Over / Under Thinking and Perception

[or How I Finally Snuck my Love of Shopping into a Blog Post]

Yesterday, I went shopping with my neighbour who is 26, 10 years my junior. I followed her into a “young girl store”, the type of store with the high cut tops and the low cut pants and other garments that would ultimately reveal my penchant for “sitting” rather then “sit-ups”…

We wandered in. The sales girls (they weren’t women yet) smiled at me and addressed her. One even said to her “out shopping with your sister?” Ok, so we are both blue-eyed blondes, but still!

However, in that loud, colourful, flashy seemingly “way too young for me” store, I found the most perfect pair of Cargo Capris. It’s like they were made for me. It just goes to show that sometimes we need to venture into that place we avoid out of fear and see just what we can find.

In a recent post entitle How clear cut is cause and effect?, Karyn Romeis talks about jumping to conclusions.

One worrying consequence of the results-driven society in which we live is the perception that there must be a clear cut explanation for everything.

Karyn’s post was about “overthinking” to which I commented that sometimes, we underthink:

I think people look for and draw cause and effect conclusions much too rapidly. I also feel that it is at the source of much of the prejudice we see. […] I believe that people will stop looking for these black and white answers once they start learning to look at things with a broader and more critical perspective.

In Karyn’s response to me, she resumed the dichotomous issue quite accurately, in my opinion:

So, on the one hand we’re oversimplistic and on the other, we have a tendency to behave like ‘sheeple’ where it is not tolerated to have an opinion that differs from that of the masses? You’re probably right.

[Our exchange digressed into shopping, which makes me think Karyn & I share a weakness 😉 ]

In a recent blog post about Reframing Questions, Dave Pollard discusses false myths:

The problem with the false myths are that they can blind you to the truth if you accept them uncritically. They can constrain your imagination of other possibilities that are contrary to the false myth ‘conventional wisdom’. They can lead you to make very bad decisions.

He’s obviously arguing against the oversimplification side of things:

The problem with limiting generalizations is that they can lead you to oversimplify (“to get ahead in business women have to think and act like men”), to draw false dichotomies (“we either have to find new domestic oil or be forever dependent on foreign suppliers”) and to stereotype (“working class whites will always vote Republican” which can lead you to draw false inferences from correlations, to write off classes of people, and to inhibit your creativity.

Dave offers a helpful comparative table of ten false myths and limiting generalizations that he regularly encounters and reframe questions that might show another way to see the situation.

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