Cognitive empathy, behavior changes and activism

First a remark about the fiasco in Congress in which it took 15 votes for the Republicans to elect the Speaker of the House:

Lots of memes were made about this:

and I made one too (part of a series where I lampoon my life when I was single)

(side note: her outfit is actually coral (in color) but appears to be bright red due to the lighting)

But I digress…the real purpose of this post is to comment on the antics of so-called “activists”. You know: these are the ones that disrupt things, like those who block traffic:

Or..maybe they stop a university from showing a film that they disapprove of:

Well, the question I have is this: what are these “activists” hoping to accomplish? It appears to me that they have concluded that because their cause is just (and perhaps it is) that it is ok for them to do whatever they want to do.

But, what is their goal in doing said protest? If their goal does not involve getting more supporters on their side and to change behavior and attitudes, then I suppose it is ok, I guess…though there are legal consequences.

But if their goal is to actually change the behavior of others and to change attitudes ..IN THEIR DIRECTION, well, they should probably step back and engage in some empathy..that is, cognitive empathy.


Well, no. In fact, I learned the value of cognitive empathy in sports (football) and in the military! Reason: you will do better if you can see things from your opponent’s point of view. And that is what I mean: if you stop and check out “how will my actions be viewed by others..especially those that I am trying to convince”, you might make better choices. Instead, these morons just turn the public against them.

Goal: change of behavior; two incidents from my past

Case 1: mid 1990’s: our department was discussing candidates. Our chair, long since retired, was an old school, conservative gentleman. And he referred to the male candidates by Dr. X and the female candidates by their first names.

I was a young, untenured professor, and I spoke up: “why are we referring to females by their first names and men by their titles; shouldn’t it be the same for both?” And..well, that just confused the old professor at first, but…*he changed his behavior.* There were no Deans called in, no big to-do, no “mandatory sensitivity training”; no “pound of flesh.”

Case 2: I was taking a class and in a pre-test review class, an international student asked if there would be “coding” on the exam (writing a program). The professor said “no coding” but mimicked the student’s Asian accent.

A student spoke up: “I heard that..that Asian accent”; prof said “no I didn’t” and the student laughed and said “yes, you did.”

It never happened again. Change of behavior. No firing, no Dean, no running the gauntlet; no “pound of flesh.” (this was the late 1990’s).

The goal was attained. I wonder if our cancel culture has lost sight of that.

Note: the professors involved have retired a long time ago.

Mismatch and Miscounting

The mismatch: Struggling Valpo visited Bradley and the result was 88-66, though it was 49-24 at the half and the lead blew up to 33 points. Overall, Bradley shot 58.3 percent from the field and went 12-27 from 3 point range; but just prior to halftime, it was 6-10. BU had lots of uncontested 3 point shots and dunks.

12 Braves saw action.

4476 was the official attendance and it was a somewhat above average crowd for this year. The crowds just aren’t what they once were.

But before the game, I did a PT, deadlift and 5 mile walk.

Deadlift: 10 x 134, 10 x 184 low.

Intention was to boost my 4 inch lift to 6-8 reps with 270 (got 10 x 265 last week) but I made a mistake: 45, 25, 25, 10, 5.5, 5, 2.5 on each side; that plus the 44 lb bar makes 280, not 270. So when I tried, I was surprised at how hard the first rep was and so struggled to do 5 before I quit. I almost panicked. Then I recounted…”oh sure.” So I did set 2 with 280; and while it was challenging, it went easier because I was mentally prepared for the weight.

10 x 280 at 8 inch finished the festivites.

Then the back felt positively great for my “3 to 5 mile walk”; did a complete upper Cornstalk loop and then a half lower loop. I really felt good.