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"Congruence bias", aka the Worst Thing Otherkin Can Do
Archer
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Post: #1
"Congruence bias", aka the Worst Thing Otherkin Can Do
Aside from the usual like dealing drugs and rape and voting Labour, of course.

Here's what Congruence Bias is: "Congruence bias is a type of cognitive bias similar to confirmation bias. Congruence bias occurs due to people's overreliance on direct testing of a given hypothesis, and a neglect of indirect testing."

Let me give you an example. I'm going to provide a sequence of numbers. There's a rule that says whether or not a number can come up next. Suggest a rule, and I'll tell you if it's right or wrong. Suggest a number, and I'll tell you whether or not it fits.

Okay?

2 4 6 8 10

Now, most people immediately see that 12 looks like it would fit, and when they suggest that, I say "yes". So the possible rule that comes back is "Any number will fit that's two more than the previous." Right? WRONG!

Hmmm.

Okay. Well, the numbers are getting bigger. Does 14 fit? Yes. 16? Yes. The rule is . . . any number bigger than the previous one. WRONG!

Hmmm. They're all even. Does 24 fit? Yep. 30? Yep. 50? Yep. Okay, the rule is . . . any even number. WRONG!

Okay okay, well, they do seem to be getting bigger. Does 11 fit? Yep. Would 15 fit? Yep. Okay, rule is . . . any number bigger than the previous one. WRONG!

What's the actual rule? It's just any number under 100.

In real tests, with tasks like this, almost invariably people look at the sequence, work out a rule that fits, suggest lots of numbers that fit with their suggested rule, and take that as evidence it's correct. They're then surprised to be told WRONG.

With a sequence likwe 2, 4, 6, 8 - say you think it's just increasing in twos, and you want to check that, knowing that 10 fits helps but proves nothing. What you need to do is pick some numbers that don't fit your own explanation. Like 5 and 14, for example. If either of those fit, you know your "up in 2s" explanation was wrong. If they don't fit, then your explanation looks more likely.

People don't do that, though. Instead of looking for evidence to disprove something they believe in (failing to do so acting, of course, in support of their beliefs) they go out of their way to look for things that support them, say "Oh look, it fits!" and then take that as supporting evidence. Otherkin do this all the fucking time and it does my head in.

You have a hypothesis. It is "I'm not human." And what people do next is usually look for lots of evidence that will confirm it. Freaky dreams, weird astral experiences, personality traits, etc. And completely neglect to look for the kinds of things that would disprove it. Yeah, if you're a vampire you might have weird mood swings. But if you're a teenager you probably have weird mood swings as well.

What annoys me most is when more serious-minded otherkin try to point this out, and suggest the value of questioning beliefs, or offer questions themselves - something which actually takes time, effort, and energy to do - soooo many of the idiotkin respond by saying "Ohmygod, don't question me!" Sigh. The point of trying to cut someone's beliefs down is not some kind of vindictive aggression. If the beliefs make no sense, they'll fall easily. A couple of questions and the nonsense will be apparent. On the other hand, if the beliefs are sensible and the result of sound reasoning, no amount of questioning, no matter how unpleasant it might seem, will damage them in the slightest.

If you're here to better understand yourself, this is all good news - because you don't want those nonsensical beliefs anyway. On the other hand if you're here beacuse it makes you feel special and motivated to think of yourself as non-human, if that's what you need to get on with your life . . . then go join a support group or something. I'm here to learn about the nature of existence, not to hold hands with people who find it hard to get through the day as a regular human.

A recent member Wrote:Why not ask things that pertains to proving me as Otherkin instead of things that prove me as not one.

Simple. If you are otherkin, then questions designed to prove you aren't will get negative results. On the other hand, questions that try to prove you're otherkin won't do any good at all.

2, 4, 6, 8, 10 can be followed by 12, 14, 16, 18. But that doesn't mean the rule is "two more than the previous number". It just means the person trying to figure the answers out was too damn narrow minded to get to the truth.

Ubi Dubium, Ibi Libertas

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2009-09-26 22:54
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Post: #2
Re: "Congruence bias", aka the Worst Thing Otherkin Can Do
Well written and I agree. I hope we get a good conversation out of this topic, because it is definitely good conversation worthy.

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2009-09-26 23:22
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Post: #3
Re: "Congruence bias", aka the Worst Thing Otherkin Can Do
Spoke my thoughts better than I could have Arch. Good show.

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2009-09-27 0:34
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Post: #4
Re: "Congruence bias", aka the Worst Thing Otherkin Can Do
Ha...ha....>.>

Assumptions aren't a bad thing. Any, and I mean any person I know, would have gone along that path of adding two, the same as I would have. They would have figured it out after they hit 102, by process of elimination. There's absolutely nothing wrong with logical, estimated assumptions.

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2009-09-27 1:44
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Post: #5
Re: "Congruence bias", aka the Worst Thing Otherkin Can Do
How many people would bother continuing up to 102 if they were following that strategy?

What Archer is pointing out, is the reason why researchers test a hypothesis by stating the opposite and attempting to prove that. Deliberately looking for flaws in an assumption one wishes to test is a way to override the natural human tendency to find connections in the available data.

-Val (who does that kind of stuff for a living)

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2009-09-27 2:56
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Post: #6
Re: "Congruence bias", aka the Worst Thing Otherkin Can Do
Yoherz Wrote:Ha...ha....>.>

Assumptions aren't a bad thing. Any, and I mean any person I know, would have gone along that path of adding two, the same as I would have. They would have figured it out after they hit 102, by process of elimination. There's absolutely nothing wrong with logical, estimated assumptions.

Or they'd hit 100, be told that doesn't meet the rule and assume that the rule was increasing by 2 but less than 100.....

Jack

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2009-09-27 3:32
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Post: #7
Re: "Congruence bias", aka the Worst Thing Otherkin Can Do
House Hesson Wrote:How many people would bother continuing up to 102 if they were following that strategy?

As I said in the spiritual example, they're going to keep doing what they know works, until it doesn't. Then they'll go to something else, or try to find another solution. It's completely logical to do so.

House Hesson Wrote:What Archer is pointing out, is the reason why researchers test a hypothesis by stating the opposite and attempting to prove that. Deliberately looking for flaws in an assumption one wishes to test is a way to override the natural human tendency to find connections in the available data.

-Val (who does that kind of stuff for a living)

But using a pattern that works without a consistent flaw until much later on, they won't be frantically looking for a flaw unless its very apparent.
For example, if someone were to make up their own theory for the big bang theory, and their was an inconsistency where they couldn't account for a lack of balance between matter and antimatter. That's a very apparent flaw.
Now, if it was something simple like that they think it came from the gradual compression of the universe itself and that it imploded from the extreme amount of pressure being forced inwards that caused the reexpansion of the universe itself, then that's something less important that can be dealt with later, after reviewing the other details of the theory.

See where I'm going with this?

thetwins Wrote:Or they'd hit 100, be told that doesn't meet the rule and assume that the rule was increasing by 2 but less than 100.....

Jack

Again, process of elimination.

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2009-09-27 3:37
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Post: #8
Re: "Congruence bias", aka the Worst Thing Otherkin Can Do
Yoherz Wrote:
House Hesson Wrote:How many people would bother continuing up to 102 if they were following that strategy?

As I said in the spiritual example, they're going to keep doing what they know works, until it doesn't. Then they'll go to something else, or try to find another solution. It's completely logical to do so.

House Hesson Wrote:What Archer is pointing out, is the reason why researchers test a hypothesis by stating the opposite and attempting to prove that. Deliberately looking for flaws in an assumption one wishes to test is a way to override the natural human tendency to find connections in the available data.

-Val (who does that kind of stuff for a living)

But using a pattern that works without a consistent flaw until much later on, they won't be frantically looking for a flaw unless its very apparent.
For example, if someone were to make up their own theory for the big bang theory, and their was an inconsistency where they couldn't account for a lack of balance between matter and antimatter. That's a very apparent flaw.
Now, if it was something simple like that they think it came from the gradual compression of the universe itself and that it imploded from the extreme amount of pressure being forced inwards that caused the reexpansion of the universe itself, then that's something less important that can be dealt with later, after reviewing the other details of the theory.

See where I'm going with this?

I don't see a clear methodology in your example. I also don't see that your example, as well as I understand it, necessarily fits a wide variety of cases or the case that Archer had in mind.

Let me give what I'd consider a more relevant example:

People assume that their episodic memories are accurate. That assumption holds up well enough to get them through the day in most cases, and obvious flaws in a healthy person's episodic memory will generally fly below the radar. It seems reasonable to base one's self identity on what's in one's memories.

But back in the 80's, the recovery of "repressed memories" became a trend among some counseling professionals. They dug up lurid stories of abuse and people were prosecuted for these remembered acts. The accusers wholeheartedly believed what they remembered - but it didn't happen. There was no epidemic of Satanic ritual abuse. Researchers - notably Dr. Elizabeth Loftus - determined later that by assuming it was possible to create false but entirely believable memories, they were able to lead unwitting experiment participants into creating such memories. Other studies found, also, that those who were known to have gone through child abuse almost unanimously reported, as adults, that they did remember it. If recovered memories of abuse exist, therefore, the samples in this second area of inquiry suggest that very, very few people would have forgotten memories to potentially dredge up later.

Most people get by without questioning their memories overmuch, but for some Otherkin, memory is a critical proof of a strongly held identity. Take away a strongly held component of a person's identity and there are a lovely spectrum of dysfunctional, harmful reactions that can occur. Maybe not for everyone who has zir identity kicked out from underneath zir - and not everyone who holds a falsely held sense of identity will discover that it's false - but the potential fall is hard enough to take seriously.

-Val

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2009-09-27 4:17
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Post: #9
Re: "Congruence bias", aka the Worst Thing Otherkin Can Do
When did memory loss become a subject?
If you wanna talk memory, mine is a horrible one. I don't remember what I ate for breakfast today....or if I ate breakfast at all....or most of this week.....*scratches head.*
Memory isn't a part of who I am. The only things I ever really remember, are things from when I was fine. Everything else, I don't really bother to remember, since I don't need it. If I made a mistake, whether I remember it or not, I won't make it again. I have no regrets about any of my decisions in life, so I have little need to remember anything I don't need.
I know who I am, is who I am now, and who I choose to be. Not who I was.

Though, tog et back on-topic, I know the whole point of Archer's speech was "think outside the box", but it didn't need to take up....a page and a half, of writing. Ontop of that there was already a logical solution to that example, whereas something more hypothetic or some type of theory is more well-suited to the use of this phrase.

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2009-09-27 4:44
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Post: #10
Re: "Congruence bias", aka the Worst Thing Otherkin Can Do
Yoherz Wrote:When did memory loss become a subject?

It became part of the subject because many Otherkin use "memories" of past lives or existences as a proof they are Otherkin. But it's been found that memories can be distorted or even created from nothing more than suggestion. This is just one example of when going with what you know and "what works" can lead you to some very wrong conclusions.

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2009-09-27 5:29
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