Stop making this an issue. For that to happen, someone-the neighbor who said it-will have to pry this keyboard from my cold lifeless hands.
Some back story: there was a recently replayed episode of Radio Lab about probability and a coin toss experiment in which there were seven consecutive tosses that yielded the same result. This outcome initially created surprise… for those who did not know the bigger picture.
Seven in a row out of ten tosses would be surprising; seven out of 20, a little less surprising; seven out of 50 less so; seven out of 100 (the actual number of tosses) is not surprising at all. As the hosts pointed out, the observer must pan the camera away from the focal point to see the bigger picture.
Attentional Bias is a thinking error that involves focus of attention, particularly toward personally relevant information. That might include what the observer expects or hopes will happen. Perhaps that which allows the observer to feel good, feel better, more hopeful. Or possibly the opposite, as in the sky is falling, for those with chronic anxiety.
Some current story: repairs occurring in my newly built community due to construction defects in 50 buildings for a total of 272 town homes. One might think that’s not such a big deal for a national builder of thousands of homes. And after all, another company is now onsite rebuilding, so Neysa, just shut up and be grateful for the eventual, extensive repairs on your brand new home.
Until… you pan the camera back to discover construction defects by the same builder affect 15 known communities within a 100-mile radius. Then inquiring minds want to know the defect rate within a 500-mile radius. A 1000-mile radius. Do certain states have higher rates? How does that change the picture?
Then you may wonder-as your attention expands-whether these events could have randomly occurred over the past few years? So you pan the camera to five years, ten years, twenty years and more to discover the very unpleasant and much larger truth. How does that change your perspective? Will silence change that reality? Or, might it perpetuate that reality?
On the other hand, there is the neighbor who complained because I did not name the home builder in the Con Game article I wrote about my neighbor’s even-worse-than-my experience.
The dialectic to this unwelcome reality is a stream of educational possibilities, if I can just get them written before the sky falls. Or, more likely the buckling deck upon which I so enjoy looking at the sky and pondering human behavior.