Cassirer, Ernst 1932. Kant. In: Seligman, Edwin R. A. and Johnson Alvin (eds.), Encyclopaedia Of The Social Sciences. Vol VIII. London: Macmillan and Company Limited, 539-542.

At the center and focus of Kant's thought there is always to be found the concept of transcendentalism and the transcendental problem of freedom. But freedom here means for him not chance or arbitrariness, not an antithesis to law; it signifies rather the highest realization of the idea of law in the universe. Man is free as an ethical subject; for although as an ethical subject he is governed by a universal system of laws, the system is not one which is imposed on him from without through the impersonal compulsion of things or through the command of an external authority but rather one that he has given to himself. The concept of freedom thus coincides for Kant witht the concept of self-legislation, or autonomy. (Cassirer 1932: 539)
Self-legislation sounds neat.
Man can never be considered and treated as a mere means, as a cog in the social machine; on the contrary, he is and remains, ethically considered, an unconditioned end in itself. This self-legislation includes the state of being an end for oneself: autonomy includes autotely (Cassirer 1932: 539)
And yet man is still today treated as a cog in the social machine, having no other prime purpose than to serve his country or culture.
In this sense the key to the problem of knowledge lies for him in the fact that knowledge must not be regulated by things, but that things as empirical objects must be regulated by the fundamental condition of the faculty of knowledge. For as objects of experience (as phenomena) they can be given to us only in the form of experience and according to its fundamental and universal laws; these laws in turn depend, however, on the form of the understanding and on its a priori basic functions. (Cassirer 1932: 539)
Translating this insight into nonverbalist terms: knowledge is not regulated by behavior, but behavior is comprehensible through knowledge.
In this way he [Stammler] avoids what he regards as the formalism and circularity of the legal positivists, who confine themselves to what the law is and never discuss its relation to the human purposes which it seeks to express. (Cassirer 1932: 542)

Simon, Linda, Jeff Greenberg and Jack Brehm 1995. Trivialization: The Forgotten Mode of Dissonance Reduction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 68(2): 247-260.

Cognitive dissonance theory was part of a wave of theories in psychology that emphasized balance among cognitive, affective, and conative components of the person. Festinger (1957) assumed that behavior, by and large, must be guided by accurate information about the environment and the self. Therefore, any discrepancy between relevant information and knowledge of one's own behavior would be psychologically disturbing to the person. Consequently, the presence of "nonfitting" relations among cognitions would motivate the individual to reduce this negative affective state, which Festinger labeled dissonance. (Simon, Greenberg & Brehm 1995: 247)
Thus, Festinger, L. A. (1957) A theory of cognitive dissonance. Evanson, IL: Row, Peterson. is the beginning of dissonance theory. This is useful information as it enables one to test persons who freely abuse the dissonance theory, by asking them "Do you know who is Leon Festinger?" As many students-and-tutors-alike presume this theory to be important and well known they lack even the most basic knowledge that dissonance goes hand in hand with consonance and irrelevance.
According to dissonance theory, the existence of dissonance leads to pressure to reduce the tension, and this pressure covaries with the magnitude of the existing dissonance. The magnitude of the dissonance is determined by a number of factors: the number of dissonant cognitive elements, the number of consonant cognitive elements, and the importance of the cognitive elements. The more important the cognitive elements involved in the inconsistency are to the individual, the greater the dissonance. Thus, inconsistencies involving cognitions central to the self-concept or to valued goals, such as economic prosperity, or basic needs, such as survival, will arouse particularly high levels of dissonance. This is important to keep in mind because Festinger argued that, as with other motivational states, dissonance reduction will occur only when the dissonance reaches a level sufficient to motivate action. (Simon, Greenberg & Brehm 1995: 247)
Dissonance theory arose at the time of behaviorisms reign over psychology and was one of the first to be wholly unexplainable in behaviorist terms, as it relied on so-called "cognitive elements" to explain certain actions. It is indeed concerned with behavior, but only insofar as behavior stems from motivations and motivations are driven by cognitive elements (any belief, opinion, attitude, perception, or piece of knowledge about anything).
According to Festinger (1957), when the magnitude of dissonance is high enough to motivate action, people will use one of three modes of dissonance reduction. The first mode consists of changing one of the dissonance elements, that is, simply changing an attitude, value, opinion, or behavior, with behavior typically being the most resistant to change. The second mode of dissonance consists of adding consonant cognitions that reduce the overall level of consistency and includes active attempts to seek out new information. (Simon, Greenberg & Brehm 1995: 247)
The first two modes of dissonance reductions are thus: (1) changing the cognitive element that causes dissonance; and (2) presenting evidence which counteracts the inconsistent cognitive element.
The third mode posited by Festinger (1957) is "decreasing the importance of the elements involved in the dissonance relations" (p. 264). We refer to this mode of dissonance reduction as trivialization. Although cognitions can be added to help the individual reduce the perceived imortance of the relevant cognitions, this mode differs from that of adding consonant cognitions in two important ways. First, when consonant cognitions are used to reduce dissonance, the strategy is to add cognitions that make the attitude-behavior relationship seem more logical or justifiable. In contrast, the purpose of trivialization is not to reduce the inconsistency, but merely to reduce the level of inconsistency by reducing the importance of one or more of the dissonant elements. Second, if, as Festinger posited, the importance of the cognitions is an initial determinant of dissonance, then, in trivialization, rather than adding new cognitions, a basic characteristic of one or more of the relevant cognitive elements - its importance - is changed. (Simon, Greenberg & Brehm 1995: 247)
Thus trivialization consists of changing the importance of dissonant elements, not adding more (consonant) elements. The everyday case of "It's okay" seems to be an exaple, although not a good one as it generally fails to reduce dissonance. Rather, perhaps, an argumentative approach, "it's not important because it's..." is effective. Perhaps trivialization has been ignored in dissonance theories following Festinger because it is difficult to modify importance?
This capacity for change depends, in part, on the number of a cognition's consonant relations to other cognitions comprising the individual's view of reality. It also depends on the extent to which cognitions are related to fundamental perceptions of both social and physical reality. Thus, opinions and social judgments are often fairly easy to change, whereas cognitions regarding physical reality are usually more difficult to change. (Simon, Greenberg & Brehm 1995: 248)
For example, it would be impossible to convince a religious believer in the non-existence or non-importance of God if there is a large number of consonant relations in the believer's sense of reality. To put it bluntly, if one has a wealth of mutually reinforcing beliefs, attitudes and knowledge of something, then changing the importance of merely one or some elements will not be effective. The authors do emphasize that changing an elements and reducing it's improtance should be distinguished.
...when Cooper and Mackie (1983) had politically active participants write a counterattitudinal essay about a central political belief, participants did not change their attitude in the direction of the counterattitudinal essay but did denigrate those who supported that counterattitudinal position. (Simon, Greenberg & Brehm 1995: 248)
Denigrate - criticize unfairly. The practical deduction here is that writing an essay supporting an idea you don't believe in does not change your opinion of the idea but makes you more critical towards those who hold the idea to be true.
At this point, we have little conceptual or empirical basis for specifying in a given situation which cognitive elements will be most likely to be trivialized. The participants could reduce dissonance by reducing the importance of either the attitude or the behavior they engage in. Presumably, participants will reduce the importance of whichever element or elements are low in resistance to being trivialized, which probably depends on the plausibility of doing so and the extent of links between a particular cognition and other important attitudes and values. (Simon, Greenberg & Brehm 1995: 249)
Seems logical - that which affords less resistance to being trivialized is most likely trivialized.
Consistent with results of prior self-affirmation research, the self-affirmation treatment reduced attitude change. In addition, as expected, it also led to trivialization. Steele (1988) proposed that dissonance is reduced either directly, through minimization of the threat caused by the specific inconsistency, or indirectly, through affirmation of the self and restoration of global self-integrity. The present results indicate that the two routes to dissonance reduction may occur together in that when participants self-affirm, they also reduce the perceived importance of one or more of the relevant cognitions. (Simon, Greenberg & Brehm 1995: 254)
The theory of self-affirmation is a psychological theory that was first proposed by Claude Steele (1988) with the premise that people are motivated to maintain the integrity of the self. The ultimate goal of the self is to protect an image of its self-integrity, morality and adequacy. On the whole, integrity is defined as the sense that one is a good and appropriate person and the term "appropriate" refers to behavior that is fitting or suitable given the cultural norms and the salient demands on people within their culture. This theory explains why people respond in such a way to restore self-worth when their image of self-integrity is threatened. (Wiki: Self-affirmation)

Gunnery, Sarah D., Judith A. Hall and Mollie A. Ruben 2013. The Deliberate Duchenne Smile: Individual Differences in Expressive Control. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior 37(1): 29-41.

The Duchenne smile, typically called an enjoyment or genuine smile, is often said to be a spontaneous reflection of concurrent positive affect. It is operationally defined in the literature as the activation of the orbicularis oculi (cheek raiser) muscle that makes crow's feet at the outer corner of the eye, called Action Unit 6 (AU 6) according to the Facial Action Coding SYstem (FACS; Ekman et al. 2002), in combination with the zygomatic major muscle that extends the mouth (lip corner puller, AU 12; Ekman et al. 2002). (Gunnery, Hall & Ruben 2013: 29)
Orbicularis is the part above the eye and extends from the nose to the temple; oculi is the part below the eye, basically the "saggy eye" area. Orbicularis oculi's function is to open and close the eyelids, which makes me wonder if it can be trained by doing eyelid exercises. It is said that the orbital portion is subject to conscious control.
In the non-Duchenne smile, often called a non-enjoyment, false, fake, or social smile, the eye muscle movement is lacking (Ekman et al. 1990; Frank et al. 1993). Non-Duchenne smiles are widely believed to be under far more volitional control than Duchenne smiles . The distinction between Duchenne and non-Duchenne smiles can potentially help explain the nature and function of smiling in situations in which concurrent positive emotion may be weak or absent, as in greeting strangers, signaling reassurance, or appeasing powerful others, and in situations in which the expressor is actually experiencing negative affect, as when showing or masking feelings of discomfort, dislike, disappointment, embarrassment, or anxiety. (Gunnery, Hall & Ruben 2013: 29-30)
Non-Duchenne smiles are more volitional, it is under conscious control. I am interested in bringing the Duchenne smile under similar conscious control, by way of training. Or whether deliberate Duchenne smile can be trained and how.
There are good reasons why people might want to use the Duchenne smile deliberately. Research shows that people have insight into the nature, message value, and social utility of the Duchenne smile. Naive observers, even children age 9-10, attribute more happiness to Duchenne than non-Duchenne smiles; observers also have more favorable emotional reactions to people showing the Duchenne smile and attribute more desirable characteristics to them (e.g., likeability, competence). Observers also find such expressions to be more authentic and intense. Furthermore, people often have insight into what distinguishes Duchenne from non-Duchenne expressions; in two studies, approximately half of the adult observers reported using the expressor's eyes as a guide to making their judgments. Thus, research whos that people understand both what the Duchenne smile consists of and why it would be advantageous. (Gunnery, Hall & Ruben 2013: 30)
Ergo, it would be beneficial to develop some sort of training program for it.
Participants who successfully imitated the Duchenne photograph were more likely to make a Duchenne smile when not imitating the non-Duchenne photograph, but there was no relationship between producing a Duchenne smile in either of the roleplays and successfully imitating the Duchenne smile. (Gunnery, Hall & Ruben 2013: 36)
This is interesting. It sounds as if people who have more voluntary control over Duchenne smiles are more prone to react with a "genuine" smile to social smiles. I think the social functioning of smiles could be further investigated by studying how people with more deliberate control react to other stimuli.
Most writers on the Duchenne smile have talked of this smile as involuntary, spontaneous expresison of concurrent positive affect, using adjectives such as real, genuine, enjoyment, and felt (e.g., Bernstein et al. 2008; Ekman and Friesen 1982). We, like other recent investigators (Gosselin et al. 2010; Krumhuber and Manstead 2009), questioned this assumption and showed that a nontrivial number of participants could willfully produce a Duchenne smile when acting out role-plays that conveyed certain social messages, and a greater percentage deliberately produced a Duchenne smile when imitating a photographed Duchenne smile. This study also provided preliminary evidence that the ability to deliberately make the Duchenne smile is an individual difference. (Gunnery, Hall & Ruben 2013: 37)
Actually a remarkable feat, and a plusgood addition to the rubric of "history of body language", especially recent years.
This study further showed that people with the ability to produce a deliberate Duchenne smile reported being better able to put on false expressions in their raily lives and reported that they had done a better job putting on the expressions in the experimental tasks. This indicates that people have some introspective knowledge of their own smiling behavior and ability and likely value the ability as a social skill. (Gunnery, Hall & Ruben 2013: 39)
I was once stunned to find out that an aquaintance had trained herself to use both eyebrows precisely for it's value as a social skill.


Post a Comment