Monday, August 06, 2012

Cognitive Illusion

This is something I was reading about last week. It was a little blurb about the news and how having so much information at our fingertips has changed how we view the world.

In a nutshell, cognitive illusion is the idea that we make assumptions about our world based on what we hear, usually without knowing it. How it applies to the news is because we have so many news stories in our heads all the time from all over the world, we start to believe that what we hear is the case everywhere and it shapes how we view our world.

An example would be child kidnapping. A hundred years ago if a child was kidnapped three states over we would never had heard about it. That news didn't reach us and it didn't apply to us. Now with the internet, amber alerts, etc. if there is a child kidnapping we hear about it instantly, all of them. So because we hear about more child kidnappings we assume that they are on the rise and we begin to act accordingly, kids aren't allowed to cross the road by themselves now. But the reality is child kidnappings lower, they are not nearly as prevalent as we think. Since we hear about it more, we assume there are more, and act accordingly.

And this whole process got me to thinking about faith and what cognitive illusions we've created and how they shape how we act. We talk to three people who believe in Jesus, so we assume everyone believes in Jesus and act accordingly. We hear that two people are serving at a local seniors center, assume lots of people serve and they don't need our help while in reality they have only two volunteers.

So the question I keep asking myself is looking at what I think and how I act for Jesus, is it based on truth or is it based on assumptions I've made about the world around me from isolated stories...?


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