Archive for category Blog Entry 3
Definition: Information that is inconsistent with our schemas we are more likely to ignore and not pay attention to.
See commercial posted: Embassy Suites commercial
Conclusion: This clip is an example of how we are likely to ignore information that is inconsistent with our schemas. In this commercial Stanley is loved by everyone- so much so that his boss wants to send him to Boston to represent the company and make a good impression on the clients. When Stanley doesn’t believe that everyone loves him, his boss throws a cactus at another coworker and then blames it on Stanley- in an effort to prove to Stanley that regardless of throwing a cactus at someone- people will still love him and keep their same views of Stanley. When the other co-worker realizes that it is Stanley who threw the cactus- he isn’t upset- instead he laughs and shrugs it off. Because this event was inconsistent with the co-worker’s schema about Stanley- the event was ignored and pushed aside- thus retaining the positive image that the worker held for Stanley.
Sometimes, our belief in something can actually make it reality. This is called a Self-fulfilling prophecy. If you (and/or others) believe that you are beautiful, strong or smart, you are much more likely to become those things. Self fulfilling prophecies can really be positive or negative, though I think we tend to remember the negative ones. If a child is labeled as “abnormal” “stupid” or “different” they tend to become that.
One great example of a self fulfilling prophecy is the following clip from Kung Fu Panda
It was prophesied that Tai Lung would escape, so the duck is sent to the prison to ensure he is safely held. It is in this action that Tai Lung finds a way to escape. A single feather drops, enabling Tai Lung to escape and wage war against the Furious Five.
I love the line about how in our path to avoid Destiny, we often find it. The truth is, we create our own destiny. These perceived paths of “stupid” or “abnormal” only affect us if we let them affect us or others. We really need to be careful.
Let me tell you about my love life. But first let me tell you about confirmation bias. This is when someone looks to confirm their preconceptions about something, or as in my case, someone, and ignore clear evidence in the contrary. Now follow me back a few months and I’ll explain how girls are evi…erm…I mean confirmation bias destroyed my li…I mean this strictly academic analysis of a psychological principle is manifest in my own experience.
I’ll keep this brief. Once I was in love, and 8 months later I was single, and 3 months after that she was married to a ginger Neanderthal. How did this happen? Well as it turns out with good luck on my part, but that’s another story. Initially though, what broke us up? An idea, like a little seed, like in inception. Just like in inception. In fact, my dating life is inception. And just like that an idea entered her head, something about the way we interacted, I think it was about me being too critical of what she did, but I can’ t even remember exactly what it was. I do remember thinking, “this rarely ever happens,” and consciously counting the number of conversations on the subject we’d had to be around 3 or 4 in those 8 months.
Now how is that confirmation bias? She had decided that all I ever did was criticize her. Maybe my bias was working against me and I didn’t notice my own glaring faults (which admittedly I have, probably), OR maybe she just couldn’t see the clear evidence in the contrary. But from my perspective, it seemed like she was able to pick and choose only those instances that confirmed her preconception about how I was acting toward her, while everything else was easy to ignore. Those problems then were able to build up, up, until just like in inception, she theoretically jumped out of the window of our relationship. But this is just one girl right? No. We all do this, we let first impressions, prejudices and wormy ideas decide someone’s character until it builds up a huge chasm that no two people can cross to create a successful relationship. And that’s confirmation bias.
And that’s why I’m single.
Most People have at one time or another exhibited the behavior known as belief perseverance. This is when someone believes something that is incorrect, then this person is instructed by someone else that their idea is false. Even when they are presented with specific logical reasons concerning the false nature of their belief, they refuse to change their thoughts and cling to their incorrect presumption.
An example of this was found in last week’s episode of The Office. At a charity even attended by all the office employees, there is a silent auction. Dwight, however, believes that if you correctly guess the amount that the item is worth, you will win the item, free of charge. When Jim tries to explain the true nature and procedure of how it works, Dwight will not listen, but continues to insist that his belief is more logical and continues to guess the price of everything up for bid. This clip is what results: http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/hulu/index.php?id=60065984
As this clip demonstrates, Dwight held onto his beliefs all the way until he was publicly proven wrong and humiliated. Even though Jim tried to warn Dwight and urge him to stop his actions, Dwight stubbornly and firmly held onto what he believed to be true, thus demonstrating belief perseverance.
“Eating Late: Bad or Not?” by Tatiana Herman
As I’ve met more and more people, I have noticed that there are individuals who like to make definitive statements, which I’ve believed at the time, only to later find out are false. Even after I find out however, I want to continue believing it because the logic played out well in my mind. Belief perseverance has to do with just this idea. It means that after someone has an idea or “fact” implanted in their mind and that information is later discredited, they may continue to believe it because their explanation for that idea doesn’t dissipate. It still makes sense in their mind.
I used to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and not gain a pound. However as many young adults like myself, have come to find, metabolism doesn’t remain through life as it was in high school. I decided about a year ago that I would strive to eat healthier and control my portion sizes to lose the pounds that I’d started gaining during my years at BYU. I’m also open to tips that may assist in healthy weight loss. In the past few years I’ve heard numerous times that you’re not helping your cause if you eat past a certain hour, typically seven or eight o’clock. After talking to a nutritionist however, I learned that this was a common misconception and simply not true.
I was shocked because in my mind, metabolism and calorie burning are linked to level of physical activity. You’re obviously more active in the day than at night after going to sleep, so it made sense that as your body slows down, your metabolism will go down as well. This is the invented explanation that I referred to earlier. The nutritionist explained that the human body is well equipped to process food no matter what time of day it is, and she even eats dinner around nine or ten at night because of her schedule. She said that the myth may have originated from a misunderstanding of diet. You eat to gain energy, and most people have already consumed what they need by the time night comes around and after that it’s just excess calories. However, if you haven’t had dinner yet, eating at nine or even ten won’t set you back if you’re trying to lose or maintain weight. I believed her because of the training and schooling she’d received to validate her reasoning. But even though I comprehended her logic in discrediting the myth, I’m sure I could easily believe it again if opposing evidence presented itself.
Misattribution can be defined as wrongly assuming the cause of someone’s behavior. We probably misattribute people’s character more than we realize. But this experience helped me learn that misattribution can lead to bad judgements:
I’ve been working with the same visiting teaching companion for a few months now. She’d always been a good companion. However, during the month of April, she stopped responding to me, and I didn’t see her in church. I assumed that she hated me and had become inactive. I texted her a couple of different times trying to set up a visiting teaching appointment, but she never wanted to go. This was very unlike her. I was frustrated by her responses, and I went visiting teaching by myself. Later, I found out from my husband that she had actually moved out of the ward. She wasn’t even my visiting teaching companion anymore! No wonder she couldn’t ever come visiting teaching: she lived really far away, and she probably had her own visiting teaching to do.
I misattributed my visiting teacher’s behavior by assuming that that she didn’t like me and that she had become inactive. Really, she had just moved out of the ward, and she wasn’t even supposed to come visiting teaching with me. That taught me a lesson: we never really have enough information to make character judgements.
One of the biggest mantras I’ve heard over the past few years has to be “No regrets”. People want to live their lives to the fullest without anything holding them back, and ensure that they never have regrets (whether it was something they did do and wish they didn’t, or vice versa). Living with no regrets means one wouldn’t engage in Counterfactual Thinking, or the act of imagining alternative choices and outcomes that could have happened, but never did. I personally have been extremely guilty of counterfactual thinking, for several different reasons in my life. Those who call themselves day dreamers may be concocting counterfactual situations all day long! The book gives more specific examples however, and speaks to the fact that the more serious or significant an event is, the greater amount of counterfactual thinking there will be. This explains the pain many are familiar with of not getting to say goodbye to a loved one before they pass away, or causing a traffic accident and replaying all of one’s steps, trying to create a situation in which one would’nt have been there and thus not have caused an accident.
When I was reading about counterfactual thinking, I almost immediately started playing “Should’ve Said No” by Taylor Swift. This song captures Taylor’s counterfactual thinking after her boyfriend cheats on her, and she advises him that he should’ve said no and then he and Taylor’s relationship would still be intact. If you haven’t heard it, check out this live version!
Taylor is thinking counterfactually almost the entire time, reminiscing on the good times and then focusing on how the one negative event could (and should) have been altered to create a much better outcome. Taylor’s imagination of a better scenario, although one that didn’t happen, is counterfactual thinking at it’s best (and perhaps most emotional).