and write this. I’m so glad you turned out to have red hair like me. I hope you give my monkey just as much grief as she gave me. I’m so proud of her, though. And I can’t wait to see how much smarter you are (us Metcalf girls keep getting smarter and smarter!)

Welp! I should be wrapping this up. I’m sure you have better things to do than sit around reading a novel that your Nana wrote just cause she got emotional the day you were born (can you blame me? I’ve been waiting forever to me a Nana!). And you probably know all of the stuff I wrote already. So I’ll just end this by saying that no matter how many things change in your lifetime like they did in mine, no matter how many technologies come and go, no matter how many ways people find to solve problems (or create them), no matter what happens in your life… I will always be proud of you, I will always love you, and you will always be my little Panda Po. Nana loves you, baby!

 <33333333 Nana Melody

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Media Bias: Personal Reflections for a Less Cynical Future

To infinityEveryone has biases, and the inclusion of media does not change that. In fact, just as media is biased towards certain people (e.g., handheld gaming consoles are biased towards young people) (Ohler, 2010), we are biased towards certain media. Conducting a media bias inventory allows us to understand our biases and determine the best way to either overcome them or embrace them. In this post, I will address my media biases by discussing my reaction to them, what I think I should improve, and how I can use this specific knowledge as a media psychologist.

My media biases did not surprise me. I tend to be very aware of what I am doing whether it’s right or needs to be improved. Personality affects our media biases, as it does so many other things. In my case, my drive toward perfection, drives my need to have an intimate knowledge of, and proficiency in, as many media as can get my hands on. It drives me to learn about it, both in their intended uses and their “meta” uses. aggregateIn other words, I strive to understand how people typically use it, whether those uses were intentional or not during it’s creation/development. It was not surprising, then, that my bias was very much social, exploratory, philosophical, and escapism driven. I use media to connect to my friends, to understand them (and others) and their preferences/opinions as a means of broadening my perspective, and a way to escape my physical micro-environment and connect to my sociomental environment.

I tend to be incredibly cynical in all aspects of my life, but where media is concerned, I am pointedly so. I approach my media use with reckless caution- my new term… you’re welcome to use it as you see fit. Though I love diving head first into new media and exploring its capabilities, I tend to be cynical about the information/people I meet while using them. Claims are, in my opinion, things to be verified by my experience and the experience of the collective (Borg, anyone?).

I do, I don'tI am proud my ability/tendency to be cynical and critical of that which is presented as fact via various media because I feel it allows me to learn more and work outside my biases. That being said, this cynicism is also the thing I must work to improve. I don’t mean that I should learn to be MORE cynical. I mean that I still tend to trust certain sources. Manjoo (2008) notes that we look to sources that already back up our opinions. While I agree that we have that tendency, I do not think it insurmountable. I tend to favor word-of-mouth reviews, information from sources I have agreed with in the past, and media that make logical sense to me. If I’m going to truly overcome biases (not that it is possible, but that striving to keeps them in check), I must seek out differing opinions and allow myself to remain flexible and better informed.

As a media psychologist, being able to pursue truth in spite of personal biases, and being able to determine and articulate the biases of others is paramount. We cannot understand how and why people use and are affected by media if we cannot look past our own biases. The very essence of our jobs is to remain open-minded and receptive to all forms that the intersection between individuals and media can take. We cannot teach others what media literacy means, without being media literate.

One sizeUnderstanding my biases is the first step to consistently perceiving the biases of others, and a step towards becoming a successful media psychologist. Though I am passionate about an extensive variety of media, and I remember when media meant only TV, radio, 8-bit game consoles, and circularly dialed analog telephones, I am cautious about what is presented on these media unless I am familiar with the source. Understanding these biases allows me to work past them, focusing on broader horizons, keeping in mind that doing so better prepares me for helping others do the same.

Reference:

Manjoo, F. (2008). True enough: Learning to live in a post-fact society. Wiley.

Understanding Media Psychology… err…

understandng comicsUnderstanding Comics (McCloud, 1994) presents comic readers with a comparatively comprehensive look at comics (e.g., how they’re formatted, what cognitive processes they depend on, reality vs. abstract, etc.). A variety of these principles can be generalized and applied to other forms of media (McCloud, 1994). Understanding these principles lays a foundation for understand the field of media psychology.

EgocentricThe Story– McCloud (1994) points out the more iconic the face, drawn in the comic, the more we as the audience are able to see ourselves in the story. Robert McKee (1997) explains that stories are powerful because they carry universal truths. We connect with stories (and media) that help us to make sense of the world (Jenkins, Li, Drasuskopf, & Green, 2009). We enjoy stories more if they carry a personal meaning to us; something of significance that helps us identify with the situation or the characters (Green, Brock, & Kaufman, 2004). Additionally, media, such as social media, virtual communities, and role-playing games, allow users to uncover, verify, and even try on identities (Bessière, Seay, & Kiesler, 2007; Real Life + Virtual Life = One life by Dr. Jonathan Cabiria, 2008). The story and universality of comics are true for any medium carrying a story, facilitating immersion, whether for enjoyment, emotional response, or seeking to convey a message.

The GutterThe Message– Comics, as well as mediums such as books, films, games, and television, allow concepts and feelings to be understood in personal ways even though they are iconic and representative delivery methods (McCloud, 1994). We experience things using senses that are not required for consumption of the message. For example, in a video game, you may be looking at a computer screen and physically touching a mouse and/or keyboard, but the content may remind you of smells and sounds that are not presented in the book. Our minds fill in blanks based on experiences we’ve had. These blanks are in the blank space in comics, in the scenes we don’t see in movies, and in the events that are eluded to but never described in books, just to name a few. Memories, actions, thoughts, and physical responses are often conditioned to be triggered by a variety of stimuli (e.g., media) (Anderson, 2000).

The Conclusion– There are many ways in which the theories behind comics may be generalized into theories about other media and mediums. Here, we briefly explored message content, the universality of stories, and identity. However, concepts such as transmedia storytelling, branding, the influence of graphic design, persuasion and marketing, and global media are all presented to us by Scott McCloud (1994), but are concepts which are transferable to a great deal of the media used today and in the past. These concepts are all components of media psychology. When we understand these concepts and how they affect us, we can use positive media psychology to facilitate educational, social, and global advancements.

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References

Anderson, J. R. (2000). Learning and memory : an integrated approach. New York: Wiley.

Bessière, K., Seay, A. F., & Kiesler, S. (2007). The Ideal Elf: Identity Exploration in World of Warcraft. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 10(4), 530–535. doi:10.1089/cpb.2007.9994

Green, M., Brock, T., & Kaufman, G. (2004). Understanding media enjoyment: The role of transportation into narrative worlds. Communication Theory, 14(4), 311-327.

Jenkins, H., Li, X., Krauskopf, A., & Green, J. (2009). If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead (part one):

Media viruses and memes. Retrieved from http://henryjenkins.org/2009/02/if_it_doesnt_spread_its_dead_p.html

McCloud, S. (1994). Understanding comics: the invisible art. New York: William Morrow.

McKee, R. (1997). Story : substance, structure, style, and the principles of screenwriting. New York: Regan Books.

Real Life + Virtual Life = One life by Dr. Jonathan Cabiria. (2008). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3qwdQLSt2I&feature=youtube_gdata_player

 

Critical Thinking: The Final

Critical thinking and argumentation are vital to advancing scientific fields such as psychology.

psych researchCritical thinking informs how we think and the conclusions we come to as the result of that thinking. It mandates that we overcome personal biases and the biases of others, thoroughly research all possible vantage points of the topic in question, and apply reason to the information we are exposed to (Browne & Keeley, 2007). The field of psychology facilitates critical thinking by setting standards for not only the methods used in observations and experiments, but in how the results are reported, allowing those reading the report to analyze the method and results of the research  for themselves (Cozby, 2009). Some say that critical thinking allows us to develop cognitive practices that lend themselves to a better understanding of the materials presented to us (Foundation for Critical Thinking, 2013; The Creative Thinking Co., 2013). Others suggest that critical thinking is a skepticism we must apply to all information encountered (Shermer, 2009) and that in order to understand the validity of the material we must know more about the biases it encompasses (Driscoll & Brizee, 2013). In the case of psychology, both seem to be true. Psychologists are encouraged to review research performed by peers for the purposes of understanding the information better, determining whether it was done in a way which results in valid and reliable information, and which avoids bias in both obtaining evidence and reporting the results (Cozby, 2009).

conversateWhen creating an argument, we start with our current thought on the matter, then search for evidence which both supports and negates our position, with the realization that someone knows something more and/or different than we do. Arguments use the elements of critical thinking (i.e., humility, research, and logic) (Weston, 2009). Arguments allow us to fully understand a topic before taking a stand, and to communicate information to others in concise ways when we do. Arguments expose fallacies, give us insight into possible further research opportunities (this is especially necessary in soft sciences where we are constantly making strides to further research in order to bridge gaps), and transcend communication barriers beyond just the format of the presentation (Weston, 2013). Arguments allow us to augment our own way of thinking and they allow us to share our critical thinking with others working toward the same end. An example might be media psychology students researching possible side effects of violent video games. By applying critical thinking to their research after having sorted through a variety of sources and presenting their arguments to each other, they could both discuss their analyses of existing data and uncover a variety of possible new avenues for research.

Both critical thinking and argumentation are essential tools for psychologists. Psychologists must know how to research, analyze, apply, and communicate information obtained (Cozby, 2009). Those presenting the information (e.g., publisher, editor, author, etc.) may or may not have done as much research as the person receiving the information may prefer, or they may have changed the information (either purposefully or accidentally) during their reporting of it. The media used affects the delivery and reception of information as well (e.g., many if not most photos are photoshopped (“The PhotoShop Effect,” 2006)). By allowing peers to analyze our arguments, we open ourselves up for exposure to new information, viewpoints that we may not have considered (despite our best efforts) and suggestions for refining our methods in our practice of argumentation and critical thinking (Wertheimer, 2000)

Critical thinking is an applied method for determining our thoughts on a matter. It requires us to conduct thoughtful research while applying logic to our findings and maintaining a willingness to change our thought processes where they are unsupported. It is about finding the truth. Argumentation is a skill which allows us to present that thought, and the evidence that supports it, to others in a concise, persuasive manner. In order to further any scientific field (e.g., psychology), students, researchers, and professionals must carefully consider how the information obtained fits in with preexisting information, how it may alter what is already known, and what future steps can be taken to continue progress. The more information is critically considered and effectively argued, the easier communication is and the closer we come to reaching the closest thing we have to truth.

betterworld

References

Browne, M. N., & Keeley, S. M. (2007). Asking the right questions: a guide to critical thinking (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Cozby, P. C. (2009). Methods in behavioral research. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Driscoll, D., & Brizee, A. (2013). Purdue OWL: Evaluating Sources of Information. Retrieved from http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/553/3/

Foundation for Critical Thinking. (2013). The critical thinking community. Retrieved from http://www.criticalthinking.org//

Shermer, M. (2009). Michael Shermer. Baloney Detection Kit. Retrieved from http://www.michaelshermer.com/2009/06/baloney-detection-kit/

The Critical Thinking Co. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.criticalthinking.com/

The Photoshop Effect. (2008). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP31r70_QNM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Wertheimer, M. (2000). A brief history of psychology (4th ed.). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt College Publishers.

Weston, A. (2009). A rulebook for arguments. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub.

Define ‘Scholarly’

Chris Nitz Photo: Crushed by Knowledge If we objectively define ‘scholarly’ as “concerned with academic learning and research” (Dictionary.com,  2012), we find ourselves with a vague definition. We may be tempted to immediately think of left-brained academics. However, discrepancies in what must be considered academic may change that definition. If, for example, we define academics as pertaining to sciences or literacy, we end with a very different result than if we define academics as pertaining to any subject which facilitates the further development of a particular skill. Sir Ken Robinson (2006) notes that a major short coming of academics now is that we define academics much like the former, but would be served better to treat it as the latter.

Chris Nitz: A Keyboard Kind of LifeHowever, in writing, the target audience is the one that matters. As such, if you are writing to a group of social scientists, the expectation is that the prescribed protocol will be followed (Polkinghorne, 2007), and so on. In this way then, scholarly writing should be defined more along the lines of writing which facilitates the communication of critical thinking and rhetoric within a given field, using the prescribed masteries of that field. This allows for all subjects regardless of the paradigm currently subscribed to in academia.

References:

Dictionary.com (2012). ‘Scholarly’. Retrieved from: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/scholarly?s=t

Polkinghorne, D. E. (2007). Qualitative inquiry: validity issues in narrative writing. Qualitative Inquiry13(4), 472.

Robinson, K. (2006, February). Ken robinson says schools kill creativity.. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html