Senior Seminar Project Script Mel Boonya-anantaInterviewer: Hi Mel, how you doing?Me: Hi. I’m good, you?Interviewer: Good. So please introduce yourself?Me: Im Mel. I’ve been a student at ISB for 2 years. And today I’ll be talking about how some of ways of knowing affected me in a particular experience and what Ive learned from that experience.Interviewer: “Ways of knowing”?Me: Well there are 4: Language, Perception, Emotion, and Reason. These ways of knowing can described as the ways in which we take in knowledge of the world.Interviewer: Which one are you going to address or are you addressing all of them?Me: Im going to be talking about perception, emotion, and reason.Interviewer: Why those 3?Me: I believe that in my particular situation these 3 ways of knowing had the most effect on my behavior and mental state.Interviewer: What is the situation that you are going to discuss?Me: Well during the summer of my junior and senior, so last summer, I attended an engineering camp that had the purpose of both building engineering skills, leadership skills, and personal skills. On the second day of that program we had to do a rope course that was designed with various obstacles that required people to work together, for people to take the role of a leader, and to overcome one’s fear.Interviewer: Are you going to discuss this whole day with many different events or just one specific example.Me: Im going to concentrate on one specific one. This was a situation where one person would have to climb up on a 10 meter-ish high pole through a series of steps and then they had to walk across a log to another end. And first of all I am deathly scared of heights.Interviewer: Since you have highlighted the ways of knowing, how do they connect to this experience?Me: When I sat there waiting for my turn up the ladder, I kept saying to myself over and over again that it was no big deal, I’ve done this before although not as high. I was appealing to reason to convince myself that I could do it. I reasoned that if this was an officially monitored site and people have been doing this for years this shouldn’t be a problem. I was pushing my mind over to the reason side of the reason/emotion continuum.
Interviewer: Reason/emotion continuum, what is that?Me: Well, it’s essentially the idea that reason and emotion as ways of knowing exists on a continuum each being on the opposite end. The situation where we would most use reason would be math.Interviewer: Ok so why do u think you did that and what happened afterwards?Me: Well, I just didn’t want myself to over think the whole situation and since I was told that I “had” to do it. So I guess I knew that the emotions would kind of root me to the ground so I fought it with reason instead.Me: The point of that event that got me the most wasn’t the part about climbing up to the top that was no problem. But before I got off the ground I did emotionally motivate myself by saying that if I didn’t do this then I would never succeed in anything in life. So then I said to myself, in fear of future failure, to just take it one step at a time. When I got up to the top and stood up. I could feel the pole wobbling. I could feel my hands and legs start to shiver. Then it felt like an ice cold bucket of water was poured down my back. It sent chills up and down my spine, I felt cold and exposed at the top of that pole. Then I started to recognize in my head that I was afraid. I wasn’t afraid of falling and the possibility of dying, that never crossed my mind, I was afraid that if I slipped up one bit I would be crippled for life. And I think that for some reason I was afraid of embarrassment. So I guess in this case the James-Lange Theory fits perfectly. And I above I think I touched on the Yerkes-Dodson graph.Interviewer: Well you just mentioned two theories James-Lange and Yerkes-Dodson, what are they?Me: First, James-Lange is just the idea that emotions are essentially physical in nature.Interviewer: What do you mean by physical?Me: Well, it’s just saying that physical reactions or symptoms come before and cause emotions. For example, when a person is on stage they may start to shiver and tremble and sweat, only after they feel the physical reactions do they realize that they are experiencing stage fright.Interviewer: Ok, I see what you mean, then what is Yerkes-Dodson graph?Me: Yerkes-Dodson is a graph that shows that certain amounts of emotional stimulation is needed for someone to reach their maximum performance level however as the amount of emotional stimulation increases the performance will drop. I see it as pretty much emotional overload.Interviewer: I get it, so can you explain briefly how you experiences relate to the theories?
Me: Sure. Well first relating back to the continuum I had to push myself from reason based thinking towards the emotional side a bit otherwise I would have never gone up that ladder. Well during that period until I got on top of the pole, I think I was performing with the right amount of emotional stimulation in order to have my maximum performance level. So that’s the Yerkes-Dodson theory. Then at the top, my physical reactions of shivering and shaking and the chills in my back caused me to feel fear, James-Lange, which led to an emotional overload and then my performance decreases significantly.Interviewer: Then what happened after that? Can I take a guess that someone yelled up don’t look done and as expected you did?Me: Yea that’s exactly what happens, funny how that’s always how it works out. Well, yea I did look down and that’s how perception really took me over the edge. My emotions took control of most of my sense and in a way I believed that it altered my perception. I was emotionally colored both by my ever present fear of heights and at that moment the fear of injury and fear of embarrassment and letting myself down. From what I saw from the ground, the pole was that high. Ok, 10ish meters is about a 3-4 story building. So no big deal, I use to stand on the balcony when I lived on 20th floor that was no problem. However, when I got to the top, my perception was as if I was back on the 20th floor except no railings, pretty much nothing at all. My emotions had altered my perception which then increased my fear even more.Interviewer: Are you saying that it was some sort of positive feedback that was negative?Me: Pretty much yea.Interviewer: So, briefly, how did u get out of it?Me: It’s funny really, truthfully after that I don’t really remember it that well, but I think I might have closed my eyes and took the first step onto that log just to blur out all that emotional coloring. Then I just kind of said, and please excuse my language, “to hell with it”. Apparently I made it to the end, hugged the tree that the log was attached to for a while and when people told me to jump I told myself, “If u want to go down it’s the only way”. Then there rest isn’t really that important to the application of the ways of know although I find it interesting that it took me what seemed like forever to get off the pole but I think less than 2 minutes to walk 6 meters and then jump.Interviewer: So then, what do you think you have learned or what part of you do you now understand so that you can us that knowledge in the future?Me: I think that I’ve now recognize that mechanics of the mental war going on with in my head between emotion and reason. My ability to actually control my emotion and push
myself towards reason yet maintain certain about of emotional stimulant for maximum performance is actually becoming clearer. I believe that it all starts with James-Lange. If I can stop the physical symptoms of oncoming fear or extreme anxiety I could be able to acknowledge the fear yet be in control of it. Does that make sense?Interviewer: Kind of but not really.Me: Well let me put it this way, if I can eliminate all the shakiness and cold sweat that ultimately leads me to feel fear, I could then realize that I am scared yet the emotion will not affect my performance as much as in the situation that we just discussed. Then from that I would still be able to perform plus decrease the amount of emotional coloring.Interviewer: Since you mention James-Lange, how will that help you with what you just said?Me: In order to get rid of the shivering and cold sweat I could do something active that puts my mind off the current situation. I believe if I could maybe do something active like let’s say jump up and down or do some push-ups then this would “calm my nerves”, as people say, then after doing the push-ups or whatever activity, the cool down from the adrenalin will most likely cause the shakiness to subside. So this would help me in any situation when Im nervous and it has.Interviewer: What do you mean it has?Me: During last semester’s exam, I was extremely nervous for one of the exams since my grade was on a tipping point. Before the afternoon exam went out for a run and played some basketball with my cousin. Ok at the time I told myself that I was just for me to calm down and that this was the worst idea in the world getting tired before an exam. But afterwards I was considerably more focused and calm. So I guess it does work, except I just never chopped down on single event into tiny pieces before.Interviewer: One last thing, how’d you do on that exam?Me: Did pretty well.Interviewer: Too bad you didn’t know this before going to that camp.Me: I don’t think it would have help that much, imagine me trying to do jumping-jacks on a small wobbly wooden pole.Interviewer: Guess not, well thanks for sharing your experience and breaking it down for me.Me: Sure no problem, but talking about it still gives me the chills