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View Diary: Updated: Video of Obituary-Breaking Kim Jong-il Has Died (230 comments)

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  •  Travel is very closely controlled in North Korea (0+ / 0-)

    as you know. Who do you think visitors are going to meet, dissidents? I have no doubt there are people who have genuine love for the Dear Leader, but there is no way to know what most people think.

    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

    by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 12:40:25 AM PST

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    •  one can read emotional cues from.... (3+ / 0-)

      ... the facial expressions and gestures and tones of voice of people in not only the foreground of videos, but the background as well.  And from the subtleties of reactions of North Koreans to the words and actions of visitors.

      From everything I've been able to find, the large majority of North Koreans believe the mythos in the manner of a religion.  The state is basically a theocracy with its leaders as its gods.  There is a disconnect between this "religion" and the the daily grind of life in a country where economic and personal deprivation are the norm.

      There is a small core of people who could be called dissidents, but they are not "organized" in any usual sense of the word: communication between them is furtive and fragmented at best.  Occasionally they manage to do things such as post dissident banners in places where they may be found by others, and circulate dissident literature at risk of their lives.  

      There is a larger circle of people who are interested in Western media and culture.  They circulate items such as foreign videos, which are strictly prohibited and punished.  But this is not so much overtly political, as it is based on the desire for contact with the outside world, and the spreading awareness of prosperity to the south and elsewhere.  

      There is also an informal trading sector that earns its living from closely-regulated market activities: market stalls, the equivalent of flea market sales of various items including foreign goods, and so on.  This is tolerated as the alternative to it becoming a persistent and growing black market.  And there is also a black market in items such as foreign electronic goods, foreign food, cigarettes, and the like.  These are not political movements so much as just grassroots economic activity at the margins.  

      "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 01:10:15 AM PST

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      •  There are places where people's emotions are (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, mamamedusa

        usually hidden behind a smile, just for cultural reasons. I used to live in one (rural Malaysia). If you know you have to be seen to behave and feel a certain way or suffer very severe consequences, you do. I'm no expert on North Korea, but I don't think that we can judge people's actual feelings from their public displays, however convincing they look.

        Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

        by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 01:25:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  emotions are contagious. (0+ / 0-)

          The display of an emotion conveys it to others.  This also works reciprocally, as a feedback mechanism between people.

          The portrayal of a mood partially induces it in oneself and others, and the feedback from others reinforces it in oneself.

          Participation in a crowd of grieving people will induce a state of grief.  Just as participation in a religious revival will induce deeply religious feelings, which for the participants are self-evidently real and convey revealed truth.  

          There is no way to find out what someone else "truly" feels aside from by detailed neurophysiological measures of brain activity and chemistry, or by induced empathy for example with entactogenic drugs, or by telepathy which is a statistical effect and subject to confounds.  Absent those methods, all else is inference from observables.  

          "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 02:09:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek, mamamedusa, Cassandra Waites

            In rural Malaysia, people smile when they're happy, sad, embarrassed, flirtatious, and even sometimes when they're very angry.

            If you really are as good at figuring out people's real emotions in a totalitarian society just by observing them as you believe, all I can say is, I'm glad you aren't working for the North Korean government, because if you were, you could easily figure out who is just going through the motions and have them arrested.

            Also, remember that the places where a foreigner can visit are already pre-selected by the authorities to be those where only the most loyal Communists are allowed to live. I imagine you already know this better than I do.

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 02:50:05 AM PST

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            •  a few things about the "how" of it. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MichaelNY, Cassandra Waites

              In cases such as videos, one can replay selected parts to go over them in more detail.

              In one-on-one conversation, one can be alert to the cues for emotional responses to deliberate prompts and then look for indicators of them later in the flow of spontaneous communication.  

              Emotional responses that are "genuine" occur immediately and without delay, and with a number of involuntary cues.  Emotional responses that are rehearsed can be immediate but lack some of the involuntary cues.  Emotional responses that are calculated have a subtle time-delay, but that delay can be found by comparison with the preceding two categories.  

              Tone of voice combined with facial expression, sums to a fairly highly accurate output.  Add the proxemic and kinaesthetic (body position and gesture) outputs and the accuracy increases.  Look for indicators of contradictory or mixed feelings.  Etc.  

              Humans who are aphasic (have suffered brain injuries that cause major language disabilities) and who have had their brain hemispheres separated (by severing the corpus callosum, for example to treat severe epilepsy that does not respond to medications) develop an ability to read these cues with a high degree of accuracy.  

              That ability can to a certain extent be learned by persons who are neurologically normal; and of course training in cog sci and clinical psych (which I have) is useful in this area.   I've also done live human-subject research on some allied areas and observed some of these effects in that context.  

              All of the above, occurring under circumscribed conditions such as one-to-one conversation, are radically different to what occurs in social circumstances with more than two people present.  In social interactions among multiple people, the number of variables increases combinatorially, making the task extremely difficult.  This is true even when the total is three or four people interacting.  

              "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

              by G2geek on Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 03:12:44 AM PST

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          •  lol (0+ / 0-)

            Daily Kos: Updated: Video of Obituary-Breaking Kim Jong-il Has Died

            which for the participants are self-evidently real and convey revealed truth.

            sounds like dkos :)

            why? just kos..... *just cause*

            by melo on Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 12:58:01 PM PST

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        •  and I might add, I see from your recs of... (0+ / 0-)

          ... a number of my other comments here, that you basically agree with my analyses in those areas.  

          The data and inferences I used for those are the same as I use for my assessment of the feelings and emotional traits of the North Korean people.

          And I also believe, with reasonably good foundation for saying this, that if I was able to travel to DPRK, I could probably come out with a fairly accurate psychological assessment of my hosts, minders, and others with whom I had any chance to communicate personally.  This not by asking them about politics, but by calibrating my assessment of their feelings based on clear examples, and by asking polite questions that would enable making reasonable inferences about other cases.

          DPRK is one of the few cases where I think that kind of assessment would be possible, due to the relatively small number of variables involved: one ideology/religion nationwide, a very limited number of options for people in their lives, a very limited exposure to other ways of thinking and interacting, and a very narrow range of approved expression.  I don't think it would be possible in South Korea, or most of the rest of the world.  

          Basically it comes down to hypothesis-testing within a constrained set of variables.  

          "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 02:19:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I remain skeptical (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek, Cassandra Waites

            I think it's a lot easier to know people's feelings in places where they feel free enough to share them without expecting adverse consequences. Interestingly enough, those places don't have to be democracies. When I was in Indonesia in 1976, all sorts of people spontaneously complained about governmental corruption to us. Indonesia was a military dictatorship, but they didn't fear that we Malay-speaking Americans would get them in trouble, and they were right.

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 02:52:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  If I'm not mistaken... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MichaelNY, Cassandra Waites

              .... Indonesian culture and interactions with outsiders, enable a greater degree of informality than would be the case in DPRK.

              The formality of interaction in DPRK is one of the factors that constrains the set of variables and makes it easier to observe variations.  

              The degree of control and constraint in DPRK actually works in favor of using techniques of psychological assessment.  

              Re. your comment elsewhere about visitors only being shown areas inhabited by people who are well-screened and obedient Party members: yes, and their brains are still hardwired in much the same way as the rest of the people who were raised in their culture.  

              For example you might take a bus trip with a bunch of other tourists, and then stop "randomly" along the way to eat lunch at a "typical" North Korean restaurant.  You can be quite sure that the restaurant is part of the arrangements for giving tourists certain impressions.  But here's where Americans typically err: by treating the situation with condescension for "being a set-up" rather than with appreciation for "being a lovely expression of hospitality."  The latter gets a channel open and gets the hosts just slightly off their guard, to where one can observe an increase in emotionally genuine behavior.  

              Another part of the usual trip involves seeing the Pyongyang subway system, one that is apparently a working system though limited, and that is also used for "tourist theatre."  Yet another part often involves going to an amusement park where one sees typical NK families taking their kids out to go on the rides and so on.  Kids' reactions to things are particularly interesting because they are less enculturated, and this provides a point of comparison as well.  

              Importantly, all of what I've been saying here has to do with a country about which data are highly limited, so any additional information is useful, no matter how small an increment.  By analogy, consider the extrapolations NASA makes from astrophysical data, for example to detect the presence of likely planets orbiting distant stars.  And did you know it would only take a one-pixel image of a planet to tell us a) if it had life, and b) if it had technologically capable civilization?  (All of that by looking at at the spectra of light visible from the bright and dark sides of the planet respectively.)

              Contrast to the situation in e.g. Cuba, where many people speak English, where there are some points of commonality with more familiar Latino cultures, and where people feel free to criticize the government within certain boundaries, and so on.  We already know quite a bit about Cuba and the Cuban people, so there isn't the need to "turn up the input gain" to pick up faint signals: one can just go ahead and ask questions and have open conversations, very often informally, and very often freely with strangers.  

              BTW, I am not in any way claiming to have anything like a high talent for reading humans.  All of this stuff can be learned, most people do it unconsciously, most people are quite a bit better at it in social circumstances (multi-person interactions) than they have any way of elucidating or describing in theoretical terms.  As in, hitting a baseball involves your brain doing complex trigonometry in a fraction of a second, but most people couldn't spell out the equations.  

              The only thing I'm doing differently is elucidating a bunch of stuff that normally occurs in the background of normal interactions, and then looking for all the possible hypothesis-testing that can be done with each small increment of data.  

              "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

              by G2geek on Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 03:36:44 AM PST

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