Description, Interpretation, Evaluation

Educators will often suggest that if you do only one activity in an intercultural class, the best choice is the “Description, Interpretation, and Evaluation” exercise, known colloquially as the D.I.E. This entry will discuss the origins, pedagogical goals, process, and recent revisions of this critical teaching and training activity.


The D.I.E. exercise was inspired by the work of general semantics. Alfred Korzybski, considered the founder of general semantics, wrote on reports, inferences, and judgments, outlining distinctions among these cognitive processes. Samuel Ichiye Hayakawa popularized Korzybski’s ideas in the mid- to late 20th century, bringing concepts from general semantics into the vernacular, including notable quotes such as Korzybski’s “the map is not the territory.” Furthermore, he warned that making immediate judgments inhibits our analytical process.

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