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Denying ignorance and the mind's tendency to reinforce it

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posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 07:45 AM
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This website's motto is "Deny Ignorance". A very laudable and honorable goal, but there are times one must really wonder if we are in fact able to at times. Any amount of observation of the human animal will show that often that isn't the case. I am sure we have all seen were contradictory information is often altogether ignored or unrealistic to others qualifiers are added for no other reason than to discard information for the purpose of reinforcing preconceptions. Conversations often degrading into a series of ad hominem attacks with both sides refusing to even consider the other's case or reinforcing their schemata. There are any number of reasons why both conscious and subconscious. So I decided to do a little research and this is what I found.
First, a little information about Schema.

A schema (pl. schemata), in psychology and cognitive science, is a mental structure that represents some aspect of the world. Schemata were initially introduced into psychology and education through the work of the British psychologist Sir Frederic Bartlett (1886–1969){{Bartlett, 1932}}. This learning theory views organized knowledge as an elaborate network of abstract mental structures which represent one's understanding of the world. Schema theory was developed by the educational psychologist R. C. Anderson. The term schema was used by Jean Piaget in 1926, so it was not an entirely new concept. Anderson, however, expanded the meaning.

People use schemata to organize current knowledge and provide a framework for future understanding. Examples of schemata include Rubric (academic), stereotypes, social roles, scripts, worldviews, and archetypes. In Piaget's theory of development, children adopt a series of schemata to understand the world.

Thought using Schemata



Schemata are an effective tool for understanding the world. Through the use of schemata, most everyday situations do not require effortful thought— automatic thought is all that is required.

People can quickly organize new perceptions into schemata and act effectively without effort. For example, most people have a stairway schema and can apply it to climb staircases they've never seen before.

However, schemata can influence and hamper the uptake of new information (proactive interference), such as when existing stereotypes, giving rise to limited or biased discourses and expectations (prejudices), may lead an individual to 'see' or 'remember' something that has not happened because it is more believable in terms of his/her schema. For example, if a well-dressed businessman draws a knife on a vagrant, the schemata of onlookers may (and often do) lead them to 'remember' the vagrant pulling the knife. Such distortion of memory has been demonstrated. (See Background research below.)

Schemata are interrelated and multiple conflicting schemata can be applied to the same information. Schemata are generally thought to have a level of activation, which can spread among related schemata. Which schema is selected can depend on factors such as current activation, accessibility, and priming.

Accessibility is how easily a schema comes to mind, and is determined by personal experience and expertise. This can be used as a cognitive shortcut; it allows the most common explanation to be chosen for new information.

With priming, a brief imperceptible stimulus temporarily provides enough activation to a schema so that it is used for subsequent ambiguous information. Although this may suggest the possibility of subliminal messages, the effect of priming is so fleeting that it is difficult to detect outside laboratory conditions. Furthermore, the mere exposure effect —which requires consciousness of the stimuli— is far more effective than priming.


Background Research



Sufferers of Korsakov's syndrome are unable to form new memories, and must approach every situation as if they had just seen it for the first time. Many sufferers adapt by continually forcing their world into barely-applicable schemata, often to the point of incoherence and self-contradiction.[citation needed]

The original concept of schemata is linked with that of reconstructive memory as proposed and demonstrated in a series of experiments by Bartlett (1932). By presenting participants with information that was unfamiliar to their cultural backgrounds and expectations and then monitoring how they recalled these different items of information (stories, etc.), Bartlett was able to establish that individuals' existing schemata and stereotypes influence not only how they interpret 'schema-foreign' new information but also how they recall the information over time. One of his most famous investigations involved asking participants to read a Native American folk tale, "The War of the Ghosts," and recall it several times up to a year later. All the participants transformed the details of the story in such a way that it reflected their cultural norms and expectations, i.e. in line with their schemata. The factors that influenced their recall were:

Omission of information that was considered irrelevant to a participant;
Transformation of some of the detail, or of the order in which events etc were recalled; a shift of focus and emphasis in terms of what was considered the most important aspects of the tale;
Rationalisation: details and aspects of the tale that would not make sense would be 'padded out' and explained in an attempt to render them comprehensible to the individual in question;
Cultural shifts: The content and the style of the story were altered in order to appear more coherent and appropriate in terms of the cultural background of the participant.
Bartlett's work was crucially important in demonstrating that long-term memories are neither fixed nor immutable but are constantly being adjusted as our schemata evolve with experience. In a sense it supports the existentialist view that we construct our past and present in a constant process of narrative/discursive adjustment, and that much of what we 'remember' is actually confabulated (adjusted and rationalised) narrative that allows us to think of our past as a continuous and coherent string of events, even though it is probable that large sections of our memory (both episodic and semantic) are irretrievable to our conscious memory at any given time.

Further work on the concept of schemata was conducted by Brewer and Treyens (1981) who demonstrated that the schema-driven expectation of the presence of an object was sometimes sufficient to trigger its erroneous recollection. An experiment was conducted where participants were requested to wait in a room identified as an academic's study and were later asked about the room's contents. A number of the participants recalled having seen books in the study whereas none were present. Brewer and Treyens concluded that the participants' expectations that books are present in academics' studies were enough to prevent their accurate recollection of the scenes.

Modification of Schema



New information that falls within an individual's schema is easily remembered and incorporated into their worldview. However, when new information is perceived that does not fit a schema, many things can happen. The most common reaction is to simply ignore or quickly forget the new information.[citation needed] This can happen on a deep level—

frequently an individual does not become conscious of or even perceive the new information.

However, when the new information cannot be ignored, existing schemata must be changed.


Assimilation is the reuse of schemata to fit the new information. For example, when an unfamiliar dog is seen, a person will probably just assimilate it into their dog schema. However, if the dog behaves strangely, and in ways that don't seem dog-like, there will be accommodation as a new schema is formed for that particular dog.

SOURCE:en.wikipedia.org...(psychology)
And this is by and large the crux of the problem. While individuals may have a spoken and even perhaps belief that they seek to "Deny Ignorance" they may in fact work against themselves. As the mind will even subconscious seek to reinforce existing beliefs.

Addition Research



Definition: A cognitive framework or concept that helps organize and interpret information. Schemas can be useful, because they allow us to take shortcuts in interpreting a vast amount of information. However, these mental frameworks also cause us to exclude pertinent information in favor of information that confirms our pre-existing beliefs and ideas. Schemas can contribute to stereotypes and make it difficult to retain new information that does not conform to our established schemas.

SOURCE:psychology.about.com...


The way that human beings make sense of our world is by creating knowledge structures called schemas. A schema is a bundle of knowledge that tells you what to expect in a situation and why it is happening. For example, going to a party at a friend's house could be a buzzing confusion of people if you did not have knowledge about what to expect and how to act. Because of your knowledge about parties, though, you may expect loud conversation, music, dancing, or drinks. You know that you should find the hosts and let them know you are there. You might not ordinarily throw a coat on someone's bed, but if they are having a big party, that is an acceptable place to pile coats. All of this knowledge helps you get around the world.


To be continued on next post..........

[edit on 20-9-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]




posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 07:55 AM
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Coninued..........

An important way that we form these schemas is by telling stories and repeating them. Anyone who has spent a lot of time with a preschooler knows that they ask you the same questions over and over. They want repetition of stories. They are using this information to help them figure out how the world works. For a 4- or 5-year-old, almost everything in the world is new.

As adults, when something strange, new, wonderful, or traumatic happens, we return to that preschool behavior. Think first about a traumatic situation. Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were all that anyone could talk about. They talked about where they were, and what they were doing. They followed the news reports to find out what happened and why. All of this was done to try to create some bundle of knowledge that would help this unthinkable tragedy make sense.

SOURCE:www.psychologytoday.com...


A schema is a cognitive structure of knowledge we have in our minds.

Without them, we’d probably go insane. They affect our lifes in every way. They can be at the root of racism, they can be used by some to indoctrinate others into desctructive cults.

Yet they’re perfectly natural, unavoidable and part of what makes us who we are.

Understand this process can help us with our daily interactions whether it be personally or professionally.

SOURCE:edufire.com...

As you can see. Schema affects how and what we learn. It can and will be used to reinforce ignorance as contrary information does not even register.
Thoughts? Comments? Counter arguments?



posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 08:22 AM
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I'm extremely pleased to have read this on Schema. Until now, I had never read anything like this. From experiences in my own life regarding this concept I concluded exactly what is presented here. But I could never have elucidated as clearly the problems in forming schema.

Thank you.

It is an important fact to learn, study and keep in the front of our minds at all times. Perception is an individual, unique experience. Relating those experiences through "language" leaves plenty of room for misinterpretation and confusion, not necessarily ignorance.

Language, although common to a specific group of people, still can be misinterpreted within that group. (I am an interpreter, so am familiar with the pitfalls of language barriers.)

Through schema logic, 10 people witness a monkey on a leash, dancing to music played by a man in an orange & green vest on the corner of Broad & High at 12:00 on a Friday as commuters rush past. How many of those ten people will report the exact sequence, details and observations? My guess is, 10 different descriptions with varying levels of detail and/or omission of certain points.


Fun stuff to experiment with! How about the whisper game? Whisper a phrase in someone's ear, then that person passes along the perceived phrase to the next person, and on and on until the last person hears the whispered phrase. This person then stands up and tells everyone what phrase he just heard. Most of the time (depending on how many people participate) the phrase is distorted from its original form and meaning.



posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 08:28 AM
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While individuals may have a spoken and even perhaps belief that they seek to "Deny Ignorance" they may in fact work against themselves. As the mind will even subconscious seek to reinforce existing beliefs.


Definitely true. I have only met a handful of people capable of seeing every situation rationally and logically, and Im not one of them. Sometimes it would be nice to be able to shut off emotions and just let the mind work as a computer.


[edit on 20-9-2009 by Copernicus]



posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 08:33 AM
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reply to post by Copernicus
 


I don't think we really can cut emotion out of the equation. It's too much an intergal part of our make up. What I think is needed is strong self examination and forcing oneself to pay attention to details to avoid not the subconcious component of schema reinforcement. And even that is not foolproof.



posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 08:34 AM
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Originally posted by Hazelnut


Through schema logic, 10 people witness a monkey on a leash, dancing to music played by a man in an orange & green vest on the corner of Broad & High at 12:00 on a Friday as commuters rush past. How many of those ten people will report the exact sequence, details and observations? My guess is, 10 different descriptions with varying levels of detail and/or omission of certain points.



Yeah, and to drill the point further - then you ask all 10 "what was the ambiance during these events?" Then you really drill down into the perceptive filters and the difference in processing the same data.

[edit on 9-20-2009 by Valhall]



posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 08:36 AM
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reply to post by Hazelnut
 


Exactly! But those considerations are very seldomly taken into account or only applied to one's opponents and never one's self. Thusly why I made the thread to point out that it is a common rule. With good reason I think. As it does not lend it's self very well to ego enhancement as it is admission of falability.

[edit on 20-9-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 08:56 AM
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reply to post by Valhall
 


And then people pick and choose based on their existing schemata which they feel is most correct *usually at the subconcious level*. Then seeking out information to reinforce it *not always*. And in alot of cases on here use that to go to war with those of opposing schemata. Thus the crap we see page after page happening on this site.


[edit on 20-9-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 09:12 AM
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This also factors in to the basic problem with education with what we call education being little more than indoctrination in my opinion. As it seems to me the very basics should be for, any path of knowledge, first learning about for lack of a better term, learning or cognition, how the mind does it, the tendencies and etc.


[edit on 20-9-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 09:16 AM
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reply to post by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
 


I wrote a little thread a few days ago Watcher
It didn't receive much attention and I suppose I know why. I didn't know there was an actual study and term for what I was trying to say. You might be interested in it. Maybe not.

Everyone is Right about Everything All the Tim

[edit on 20-9-2009 by Hazelnut]



posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 10:09 AM
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Fascinating.

I’m going to go back and re-read, do some of my own research and then come back to the discussion as I feel ill prepared to express the ideas I’ve forming and am not ready to present the questions I’d like to ask.

Before I go I’d like to toss this out though.

Can you imagine, based on the theory of Schema - how the collective conscious of the world shifted when we saw Earth for the first time in 1960 on the television - when we first saw that big blue marble we live upon?

How our *schema* ladders must have swayed.

How devastatingly lonely we must have felt at that moment in time.

Fantastic thread.
I hope it lives a long long ATS life - there’s years of discussion material here in my opinion.

peace



posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 10:15 AM
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reply to post by silo13
 


Agreed. I am glad I am finding people who share my enthusiasm for the topic.
And I am very much looking forward to further discussion.



posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 10:39 AM
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reply to post by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
 


Psychology class by Marco C



I have a BSc. Honours Degree in Psychology from the Open University and am a Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society. I was always fascinated by Psychology, long before I completed my degree. Understanding what can motivate people and how this can affect behaviour definitely helps makes my everyday interactions much more successful.


This could be easily used to "entrain" brains with "preferred" thoughts.



A schema is a cognitive structure of knowledge we have in our minds.

Without them, we’d probably go insane. They affect our lifes in every way. They can be at the root of racism, they can be used by some to indoctrinate others into desctructive cults.

Yet they’re perfectly natural, unavoidable and part of what makes us who we are.

Understand this process can help us with our daily interactions whether it be personally or professionally.

Join me and discover. This class will be totally interactive. Your input will be part of the class. We’re not going to regurgitate from a text, we can all read! I’ll help you understand this fascinating and essential part of cognition and it’ll bring you a better awareness of the way in which you perceive your world.



I believe the real value in understanding schemas is in personal development. Yet I can see how a deep understanding of this could be used as a weapon of control as well.



posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 10:44 AM
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reply to post by Hazelnut
 


Oh yes, I believe it is a powerful tool for control. Thus the reason I said education as we practice it today is little more than indoctrination. But, the information is out there and it's simply a question of educating oneself. I plan on taking that course very soon.


[edit on 20-9-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 12:55 PM
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Hello Whatcher-in-the-Shadows:

Can you provide a compacted "In a Nutshell" meaning of what you are trying to convey?



posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 12:57 PM
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reply to post by John Matrix
 


Hello. Unfortunately I am not sure if I can it's a rather involved if not intergal bit of information. I promise you you won't be disapointed if you read it. Although the online course offered not far above this one may help.

[edit on 20-9-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 01:05 PM
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Originally posted by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
reply to post by John Matrix
 


Hello. Unfortunately I am not sure if I can it's a rather involved if not intergal bit of information. I promise you you won't be disapointed if you read it. Although the online course offered not far above this one may help.

[edit on 20-9-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]


So, from what I read there can be good schema and bad schema, and people often hold to a schema without really knowing why?



posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 01:08 PM
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reply to post by John Matrix
 


Not really. Schema is not really good or bad but it IS a two edged sword more of a shortcut we all use really. Thought using Schemata highlights that.

[edit on 20-9-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 01:21 PM
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Originally posted by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
reply to post by John Matrix
 


Not really. Schema is not really good or bad but it IS a two edged sword more of a shortcut we all use really. Thought using Schemata highlights that.


Hmmm? It all sounds to me like schema or schemata is just another name for thought patterns.

I have a lot of thoughts on thoughts.


But I want to be sure I am on topic.

Jesus parable of the sower comes to mind. Seeds springing up to bear fruit, seeds springing up then falling over and dying for lack of good soil and water. Seed being a thought or schema, water being the spirit of God, soil being our consciousness, fruit being the fruit of the Spirit. This could be considered a Schemata.....Yes?



posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 01:23 PM
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reply to post by John Matrix
 


Think I need to turn that one over in my mind a few times. Thanks for giving me something to think about.


[edit on 20-9-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]






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