Rapt: Selection Bias

Attention’s selective mechanism of biased competition boosts your efficiency by allowing you to fashion a coherent world, but it also imposes boundaries on that construct, making it more idiosyncratic and fragmented than you assume. For verification, you have only to note the honest differences in perspective that surface in your next disagreement with friends or family.

I observe this so regularly that I suspect it plays a great deal into my interest in communication/communicative arts.

You and I observe, let’s say, thing “A”.  I make a joke about “1A” which you perceived to be about “2A”…we both laugh at our own interpretations of punchline “B.”  A third party enters the room, overhearing “B” and maybe having a vague notion of what “A” was…then introduces concept “C,” and the conversation moves along in a totally different direction than the original stimulus and ensuing offhand comment.

Happens many times over in nearly every prolonged conversation I have.  We are a selective species.  This is not a bad quality to have picked up along the evolutionary path — simply one to be aware of.



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