Archive for November 23rd, 2011

Attitudes: Do I have one?   no comments

Posted at 11:54 am in Uncategorized

I have found myself in a rather strange territory this week. Under normal circumstances, I would be very offended or at least somewhat disappointed with myself if someone says I have an attitude. Yet, what does the word “attitude” actually means?

“attitudes are defined at least implicitly as responses that locate ‘objects of thought’ on ‘dimensions of judgement’ ” (McGuire, 1985, p.239)

“an attitude is a general and enduring positive or negative feeling about some person, object or issue” (Petty and Cacipoppo, 1996, p.7)

It is interesting to see from this definition that we all have an attitude toward something. It is normal. Most importantly, having an attitude in an academic sense is not wrong. An attitude can be positive or negative. Even negative attitude is not always wrong. For example, having a negative attitude toward murder is generally socially acceptable. This concept of right and wrong, or social acceptance brings us to another closely related topic: Cognition and Behavioural relationship.

Cognition and Behavioural Relationship



The above model is commonly known as the ABC model for obvious reason. This model was first proposed by Hilgard in 1980 and has since became the fundamental framework for further research. For instance, many have investigated the relationship between behaviour and beliefs. It has been found that behaviours are modified by the peers, identity of self with the peers and perceived social norms.

This is an interesting findings because it backs up the social concept of “peer pressure” and shed light on how these pressures function/ affect an individual. The book then went on to discussion several theories regarding the factors involved, such as: theory of reasoned action, and planned behaviour, social identity, self-categorisation, social norms, group definition and discursive theories.

Time would fail me if I was to detail all of them here. It should be sufficient to say that these theories were used to describe the results obtained from various experiments. It is particularly interesting to see how these theories interact with each other and compliments each other.

Moving On

In view of the time remaining, I will be reading up more on self and identity as I have found this topic rather interesting. That will then be my last post based on text book reading. Further posts will concentrate on multidisciplinary approach and migrate towards final report style thinking/ writing/ blogging.

Written by Mandy Lo on November 23rd, 2011

Economics of Ontologies   no comments

Posted at 12:18 am in Economics,Psychology,Sociology

Frontispiece of a paper from Wolff called, 'Ontologica.'Am trying to focus back in on my original assertion about what I was going to study. This was whether there are differences between subjects and their degree of separation from the www, and their primary ontologies. Although I was going to use economics and psychology or perhaps sociology and their attendant ontologies to create a spotlight with which to examine this question, this would still involve looking at the ontologies of a range of other subjects.

I was going to use economics as a focus, as I think it perhaps represents something that might be wrong with how we talk about knowledge in general and reasons for studying, working together, collaborating – ultimately: trust.

A lot of work that we do is tied into research programs that are underwritten by governments as being part of some economic promise. For example, the last Labour government’s education policy was predicated partly on the premise (stemming from research in the 1950s that re-emerged in the 1970s (need to find and cite)) that countries with a more highly educated population tend to do better economically. Thus following Tomlinson’s recommendations, the Diploma system was introduced, only partially, which in fact had the consequence of introducing a system that did the opposite of what he had intended.

This however, being loosely accepted: that the more highly educated a population is, the more wealthy their country, it would seem to follow that it makes sense to make use of emerging technologies to help to educate this population. There is a body of research on this – how technology can be ubiquitous; it can get to the places that teachers can’t, and can help to make learning something that is always ‘on’.

There are actually so many problems with these assertions that it would take a whole other blog post, or perhaps even, essay, or perhaps even, thesis to go into them – but I’m happy to accept that 1) learning is basically a Good Thing and that 2) technology can help to mediate it. I might perhaps then reluctantly accept that it’s possible that if you have a lot of learning, you might end up creating more wealth for your country, however some of the data for this is possibly correlative rather than strongly causal.

But to get back to my original question, it is whether there might be said to be an economics of ontologies? Could we find out whether there are some subjects that lend themselves, via their objects of knowledge to be shared and studied on the web? And that therefore are more accessible and therefore might end up generating more money?

It seems at first glance, that physics might be one of these subjects. Physics research can be large scale and tend to be carried out by large communities who share resources.  Is there something about the nature of physics that makes people more likely to collaborate? Are they perhaps true seekers after knowledge who are less motivated by economics / reward than say, chemists? (Apologies to all you pioneering, truth-seeking chemists out there.) Would this then mean that by the very nature of a subject, if it attracts more people who care more about discovery, or truth, then they may well as a result, collaborate more, and could easily use technology in order to do this, but they care less about creating wealth, so that all web-based subjects that can easily or practically use the web to be studied are never going to be worth funding by governments who only care about short-term goals?

This seems on the face of it, rather facile, but it does intersect with another debate about why there still seem to be less girls studying physics, and in general, science subjects. (This debate appears worldwide, but I shall for now confine myself to the UK.) There was recently some speculation about whether the Big Bang Theory was attracting more people to the subject, but this generated some scathing responses from researchers who had determined that take up of physics was in fact governed by early influences.

Written by me1g11 on November 23rd, 2011

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