Friday, May 17, 2019

Mind reading

I have discovered there’s a more technical name for an idea/concept that I’ve held doubts about. Being able to understand what another person is thinking or feeling is mostly guess work. Psychologists use the term ‘theory of mind’ to denote our apparent ability to attribute mental states to other people and to thereby interpret, explain, and predict their behavior.

I like to remind our adult children (anyone else who will listen too) that when you approach an intersection don’t fool yourself in believing you know what another driver is about to do. Nobody does. Perhaps even the other driver. It’s one reason I don’t want to be the second car waiting inside the intersection to make a left hand turn. I don’t want to depend on the driver ahead of me to leave the intersection quickly.

Enough about dangerous left hand turns. Go to a left side of the road driving country and your thinking will need to flip to dangerous right hand turns. Your turn signal helps more than mind flipping.

mind reading benefits poker players

Two people believing different ability levels of this theory of mind can bring about nasty arguments in relationships. “I know what you are thinking” typically is faulty way to start a discussion. We might get along better if we refrained from judging and/or predicting others based on their facial expression. Don’t give me that look.

Well ok, some level of doing this is beneficial to getting along in society. But we need to remember there are plenty of great fakers out there. Also, if this didn’t work at all then the movies, comedy skits and advertisements would less engaging. Good actors can move the plot along by just looking evil.

What started as a post by a friend on Facebook lead me to this article about theory of mind. Here’s the link to the article.

This quote from this “The Theory Of Mind Myth” article gave me plenty to think about:

“The fate of democracy depends on our ability to grasp and accept differing mindsets – yet the seemingly near-universal absence of reasonable public discourse suggests that this rarely occurs. We accuse those with conflicting opinions of having character defects, subliminal prejudices, faulty education, cultural brainwashing and a myriad of other ‘if only they knew better’ flaws of reasoning. But there’s a more basic and frightening possibility. What if we really aren’t capable of a sophisticated reading of other minds?”

So this could be very important knowledge. Where’s the Oprah show when we need it? Maybe a few Public Service Announcements or a Theory Of Mind week.

I had doubts about this interpretation of others technique/ability. My doubt of its accuracy has only increased after reading that article.

If you could read my mind love
What a post my thoughts could blog


(an update on a trusted saying) We learn from our mistakes. Old age presents the problem of not remembering those mistakes to learn from.

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