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Chore Wars!

You've all heard about Chore Wars by now, right? E and I have been playing with it. It's great fun, and probably a terrific tool for parents.

Here's a random question for you. Well, that wasn't grammatically a question, I suppose, but it's coming up shortly. Lots of people postulate that you change a thing (especially a behavior) merely by observing it. It seems like a pretty radical idea, because exactly how does that work? But, anecdotally, I've seen some evidence to support it. What do you think?


( 45 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 31st, 2007 05:09 pm (UTC)
I think it is much easier for someone to change if they have someone to emulate. So perhaps it is easier because you are giving examples to follow, in being the observed.
Aug. 1st, 2007 09:23 pm (UTC)
Huh. That kinda turns the idea around from where I had it. But that's an interesting take.

More than 24 hours later, I'm answering your response first (since you responded first) and, sheesh, I had no idea there'd be so much speculation! Now I'm not entirely sure what I meant in asking! Thanks for your reply :)
Jul. 31st, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC)
wow! no, i hadn't seen that. i might have to check it out -- god knows, i need SOMETHING to motivate me to do my chores. >:)
Aug. 1st, 2007 09:25 pm (UTC)
Hee. You ought to see the adventures we've come up with. When Washing Dishes, you might encounter a Gross Bug, or a Meddlesome Cat. For treasure, you might find a Withered Blueberry!
Jul. 31st, 2007 06:30 pm (UTC)
Um... isn't this more along the schrodinger's cat and other scientific observations line? Not "I change my behavior be cause I see other's do it" but "I watch you, and you change your behavior in response to my scrutiny."

If you did, infact, mean the former then:

There are a lot of people in fields like substance abuse prevention who wish it were as simple as that. Then PSAs, the good friend your parents wish you acted more like and other positive role modeling efforts would be much more effective all on thier own. Instead, a certain desire/understanding/choice has to happen in the brain. You end up role modeling those that either have a trait you wished you had or who already compliment other aspects you believe.

Leather jackets for example. We all felt shitty in school cause we had social issues with the mundanes around us. We found one or more freaks who accepted us. That lead to emulating them. Which lead to the freak uniform (all [i]very[/i] over-simplified.)

If you meant the latter:

I'm less versed on this when I am sober, but it has something to do with nothing happening in a vaccum and how they scare dogs.
Jul. 31st, 2007 07:02 pm (UTC)
tee hee
'I'm less versed on this when I am sober, but it has something to do with nothing happening in a vaccum and how they scare dogs."

You forgot the tossing butterfly wings on a train observed from the ground.
Re: tee hee - kabistani - Jul. 31st, 2007 07:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fenriss - Aug. 1st, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 31st, 2007 06:42 pm (UTC)
Heheh, I think rottgrub was telling me about Chore Wars just this past weekend. I'd be interested to hear anecdotes about family usage (parents motivating kids to "level up," etc.) :)

BTW, I know you're not on LJ much, so you may not know this, but he has friended you guys.

I'm not sure how you change a thing merely by observing it...? Unless by the very seeing of the thing, you are motivated to make those changes yourself? I'm curious as to your take on it.

Aug. 1st, 2007 09:29 pm (UTC)
OK! I have friended him back. Wow. Read through some of his flocked posts. He's an interesting guy. I really look forward to getting to know him.
(no subject) - boadiccea - Aug. 2nd, 2007 12:19 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 31st, 2007 07:11 pm (UTC)
Hey I left you a message a long time ago and txt you. I would love to start coming to you once a week for massage but can't get a hold of you:P my email is bebe@thebebedoll.com
Aug. 1st, 2007 09:51 pm (UTC)
Hi, honey. Very sorry that I haven't responded! I should have. The reason I haven't is that I haven't had any good news about times available for massage. But that's no excuse for not calling.

See, I'm having pretty severe back pain, and I'm having trouble gettin through my days at the office. Days off, I am laying on a hot pad :(

I need to find a solution soon, so I will have time to see you for an appointment soon, one way or another. I hope you will accept my apology!
(no subject) - boadiccea - Aug. 2nd, 2007 12:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 31st, 2007 07:23 pm (UTC)
Heisenberg's uncertainty principle states that any observed thing is changed by the observation. There is some Deep Physics Kung-Fu which is extremely au courant and which I don't fully understand that suggests that time itself exists in order to provide a vehicle for the universe to be observed - but the description of that is both beyond the scope of LJ comments, and my powers of explanation.

However, it stands to reason that people behave differently when observed, especially if they are aware of the observation. That old saw about "dance like no one is watching" being a perfect example.
Jul. 31st, 2007 07:54 pm (UTC)
I thought Heisenberg only applied to subatomic particles.
(no subject) - aghrivaine - Jul. 31st, 2007 07:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - _blackjack_ - Jul. 31st, 2007 08:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peregrin8 - Jul. 31st, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aghrivaine - Jul. 31st, 2007 08:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peregrin8 - Jul. 31st, 2007 08:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kabistani - Jul. 31st, 2007 08:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peregrin8 - Jul. 31st, 2007 08:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kabistani - Jul. 31st, 2007 08:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fenriss - Aug. 1st, 2007 10:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fenriss - Aug. 1st, 2007 10:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peregrin8 - Aug. 2nd, 2007 01:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peregrin8 - Aug. 2nd, 2007 01:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fenriss - Aug. 1st, 2007 10:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aghrivaine - Aug. 1st, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 31st, 2007 07:37 pm (UTC)
Kinda depends on who's observing. I'd probably behave better with you observing (for example) than some random baby bat at Midnight for example.
Aug. 1st, 2007 10:09 pm (UTC)
Heh. Interesting observation. I am flattered that my opinion matters more than a random baby bat! :)
Jul. 31st, 2007 08:27 pm (UTC)
I think it depends on what you meant by "observing it." (I'm assuming you're not talking about Heisenberg's principle.) Do you mean a) you can change how a person acts by being around and creating an audience? Or b) change your own behavior by being aware of what you're doing and why (e.g., that "aha" moment when you realize the reason you always do X is because Incident Y happened when you were younger and set up a pattern for you to do X)?

If a, I think there's always going to be someone picking his nose on the Metro no matter who's watching, but most people will act differently if they know others are around. If b, observing the causes and effects of your behavior is important, but without the desire to change it's nothing more than an observation.
Aug. 1st, 2007 10:52 pm (UTC)
I mean b. And of course, you are right about the desire to change. What I'm after is the source of the desire to change. It seems to me that it's a little ellusive, even when it should be obvious. For example, there are times when losing weight has been as simple as getting out of bed for me. And there are times (alas, much more frequent) when getting out of bed feels like a fucking Herculean task. Day to day, it's always totally different.

I think "the best I can do" on any given day is subject to so many unknowable factors that it's impossible to pin it down. Some days I CAN. Some days I can NOT. I want to know where the difference is. Or something.
Jul. 31st, 2007 09:04 pm (UTC)
It's for SCIENCE, Dammit!!
Now if by "observing" you mean "poking with a stick/latex covered finger/electric cattle prod"...
Aug. 1st, 2007 10:53 pm (UTC)
Re: It's for SCIENCE, Dammit!!
No, honey. That's not precisely what I mean.
Jul. 31st, 2007 09:08 pm (UTC)
Much more prosaically, I design software and web interfaces. As a rule of thumb, if you expose folks's behavior to them (and/or others), it changes. How it changes depends on the situation, the perceived and actual publicness of the information, how it's presented, etc.

A super-easy example is the feature on Amazon that shows you items you've looked at recently. Just adding this reminder -- of something the user already knows -- drives additional purchases (and as a second-order effect, probably slightly more discretion in what you're looking at).
Aug. 1st, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)
Yes, I think this is a good example of what I am trying to get at. I think this is how client-centered psychotherapy works. We don't observe ourselves, really. It's always a revelation when we are given a glimpse into how we operate. I'm always a little surprised when Amazon reminds me of what I was interested in a week ago.

This may be the ADD talking, but either way, it's REALLY interesting.
Aug. 1st, 2007 10:44 am (UTC)
there was a great news story a couple years ago, about how men are more likely to wash their hands before leaving a public restroom if there are other people present. the scientists used hidden cameras, of course, which seem to capture everyone (even deer) at their worst.

even then, i bet the scientists were more likely to wash their hands, knowing that they were on camera.
Aug. 1st, 2007 11:01 pm (UTC)
Even deer! Now I don't know what to think!

SRSLY, though, I think there's no question that people change their behavior when they know they are observed. But I wonder how people (or inanimate thing, or deer) behave differently when they are observed, but don't know it.

OK, there. That clarifies it for me. Sorry to think out loud. It's sort of my thing :)
(no subject) - panthergirl - Aug. 2nd, 2007 08:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 1st, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC)
Kill the cat, burn the box. Right?
Aug. 1st, 2007 11:03 pm (UTC)
No. But I get what you mean :)

Also? Move back here, fer cryin' out loud!
Aug. 3rd, 2007 05:04 pm (UTC)
off topic
Happy Friday!
Just poppin over to your LJ to remind you we should coordinate a time for that dinner we spoke about, if you're still interested.
Aug. 8th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC)
Re: off topic
Hihi! Here I am, replying days later :) I am so, so crazy busy trying to keep body and soul together. But, honestly, the dinner idea we discussed might be a good way to help do that!

Wanna discuss via email? Drop me a line at msfenriss @ gmail?
( 45 comments — Leave a comment )