Author Archives: Tiffany Monique Jackson

Old Work or New Work

When it comes to electrical work one can get easily confused if you have no prior knowledge about what you are doing. This is was just the case a few weeks ago while I was attempting to help my boyfriend renovate a home. He is a certified electrician and me, not so much. He was getting frustrated explaining the difference between “new work” and “old work.” New work apparently is when the house is already built and you are putting in outlet boxes. And old work is when the dry wall is down and you are putting in outlet boxes. This was very confusing to me and as I write this I had to call him again to get him to explain it to me again.

In my mind I thought that new work meant that you were going to be doing all new work to an new house. And I thought old work meant you were going to be doing to new work to an old house. I have no idea where my logic came from, but somehow it made sense to me. After he explained it to me for about 15 minutes, I thought I had an understanding but I didn’t quite understand completely. So I pretended to understand just so he could get a mental break, but I had so many other questions to ask.

This is an example of “Expertise.” In this case my boyfriend was the expert in this field. And I needless to say am the novice. According to our text “experts represent problems within their domain differently than novices. They see the problem at a deeper level, relying on underlying principles to build the problem representation whereas novices focus on superficial characteristics of the problem” (Chi, 1981). This is exactly what I did. I focused on the superficial or not-so- important characteristics of the electrical problem we were trying to solve. Instead of focusing on installing the outlet boxes, I was focusing on why they were named as they were.

According to our text “Like almost everything else in cognitive psychology, problem solving critically depends on the way that we represent the information in our mind” (Wede, 2014). In this circumstance the problem for me was understanding the difference between old work and new work. The representation that I had in my mind was totally different than what the real definition of old and new work is. This caused me to in a way block out or partially understand what my boyfriend was saying because I was so focused on what I believed to be true. Thus I was unable to solve the problem at hand correctly because there were some spaces in the home that didn’t have drywall there and I kept reaching for the outlet boxes that were for “new work.” New work is supposed to be used for spaces that have dry wall already there, so again I was wrong. I think I may finally be getting the hang of it because I actually took a sharpie and wrote on the outlet boxes old work or new work, and wrote with a pencil on the wall next to where the outlet goes whether new work or old work was supposed to go there.

The Cerebellum : The little Brain

The Cerebellum: The Little Brain

I came across an article and video entitled, “The Boy Without a Cerebellum.” This piece made me want to read more about the little boy mentioned in the article, whose name is Chase Britton. He is a cute little boy who seems to be so full of life. As I choose the words “full of life,” I think back to what one of Chase’s doctors said in the article. He said he has the MRI of a vegetable. Mostly everyone knows what that means, basically a person who is non-functioning.  Despite being born without a cerebellum, Chase was not a vegetable. According to doctors seeing Chase, it baffled them. This is because according to our text, “The cerebellum is involved with coordination of muscle movements. Damage to the cerebellum can result in irregular and jerky movements, tremors and balance impairment” (Goldstein). This seems to hold true for Chase, although he has some trouble with walking and needs assistance, he is able to walk slowly with the help of a walker and people around him. His movements according to the video did not seem jerky at all. He was walking and smiling and looking at his IPAD.

If this surprised and baffled me, I can only imagine what it did to the doctors.  According to the article he was able to sit up on his own, and this is something no one would be able to do if they did not have a cerebellum (Holewa, 2011). His diagnosis is cerebellar hypoplasia, which normally means a small cerebellum rather than a missing one (Holewa, 2011). Chase is literally able to according to the article hold a pencil, walk, and ride a bike, which doctors say he should not be able to do with his diagnosis. This little boy is a miracle and he’s literally walking proof that even if you are missing a part of your brain structure, doctors and scientist do not know everything. If damage to the cerebellum can cause balance impairment and irregular movement of muscles, and Chase is functioning, able to pick up a pencil, focus on an IPAD and ride a bike all without his cerebellum, this should make doctors and scientists reevaluate the things they think they know.


Boy Without a Cerebellum Baffles Doctors. Lisa Holewa 2011.


Perception: A mouse or a Cord?

Just the other day I had been having a conversation with one of my girlfriends laying there laughing and carrying on. As we concluded our conversation and ended the call, I got up from my bed and walked over toward my jewelery box. I had noticed on the floor by the side of it there was a mouse just sitting there. I immediately freaked out and began to scream thinking the thing would run away. Strangely there was not movement at all. I began to freak out even more thinking this thing is dead and I’m going to have to pick it up and get it out of here.

After screaming for about 10 seconds. I began to try and figure out how I would pick this up and get it out of my house. I started searching around my room trying to find something to pick it up with. After searching for all of 5 minutes I began to panic thinking, I need to call someone to get this thing. I was so disgusted and didn’t want to deal with it. I finally got up the courage and ran downstairs to get a plastic bag out of the kitchen. At this moment while slowly walking up the stairs with the bag in hand, I’m thinking oh boy I’m really going to have to touch this thing.

Finally after getting to the top of the stairs I took a deep breath and walked into my room, looked over to the side of the jewelery box; and to my surprise it had been my extension cord that I had been screaming over the entire time. It turns out the part of the extension cord that looked like the “body” of the mouse was the part where you would plug something in and the what looked like the “tail” of the mouse was the actual cord. I began laughing at myself and thinking back to all the screaming I had done over an extension cord.

This is particularly interesting because this experience had a great deal to do with perception. According to the text (Goldtein, B) perception is defined as experiences resulting from stimulation of the senses (P.49). “Perception can change based on added information” (Goldstein, B). This is exactly what happened to me after I saw what I thought was a mouse. The added information in this case was my view of the so called “mouse” from a different angle. What I mean is that once more information (the way the object was seen from my angle of the stairs) was added into my view I was able to see the object for what it really was.

According to the text, “the concept of recognition by components (RBC) states that we percieve objects by perceiving elementary features called geons” (Goldstein, B). “Geons are perceptual building blocks that can be combined to create objects” (Goldstein, B). “According to RBC we can recognize an object if we are able to perceive just a few of its geons” (Goldstein, B). I believe because I was able to see a few of the cord’s geons, I was able to accurately determine that it was actually a cord and not a mouse. I was able to put the “pieces” together in my mind and form an accurate picture to let my brain know that it was just a cord, something that was supposed to be there in my room.