Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Curse Of Knowledge

I've been reading about this and the experiment that proved it.

In 1990 two brothers at Stanford, Chip and Dan Heath, did a little experiment. They separated people into two groups. One group had to tap out the rhythm of famous songs, like "Happy Birthday" and "The Star Spangled Banner". The other group had to guess what songs were being tapped.

In 120 different tappings, only 3 were guess right. 3. 117 the listeners guessed wrong.

Now, that's a little astounding, but the Heath brothers took it a step further. They asked the tappers before to guess if listeners would recognize the songs. They tappers guessed 50% of the time the tappers would know it.

So why? Why the big difference. That's the Curse of Knowledge. The tappers already know the song, they can hear the melody in their head, they can't understand how no one else can know this. The listeners, they don't know it. All they hear is confused Morse Code.

It makes you think how often you assume someone knows something, but they really only know a tiny bit, and maybe don't even understand it. We think since we understand it, they just should too (Lorie and I have this discussion quite often when I don't understand why she's not following me, even though I'm six steps ahead in my head and forgot to include her, my bad).

Do we do this with faith? Do we assume people know God as we do, believe as we do, think as we do when it pertains to God? Do we have a Curse of Knowledge? Do we give people the message of the Gospel in confusing taps rather than a message that can be understood? Just something to think about.


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