Article 1: https://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/07/07/misattribution-of-arousal/ Paragraph 1: MINIMUM 200 WORDS According to the author, David McRaney, in “The Misattribution of Arousal,” this particular thinking phenomenon manifests during heightened states of emotional arousal, be it anxiety, fear, intense pleasure, etc. When we are in a heightened state of arousal, we tend to mistakenly identify the cause of our arousal (for example, the men on the bridge in the article who assume they were attracted to the woman giving the questionnaire. They were really just scared of the high bridge, but the story they told themselves was their arousal was attributed to the woman, in essence denying their own fear by making up a story about romance and attraction). The strange thing that occurs in The Misattribution of Arousal is that we can often be wrong about the reason why we are aroused, yet we firmly believe we know the cause of our arousal. As the author notes, we often “experience emotional states without knowing why.” What actually happens—the “misattribution” part—is that rather sit with the ambiguity of not knowing why we feel aroused, we seize upon a cause and knit it into a narrative justifying our assumption. It would seem rational that we always know why we are aroused. However, as outlined in the article’s presentation of psychological studies, the exact opposite is true. We tend invent a cause to our arousal, regardless of how true it might be. We prefer to know any plausible story of why (even if untrue) rather than sit with uncertainty. In fact, it seems that this uncertainty as to why we might be aroused is so uncomfortable that we do not care, on a near unconscious level, that our story is probably wrong. What is interesting about this odd human tendency to believe anything over sitting with ambiguity is that it has the potential for positive outcomes. As noted in the article, partnerships can benefit from Misattribution of Arousal. McRaney details how a marriage can be strengthened not by simply being together a lot, but by tackling challenging projects together. Because a challenge can give rise to various types of arousal (fear, worry, joy of completion, etc), this can have an effect of perceiving one’s partner as more attractive, more desirable, their attractiveness and desirability attributed not intrinsically being present, but because the arousal states cause the partners to invent positive characteristics about each other, whether they be true or not! ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS IN YOUR POSTING: What did you find most interesting about the Misattribution of Arousal? Explain in detail what struck you as interesting. Point to examples in the reading to illuminate your answer. Where have you experienced Misattribution of Arousal occurring? Explain the circumstances of experiencing The Misattribution of Arousal. The author suggests that Misattribution of Arousal, though based on falsely attributing a cause to an effect, can have positive effects. What might be a scenario in which Misattribution of Arousal can have positive effects for people? How can a person use Misattribution of Arousal to his or her own benefit? Review the article for possible reflection. Be specific as to what a person can do to apply this phenomenon of human thinking. Paragraph 2: MINIMUM 500 WORDS The author of “Misattribution of Arousal,” discusses both positive and negative effects of this human thinking phenomenon. Create and discuss two (2) scenarios in which the Misattribution of Arousal occurs. In the first scenario discuss how Misattribution of Arousal can have beneficial effects for people. In the second scenario discuss how Misattribution of Arousal can have negative effects. Review the article so you firmly understand the thinking phenomenon. Be specific in your detail of each scenario and how Misattribution of Arousal effects each. Article 2: https://youarenotsosmart.com/2010/06/23/confirmation-bias/ Paragraph 1: 200 WORDS MINIMUM According to the author, David McRaney, in his article “Confirmation Bias,” this particular thinking bias consists of two actions; 1. Seeking out information which confirms what we already believe. 2. Ignoring information that challenges what we already believe. What happens—the “confirmation” part—is that “you want to be right about how you see the world, so you seek out information which confirms your beliefs and avoid contradictory evidence and opinions.” In essence, we spend the majority of our time seeking out not information but confirmation, thereby leaving ourselves much less informed and without perspective than we realize. In fact, as noted in the article, “[h]alf-a-century of research has placed confirmation bias among the most dependable of mental stumbling blocks,” which suggests we are riddled with confirmation bias more deeply than we perhaps realize. What is quite interesting about this “mental stumbling block” is that it makes us resistant to actually learning. For example, in the article the author notes an experiment with a series of numbers which showed that students will stop at the first plausible answer, rather than continuing on to try and prove their first answer wrong. What this does is train ourselves to be less critical of our own ideas, which freezes us in our thinking. Confirmation Bias also leads us to make the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves better stories by seeking out information that confirms what we already believe. For example, there was the news reporter, Brian Williams, who told and retold many times a story about himself covering combat in Iraq. He told the story over and over on different talk shows and interviews, yet it turned out the version he told was nowhere near the truth. Yet he seemed to really believe his own story: “I would not have chosen to make this mistake. I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another.” Due to Confirmation Bias, it is possible to search our own memories and pick out only the details that confirm our version of our personal experiences while also ignoring the information that contradicts our own story which ultimately reveal a more truthful version!
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