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The movie ‘The Wild Child’ also depicts the social nature of human cognition, referring to the encounters we have with other people in our everyday lives. Our experiences help us improve and flourish, so we can gain knowledge and form our personalities through being social. When we’re not social, we’re isolated from the environment, so we may not fit into the crowd. Once he was found, Victor wasn’t really friendly since he did not understand what it meant to be social because he had been born in the woods from the time he was a child. However, as Victor communicates with Dr. Itard, good progress is made more slowly and efficiently. The development of Victor’s behavior in a more humane manner may have been due to him having more exposure to humans and being learned structural understanding rather than simply using experience as a form of memory. In exploring the reasons for the loss of early memories, Schachtel discusses the value and content of memories in his article, and how they contribute to their autobiographical memory. This is the knowledge of things that people do as a result of events and acquired information such as names, images, and events during their lives. Schachtel states that there is no memory loss correlated with the knowledge gained because, “This type of material is remembered because, in contrast to the autobiographical past, it is constantly re-experienced and used and because it is essential for the orientation and adaptation of the growing child to his environment”. This explains that, due to the amount that one uses facts and information more often, people were more likely to recognize specific things such as facts and ideas that they use on a daily basis rather than memories solely based on experience.
Human cognition is motivated, that also means that in order to be successful we do what we need to do. It could be either intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation applies to doing something for personal motivation and because you like to do it, although external motivation refers to do something and be rewarded afterwards. For example, two years ago in April, my friends had asked me to come with them to New York City for an Autism Walk, and I went because I knew I was walking for a great cause and also because I enjoyed the experience. Even though I knew I was not going to get anything in the end, it made me feel good which is referring to intrinsic motivation. An example of external motivation can be studying days before an exam and hoping for a good grade on it because you studied a long time. Another movie we watched during class ‘The Pawnbroker,’ a social worker named Marilyn appears to always want to assist Nazerman, the main character, so she demonstrates intrinsic motivation for wanting to help Nazerman. She notes he’s been frustrated and uses empathy as a way to help him calm down, however it doesn’t work, as Nazerman himself suffered through enough hardship that he has given up for anything good happening.
The movie ‘The Pawnbroker’ better explains the cognition element, which notes that human cognition is affectively tinged, suggesting that our emotions control our functionality. The viewers see a happy family at the start of ‘The Pawnbroker,’ but after the opening credits, viewers recognize that the mood of the movie has become quite mellow. It turns out that Nazerman is a Nazi prison camp survivor, but because he saw his family die, made him feel indifferent and disconnected from the real world. He seems to be a bitter man to most, but he has lost too much in life that his mind is primarily focused on making a living for him to survive. The suffering he has endured has affected Nazerman in such a way that he has become a bitter man, and this shows the negative emotions he had experienced during the Holocaust ,which also affected Nazerman’s personality.
Nazerman has hallucinations of the terrible things he experienced in the death camps during the Holocaust. It illustrates how cognition is self-reflective, which is a characteristic that separates us from all others. We learn something new everyday, and we learn to live life to the fullest and then plan ahead by being able to look back into the past. We are mindful of everything and everyone around us and we also know that death can come at anytime of any day. Nazerman had learned through his experiences in the concentration camps that the world was just an evil place, and it also molded him into the person he has become. Solomon Asch touches on the concept of self-reflection in his article Transformation of Man as he discusses that humans are social beings who need a social environment to become fully function. Asch says, “He (man) not only experiences needs and emotions; he also perceives, feels, and thinks about his experiences…Because he is conscious of himself and capable of reflecting on his experiences, he also takes up an attitude to himself and takes measures to control his own actions and tendencies” . The quote basically means that Nazerman lost all hope from anything good happening because of what he had gone through in his life.
The concepts shown in ‘Dr. Strangelove ”are also mentioned in Mumford’s article Reflections. Mumford discusses that people are living in a time of accelerated technology that can threaten them. Mumford describes that “anesthetized minds still believe that ‘science will find the answer’ or that if worst comes to worst a saving minority of mankind will escape to some other planet in a spaceship” . I feel like humans rely very heavily on science and technology to help them out and it will just hurt them in the long run without them realizing. Mumford also states that if we continue to use our maladaptive thinking, behaving in a way that could risk our survival, and we are unable to regain control of technology, this could lead to humanity’s downfall. We saw in the movie that Dr. Strangelove’s arm is mechanical and randomly moves on its own and he has no control over it and tries his best to get it under control but couldn’t.
What helps us to develop cognitively, emotionally and socially is our ongoing connection with society. The cognition features of Dorothy Dinnerstein help us understand these developments and further assess the films “The Pawnbroker,” “The Wild Child,” and “Dr. Strangelove,” although fictional, still portray Dinnerstein’s features which are observed in the real world. Schachtel, Asch, and Mumford all in their articles, go back on our development as we grow and learn every day and help us understand Dinnerstein’s 7 features of cognition.