Friday, July 25, 2008


University entrance exams in Turkey or TOEFLE, GRE exams measure mathematics, social, science,
Foreign language knowledge and specific skills. It is not enough to know by itself, the person who answers more and correct win, so the person who thinks fast wins.

Every person has moments, hours, days even months that he or she thinks faster than normal.
In the months of spring and autumn, specially in September and October, as if God motivates us for the approaching difficulties of the winter, drives us to think faster on the average.

The fast thinking person evaluates events deeper with his/her increased brain energy, real or not, true or false he relates things more and remembers more things ‘related’ to the subject.

If the thinking speed continues to get even faster, digressions to subjects more distantly related to the topic may increase. If the effects of thinking speed increase remains as much as excessive sensitivity, loss of concentration while driving, its affects remain limited by effecting the content of thinking process and the personal success.

Pronin and Wagner wrote about their experiments that showed thinking speed effects mood in their article “Manic Thinking – Independent Effects of Thought Speed and Thought Content on Mood” of 2006. High thinking speed creates and elevated feeling, happiness etc., and in some cases a subjective selfconfidence and grandeur.

Similarly, Winkielman et all. states that high fluency in information processing, for ex. listening to a fluent and easily understandable message, causes the message to be percieved more positive than it really is. ‘Generally speaking, high fluency indicates things are positive, and low fluency negative.’
This ability, given by the creator to us, is named as ‘marking the data hedonically’ or ‘hedonic marking’.

Perceptional fluency, as in the fluency of advertisements, triggers the feeling of positive appraisal. Fluency signal is formed at the very beginning of the input signal. Fluency signal constitutes the best reference when there is little information that can be drawn from the input signal. People sometimes prefer the new, complex and surprising arousal signals to simple and known signals because of this.
Thinking speed is an important element in the management of peoples preferences.

Intentionally or not, each person utilizes his/her thinking speed for own purposes by his/her own. Being able to do extraordinary things in emergency situations can be attributed to the skills God has given as much as the individual abilities he/she possess. Human mind and body works with a higher speed in emergency situations.

Even in normal situations, we increase our thinking speed to overcome the difficulties we are faced.
Concentration is to handle everything ve percieve and think from a certain reference point. Focusing is to limit our whole thinking capacity to a singel subject and cognitively process things only within that region. In each of these cases, we leave some part of our brain’s neural network out of functioning and pump blood to only regions that are related.

Another way that we regulate our thinking speed is ‘to feel an emotion.’ Emotions affect the signal propagation and its conditions in the brain via the hormones that trigger them and the hormones the emotions, themselves trigger in response. This situation affects and changes the threshholds that determine the decisions. For example, a driver under the effect of the early days of spring, takes more risk than he does under normal conditions, or political activists participate in higher risk actions. Just imagine that all the threshholds of a society changes approximately at the same time of the year. This also functions as a unique window of opportunity for change and novelties in the human society which is inherently conservative and conformist.

I believe, thinking speed should be proportionate with the thinking energy. In his “Sketch for a Theory of the Emotions”, Sarte says, ‘if one can not handle a situation with his cognitive abilities he then transforms his “psychic energy”, he becomes afraid.’ The increase of thinking speed, should be one of the ways to decrease the psychic energy, I believe… The increase of thinking speed, causes the appearence of our abilities such as imagination, planning, obsession, that help us to manage the difficulties that we are faced with.

Our ability to be successfull is not solely determined by our cogitive abilities. An affective maturity which nourishes, manages and sustains its cognitive abilities is also required. This is necessary for the success of a team as well as a single person, from the point of Crew Resource Management.

In an airplane accident at USA, the dispatcher send the airplane into a region with bad weather forecast, to land in a certain opportunity window. The plane hits the ground. The investigation shows that the copilot effects the pilot decision positively in every and each decision he has made, like ‘No problem we will make it or it’s OK we will land!’ In fact, the pilot and the copilot should have acted as parts of an unity. While the captain was open to the effects of the surroundings and the aircraft, the copilot should be adjusting his affective situation and regulate his decision threshholds. The problem in this situation was the copilot did the adjustment not so well.

In our country too and unfortunately there have been quiet a few accidents in which pilots became martyrs landing in bad visual conditions etc… To reduce these cases, maybe, we should look at Barbara E. HOLDER’s Phd Thesis once more:

“A dominance interaction occurs when one pilot does everything—processes instrument representations, speaks, acts, decides, without assistance or concurrence from his partner. The other pilot tends to remain a passive partner even if he was not passive before. This pattern is often characterized by a unidirectional flow of representations centering on one pilot. Pilots construct an understanding of the situation independent of
each other and the understanding of the dominant pilot may sway the understanding of the other pilot. Communication between pilots tends to be one-sided flowing from the dominating pilot to the other pilot with little or no opportunity for negotiation and discussion.“

I am afraid, our people’s dominant character which has made our country run from victory to victory
is being evaluated as a single ‘pilot’s mistake’ in the current airplane accidents or at least is being pronounciated as such...

Holder has prepared her thesis by attending sea helicopter trainings and has recorded the trainings of other people in helicopter simulators. She has interesting comments on the effect of pilot copilot rank relations…. After everything is explained about the Isparta accident and when precautions are being discussed this rank issue could be pondered upon. It is possible to find Holder’s thesis on the internet.

I have studied the God given ability of thinking speed and its application from the individual, social,
economical and aviation applications in this article. I have pointed at the relation between thinking speed, psychic energy and emotions. I would like to ponder on the transformation of psychich energy
to thinking speed as in imagination, planning and affections in my next articles. The conversion of imagination to dreams, day dreams and sleep etc… The role of the sense of time in this etc…

Friday, July 18, 2008


İTÜ’den Hocam Sn. Cevdet ACAR’a.

Bu yazım insan dikkat yeteneğinin(concentration) doğası üzerine bir dizi makalemin ilki. Gerçekten, dikkat toplamak -yoğunlaşmak (concentration) yalnız insanoğluna özgü bir özellik değil.

Yoğunlaşmak maddenin bir özelliği. Yoğunlaşmak ‘bir noktada bir araya gelmek durumu’ olarak tanımlanır. Concentric ‘ortak bir merkezi nokta sahibi olmak’ anlamına gelir.

İnsanın yoğunlaşmak-dikkat toplamak yeteneğine gelince anlam biraz değişir. Merriam-Webster ‘ilginin bir tek nesneye yönelişi’ olarak tanımlar onu. Günlük dilde odaklanmak olarak yanlış bir şekilde kullanılır.

İnsan zihninin yeteneklerini kontrol etmek ve göstermek için kolay bir yol görsel olarak düşünmektir. Gözlerimizle bakmak açısından, dikkat toplamak – yoğunlaşmak bir tek nesneye bakmak ve diğer her şeyi bu referans noktasına göre görmektir. Odaklanmak ise bir tek şeye bakmak ve başka şeyleri hiç görmemektir.

Odaklanmak ilgiyi bir tek nesneye sınırlamak(örn. Bir şeyin ilgi alanı içine alınması) anlamına gelir. Yoğunlaşmak – dikkat toplamak ilginin karakterini değiştirmek ve böylece ilgi alanı içindeki nesnenin diğerlerinden bir bakıma hariç tutmaktır.

Yoğunlaşmağı kaybetmek fakat aynı zamanda odağı korumak mümkündür. İlginizi rahatlatabilirsiniz ama, baktığınız alanın büyüklüğünü azaltabilirsiniz, örn bütün bir insan ya da bir insan yüzü. Bu rahat dikkat(relaxed attention) uygularken önemlidir.

Ayrıca yoğunluğu – dikkatinizi arttırabilir ama odağınızı kaybedebilirsiniz, eğer isterseniz, bu bir parça daha karışıktır ama. Belirli hiç bir şeye bakmaz, fakat Istanbul Boğazında geniş manzarayı seyredebilirsiniz.

Yoğunlaşmak – dikkat toplamak ve odaklanmak yetenekleri tamamen görsel değildir. Bunlar bütün algılayış, muhakeme ve motor yeteneklerinde gözlenebilirler. Benliğin vücut buluşu, varoluş duyusu zaman duyusu ile yakından ilgilidir. Varoluşumuzu, içinde bulunduğumuz andaki, yani ‘sözde şimdi - specious present’taki’ ya da şu andaki varlığımızı hissederiz.

Sözde şimdi’nin uzunluğu içinde bulunduğumuz duruma göre değişir. Aynı zamanda, şimdiye ilişkin duyumuza veya kendimizi ve varlığımızı hissedişimize ait duyunun tazeleniş sıklığı değişkendir.

Bir şey yaparken varlığımızı her an doğrudan doğruya duymayız. Gerçekte, yaptığımız iş üzerinde yoğunlaşmak – dikkat toplamak benliğimizi hissetmek sıklığımızı azaltır. Bu aynı zamanda zaman duyusunu azaltır. Bu sıklık aynı zamanda algılayış sıklığına denk düşer. Algılayış sıklığı artarsa algılayış duyarlığı da artar.

Sözde şimdi kavramının bu noktada başı belaya girer. Sözde şimdi toplam süresi yoğunlaşış – dikkat toplayış tarafından belirlenen, etkilenen bir algılayış süresidir.

İlgi odağın bir soyutlayışıdır. İlgi bir anda ilgilendiğimiz şeylerin sınırlarını belirler. Eğer birden çok şeyle ilgileniyorsak an uzar, yani sözde şimdi artar.

Bu niye yüksek yoğunlaşış – dikkat ile bazen zamanın çabuk geçtiğini ve bazan olduğundan uzun geçtiğini açıklar. Eğer yüksek yoğunlaşış ile tek bir iş yaparsak sözde şimdi kısalır, dolayısıyla zamanı hissetmeyiz veya olduğundan kısa hissederiz. Buna karşın, eğer yüksek yoğunlaşış ile karışık bir iş yaparsak zaman çok yavaş geçer ve zamanı olduğundan uzun hissederiz.

Sözde şimdi varoluşumuzu, benliğimizi hissettiğimiz anlardır. Sözde şimdi beynin bilinçle mantıksal yorum yaptığı zamanlardır. İnsan beyninin sağlıklı çalışması bilinçli ve bilinçsiz faaliyetleri arasında ortalama dengeye dayanır.

Örneğin, yabancı bir dili kolaylıkla anlayabilmek için, aşırı yoğunlaşmayıp bir parça rahatlayınız, öyleki sözde şimdi sürelerinde duyduğunuz şeyler onlar arasındaki bilinçaltı sürelerinde işlenebilsin.

Karışık işlerde yüksek yoğunlukla uzun süreli çalışmak sözde şimdi sürelerimizi en yüksek sıklıkla en uzun sürede tutmamıza imkan tanıyan yetenekler geliştirmemize neden olur. Eğer kişi bu yeteneklerini idare etmek için iyi donanımlı ve eğitimli değilse, uzun süreli yüksek yoğunluklu işler insan bilinçaltını baskı altına alıp ona zarar verebilir veya algılayışı halusinasyonlar görülebilecek bir duyuş ve işitiş noktasına kadar arttırabilir. Bilinçaltının bastırılışı kaçınılmaz olarak bütün psikolojiye zarar verir ve insan beyninin bir dizi psikoz ile tepki verişine neden olabilir.

Bu rezaletten uzak durmak için, çalışırken en basitinden 20 20 20 kuralını uygulayabilirsiniz. “Her 20 dakikada bir, ne yaparsanız yapın duraklayın ve 20 feet uzaktaki bir nesneye 20 saniye bakıp gözlerinizi açıp kapayın.”

Son tahlilde, bu tür işler var olan bir çok işlerden seçmiş olduğunuz bir kaçıdır, yüksek bir dağa tırmanmağı seçebilirsiniz ya da, bir hava trafik kontrolü merkezinde mühendis ya da kontrolör olarak çalışmağı seçebilirsiniz, ya da bir cerrah olarak hizmet etmeği seçebilirsiniz. Tamamen size bağlı…

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


What does it mean ‘to feel right’ or ‘to feel the right emotion’? Can we have an objective judgment on this? What good will it do after all? Will it help us to increase the quality of our lives? Will it help special people as air traffic controllers, nuclear plant or transportation systems operators, large systems engineers in coping with the difficulties of their jobs?

If most of the people watching a movie feel the emotion of sorrow, and you also feel sorrow, that means you feel the right emotion or at least the socially acceptable emotion. This is a great simplification, though. If you are a foreigner, you may not understand the jokes in a movie and you may not laugh when others do… An other example, from the point of precision or repeatability could be; You should feel approximately the same emotions everytime you watch your favorite movie… This is also a great simplification because it does not take into account the time and the accumulation of experience and knowledge(and sometimes boredom).

To feel the right feeling depends not only on the precision but also on the accuracy. What you feel should be ‘appropriate’ to your personality and to the situation that you are in. I may be getting dangerously subjective, I know. What is appropriate may change according to time, society, individual, family, culture, education etc… But still, there is a limit to appropriateness…
The sense of self sets a rough border to what is appropriate and what is not.

‘Is this me who feels this?’ is the golden question to ask. But even then, self is not a constant, undeveloping, non-spontaneous entity. So, I admit, my starting question does not have an objective answer, I deeply doubt it has any either.

Please, let me change my question then… Why can’t we decide we feel right or wrong? Unfortunately for me, the answer of this question has been given well ahead.

Sartre has stated that ‘emotional conciousness is non-reflective at first’. He says ‘The emotional consciousness is primarily the consciousness of the world’. So, when you feel afraid of something you get under its magic effect which causes you to concentrate on it more and more rather than percieving your own self and situation. In his ‘Sketch for a Theory of the Emotions’ (Translated by Philip Mairet – Routledge Classics) Sartre states in fact ‘ The self does not appear at all in ‘ this type of automatic process.

The reason we do not feel whether our feeling is right or wrong is, feeling is not a reflective process. Sartre chooses not to call it an automatic process. He says ‘unreflective conduct is not unconscious conduct’. The unreflective character of feeling can be observed in the situation where you become aware of your feelings. For example, when you become aware that you are very angry, your feeling disappears.

If it is impossible to decide whether our feeling is right or appropriate how come so many people happen to feel the same and mostly the ‘right’ feeling? It may be related to the way we learn our feelings first of all. The first feeling we learn is ‘trust’. We human beings develop the feeling of trust by getting ‘feeded’ regularly by our mamas in the beginning of our lives. It’s no surprise getting regular good food is critically important at large systems, ATC centers etc., where everthing is designed on a single human feeling, namely ‘trust’.

Secondly, our emotions are continuously conditioned by life, by the society we live in or the team we work in etc... The culture that we live in sets the noetic thresholds for our emotions. My Singaporean fiancee once had mentioned ‘Everything in Turkey is hyper! Even the cows in the picture on the milk bottles look hyper!’... The character of a people is set by its culture. Music, in all cultures, teaches and conditions people to what should be expected within a given mood.

Sartre states “In a word, to experience any object as horrible, is to see it against the background of a world which reveals itself as already horrible.” Sartre does not mention mood in his book but I believe what he calls at the very end of his sketch as ‘background of a world’ can also be related to ‘mood’.

If we are conditioned to feel certain emotions under certain conditions or moods, the new question should be “Would it be possible to bring ourselves up to become a better self or a better ourselves?”. And “Would it be possible to better train so that large systems engineers, ATCOs, pilots and other large systems operators feel better while they are doing their jobs, react to emergencies much better and faster so that they be more successful in their professions?” I believe, Sartre’s ‘Sketch for a Theory of the Emotions’ is a precious legacy which must be studied by the aviation community, specially the trainers and teachers and their training institutes.

Sartre’s work helps us to understand ourselves better, consequently, to know.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Importance of Sartre's 'Sketch for a Theory of Emotions' for Aviation

Sartre's 'Sketch for a Theory of Emotions' could prove to be a tangible asset for air traffic controller and pilot training. It could be a solid reference for the teachers who have to teach the role of emotions in decision making.

Large Systems engineers would definitely benefit from it forcontrolling themselves when working under heavy load or usinghigh concentration for long durations.

Philip Mairet's translation from Routledge Classics says"A conciousness becoming emotional is rather like a consciousness dropping asleep" p. 51. In fact Sartre refers to emotions as a special type of consciousness as in an "unreflective conduct" which is not unconscious as in the act of writing.

He explains the origin of emotions as a " lesser existence or a lesser presence(or a greater existence, etc.). In a word, during emotion, it is the body which, directed by the consciousness,changes its relationship with the world so that the worldshould change its qualities. If emotion is playacting, the play is one that we believe in p. 41.

As Sartre suggests, we degrade ourselves into a lower, fictionalworld when we are faced with facts that we cannot manage to overcomewith our ususal abilities. At this point, our consciousness "gets caught in its own snare." It has created a fictional worldto escape into and now it believes what it has created, as in dreams p.52.

Sartre's explanation on p. 52 of Rouledge's edition may explain vertigo situations and false sense of safety caused by'over confidence' and similar feelings in aviation.

Sartre's 'Sketch for a Theory of Emotions' is a difficult to absorb but a precious treasury that can be used to understand Crew Resource Management and other situations in aviations. It has to be studied by teachers and the results have to betaught to pilots, ATCO's and engineers. The aviation world could be a better place if only this were done.

Kış Eğitim Merkezi Komutanlığı
Bursa, Uludağ Orduevi