Posts Tagged ‘truth’

It is called the  confirmation bias and it happens all the time. Often the confirmation bias is executed subconsciously. We watch tv shows, visit websites, political rallies and religious services which express views that agree with our own views. By exercising this bias we do not risk what psychologist call cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance,  is the discomfort experienced when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions.  Not everyone experiences cognitive dissonance in the same way or to the same degree.  Some people feel anger, disillusion and even dizziness when confronted with cognitive dissonance, it is because of this that people often develop an aversion to other views, it is then that the mind engages in the confirmation bias. That is the con of opening up ones beliefs,  values, or other constructs affecting ones cognition. Cognition is a fancy word for how someone thinks.
cognitive_dissonance download (23)

The pro for changing ones cognition is complicated. The wiki page that you are taken to by clicking on the cognitive dissonance link points to one of Aseops fables for an example of cognitive dissonance….

One hot summer’s day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. “Just the thing to quench my thirst,” quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: “I am sure they are sour.”

Now I am not a psychologist or a story teller but I am a movie fan and there is a scene in the new Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory, where Willy Wonka asks a question of the protagonist Charlie:

Willy Wonka: But Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted.

Charlie Bucket: What happened?

Willy Wonka: He lived happily ever after.

The fox wanted the grapes, until, he couldn’t get them. At this point  he changed his mind and no longer wanted the grapes. Psychologist call this pattern “adaptive preference formation” . Adaptive preference formation may help one avoid the pain of cognitive dissonance but it results in not enjoying the grapes.

It is easy and natural to surround ourselves with like minded people and to  live and die within our comfort zone.  The act of reaching out learning new things that may unearth or mental constructs can be scary and painful but the freedom that you will feel through education and learning, for me at least, far outweighs this pain. This however may not be the case for others. They may choose to actively engage in a confirmation bias as well as follow the adaptive preference formation pattern. Those who are enlightened should engage the ones involved with in a confirmation bias with at least an ounce of compassion and understanding. The concept of dragging someone to the light kicking in screaming is both impractical, compassionate and intolerant.

Education and knowledge should be offered and I say taken but not everyone may choose to educate his or herself and this is a right someone has. To live in ignorance, however because of the lack of compassion, it often happens that the educated will brain wash and exploit the uneducated so my advice is to learn as much as you can no matter what it means to the mental processes you have.

I truly feel that knowledge is power. The “why” to situations should always be grasped and understood.





ImageSo the workplace, being an environment full of adults from various background and upbringing, can become a perfect place for disagreements about principles and beliefs which are usually accepted as truth. Recently the new disagreement at work is the existence of bias. An individual at work, who aways seems to wear clothes that look as tough they belong inside ad on te cover of a fashion magazine, let m and another co-worker know that his choices in attire hd nothing to d with anyone other than himself. I let him know that he as incorrect. We all have some bias developed over time. 

To stand and say that we are unbiased sounds great, but it is a fallacy. There are and always will be some bias let’s not hide our heads in the sand but instead acknowledge, understand and judge the basis of our bias. Until we do this we cannot expect to grow.