Zai Jian, Greencine!

With some sadness, I canceled my greencine account today. Grad school always takes up a lot of time, and the Time Warner DVR is just too fun and convneient… fast forwarding through ads makes television fun again, and time-shifting just blows me away.

I originally got involved with Greencine because their selection was broader than Netflix or Blockbuster. On a related note, film buffs will enjoy Adam’s “List”.

In the quite likely event that I return (service has always been fantastic), a partial list of my current queue is below the fold.


Black Snake Moan (2007)
The Bow (2005)
Truman (1995)
Sanjuro (Criterion Collection) (1962)
Getting Any? (1995)
Heimat: A Chronicle of Germany (Disc 2 of 6) (1984)
Animated Soviet Propaganda: American Imperialists (1924)
Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life (1997)
Baraka (1993)
My Life as a Dog (Criterion Collection) (1985)
This Divided State (2005)
Point of Order (1964)
Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004)
Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst (2003)
Batman Begins (Special Edition) (2005)
Sword of the Beast (Criterion Collection) (1965)
Following (1998)
Pickpocket (Criterion Collection) (1959)
Legong, Dance of the Virgins (1935)
Mean Creek (2003)
Gaza Strip (2002)
In the Year of the Pig (1968)
Purple Butterfly (2003)
The Road Home (2000)
The Squid and the Whale (2005)
King of Chess (1991)
Tears of the Black Tiger (2000)
Incubus (1965)
Undeclared: Complete Series (Disc 1 of 4) (2001)
The Conversation (1974)
Sars Wars: Bangkok Zombie Crisis (2004)
Mountain Patrol (2004)
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Gojira Deluxe Collector’s Edition (1954)
The Proposition (2005)
The Skeleton Key (2005)
Deadwood: Season 1 (Disc 1 of 6) (2004)
The Ghost of Mae Nak (2005)
Being There (1979)
What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)
Ran (Masterworks Edition) (1985)
Max (2002)
Blood Guts Bullets and Octane (1998)
Mendy (2006)
I Am Sam (2001)
Overlord (Criterion Collection) (1975)
Nine Lives (2004)
The Sign of the Cross (1932)
The Bride with White Hair (1993)
Things to Do (2006)
The President’s Last Bang (2005)
Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)
Sansho the Bailiff (Criterion Collection) (1954)
Ball of Fire (1941)
The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2004)
Seven Swords (2005)
Days of Glory (2006)
The Seventh Seal (Criterion Collection) (1957)
If…. (Criterion Collection) (1968)
Following Sean (2005)
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1965)
Down from the Mountain (2001)
Zero Hour! (1957)
Voices of a Distant Star (2002)
The Party (1968)
Fired! (2006)
Why We Fight: The Battle of Russia (1943)
Crazed Fruit (Criterion Collection) (1956)
Dead Man (1995)
Eraserhead (1977)
City of God (2002)
It Happened One Night (1934)
Red River (1948)
Marooned in Iraq (2002)

Rational Agency and Personhood

Reacting privately to my posts on Cognitive Development, Rational Moral Development, and the OODA Loop, an immensely valued critic wrote:

It remains unclear to me why you are skeptical of rational agency despite having no problem with rationality, metacognition, or other related concepts. My sense is that you see intelligence, and thus rationality, as residing mostly in automatic, domain-specific processes, and associate agency with more controlled and general forms of reasoning that you think are more likely to undermine rationality than to enhance it.

Since getting this email last week I’ve been tossing it around in my head. I think I agree.

People know much more than they can say. Our verbal descriptions most closely match our behavior when we are new at a task, and know it only as a series of steps. With practice we no longer think about those steps — we automate them — so that we can perform them mindlessly while thinking about other things

The human ability to think has two main purposes: to allow us to learn new thinks (reorientation) and disrupt the execution of already automated tasks (disorientation). That is, thinking is a tool that should be used when our orientation is insufficient for the actions we have to perform. Normally, we rely on anxiety, or disorientation produced by orientation, to tell us when we need to calculate a new path or go back and reorient ourselves for a later time. Metacognition is similar to anxiety, except that it’s controlled by decision instead of orientation.

So why am I skeptical of rational agency, the idea that being human means having well-thought-out reasons for one’s actions? Because the tool of thought is just that, a tool. Decision is a tool used by persons in situations where they are unable or undesirious of trusting what they already know — it is not the essence of personhood.

OODA Alpha, Part XIII: Conclusion

The Observe-Orient-Decide-Act, or OODA, loop is a model of human cognition. The OODA model is a dual processing theory that has two main circuits: Observe-Orient-Decide which is analogous to Level 1 processing, and Observe-Orient-Decide-Act which is a form of Level 2 processing. Within an educational context, one central insight of the OODA model is that an educator does not have to focus on decision, or conscious processing, to change actions. Two broad methods, reorientation and disorientation, are presented that operate by modifying or disrupting mental cognitive structures.

Three broad educational contexts are described. Instruction, or educating to some specific end, academics, or learner interaction supervised by an educator, and creativity, or the process of an educator preparing a learner to create new and useful products. For instruction and creativity, educators must focus on building the correct orientations within learners so they can learn. For academics, educators should use disorientation where appropriate in order to interrupt the natural behavior of learners to manipulate peer interaction. For creativity, educators should reorient learners so they possess the proper intrinsic motivation to be both well adjusted and successful.


OODA Alpha, a tdaxp series
1. Abstract
2. Dual Processing Systems
3. The OODA Loop
4. Decision
5. Orientation
6. A Theory of Mind
7. Reorientation
8. Disorientation
9. Education
10. Instruction
11. Student Interaction
12. Creativity
13. Conclusion
14. Bibliography

Gravity, Dimensions, and xGW

Curtis’s latest post on 5GW is just brilliant. Take this section, which may be partial summarized by saying “The tug of gravity weakens expotential with the addition of each new dimension through which it may propogate”:

4GW defeats 3GW because of even more mobility: including even the option of moving among civilians or, indeed, among friendly forces. Additionally, 4GW begins to make better use of memetic engineering, or of altering observations to create kinetic responses in individuals thus oriented, kinetic responses possibly quite far from the 3GW force’s field of battle: another degree of dispersal of kinetics. The CoGs may include the morale of the population supporting the 3GW force; the CoGs may include destruction and murder within civilian populations, at any point civilians can be found.

5GW defeats 4GW by refining memetic engineering, mulitplying domains to be shaped, and thus operating outside the scope of the 4GW observational range. Changes which occur within an agricultural sector in a far removed nation-state (or T.A.Z.4 ) may ultimately lead to effects within the 4GW force’s acknowledged field of battle5 ; etc. Indeed, the 4GW force’s concept of the field of battle may be altered.

In each of these cases, the reason the previous generation fails against the newest generation is simply that the previous generational strategies cannot account for the new dimensions of the conflict, or were not formed to address the new dimensions. Rather, the previous generational strategies were formed to address the dimensions of the generation before, with no leap-frogging to x+2: When the goal is to win and the present exigencies are pressing, the need is only to be one-up, and resources will be targeted accordingly.

If there’s ever a book that compiles the best posts on 5GW/Generations of War (which there should be), Curtis’s latest post would need to be in it.

Read “X vs X: Boom and the Generations in Conflict” now.

OODA Alpha, Part XII: Creativity

Science advances. While a literature on creativity exists in the OODA program of research (Boyd, 1976b), it draws on the conception of creativity as a fundamentally different form of thinking (Osinga, 2007). Modern research is converging on the realization that whatever creativity is, it is not the result of processes that are different than other forms of thinking (Kalyuga, Chandler, & Sweller, 1998; Kalyuga, et al., 2003; Kalyuga & Sweller, 2005; van Merrienboer & Sweller, 2005; Weisberg 1986, 1993, 2006;). Therefore, the antiquated sources of the original OODA paradigm (Osinga, 2007, 79) are set aside and modern research on creativity is examined in light of the observation-orientation-decision-action learning cycle.

Creativity is an understudied field within educational psychology (Plucker, Beghetto, & Dow, 2004). Creativity is defined as production that is “novel and interesting and valuable” (Simon, 2001) and is essentially an unstructured social process between individuals and already acknowledged experts in a field (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996). That is, creativity is not seen merely as divergent thinking , which may well be part of a special potential for creativity, (Torrance, 1968; 1993; Plucker, 1999) or only useful for studying the past (Simonton, 1984) which is certainly part of creativity, but rather the production of the novel, the interesting, the valuable whenever and wherever it occurs as long as it is recognized by an appropriate audience.


Creativity is also studied under the term expertise (Feldon, 2007a). When researchers speak of expertise as something that is either present or not, conclusions are made such as that it requires ten years of purposeful practice (Ericcson, Krampe, & Tesch-Romer, 1993). Another way of viewing expertise, as something that can exist in greater or lesser quantity, involves a recognition that more creative or expert people work more effortless (Kalyuga & Sweller, 2005) and efficiently (Ericsson & Lehmann, 1996) in a task.

Expertise is largely a matter of superior memorization (Anderson, 1980). Studies of chess grand masters revealed that chess grand masters had better memory for valid chess moves than novices (De Groot, 1965) but similar memory for nonsensical chess positions (Chase & Simon, 1973) it supports the contention that differences in long term memory alone may be the cause of exceptional skill (Sweller, 2004a). van Merrienboer & Sweller (2005) describe this view succinctly when they write that “expertise comes from knowledge stored in [long term memory] schemata, not from an ability to engage in reasoning with many elements that have not been organized in long-term memory. Human working memory simply is not able to process many elements (149-150).

While the contention that learners should develop mostly on their own (Bruner, 1961) has been criticized in recent years (Kirschner, Sweller, & Clark, 2006), young adults building expertise in the real world have no choice but to engage in this constructivist behavior. Therefore, creative and expertise individuals must be able to compensate for their poor self-constructed learning environment to be able to build up the schemata necessary for high-level performance.

An OODA perspective on creativity would encourage educators to reorient learners so that they develop mastery, acquire expertise and produce creative products, over a long period time on their own. In other words, motivational orientation is the key outcome Educators who wish their students to become creative and expert later in life should internalize the proper attitudes in them in a way that minimizes the role of decided-upon ends.


OODA Alpha, a tdaxp series
1. Abstract
2. Dual Processing Systems
3. The OODA Loop
4. Decision
5. Orientation
6. A Theory of Mind
7. Reorientation
8. Disorientation
9. Education
10. Instruction
11. Student Interaction
12. Creativity
13. Conclusion
14. Bibliography

OODA Alpha, Part XI: Student Interaction

Human nature makes no sense except in the context of social interaction (Vygotsky, 1978; Boyd, 1986; Tooby & Cosmides, 1992; 2005; Bjorklund & Pellegrini, 2002; Alford & Hibbing, 2004). This allows the academic system to function. Whether learners are engaged in construction rationality through multiple perspectives and reflection (Piaget, 1932/1965, 1985, 2001; Moshman, 1995, 2005) or peer tutoring (Topping & Bryce, 2004), academics cooperation is used in a variety of contexts (Das & Das, 2004; Ping & Swe, 2004; Carter & Hughes, 2005; Nambissan, 2005).

However, while cooperation may come naturally and easily from learner’s orientation, it may not be the form of cooperation that educators wish. Various forms of fairness driven cooperation needs to be suppressed by teachers such as cheating (Lin & Wen, 2007) and classroom disruption (Paulsel & Chory-Assad, 2005). An approach to modify cooperation among learners is needed, so that it can be disrupted where it hurts and encouraged where it helps.


In order to make cooperation work, however, an environment must be created where cooperation makes more sense than non-cooperation. One such way to do this is by individuals encoring common standards of decency on each other (Boyd, et al., 2003; Orbell, et al., 2004). Teachers often encourage peer-on-peer sanctioning, whether directly (Mann, 2006) or indirectly (Ronen & Langley, 2004). This works because enough learners often both willing to help others but averse to being unfairly used (Hibbing & Alford, 2004; Smith, 2006), caring about fairness and procedural justice (Gold, et al., 1984; Hibbing & Theiss-Morse, 2001; Alford & Hibbing, 2004). The concern for fairness even manifests itself in the brain (Singer, et al., 2006) and heritable (Wallace, et al., 2007) though of course is mediated by the broader culture (Henrich, et al., 2001). In other words, it’s part of orientation.

Four options present themselves for altering behavior when orientation does not produce the desired actions. First, reorientation might be used. Yet as mentioned above, there are a host of positive forms of cooperation that may be impacted by such manipulation of minds.. Second, students can be removed from even social activities by computer systems that mimic experts (Lehman, Bruning, & Horn, 2003) or peers (Kim & Baylor, 2006). However, the feasibility of cyber- and robotic learning companions is not yet determined. Thirdly, the academic environment can be made more resilient if such manipulation of the social environment is unfeasible (Doll, Song, & Siemers, 2003; Doll, Zucker, & Brehm, 2004). To the extent that altering the nature of social contacts is not realistic, altering the context in which those contacts happen is the wise course.

Another approach is to use disorientation to interrupt the natural behavior of learners. Disorientating stimulus might vary by task or situation, so environments that are likely to produce beneficial forms of cooperation may lack it while situations that may lead to harmful forms of cooperation would be purposefully disorienting.


OODA Alpha, a tdaxp series
1. Abstract
2. Dual Processing Systems
3. The OODA Loop
4. Decision
5. Orientation
6. A Theory of Mind
7. Reorientation
8. Disorientation
9. Education
10. Instruction
11. Student Interaction
12. Creativity
13. Bibliography

OODA Alpha, Part X: Instruction

In the context of conflict, Boyd (1986) instructs the reader to “get inside the adversary observation-orientation-decision-action loops (at all levels by being more subtle, more indistinct, more irregular, and quicker – yet appear to be otherwise.” The requirement for deception is because operations on the other’s orientation take place in confusing, disordered, and menacing environment (Boyd, 1986, 5). Yet whatever the attrition educators face (Smith & Ingersoll, 2004), students are not a force to be taken-down but one to be built-up. Therefore, the proper application of OODA theory would be to get inside the learners’ OODA loops, to manipulate their orientation bypass their decision making in order to change their implicit knowledge (Osinga, 2007). An instructor knowledgeable informed by OODA theory seeks to reorient learners.

In learning new words, to use as an example that teaches useful information, instructors wish to present an example of a new word in use, display what the word symbolizes, and explicitly define the word (Stahl, 1986) though too much information impedes performance (Igo, Kiewra, & Bruning, 2004; Igo, et al., 2007). That is, instruction is harmed by disorientation, even when the information that’s impeded cognition would by itself be useful (Kalyuga, Chandler, & Sweller, 2000, McCrudden, et al, 2004). Likewise, techniques that avoid disorientation by emphasizing materials for learners improve instruction (Kiewra, 1985; Titsworth, 2004; Titsworth & Kiewra, 2004 Neef, McCord, & Ferreri, 2006), beecause cues requires learners to make less decisions.


Laboratory instruction that does not attempt to teach useful information also finds the value of reorientation. One such arbitrary task is the Dunker radiation problem, which requires learners to discover that two separate lines of radiation are needed to kill a tumor (Dunker, 1926; Leech, Mareschal, & Cooper, 2007). Instruction in this program has focused on giving a one implicit or explicit clue, which still does not produce majority-correct performance (Gick & Holyoak, 1980), to repeated implicit practice, which does produce majority-correct answers (Thomas & Lleras, 2007). This result has been confirmed using other arbitrary tests (Schmidt, et al., 2007).

The central finding of both the practical and arbitrary instructional experiments is that learners, in the context of instruction, are best seen as passive. Or, more precisely, the conscious decision-making minds of learners should be recognized as passive. Orientation, and not decision, is the proper focus of instruction and therefore reorientation is the instructor’s trusty tool.


OODA Alpha, a tdaxp series
1. Abstract
2. Dual Processing Systems
3. The OODA Loop
4. Decision
5. Orientation
6. A Theory of Mind
7. Reorientation
8. Disorientation
9. Education
10. Instruction
11. Student Interaction
12. Creativity
13. Conclusion
14. Bibliography

OODA Alpha, Part IX: Education

Twice, Boyd (1986) includes headings that read “? Raises Nagging Question ?” (27, 71). These headings are used to draw attention to a problem drawn by above statements. In the same way, the discussions above on orientation and decision, and the meta-cognitive processes of reorientation and disorientation, raises the nagging question how to apply the OODA loop to education. Clearly, some aspects of the OODA loops of a student population are beyond control. Managed heterosis in order to improve genetic heritage would may only a slight improvement in performance (Mingroni, 2007) at a socially unacceptable cost (Graves, 2001), while informed social engineering (Skinner, 1976) has produced only mixed results (Kinkade, 1973; Kuhlmann, 2005). Similarly, learners come from a whole range of prior experiences (). In the next section, therefore, applications of the OODA loop are considered which speak to var only new information. Indeed, the presentation of new information intended to influence learning is the definition of teaching (Eisner, 1964).

The next three sections are organized in order of decreasing educator control. First, the instructional environment, where an educator interacts directly with a student, is examined. Second, the academic environment, where learners interact with each other under rules devised by the educator, is explored. Finally, the creative environment, where the only educators are those of the field in a domain that a learner chooses to engage, is discussed. The focus also shifts from the need to implicitly alter orientation on the spot, to the requirement to selectively disorient, and finally the need for long-term improvement in learner orientation. Therefore, the following section can be viewed as the journey from reorientation to disorientation, and back again.


OODA Alpha, a tdaxp series
1. Abstract
2. Dual Processing Systems
3. The OODA Loop
4. Decision
5. Orientation
6. A Theory of Mind
7. Reorientation
8. Disorientation
9. Education
10. Instruction
11. Student Interaction
12. Creativity
13. Conclusion
14. Bibliography

OODA Alpha, Part VIII: Disorientation

Disorientation, defined as “Mismatch between events one (seemingly) observes or anticipates and events (or efforts) he must react and adapt to” (Boyd, 1986, 115) is in cognitive terms the process of removing a situation from Level 1, or orientation-state, control and deliver it over to the more error-prone. Disorientation is not a process of the OODA loop itself, but rather a meta-process than can be done to alter the operation of the OODA loops of others.

Disorientation differs from concepts familiar to educational psychology in that disorientation, as originally envisaged, was designed to degrade the performance of a thinking enemy (Luttwak, 1987) to the point of his defeat (Hart, 1991; Danchev, 1999). Boyd (1986)’s description of disorientation was to “Uncover, create, and exploit many vulnerabilities and weaknesses, hence many opportunities, to pull adversary apart and isolate remnants for mop-up or absorption” (117). However, educational psychologists already know about disorientation and use it as a tool under a different name: cognitive load (Chandler & Sweller, 1991). Either too much or too little cognitive load degrades performance and leads to disorientation (Teigen, 1994; Paas, Renkl, & Sweller, 2004). Too much cognitive load prevents Decision, forcing a reliance on Orientation (Bargh, 2000). Cognitive load is measurable (Brunken, et al., 2003; Paas, et al., 2003; van Gerven, et al, 2004) and so disorientation is open to scientific manipulation.


Disorientation – presenting information that is incomputable with prior knowledge – makes experts and notices behave similarly (Frensch & Sternberg, 1989; Sohn & Doane, 2003). That is, disorientation can undo the effects of automaticity, which can be beneficial (Feldon, 2007b). Automaticity reduces the ability to change behavior as automatized routines execute completely without monitoring (Wheatley & Wegner, 2001) The “expertise reversal effect” is the description for tools that are helpful on novices not helping, or even hurting, when applied to experts (Kalyuga, Ayres, Chandler, & Sweller, 2003). Similarly, experts may do worse than novices at improbable errors (Besnard & Bastien-Toniazzo, 1999) and are relatively unable to modify their performance in response to criticism regardless of intent to change (Doyle & Redwine, 1974).

Disorientation is mechanism to alter the context of social relations. Cognitive load has been studied for this effect in a variety of social situations (Vrij, Semin, & Bull, 1996; DeStano, et al., 2002; Barrett, et al., 2006; Vrij, Akehurst, & Knight, 2006). Such an approach has shown promise in areas where automaticity has deeply instilled non-beneficial behavior (Gable & Van Acker, 2004).


OODA Alpha, a tdaxp series
1. Abstract
2. Dual Processing Systems
3. The OODA Loop
4. Decision
5. Orientation
6. A Theory of Mind
7. Reorientation
8. Disorientation
9. Education
10. Instruction
11. Student Interaction
12. Creativity
13. Conclusion
14. Bibliography

OODA Alpha, Part VII: Reorientation

Reorientation, the process of moving from one orientation to the other, relies on analysis and synthesis to generate novel cognitive structures (Osinga, 2007). Specifically, analysis is a reductive process that makes a complex pattern manageable, while synthesis is a constructive process that builds new systems to manage the pattern (Boyd, 1992). Reorientation is the process of learning by improving schemata, or a “repertoire of orientation patterns” (Osinga, 2007, 236) within orientation and has shown specific benefits within education. Reorientation is a critical part of growth throughout life.

Decision is perhaps most important in the context of metacognitive analysis and synthesis, where decision is an indirect way of influencing action in that it alters orientation. Automatization, leading to automaticity, allows a repeated decision making process to be effortlessly performed by orientation (Feldon, 2007a). While freedom from conscious control has been studied in mindless systems (Iles, 1906; Huser, Blatter, & Lipsius, 2000), “learning consists of of scheme construction and automation” (Leahy & Sweller, 2005, 273). That is to say, learning means creating new mental structures within orientation.


Automaticity in the cognitive realm is the result of a large amount of worthwhile practice (Thorndike, 1913; Topping, Samuels, & Paul, 2007). That is, the analysis and synthesis of prior decision making effects orientation. Even in areas which influence education due to genetic heritability, the analysis and synthesis of decision can alter orientation. For instance, students suffering from ADHD (discussed above) can mitigate its harmful effects by monitoring how they spend attention (Harris, et al, 2005).

Reorientation is one part of a cycle of growth an development (Boyd, 1992). Another part, disorientation, is described next.


OODA Alpha, a tdaxp series
1. Abstract
2. Dual Processing Systems
3. The OODA Loop
4. Decision
5. Orientation
6. A Theory of Mind
7. Reorientation
8. Disorientation
9. Education
10. Instruction
11. Student Interaction
12. Creativity
13. Conclusion
14. Bibliography