Thursday, August 22, 2019

Brain Belief – Common Questions, 4

What is an example of a belief that turns into a bias?

Let’s say that a mother taught her daughters: “Always use seat covers, wash your hands, and never touch the door handle with bare hands when leaving a public toilet.” That is helpful admonition when applied specifically and appropriately; unhelpful when globalized, if that leads you to avoid desirable and helpful behaviors. On an automobile trip, they used some toilets that were in rest rooms she described as “unbelievably filthy!” Over the trip, this turned into a full-blown germaphobic belief: all public toilets will give my girls a disease. Soon the mother stopped using public toilets. Rather, she would find a wooded spot off the highway and the girls had to pee behind a tree. Over time this turned into a bias that even people who looked unkempt or dogs that were not well groomed were “filthy” and carried many pathogenic organisms. The girls were never allowed to interact with anyone who appeared underprivileged, and certainly never permitted to volunteer feeling the homeless! Beliefs can take on a life of their own when globalized and even turn into zealot or fanatical or compulsive perspectives and actions that become a bias.

Do you have other examples of globalized beliefs that may turn into a bias? (more to come)

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