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Business & Psychology



Level A2 - B1 (pre-intermediate/ intermediate)

Business & Psychology

Daniel Kahneman was the first psychologist to receive a Nobel Prize. In 2002 Kahneman and Vernon L. Smith collected the Nobel Prize in Economics for researching decision-making processes. Below are two of the psychological experiments used by Kahneman and Smith in their work. Why don't you try them out?

1.  Can you answer the question below?:

A baseball bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

Did you say 10 cents......? Do you want to reconsider your answer? ............ Well, more than 50% of Princeton University students also decided that the ball cost 10 cents. This surprisingly high rate of errors in this easy problem illustrates how easily people jump to intuitive conclusions without going through the painful process of reasoning.

2.  For this experiment you will need three buckets of water:

The left bucket should contain cold water, the right one - hot water; pour tepid water into the middle bucket. Put your left hand into the left bucket, and your right hand into the right bucket. Wait for a minute or two to get used to the temperature. After that put your both hands into the tepid water in the middle bucket. Both your hands are now in the same temperature. Can you feel it?

No, you can't. You will feel heat on your left hand and cold on your right hand. Remember this experiment  when implementing  change in your company.

Language Note:

research, verb                      to investigate, study

below, adv.                           underneath

baseball bat, noun              a tool similar to a racket or a paddle used for hitting the ball in baseball

in total, phrase                     altogether

reconsider, verb                  to think again

rate, noun                              percentage, ratio, proportion

error, noun                            mistake

jump to conclusions, phrase      to make a decision quickly without thinking

intuitive, adj.                         instinctive, spontaneous

reasoning, noun                  logical thinking, analysis

bucket, noun                       a round open container with a handle, pail

tepid, adj.                             slightly warm, not cold and not hot

implement, verb                  put into action, apply

 


 

answers:

1. the ball costs 5 cents, and the bat $ 1.05

 

Level B1.5 - B2 (intermediate +/ upper intermediate)

Business & Psychology

In 2002 Daniel Kahneman and Vernon L. Smith were awarded with the Nobel Prize in Economics for "having integrated insights from psychological research into economic science". Kahneman was the first psychologist in history to collect a Nobel Prize. Below are two of the psychological experiments used by Kahneman and Smith in their work:

1.  Consider the following problem:

Two persons get their monthly report from a broker:

A is told that her wealth has changed from 4 million to 3 million

B is told that her wealth has changed from 1 million to 1.1 million

Who is happier today?

Although, objectively, A has more reasons to be satisfied with her wealth (3 million is much more than 1.1 million), most people correctly suspect that B will be  feeling happier than A. We all experience intensive emotions at the moment of change, and these emotions will always concentrate on the short-term effect (the change itself), rather than the longer-term financial results (general wealth). These conclusions are significant to anyone implementing change in business.

2.  Further conclusions on this phenomenon can be drawn from the following experiment:

The test involves three buckets of water of different temperatures, arranged from cold on the left to hot on the right, with tepid in the middle. In the adapting phase, the left and right hands are immersed in cold and hot water, respectively. The initially intense sensations of cold and heat gradually wane. When both hands are, then immersed in the middle bucket, the experience is heat in the left hand and cold in the right hand.

Isn't it worth remembering what a powerful tool change can be?

Language Note:

insight, noun                        understanding, knowledge

broker, noun                         financial advisor

wealth, noun                         the amount of money that a person owns

conclusion, noun                deduction

significant, adj.                    important

implement, verb                   to put into practice, apply

phenomenon, noun            a fact, trend, occurrence

bucket, noun                       a round open container with a handle, pail

tepid, adj.                              slightly warm, not cold and not hot

immerse, verb                      to put something into liquid

respectively, adv.                in that order, correspondingly

sensation, noun                  feeling, impression

wane, verb                            fade, vanish, diminish

 

Level C1 (advanced)

Business & Psychology

In 2002 Daniel Kahneman and Vernon L. Smith were awarded with the Nobel Prize in Economics for "having integrated insights from psychological research into economic science." Kahneman was the first psychologist in history to collect a Nobel Prize. Below are two of the psychological experiments used by Kahneman and Smith in their work:

1.  Consider the following problem:

Imagine that the United States is preparing for the outbreak of an unusual Asian disease, which is expected to kill 600 people. Two alternative programs to combat the disease have been proposed. Assume that the scientific estimates on the consequences of the programs are as follows:

-     If Program A is adopted, 200 people will be saved.

-     If Program B is adopted, there is a one-third probability that 600 people will be saved and a two-thirds probability that no people will be saved.

Which of the two programs would you favour?

Have you selected program A, like most of those who participated in the original experiment? Why don't you consider the following two solutions to the same problem, then:

-     If Program A' is adopted, 400 people will die.

-     If Program B' is adopted, there is a one-third probability that nobody will die and a two-thirds probability that 600 will die.

Which option do you favour now? Program B like most participants? Why have you changed your mind if the programmes are exactly the same? Well, the mighty context...

2.  Can you recognise a similar mechanism in the riddle below:

Look at the squares on the right. Which of the grey squares is darker (the small or the big one)?

answer:

They are both exactly the same colour.

 

We live in the information era. However, Kahneman and Smith's research proves that what matters is not necessarily the information itself, but rather the way it is served.

Language Note:

insight, noun                        understanding, knowledge

outbreak, noun                    a sudden start of something unpleasant

combat, verb                        to fight

assume, verb                       to imagine, think, presume

estimate, noun                     to make a judgement without looking at detailed data or figures

mighty, adj.                           powerful, potent

 



Prepared by Agnieszka Lasoń-Kurzela - Head of Language Training, ACT Advanced Corporate Training

Agnieszka Lasoń-Kurzela is a graduate of English Philology and worked as a teacher in Warsaw before spending four years working in the Human Resources department at international company. Additionally, she has completed post-graduate courses in general management and psychology of personnel management. Since 2004 she has worked for ACT Advanced Corporate Training. As a Head of Language Training, she is responsible for managing all activities of the language team: the academic processes and organisation of courses in liaison with our clients.




Other Lessons (show...):


Lesson 216: WAIT
Lesson 215: POLITICS
Lesson 214: MATHEMATICS IN ENGLISH
Lesson 213: HEADLINE ENGLISH
Lesson 212: NEW YEAR`S RESOLUTIONS
Lesson 211: WHO IS SANTA CLAUS?
Lesson 210: A SOCIAL EXPERIMENT
Lesson 209: THE RULES OF SARCASM
Lesson 208: DO YOU KNOW WHY?
Lesson 207: THE WAYS TO GET SMARTER
Lesson 206: TELEPHONING
Lesson 205: HUNTING FOR WORDS (2)
Lesson 204: HUNTING FOR WORDS
Lesson 203: BUSINESS WISDOM IN PHRASAL VERB
Lesson 202: TIME
Lesson 201: ALL ABOUT BEER.... TO PREPARE FOR OCTOBERFEST
Lesson 200: TIPS FOR A TRAVELLING BUSINESSMAN
Lesson 199: FANTASTIC ANIMAL FACTS
Lesson 198: CONTAINERS (FOOD)
Lesson 197: FAST FOOD BLUES
Lesson 196: MALE AND FEMALE LANGUAGE
Lesson 195: LOOKING LEFT, THINKING RIGHT ?
Lesson 194: ENGLISH SPELLING SIMPLIFIED
Lesson 193: FOOTBALL FRENZY!
Lesson 192: FACEBOOK STORY
Lesson 191: TOP TIPS FOR GIVING PRESENTATIONS
Lesson 190: SECRETS OF SLEEPERS
Lesson 189: YOUR USE OF PRONOUNS REVEALS YOUR PERSONALITY
Lesson 188: DON`T WORRY, BE HAPPY
Lesson 187: MANAGING STRESS
Lesson 186: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - THE CONFERENCE
Lesson 185: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - CONFLICT
Lesson 184: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - THE GENERATION GAP
Lesson 183: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - WHAT`S THE POINT OF HR?
Lesson 182: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - PHILOSOPHICALLY SPEAKING
Lesson 181: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - ACCRUED HOLIDAYS
Lesson 180: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - CALIBRATING POTENTIAL
Lesson 179: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL
Lesson 178: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - BUSINESS PARTNERING
Lesson 177: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - NEW YEAR`S RESOLUTIONS
Lesson 176: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - SPHERICAL OBJECTS
Lesson 175: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - THE COMMUNICATION PLAN
Lesson 174: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - TRAINING OR TRAININGS?
Lesson 173: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - A MATTER OF POLICY
Lesson 172: A LONG COLD WINTER
Lesson 171: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - TOILET TALK
Lesson 170: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - THE NEW BOSS
Lesson 169: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - ANGER MANAGEMENT
Lesson 168: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - MOBBING AND BULLYING
Lesson 167: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - WORD TRANSFORMATIONS
Lesson 166: CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF
Lesson 165: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - TOP DOG
Lesson 164: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - A SOURCE OF CONFUSION
Lesson 163: HORACE AND ROGER`S HR CHATS - TO BE OR NOT TO BE (AT WORK)
Lesson 162: MEET PETE - E27 - HOW TO TELL THEM APART
Lesson 161: GONE TO THE DOGS
Lesson 160: MEET PETE - E26 - SAVE THE DAY
Lesson 159: COUNTING SHEEP
Lesson 158: HOLIDAY TIME
Lesson 157: Meet Pete – E25 – A Question of Taste
Lesson 156: Meet Pete – E24 – Don’t be a jerk
Lesson 155: THE WALLS HAVE EARS
Lesson 154: FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Lesson 153: Meet Pete – E22 – The New Game Plan
Lesson 152: HERE COMES THE SUMMER
Lesson 151: Meet Pete – E23 – Succession Meeting
Lesson 150: I TAKE IT ALL BACK
Lesson 149: MEET PETE - E21 - ABOUT ONE VERY SERIOUS THING
Lesson 148: CHARACTER
Lesson 147: MEET PETE - E20 - IN THE RED
Lesson 146: A WINTER OF DISCONTENT
Lesson 145: MEET PETE - E19 - JUDGE A MAN BY HIS QUESTIONS
Lesson 144: SPRING IS IN THE AIR
Lesson 143: LANGUAGE REFRESHER – IDIOMS
Lesson 142: DO YOU GET IT?
Lesson 141: MEET PETE - E16 - EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
Lesson 140: A ONE HORSE RACE
Lesson 139: MEET PETE - AN INTERVIEW WITH THE CEO
Lesson 138: BAD DEBTS
Lesson 137: EUPHEMISMS
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Lesson 135: AND? - EXPRESSIONS WITH AND
Lesson 134: Meet Pete – 5 Whys
Lesson 133: The Morning After The Night Before
Lesson 132: Meet Pete – E13 – Salary Ping-Pong
Lesson 131: A LETTER TO SANTA
Lesson 130: Meet Pete - E12 - It never rains but it pours
Lesson 129: Body idioms
Lesson 128: Meet Pete – Don’t put your fingers in too many pies.
Lesson 127: USING NEGATIVE QUESTIONS TO PERSUADE
Lesson 126: MEET PETE - E10 - THE POLYMATH
Lesson 125: PARTIAL AGREEMENT
Lesson 124: MEET PETE - E09 - ROLE AMBIGUITY
Lesson 123: EVERYTHING IS SUBJECTIVE
Lesson 122: MEET PETE – E08 – GALLUP 12 QUESTIONS
Lesson 121: THE OFFICE - WORK RELATED IDIOMS
Lesson 120: THE BLUES AND OTHER COLOURS
Lesson 119: LANGUAGE REFRESHER – PERSUADING – Part two
Lesson 118: LANGUAGE REFRESHER – PERSUADING – Part one
Lesson 117: HR - but what brand?
Lesson 116: Love your job, hate your boss?
Lesson 115: LANGUAGE REFRESHER - FEEDBACK AND APPRAISALS – Part two
Lesson 114: IDIOM REFRESHER - SPORTS IDIOMS - Part four
Lesson 113: IDIOM REFRESHER - SPORTS IDIOMS - Part three
Lesson 112: LANGUAGE REFRESHER - FEEDBACK AND APPRAISALS – Part one
Lesson 111: A LOAD OF BALLS
Lesson 110: IDIOM REFRESHER - Sports idioms - Part two
Lesson 109: IDIOM REFRESHER - Sports idioms
Lesson 108: Meet Pete – Episode 07 – WHAT’S YOUR GAFFER LIKE?
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Lesson 106: FEEDBACK AND APPRAISALS
Lesson 105: Meet Pete - Episode Six – Fight or flight
Lesson 104: DON’T YOU THINK...?
Lesson 103: Meet Pete - Episode Five - Meet Pete – First Blood
Lesson 102: SMALL TALK - Part 3
Lesson 101: Meet Pete - Episode Four - Meeting deadlines
Lesson 100: SMALL TALK - Part 2
Lesson 99: SMALL TALK - Part 1
Lesson 98: Meet Pete - Episode Three - On The Grapevine
Lesson 97: Advertising slogans
Lesson 96: Emphasis!
Lesson 95: Meet Pete – Episode Two – The Secret of Small Talk
Lesson 94: Job or Work?
Lesson 93: Meet Pete - Episiode two - Names
Lesson 92: Meet Pete - Episode one
Lesson 91: Weasel Words
Lesson 90: BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
Lesson 89: Vague Language
Lesson 88: Making Predictions
Lesson 87: Tact
Lesson 86: Christmas
Lesson 85: The Christmas Party
Lesson 84: Are you being taken for a ride?
Lesson 83: A dead-end job
Lesson 82: Oblivion
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Lesson 80: Stress is tricky!
Lesson 79: What is stress?
Lesson 78: How not to make a fuss in autumn
Lesson 77: Holiday leave
Lesson 76: Belbin team roles
Lesson 75: These are my personal attributes - honestly!
Lesson 74: Managing time
Lesson 73: Engaging with customers by accessing emotions
Lesson 72: Meetings, meetings and more meetings!
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Lesson 70: Performance review guide
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Lesson 67: Love is in the air
Lesson 66: The power of persuasion
Lesson 65: Winning negotiations
Lesson 64: Happy Easter
Lesson 63: Brain Teasers
Lesson 62: Sam Goldwyn
Lesson 61: Funny signs
Lesson 60: Oscars
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Lesson 58: The Pareto Principle
Lesson 57: Tact
Lesson 56: Rhyming Slang
Lesson 55: St Valentine’s Day - origin and customs
Lesson 54: Etymology
Lesson 53: Stupidity
Lesson 52: Money jokes
Lesson 51: New Year in Madeira
Lesson 50: Christmas pantomime
Lesson 49: It’s party time!
Lesson 48: Bad Translations
Lesson 47: Proverbs
Lesson 46: Financial Puzzles
Lesson 45: Children
Lesson 44: Halloween
Lesson 43: Food crossword
Lesson 42: Tongue twisters
Lesson 41: Business inspiration quotes
Lesson 40: Political metaphors
Lesson 39: Colours
Lesson 38: Business Wisdom
Lesson 37: A poem
Lesson 36: Making and Spending money
Lesson 35: The Taste of Italy
Lesson 34: The SLOW Movement
Lesson 33: Construction
Lesson 32: Safe Internet Shopping
Lesson 31: SUDOKU
Lesson 30: SPEAK YOUR MIND Say what you really think!
Lesson 29: Harrods
Lesson 28: Full English Breakfast
Lesson 27: London Underground
Lesson 26: Loan Words
Lesson 25: Elements
Lesson 24: Business Etiquette
Lesson 23: PUNS
Lesson 22: Fables
Lesson 21: Work Proverbs
Lesson 20: Riddles
Lesson 19: Whodunit?
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Lesson 15: This Week - New Year in Madeira
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Lesson 13: Insurance Humour
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Lesson 11: Stress at work
Lesson 10: Sherlock Holmes
Lesson 9: What makes a great salesman?
Lesson 8: TRIVIA
Lesson 7: Holidays
Lesson 6: Crazy Headlines
Lesson 5: Economists
Lesson 4: The Pareto Principle
Lesson 3: How to heat up cold calls
Lesson 2: Business & Psychology
Lesson 1: Advertising slogans