Dr. Diane Hamilton's Blog

Top 100 Vocabulary Words That Adults Should Know

Educators often use words with meanings that students may not fully understand.  Rather than looking foolish and asking for an explanation, students may go through years of schooling and not truly grasp the meaning of important terminology.

After consulting with a past English teacher, my sister, Lesley Hamilton, and a future English teacher, my daughter, Terra Rothpletz, we came up with a list of 100 words that are dispersed by educators but not necessarily understood by students.  Rather than list the definitions here, I thought it might be better to just include the link so that you could test yourself.  Look at the following words and see how well you do.  To find out the definitions, just click on the word. 

  1. Acquiesce
  2. Acronym
  3. Ambiguity
  4. Analogy
  5. Anachronism
  6. Andragogy
  7. Antithesis
  8. Antonym
  9. Articulate
  10. Assonance
  11. Benchmarking
  12. Brainstorming
  13. Circumspect
  14. Clandestine
  15. Cognition
  16. Collaborate
  17. Colloquial
  18. Connotation
  19. Contrived
  20. Conundrum
  21. Correlation
  22. Criterion
  23. Cumulative
  24. Curriculum
  25. Deference
  26. Developmental
  27. Dialect
  28. Diction
  29. Didactic
  30. Dissertation
  31. Divergent
  32. Egregious
  33. Eloquence
  34. Emergent
  35. Empathy
  36. Enigma
  37. Epitome
  38. Epiphany
  39. Epitaph
  40. Erudite
  41. Existential
  42. Exponential
  43. Formative
  44. Holistic
  45. Homonym
  46. Hubris
  47. Hyperbole
  48. Incongruous
  49. Infamy
  50. Initiation
  51. Innate
  52. Intellectual
  53. Interactive
  54. Irony
  55. Jargon
  56. Juxtaposition
  57. Malapropism
  58. Magnanimous
  59. Mentor
  60. Metaphor
  61. Meticulous
  62. Mnemonic
  63. Monologue
  64. Motif
  65. Myriad
  66. Nemesis
  67. Nominal
  68. Norms
  69. Obfuscate
  70. Obtuse
  71. Onomatopoeia
  72. Ostentatious
  73. Oxymoron
  74. Paradox
  75. Paraphrase
  76. Pedantic
  77. Pedagogy
  78. Perusal
  79. Phonemes
  80. Phonological
  81. Plagiarism
  82. Plethora
  83. Posthumously
  84. Preposition
  85. Pretentious
  86. Pseudonym
  87. References
  88. Reflection
  89. Rubric
  90. Sardonic
  91. Satire
  92. Simile
  93. Soliloquy
  94. Superfluous
  95. Syntax
  96. Thesis
  97. Validity
  98. Vernacular
  99. Virtual
  100. Vocational

Milgram’s Experiment, Horrible Bosses and Dwight Shrute Co-Workers

The recently released movie, Horrible Bosses, is about three friends who have three . . . you guessed it, horrible bosses.  While it might be fun to watch Jennifer Aniston play a bad character, the movie brings up some interesting issues about authority figures and their power to affect people’s lives.

In the early 60s, a guy named Stanley Milgram did some research into the willingness of people to follow directions given by those in authority. The question Milgram contemplated was:  If you were asked to shock someone with 400 volts of electricity, would you do it just because someone in a white lab coat told you to do it as part of an experiment? You may think not, but you may be surprised.

What Milgram was looking for was how authority leads to obedience. Isn’t that kind of what happens to you at work? You’re at the mercy of your leader or manager. You do what they tell you to do, because they are your superior, and you figure you should listen. Part of what makes up your personality is the part that is willing to obey commands that may not necessarily make sense to you.

There may be a few people you’d like to shock some sense into at work. We’d like to think we’d be the test subjects that wouldn’t have pushed the button to deliver the shock to the recipients. The thing was, though, although the people thought they were delivering a shock, they weren’t delivering any voltage at all. The people who were supposedly being shocked were actors who were just pretending to be shocked.

The people Dr. Milgram used as the “shockers” in his experiments were only paid $4.50, and were found through advertisements placed in newspapers. The reason Dr. Milgram wanted to do these experiments in the first place was what he’d seen the people in Germany doing in response to Hitler’s leadership. He was interested in answering a question that had haunted him from childhood: “What psychological mechanism transformed the average, and presumably normal, citizens of Germany and its allies into people who would carry out or tolerate unimaginable acts of cruelty against their fellow citizens who were Jewish, resulting in the death of six million of them?”(Blass, 2004).

His interest in this led him to conduct experiments into obedience, and he set up a simulated shock-generator box that had a label on it that read, “SHOCK GENERATOR , TYPE ZLB,

DYSON INSTRUMENT COMPAN Y, WALTHA M, MASS OUTPUT 15

VOLT S – 450 VOLT S” (Blass, 2004, p. 79). Initially, the “shocker” started giving a low voltage of what they believed was an actual shock, and they were then asked to gradually increase the voltage in response to suggestions from the experimenter, who would say things like:

1. Please continue.

2. The experiment requires that you continue.

3. It is absolutely essential that you continue.

4. You have no other choice, you must go on.

The experiment was intended to show just how far the “shocker” would go, based on receiving commands from someone in authority. This was all part of an experiment done at Yale. Predictions on how many people would be willing to continue to shock at high voltage levels were low … about 3%. In actuality, however, 65% were willing to give them the juice at the maximum level. Only 1% of the participants in the experiment, after having learned that it had been fake, were sorry they had participated.

Milgram had the following to say about the results: “Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority” (Milgram, 1974). Milgram went out of his way to ensure that this simulation looked real. He wanted those doing the shocking to believe they had actually caused the person receiving the voltage pain. Those receiving the fake jolts would emit pitiful screams, begging the person to stop shocking them.

“The obedience experiments presented a disturbing view of human behavior. Milgram, his colleagues, and later the public were surprised by the sheer power of an authority to compel someone to hurt an innocent person, despite the absence of any coercive means to back up his commands” (Blass, 2004, p. 93).

What does this say about our personalities? Think about Dwight Shrute on the TV show The Office? Isn’t he willing to do just about anything that Michael tells him to do to please his boss or, in other words, a person of authority? We’ve all worked alongside the Dwights of the world. Is it Michael who is to blame for how Dwight acts because he takes advantage of his willingness to please? Possibly. How do you keep from turning into Dwight? How are you supposed to question your boss? In hard economic times such as we have experienced recently, many people find it difficult to turn down any request at work. Fear of losing one’s job is a big factor in what we will allow. Unfortunately, many may not feel as if they have a choice, and will comply with demands.

Is it OK to never question authority? There comes a point when employees feel psychologically abused, whether they recognize it or not. When someone is constantly a target of abuse of authority, they may not realize what’s happening right away. One instance of someone in authority making a negative comment may go unnoticed, however, should the comments continue, that can constitute an abuse of authority. This abuse can lead to poor work performance as the employee’s self-esteem drops.

This excerpt is from the book It’s Not You It’s Your Personality . . . Click here to read the rest of the book.

Important Facts about IQ Tests

In the old Bob Newhart Show where Newhart plays a psychologist, there is a great episode where his wife Emily takes an intelligence test and discovers she is smart enough to be included in Mensa Society.  Newhart’s score was not nearly as high as his wife’s which leads to his feeling of insecurity.  At a Mensa convention, this painful reality is driven even further home as he mingles with other Mensa members that show off how they can say their name backward.  When they all have an interesting way of announcing their reversed names, they ask him how to say his backward, where he disappointingly replies, “Bob”.

How important are IQ tests?  According to NursingDegree.com, “Even though its accuracy and reliability have been criticized over the past few decades, the IQ test continues to be the most widely used test for assessing mental ability.”  In their article 10 Interesting Facts about IQ Tests, the authors cover areas such as:  The difference between men and women’s intelligence; how IQ relates to breastfeeding; birth order and IQ; and much more.  To see this list, click here.

Generation of Haters Hiding Behind Social Media Anonymity

We’ve all seen the areas on Youtube, blogs, and other news areas where people make their anonymous comments about the topic at hand.  It has become very easy for people to make comments that they might not otherwise have made should they have had to have their name or face associated with their remarks.  Many comments are made by children under 18 and some of those comments may be just dismissed as immature.  However, as more news stories surface about children killing themselves from cyber-bullying, there is growing concern about society accepting this kind of behavior.  (For 11 facts about cyber-bullying click here). Cyberbullyingprotection.net reported that 75% of students have visited websites that bashed other students.

Many blogs, including this one, allow screening of posts before allowing them to be exposed.  This is useful to avoid the deluge of spam that comes across from people trying to sell their unsolicited products.  However, it can be reassuring to know that “haters” can’t just post anything they want.

Why are there so many angry people out there that want to write negative comments?  Part of the issue that these people have, other than immaturity, is a lack of emotional intelligence (EI).  Emotional intelligence may be defined in many ways.  One of the easiest ways to think about it is to define emotional intelligence as the ability to understand one’s own emotions as well as those in others.  People who write these posts have little consideration of the feeling of others.  This shows a lack of interpersonal skills.

It brings forth a question as to whether any specific demographic has more issues with emotional intelligence than others.  Rueven Bar-On, creator of the EQ-i emotional intelligence test, found that his model, “reveals that older people are more emotionally and socially intelligent than younger people, females are more aware of emotions than males while the latter are more adept at managing emotions than the former, and that there are no significant differences in emotional-social intelligence between the various ethnic groups that have been examined in North America.”

The good news is that emotional intelligence can be improved. Authors like Marcia Hughes and others have written several helpful books about how to increase levels of EI.  Author and psychiatrist John Gottman discussed helping our children’s emotional development in his book, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child.  Some of the things Gottman suggests are to:

  • Listen to our children with empathy.
  • Help your children name their feelings.
  • Validate your child’s emotions.
  • Turn their tantrums into teaching tools.
  • Use conflicts to teach problem-solving.
  • Set an example by remaining calm.

By helping our children develop emotional intelligence, perhaps we can see a future of less “haters” and cyber-bullies making anonymous hurtful comments.

 

 

What is Your Favorite Celebrity’s Personality Type? New Fun Beta Site

In the book It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, there are a lot of celebrities listed as examples to explain personality types.  Although that book covers most of the major personality assessments out there, one of the most important assessments it addresses is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

A new beta site CelebrityTypes.com is now available with information that identifies intellectuals, authors, and other public figures according to their psychological type based on the MBTI.  I, Diane Hamilton, am an ESTJ.  The example celebrity shown for that type on the celebrity types site was Dr. Phil.  It would be interesting to see Dr. Phil’s actual results because he comes across as making decisions based on his values which may put him more toward an ESFJ.

Is this site completely accurate?  Maybe not and they note that there as well.  Without the person actually taking the MBTI, it can be a lot of guesswork.  The authors noted, “a reported type must be regarded as a hypothesis and never as an exact, final depiction of that person.”

Whether completely accurate or not, it can be fun to speculate. On the left side of the site, there are links to each type where you can see other examples of celebrities within each type.  Other examples of this author’s ESTJ type include:  Condoleeza Rice, Michelle Obama, Judge Judy, and Ivanka Trump.

This site does a nice job of listing the percentages of people within each type, best romantic matches, and general information about what it means to be a certain type. For more information about this site click here.  For more information about It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, click here.

For specific celebrity examples, click on the link below:

Bones Brennan Character Exemplifies Lack of Empathy

 

Having empathy is a part of emotional intelligence as defined by leaders in the field of EI such as Rueven Bar-On.  Daniel Goleman describes three types of empathy including: cognitive, emotional and compassionate.  In the book It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, it is noted that having empathy is a big part of interpersonal skills.  It has to do with how much we care about other peoples’ feelings and whether we can see things from other peoples’ perspectives.

A recent episode of the TV show, Bones, showed an excellent example of how Emily Deschanel’s character Temperance Brennan lacked empathy.  For those unfamiliar with the program, the Brennan has a high IQ but may lack in the EQ or emotional quotient department.  In this episode, Bennan lacks the ability to realize that her logical thinking and lack of understanding of others’ emotions is rude.  In the episode, Feet on the Beach. Brennan must work with a podiatrist that she feels lacks her superior training and skills.  While this may be fodder for entertainment, people may run into a similar situations at work where they may feel their abilities are being dismissed.

How can someone so smart lack empathy?  It may be difficult for people to do what Dr. Jeremy Sherman refers to as “shoe shifting” or putting ourselves in another’s shoes.  “When you put yourself in another person’s shoes you risk seeing yourself as others would see you—not quite as special as you think”

How do we improve our empathetic abilities?  One way is to improve our listening skills.  For more tips on improving empathy, check out Sherman’s article in Psychology Today.

MBTI and Business Executives Inflated View of Emotional Intelligence

 

Those interested in how personality affects performance often study the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or Emotional Intelligence (EI) and the relationship to leadership.  Rarely do I run across studies that look for relationships between MBTI and EI.  Leary, Reilly and Brown published a Study of Personality Preferences and Emotional Intelligence where they examined the “relationships between the dispositional factors measured by the MBTI and elements of emotional intelligence (EI) as measured by Bar-On’s emotional quotient inventory (EQ-i).”

For those unfamiliar with the MBTI and the EQ-I, the MBTI measures our preferences for how we like to receive information.  The EQ-i measures our emotional quotient or EQ.  Emotional intelligence has often been defined differently by various authors.  One of the easiest ways to think of emotional intelligence is by defining it as the ability to understand your own emotions as well as those in others.

In the Leary et al study, their results showed a relationship between Myers Briggs extroversion and emotional intelligence components.  Also noted in the study was a “positive and significant relationship between a preference for the use of feeling in decision making and an individual’s EI.”

When discussing “feeling” as defined by the MBTI, it refers to how one bases their decisions on their values.  When discussing “extroversion” as defined by the MBTI, it refers to how people prefer to focus on the outer world of people and things.  Leary et al concluded, “The positive and significant results for the extroversion and feeling hypotheses seem consistent with the view that EI is related to the ability to accurately perceive and manage relationships.”

I found the relationship for “feeling” to be the most interesting part of the study due to the high number of “thinking” as opposed to “feeling” executives in the workplace.   The study suggests that using “feeling” when making decisions shows awareness of others’ feelings.  This would be indicative of having emotional intelligence.

If there are more “thinking” people in business executive positions and this study showed people that were “feeling” had more of a relationship to emotional intelligence, what does that say about our business leaders?  A study of nearly 5000 people by Sala revealed that executives may have an inflated idea of how high their emotional intelligence actually is.  “The results of this study demonstrate that higher-level employees are more likely to have an inflated view of their emotional intelligence competencies and less congruence with the perceptions of others who work with them often and know them well than lower-level employees.”

What is interesting to note is that one’s MBTI type does not usually change over time.  However, one can develop their emotional intelligence.  The “thinking” personality type bases their decisions on data.  They tend to be logical.    If people with a strong “thinking” preference do not show as high of a correlation with emotional intelligence now, can they develop this based on their understanding of this data?   It seems logical to conclude this is possible.

As with any self-reported data, there are possible limitations to these studies.  I personally have studied emotional intelligence and its impact on sales performance.  I had to take the EQ-i and the MBTI in my training to be a qualified instructor for both assessments.  I came out as an ESTJ and had a high EQ-i score.  I may be an anomaly, but from what I have seen from the work of Daniel Goleman and others, whether someone is a “thinking” or a “feeling” personality, it is important to always be working on one’s EQ in order to be successful.

Myers Briggs MBTI: Testing Your Relationships

Myers Briggs MBTI personality assessments are often utilized by organizations.  In today’s Wall Street Journal, the article Do You Get an ‘A’ in Personality discussed the importance of utilizing personality assessments in family situations as well. 

Greg Cellini from WSOU 89.5 FM interviewed me recently about this very topic.  One of his questions Greg had for me was if using the MBTI was helpful for families.  It definitely can be.  The reason is that a lot of misunderstandings occur due to the fact that many people don’t realize “why” other people do the things that they do. 

By understanding personality preferences, we are more likely to be tolerant of others.  In the audio clip that follows, Greg Cellini and I discussed the difference between the J and P personality types.  For those of you unfamiliar with Myers Briggs, there are a lot of articles you can access on this site. The J personality is someone who is very structured and on time.  If you tell them to be somewhere at a specific time, they’ll likely get there early to be sure they are not late.  The P personality is more spontaneous and less structured.  If you tell them to be somewhere at a specific time, they’ll likely get there on time but may wait until the very last moment.  By realizing that the opposite personality functions the way they do for a reason, frustration can be avoided.   For more about this, check out the excerpt from the recent radio interview that follows.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPbhynxwBUc&w=640&h=390]

If you have not taken the Myers Briggs assessment, I highly recommend doing so.  You may find out some valuable things that could help you with your relationships at home and at work.  In the article from  WSJOnline.com, they noted that in order to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator you can “Go to MBTIreferralnetwork.org to find someone to administer the test. You also can take it online and receive a one-hour telephone feedback assessment for $150 through the Center for Applications of Psychological Type at www.capt.org. Or take a computer-scored version of the test at MBTIcomplete.com for $59.95. When family members take personality tests, their self-awareness goes up and they quickly figure out their strengths and weaknesses, says John Williams, a life coach in Portland, Ore., who uses a test in his work with teenagers. “People realize they are different from other people,” he says. “The personality test becomes a road map.”

If you can’t afford to take the actual Myers Briggs MBTI, check out this link to help you discover your personality preferences.

Young Boy Has Higher IQ Than Einstein

The video below of young Jake Barnett shows his amazing brain and abilities at the young age of 12.  With the recent movie release of Limitless with Bradley Cooper, there is a lot of focus on the brain and its potential. 

At the age of 3, young Jake was diagnosed with autism.  Parentdish reported, “But today, 12-year-old Jake is studying electromagnetic physics at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and has an IQ of 170, higher than that of Albert Einstein. And he’s astounding university professors by developing his own theory of relativity — they’re lining him up for a Ph.D research role, Barnett, of Noblesville, Ind., says.” To read Jake’s amazing story, click here.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFmrlIEpJOE&w=480&h=390]

The Human Brain: Gender Differences in Intelligence and Maturity

Experts continue to research what makes individuals unique.  Is there a difference between human intelligence in males vs. females?  Ask a woman and you might get a different answer than if you ask a man?  According to Hedges, ” IQ tests, regarded by psychometricians as measures of intelligence, have shown that differences between men and women are minimal or negligible, but men are often overrepresented at extreme scores, both very high and very low.”

Rueven Bar-On, a leading expert in emotional intelligence, reported that “no differences appeared between males and females regarding overall emotional and social competence.”  That is not to say that both sexes were identical.  “Females appear to have stronger interpersonal skills than males, but the later have a higher intrapersonal capacity, are better at stress management, and are more adaptable.”

Scientists have now looked at the brains of both sexes at the age of 10, 16 and 20 to see if there truly are differences in maturity levels between the two.  WJSOnline reported “Although boys’ and girls’ brains show differences around age 10, during puberty key parts of their brains become more similar.”  By measuring the brain’s cortex and how it may change as boys and girls age, the National Institute of Mental Health Child’s Psychiatric Branch studied 284 people and found “boys’ and girls’ brains, on average, differ significantly at age 9, but by the time the participants reached 22, the brains of the two sexes grew more alike in many areas critical for learning.”

Some interesting differences in Gender Development noted in the article included:

Gender Development

Some typical milestones and when boys and girls tend to hit them:

At birth: Girls are a few weeks more mature neurologically and have more advanced hearing. Boys on average weigh half a pound more.

First words: Girls typically utter their first word at 11 or 12 months, one month ahead of boys.

Vocabulary: At 18 months, girls on average know 86.8 words, more than double boys’ 41.8 words. By 30 months, boys’ and girls’ language skills have converged, at about 500 words.

Walking: Caucasian girls and boys tend to walk around 12 months. African-Americans walk sooner, at nine to 10 months.

Potty training: Girls are fully trained by 36 months, according to one study. Boys took a bit longer, training by 38 months.

Onset of puberty: For girls, the process can start at age 9 to 10. For boys, it’s closer to 11 to 12.

Source: WSJ research