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The Problem With Facts

The Problem With Facts | Writing, Research, Applied Thinking and Applied Theory: Solutions with Interesting Implications, Problem Solving, Teaching and Research driven solutions | Scoop.it
Good strategy is always becoming, never being. The mindless quest for absolute substantiation leads to false certainty, not greater rigor.
Sharrock's insight:

 

http://www.digitaltonto.com/2013/the-problem-with-facts/?utm_source=Digital%20Tonto%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=eb32bfb740-The_Problem_With_Facts2_3_2013&utm_medium=emailCargo Cults

Greg Satell reports: “During World War II, the fighting in the Pacific theater was fierce.  Small islands became improvised bases and large amounts of supplies were airdropped to feed the war machine. Food, medicine, weapons and even vehicles appeared from the sky, as if by magic.  Once the conflict ended, the flow of manufactured goods mysteriously disappeared.

“Alarmed by this sudden turn of events, some of the indigenous island peoples sought to replicate the conditions that led to the benevolence the visiting troops enjoyed.  They built makeshift airfields and offices, fashioned radios and headsets from wood and coconuts and even marched with makeshift rifles in imitation of soldiers’ drills.

 

In some remote areas, Pacific islanders still perform military rituals, hoping that valuable cargo will come from the sky.

“Alas, no cargo ever came.  Anthropologists have named these groups cargo cults and it’s fun to laugh at their naiveté.  They confuse correlation with causality.  Clearly, mimicking superficial behaviors achieves nothing and those who thinks it does are simply fooling themselves.

“However, similar rituals are alarmingly common in the corporate world.  They worship their own gods, (like Steve Jobs, or whoever else is the darling of the business press at any given moment), hoping that by emulating their superficial behavior, fortune will smile upon them as well. I’ve come to call these people cargo cult marketers.”

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Psychological research on the attribution of causality

Psychological research on the attribution of causality | Writing, Research, Applied Thinking and Applied Theory: Solutions with Interesting Implications, Problem Solving, Teaching and Research driven solutions | Scoop.it

In the mid 1940s, Fritz Heider and Mary-Ann Simmel constructed a simple film animation similar to the one shown below. They asked observers to describe what they saw in the film. Most observers developed elaborate stories about the circle and the little triangle being in love, about the big-bad grey triangle trying to steal away the circle, about the blue triangle fighting back, yelling to his love to escape into the house, and following her inside where they embraced and lived happily ever after.

Sharrock's insight:

This theory was explored in Thinking Fast and Slow. Saying it is psychological transference seems to be inaccurate. In the book, it was introduced as the person's ability to attribute actions and intentions, even emotions, to objects. In the study shared, there was a large triangle, a two other smaller shapes. They were animated. children viewing the animation readily interpreted the large triangle as a bully that was bullying a smaller shape and that the other shape came to help defend against the bully. They were only shapes. They didn't even have faces. Kahneman also shared that this attribution did not occur with people with autism.

This tendency to attribute intentions can create problems when dealing with using anecdotes as evidence and may be the cause of disagreements. I'm still reading Kahneman's book, but I do wonder how attribution theory and transference are related as models.

In many ways, this contributes to the uncomfortable argument that we don't know ourselves and don't really understand others. Although people exist outside of ourselves, we can impose our interpretations of their actions without much effort (system one). In a way, we "live" in a different world, a parallel world, to the worlds of others. Without developed critical thinking skills, we might not often "correct" our misinterpretations. This attribution theory or inference theory seem to be theories for why we suffer from chronic cognitive biases and fall victim to logical fallacies.

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