cds & the brain 

for my own good!

PREVIOUS: INFO & the Brain (Part 1)

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

OUR BRAIN – Gathering Information (cont.)

– all new items which do fit with the majority of already accumulated info will automatically be considered as correct, whether they are or not. Finding similar elements about a topic adds to our knowledge base – which doesn’t mean it’s accurate – just reinforced!

• When we have too little info about something, any previous knowledge (no matter how flawed) will carry a lot of weight in our evaluation about a person or situation, & therefore will heavily influence our action or reaction

EXP: If our first lover was an alcoholic, & we keep dating & marrying addicts, then active addicts become OUR ‘drug-of-choice’!

✶ ✶ DUALITY – AND what if we encounter a situation that’s both a benefit AND a threat (like a parent, a spouse, a boss, one’s own child)?
Because the brains is pre-programmed to label all previously gathered info as basically valid, it rejects anything that doesn’t fit — frenemiesprecisely to reduce the pressure of this kind of dilemma, called ‘cognitive dissonance’.

• This makes it very hard for us, as adults, to leave bad situations where we get some good stuff – emotional crumbs – along with mostly bad stuff, the same way we did as kids, like:
 for us to leave : a sibling we were once close to screwing us out of our inheritance

for a parent to oust : an adult-child still living at home, using drugs & not working, who was an adorable favorite when little….
The ‘good stuff’ may only have been a long time ago, or it could have all been an illusion, but we’re still hanging on to memories, hopes & wishes!

4. COMPARISONS – The brain can’t measure anything directly, but rather by using some standard, comparing various things, actions, people, events…  If the standard is flawed, our evaluation will be off!
EXP: Being on a ship without navigation tools & no land in sight – you can’t ‘magically’ tell where you are by just looking out of the porthole!

a. VALIDITY – For the comparison to be credible:valid
• the thing or person must be completely & correctly identified (like 2 specific books)
• the 2 things must be equal (can’t compare adult with child, a paperback to a hardcover)

• there has to be an actual way to make the measurement  (height, weight, color, education, college degrees…)
• the observer is objective (no personal stake in the conclusion)
• there should not any others factors involved – but if necessary, they also have to be of equal value (2 books in different languages, but on the same topic)

b. INTANGIBLES – What about measuring things like intelligence, honesty, love…?These are impossible to define because they’re subjective, & their meaning is embedded in one’s culture. Yet it’s constantly being attempted.

Most results of trying to pin down abstract concepts are incorrect & therefore meaningless, BUT the attempt can sometimes effect a person’s occupation/ intangiblesincome, social acceptance & identity.

EXPs: IQ tests only measure the ability to answers certain Qs, not the person’s actual intelligence – but can be used as a hiring tool
👮🏽 What a cop or lawyer means by ‘honesty‘ will be very different from that of what a minister, and
👶🏼 what a kid means by “I love you” isn’t the same as when said by a lover.

c. EXPECTATIONS – A common standard for measuring performance – either our own or that imposed by some authority.
▪︎ Put on us: the results are quite arbitrary, depending on who is expecting
✓ What my high school music teaches thinks about my singing may be very, very different from how a Juilliard professor will assess it

▪︎ We put on others: Errors can easily occur when measuring others based on our expectations of them
✓ “I can’t believe she didn’t call me this week, knowing I’d been in the hospital! I would have called her right away, if she’d had surgery!”

NEXT: CDs & the Brain (#3) – Gathering Info, cont.

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