I normally take classes where we discuss abstract concepts, but recently I have been taking classes where we learn technical skills such as how to use a letterpress or mix ceramic glazes (I am now in a ceramic sculpture class and we have been learning how to mix glazes).
Being in classes like these where a lot of task doing goes on leads to a lot of people making little mistakes here and there. Being in an environment like this has reminded me how much people love telling others what to do. Very often, as soon as someone is noticed doing something differently than it was demonstrated to us by the teacher another person will immediately point it out. While I'm sure this is sometimes done out of genuine concern for the other person, wanting to help them get their work done as efficiently as possible, much more often it seems to be done as a way for the corrector to seem knowledgeable.
Ever since I wrote about the role serotonin plays in terms of our perceived status among those around us, I've been thinking about it often. It seems to help explain so much of human life. When people tell others they are doing something the wrong way, it then raises their perceived status relative to that person, which then raises their serotonin levels. Considering this it is no wonder that whenever my teacher spells something wrong on the board the students jump to correct him even though we all know what the word is he is trying to write and it doesn't matter if the e is supposed to be an I based on an entirely arbitrary rule. When they correct the teacher's spelling, their perceived status relative to him goes up, raising serotonin levels.
However, like so much of life, these attempts at raising their status often have the reverse effect and make the person seem unpleasant and insecure.
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