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Innate Ability? does it exist? Super talented kid - Page 6

post #151 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzledVeteran View Post


I think you are downplaying the extent to which "off-hand" or "off-foot" moves begin from the psychological perspective of "this is not my preferred hand (or foot)".
 

 

 

The point I was trying to make is that most people have a preferred hand and foot, though not always on the same side. It's an innate thing that exists in other animals as well. (A science project I did as a kid showed that most cats are left-pawed, at least when it comes to striking at a target.) That's not to say they can't learn to use their weaker hand or foot. It just takes more effort and concious thought than it does on the stronger side. Whether they are willing and able to put out that effort is another matter.

 

However, there are people who have no preference, conciously or unconciously. It's not a skill they developed over the years; it's something they were born with. Hence, it's an innate ability.

post #152 of 293
I'm pretty sure I disagree with all those observations. The observations of animals are anthropomorphizing. Can't know why an animal does this or that unless you know how to think like that animal and communicate with that animal in meaningful terms.

That never stops animal studying scientists from projecting, however. Projecting is their stock-in-trade!

The reason I mentioned my soccer experience is because in other sports I feel I have a "dominant" side, hand, foot, arm. But I also realize that the "dominant" or "preferred" perspective is a mental construct first, and a summation of habits second.

I'd suggest that animals learn movements in the same way humans do -- trial and error, mainly -- and establish habits just like humans do. In other words, I'd suggest that we assume this unless we are able to decipher animal psychology and animal communication.

When observing cats using their paws to strike a target, how was the target introduced? What posture did the cats adopt when approaching the target? When striking the target? And what would cause someone observing those cat movements to say the cat "prefers" this or that? How do you establish feline "preference" without over-laying some anthropomorphic projection?
post #153 of 293
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralVortex View Post



I did, and I posted the definition of innate (natural, as opposed to acquired from experience) here. None of you liked it.

 

I'll give you an example of an innate ability, and to be honest I'm disappointed I didn't think of this before. One of my brothers is ambidextrious. So, without any extra effort, he could kick with both feet and throw and write with both hands, using the same process to learn on both sides. Most people (like me) have to make a concerted effort and use a slightly different process to learn to kick or throw with their weaker side, and being forced to write with your weaker hand has been proven to cause stress and emotional problems (see lefties who in the past were force to write right-handed).


So, the ability to throw a ball isn't an innate ability, no matter how easily you learn it or how well you do it. On the other hand, the ability to throw a ball equally well with both hands without any extra effort or training is an innate ability. Some people have it; most people don't.
 



Trust me, I get what you're saying here. But all that this tells me is that you focus way too much on size and not enough on age and experience when it comes to understanding muscle development. I'll give you a quick example to illustrate what I mean.

 

My nephew is 6' tall but is slower and weaker than the average man (assuming the average man will get off his *ss and get in shape). Now, that makes my nephew sound very unimpressive, given that he's taller than the average man. But, I've left out an important piece of information: he's only a couple of months away from his 14th birthday. So, all I'm really saying is that an 8th grader is slower and weaker than the average adult. And, when you look at it that way, it puts things into a completely different perspective. You wouldn't ever expect an 8th grader's muscles to be fully developed, no matter how tall he is, so to compare him to an adult would be a mistake.

 

All you're saying above is that a 9 year old is just as fast and strong as other 9 year olds. You're getting too distracted by her height and not focusing enough on her age and experience, comparing her in your mind to girls who would be younger and less developed.

again, look up innate ability... not just innate,     And as far as being distracted by her size, I guess with that logic a 4 foot tall 20 year old should be able to dunk a basketball as well as a 7 foot tall 20 year old...... . 
 

 

post #154 of 293

Pdiddy, heres a good example for innate ability.

 

http://www.topendsports.com/testing/results/vertical-jump.htm  biggrin.gif

 

Kadour Zaini, best jump 61" at 5'10". This innate ability combined with training.

 

For the most part innate ability allows one to learn a skill set faster, hence develop it further and better than any one else given the same coaching and training level.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

 

 

post #155 of 293
Quote:

 

Originally Posted by oldschoolskier View Post
This innate ability combined with training.

 

 

 

 



Which is the whole point ... no one is trying to say innate ability = world-class results without training. (Well, some people are defining it that way. But that is just silly.) Innate ability is the baseline.

post #156 of 293

What about Bubba?

Add and practice?:

Here's How And Why Bubba Watson Hit The Shot That Won The Masters

npr, http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/04/09/150300166/heres-how-and-why-bubba-watson-hit-the-shot-that-won-the-masters

 

 

Quote:

Watson, according to Golf World editor-in-chief Jaime Diaz, "sees connections where other people don't see connections. ... He solves problems in a more unique and complex way." The 33-year-old golfer from Florida, as Diaz has previously reported and as Watson himself believes, almost surely has attention-deficit disorder.

 

"Those really creative, different, unique shots are the product of ADD," Diaz told All Things Considered co-host Robert Siegel earlier this afternoon....

 

Watson following the path of his shot.
 Timothy A. Clary /AFP/Getty Images

Watson following the path of his shot.

 

The swing Watson used, Diaz said, had an "inside-out-path" that produced the hook (his backswing was "inside" a theoretical straight line through the ball, while his return swing went to the outside of that line). At the bottom of the swing, Watson was able to "rotate his hands in a way he's not thinking about," to add more direction to the ball's flight, Diaz said. And it was all happening with "exceptional" club speed.

And how did he learn to do that? Not from lessons. Watson has been coached, at the University of Georgia, but is really self-taught. He learned, Diaz said, by hitting plastic balls around his back yard as a boy — "curving the ball, shaping shots," making it fly as he wished.

 

[Listen to the story here: http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=150300166&m=150305673  ]

 

 

post #157 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

What about Bubba?

Add and practice?:

 

 



ADD as something that helps you hit an inside-out swingpath is a reach to me, but a form of the loose thing lumped as ADD helping you focus intently in practice, and helping you block out the pressures in something like the Masters and therefore be able to shape a shot, I totally buy.

 

Feel is a loose bundle of concepts in golf, skiing, and even other movement sports like MTB, motos and tennis that also takes a lot of focused but relaxed practice to produce.  I'd buy that some kinds of ADD also disproportionately allow someone to be a feel player, just as I do buy that some brains are more endowed than others with the fine proprioception that if wired correctly by experience can lead to superior feel.  Bubba at 10 had to be able to be focused enough on losing himself in hitting a ball every which way to become a feel player the way he is now. 

 

post #158 of 293
I think the line running toward ADD = benefit is specious and is tapping into the currency (faddishness) of ADD diagnosis in America. ADD was created so that Big Pharma could sell products for it. There isn't even a serious delineation of how ADD arises or what it comprises. Looking to the DSM-IV or the in-process DSM-V for clues on what is ADD and how it's spotted doesn't help; the DSM is an adjunct of Big Pharma's and Big Medicine's respective income factories.

If believed to be a serious condition and not just a description of what one sees in another human that is different from self, ADD would be a deficit in practice-intensive activity where focus is required. So I'm pretty well agreeing with CTKook here. I've had shrinkers suggest I have ADD or ADHD but if you ask me, it's more important to look at what makes the supposed possessor of those conditions different from other humans, and what may be the causes -- and not just to spot a constellation of symptoms and fabricate an ingestible chemical to mask them.

Nobody reaches the top levels of professional golf without having a distinct and refined sense of "feel" for the swing, or for the ball-striking facet of the swing. And I really cannot fathom how ADD would enhance that "feel." Do we now leap to assume that the great shotmakers in golf all were ADD?

At the top levels of pro golf, the mental side is dominant and the swing/ball-striking side is almost rote.

I think Jaime Diaz was just writing a "color" piece and trying to pretty up the reasons why Bubba Watson won. We've reached an era in American sports "journalism" where it's commonplace to talk about a new champion's rare qualities, including downplaying the various facets that make for a great top-level athlete. Example: In the UCI World Cup men's elite DH racing series for 2011, American Aaron Gwin was the overall winner. Reporting on Gwin, most people wrote about him only riding and racing DH for a couple seasons before getting into World Cup level racing. They would discuss this while downplaying an adolescence racing motocross at a very high level, and a youth racing BMX at an equally high level. On that background, talking about Gwin as "he's only been riding DH bikes for two years!" or suchlike is a bunch of obscuring glorification. A good journalist would talk about how the moto and BMX background is perfect training for DH riding and racing, and wouldn't try to downplay them to make Gwin seem supernatural or heroic.
Edited by GrizzledVeteran - 4/16/12 at 10:49am
post #159 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzledVeteran View Post

I'm pretty sure I disagree with all those observations. The observations of animals are anthropomorphizing. Can't know why an animal does this or that unless you know how to think like that animal and communicate with that animal in meaningful terms.

That never stops animal studying scientists from projecting, however. Projecting is their stock-in-trade!



When observing cats using their paws to strike a target, how was the target introduced? What posture did the cats adopt when approaching the target? When striking the target? And what would cause someone observing those cat movements to say the cat "prefers" this or that? How do you establish feline "preference" without over-laying some anthropomorphic projection?

Ahhhh... The poster did it as a kid for a science project. This isn't a study by an animal behavioral scientist.

Wayne Gretsky often described that time seemed to slow down when he played. This seems anecdotally to be common among the top 1% of the 1% that make it in the pros. Sure, without hard work and loads of ice time the great one probably would have been a used car salesman, but there are most certainly individual attributes that when nurtured in the right activity (I doubt W.G. was ever bound for Olympic high jump glory, but might have become a fine baseball player), become the stuff that legends are made of. That's all I have to say.smile.gif
post #160 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Ahhhh... The poster did it as a kid for a science project. This isn't a study by an animal behavioral scientist.

It was a good example of observing animals doing something. It doesn't rise to the level of knowing the whys, though. That's all I'm saying.
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Wayne Gretsky often described that time seemed to slow down when he played. This seems anecdotally to be common among the top 1% of the 1% that make it in the pros. Sure, without hard work and loads of ice time the great one probably would have been a used car salesman, but there are most certainly individual attributes that when nurtured in the right activity (I doubt W.G. was ever bound for Olympic high jump glory, but might have become a fine baseball player), become the stuff that legends are made of. That's all I have to say.smile.gif

That experience of "time slowing down" is something most experienced speed-/motion-related athletes probably can appreciate. It gets into the territory of flow.

I know people who panic like mad in emergency situations. To them, emergencies are devoid of flow because their minds are cluttered with "what ifs." The essence of that flow state is no mental static surrounding "what if" and a complete immersion in the present. I've felt it myself on skis, on motorcycles, in a car, on a bicycle. A good cliche for it is grace under pressure.

One of the reasons I mentioned Aaron Gwin and his background is that motocross racing occurs at a much higher speed, with much bigger jumps, compared to even the top levels of MTB DH racing. If you hone your reflexes under the more dire situation of motocross, racing DH on a MTB becomes a time-slowed activity relative to the moto racing. It's a huge advantage. A lot of top DH racers train on motos for that reason.
post #161 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzledVeteran View Post

... A good journalist would talk about how the moto and BMX background is perfect training for DH riding and racing, and wouldn't try to downplay them to make Gwin seem supernatural or heroic.



This also stresses that cross-training point again.  Moto and BMX are great training for DH MTB, and as you suggest in the follow-up post, moto for some aspects of MTB can actually be more efficient training than MTB itself, within limits.  (In terms of movement patterns, there's also loosely MTB DH style and crossover moto DH style, which can both be equally fast...)  By contrast, hitting the gym may help with general conditioning, but you can take someone who's really fit in the gym and, if they've never ridden a bike, they've never ridden a bike.

 

Gym training is for most people fun, social, but tremendously overrated.  It's like the phenomenon of people heading to the gym to get ready for golf season -- there is this place known as the driving range that is roughly 10000% better at preparing them for golf, but virtually no one hits it regularly.  The gym replicates none of the movement patterns needed to look like you have "innate ability" at basically any sport. 

 

Unfortunately most people live in circumstances where 3-4 x/week dirtbike or MTB outings aren't possible, but a pumptrack in the backyard can yield many of the same benefits, with significant crossover even to skiing.  I'd say a pumptrack day = maybe 15% of a ski day, maybe as much as 30% of a ski day if you have enough of an ADD/ocd combo to be willing to do flatland 8s -- a special turning drill with ski crossover -- after a pumptrack session.  Those days add up, and pretty soon you can start rocking lots of talent at related sports.

 

 

 

 

 

post #162 of 293
For years I've thought and talked about the many crossovers between alpine skiing and MTB riding and have urged my friends who do both to look at each as not just the thing itself, but what it has in common with other activities. The gravity side of MTB relates very closely to alpine skiing. Calm, stable torso... steady head... eyes forward... anticipation of terrain change... "go there!" mentality... etc.

I wouldn't say MTB XC riding/racing has as much to do with alpine skiing, but I would say it has crossover for skin-up, ski-down days. I find myself thinking about efficient muscle use, varying the muscle groups being used, and body position (hips especially) when doing both activities. They're not identical, but there's plenty of crossover.

When I was a competitive golfer I tried to avoid lifting weights in favor of focused practice at the range and the practice green. Johnny Miller said in the 1970s that his golf swing got wrecked by off-season activities that built too much upper body strength -- if I remember right, it was chopping wood and digging that posed the problems.
post #163 of 293

My cousin arrived with his 6 yo daughter Friday- she had never seen snow before, but is athletic.  She takes tennis lessons 3 times a week and is apparently the best advertisement her instructor could have.  He bought her roller blades for X-mas last year (or the year before), but she apparently put on a friends and started rolling around on them before he gave them to her.  He says the kids in her neighborhood are always outside playing and she definitely picked up skiing quicker than many.

 

He and I took her to the magic carpet at Copper for about 20 minutes Friday and Saturday afternoon (they were still jet lagged) and then spend a half day mostly on the pitch fork lift (beginner lift between Center and East village) Sunday.  Yesterday was her first paid for lesson at A-Basin with 6" on 8" being reported and snow falling during the day.  She had a great instructor (Mark) in the morning who quickly moved her from Molly Hogan to the Black Mountain Express quad lift.  He said she was at the level that it takes some kids 2 years to get to.  A big thumbs up to the A-Basin ski and ride school for giving her her own instructor for a "group" lesson- some places would have put her in with kids who were not ready to make the progression as quickly as she did!  

 

post #164 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzledVeteran View Post

When observing cats using their paws to strike a target, how was the target introduced? What posture did the cats adopt when approaching the target? When striking the target? And what would cause someone observing those cat movements to say the cat "prefers" this or that? How do you establish feline "preference" without over-laying some anthropomorphic projection?



Keep in mind that I'm thinking back about 25 years or so. But basically, for small cats I'd dangle some string in front of them and note which paw they chose to strike with. Most chose to lean to the right and strike with the left, though some chose to lean to the left and strike with the right. Even when I moved the string around slowly, they would reorient themselves to strike with one paw more often than the other. The only times they'd strike with the other paw first was if the target was moving too fast for them to adjust before striking or to pull the string back into the contact zone to strike with the preferred paw. Once they decided to bring the target down, they'd stand on their back legs and use both paws. Obviously, zoo keepers had to do the tests for me on the big cats.

 

This was inspired by observations of my own cat, which would strike objects with the left more often than with the right even if it meant adjusting her position. It reminded me of the soccer players I grew up with who would constantly adjust their position so that they could kick with their stronger foot rather.

 

If there were no preference, you'd expect to see a cat strike with whichever paw is in a better position rather than constantly adjusting its position and using one more than the other. I tested cats in a number of pet stores and some of the big cats at the zoo. Strikes with the left far outnumbered strikes with the right.

post #165 of 293



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdiddy View Post

again, look up innate ability... not just innate,     And as far as being distracted by her size, I guess with that logic a 4 foot tall 20 year old should be able to dunk a basketball as well as a 7 foot tall 20 year old...... . 
 

 



Ok. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Sports Science & Medicine, an innate ability is "an ability that is inborn or instinctive" http://www.answers.com/topic/innate-ability, which is the same as you get if you combine the definitions of innate and ability. So, unless that girl was born with the ability to do gymnastics or did gymnastics instinctively without prompting, then it's not an innate ability. The innate abilities she has are the ability to learn by copying others and/or via visualization and experimentation. Of course, those are the same abilities that babies use when learning to walk and do other motions, so they're hardly unique.

 

As for the size question, the 5'7" soccer coach from my highschool team could (just barely) dunk a basketball and my 6' tall nephew can't. Despite the size difference, it's unfair to compare the two because the soccer coach was a fully developed adult in his mid-20's and my nephew is still not even 14 years old. Even if he doesn't grow another inch (or even shrank 5"), my nephew's muscles will be far more developed 10 years from now, at which point a comparison between the two would be more valid.

 

My point is that the reason you've never seen a girl that size do the tricks this girl is doing is because the girls you've seen who were that size were all years younger than her and, hence, had nowhere near the same level of muscle development, coaching, and practice. Whether you realize it or not, rather than comparing her to other girls her age, you're unconciously comparing her to much younger girls because of her size, which leads you to overestimate her skills or look for some alternative explanation for her to perform at the same level as her peers.

post #166 of 293
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralVortex View Post



 



Ok. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Sports Science & Medicine, an innate ability is "an ability that is inborn or instinctive" http://www.answers.com/topic/innate-ability, which is the same as you get if you combine the definitions of innate and ability. So, unless that girl was born with the ability to do gymnastics or did gymnastics instinctively without prompting, then it's not an innate ability. The innate abilities she has are the ability to learn by copying others and/or via visualization and experimentation. Of course, those are the same abilities that babies use when learning to walk and do other motions, so they're hardly unique.

 

As for the size question, the 5'7" soccer coach from my highschool team could (just barely) dunk a basketball and my 6' tall nephew can't. Despite the size difference, it's unfair to compare the two because the soccer coach was a fully developed adult in his mid-20's and my nephew is still not even 14 years old. Even if he doesn't grow another inch (or even shrank 5"), my nephew's muscles will be far more developed 10 years from now, at which point a comparison between the two would be more valid.

 

My point is that the reason you've never seen a girl that size do the tricks this girl is doing is because the girls you've seen who were that size were all years younger than her and, hence, had nowhere near the same level of muscle development, coaching, and practice. Whether you realize it or not, rather than comparing her to other girls her age, you're unconciously comparing her to much younger girls because of her size, which leads you to overestimate her skills or look for some alternative explanation for her to perform at the same level as her peers.

 According to oxford dictionary It is inborn or instinctive,  instinctive isn't without prompting...    it is the same as born athlete, for which you ACCIDENTALLY left off the oxford dictionary definition.....   

Here are other definitions of Innate Ability

-God given talent (the ability to learn quicker than others and master)

-Instinctive  (Of, relating to, or prompted by instinct.)

-born Athlete (Term commonly applied to an individual who exhibits great proficiency in a range of physical activities, apparently after very little practice). 

-Genetic endowment,  (A person's characteristics are determined by an interplay between genes (the carriers of inherited information) and environment. Genetic endowment predisposes a person to exhibit certain behaviours, inclines a person to put on or lose weight, and sets the ultimate limit to physical and intellectual potential. Genetic endowment is believed to be the most important single factor in determining fitness potential: the type of muscle fibre, capacity to respond to training; and physical traits, such as heart size, are all largely determined by inheritance. However, this is not a recipe for complacency if you are genetically well endowed, or despondency if you have a poor inheritance. Very few individuals achieve their full physical potential; realization of that potential depends on what each individual does during his or her life. People with a low genetic potential for fitness may become fitter than those who are well endowed, by training harder; people with a genetic predisposition to obesity may still maintain a healthy body weight by sensible eating, but they may have to work harder to achieve their goals. 


Again, if a 4 foot tall individual no matter what age can dunk a basketball I would think that amazing and call that innate ability,....   There are very few kids out there her age doing what she is doing,  2 in the state of california,  probably a dozen nation wide and I would say that the other kids have innate ability as well.   just like I would say that an 11 year old hitting corbets switch would also have innate ability, it's something you rarely see at that age.  

post #167 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralVortex View Post

Ok. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Sports Science & Medicine, an innate ability is "an ability that is inborn or instinctive" http://www.answers.com/topic/innate-ability, which is the same as you get if you combine the definitions of innate and ability. 

 

I went to your link, and it also says right after that definition "See also: Born Athlete."

 

I've lost track of what you're advocating.  The "born athlete" model seems to be how innate ability has been defined in this thread.  Are you suggesting no one has innate ability in that way, or that one person's innate ability is no different from another's?

 

The OP has extensive experience coaching gymnastics, and he has described a young gymnast that he has observed first-hand and at length as being unusually gifted.  The italics are mine, but as far as I'm concerned, it's just another way to describe innate ability.  In any case, despite never having seen the gymnast in question yourself, you seemed determined to prove the OP's in-person observation incorrect.  Why is that?

 


 

 

post #168 of 293
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post

My cousin arrived with his 6 yo daughter Friday- she had never seen snow before, but is athletic.  She takes tennis lessons 3 times a week and is apparently the best advertisement her instructor could have.  He bought her roller blades for X-mas last year (or the year before), but she apparently put on a friends and started rolling around on them before he gave them to her.  He says the kids in her neighborhood are always outside playing and she definitely picked up skiing quicker than many.

 

He and I took her to the magic carpet at Copper for about 20 minutes Friday and Saturday afternoon (they were still jet lagged) and then spend a half day mostly on the pitch fork lift (beginner lift between Center and East village) Sunday.  Yesterday was her first paid for lesson at A-Basin with 6" on 8" being reported and snow falling during the day.  She had a great instructor (Mark) in the morning who quickly moved her from Molly Hogan to the Black Mountain Express quad lift.  He said she was at the level that it takes some kids 2 years to get to.  A big thumbs up to the A-Basin ski and ride school for giving her her own instructor for a "group" lesson- some places would have put her in with kids who were not ready to make the progression as quickly as she did!  

 


She almost got taken out by that idiot skier at the beginning!  

 

post #169 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralVortex View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzledVeteran View Post

When observing cats using their paws to strike a target, how was the target introduced? What posture did the cats adopt when approaching the target? When striking the target? And what would cause someone observing those cat movements to say the cat "prefers" this or that? How do you establish feline "preference" without over-laying some anthropomorphic projection?



Keep in mind that I'm thinking back about 25 years or so. But basically, for small cats I'd dangle some string in front of them and note which paw they chose to strike with. Most chose to lean to the right and strike with the left, though some chose to lean to the left and strike with the right. Even when I moved the string around slowly, they would reorient themselves to strike with one paw more often than the other. The only times they'd strike with the other paw first was if the target was moving too fast for them to adjust before striking or to pull the string back into the contact zone to strike with the preferred paw. Once they decided to bring the target down, they'd stand on their back legs and use both paws. Obviously, zoo keepers had to do the tests for me on the big cats.

 

This was inspired by observations of my own cat, which would strike objects with the left more often than with the right even if it meant adjusting her position. It reminded me of the soccer players I grew up with who would constantly adjust their position so that they could kick with their stronger foot rather.

 

If there were no preference, you'd expect to see a cat strike with whichever paw is in a better position rather than constantly adjusting its position and using one more than the other. I tested cats in a number of pet stores and some of the big cats at the zoo. Strikes with the left far outnumbered strikes with the right.


It's the idea of "preference" I'm objecting to and disagreeing with, not the fact that you observed what you consider a pattern. Your observations tell me more about you than they do about the cats you watched.

I'm not trying to insult you. I'm trying to get you to see how lots of "science" is perverted with initial bias. (Tangent: I'd argue that I'm heading down the road that makes me arrive at the conclusion of science being on the cusp of a revolution in its precepts and process, because of initial bias and the influence of commerce, fame-seeking, etc. See, e.g., Nicolas Copernicus.)

If I wanted to see what cats did, I wouldn't manipulate their behavior with a human intervention (dangling or placing something as an instigation). I wouldn't watch them in a zoo, or in a pet store. Both environments are un-natural for cats. You're basically looking at domesticated (in varying degrees) animals. Thus your observations could well be about domestication's influence and nothing at all about what's innate for a cat.

If I wanted to know WHY they did something, I'd need quite a few lifetimes and a wholly different set of communication skills... including an inherent ability to communicate with cats AS a cat. Which is pretty well the realm of fantasy.

The experiment is interesting. Your observations are interesting. Your conclusions? Not so much.
post #170 of 293
Pretty tough critique along with a condemnation of the whole notion of 'science'. Wish my elementary and secondary school projects could have accomplished as much. smile.gif

From a school kid cat experiment to Copernicus? Only on the interwebz. Thanks Al Gore!cool.gif
post #171 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skierish View Post
The OP has extensive experience coaching gymnastics, and he has described a young gymnast that he has observed first-hand and at length as being unusually gifted.  The italics are mine, but as far as I'm concerned, it's just another way to describe innate ability.  In any case, despite never having seen the gymnast in question yourself, you seemed determined to prove the OP's in-person observation incorrect.  Why is that?


I don't think there is any doubt that the OP's student is a quick learner, and probably more physically capable than most kids of the same age.  But as they say in science research, the plural of anecdote is not data.

 

The question this usually evolves into is something like "do you have to be 'gifted' to become extremely good at a physical skill?"

 

The OP seems to be saying 'yes', but people who have studied this phenomenon over a wide variety of different activities generally say 'no'.  Some top performers are people who were identified as having 'innate' ability, but most didn't seem to be anything special early on and just kept getting better and better through hard work and practice over many years.  If anything, the common factor was being willing and able to work really hard for a really long time and make large personal sacrifices (ie, having a life.)  Any 'innate' talent will only take you so far.

 

Edit:

 

Jesus, lay off the guy who did a science project back in elementary school.  If the cats had a statistically significant tendency to swipe with one paw over the other, and it was stable over time and in different scenarios, describing that as a "preference" isn't much of a stretch.  The term anthropomorphizes them a bit, but doesn't exactly negate all scientific research done in a controlled environment.

post #172 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias99 View Post

Any 'innate' talent will only take you so far.

 

Of course.  It has to be developed, although it certainly makes for easier development than it would with most others attempting to master the same skill set.

 

The question was, "Does it exist?"  I say Yes.

 

You're an Instructor.  Do all your students pick up skills at the same pace?

If you had 10 random never-evers with average comprehension skills, gave them the exact same instruction, and they practiced the same amount of time, would the skiing ability of all 10 develop at the same pace because they each put an equal amount of time and effort into it?  I would bet not....  

 

 

post #173 of 293


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skierish View Post

 

Of course.  It has to be developed, although it certainly makes for easier development than it would with most others attempting to master the same skill set.

 

The question was, "Does it exist?"  I say Yes.

 

You're an Instructor.  Do all your students pick up skills at the same pace?

If you had 10 random never-evers with average comprehension skills, gave them the exact same instruction, and they practiced the same amount of time, would the skiing ability of all 10 develop at the same pace because they each put an equal amount of time and effort into it?  I would bet not....  


That's a different question.  Asking about the development path is different than asking about whether everyone will end up in the same place eventually if they keep working at it.

 

After an hour or two -- yes, definitely, some people are much better than others.

 

Without doing some kind of controlled study I could only speculate how much of this is truly 'innate' and how much is from prior experience with some skill crossover.  Experienced skaters, for instance, tend to pick up skiing much faster when they first start out.  People who are more fit and physically active in general are going to generally do better than white-collar workers who sit at a desk all day and never go to the gym.

 

After, say, a thousand hours of equivalent instruction/experience?  I'm not sure there would be a strong correlation between 'skiing ability' at two hours and 'skiing ability' at a thousand hours.  Certainly any differences would be much less pronounced, and would get even smaller as you put in more hours of training.

post #174 of 293


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skierish View Post

 

If you had 10 random never-evers with average comprehension skills, gave them the exact same instruction, and they practiced the same amount of time, would the skiing ability of all 10 develop at the same pace because they each put an equal amount of time and effort into it?  I would bet not....  

 

 



I'd say how much time they have devoted to other physically challenging activities is going to be a much larger factor of their success than any miraculously divine blessing.  The kids that spend 80% of their time on the couch watching Barney and playing V-Smile are not going to do as well as the kids that spent 80% of their time riding trikes/bikes playing t-ball, soccer, etc..  We are more products of our environments and experiences than we are products of our genealogy. 

post #175 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias99 View Post


I don't think there is any doubt that the OP's student is a quick learner, and probably more physically capable than most kids of the same age.  But as they say in science research, the plural of anecdote is not data.

 

The question this usually evolves into is something like "do you have to be 'gifted' to become extremely good at a physical skill?"

 

The OP seems to be saying 'yes', but people who have studied this phenomenon over a wide variety of different activities generally say 'no'.  Some top performers are people who were identified as having 'innate' ability, but most didn't seem to be anything special early on and just kept getting better and better through hard work and practice over many years.  If anything, the common factor was being willing and able to work really hard for a really long time and make large personal sacrifices (ie, having a life.)  Any 'innate' talent will only take you so far.

 

Edit:

 

Jesus, lay off the guy who did a science project back in elementary school.  If the cats had a statistically significant tendency to swipe with one paw over the other, and it was stable over time and in different scenarios, describing that as a "preference" isn't much of a stretch.  The term anthropomorphizes them a bit, but doesn't exactly negate all scientific research done in a controlled environment.


We need to define what extremely good at a physical skill means. What do we call success?

 

Without innate ablilty and the "right" genetics the multiple hours of practice can have no meaning. Throw in the curve ball called puberty and sometimes everthing up to age 13-14 has no meaning.


 

 

post #176 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Pretty tough critique along with a condemnation of the whole notion of 'science'. Wish my elementary and secondary school projects could have accomplished as much. smile.gif

From a school kid cat experiment to Copernicus? Only on the interwebz. Thanks Al Gore!cool.gif

Did I leapfrog too much for you? Do I need to break something down? Did you miss parts of the comment in favor of finding something to pick on?

Science isn't beyond criticism. The vary nature of science assumes criticism is constant. You get that, right?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias99 View Post

Jesus, lay off the guy who did a science project back in elementary school.  If the cats had a statistically significant tendency to swipe with one paw over the other, and it was stable over time and in different scenarios, describing that as a "preference" isn't much of a stretch.  The term anthropomorphizes them a bit, but doesn't exactly negate all scientific research done in a controlled environment.

I'm not picking on the guy himself. I'm picking on the conclusions drawn. Totally different thing. Totally.

I said it was an interesting test and interesting observations. Why do you assume I'm picking on him personally?

He leapt to a conclusion about feline preference. He continues to defend it as a preference. But it's not a preference, and we cannot know what cats prefer unless we are human-cat hybrids ourselves... or cats ourselves. And even then we'd have to be cat psychologists!

Do you understand?

Or do you just wish to be the hero defending someone who's not even being attacked?th_dunno-1[1].gif

I'm not calling him an idiot -- not today, nor referring back to his child self. That's not even on my radar screen.
Edited by GrizzledVeteran - 4/17/12 at 12:57pm
post #177 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by x10003q View Post

Without innate ablilty and the "right" genetics the multiple hours of practice can have no meaning. 

 

^^^^^ This.

 

To put the "innate ability" question yet another way, are a very few people able to pick up and master a particular skill set or another far more rapidly than the typical person?  I say Yes.

Others may be able to do so with a hell of a lot more work, and still others won't master certain tasks no matter how much effort they put into it over the course of their lives.

 

For those that can, you can call it talent, a gift, a knack, being a "natural," a genetic predisposition, or as is the case in this thread, innate ability.  ....just don't call it a cab.

 

With all the hair-splitting, I can't figure out if some here believe it even exists or not.  

How 'bout this, are some people just more naturally gifted at certain pursuits than most others that attempt the same?
 

 

post #178 of 293

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by x10003q View Post


We need to define what extremely good at a physical skill means. What do we call success?

 

Without innate ablilty and the "right" genetics the multiple hours of practice can have no meaning. Throw in the curve ball called puberty and sometimes everthing up to age 13-14 has no meaning.

 

Depends on the exact context you're talking about.  e.g. if you're talking about running, 'success' might be hitting some benchmark time in a particular kind of race (four minute mile, marathon in 2:30, etc.)  In golf it might be shooting par on an 18-hole PGA tour course.
 

'Expertise' in skiing (and who can achieve it) has been debated to death here a number of times.  One benchmark I've suggested for skiing would be passing something like the skiing skills portion of the PSIA L3 exam, or some equivalent skiing certification exam from another country or teaching system.  Or maybe reaching an extremely low handicap in a race system like NASTAR (depending on how you feel about racing and whether a great racer is automatically a great skier).

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Skierish View Post

...To put the "innate ability" question yet another way, are a very few people able to pick up and master a particular skill set or another far more rapidly than the typical person?  I say Yes.

 

"Pick up", sure (although, again, in real life there are many confounding factors, such as prior experience with related activities).  But I would buy that some people could be 'innately' predisposed to learn certain skills more quickly.  In a non-sports context, some people have 'perfect pitch', for instance.  Ambidexterity was mentioned above.

 

"Master"?  Depends on what you mean by "master" and "far more rapidly".  To use the example above, I doubt there is anyone who has ever passed the PSIA L3 skiing exam without at least a couple thousand hours of skiing experience under their belt, regardless of any 'innate' talent.

 

Now, in some activities, your maximum potential may be limited by innate/genetic factors that you cannot overcome with any amount of work or training.  I would argue that for an average person in most sports, these sorts of limits will be hit at what are already extremely high levels of performance by any objective measure.

 

I guess what I'm saying is that if you set some arbitrary performance bar in a sport or other skill-based activity, it may take different people different amounts of time to exceed it, but unless that bar is close to the limits of the human body any able-bodied person will EVENTUALLY get there if they keep working at it.

 

Quote:
...and still others won't master certain tasks no matter how much effort they put into it over the course of their lives.

 

That's where I disagree, but you might just be splitting hairs over what 'mastery' is.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzledVeteran View Post

He leapt to a conclusion about feline preference. He continues to defend it as a preference. But it's not a preference, and we cannot know what cats prefer unless we are human-cat hybrids ourselves... or cats ourselves. And even then we'd have to be cat psychologists!
Do you understand?

 

Yes, I understand the criticism you are bringing up.  I think most people understand that animals probably don't experience things like 'consciousness' and 'feelings' exactly the same way humans do, and thus it's not necessary to spell this out every time you say anything related to animal behavior.  While this may be a valid critique if you're doing a peer review of a psychology paper for publication, in this context it seems more like nitpicking for the sake of trying to make yourself sound smart.

 

Maybe I'm just misconstruing the tone of your posts.  The Internet does that sometimes.

 

If you want to get really technical, you should never scientifically refer to proving any kind of 'preference' in any other being.  I mean, it's possible that everyone else in the world is a cleverly-programmed robot, and you can never disprove this with 100% certainty.  Similar problems arise when trying to prove that the outside world actually exists.  So in that sense, all scientific research involves 'leaping to conclusions' at some level.

post #179 of 293


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skierish View Post

 

With all the hair-splitting, I can't figure out if some here believe it even exists or not.  

How 'bout this, are some people just more naturally gifted at certain pursuits than most others that attempt the same?
 

 



Or are they just gifted with a more suitable learning environment?  Maybe mom ate the perfect diet and did the right yoga while they developed in the womb.  Beyond that there are freaks of nature.  Would you say that being 7'+ is a special "innate ability" with regard to basketball or volleyball?  One could also say that not being mentally retarded can be regarded as innate ability to excel in mental pursuits.  Of course there are all different degrees of these variables.  However, I will still argue that assuming physical and mental traits fall within the normal distribution that environment influences success more than the immeasurable factors like some phantom "innate ability".  That ability can usually be linked to something tangible (like the ski noob prodigy actually already knowing how to ice skate pretty well-aka environmental factor) if we dig deeper. 

post #180 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias99 View Post

Yes, I understand the criticism you are bringing up.  I think most people understand that animals probably don't experience things like 'consciousness' and 'feelings' exactly the same way humans do, and thus it's not necessary to spell this out every time you say anything related to animal behavior.  While this may be a valid critique if you're doing a peer review of a psychology paper for publication, in this context it seems more like nitpicking for the sake of trying to make yourself sound smart.

Maybe I'm just misconstruing the tone of your posts.  The Internet does that sometimes.

You are. And it does. The misconstruction seems to be about what you bring to the comment, not what I wrote.

I definitely do not need to "make myself sound smart." My perspective is this: I'm as smart as I am, and no smarter... and I don't think I can become superficially or vicariously smarter by pretending at an internet persona. Therefore I don't care if you think I'm stupid, or biased, or prejudiced, or merely argumentative for its own sake. That's where your interpretation errs and your projection enters the picture.

I'm just sharing a perspective, like everyone else seems to be doing. And my perspective includes a concern for science vs pseudo-science in a thread that is mingling pseudo-science, pop psychology, actual personal experience, and random thinking on one or more of those three things.

I'll reiterate: the cat-pawing-at-something experiment was interesting. And I'll add: It involves a level of behavioral curiosity that I'm sure I didn't possess at a young age, so I admire that, and the interest in trying to experiment with the concept. It's pretty ingenious for an elementary school kid. But it doesn't rise to the level of scientific rigor that should pass muster among adults.

Maybe it just raises my hackles because there's so much pseudo-science in American society, used for political and/or commercial gain.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias99 View Post

If you want to get really technical, you should never scientifically refer to proving any kind of 'preference' in any other being. I mean, it's possible that everyone else in the world is a cleverly-programmed robot, and you can never disprove this with 100% certainty. Similar problems arise when trying to prove that the outside world actually exists. So in that sense, all scientific research involves 'leaping to conclusions' at some level.

I have two thoughts on the above.

1) You didn't just "get technical." You got hyperbolically snarky (the "robot" comment) and obfuscatory and pseudo-scientific (overstating the "leaping to conclusions" part).

2) I am not the one who tried to bring science into this long thread. I'm commenting only on the pseudo-science that people are treating as science. Which is why I referenced the paradigm shift that's brewing in science, the pollution of science by initial bias and commercial interests, and Copernicus. Perhaps that's too much leapfrogging. I'll break it down if you want. I'm guilty of leapfrogging in many situations. I won't be offended if you ask me to slow down and stop assuming you're thinking about this along the same lines I am.
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