A good catalyst, written by Jay Colby

Are you living your dreams? This may be a difficult question to answer, because actually following our dreams is usually better said than done. One of the first steps to follow our dreams is to be ourselves. Many times we live our life for what other people expect us to be. Once we are true […]

via Be Who You Are: Live Your Dreams — Jay Colby

Advise is love

1 hour phone call but all i hear was mom nagging about financial responsibility. Before she ended the call my mom added ” i am not nagging you because i am angry at you, i am advising you because i care and love you. I want the best for you. Instead of feeling angry i felt worried and upset that you are not managing your money well.”

Demi masa. Sesungguhnya manusia itu dalam kerugian. Kecuali orang-orang yang beriman dan beramal soleh, dan mereka pula berpesan-pesan dengan kebenaran serta berpesan-pesan dengan sabar. Quran, 103:1-3. 

Advice from someone can be true yet painful, can be repetitive yet constructive, can be harsh yet good, can be delightful yet superior. Advice that came from your heart will touch the other person’s heart.The person has to realize the goodness in the advice in order to use it. 

My mom last words before ending the phonecall touched me. So many time in my life i hated being nag/advice by my parents. Contra to my brother, he never raise his voice let alone any aggressive action against my parents. But my level of patience is not as good as his. I would always want to show and argue what i think is right- i always wanted to win. In the process i knew once in a while i hurt my parents feeling.

But the truth is, when someone take their time to advice you on what is good for you, it only means that they care for you. They want the best for you. If they stop the effort of advising you, means they no longer have the interest to help you. So the next time i receive an advice from someone, i will thanked them. 

I hope my brother can see what i see. He always get it rougher as he is the first born child in my family:(. 

Young Children and Theory of Mind (with in citation)

*The following content is useful for undergrads who enroll in developmental psychology modules. Referencing style using APA format.

I remember when I was 3 years old, my mother always made my brother and I saved our allowance. My brother at that time was 5 years old. One day, he came up with an ingenious plan to combine both our money, so that the amount would double. Indeed, I agreed. Then, my brother started to buy toys using our money. And little did I know the total money he used exceeded his share of money in our piggy bank. I stopped sharing piggy bank with my brother when I reached my fourth birthday. Why did it take me one year to understand my brother’s implicit desire? How did my brother managed to generate such ingenious plan?

All of us were once a little kid with an egocentric at heart. Egocentric refers to those who belief that others perceive what they are perceiving, think what they are thinking and desire what they desired and actually think that the world revolve around them. Piaget (1951) and Piaget & Cook (1952) proposed that children in the pre-operational stage, where the age varies from 2 to 7 years old, engaged in thinking and communication that are usually egocentric.

Piaget concept of egocentric later became the outset of many renowned researches on theory of mind (e.g.: Wimmer and Perner, 1983; Perner, Leekam and Wimmer, 1987; Onishi and Baillargeon, 2005). Theory of mind refers to the understanding that other people’s state of mind :- belief, desire, goal and understanding may differ from our own belief, desire, goal and understanding. People’s minds are unique. Understanding of other people minds and thought can be considered as an asset of survival. However, younger children rarely show any understanding on theory of mind. So, what definite age does theory of mind arises?

Most researches done on investigating theory of mind focused on children understanding of false belief task (e.g.: Wimmer and Perner, 1983; Perner, Leekam and Wimmer, 1987). A false belief task would test one mental state understanding in which the participants have to realize that sometimes people do not act on reality but people act on what they belief reality to be (Wellman, Cross and Watson, 2001). Children understanding that a person has a false belief ; one whose belief contradicts reality, proved that children appreciate the distinction between other’s mind belief and their overt action in real world, thus, provided evidences that children understand that other people have unique minds.

A classic false belief task by Wimmer and Perner (1983) found that children age 5 years old and above consistently passed the false belief task. However, younger children aged 4 years old and below systematically erred. Children aged 4 years old and below did not put Maxi’s (paper cut-out puppet) belief into consideration, thus, failed to recognize the protagonist false belief. Wimmer and Perner (1983) concluded that children age 5 years old and above have acquired a fundamental insight into their mind and other’s mind. In consequence, they are able to predict behavior according to observation and assessment on belief of others.

Later on, Perner, Leekam and Wimmer (1987) developed the deceptive box task, to test false belief after the previous study (e.g.: Wimmer and Perner, 1983) which was critiqued for using artificial people because puppets do not have minds. In the deceptive box task, children were first asked the content of a Smarties box and they would answer “Smarties” (Perner, Leekam and Wimmer, 1987). Afterwards, the actual content of the Smarties box which was a pencil was shown to the children. The children were then asked what would their friend (eg: Susan) answered if she was asked about the content of a Smarties box before the actual content was shown to her. Perner, Leekam and Wimmer (1987) found that older children above 4 years old answered “Smarties” despite knowing the actual content of the Smarties box. Younger children, in contrast tend to answer according to their own knowledge on the actual content and belied the false belief of others.

The previous finding was supported by Gopnik & Astington (1988) and Wimmer & Hartl (1991). They proposed that children undergo a radical conceptual shift regarding theory of mind at 4 years of age (Gopnik & Astington ,1988 ;Wimmer & Hartl , 1991). This group of people is called the Scoffers. Scoffers believed that developmental of human life span contained the ‘mind-blind’ period, where this period typically occupied the first 3 to 4 years of child life (Chandler & Birch, 2010).

Then a breakthrough of adult insight begins. Subsequently, representational theory of mind emerged and slowly gets better proportional to life experiences. The boosters, per contra, proposed that children have acquired theory of mind at early age (e.g: Lewis and Osborne, 1990; Siegal and Beattli, 1991; Chandler, Fritz and Hala, 1989). However, their competence could not be demonstrated because of task assessment strategy (Lewis and Osborne, 1990; Siegal and beattie, 1991).

The boosters claimed that younger children had the competency required to solve false belief task, however, they lack other cognitive skills. Perhaps younger children were underestimated for not being able to perform during false belief task? There is a chance that they understood the concept of unique minds but they lack the skills required to complete the task. Lewis & Osborne (1990) and Siegal & Beattie (1991) suggested that younger children may misunderstand the questions and the story line as their linguistic efficiency is novice. Both studies reported better performance of children younger than age 4 years old after simply simplifying the story line and paraphrasing the questions. Children aged 3 years old stood better chance of giving correct response (Lewis & Osborne, 1990; Siegal & Beattie, 1991).

It is possible that lack of developing skills in cognitive areas such as language relates to children’s fruitless attempt on false belief task. It seems that having an understanding of others mind and using that understanding is not the same. Competency may not be defined in term of successful performance as performance limitation masked children’s competence. ( Keysar, Barr, Balin & Bravaer, 2000).

At this point, the only way to compare whether theory of mind evolves gradually or radically is to improve the false belief task, so that it comprehend younger children competency if there is one. Many believe that children were underestimated by standard lab false belief test (Chandler, Fritz and Hala, 1989). Evidence began to emerge that younger children understand theory of mind; however because of their lack in verbal potential, they failed to reveal their understanding during false belief task. Thus, using other method, Onishi, Baillargeon and Leslie (2007) tested younger children’s competency using a false belief task that do not rely on understanding of stories or verbal messages and do not require any explicit response.

A violation of expectation pretense task was conducted on 15 month old infants. Looking time was measured during the task paradigm. Onishi et al. (2007) hypothesized that looking time would increase if 15 month old infants are able to detect a violation in the consistency of event sequence that involves feigning. An example of the task was infants detected a violation of consistency when an actor poured liquid into one cup but pretended to drink from another (Onishi et al, 2007). Thus, Onishi et al., (2007) concluded young children developed theory of mind at the age where children began to engage in pretend play and are able to detect the violation of expected event. In conjunction to the detection of violation, infants understood the state of mind of the actor, therein show interest to the unexpected event that was governed by the actor. In short, infants as early as 15 month old, understood the belief and knowledge of others, thus, show curiosity towards action inconsistent with the person’s belief.

Evidences from previous studies suggest that theory of mind may have been an innate asset of survival in people. Infants could be born with cognition to understand other people mind. Nonetheless, innate ability needs time and requires social experience to blossom. The environment infants grew up in, including the way parents communicate and explain things to children influence the maturation of social experience in children (Bartsch and Wellman, 1989). Therefore, it is more likely that children would display full understanding on theory of mind later in life. A meta-analysis of 178 studies concluded that children age 4 years and above would most likely start to show competency of understanding others’ belief (Wellman et al. 2001). Saying that, it is not because at age of 4 they acquired sudden adult-like insight on theory of mind; it is more relevant that children at age of 4 and above had ample of social experiences and the capability to control other cognitive skills. In conclusion, infants have a minimal theory of mind but it only develops a full representational theory of mind later which is most likely to be on their fourth birthday.

Reference

Bartsch, K., & Wellman, H. M. (1989). Young children’s attribution of action to beliefs and desires. Child Development, 60, 946-964.

Chandler, M. J. & Birch, S. A. J. (2010). The Development of Knowing. Handbook of life-span development:Biology, cognition, and methods across the life-span, Hoboken, NJ.

Chandler, M., Fritz, A. S., & Hala, S. (1989). Small scale deceit: Deception as a marker of 2-, 3-, and 4-year-olds early theories of mind.  Child Development, 60, 1263-1277.

Gopnik, A., & Astington, j. W. (1988). Children’s understanding of representational change and its relation to the understanding of false belief and the appearance-reality distinction. Child Development, 59, 26-37.

Keysar, B., Barr, D. J., Balin, J. A., & Brauner, J. S. (2000). Taking Perspective in Conversation: The role of mutual knowledge in comprehension. Psychological Science, 11(1), 32-38.

Lewis, C., & Osborne, A. (1990). Three-year-olds’ problems with false belief: Conceptual deficit or linguistic artifact? Child Development, 61, 1514-1519.

Onishi, K. H., Baillargeon, R., & Leslie, A. M. (2007). 15-month-old infants detect violations in pretend scenarios. Acta Psychologica, 124, 106-128.

Onishi, K., & Baillargeon, R. (2005). Do 15-month-old infants understand false beliefs? Science, 308, 255–258.

Perner, J., Leekam, S. R., & Wimmer, H. (1987). Three-year-olds’ difficulty with false belief. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 5, 125-137

Piaget, J. (1951). Egocentric thought and sociocentric thought. J. Piaget, Sociological studies, 270-286.

Piaget, J., & Cook, M. T. (1952). The origins of intelligence in children

Siegal, M., & Beattie, K. (1991). Where to look first for children’s understanding of false beliefs. Cognition, 38, 1-12.

Wellman, H. M., Cross, D., & Watson, J. (2001). Meta-Analysis of Theory-of-Mind Development: The Truth about False Belief. Child Development, 72(3), 655-684.

Wimmer, H. & Perner, J. (1983). Beliefs about beliefs: Representation and constraining function of wrong beliefs in young children’s understanding of deception. Cognition, 13, 103-128.

Wimmer, H., & Hartl, M. (1991). Against the Cartesian view on mind: Young children’s difficulty with own false beliefs. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 9, 125-1         28.

Young Children and Theory of Mind

I remember when I was 3 years old, my mother always made my brother and I saved our allowance. My brother at that time was 5 years old. One day, he came up with an ingenious plan to combine both our money, so that the amount would double. Indeed, I agreed. Then, my brother started to buy toys using our money. And little did I know the total money he used exceeded his share of money in our piggy bank. I stopped sharing piggy bank with my brother when I reached my fourth birthday.

Why did it take me one year to understand my brother’s implicit desire? How did my brother manage to generate such ingenious plan?

All of us were once a little kid with an egocentrism at heart. Egocentrism refers to those who believe that others perceive what they are perceiving, think what they are thinking and desire what they desired and actually think that the world evolves around them. Piaget proposed that children in the preoperational stage, where the age varies from 2 to 7 years old, engaged in thinking and communication that are usually egocentric.

Piaget concept of egocentrism later became the outset of many renowned types of research on the theory of mind. Theory of mind refers to the understanding that other people’s state of mind- belief, desire, goal, and understanding may differ from our own belief, desire, goal and understanding. People’s minds are unique. However, younger children rarely show any understanding of the theory of mind. So, what definite age does the theory of mind arises?

There are 2 stances in regards to the theory of mind:- the scoffers and the boosters

Scoffers believed that developmental of human life span contained the ‘mind-blind’ period, where this period typically occupied the first 3 to 4 years of child life.Then a breakthrough of adult insight begins. Subsequently, representational theory of mind emerged and slowly gets better proportional to life experiences.

The boosters, per contra, proposed that children have acquired the theory of mind at an early age. However, their competence could not be demonstrated because of task assessment strategy. There is a chance that they understood the concept of unique minds but they lack the skills required to complete the task. It is possible that lack of developing skills in cognitive areas such as language relates to children’s fruitless attempt on false belief task. Perhaps younger children were underestimated for not being able to perform during false belief task?

A classic false belief task  found that children age 5 years old and above consistently passed the false belief task. However, younger children aged 4 years old and below systematically erred. The previous finding was supported by Gopnik & Astington (1988), they proposed that children undergo a radical conceptual shift regarding the theory of mind at 4 years of age.

 

IMG-20150404-WA0007

Playing animals name cards with my little neighbors. They taught me Mandarin, I taught them English

At this point, the only way to compare whether the theory of mind evolves gradually or radically is to improvise the false belief task, so that it comprehend younger children competency- if there is one. Many believe that children were underestimated by standard lab false belief test. Evidence began to emerge that younger children understand the theory of mind; however because of their lack of verbal potential, they failed to reveal their understanding during false belief task. Thus, using another method, infants as early as 15 months old are found able to understand the belief and knowledge of others.

This suggests that the theory of mind may have been an innate asset of survival in people. Infants could be born with cognition to understand other people mind. Nonetheless, I personally think that innate ability needs time and requires social experience to blossom. And of course, we should consider the environment infants grew up in-including the way parents communicate and explain things to children. Environments can influence the maturation of social experience in children.

Are you with Scoffers or Booster?

 

Partners : all sizes and shapes (weekly photo challenge)

 

Partners

Do you want to get LASIK? (read: corrective eye surgery)

No mom, It’s alright. I like my spectacles and I can always wear contact lenses.

WhatsApp-Image-20160629

That was my answer each time my mom ask me about getting LASIK surgery. It has only been recently popular in Malaysia after a well-known ophthalmologists opened a center solely for eye surgery.

I hesitated. Not because I have doubt in the surgery nor because of finance issue. I hesitated because my spectacles have been my partner since I was young. You see, I developed short-sightedness since birth- I guess it runs in the family. I had my first check up when I was 5 years old after my parents noticed odd patterns in my actions.

Since then my spectacles is my life savior. Sure, there are times which I wish I never had to wear spectacles. But as I grew older I came to realize that I took my spectacles and my eyes for granted. I took it for granted that my family was able to afford spectacles- it is not cheap and my power keeps on increasing. I also took it for granted the fact that I still have eyes that are able to perceive while some are born blind. I should be grateful to god that I was still able to see.

Some say I am an idiot for turning down my mom’s offer. But for me, there is a far more important lesson I learn each time I take off my spectacles – that god grace comes in many shapes and sizes and God can claim them back anytime. I may have had my sight taken from me ( a bit) but I have plenty other things to be grateful of.

share what are you grateful of in your life:)

 

How to boost your self-esteem

Self-esteem is how we perceive ourselves in the society. The value that we think ourselves hold and how we much we think we are in control. Although self-esteem is within ourselves, however, it is affected positively or negatively by how we respond to our surrounding. Self-esteem is something that we learn. This means we hold the key to developing our self-esteem.

Here are some ways to boost your self-esteem:

Winning vs Losing

Know that life is a game and it is normal that sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. It is normal to fail because life is like a wheel- sometimes you are at the top, sometimes you are at the bottom. People with healthy self-esteem treat failures as learning experiences and accept them.

Do not overthink situations in a negative way

When bad things happen to you, try to take it positively. Yes, it is hard and impossible to be positive and happy-go-lucky all the time (unless you are faking it). Perceiving and over-analysing even a simple situation in a negative way are a sign of low self-esteem. Try to practice positive thinking (yes, you can learn how to do so). I use to have this negative thought that my parents strongly favoured my younger brother over me. Because of that particular thought, my mind somehow only focused on events that proved they loved my brother more. I felt abandoned and my negative thought worsens to the stage that I feel like harming myself physically. Luckily, I was able to collect my thoughts back when I saw my younger brother being scolded by my mother for creating mischief. It struck me back then that my parents are actually wise and fair. You only deserve results for how you choose to behave and do. It is the same for our thinking. If you choose to think negative thought then your life will gravitate towards the negative events, even if it is actually bringing you more positive effect, people with negative thoughts would tend to focus on the little negative effect. Thus, this negative feeling reinforces your low self-esteem. So, remember that the choice on how to act and perceive is with you. You can choose how others interact with you. You can choose to have healthy self-esteem.

Motivate yourself regularly

The best leaders in this world fail many times. It is the failures that motivated them to be successful. Motivations are like putting sugar into green tea drink. Even the bitter drink can become sweet to the tongue. People with low self-esteem are lack self-motivations. They usually underestimate themselves (never a good thing). One of the best time to motivate yourself is when you are in bed trying to fall asleep. Say to yourself things that you want to be: eg. I am strong, I am independent. If you did a mistake during the day, reflect it in a positive way. Instead of saying “I am stupid for making that kind of mistake, I can’t do my job properly” do say “I have made a mistake but I have learned how to do the right way, I am sure tomorrow’s job will be easy for me to handle because I already know how to do it”

While sleeping you mind will record the things that happen during the day including what you said before you fall asleep. This is called subconscious shaping. My favourite quote is “make tomorrow a better day than today, be a better person tomorrow than you are today” and I always remind myself this quote before I go to sleep. I woke up with a goal for myself- be a better person.

You see, healthy self-esteem can be achieved by everyone including you. Just keep up those positive mindsets. Do not mind what others may think about you because you know yourself better than anyone else does.

Leadership 101

Have you ever wonder how it feels like to be a leader? Does being a leader means you gain a certain power?

It’s true that leaders have the authority to make the final call but a true leadership is more than that. Leaders should learn how to listen to the majority and at the same time considering voices of the minorities. It is easy to step up and become a leader of an organisation, family, country or maybe a project group. What most people failed to become is a good leader. A leader with integrity, a leader that is loved by many and envied by others. It has come to my mind on how to become a good leader when I was nominated as the president of UNMC psychology society. I did much reading (links are included at the end of article) and reflect on my past experience as leader and team player. Why? By learning from your old experiences, you can acknowledge what you did was good and bad for a team in the perspective of a leader and a team player. The following are checklists on good leaderships that I have narrowed down based on my experiences:

Have objectives and make others clear of the objectives

The first thing that you should have in mind as a leader is the objectives of your club/society. What were the objectives of the club when it was initially formed? If your club doesn’t have clear objectives then it would be difficult for you and your team to keep track of the club/society purposes. It is like driving on the highway without a destination. The objectives are your destination. When contractor wanted to build a house, they will put up the walls and only then the windows, roofs and doors can be installed. Objectives are like the walls, without it, other work would delay.

I can give you dozens of metaphor and analogy to show how important objectives are for organisation but I am sure that when I first point out that you should have objectives, you had already been thinking about your club/society objectives. If you did, that’s a good sign. You are a step ahead on becoming a good leader. Make sure that your team members are clear about the objectives so you can move to the same destination together.

Take the lead

This action differentiates between a leader and a boss. Bosses tell their objective and vision then distribute works; expecting others to achieve the objective. Leaders take the lead and manage projects alongside with their comrades.

“The key to successful leadership today is influence; not authority” – Kenneth Blanchard-

Never be afraid to take the lead and spread influence.

Manage the project well and make it SMART

Manage the project well and make it realistic. It is as simple as that. Make it SMART:

S- Specific: Be as specific as you can regarding the details and objectives of your project

M- Measurable: Try to quantify your goals. “Find Volunteers” is not quantifiable, try “Recruit 16 volunteers for xxx event”. After you have achieved it, you can cross it out from           your to-do list and it will give you great feels of accomplishment.

A- Achievable: Be realistic and set your goal to be achievable. ‘Get Rm 2.6 billion sponsorship’ is not only too general but also unrealistic.

R- Relevant: Make the task relevant to what your society is planning to do. Distribute the task relevantly; paperwork should be done by the secretary and budget by the treasurer. Having a lot of executives may avoid excessive workload for each executive ( noted that you are a student and have other things to submit) but do bear in mind that more executives mean more personalities to deal with. Fewer executives may mean extra work but the probability to avoid social loafing and responsibilities diffusion is higher.

T- Time Related: Organise how much time you are going to allocate for every task. Eg: one week for volunteer recruitment. The advisable way to keep track of your to-do list is to make a Gantt chart. There are templates available on the internet. You should choose whether to make a monthly Gantt chart or weekly Gantt chart according to how urgent your event is.

Take initiative to be unique

Be unique. While it is always good to have a benchmark, being unique does give you the advantage of being remembered as a good leader.

Know when to give others spotlight

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” -Lao Tzu-

It is not necessary for you to take all the credits. Learn to give your executive a chance of spotlight. They will appreciate it – trust meJ. A good leader have the influence to make executives do what he wants to be done, and have a self-refrain enough to keep himself from meddling with what the executive are doing. Just make sure you are up to date with their progress. Leadership is the art of having someone to do what you want to be done because he wants to do it. So make some way for your executives to shine and enjoy their contribution. Acknowledging their contribution is also a good way to motivate them.

Know how to deal with people personalities.

This is something that you can learn and adapt. Everyone has different preferences so take your time to observe your team members personality. One of the personalities that may harm your project goal is the work pace of your members. Some people are energetic and are more likely to finish a task quickly. Some are more lay back/relax and may get the job done last minute. As the team leader, you should know how to coordinate work according to their personality and preferences. It may sound hard because it is hard to make everyone happy, but the least thing you could do is try.