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Monday, January 26, 2015

Use the tools.

  • Use the tools.

  • These are presented to assist in the study of speech and communication. They are not for any single class or course, text or instructor. Use them for research or to help when you need help.

  • Additional Sources to Find Out More
  • APA and other help
  • CSN resources
  • Do Not Call Registry - Federal
  • Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
  • Virtual Textbook
  • What, there's more?
  • Open Your Mind to Critical Thinking
  • Critical Thinking
  • Critical Thinking (the value of)
  • Critical Thinking and Listening
  • Critical Thinking Application
  • Critical Thinking Blog
  • Critical Thinking Model Frameworks
  • Critical Thinking Tutorial
  • Critical Thinking, Overcoming Barriers
  • Critical Thinking, Promoting Thought
  • Critical Thinking, pt 2
  • Critical Thinking, thoughts on
  • Critical Thinking, what is it?
  • Critical Thinking, what is?
  • Critical Thinking: How Not to be Stupid
  • Critical Thinking: Keeping Active
  • Critical Thinking: Open Your Mind
  • Five Ways to Spark Your Creativity

  • What is thought?

    Brain and Mind at Work

    The Art of Thinking. A Guide to Critical and Creative Thought, Ninth Edition

    Developing Your Thinking: An Overview
    ISBN: 9780205668335 Author: Vincent Ryan Ruggiero
    copyright © 2009 Pearson Education

    For well over a century, researchers have deepened our understanding of human thought. We now know that thinking is not a mystical activity, unknowable and unlearnable. Thinking occurs in patterns that we can study and compare to determine their relative objectivity, validity, and effectiveness. This knowledge can be used to reinforce good thinking habits and to overcome bad ones. As James Mursell has observed, “Any notion that better thinking is intrinsically unlearnable and unteachable is nothing but a lazy fallacy, entertained only by those who have never taken the trouble to consider just how a practical job of thinking is really done.”2
    Brain research is providing new insights, notably that the structure of the brain is considerably more complex than previously imagined. The first breakthrough in understanding came when a neurosurgeon began treating patients with severe epilepsy in a new way. He severed the corpus callosum, the nerve fibers connecting the two hemispheres of the cerebral cortex, to relieve the symptoms of the disease. The separation made it possible to study the way each hemisphere functioned. The right hemisphere, it was learned, governs nonverbal, symbolic, and intuitive responses. The left hemisphere governs the use of language, logical reasoning, analysis, and the performance of sequential tasks.
    Some popularizers of this research have taken it to mean there are “left-brained people” and “right-brained people,” and a cottage industry has arisen to help people identify which they are and/or become what they are not. Most researchers regard this development as, at best, an oversimplification of the data. For example, Jerre Levy points out that none of the data “supports the idea that normal people function like split-brain patients, using only one hemisphere at a time,” adding that the very structure of the brain implies profound integration of the two hemispheres, the corpus callosum connecting them and facilitating their arousal.3
    William H. Calvin says that researchers who specialize in split-brain research (as he does) tend to regard the popularization “with something of the wariness which the astronomers reserve for astrology.” He cites the “behavior and mental processes greater than and different from each region’s contribution” as evidence of right/left integration.4 Others underscore the fact that left-brain/right-brain research has been conducted with severely injured or surgically altered brains and not normal ones. In his Nobel lecture on the subject, for instance, Roger W. Sperry noted that “in the normal state the two hemispheres appear to work closely together as a unit, rather than one being turned on while the other idles.”5
    The extravagance of popularizers notwithstanding, neurophysiological research seems to parallel cognitive psychologists’ earlier realization that the mind has two distinct phases—the productionphase and the judgment phase—that complement each other during problem solving and decision making. Proficiency in thinking requires the mastery of all approaches appropriate to each phase and skill in moving back and forth between them. Let’s examine each phase a little more closely, noting how good thinkers use each effectively.

    The Production Phase

    In this phase, which is most closely associated with creative thinking, the mind produces various conceptions of the problem or issue, various ways of dealing with it, and possible solutions or responses to it. Good thinkers produce both more ideas and better ideas than poor thinkers. They become more adept in using a variety of invention techniques, enabling them to discover ideas. More specifically, good thinkers tend to see the problem from many perspectives before choosing any one, to consider many different investigative approaches, and to produce many ideas before turning to judgment. In addition, they are more willing to take intellectual risks, to be adventurous and consider unusual ideas, and to use their imaginations.
    In contrast, poor thinkers tend to see the problem from a limited number of perspectives (often just a single narrow one), to take the first approach that occurs to them, to judge each idea immediately, and to settle for only a few ideas. Moreover, they are overly cautious in their thinking, unconsciously making their ideas conform to the common, the familiar, and the expected.

    The Judgment Phase

    In this phase, which is most closely associated with critical thinking, the mind examines and evaluates what it has produced, makes its judgments, and, where appropriate, adds refinements. Good thinkers handle this phase with care. They test their first impressions, make important distinctions, and base their conclusions on evidence rather than their own feelings. Sensitive to their own limitations and predispositions, they double-check the logic of their thinking and the workability of their solutions, identifying imperfections and complications, anticipating negative responses, and generally refining their ideas.

    In contrast, poor thinkers judge too quickly and uncritically, ignoring the need for evidence and letting their feelings shape their conclusions. Blind to their limitations and predispositions, poor thinkers trust their judgment implicitly, ignoring the possibility of flaws in their thinking.

    For more insight into critical thinking go to this source: 

    The Art of Thinking. A Guide to Critical and Creative Thought, Ninth Edition

    Chapter 1: Developing Your Thinking: An Overview
    ISBN: 9780205668335 Author: Vincent Ryan Ruggiero
    copyright © 2009 Pearson Education

    The Communication Genius of Aristotle

    Dr. Loren EkrothLoren Ekroth, Ph.D.

    If you like this article, please forward to friends.
    e-mail to subscribe to Conversation Matters.
    Loren Ekroth, publisher of 
    Today's Contents

    Words this issue: 914  Est. reading time: 3 minutes

    What You'll Find In This Issue:

    The article is now placed first in each issue. I hope you like this change.

    1. This Week's Article
    2. Conversation Quotation
    3. Jest Words
    4. Words of Inspiration
    5. Little Known Fact About Loren Ekroth
    6. Happy Independence Day! 
    7. Resources on Death and Dying
    8. Please post in Social Media 
    The Communication Genius of Aristotle

    Why are Aristotle's ideas about communication "genius"?

    Here's why, as author C.W. Ceram put it, "Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple."

    Aristotle (384-322 BC) reduced the key elements of communication (rhetoric) to three: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos.

    Because it's possible to go through high school, college, and even graduate school without ever encountering these ideas, I'll explain.

    1.     Ethos: This has to do with a speaker's credibility and character. People (you) are more attentive to those you trust, and you allow yourself to be influenced by them.

    2.     Pathos: The emotional connection you make with others. When they feel what you say matters to them, and you care about them, your influence is considerable. Example: When salespeople include stories their clients can identify with, they make more sales.)

    3.     Logos: Your appeal to others sense of  
         reason. (The term logos is a cousin of the word logic.) Facts and evidence put together so that others know how you arrived at your conclusions. That's logos.

    Great speakers and conversers employ all three for best effects.

    Of these three, your ethos is earned over time as others come to see you are credible. However, your credibility can be easily
    broken if you are caught lying, or even exaggerating, about a matter.

    We all know people who don't have credibility. Perhaps they are poorly informed, or perhaps they are manipulative. Or "two-faced" like gossips. We reject or deflect their messages. We tune them out.  Aristotle's counsel: "Be credible by being ethical." 

    Pathos occurs when you are able to genuinely empathize with a person - or even a large audience. When they feel you care about them, they become open to your message.

    Some professions (like teaching or counseling) require an ability to employ pathos. 

    Logos is a skill that can be acquired either by study or by observation, or both. For example, when you listen to a formal debate, you'll hear reason, facts, evidence -logic.

    Modern communication theory adds one other factor: The receiver (your audience).However, In classical Athens, the only audience that mattered to a speaker was only a small part of the community, the "citizens". Citizens included only men 18 or older. No women (half the population), and no slaves (40% of the population.) Actual citizens were perhaps 15-20% at most. and citizens were rather homogenous, not diverse   
    Finally, some further background on Aristotle:

    Aristotle was a student of Plato and the teacher of Alexander the Great.  His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology and zoology. 

    If you want to explore Aristotle's communication ideas more deeply, get a copy of his work "The Rhetoric." (The well-worn copy I have was translated by W. Rhys Roberts. Most public libraries would have it.)
    2. Conversation Quotation

    "The secret to humor is surprise."
    3. Jest Words    

    My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch on fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one cares. Why should you?

    --Erma Bombeck, 1927-1996

    4. Words of Inspiration 

    It turned out that getting fired by Apple was the best thing that could ever have happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

    -- Steve Jobs, Apple CEO (1955 - 2011)