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  1. #1
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    Default How People Are Easily Fooled

    I read this article this morning, a perfect example of how easy it is to pull the wool over people's eyes: Ben Goldacre: Testing the plausibility effect | Comment is free | The Guardian

    Charlatans exist in every profession...

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    V.I.P. karena's Avatar
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    But was the experiment about the people doing the fooling or the people doing the believing? Imo, I see people so much wanting there to be an answer, latching on to what one person says and then that being the holy answer that no-one can refute. I just wish the people doing the asking would realise that maybe there are as many answers as there are people. There isn't a 'truth'. And this isn't just bellydance, but everywhere.
    Just a thought...

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    Quote Originally Posted by karena View Post
    But was the experiment about the people doing the fooling or the people doing the believing? Imo, I see people so much wanting there to be an answer, latching on to what one person says and then that being the holy answer that no-one can refute. I just wish the people doing the asking would realise that maybe there are as many answers as there are people. There isn't a 'truth'. And this isn't just bellydance, but everywhere.
    Just a thought...
    I was thinking of this bit: "In 1973 a group of academics noticed that student ratings of teachers often seemed to depend more on personality than educational content. They wanted to find out how far this effect could be stretched: what if you had an impressive, charismatic and witty lecturer, who knew nothing at all about the subject on which they were lecturing? Could plausibility alone make an audience feel satisfied that they had learned something, even if the information delivered was deliberately inconsistent, irrelevant, and even meaningless?"

    What if you had a self-confident teacher with an impressive-looking website with all manner of claims who turns out to be a disappointing performer and instructor?

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    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Dance, etc.

    Dear Suheir and Gang,



    Quote Originally Posted by Suheir View Post
    I was thinking of this bit: "In 1973 a group of academics noticed that student ratings of teachers often seemed to depend more on personality than educational content.

    And vice versa. After working in a university for 7 years, I note that many teachers have the same issue when grading students, and are very subjective in that as well, often grading on how well the teacher is mimiced by the student, rather than on how well the student thinks for themselves. I also witnessed teacher giving higher grades to students who are masters at sucking up and to students who will have sex with them. this of course is not ALL teachers, but the number is enough to be noticed. One teacher in our department would tend to grade males higher than females and get really snippy with cute young things in her classes.


    They wanted to find out how far this effect could be stretched: what if you had an impressive, charismatic and witty lecturer, who knew nothing at all about the subject on which they were lecturing? Could plausibility alone make an audience feel satisfied that they had learned something, even if the information delivered was deliberately inconsistent, irrelevant, and even meaningless?"
    It seems to happen often enough that even people with teaching degrees in certain subjects know those subjects from an academic and protected point of view only, and nothing all about practical applications in the world beyond the academic setting.

    What if you had a self-confident teacher with an impressive-looking website with all manner of claims who turns out to be a disappointing performer and instructor?

    What IF??????............ Check out 10 websites and 9 of them will probably be nothing more than good marketing in the end....... If I seem skeptical and cynical, please bear in mind that I am that way with very good reason and lots of experience in being disappointed by impressive looking websites.

    Regards,
    A'isha

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    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    I was hoping someone would raise this issue - and Ben Goldacre's site is a very good one.
    I'm concerned about people being deliberately sold 'cures' for things that either work through placebo, or have no effect at all - but are mistaken to have an effect.
    Dan Moerman is a researcher (I think he's an anthropologist), who studies placebo - his description of it is that it's a 'meaning response' - that is, both the person attending for health care, and the giver of health care provide an interaction in context of expectations. This means that many times, it's not just the 'active ingredients' in a health care interaction (eg the drugs, or the massage or the counselling), it's the belief the person attending has in the health professional, and the communication skills of the health professional both interacting to help the person expect to get better - and they do.
    What gets me about people who deliberately set out to deceive people (ie knowing that their goods are inert and rubbish) is that good people end up paying huge amounts of money for things that have no research back-up. It's slightly less irritating when the health care provider actually believes in his or her product - but then, responsible health care providers really should know what science has to say on their product before setting out to sell it.

    As humans we are prone to cognitive and perceptual biases - and this means we don't like to find out (after the fact) that we have fallen for a crook, so we often unwittingly attribute healing to the individual we just saw, rather than realising many times you'll get better in a week or 7 days, irrespective of who you saw or what you took!

    So if people get hoodwinked in health care, how much more so are they in an area of life whether they don't have to be critical - eg the origins of belly dance?!

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    V.I.P. Reen.Blom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suheir View Post
    I was thinking of this bit: "In 1973 a group of academics noticed that student ratings of teachers often seemed to depend more on personality than educational content. They wanted to find out how far this effect could be stretched: what if you had an impressive, charismatic and witty lecturer, who knew nothing at all about the subject on which they were lecturing? Could plausibility alone make an audience feel satisfied that they had learned something, even if the information delivered was deliberately inconsistent, irrelevant, and even meaningless?"

    What if you had a self-confident teacher with an impressive-looking website with all manner of claims who turns out to be a disappointing performer and instructor?
    I think this happens very often, actually....

    BUT I do believe that a great personality of a teacher, who even posesses little knowledge can be a starting point for personal exploration and growth, and a very versed person with unattractive personality can can kill all the interest in the subject forver... (didnt any of you ever have some monstrous Math teachers at school??? LOL LOL LOL)

  7. #7
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    I thought the responses quoted from the feedback to the bogus-but-plausible lecturer were very interesting - sounded to me like they may have rumbled him but were too diplomatic to call him out, or just not that bothered. Maybe they didn't feel knowledgeable enough in the subject to see BS for what it was, or just didn't care that much. Another lecture that went over my head, yawn, but hey, at least it wasn't dull, so we'll give positive feedback for that and not comment (or use weasel words) on the content.

    What if you had a self-confident teacher with an impressive-looking website with all manner of claims who turns out to be a disappointing performer and instructor?
    I'd say that once you have the experience to realise, if you want something other than the one teacher's take on belly dance you take your custom elsewhere. Or go to the classes for practice but don't believe the hype. IMO it comes down to being interested enough in the subject to want to find out more.

    For market forces to work on dodgy teachers you'd need enough students around who were seriously interested, rather than being into a chance to dress up, following gurus, or just doing it for a bit of fun. I don't think there are the numbers.

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    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    You need to have some knowledge before you can critique something, or know that someone's inaccurate or teaching rubbish: lots of people do things and rely on what they experience only, don't spend time researching independently, don't use the resources that are available, and don't, for example, come online to forums like this to learn from people who are 'reputable'.

    How would you know if someone was reputable if your only contact with bellydance, (or healthcare!) is from the local person down the road? Especially if you didn't know anyone else who had done it (either dancing or health care!), and a lot of the sources available for reference were just as ill-informed as you?

    At least with health care we can rely on scientific evidence-base, but in belly dance there just isn't that process available! You just have to use that rare but important thing 'common sense' to judge things. In my case, I refer to original sources where possible (a bit like a journalist) for dance, and spending time online at reputable websites that have been cited by a lot of people eg Shira's site... But imagine if you weren't as studious, and didn't like 'finding out' - I'd guess many people would just believe what they're told.
    One thing I'm grateful to my teachers in any subject (and probably my parents too!): I LOVE the question 'why'?!

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