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3. “Cognition” is context dependent.

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1 3. “Cognition” is context dependent. on Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:35 pm

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3. “Cognition” is context dependent.
Because, unlike computers, context directly changes human excitement (motivation) regarding any task at hand, it necessarily affects our cognition and therefore affects all cognitive output. In contrast, computer results do not change with the weather; human outcomes do change with the weather, although our pride may not want us to admit the truth regarding our organic and contextually subjective nature. Use our human “context dependency” to your advantage in the classroom.

Q. Think about how context affects your own cognition. Where do you do your best work? Identify things that affect your performance.

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2 Re: 3. “Cognition” is context dependent. on Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:55 am

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Context does affect cognition!

Here is an interesting excerpt from an this article:
http://www.businessinsider.com/restaurant-menus-spend-more-money-2014-7?utm_content=buffer7b18e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer



So, what are the classroom implications??
Robert

-----------------------------

Here are 11 of the sneakiest psychological tricks restaurants use to make you spend more money:
1. They don't use dollar signs. A dollar sign is one of the top things restaurants should avoid including on a menu, because it immediately reminds the customers that they're spending money.
According to research from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, guests given a menu without dollar signs spent significantly more than those who received a menu with them. Even if the prices were written out with words instead of numbers, such as "ten dollars," guests spent less money because it still triggered the negative feelings associated with paying.
2. They are tricky with their numbers. Menu designers recognize that prices that end in 9, such as $9.99, tend to signify value, but not quality. In addition, prices that end in .95 instead of .99 are more effective, because they feel "friendlier" to customers. Most restaurants just leave the price without any cents at all, because it makes their menu cleaner, simpler, and to the point.
3. They use extremely descriptive language. Research from Cornell University revealed that items described in a more beautiful way are more appealing to and popular with customers. According to further research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, descriptive menu labels raised sales by 27%, compared to food items without descriptors.
On an NBC "Today" show interview, menu engineer Greg Rapp poses an example of Maryland Style Crab Cakes. They are described as "made by hand, with sweet jumbo crab meat, a touch of mayonnaise, our secret blend of seasonings, and golden cracker crumbs for a rich, tender crab cake." This brings the ultimate sensory experience to the reader, and the descriptive labeling will make customers more likely to be satisfied at the end of the meal.
Interestingly, brand names in menu descriptions also help sales, which is why chain restaurants such as T.G.I. Friday's use Jack Daniel's sauce or Minute Maid orange juice on their menus. The more adjectives, the better.
4. They connect food to family. Customers are especially drawn to names of relatives, such as parents and grandparents, on menus. For example, people are more likely to buy Grandma's warm, homemade cookies or Aunt Margo's famous potato salad. It also can add a hint of nostalgia.
5. They use ethnic food terms to make their food seem more authentic. According to Oxford experimental psychologist Charles Spence, an ethnic or geographic label, such as an Italian name, draws a person's attention toward a certain feature in a dish and brings out certain flavors and textures.
6. They visually highlight things. When foods are bolded, listed in a colored or fancier font, accompanied with photographs, or singled out in a box, they look far more special than the other dishes. However, high-end restaurants tend to avoid this strategy, because it can make them look tacky.
7. They use expensive items to draw you to the cheaper items. According to Rapp, restaurants use extremely expensive foods as decoys. "You probably won't buy it, but you'll find something a little cheaper and it'll look more reasonable," he says.
According to William Poundstone, author of "Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It)," in a New York Magazine interview, "The main role of that $115 platter — the only three-digit thing on the menu — is to make everything else near it look like a relative bargain."
8. They offer foods in two portion sizes. This strategy is called [url=http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/jan/21/menus-cunning-marketing-ploys?guni=Article:in body link]bracketing[/url]. The customer has no idea how much smaller the small portion is, so they assume it's the best value price because it costs less. What they don't realize is that the restaurant wanted to sell the smaller portion at the lower price all along, and simply used the bigger portion with the higher price as comparison.
9. They analyze your reading patterns. Restaurants consider scanpaths, which are a series of eye fixations that can be studied to see how people read certain things.
According to a Korean research study, a third of participants are likely to order the first item to which their attention is drawn. As a result, restaurants will put the most profitable items in the [url=http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/jan/21/menus-cunning-marketing-ploys?guni=Article:in body link]upper-right[/url] corner, because it is where people's eyes go first.
This strategy is based on the primacy effect, which means people remember the items at the beginning of a list better. Another reason this works is that seeing a really expensive dish at first glance will make the rest of the menu appear reasonably priced in comparison.
Restaurants put the most focus on their main servings. According to a Cornell research study on eye movements on restaurant menus, most customers quickly scan the entire menu like a book, but focus the remainder of their attention on the entrees.
10. They limit your choices. Through features such as "try all" samplers, tapas, or fixed menus, restaurants remove the heavy responsibility people feel when choosing what to eat. It is much more effective for restaurants to limit their selection. Apparently, the optimum number of menu items is six items per category in fast-food restaurants, and seven to 10 items per category in fine dining establishments.
11. They set the mood to spend. According to psychology research from the University of Leicester, playing classical music in restaurants encourages diners to spend more, because it makes them feel more affluent. Meanwhile, less sophisticated pop music caused people to spend 10% less on their meals.


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/restaurant-menus-spend-more-money-2014-7#ixzz37attcbwx

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3 Free from negativity on Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:52 am

I think this is simple but interesting question.  Where do we do our best work?

At this point in time, I would define a good work space as one that is free from negativity.  Negativity can mean being surrounded by people who are disgruntled, worried, stressed, snappy, despondent, or just have a bad attitude toward work in general.  These feelings can be contagious, distracting, and (for me) can completely stop my work flow.  In comparison, a quiet undisturbed area is conducive to producing good work as it is free from distractors.  And the most optimal work space would be with people who are positive, objective, and helpful.   

I wonder if mirror neurons are partially responsible for this? Laughing

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4 Re: 3. “Cognition” is context dependent. on Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:38 am

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HI there! Very Happy 

Hope you are enjoying your summer Cool 

What is a optimal classroom in your typical teaching context? Can you make such changes on your own, or do you need clearance/support from above?

Also, can you post any articles related to this?
Robert

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5 Classroom environment on Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:48 pm

Hi Robert,

My summer vacation starts in just a couple more days.  Woo hoo!

I find creating a supportive and accepting environment beneficial to my teaching context. My general English classes are all first year students and many of them feel displaced or homesick for the first half of the year.  There is so much group work and pair work in the classes, that it is imperative that they 'get along'.  To set this up, at the start of the year I introduce the class to the students as their 'English family'.  I stress that we are there to support each other and make mistakes together.  I often remind myself that they only need to like each other to like the class.  How they feel about me is pale in comparison.  

Due to recently 'going paperless' at my university, and transitioning from having paper handouts to using iPad mini's for lessons/textbooks, I have had to work harder at establishing community than ever before. While using the iPad minis in class, I have found that the students seem to have lost interest in getting to know each other in their downtime (something I always used to take for granted).  To compensate, I often have to remind the students to make eye contact with each other, and regularly set aside time when the students completely set aside their tablets.  While using technology in the classroom can really enhance the learning process and add to advantageous things (like flow and instant feedback), using tablets in lieu of paper can also take away from class... In my observations, the 'multi tasking' (between screens) seems to slow down the student's pace, decrease the quality of written work and cause general disinterest in classroom community.  I am certain that these things can all be overcome... And I actively look for solutions for these shortcomings (as I am required to use the minis either way!)  

I don't have a good article to support these ideas.  Though I have started reading the Sousa books you've recommended (How the Brain Learns and How the ELL Brain Learns), and I really appreciated the 'myth of multi tasking' bit.  I have been trying to follow that up, but haven't gotten very far!  I will repost again when I find something decent! Smile

Thanks, Robert!

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6 Re: 3. “Cognition” is context dependent. on Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:16 pm

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Here is a nice little article about the importance and affect of kids leaning about the brain -and how it affects their performance aftter the brain sessions. Fascinating and practical!

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2012/04/what-kids-should-know-about-their-own-brains/

What are your thoughts?
Robert

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7 Re: 3. “Cognition” is context dependent. on Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:36 pm

If understanding more about the brain and neuroplasticity helps students constructively deal with mistakes and learning setbacks, then I think that students should be made aware of this and reminded of it.  
I wonder what that first grade 20 minute lesson about the brain was like.  I bet it was very entertaining!

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