Draft article - cognive bias
I've been meaning to do this for some time, for various (not just otherkin) groups.
I can't sleep right now so I'll throw something up.
A cognitive bias is a tendancy to make errors in judgment based on the manner in which the individual concerned processes information - roughly speaking, of course. They contribute to there being a gap - in some cases a huge gap - between the actual state of the world (be it the odds in a game of cards, witness evidence in court, or a hundred other things) and how that state is actually perceived.
Given that so much of "awakening" is the process of cognition and interpretation of vague data, in my opinion it's important for otherkin to be aware of at least what the main biases are and how they work - same as it's important for lawyers and such to be aware of them. Where possible I will try to use examples from my own experience, rather than pointing the finger at others.
Here's a couple, dealt with very very briefly - full article will (if/when I ever write it) be more detailed and will feature more:
Bandwagon Effect - simply put, if a lot of people report something, chances are a lot more will as well. In hockey circles my friends and I have a great time poking the heard and creating crazes (the herd rarely know they got poked). In otherkin circles it's a bit more insidious. Someone has a dream about a weird shadow thing and mentions it. A couple of others had similar things. The idea gets in everyone's mind, next thing you know everyone is seeing shadows. One person reports that they had red eyes. Even though the others had never mentioned red eyes previously, all of a sudden everyone remembers that little titbit . . . each person takes everyone else's experiences as confirmation of reality . . . and boom, shadow panic.
Confirmation bias and congruence bias are a bit related. Confirmation bias is the habit of interpreting information to fit with the already held belief. Congruence bias is the habit of relying too much on direct testing. A classic example would be empathy (apologies, in my tired state can't think of one of my own!). Congruence bias at work would be setting up experiements designed to show empathy works . . . problem is that they don't make allowances for false positives; far better to set up experiements to show empathy is a myth (and cross fingers that said experiences will fail). Confirmation bias, on the other hand, leads to people remembering the 5 times their empathy was on the mark . . . and not taking into account the 5 times it was wrong, or the millions of times it gave no feedback at all.
Expectation bias is "the tendency for experimenters to believe, certify, and publish data that agrees with their expectations for the outcome of an experiment, and to disbelieve, discard, or downgrade the corresponding weightings for data that appears to conflict with those expectations." I'm guilty of it on the mobile phone popcorn thread. I think it's bullshit and as such completely disregad the contents of the video. If someone had quickly linked to a video showing a heater under a table and the popcorn popping, I would even have felt smug.
Need for closure — "the need to reach a verdict in important matters; to have an answer and to escape the feeling of doubt and uncertainty." This is all over the place. People who don't know if they're otherkin or not, or what type, or what their middle name was in a past life, or or or or or . . . still feel the need, very often, to pick an answer (even if they label it a provisional answer) and identify with it. If doubt plagues your mind and keeps you awake at night, maybe that helps. But if your ultimate goal is to find the truth - whatever that may be for you - doubt and uncertainity are your friends.
And the really important thing is, for the most part, people are not even aware these biases exist in them. You can't compensate for what you don't know exists.
With muchos thankos to Wikipedia.
Ubi Dubium, Ibi Libertas
Quote:"I have suffered from being misunderstood, but I would have suffered a hell of a lot more if I had been understood."