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Thread: broken telephone(gossip game)

  1. #1 broken telephone(gossip game) 
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    most people probably know this game where a sentence become distorted as its passed along, secretly.

    i guess part of the reason is the short time you have to commit it to memory.
    i read girls thinks better when they're calm, while men think better when they are stressed.
    could be a factor too.

    anyways, i just wanted to know if there has been done any in-depth studies on the reasons for this distortion of information.


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  3. #2 Re: broken telephone(gossip game) 
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    most people probably know this game where a sentence become distorted as its passed along, secretly.

    i guess part of the reason is the short time you have to commit it to memory.
    i read girls thinks better when they're calm, while men think better when they are stressed.
    could be a factor too.

    anyways, i just wanted to know if there has been done any in-depth studies on the reasons for this distortion of information.
    I'm sure there is but I haven't found it yet, meanwhile I found this which is funny!

    http://www.ingenious.org.uk/Read/Fea...wn/Themessage/


    "If scientists insist on surrounding themselves with intimidating walls of jargon, it’s not surprising that nobody wants to come and play. Do you recall a party game called Chinese Whispers? A message is whispered from one person to another, until the last person in the chain reveals the message, hilariously alter
    Faraday lecturing at the Royal Institution, 27 December 1855.
    Credit: Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library
    ed beyond all recognition. Most scientists tend to view the way the media reports science as distortion on a similar scale. Imagine:

    Researcher: ‘Changes in acceleration when superconductors are levitated in a DC magnetic field have been detected.’

    Press officer: ‘Researchers investigate antigravity properties of superconductors.’

    Broadsheet science page: ‘Breakthrough as scientists beat gravity.’

    Tabloid: ‘Beckhams are first in line for new antigravity car.’

    Scientist vows never to speak a whisper to the media again. "


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    hehe, thats pretty interesting, and i agree.
    something needs to be done about scientific jargon,
    1 thing in 1 discipline that is the same as in another, usually have a completely different name.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
    A.C Doyle
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    hehe, thats pretty interesting, and i agree.
    something needs to be done about scientific jargon,
    1 thing in 1 discipline that is the same as in another, usually have a completely different name.
    Scientific terms are used among scientists for the simple reasons of ease and rapidity of communication.

    Are you suggesting that scientist should waste time talking in laymans terms with each other rather than with compact terms, just so people who havent studied sciences can understand?

    If you dont understand a term or description, all you need to do is ask for an elaboration.
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  6. #5  
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    most people probably know this game where a sentence become distorted as its passed along, secretly.

    i guess part of the reason is the short time you have to commit it to memory.
    i read girls thinks better when they're calm, while men think better when they are stressed.
    could be a factor too.

    anyways, i just wanted to know if there has been done any in-depth studies on the reasons for this distortion of information.
    Concerning the game, I think the reason is quite simple. I have always found that this game only works if at least one person is inclined to alter the message (semi-)intentionally. This can be done either by sloppy listening, sloppy whispering, or simply on purpose. Everyone knows that getting it wrong is the point of the game, and that's how you play along to make it funny, being a little more sloppy than you'd usually be. If everyone were to try hard to get it right, there would be far less of a miscommunication (and the game would be pointless and boring).

    Concerning scientific language, we would still be in the dark ages without it. How do you explain quantum mechanics in layman's terms?

    But don't you worry. Even scientific terms trickle down into colloquial language, at least those that are significant to the average Joe. Virtually everyone now has a layman's understanding of terms like "temperature", "energy", and "momentum". I don't think that was the case a thousand years ago (as some of these terms had not been coined that long ago).
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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
    Scientific terms are used among scientists for the simple reasons of ease and rapidity of communication.

    Are you suggesting that scientist should waste time talking in laymans terms with each other rather than with compact terms, just so people who havent studied sciences can understand?

    If you dont understand a term or description, all you need to do is ask for an elaboration.
    No, scientists shouldn't waste time with layman's terms with each other - but they need to be careful when laymen are listening. That's a common mistake that scientists make - and understandably so, because we spend the majority of the time thinking in those terms. But if you don't want to run the risk of being misunderstood and having your words twisted around on you, then you need to watch what you say and where you say it. Besides, there are many words with different meanings in science than in the common tongue, so to speak, so the average Joe might not even realize he needs to ask for an elaboration.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Quote Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
    Scientific terms are used among scientists for the simple reasons of ease and rapidity of communication.

    Are you suggesting that scientist should waste time talking in laymans terms with each other rather than with compact terms, just so people who havent studied sciences can understand?

    If you dont understand a term or description, all you need to do is ask for an elaboration.
    No, scientists shouldn't waste time with layman's terms with each other - but they need to be careful when laymen are listening. That's a common mistake that scientists make - and understandably so, because we spend the majority of the time thinking in those terms. But if you don't want to run the risk of being misunderstood and having your words twisted around on you, then you need to watch what you say and where you say it. Besides, there are many words with different meanings in science than in the common tongue, so to speak, so the average Joe might not even realize he needs to ask for an elaboration.
    Yes of course. But no matter how much you dumb something down to avoid being misunderstood, there will always be a dumbass you wont account for and therefor carry the risk of a misunderstanding spreading.

    As M said: how much can you dumb down something like quantum mechanics? and if one isnt bright enough to get a few key terms they arent going to understand such a counter-intuative subject in a million years anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
    Yes of course. But no matter how much you dumb something down to avoid being misunderstood, there will always be a dumbass you wont account for and therefor carry the risk of a misunderstanding spreading.
    Exactly - that's why you gotta cover your ass as much as possible, so no one can say it was your fault for being obtuse

    Some things you can't dumb down, so in that case you should just tell people what they need to know - what the overall effect is, for example, or how important this is to the field, etc. And if they want details, then that's where you can't dumb it down - and they'll all just have to deal with it, lol.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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    heres 1 example, thats been completely distorted because scientists decided to dumb it down for the layman: dimension.

    this word means something completely different to a layman, than to a scientist.
    to a layman, he has been educated by media that it has the same meaning as parallell universe.
    for a scientist, its simply the lengths of an object, or a space.
    for a layman, 3-dimensional is a completely confusing term,
    because in addition to the general idea of parallell universes cluttering your thought process, they are now in an axis systems that doesnt make entire sense in that context.
    they continually ask themselves "what does this have to do with dimensions?

    another word is electricity. i think even people who know the subject is debating the exact meaning of the word.
    when most people think of electricity, you have blue lightning and cables shooting up in your mind.

    with speedbumps like this along the way, sooner or later the interest will wane.

    then theres mathematical terms like scale, ratio, and derivative.
    they are all basically the same, but got completely different names.

    not to mention 3 signs for division, / : _
    3 signs for multiplication: x * nil
    and the confusing ways that algebra sometimes are taught.

    i never really learned working with negative numbers until a few years back when i finally re-educated myself through the internet.
    was thinking in a way of reduction all the time, while i should have been thinking in terms of absolutes, +1, -3, - ,-2 instead of 1-3--2.
    this was a huge barrier for algebra, since i was unable to move around negative terms. i tried moving around the numbers, not the negative or positive terms in front of them, which lead to innumerable errors.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
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    I disagree about the word dimension - I think most people understand what it means, at least in modern times. We have 3-D movies that "pop" out of movie screens; I remember pop-up books when I was a kid with titles like, "Dinosaurs in 3D!" Dimension is also often used to describe a room, a desk, a book shelf - what are the dimensions? 6 ft tall, 1 ft wide, 1 ft deep. Uninteresting people are described as 2 dimensional; and that has nothing to do with parallel universes.

    I agree with the other ones, though. Definitely different meanings between science and layman.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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    i didnt mean they completely misunderstood the term.
    but that it confused the term. like static on TV making it difficult to see the image clearly, all the haziness in layman terms makes it difficult to see the science clearly.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
    A.C Doyle
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    Paralith, I could understand your paranoia if scientific language were secret, like looking back at times when western "science" was in the firm hands of the Catholic church, and its language (Latin) was taught only to a select class of people.

    Modern science isn't that selective and secretive. If you cared enough, you could make a personal choice to learn all about it, whether by self-study (books are available to virtually everyone now), or by attending an appropriate educational institution. It's not every layman's inclination to try to understand quantum mechanics, but there are ways to achieve it if (s)he wishes to do so.

    I can tell you, though, that understanding of concepts is not achieved by merely learning a language, and the language will be irrelevant to you if you don't understand the concepts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by M
    If you cared enough, you could make a personal choice to learn all about it, whether by self-study (books are available to virtually everyone now), or by attending an appropriate educational institution. It's not every layman's inclination to try to understand quantum mechanics, but there are ways to achieve it if (s)he wishes to do so.
    The operative phrases here are "If you cared enough" and "if (s)he wishes to do so." There are plenty of people who will not care enough or wish to educate themselves in scientific terms, but will easily enough to take what a scientist says and twist it towards their own meanings, whether they intend to or not. And as you say, it's not just a matter of knowing words, it's a matter of understanding the concepts behind them as well, which is again another layer of meaning that laypeople may or may not take the time and effort to comprehend.

    I'll admit that I am pretty sensitive, in that I'm an evolutionary biologist, and I'm accustomed to seeing lay creationists with very little understanding of science gleefully pick and choose various discoveries and facts to serve their beliefs, and spread further misunderstanding. My specialty is behavior, especially human behavior, I know that most lay people don't understand the "is does not equal ought" rule - that just because a human has certain natural tendencies or predispositions, doesn't mean that's the way things should or have to be. Combine that with the fact that most of them just don't like some of the things I say about the roots of human behavior in the first place, and you can get some ugly results if you don't pick your words carefully.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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