Friday, August 19, 2011

Apparently 26 is the year you get a big old bucket of crazy for your birthday...

I have to say, I'm a little disappointed in myself as both a psychologist and a woman right now.

Of course those little disappointments are overshadowed by one giant feeling of "OMG I am a crazy person! ::embarrassment::" but none the less...disappointments.

One of the first things you learn when you study influence is the idea of bias. We, as humans, don't perceive all information equally. Perhaps most notable among biases is the big, bad Confirmation Bias. That is to say that once an idea worms its way into your brain and sets up camp you are way more likely to notice things that agree with that idea than things that disprove it.

I know about confirmation bias. I know it backward and forwards, upside down, and in the dark.

And yet I stepped in it like a big old horse turd after a parade.

Shame.

You may have noticed that for confirmation bias to take place, there has to be a central idea that you are seeking to prove. Well, in this case that idea is no less mortifying. You see a few weeks ago, while sitting at my desk I remarked to myself that Indie Jake had been suspiciously quiet on the subject of my birthday (which was last Tuesday). "Hrm," I thought to myself. "mayhaps he has something planned."

Did you see that motion off on the side of the screen? That is an idea starting to creep in.

"It's also kinda weird" I continued in my head, "that my parents just decided they should come visit for my birthday. No prompting. Nothing. Just hey, we're coming."

Right there, that was another idea creep. It's already taking hold, gathering evidence.

The next day I was equally as daydreamy. "Didn't IJ say he wanted to replace his wonky desktop with that bonus he got from National Sandwichery last month. He also mentioned something about the TV. I wonder why he hasn't looked into either. He loves techie things."

There goes that Idea. It was setting up tent and starting a camp fire.

"Maybe he has other plans."

And right like that, the idea made itself known. And not just any idea, friends. A big, dumb girl idea.

THE big, dumb, happy girl idea.

Mortifying.

Of course I was wrong and that makes all kinds of sense. Jake is preoccupied, my parents are just overly involved and the money went mostly towards the car issues from a few months ago. The host of other evidence I collected over the following weeks can be just as easily explained, but damned if I didn't confirmation bias my little terrible feminist self right up through Tuesday night.

Obviously, since I am writing about this I have told him after copious blushing and feeling embarrassed. Instead of being angry he gave me a hug (which ironically enough involved kneeling down next to the kitchen chair I was sitting in on his one good knee).

I guess while I may have taken a hit in the psychologist and strong woman sectors, I got a ton of actual confirmation that my judgement is not off in all aspects of my life.



...but I'm still going to blame the whole thing on a 2 week long bout of PMS.

3 comments:

  1. haha, embarassingly, *i* went to "oh, a surprise party!" for the entirety of the blog post, and it was only at the VERY end that i realized you may have been expecting something A Bit More Substantial :)

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  2. i havent forgotten i owe you a phone call :)

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  3. I totally understand this whole thought process! Once you get an idea of how someone might surprise you, it's impossible to stop finding evidence that your hunch is right. I had suspicions like this an embarrassing number of times between the time my now-husband and I decided to get married and the time he actually proposed, particularly because I'd insisted it be a surprise and I was so afraid I would figure it out and it wouldn't be a surprise. Sheesh. Female brains :)

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