- How effectively were you able to communicate with others in the lecture activity?
I was able to communicate effectively. I conveyed the messages I intended to convey and at the same time, I could understand what others wanted to say. At a few occasions, I took time to interpret the messages. With the help of this activity, I also understood the difficulties faced by physically-challenged persons (who cannot speak or listen).
- Which emotions did you find difficult to communicate to others?
It was quite easy to convey the feelings of ‘love, hate, frown, interest, happiness, sadness, etc. However, I was not able to communicate ‘indifference’ to others. I could not think of any expressions or postures for conveying. After the activity, when I reflected upon this issue, I concluded that we can best convey the ‘indifference’ by facial expressions and by ‘not maintaining the eye contact.’
- Were you able to effectively decode the non-verbal language of others?
It was quite easy to decode the non-verbal language of others. I could interpret all the emotions and feelings conveyed to me. However, some of my friends were sending some ambiguous cues. For example, if someone is feeling happy but is not smiling. In such a situation, the interpretation goes wrong.
- Which did you find more difficult “expressing” or “interpreting”? Can you think of strategies you could use to make it easier for you to either “express” or “interpret”?
I found ‘interpreting’ difficult because some other people were not able to express properly. To improve the non-verbal communication, the cues sent by the other person should be analyzed in total and not in isolated form. I think maintaining the eye contact is a major option to make the communication better. Some people do not maintain the eye contact because they are shy and not because they are ‘disinterested’.
- What are the implications for you of these findings in terms of your ability to communicate with others?
I will work on my skills of interpretation of non-verbal cues by others. I will look for the clusters of similar cues for correct interpretation. For example, if a person is sitting with his arms crossed, is not maintaining the eye contact and is speaking in a flat voice, all these signals point towards the disinterest of the person in the topic or in the other person.
- How can you use this information to improve your ability to communicate more effectively with others?
I will try to comprehend the non-verbal signals in totality and not in isolation. For example, a person sitting with his arms crossed may indicate that he is feeling cold in the room. Hence, this gesture has nothing to do with his disinterest in the topic of discussion. Similarly, if a person is not maintaining the eye contact, he may be shy. Thus, I will rely on other cues to understand the person’s intentions/emotions.
- Explain three types of non-verbal communications.
Non verbal communications include gestures, postures, facial expression, eye communication, space & touch communication and paralanguage. Gestures of a person can be used to reinforce or emphasize what a person is saying. Gestures give the information about the emotions and attitudes of the person. Similarly, posture of a person reflects his emotions, attitude and intentions. It reflects the confidence and comfort level of a person. Posture of a person may be open or close. If a person is directly facing someone, it communicates interest and openness.
Eye contact is another important non-verbal communication and helps to give and receive feedback. If a person does not maintain the eye contact during a communication, it may show his/her disinterest. Eye contact also helps a person to know ‘when it is his turn to speak’. Maintenance of eye contact may be interpreted as attraction or interest between the two persons.
- When verbal and non-verbal communication is incongruent or “in conflict”, what happens?
When the verbal and non-verbal communications are incongruent, the listener will doubt what is said. The listener may think that the other person is either lying or confused. It also depicts that we are not sure what we are saying, though our words are clear. Without congruence, it is impossible to persuade or convince the listener for something.
- Can you give an example of incongruent verbal and non-verbal communication and explain what people will perceive?
If a corrupt politician addresses the people of his state just before the elections, his verbal and non-verbal communication will be incongruent. Though his speech may talk of growth and development for the state but his expressions, posture and paralanguage are not in line with his verbal message. This incongruence can be easily caught by intelligent public and the listeners will perceive that his promises are un-true. Thus, he may lose the elections due to this conflict in verbal and non-verbal communication.
Reflect on your ability to make your verbal and non-verbal communication “congruent”. Can you think of a time when there was not congruence? What happened? What can you learn from this?
The non-congruence in the verbal and non-verbal communication results ‘when we do not say what we internally feel’. Hence, the best way to make the communication congruent is by speaking the truth. My communication is generally congruent because I do not lie.
However, sometimes, because of our own insecurities, we lie and eventually we are caught because of the incongruence in our communication.
Long back, when I did not have any idea about the congruence and incongruence in the communication, I went to a general store with my mother. I was too young to understand the difference between ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’ I took a small toy and put it in my pocket, thinking that neither my mother and nor the store manager would know. However, the manager saw it from the CCTV and informed my mother. She asked me patiently about the toy in my pocket and I tried to lie. My mother paid for the toy at the billing counter and did not scold me. I was ashamed at myself and surprised too!
Today the lecture on congruence and non-congruence communication reminded me of the incident and I understood that it was the non-congruence in my communication that told my mother about my ‘heinous act’.
- Have you made satisfactory progress? Will you be able to achieve your goals within the time set? Do you need to modify your plan in order to achieve them? How will you do this?
In the beginning of the semester, I had set a goal of ‘excellence in academics’. Since then, I have been working hard to improve my grades. I had prepared a time schedule for my studies and other activities. I have been successful in many subjects and I need improvement in some others. I feel I will be able to achieve my goals within the time frame i.e. the present semester.
I will have to modify my plan to improve in ----- subject. I will devote more time to this subject to get in-depth understanding. I will also take help from my classmates who are good in this subject. I feel group study will be an intelligent option for this subject. Therefore, I will modify my study schedule to include group study and discussions.
- If you have not been as successful as you would have liked to be was this because of: Motivation? Unrealistic goals? An inadequate plan?
I have been successful in my pursuit for higher grades. Because of the set goal, I was motivated throughout the semester to work hard and concentrate on my studies. My grades have considerably improved as compared to the previous class. My goals are very realistic and my planning was quite good. However, I will now devote more time to ----subject and will try my best to bring an ‘A’ in the next examination.
The SMART principle of goal setting was certainly helpful in setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-planned goals. Because of this principle, I was able to set practical goals.
- Explain what insight learning is?
It is a type of learning or problem solving that happens suddenly. It is diametrically opposite to the ‘trial and error’ method of problem solving and is a result of sudden inspiration. Insight occurs in human learning or problem solving when people recognize relationships which can help in the problem solving process. Examples of insight learning have also been noted in animals.
- Explain how heuristics can help and hinder problem solving.
Heuristics are experience-based techniques of problem solving. Sometimes experience plays a significant role in the problem solving. For example, a beginner may solve a given problem in one hour whereas an experienced person may do the same thing in ten minutes. However, heuristics may sometimes hinder the problem solving process. In certain cases, innovation and insight in much needed and experience is of little value. For example, in case of a malaria outbreak, experienced person may advocate the use of anti-malarial therapy but an innovator will look for a solution that will kill the mosquito itself (the carrier of malaria).
- How can functional fixedness interfere with problem solving?
Functional fixedness is a cognitive bias of a person in which he uses an object in the traditional way only. This limits the innovation & new developments and hinders the process of problem solving. For example, cell phones were initially meant for telecommunication. If a person uses his cell phone for talking only and he fails to understand the other functions and utilities of cell phone (torch, alarm, reminder, calculator, dictionary, gps, etc), it will be termed as functional fixedness. Now, this person cannot utilize the torch of his cell phone in the dark. Hence, functional fixedness hinders the problem solving.
The seven intelligences are linguistic, logical, musical, spatial, body/kinaesthetic, intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences. I excel in linguistic, spatial, logical, interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences. I feel I am best at interpersonal intelligence because I can understand the others’ emotions, feelings and temperaments without difficulty. I can communicate effectively and enjoy discussion & debate. My intrapersonal intelligence is also high as I understand my own strength and weaknesses in-depth. I can even predict my own reactions to particular situations precisely.
However, I am left behind in case of musical and kinaesthetic intelligence. I have never been interested in music of any sort and I am a bad singer too! Similarly, I have low kinaesthetic intelligence. I feel I am not very creative and often lose my sense of timing.
I would definitely try to improve upon and strengthen my kinaesthetic intelligence. By doing so, I expect that I will be able to use my body language to communicate with others in a better way. It will also help me to do multi-tasking.