Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

Feeling helpless leads us to see nonexistent patterns

This explains a lot.

Finding Control in Chaos

Feeling helpless leads us to see nonexistent patterns

Siri Carpenter | February 1, 2009 | Scientific American Mind

 

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August 22, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, psychology, religion | , , | Leave a comment

For people raised in chaos, risk-taking is hardwired

Interesting how having control (or not) in the first 5 years of life can make a huge difference in decision making later on in life.  Knowing this makes it much harder to judge people.

When Destructive Behavior Makes Biological Sense

For people raised in chaos, risk-taking is hardwired

By Matthew Hutson | December 3, 2015| Nautilus

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January 4, 2016 Posted by | behaviour, decision making | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sense of control and religion

I was reading David Ropeik‘s blog “The perception gap: An explanation for why people maintain irrational fears” and came across this paragraph:

“…When we are uncertain, as are parents with autistic kids, we grab on to anything that answers our questions, because that sense of knowing affords us a reassuring feeling of control. Control is vital to anyone who is afraid, worried, uncertain…”

sense of knowing allows us to predict the future, and thereby giving us control (whether imaginary or real).  Being a better predictor of future is definitely a great help in survival — an evolutionary advantage, so it’s not surprising that humans have a built-in need for control.  The problem is that not everything is predictable, making us feel less in control and therefore unhappy.  Religion fills in that gap beautifully.  The basis for most (all?) religions is that there is a supernatural being (god) that controls all the things we can’t predict.  We can increase our sense of control by appealing to this god (praying, sacrificing, etc.) who will on occasion grant our wishes.  Which explains why religious people are happier than the unbelievers — they believe they have control over the unpredictable when the unbelievers have to accept that there is nothing they can do to affect the unpredictable.  This could also explain why it is so hard to give up faith: you’re asking someone to give up some of their control.

February 10, 2011 Posted by | imho, religion | , , , | Leave a comment

Superstition, Ritual And Conspiracies

I believe religion (and superstition etc.) arose to help humans feel more in control in situations where they had none (Why Religion?).  This research by Jennifer A. Whitson and Adam D. Galinsky found that lack of control indeed increases our brains’ ability to see patterns, even when there aren’t any.  So it is all about control (or lack thereof) after all…

The original research article (Lacking Control Increases Illusionary Pattern Perception) abstract:

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January 20, 2009 Posted by | behaviour, brain, religion | , , , | 2 Comments

How to help your good self to triumph over your bad self

A good way to lose weight, or quit smoking.

Carrot and stickK

Feb 7th 2008 | NEW YORK From The Economist print edition

How to help your good self to triumph over your bad self

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March 19, 2008 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, diet, health | , | Leave a comment