Archive for November, 2010

The article I’d like to discuss today is Chapter 6 of the Handbook of Gender Research in Psychology, “Gender Identity Disorder: Concerns and Controversies” by Kate Richmond, Kate Carrol, and Kristoffer Denboske.



I’ve been branching out my reading lately. I figure I need to re-establish my base of knowledge on identity and kinds of minds, so I figured I would start with John Searle, particularly his book Minds, Brains and Science. Within this book, he supposedly solves the mind/body problem, then goes on to talk about why computers can’t be intelligent. He does this with his famous Chinese Room thought experiment.

The idea of the experiment is that if someone who did not understand were in a room, and people put messages in Chinese through a slot on one side of the room, the guy inside could use a sort of ‘code book’ telling him what the proper response was (also in Chinese) and he could then send those messages out of the room, and people outside might be convinced that he understands Chinese.

I’ve got a couple problems with this. I’ll start from the beginning.


I have gotten the results of my exams. I passed the exam on the history of rhetorical theory. I passed the exam on Scientific and Technical Communication. I have been asked to take a different specialty exam, as the list I had wasn’t finalized in time, which meant I was not as prepared as I was supposed to be.

In other words: I failed the third exam. And I deserved to. I took 6 months to study the other two, and six WEEKS to study the third (while still studying the other two). So I’m taking a step back, getting to know my shit a bit better, and then taking another swing at it. It’s a hurt to the confidence, but I’m trying to look at it as a story I can tell some day to my students when they panic about their exams (as my adviser did for me).

Anyway, I wanted to talk about an article. “Virtual Gender Identity: The Linguistic Assimilation to Gendered Avatars in Computer-Mediated Communication” by Nicholas A. Palomares and Eun-Ju Lee. This article is basically looking at whether gender-matched avatars lead to more gender-typical language use (they say it does). (more…)