Your inner voice. That light inside - the being that we are being. Society and our daily interactions seem to increasingly focus on exploring the concept of "authenticity." Even going so far as to question - Does a self exist...
Your inner voice.
That light inside - the being that we are being. Society and our daily interactions seem to increasingly focus on exploring the concept of "authenticity." Even going so far as to question - Does a self exist at all?
As a result, we are left scrambling to find a meaningful way to define when someone is acting genuinely and authentically. What does this seemingly mystical and confounding thing look like and how do we recognize it?
Finding our “voice” is often attributed to being present with this astonishing thing we label - our true selves. Yet under varying circumstances, a different aspect of this self often shows up - The Many Voices of “Me”.
Join us in this conversation with Cognitive Scientist, Kate Dudzik - as we discuss how social environments affect our inner selves. Together, Kate and Jeffrey explore the many sides of the self through how we show up in the world, the influences environment and social circles play on behavior, thought selection, and norms, as well as personality.
In this podcast episode, Kate Dudzik explores the idea of being able to speak from a societal standpoint and how authenticity is one of the most important things that we can look for in ourselves.
In this episode, you will learn:
1. How our environment influences our thoughts and actions
2. The importance of curiosity in developing expertise
3. How our personality is not permanent and can change over time
"It is human to grow and change."
Kate Dudzik is a writer and thinker who is passionate about psychology, personal growth, and relationships. She has a Masters in Psychology and has written extensively on the topics of mental health, self-improvement, and human behavior.
In this episode, you will learn the following:
1. How our environment influences our thoughts and actions
2. The importance of curiosity in developing expertise
3. How our personality is not permanent and can change over time
Mind Hacks: You can’t play 20 questions with nature and win
This article reports on an effort to explore the differences between two approaches to intuition and expertise that are often viewed as conflicting: heuristics and biases (HB) and naturalistic decision-making (NDM). Starting from the obvious fact that professional intuition is sometimes marvelous and sometimes flawed, the authors attempt to map the boundary conditions that separate true intuitive skill from overconfident and biased impressions. They conclude that evaluating the likely quality of an intuitive judgment requires an assessment of the predictability of the environment in which the judgment is made and of the individual’s opportunity to learn the regularities of that environment. Subjective experience is not a reliable indicator of judgment accuracy.
The term macro-cognition was created by Cacciabue & Hollnagel to distinguish the systemic approach of modelling cognitive systems from the traditional micro-cognitive approach of cognitive science. Especially for cognitive modeling approaches, the term macro-cognition is recently becoming more and more popular although the phenomena labeled as macro-cognition are not consistent. Several attempts for connecting micro- and macro-cognitive views are made especially in the cognitive modelling community.
Psychology is now ready for unified theories of cognition—so says Allen Newell, a leading investigator in computer science and cognitive psychology. Not everyone will agree on a single set of mechanisms that will explain the full range of human cognition, but such theories are within reach and we should strive to articulate them.
Developing a macro cognitive common model test bed for real world expertise
A central challenge for the common model and for Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is the development of functional human-like agents capable of performing complex tasks in dynamic real-world environments. The cognitive test-bed model approach is a method of applying Allen Newell’s Single Complex Task Analysis method to create a human-like AGI.
Interactions among the dimensions of the Five Factor Model (FFM) have not typically been evaluated in mental health research, with the extant literature focusing on bivariate relationships with psychological constructs of interest. This study used latent profile analysis to mimic higher-order interactions to identify homogenous personality profiles using the FFM, and also examined relationships between resultant profiles and affect, self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and coping efficacy. Participants (N = 371) completed self-report and daily diary questionnaires.
This paper concerns a key point of decision in Donald Davidson's early work in the philosophy of language — a fateful decision that set him and the discourse in the area on the path of truth-theoretic semantics.
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Hello. Okay, how are you? I'm well. Can you hear me okay? Yes.
Fantastic. Amazing. How are you doing today? I'm great, how are you? I am well.
I have to ask, do you prefer Jeffrey or Jeff? Jeffrey. Amazing. This is why I asked. That's an interesting one.
I just had that conversation yesterday specifically with another friend of mine about names and associations, and he was talking about how he was kind of experimenting and feeling out his way, his name being Samuel. Okay. And in Hebrew that's translated to Solomon. So he's frying out this aspect of when he was younger, he was often referred to as Saul, as his nickname. I love that, finding that relationship again, as he goes into a more mature stage of age, he's relating again to that personality.
Amazing. I was relating back to him how I went through a similar transformation where I often was referred to by Jeff, but always felt that kind of association with Jeffrey as being the true meme. That was my given birthday. So yeah, it's interesting how we associate with that. Amazing.
That's really cool. Actually, my partner is Jewish and he often talks about the different types of relationships too, because when you talk about your super name, it's also a connection to your history and your past and your religion and your culture most especially. So I think that's really interesting that he's looking at that form of identification at the cultural level as well, which is super fascinating. I get what you mean about the Jeffrey thing. My full name, no one ever calls me, but I did switch in university from Katie to Kate, so I know what you mean.
What made you choose Jeffrey? It's interesting to see how we make those aspects. Jeffrey being again, that association where feeling like it became kind of that projection of other people's views at a very young age for different reasons. I don't know how attuned I was probably from about the age of maybe 1214, seeing some of those associations. My grandmother called me Jeffy.
There was a term of endearment there, added. Yeah, she did that kind of as a condition pattern with all of us grandchildren. It was a way of endearing that. It's interesting even with just having recently had a granddaughter, how we associate as grandparents, it's interesting. Oh, yeah.
What name as a grandparent do we wish for this child in some egotistical end quotes? Because that goes down a big road, egotistical aspect. We say, I wish for this child to call me this. And I think we're seeing more prevalent of that from my perspective as a society grandparent, role, age, all of this. We're bringing things into our awareness with a greater sense of certainty, perhaps, and somewhat choosing what name we'd like to be called based on our own kind of qualms, I'll say our own hang ups.
Yeah, it definitely is reflected. I've heard people say before, don't call me grandmother because it makes me feel old. And a lot of people are turning to those who are kind of like fun nicknames where it's like, oh, Pops.
Did you go with for example? I went with Pop. Pop. It sounds fun. Differentiates.
I think it's fun to kind of differentiate from grandparents or grandparents. And for whatever reason, we've established those unconscious, unspoken hierarchies. And I think we're going to get in our conversation a little bit unconscious hierarchies of acknowledging that presence of the grandparent, seeing that for who and what it is, that identity role. And there, again, we've started to interject some of those personality traits, perhaps in a lot of interesting ways. This is an interesting aside.
Today we initially set out to discuss the many voices of me or perhaps how some of these different forms of identity show up in unique circumstances. This is a great question.
I feel bad. You're absolutely right. I love it. I love where your head's at, too. Well, what's thinking in my head now, ever since you said that was in other generations, was it that moving into the next stage was like coming into a role versus now, which is me evolving, do you know what I mean?
Where it's almost like a role defined by society versus a role I define for myself within my family, you know? And it's like, I love this. That's such a curious aspect in and of itself to look at, allowing that personality of each unique individual to shine rather than kind of somewhat reigning it in by societal conditioning. Grandfather, grandparent, grandma, grandpa. Yeah, we defined and stigmatized at times those roles, those perceptions of what it means.
Is there a certain empowering, essential nature of pulling some of that back and saying, but this is how I would like to form my interaction and bond with this individual relating back to that ageism aspect. I did for the longest time. I had children young, my first child arriving when I was only 20 years old. That's young to me, young by my aspect compared to my social in group, my social circle. Yeah, I was a first, so therefore I was a little bit ahead.
But then also forming some of those stigmatizing aspects myself and saying, but I don't wish to be a grandfather yet just because I had children early. Some of that resistance was selfcreated. And it makes sense, too, because, I mean, there's a part of me that thinks it wasn't the act of being a grandparent that was the issue. It was what it looks like in society, in our culture, to be a grandparent. Like, if you think, oh, grandma, you think of like a petite little white haired, curly, gentle, soul making appetite as like the stereotype versus grandma or grandmothers or grandparents.
These days, oftentimes if they identify with a female gender, don't necessarily look like that. You've got badass ladies well into their 70s or 80s rocking trendy outfit and like long flowing hair and however they want to do it as an individual, persons like this archetype almost. And you had children young, which congratulations, it sounds like you arrived and did amazing with that and happy for you and your family. And it's growing now, which is a blessing. It's fantastic.
It's also a thing in culture, right? How are you feeling with all this? How old is your grandbaby? She is six months this week. And it's so fun to watch the process now from the other side of the fence.
Oh, I bet you're like an outsider this time around. It can feel that way a little bit. We're starting to see this okay. We understand how that balance of life sometimes flows. Yeah, as a grandparent, now we're moving into that.
I want to be that doddling grandparent, not the controlling and manipulative kindness. Sometimes we can find ourselves in where we're telling the kid, you should, you should, you should. Our own child and how they parent. We've taken a pretty hands off approach so far, six months in, unfortunately, they've had the ability to find their way and not really come back and question a whole lot. So then that also opens some different doors where you start to form your own expectant roles of the grandparents thinking, well, maybe I'm not needed as a grandparent because they haven't had the question.
So there's that feeling out of personality and how we show up differently in unique circumstances and it's often guided by those external forces and influences of others. How topical on our thing today, the many voices of me, why we show up differently in unique situations. Kate, from that aspect, if you're all set to jump into the guts in the gist of our conversation today, I'd like to look at from a suspect, I'd like to look at being able to speak today from a societal standpoint. It might be felt that much energy, and I'll term it that way much energy is given to the concept of understanding our authentic self. Our authentic self, you know, that's a pretty big bundle sometimes to wrestle with the one truism which defines us with a measure of certainty.
How then do we start to look at that? Is that really the truth is that we are one essential being at our core. So I love the idea of that. I love the idea of authenticity. And I think it's one of the most important things that we can look for in ourselves and to be better at in ourselves, especially in such a consumer based, superficial culture.
That being said, there are parameters that can really help us on our journey to finding what is an authentic version of ourselves. Because when we think of a self or when we think of us oftentimes that picture in our minds is almost objectified in that it's onedimensional it's not considering lots of factors that influence how we show up in the DayToday, in the roles that we play in the world, in the roles that we choose to occupy, in our family dynamics or within our professional identities and expectations. There are so many factors that influence what shade of us comes out. And it's not to say that you're a different person or that you've changed or that you're superficial because you talk one way to your child versus a different way to your boss. It's the same you, it's you showing up properly for the dynamics of the environment that you're in.
So finding yourself is finding, of course, a core, which we can get into later, but that core is almost like have you ever played Dungeons and Dragons? I can't say I have, and I honestly listen to that was not something within my own vernacular. So perhaps that's a key aspect of seeing how our differences come into play sometimes. I'm thinking of the 20 sided die. To that.
Yeah, okay, perfect. That's all you need for today. But it's a fun game. Try sometime if you're into that sort of thing. But, you know, it's almost like we are the dye, like we're the dice, and we have many different shapes and many different sides.
And it's not that because it rolled on a 20 or it rolled on a 15 that it's a different thing, it's the same object, but it's just on a different side, a different angle for that particular thing. Does that make sense? Yes. In that aspect, we're considering the role of diversity in our experiences, in our set of parameters, if you will, and how that comes into effect. Exactly so.
And when I think about this, I do think about Newell's levels of the human cognitive system. So if you're unfamiliar, newell proposed bands of cognition on the human time scale in his 1990 book. And it's absolutely phenomenal because in it he breaks down each one at the levels that exist within the human system and then external to the human system that interacts with us in order to bring out certain aspects or behaviors. So it starts with the biological, where you've got like your organelles and your cells and your neural level. Above that, there's the cognitive level, which is where you've got your unit tasks, your mechanisms.
Above that being your rational level sorry, your psychological level than your rational level. And then that's the last one that's inside your cognitive system. So you've got those four. Outside of that, you've got the social and the environment, but they kind of sit side by side, which means that they're almost equally weighted in the way that they influence how our internal system is going to operate or show up in that particular instance. I think this is such an interesting way to look at that authentic self because it's a constant.
Ever moving set of parts that feeds and almost like a spherical dynamic rather than a concrete linear story of predictability on that aspect. We often are still the same person theoretically within. With different constraints. As we mentioned. Depending on what our goals will.
Demonic goals. What our goals are and where we are in our environment. In our social interactions. You know, what situational experiences are we exposed to? Sorry, I need to correct myself.
I was right the first time with biological, cognitive and rational. So I don't know if you want to edit that or if you want me to just sing it again, but I was right the first time.
I'm glad you pointed out. So to further cement that, what are those levels? So, Noell's, bands of cognition exists as the biological band, where you have the organelles, the cellulin levels. This is where you find the neurological components of what makes up our behavior. Above that, we have the cognitive, where you got the unit tasks, the mechanisms that kind of turn those neurological components into processes and mechanisms necessary to host and create thoughts.
Then above that, we've got our rational level, which is actually named because this is where you start to see the psychological processes of thought development and where we kind of parse different types of information coming from the external world. So outside of us, the rational level being the last level internal to the human system, we've got the social band and then the environmental band, which is almost equally weighted in the way that influences our cognitive system and helps bring those different components to light for that environment. Is that you're? Glad you clarified those points for us today. In relating to that, I brought this to mind that perhaps in many regards, throughout our social interactions, throughout our DayToday relationships, we assess how we feel we will be received in those interactions based on our past emotional interactions.
We use that kind of as our guiding point, our true north, if you will. So often we hear that vernacular, our true north being directly related to approval motive, the theory of approval motives. This guided by our emotions and emotional annotation and representative language or our general pattern of conditional emotional protocol, we're basically gauging our sense of security in any given situation. How we're being perceived, how we're interacting, how we're being valued in regards based on that past emotional interaction. That's absolutely true.
I'm so glad you brought that up. And I think you explained it really, really well because that's exactly what it is. It's a form of reinforcement learning with our environment, with what we're exposed to. And in the world of cognitive architectures, we talk about values of frequency and recency of retrieval, which means that the most recent occurrence or most common occurrence of a certain memory or a certain thought that's associated with either the social dynamic or an environmental factor or feature will influence what we decide to do or what we expect to see from that environment. Therefore shaping, like you said, our emotions, which is such a key part of how we engage with the world.
It's such an important part of every rational decision we make. And this is definitely target to that affirmation that those consequences we gain, good or bad, from previous experiences and from that social aspect. We measure this in many regards as a result of being accepted, so that we avoid that sense of social rejection. Yes, we are at our core essence simply gauging how secure or insecure we are existing within those environments in that regard. That's true.
I mean, no one wants to be shunned from the group for acting in a way that's disrespectful or outside the norm to the point where it's almost hurtful, right? So we end up with these almost innate patterns of behavior for social interaction and social behavior. And at the end of every day, what's guiding us is our goals and our values. So what this means is that you have these higher level things, almost like you said, True North, we'll call them like our guiding principles of compass then, where you've got these values and these morals that kind of guide our goals in different dynamics or situations. So say, for example, in your friend, a group, you have values where you want to be a good and loyal friend.
To some people, that means always being encouraging. To other people, that means always being honest, which isn't always a fun conversation to have, but it comes from a place where you're supporting that value. So when you trickle it down to the unit tasks and different dynamics of social engagement there, you're going to be acting in a way that supports that and the social dynamics of the group. So you're going to want to talk to your friend in a way that's respectful for them. And you're going to want to talk to them in a way that supports those higher level morals and values at a subconscious level.
Even though it's not like you go into it going. I'm going to be a good friend. It's just no. It's like the subconscious kind of like guiding principle there. In that regard, are there certain associations we often make between what is required or expected of us, who and how we show up as 100%?
It differs depending on the situation. I think that a lot of people make assumptions about this. We do have our heuristics and our biases guiding us, whether we like it or not, that help us better navigate those situations. So sometimes it could be lessons from childhood where your parents taught you to always thank a host or bring a bottle of wine when you're going over to someone's place for dinner. Those could be social norms that you assume that you expect to see.
But you also have, like you said, the reinforcement components where it's, oh, I've been in this environment before. When I was here, I needed to act in a certain way that's abnormal to what I would normally do. Like, I'm not sure, maybe the way you walk in an airport or the way you prep your shoes to get ready to go through a line or something like that. These behaviors almost become associated with the way that you go through a situation. And what is expected of you isn't necessarily something that was told explicitly, but it's something you pick up along the way from those types of queues.
Is that what you were getting at? Yes. We look at that from the aspect of how we in many regards project some measure of dependency on to others with an expectation of assurance, certainty and safety. A projected sense of external trust, as we so often perhaps lean into that notion. This really common phrase now in our common vernacular of know like trust, you are looking for that familiarity that seek certainty, that signals an internal trust measured against our personal level of internal value, our internal views, sometimes our internal, as you mentioned, biases.
I think that makes a lot of sense. And it's also the case that sometimes we're expected to act in environments that may not necessarily suit us too right. Have you ever worked in a service industry? I have, as a restaurant owner and chef. Oh, that's incredible.
I envy your cooking skills. First and foremost. There was work I did back in my Masters. I was working at a bar and I was bartending there. So my advisor suggested that and Build Nai, an agent based cognitive model that was a bartender.
And so we'd often play the predictive game where we'd bring these two cards to the bar and we'd anticipate what each server would do before they did it. The little predictions came as we sat there and had lunch to kind of like test out our skills and see if we were doing well in our studies. The reason why I bring up working at a bar is that in customer service sometimes you need to be able to suppress honest thoughts or act in a way that may not necessarily always support your first instinct or what you want to do in that moment. You end up prioritizing other things. You end up putting some emotional reactions aside in order to support your staff or to support your patrons that are coming through the door.
If there's broken glass on the floor, you're going to selfinterrupt what you're doing to find a way to get it cleaned up, to find a way to secure the environment. And what's great about this is that you begin to see that as much as we look externally for that safety and to match our internal values and morals. And we want to feel that especially in environments we have control over, like the friends that we choose to have or the things that we like to do in our spare time. There's also environments where we have less control over the social dynamics or what the environment is going to bring to us. And so that's where you kind of see that adaptive self come into play where those I guess you can well.
It's always true that your values and morals will guide what you end up doing but there are constraints of the environment that will often kind of almost tailor them or tweak them in different ways that you may not necessarily expect or see in other areas of your life. Does that make sense? Yes, in many regards. In order to meet and satisfy not only the needs of ourselves but the needs of others, we follow learned norms or normative influence and conformity. We're measuring key values that have worked for us in comparison to the key values of others and begin expecting others then to also give back that law of reciprocity.
Reciprocity. I always love that word because it is one of those where I have to focus on saying it in order for it to flow out. I hear you. There are so many words like that. You said it perfectly.
I totally know what you're all about. But it also is such an interesting topic to me because I don't like the idea of putting expectations on other people in certain ways. So there's this big trend actually right now, a mental health just to go on a bit of a tangent here, where there's a lot of villainizing going on and a lot of self righteousness that is masquerading as building self esteem and self awareness is extremely important but it is empty without action. And so what I mean to unpack this is that absolutely there are certain social norms and morals and values that we want to live by. It is also the case that not all of our morals and values need to be put onto other people.
There's other ways of being a healthy version of ourselves. Just because we do it one way and just because we find it healthy to exist in a certain way as a human being doesn't mean that that's the right way to do it or that's the only way to do it well. So it's kind of managing that sense of wanting to be in environments that are healthy for you, that promotes your sense of growth and that promote the type of values and ways you want to show up in the world. It's also managing how we put that onto other people and having that empathy, that compassion and compatibility in some differences and I say some because of course there's always going to be cases where it's just like nope, that's a boundary that's not and you go your way, I'll go mine. As long as there's that compatibility, I don't see why it would be necessary to tell someone else how to live or expect someone else to behave in certain ways.
You can always request like of course boundaries are healthy and say I'd like to be treated this way, please treat me this way. And if you don't, here are the consequences. Okay, cool. But it's not about saying you need to be this way or you're wrong or don't come here. Sometimes we need to be challenged, too.
Seeing the difference in our differences, just accepting them and being open to them, being vulnerable to them sometimes. Absolutely. Also saying that when there is a direct conflict of interest or a direct, very real threat to our mental, emotional, physical well being, we can also define those boundaries in a meaningful way. Absolutely. And it comes down to understanding, of course, yourself, but how you want to be in this world and how you want to show up.
Right. Because we are an ever evolving state of being, so we're never going to be stagnant. The age old saying is, your best is different every day. Just because it's not as good as it was yesterday doesn't mean it's not still your best stands true. It's the same with the sense of self.
If you look at who you are now and some of the lessons you've gained, it may not be directly the same as the sense of self that you were five years ago. I believe it's Locke who talked about eating the apple and remembering being the person who ate the apple and the change of memory as we go through. And I think it's important to recognize that we're in a constant state of fluctuation, but also that we can tailor our influences on that state of fluctuation. So the people you keep around you, the environments you choose to be in, those are almost just as important as being aware of who you are, how you are, and how you want to show up or change. I love that you brought into Play Lock in eating the apple.
Right before our conversation, I was preparing another podcast conversation regarding that very same thing, how really emotions are like eating the apple. Oh, I see. Emotions simply being the cue to be aware of that hunger for knowledge and information, the awareness that lies within our emotions. I think that's as far as I'll walk it down today, because it's going to become a whole nother conversation. Oh, goodness.
I love it, though. Listening to that emotional cue is our environmental cue. Absolutely. That we are hungry to learn and know something about our environment, our situations, our circumstances, our interactions, the others present within our world. And I'm going to leave it at that today in that regard.
Again, we look at that. I'm going to spit it out for the second time. The reciprocity reciprocity principle. Reciprocity principle, I'm going to say the third time is one of the basic laws of psychology that says in many social situations, we pay back what we receive from others in its simplest form, perhaps. In other words, if John offers you something or Jane or Joe, whatever the person are choosing as their label.
If they offer something of considerable value, considerable value being what's meaningful to us, we're likely to return it to them, right? Like for like Equanimity or equalness of mind is where I like to go with that. We gauge the impact of these interactions on our autonomic level, unconsciously weighing with a large degree of probability our emotional sense of security and insecurity. Again, as a result, we then engage in that emotional parity, emotional parenting. Simply feeling like feelings for like feelings is what our ultimate goal might be.
We reflect those states that we'd like to also see back. Being kind asks for kindness, back asks for respect. In return, we look at those positive roles of regard in many aspects, sometimes unconsciously. We're also signaling back some of those unconscious negative feelings. Good thing I'm not open for you to react with.
I took out on the left turn today. No, it's all good. I mean, there's a part of me that still thinks you've had emotional influences of interruption because I love that stuff. So I can tell you that I agree with you on many levels. It's almost like there's two different things coming in at play, right?
It's like there's social norms like, oh, if someone does X, then I do what? Like a pattern of learned behavior. But like you said, there's also a deeper level of someone made me feel safe or understood. And in turn, I'd like to offer them compassion, empathy, to potentially open that door to be reciprocious. Oh, it is a tough word.
Yeah, I don't know. Okay, we're just going to skip that one.
Maybe if you've seen and heard and understood, therefore I want to open that door in return. So you want to have that reciprocity between you and that person in a more meaningful way than just feeling obliged to return the favor or obliged to hold the door and say thank you because it's a social norm and that negative component. I think it's interesting because it says a lot about your state. Your internal way of accepting. Embracing or holding true in yourself and what that means for you.
So I'm sure we've all had those days where someone cut us off or said something rude to us and we flippantly react. You know, sometimes it happens to the best of us. It's very human. There are also days where you see someone struggling and you choose kindness instead and you choose to see where they are. And that you may not understand, but you may not need to understand in order to be compassionate, which is also truth of the world.
So I don't think it's entirely true or fair to say that in all cases that will make us feel bad, we react badly in return because there's a choice. There is a way to govern your own internal emotional state and of course also your rational state in understanding or forming a type of narrative around. That behavior that better fits the way you want to show up just because someone else is showing up in a different way than you are choosing to express it in a different way. Environmental factor, societal factor or no, does not take away your choice and autonomy to be able to create a new narrative for yourself. And in that way, I almost feel that that principle, although perhaps innate or even our first reaction, especially as youth, especially when we're young and we're still developing that sense of self and that sense of awareness in the world, it does feel almost automatic, absolutely, at least in my experience as well in the literature I've read.
But I can tell you there is an alternative, there are many alternatives. And it's how we choose to frame that environment or what we choose to focus on that almost enables us to make better or different decisions. That whole idea of how we choose to frame that environment. Then again, speaking to the many voices of me and how we show up again differently based on that environment, that sense of autonomy, then becoming our volition, our sense of choice as we look at that from that aspect. This is bringing to mind our prior discussions on this topic regarding speaker hearing dynamics.
Awesome. In our conversations, in our interactions, as per Davidson. Love it. Share with us a bit about that speaker here. Dynamics is to me one of the most underrated principles.
I've worked in artificial intelligence design and applied it. I've worked in cognitive science and applied it. It is everywhere, always all at once. One of the most beautiful things is that when you break it down, we have speakers and we have hearers. And I know this sounds simplistic, but here we are as a speaker.
We have a piece of knowledge, we have something inside of us, like a chunk of information that we're looking to share with a specific audience or person around us. And in doing so, we're going to look at who we're talking to. So I'm looking at you, Jeffrey. I'm speaking to you. And I'm speaking to you in a way that I feel will best make it so.
What I have to say is understood by you. So I owe it to you to be able to speak in a way that gets my point across, that gets my point across in the way I think you're going to understand. And I'm doing this through a bunch of different things that I may not even be consciously aware of, like tone, pitch, voice, the way I'm enunciating, and the words that I'm choosing to get that out. But then you've got the other side too. So you're an active participant in the conversation, you're acting as a hero.
And there are stages that happen internally. So underneath the hood, where not only do you take in those sounds that I'm putting out there to you, but you put them together. You're going to put them together in a way that is giving me influence on what you're understanding and you're going to disambiguate the sounds. You're going to go through not only the dictionary definition of what a word means, but also how it's being used in that sentence. So this is often times seen through colloquialism or even slang and verbiage that evolves over time and quick, quickly these days, to be honest, keeping up with that language and those new definitions and context of meaning is such a huge part of being a hearer.
So what you're doing is you're putting all of that work in just to understand what it is that I'm saying to you and you're going to piece it together. You're going to do your best to understand, based off me, what I'm saying on that topic. And that's where you're kind of understanding the estimates and you're like, OK, cool, I'm pretty sure that's what she's saying to me. So we've got two different huge complex systems at play. Every time we engage with knowledge exchange, which is essentially all that language is, we're passing information back and forth and we're sharing knowledge together in a way that actually accounting for each other.
But you do see a lot of disconnect, obviously. I mean, there can be times where there's misunderstandings or there's assumptions made or there's unclear ways of presenting information that could have been better or maybe it was just fine, but we didn't get enough accounting on the share slide. There's a lot of issues that come into play, which is the same with all systems. I mean, we are human, we are flawed, but we try. So that's kind of where, you know, you also get shown up in the world as a self because you may not change, your ideas may be the same, but you definitely share your ideas differently depending on who you're talking to.
I'm talking about when you're explaining something, maybe even to your baby granddaughter. You may be like, oh, you know, Pop Pop is going to the store, instead of just, hey friend, I'm copy over to the shop. Is there anything that you need? Or even talking about complex principles like speaker hero dynamics. I'm going to explain it very differently to you and your listeners than I would to someone who has absolutely no interest or experience in cognitive linguistics.
It's totally different ways of presenting information. I'm still the same person, I still feel just as passionately about it, but I'm probably going to say it differently in order to make sure that whoever I'm talking to get the most out of it, you know, in that we also have Gracie and Maxim, but that's another can of worms. How deep do we need to go today in that regard? Does the environment, how does it let me frame it this way, how does the environment, Kate, affect the aspects of our inner self? You know, that true self that shift and change as parts of us become more prominent or essential in that interaction.
There is a huge influence of environmental factors on the types of thoughts that we pick up. So there are cues that exist around us that we begin to associate with types of behaviors, types of thought patterns and implicit action. So what this means is that it is you and I hate this word, but it's almost like you get triggered. No, here we go. I will read it.
Five you get influenced by an environmental signal or sign a reference that you begin to associate with a way of acting. A thought, maybe a common experience that you have occur when you're in that environment that then begins to kind of shape the way that you act when you're there. Is that kind of makes sense? Yes. So it brings about different ways of thinking and actually different thoughts themselves.
Which is the most fascinating thing to me because then all of a sudden your ratios change. Your likelihood of having a certain type of thought or a certain type of action all of a sudden changes internally and you're more likely to have certain memories or certain almost like implicit actions like cracking knuckles or even just pacing based off of environments. Past experiences in those environments and what certain signals. Colors. Sounds even come fleeing to you over time.
Let's look at that aspect of that word triggered. And we can view that as being somewhat of a socially conditioned stigma at times in our present vernacular, in our present culture. That's become kind of a polarizing point in a lot of regards. Essentially though, it's nothing more than electrical impulse switching on and off simply triggering that signal to our central nervous system. I think you'll probably agree to just simply recall stored data, stored information.
We look sometimes at that past experience, sometimes as ruminate. Absolutely. If we get in that cycle of going over the same information, the same emotional reaction, the same emotionally reactive states such as anxiety, fear, stress, any number of others that are adverse simply based on that triggered response without processing the present, then we're in that role of rumination. We're in that cycle. Yes.
Yet the trigger itself again is just simply that signal to receive the information available in our environment, in our data stored in our system, to measure a response, to form a more authentic and genuine interaction, to just be present, to be aware and find the meaning. Eating the apple again, what we don't digest, we then store within our central nervous system. It becomes imprinted and ingrained there. In many ways we look at our vagus nerve as kind of a central processor or in this case, if we're looking at comparing apples and oranges, the apples we don't eat, we shove down into that basket. We don't process them, we don't digest the information in that action.
Simply being aware of the emotional trigger and then moving into an alignment with awareness of any information we process. As it's shoved down there, that basket fills up. That basket fills up. Emotional suppression happens. It finds a way out.
It's like if you keep tossing apples in a basket, the more you put in there, they're going to start to overflow and topple out. That trigger is just simply the reminder to say we're processing what's present and sometimes unconsciously signaling that we haven't processed what was past and what's sitting waiting in that apple bucket to find value and meaning it. I love that because there's all kinds of quotable triggers in the universe, but I almost feel like collectively it only became understood at large that those things exist because they became so extreme or highlighted under extreme circumstances. What it is is essentially like you were saying, almost like imagine it like shifting probabilities. Like the likelihood of you having a specific memory or reaction goes up when a certain thing is in your environment and then it goes back down when you leave that environment or when you hear a sound or when you see a certain thing in particular that just is reminiscent but the memory still exists or the reaction still exists.
But it's just a shifting. A probabilistic opportunity for it to come to surface and to become the one that shows up. And the unfortunate truth is coming back to the principles of architecture, recency and frequency that comes into play. So then the more that probability goes up and the more often it goes up, then the more frequent it becomes, the more often you'll be likely to have that thought and have that reaction over time. And like you said, it's like this momentum starts to build, these probabilities continue to go up and the more you think about it, the more you think about it, the more you think about it, then all of a sudden you become more and more like you said, activate it internally.
You've got your biological components now influencing and sending signals of panic through your cognitive system as well. Right? You're having a biological reaction. Heart is palpitating, your hands get clammy, all that good stuff. That comes with the stress reaction.
But as you also mentioned, which I think is an excellent point, is that it's a question of framing it. So then how are you going to handle this situation? A lot of what I see in pop culture, which isn't necessarily helpful, is kind of like what you mentioned where it's almost like I'll just cut it off or just don't do it. Which means also not facing it, not accepting that it's a thing in the universe that exists with or without your association with it. Right?
So it's not the painting on the wall that's the problem, but it's the way that it makes you think or the memory that it brings up when you see it. That seems to be an issue. That's what a trigger kind of looks like on the inside when you think of it as a cognitive signal. So when you start to reframe it as well, it's not the painting we hate, and I'm just using that for sake of example, but it's the way I think about it and kind of then taking back that accountability. So coming back to the sense of self and saying, it's not the world at me, it's me in the world, and I quite honestly find it very empowering when you think of it from a carved science lens, because then you're able to better choose the way that you react to the universe at large.
And like, of course, depending on your stage of management with this process, I'm not a therapist, I'm a cognitive scientist. So that's a whole different, very specialized issue and way to manage things that it can be. Yes, like you said, you kind of accept it, come to terms with it, as opposed to stuff it down and wait for it to show up in surprising what is it? Birdie boss every flavored beans. Getting all the different reactions and good and bad from that random bag and dealing with it, enables you to process it, accept it, and hopefully move on.
As you mentioned, those implicit memories coming up, where was that memory formed in life becomes relevant to how we view the picture. Sometimes that repressed childhood experience becomes the implicit memory. I'm framing this based on what I experienced when I was two years old, right? Very early. Two years old, five years old, seven years old.
In that frame where we tend to really be patterned. Where we truly start to mirror and parrot emotionally those environmental cues we receive from others versus our own sense of autonomy as we age and mature. Some of that sense of autonomy is still being influenced at times by what we stuff down into that emotional basket. Showing up sometimes as many voices of you within any given circumstance. There's the two year old me, the five year old me, the twelve year old me, the 20 year old me, based on another interaction, sometimes the 40 year old me and 50 year old me.
60 year old me shows up as a lot of those combined. Right. What I think is really interesting about the memory of a former self or former experience, like you said, the two year old, is that every time you recall a memory where you are and the context of recalling it actually slightly modifies that memory. And because it's so slight and because it's an internal thing, we almost don't notice it. And I think that this is really fascinating about childhood senses of self, about previous senses of self and about self growth, is that when we look back on who we used to be and how it used to be, or how things used to be, where we are, and the way we're thinking of it.
So what actually recalls that memory itself changes the properties of that memory. So then they'll either change the way that it can be recalled so what would stimulate that type of memory to come to surface or even the principles of the memory itself? Like if you recall a memory only in good times and then you start to shift to recall that memory in sad times maybe then the association and the principles of the memory, what you choose to focus on then starts to shift. So thinking about your former self, like your 20 year old self or your ten year old self or your five year old self, all of those young sebbles start to change because we start to notice different things about ourselves, who we used to be and how we used to be. Oftentimes you see this.
So people are looking back and gaining insight into how they are versus how they think they are. You can see this quite well because we have to wear rose colored glasses or even I don't know how to say this, but doom colored glasses where we're looking at only the negative aspects. Or we often get very polarized when it comes to the way we view ourselves, especially in historical senses. But yeah, it definitely changes your properties of memory. Even though it can feel like collectively you're still the same person at each different stage, how the connection grows and changes, it's very, very dependent and always changing, always evolving.
And in that regard it often relates to those shoes of mindset. We're often walking around through life in this element of personality. Reminds me of another past discussion we had on the five factor model of personality and how those personalities or ways our personalities show up influence that interaction. So Kate, what is the five factor model of personality and how is it hierarchical, nature, organized, beautiful. So the five factor theory of personality is quite honestly my favorite personality model or way of assessing personality.
It's composed of five prominent traits. So for those of you who haven't heard of this before, you can use the acronym Ocean to remember it a little bit better. That's the one that I learned. That's how I came to remember it. So it's openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.
One of the things I like most about this particular way of analyzing personality is that the way it's measured is on almost like a gradient scale versus an all or nothing, a binary way of viewing the sense itself. So when you're doing a five factor personality set or tests, at least the extended full version I know there's been lots of reproductions and condensed versions put out there, but if you do a proper full version you'll start to see that it's gradient degrees of expression in itself. So to kind of unpack that it's looking at the way that you could be extroverted in some instances but you could also identify dominantly as an introvert and it kind of accounts for those gray areas or different percentages of expression depending on where you are, who you're with, or different ways of experiencing life. I also like that it's all encompassing and that you can have a dominant trait. But we have pieces of all five of them in each of us, right?
So there's a lot of personality tests out there or ways of defining ourselves by personality that are just binary. They say introverted or extroverted, but this kind of looks at, okay, so we kind of have all of the things. It may just depend on the environment, on how they're expressed, but this is the likelihood that this trait is going to show up as the dominant one or this is going to show up as a less prominent feature of our personality, right? So I really like it because it's a lot more inclusive of those different shades coming out in different degrees and different likelihoods, depending on the person, of course. But kind of like how we can be different in different environments without being a different self.
Simply all of those different eyes that we show up with that become the eyes or filters we see the world with, all of those I am statements. We often speak to ourselves. Moving through these five degrees just simply allows us to put on a different lens, a different set of glasses, consider different views, look at different perspectives. We can go on and on with that. I'm hoping that I'm showing a range of diversity by expressing it that way, simply exploring those ranges of diversity in a way that's meaningful to ourselves and others.
I'm going to hearken back again. I like to go back to this episode sometime past in our program with Dr. Benjamin Hardy in his book Personality Isn't Permanent. We often can get stuck on that aspect of these set of parameters are the definitive eye that we're seeing things with the Who I Am that often becomes kind of stuck. Becomes kind of stagnated.
Gets embroiled in its own biases. Does not often step into that act of introspection or simply taking stock in who I am. What values I hold. What creates meaning for me. How that then interacts in an effective manner with others.
Personality Isn't Permanent is the tenant here allow that personality to be somewhat malleable, to change, to grow, to evolve, to become the who I am. Now, in order to step into the who I will be reminded that I go back to constantly with Ben.
That's so beautiful and it's so important. I wish more people understood this about themselves because it's a critical part of existing in an everevolving world. One of our biggest mistakes is to fight change or to resist change. And I think this is where Eastern philosophy has a lot of beautiful lessons to share with us on this exact subject, where accepting the chaos of the world and accepting that we are not in control of most things, including the way that we need to evolve and adapt in order to survive, to be a better version of ourselves in order to grow. But even in order to beat ourselves is necessary.
Right? And I love that the whole personality isn't stagnant thing because there's a lot of studies that say personality kind of levels out. Around 27, I believe is the age. And although it may level out because of course we're reaching an age of adulthood, maybe societal factors around that age are often common with most people where they seem to finally be security in your job or security in home security and family, all of those different types of things. But it doesn't mean that you stop growing or stop changing.
There's been a lot of recent studies too, talking about learning which is a big part of personality if you ask me. Because, you know, these studies showing that, oh, you can learn new languages as you get older and you can't be an old dog learning new trick here's. All of a sudden your plasticity research here to support this. It's kind of almost debunking some of these myths that I find can be used as excuses to justify certain types of behaviors or habitual responses that a lot of people may not want to put in the work to change.
It's a way of kind of understanding. But yeah, personalities and flux and it doesn't mean that you're wrong or broken. It's human. It is human to grow. It is human to change.
Sometimes that tiptoes its way into new phobia which is simply that fear of learning or experiencing new things. I did not know since of familiarity becomes the state rather than becoming somewhat more comfortable with learning and growing. And I like to frame it that way because there is a societal pattern that says at times we have to be uncomfortable to learn and grow. Yes. We can also familiarize and become accepting.
It open to that pattern of change and growth. Absolutely. And the way you approach it definitely matters. It's so funny. When we were children, we were learning new skills all of the time.
It was okay to fail, to make mistakes, to grow because it's a part of the process. And yet somewhere along the lines, our culture, at least in North America, decided that oh no, if you can't do it perfectly on your first or second try, don't do it. Or we need to be experts because we reach a certain age. Therefore all that we do is only what we're good at. What kind of fights is that?
And facing things with a certain mindset and being able to accept the fact that it will be uncomfortable. That doesn't mean you're doing it wrong. In fact, that probably means you're doing it right. If it is difficult, if it is challenging, even if it challenges, maybe your perspective of the world around you or how you want to see yourself. Very, very key.
I remember learning how to play the violin at age 19, and it was still young, but it was old enough that I felt so insecure about being a beginner when I started. And there was this part of me and I was just getting into cognitive science actually at the time. And there was a part of me to almost use it as like a learning experiment on myself where I was like, watching myself get upset and challenged because I was used to being good at things. So putting myself in an uncomfortable position to do something I wanted to do and pushing through that initial discomfort and the scratching noises and learning how to play it through a bite ear or for me to kind of get out of myself in a way where I loosened up a lot, to be completely honest with you. Because once you decide that, oh, okay, I can make mistakes, it is a game changer.
I mean count of an inclined so there are two experts on expertise. They wrote this paper together. Now, for those who are unfamiliar, they have two different schools of thought on expertise and the fact that they wrote a paper together is really, really cool. So they came to agree on a certain set of principles that crossply between their two theories on what is expertise. And one of those components is that an expert knows what they don't know.
I think this is so beautiful.
Virtuosity. It's that exploration that creates the pattern repetition that becomes the consistency. It does. It absolutely does. I'm only certain to the degree I am uncertain.
Auto I often lean to is I know a few things at times, yet there are so many more things that I can simply get out of my way and open to. Yes, absolutely. Curiosity. Yes. Messiness we so often seek that controlled urge to make everything pretty and neat.
It's okay to be messy, embrace life. Exactly fairmake. We think children and painting, you know, explain it to children and painting. We just give them the paint and let them go. We allow them to create, to find their way through, to allow for those squeaks as you mentioned, when you're learning the violin, it may not be the most appealing thing at the moment, but through that process of adaptation adaptation I know to be a certain element of virtuosity.
Yes, absolutely. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it saved the scientist.
But yeah, allowing yourself room to make mistakes, it's not only good for you as an individual, it's good for your work, it's good for your quality and it's good for harnessing the ability to develop expertise. You need proper skills, the proper form and the proper environment and tools in order to develop expertise. So there's a saying going around, and I know you're familiar, where people say fake it till you make it. And it's just so counterintuitive because in order to actually develop true expertise one must be able to ask questions, to make mistakes and to kind of lift that trial and error. You need to be aware of what you don't know in order to get support from your environment, your teachers, whatever it is around you in order to develop those proper skills the right way to become an expert.
So if you're constantly being like no, no, I'm just going to pretend I know what I'm doing, it's like, well then you're never going to learn proper what you're doing. And I think it leads to a lot of unnecessary feelings of discomfort. And there's a word on the tip of my tongue right now that's quite common imposter syndrome. I think a lot of people who are doing the fake it till you make it mentality, who aren't developing true expertise don't have faith in their abilities because they didn't take the time to make mistakes and get paint all over the walls by accident and then wash it down because it gets on the walls. They didn't go through the necessary components to develop true expertise with the environment, with all the messy areas that are necessary to gain proper knowledge.
And that intermingles for me with that infinite power of visualization putting ourselves in that role, that keeps us in that energy, that keeps us moving forward, that keeps that growth, that allows us to confidently just step into that act of being exactly you think you can't, you won't. Yes. If you think you do, you do. If you think you are, you very often are. And I'll say very often because there are laws of probability that come into play.
Absolutely. There is a certain measure of uncertainty throughout all of life that does come into play. Influence and motivation, motivational factors are many out huge. Absolutely. I think that's so beautiful because it goes to show that even it's not just whoie, it's scientific principles guiding the fact that you owe it to yourself to start to think different thoughts about the way you approach learning, the way you approach showing up and performing a task or the way you want to approach maybe evolving as a human being or questioning your sense of self.
It doesn't mean that you're wrong or that your current state is bad. And I feel like there's a lot of villainization again when it comes to certain schools of thought on changing growth in different environments. But it could be the case that you are holding yourself back by not thinking of things like you talked about, which is such a key principle. There again we look at scientific aspect of things. That basic underlying principle of science itself is not certainty, is not truth.
It's I am certain only to the degree I am uncertain. I am willing to question and challenge. I am willing to allow the. Many voices of me to show up in an authentic and genuine way as they surface, as they bubble up, as they present themselves. Sometimes that does that.
And I think as we circle around and maybe wrap this up today sometimes, then that does creep in in ways that are disingenuous. And I'm going to leave that as our hating question today. What ways might we show up that aren't genuine to us and just leave that out there for the big question today? Because I'm only certain to the degree I am uncertain, but I am certain, Kate, that this has been such a lovely conversation today. It has been so much.
Jesse, I appreciate you so much. I'm so grateful for you too. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me. It has been great to talk to you.
Love this conversation. I'm very excited to hear more about your emotional podcasts as well. Can't wait for that. Thank you. I truly appreciate the way you work and the way your mind and things come together.
It truly has brought me a lot of additional insights. Thank you. Knowledge is the lighting. You oh, that's amazing. Thank you.
Thank you for bringing that to the world.
We need it and we love it. Sorry. Before I go off on another chance, just one thing. If you haven't read it yet, there's a paper called you Can't Play 20 Questions with Nature and Win by Alan Newell. And he is one of like, my heroes.
He's a forefather of my industry, cognitive science. I truly appreciate you. You too. Bye. Have a good day.
Kate Dudzik has been researching, writing, and exploring themes in Cognitive Science since 2014. She earned both her Bachelor Degree (Honours) and Master’s Degree in Cognitive Science from the Institute of Cognitive Science at Carleton University, where she specialised in the Biological Foundations of Cognition and Agent-Based Cognitive Modelling. She took a non-conventional route to becoming a Scientist, and to this day, does not have a high school diploma.
Kate is a peer-reviewed, published scientist with work spanning multiple disciplines, from Engineering Psychology and Cognitive Ergonomics (Springer), to Computer Science (Elsevier); published at both academic conferences in Cognitive Science and the Digital Humanities. In addition to her scientific research, Kate has designed Artificial Intelligence products in private industry, has written multiple articles for industry about digital technology and human interaction, and presented to multiple groups including CIMA/CGMA about understanding digital technology, how it impacts thoughts and behaviour, and best practices in the field.
Her research and work includes:
- The Relationship between Humans and Technology
- Cognition, Natural and Artificial Forms
- Thought Structures and Mechanisms
- Cognitive and Behavioral Modeling
Beyond science, Kate loves to discuss Popular Culture, life in the Digital Age, and Gender and Identity.