Blogs » A Constitutionalist & Believer in Natural Law » Mind Theory and the Assumptive Mind

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In an attempt to understand myself and others, I have been studying critical thinking and the theory of the mind.

The majority of people have assumptions based on beliefs held within their own minds. Many of our beliefs/assumptions are cultural or social based. We follow the assumptions taught through family, teachers, news media, Hollywood, and organizations we are members of. And unless we are critical thinkers our cultural beliefs/assumptions make it very difficult, if not almost impossible for us change our assumptions/beliefs.

The theory is, instead of seeking out both supportive and refuted information on our assumptions, we tend to seek out only supportive data (Confirmation Bias & Selective Thinking). For example, if we think that President George W. Bush is solely responsible for all our current economic problems, we will refute and undervalue the relevance of all facts related to a Democrat controlled Congress during his last two years of office and actions taken by President Obama.

In the initial process of forming an assumption /belief, we believe everything we hear or read until our brain processes it with supporting and refuting data until it decides if the information is actually true or false.

What is interesting is that this initial process is almost automatic, however after we have determined something to be either true or false we will usually only seek out information that upholds that initial belief/assumption. The brain prefers to be in a state where original assumptions are correct. It will almost subconsciously seek out affirmations in an attempt to retain initial assumptions. People who are prejudice against black people will selectively remember instances where black people broke the law or acted rudely all the while discarding times where they experienced black people helping their community or being helpful. When receiving information that refutes their beliefs they will analyze and misconstrue meanings in an attempt to devalue the information or often times will analyze it so that the meaning is changed into information that affirms their assumption.

The brain also likes to be efficient or lazy depending on how you view it, and likes to group things by perceived likeness; this is what leads us to stereotyping and generalizations. It amazes me how powerful our minds are and how different our perceptions are. It’s a thing of cruelty and beauty.