I have come across three discussions about trust this week.

They just jumped out at me!

1. All of the guests on Phillip Adams’ review of the year spoke about trust. I thought their discussion of geo-politics and economics was fascinating. If you do listen to the podcast, Bea Campbell provides a great perspective on Occupy London. Her commentary led me to look at the St Paul’s Institute’s report on Value and Values: Perceptions of Ethics in the City Today.

2. I have been reading John Dickson’s Humiltas and have thought a great deal about the trust we invest in leaders and how each of us as a leader can build trust. (I happened upon Bret Simmons discussion of trust too.)

3. This morning my wife, Sue, alerted me to a great post. Sue is a wonderful fossicker of stories. The ABC online reports on Babies learn who to trust at early age. The report notes:

Infants normally mimic sounds, facial expressions and actions they observe but researchers at Concordia University in Montreal found that if an adult tricks them, they will no longer follow along with that person.

The findings published in the journal Infant Behavior and Development bolster previous evidence that infants can differentiate between credible and un-credible sources, the study says.

The Concordia study was published online earlier this year (25 February). The authors are Diane Poulin-Dubois, Ivy Brooker and Alexandra Polonia. The abstract is:

Research has shown that preschoolers prefer to learn from individuals who are a reliable source of information. The current study examined whether the past reliability of a person’s emotional signals influences infants’ willingness to imitate that person. An emotional referencing task was first administered to infants in order to demonstrate the experimenter’s credibility or lack thereof. Next, infants in both conditions watched as the same experimenter turned on a touch light using her forehead. Infants were then given the opportunity to reproduce this novel action. As expected, infants in the unreliable condition developed the expectation that the person’s emotional cues were misleading. Thus, these infants were subsequently more likely to use their hands than their foreheads when attempting to turn on the light. In contrast, infants in the reliable group were more likely to imitate the experimenter’s action using their foreheads. These results suggest that the reliability of the model influences infants’ imitation.

Photo Credit

St Paul’s Cathedral

Learning about IKEA

I have written a number of posts about place and space in this blog.

I am always on the lookout for stories about novel ideas.

This week I was delighted to listen to Lauren Collins talking with Phillip Adams about IKEA.

Lauren wrote about IKEA in a twelve-page article (House Perfect) in The New Yorker in October. Her full article is located behind a paywall but her interview with Phillip explores here research about IKEA.

I noted:

  • IKEA is the invisible designer of domestic life, not only reflecting but also molding, in its ubiquity, our routines and our attitudes.
  • IKEA products are intended to work as well in Riyadh as they do in Reykjavík.
  • As reading material, the IKEA catalogue is only slightly less popular than Harry Potter.
  • The Main Aisle is supposed to curve every fifty feet or so, to keep the customer interested. A path that is straight for any longer than that is called an Autobahn.
Lauren’s New Yorker article attracted a lot of attention and her interview covers some of the issues about probity in IKEA’s ethos.
However my interest in Lauren’s observations is in IKEA’s fabrication of space and the positioning of choice. I was wondering what might happen if we used some of the design ideas for learners rather than consumers.
Photo Credit

Noam Chomsky: Sydney Peace Prize 2011

Noam Chomsky is the recipient of this year’s Sydney Peace Prize.

He delivered the City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture in the Sydney Town Hall on 2 November.

I noted in the transcript of his speech that Professor Chomsky exhorted us “never forget that our wealth derives in no small measure from the tragedy of others”.

By good fortune I was able to listen to Noam Chomsky’s conversation with Phillip Adams on Radio National’s Late Night Live program. With a couple of prompts from Phillip, Noam Chomsky provided a fascinating account of a personal learning journey that moved from the 1930s to the present day.

I enjoyed his discussion of inquiry and the impetus to learn more about the world … particularly when a challenge is made to ‘normal’ science.

I liked johnh’s comment on the Late Night Live page:

Chomsky always surfaces a smile of recognition from deep within my subconscious. His gravelly considered delivery articulates insightful critique of the greedy and powerful, and soothes this troubled soul. He’s someone who understands the hypocrisy and dangers of the dominant culture, clearly outlining key issues otherwise shrouded by their complexity. I know he doesn’t like it, but his values and opinions are leadership incarnate, perhaps precisely because he discourages ‘followers’. He can’t avoid setting us all a fine example by his conduct. He respects history and thinks clearly.

Photo Credit

Noam Chomsky (Sydney Peace Prize website accessed 4 November 2011)