One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Can I know you ever?

Daniel Wolpert thinks that the real reason for human brain is movement, not understanding and seeking truth. Most of our judgments do not come from direct observations but from memory. I buy this idea primarily by experiencing first hand the shear levels of misunderstanding and confusions around me. That is why I ask, "Can I know anyone ever?" and then I reply back to myself, certainly, No. Though, we can claim that I know him/her more than lines on my palm but that is not supported by psychological research. The ability to read others' thoughts and feelings are called empathic accuracy. Studies in empathic accuracy tell us that strangers are only 24% right in reading our thoughts and feelings and friends are only 36% (This means that even close friends read our feelings and thoughts 64% wrong: Linda and Ickes et al, 1992). This no doubt is a great flaw in our brain system with bitter consequences as our relations and communications with others depend on reading their thoughts and feelings. Yes, some factors like gender and strong sense of compassion  and training may affect the empathic accuracy, however it is not significant enough to make us able read correctly even half of other people's thoughts and feeling.

Beside empathic accuracy, the distance also greatly affect our judgments of others. If one sees a distant object, he looks at overall patterns (abstract pattern) of the object. In contrast, if one looks to a close object, he looks to the details. It is really interesting to know that the same mechanism applies to understanding ourselves, others, tasks, events ,...etc. For example, if you look to pictures of others, you look to overall pattern but if you look to your own picture, you look to such as details as sign on your cap or a curl in your hair that others might not even notice looking to your picture. Likewise, if an event is far, you imagine an overall pattern of it but if the event is in a few hours, you think seriously about the details.

In short, before judging others their actions and decisions, it is wise to give them the benefit of doubts, particularly when you are at distance... 

- Stinson, Linda L., William Ickes. "Empathic Accuracy in the Interactions of Male Friends versus Male Strangers." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 62 (1992): 787-97. 

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