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jwong's picture

The discussion my group had

The discussion my group had on Tuesday about the I-function was extremely interesting. I agreed with the fact that your I-function is always “on,” that it is a stable mechanism that affects the brain’s capability of being fully “aware.” However, I’m not sure how I feel about the I-function having the ability to come in and out of play depending on consciousness/awareness at a particular time. Learning languages is relevant to this discussion; for example, I am taking Mandarin Chinese class. When I am in class and am forced to focus on the tones and I have to tell myself to produce a sentence a certain way so to utilize a certain sentence pattern, I find it harder to vocalize my thoughts. I end up pausing and having to think for a while about how the sentence itself is organized and how best to produce a cohesive product. In contrast, when I am in the presence of some Chinese friends, there seems to be less pressure and I try to speak Mandarin more fluently and more colloquially than in the classroom. I effectually am able to produce more cohesive dialogue than if i was in a classroom setting; however, I only notice this in retrospect. I do not consciously think about speaking better Chinese in front of my friends. This, to me, is an example of how the I-function, my conscious awareness of myself and of my ability to express myself, is being aware of the environment (the people) that I am immersed it, but that I end up producing actions that I do not consciously am aware of deviating from another norm. In my "friend" environment, I am able to speak more and vocalize in Chinese more of my thoughts because I think about the entire translation process much less. I think it is interesting that this concept, as previously raised by cheffernan, that the I-function is always on and can never really be “off” or in a state of lesser “awareness/consciousness” simply because I think there are oftentimes many actions that we are aware of that we simply forget to recognize. Speaking in another language that is not my native dialect of Chinese forces me to put more of a focused conscious effort into attempting to speak it.

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