The What if Factor

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In chapter 2 we are introduced to the topic of Illusory correlation: the perception of statistical association between two variables where none exists. This age old phenomenon is seen in many different shapes and forms in our lives today. As I read this section of the book I couldn't help but think of the many examples of illusory correlation I fall prey to in my own life. Illusory correlation forms the bias for many superstitions. The marvel that is Friday the 13th holds a strong presence in my life and the lives of thousands of people. During every occurrence of the date I over-evaluate my plans, even to the extent that I may change my schedule to avoid something that may go wrong. Another major example that is discussed in the book is the negative correlation between latter's and bad luck. This is another example displayed in my own life. I avoid latter's like the plague, taking an extra-long route to avoid having to walk under a latter in fear of obtaining bad luck. The illusory correlation is seen in a gamut of forms in our lives today, but each one looming with the question of what if. What if I walk under the latter, or take a test on Friday the 13th? Will I have bad luck? Will I not do as well? The fear of the unknown is encompassed within this psychological term, and forces many to fall prey to it. The book explains that our minds our not good at remembering "nonevents" , things that don't happen, and instead focus on the few occurrences in which a negative view is perceived. It is difficult to break your mind from the expectations it has built around specific events. So I leave you with this question. In what capacity does illusory correlation play a part in your life?

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Sources:
Psychology From Inquiry to Understanding by: Scott Lilienfeld, Steven Lynn, Laura Namy, Nacy Woolf
changingminds.org
wikipedia.com

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This page contains a single entry by casse071 published on January 28, 2012 9:17 PM.

Love: Fate or Convenience? was the previous entry in this blog.

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